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Old 10-05-2004   #1
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Electronic Oil Level Indicator

This is more an observation then a problem as I have seen this kind of think on two of my previous Fiats.

It relates to the Oil Level Indicator at startup. After a long motorway run and an overnight stop I started the car and waited for the Oil Level indicators to come up. I was quite concerned when nothing came up at all. At this point I started the car but for some reason, and it was probably because I released the key to quickly rather then anything else, the engine failed to start. On running through the same process again I got a warning message on my display stating that the Oil Level was too low. At this point I started to panic as I had only done 500 miles and the Oil level had bee fine when I started. I checked again and this time 2 segments came up. I decided to drive at very low revs for the next twenty miles to the next petrol station to buy some Oil as I had forgotten to bring some with me. At this point I left the car for about half an hour and checked the Oil level again. This time it was reading 4 segments. In my opinion the oil should have cooled sufficiently to give a fairly accurate reading. On checking the dipstick there appeared to be no problem, it looked as though it was on maximum. I decided to put a mugful of oil in the engine anyway. The Electronic indicator now showed all 6 segments. I was surprised that one mugful equated to 2 segments. Since then I have driven another 1500 miles and some of them very hard indeed and the oil level seems to be fine.

As I mentioned above I have has this same problem on two previous Fiat Regatta's and basically it came down to the position of the Oil Level sensor in the engine, I had some great fun with Fiat over this one but I won't go into it here. Instead of the sensor being in the logical position of the centre of the sump it was to the left looking at the engine from the fronm of the car. This meant that on the camber on Left hand drive countries (UK) and assuming you had parked in the direction of the traffic the warning light would come up as the oil would settle towards the right hand side of the road even though you had sufficient oil. On the Ulysse the sensor appears to be on the Right hand side if the camber test is anything to go by. Strangely the Dipstick is on the left hand side but this does appear to be more accurate then the Electronic sensor as it was in the Regatta's as well.

So the point to all this is not to rely too much on the Electronic aids as they can give misleading information.

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Old 10-05-2004   #2
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Thanks for the warning.

Personally, I don't get much sense from ours, because our driveway is heavily sloped, thus reading is meaningless.

I do check it once in a car-park, say, but then again if car is still warm, not useful.

Thus I resort to the rag and dipstick method. I know I got the warning come up once or twice, but always been enough oil in there.


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Old 12-05-2004   #3
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This function seems pretty good on mine - I tend to keep an eye on the oil and keep it topped up, but on the whole the electric gauge tallies with the dipstick.

As with all sensors though, only rely on a reading taken with the car level. :D

John ;)
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