Technical Major help needed

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Technical Major help needed


New member
Jan 10, 2006
Hi all, hope someone can help me on this:-

My mum owns a 52 plate 1.6 Stilo Dynamique with 36k on the clock which has had a few of the various niggles I have read about whilst searching the forum but they aint the problem.

The car sat for a week over Xmas with the exception of being ran for approx 15 seconds. Now it wont start at all - just turns and turns with no attempt to fire. The garage has checked compression and its down in two cylinders so they (not very confidently) suggest head gasket.

Does this sound normal for only 36k? No other symptoms are there like cloudy oil or aero bubble effect in the header tank and it was running fine before.

*Edit to remove long winded version :)*
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What were the actual pressure readings from the compression test?
Was the car working fine when last used?
Was the car frozen at some point- do you have anti freeze in it?
Have you tried the resetting the fuel cut off solenoid switch?
Is there a smell of fuel when you try starting it?
Any warning lights on when you turn it over?
And never forget the obvious - is there fuel in it?
Hi thanks for the quick response:

Compression test readings are unknown to me at this time. The car has been working fine upto now and has always started fine. It hasn't really been that cold around here to be honest and the car has been dealer serviced since new so coolant should have been changed by them at the appropriate intervals (fingers crossed). I thought of the fuel solenoid but too late unfortunately and the car is still at the garage - no I didn't smell fuel when it was being cranked. I didn't recall seeing any warning lights but can't say for sure and like I say, it's at the garage now - though you'd expect them to spot something like this ;).

Oh and yes there is fuel in it :D
Even if the compression is down on 2 cylinders it should at least try to start.

If you have fuel, it's not firing and there's no smell of fuel then I'd go for no fuel supply to the engine ie fuel shut off valve or pump

Still, if it's in the hands of the experts at Fiat........
Do I detect a sarcastic undertone there ;) - actually I'm gonna ring them tomorrow to see if they have tried it. Like your comment about the fuel, sometimes the most obvious is overlooked.
I'd agree that the car should start on 2 cylinders, and even run! Albeit very poorly!

Be warned, even the best garages can sometimes jump to the wrong conclusion, yes lower compression on 2 cylinders! But that shouldnt' stop it starting?!? But the fuel pump etc will be what they check once they've changed the head gasket at your expence!

I had a major to-do with RAC and their so called garage repairs! When my old car broke down after running fine, first thing they did was change fuel pump! Although they could have confirmed if it was faulty! If nothing else so fuel in the carb would have proved it was a fueling fault! Turned out all that was wrong was the dizzy cap was shorting and full of white powder causing the spark to arc all over the shop! 2 minute fix! Mind you, i got a free fuel pump out of it! I refused to pay once i'd poven their repair was incorrect!
I've been through all the onvious stuff with the garage now. Basically the engine has virtually nil compression in cylinders 1 and 4 and low compression in 2 and 3 - that's why we thought the timing belt had snapped originally as the engine had no resistence when turning over. We've given the go ahead to pull the head off and get it pressure tested to see if there is anything wrong with it.

I was having a think back and one day over the Christmas period, it got cold enough to freeze the motor in my washer bottle on my Focus so maybe something has happened to my mums car. Will have to wait and see....
Surely garage would of spotted a snapped belt,maybe slipped a tooth?

Skinny....if I had £1 for every Ford washer pump i've changed I could afford to take next week off work!
I think it would have to slip one hell of a lot of teeth to get "virtually nil compression". That's more like the belt isn't there:eek:

With "no resistance on starting" then I fear the worst
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My Ford:bang: did that recently,slipped one tooth...........16 new valves/belt/tensioner :cry: (money that it cost that upset me most not the car)
It's just like putting a spanner into a running engine when the cambelt goes. It was sensible to change older engines to belt driven cam for quieter operation as they were "safe" engines and the pistons didn't collide with the valves but it's madness to have cam belts rather than chains on "unsafe" engines. There's just so many people forking out £1000s every week for a non fail safe design. A bit of rubber snaps- that'll be a £1000 please.

Still, lots of work for the garages. Must get boring for the mechanics thinking "Here's another cambelt job". It would drive me loopy

Hope it's not that though Skinny
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It's not the cambelt - it was the first thing they checked. Once they established that was ok it was onto a compression test. Aint heard anything yet though so still fingers crossed....

I know what you mean about cam belts though - snapped mine on my old Renault 19 16valve. Garage quoting around £1000 to fix, did it myself for a smidge under £250 :D
perhaps if the oil has drained out of the tappets, they would not be opening the valves. I know its unusual, but has happened on my brothers car before (although it was a different make of car).
If the valves didn't open you'd have BIG compression. A head gasket gone would still give lots of compression. Cars still run with a head gasket gone.

Something very weird with this engine to get "virtually nil compression" although it is valves/ head/ pistons related. If the cambelt's still there and turning the camshaft then somethings gone way out of sync with pistons and valves
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This whole thing makes no sense.

Garage rang today, stated head gasket had gone but only in one place (explain compression loss in all 4 cylinders then - if that ever happened) and tried to give some bullsh*t about carbon build up on the valves! Hmmm very suspect......
Had the same trouble with my Bravo, wouln't start. spent 9 weeks in fiat dealership, turned out to be immobiliser stuck on.