Technical Rough Idling

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Technical Rough Idling


New member
May 8, 2002
Around a couple of weeks ago my wife bought a Used Punto 8v 1.2 1999 Mk1 from a garage (we are in Ireland) and paid for 3 months warranty with it. He dropped off the car 5 miles from where we live (he was out of the area but he drove down with a trailer and put the Punto on the back of that) anyway as my wife drove the Punto home she pulled over and said she could smell burning. I got inside the car and could smell the sweet smell of antifreeze. The Heater Control was all the way to Hot so I turned it to cold and the smell disappeared. So i presumed it was a problem with the heater matrix behind the dash. There was no water on the carpet though.

Anyway got home and rung the garage guy and immediately he said it sounded like heater matrix and he would order one. Had to phone back another day to see if it had come in.

Phoned back a couple of days later and he said that the heater matrix had not come in yet but what he was going to try and do is first of all try this really magical sealant that is supposed to fix it and that Fiat garages use it and I think he said it was made by a company called Innovation of something and assured me it was specifically made for the trade and much better than radweld or any other stuff like that. He said it was expensive at 50.00 Euro but he would rather try that than removing the matrix because it would be a pig of a job having to remove all the dashboard and if its only a little hole in the matrix this sealant would do the job. Anyway he said try this sealant first and if you still have problems I will then replace the matrix with a new one. Fair enough I thought.

He came down and picked the car up and drove it back to his garage. Before he picked it up the engine was idling really smoothly and quiet and revving up nice and smoothly and all you could hear was the normal ticking noise you get. My wife and I were really impressed at how quietly the engine was ticking over and running.

Anyway he had it over a couple of days - remember we only asked him to stop the burning smell from the matrix, nothing else. Anyway phoned him back and he said today, all ready and done for you. We put the sealant in and whilst we were at it we replaced the head gasket and skimmed the head just for safety's sake just in case it went and we replaced the Timing Belt whilst we were at it (Timing belt was only changed at 57,000 Miles and the car had done 84,000 Miles)

so he changed the gasket and timing belt without us asking for it to be done. Good we thought at least we didn't have to pay extra and he done it for nothing. But peeved off in a way that they had fiddled around with the rest of the engine when we didn't ask for the other stuff to be done, all we wanted was for the heater matrix burning smell to be sorted out. Anyway he drove it back down to us and said its going great now, and my wife drove it home 5 miles to our house again.

When I asked her how did it feel when she was driving it, she said alright when driving at around 40mph but she said it felt 'lumpy' when Idling now.

I went out on the drive and started it up and now it sounds like a diesel engine or like a tractor when Idling! like misfiring and the engine was wobbling when Idling where it wasn't before and sitting inside the car whilst it was Idling made the whole car shudder inside. I checked all the ignition leads to make sure they were all on tight and they are.

What could have been done when it was left in to make it like this now. I know they changed the timing belt for a new one but I don't know whether they put it back on a machine afterwards and adjusted the timing - would this have an effect? - could it be related to the head gasket being replaced do you reckon?

I also checked the coolant expansion tank about 20 minutes after she got home and the engine was cooler and the level was way over the maximum mark - I reckon they must have over filled it with coolant, but this wouldn't have any bearing on the rough engine idling would it?

I tried phoning his mobile tonight but not getting an answer. I left a message asking him to call back. But what if he says he drove it down and that he thinks its fine or tries to fob me off even though I know it was idling fine before it went in to have this stuff done? - What if he offers a full refund for the car, my wife loved this car and wants to keep it apart from this idling problem - and if its just a timing issue problem that should be easy to sort out on a machine shouldn't it? - so should she get him to fix it again or take i into another garage (maybe a Fiat main dealer) to be sorted on a machine or do the problems of it Idling roughly indicate that there could be more serious problems?

Many thanks for any helpful advise and I am really sorry this post is long winded but I wanted to outline what has been done as much as I can.

Many Thanks,