147 electrics all gone mental! - Alfa Romeo Forum
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(Post Link) post #1 of 15 Old 19-07-16 Thread Starter
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147 electrics all gone mental!

Hi all, just bought a 147 for the wife knowing it had been off the road for a while, I'm guessing its just full of bad connections, although any advice is greatly appreciated.
Its a 2005 147 jtd 8v.
Where to start really, you indicate left and the headlight flashes like a police car, you put on the side lights and the left indicator comes on, the abs + traction control lights are on, and by that I mean permenantly, even when the key is out they are still on, along with the info display just dishing out random messages telling me that everything's broken! I've had to disconnect the battery.
Also I got the turbocharger circuit performance fault and it went into limp mode, along with the ecm/pcm power range fault.
The remote central locking makes the lights flash but nothing locks, immobiliser fault flashes when started up, glow plug fault also comes up... Might have been more things, I stopped paying attention!
On a plus point though, the windscreen wipers performed faultlessly, just a pity it wasn't raining.
I'm guessing I'll just start with the switch cleaner on every electrical plug and component I can find but all suggestions are welcome.
I know it sounds a nail, but it actually drove like brand new (barring the bong every time it decided there was a new fault, and the restricted performance).
Not a clunk on the suspension or steering, and the wife loves it.
I have 3 156's but never realised how different the 147 is.
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Start with the battery voltage, these cars go quite mental if the voltage is low - and after standing for a while it will be. See if the battery charges up OK on a charger, then start from there. Make sure the terminals are clean, and dismantle and clean the +ve terminal block. Also check the alternator is producing a healthy 14.1-14.5v across the terminals with the engine running.

Alarm arming/disarming and central locking problems are the first sign of low battery volts on my 147, after it has stood for ~4 weeks, although there's still enough life in the battery to start the engine. A few hours on a charger and all is miraculously healed.

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Where to start really, you indicate left and the headlight flashes like a police car, you put on the side lights and the left indicator comes on,
sounds like a bad earth on the LH lights.
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Sounds like you need a priest but try a good battery first.
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(Post Link) post #4 of 15 Old 19-07-16 Thread Starter
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Haha, like that one!
Probably should have said, the battery that's on it is one of my own, from a 16v jtdm, and I know its good.
Getting 14.2v with the engine running so I'll assume the alternator is fine.
Turbo is now working, some nice person had cut the vac hose and put a screw in the end??? God knows why as it seems to be boosting well with it reconnected.
I have checked every fuse I can find, under the bonnet and under the steering column, cleaned every contact and multiplug but yet my electrical woes are still there, although the central locking has come back to life.
So now I have front lights still doing what they were before, gonna take them off and swap them over (temporary of course before someone tells me they won't fit) to see if its a wiring fault there or a fault in the cluster.
Still got abs + traction control fault.
And when I remove the key, the info display and the abs light, traction control light, and handbreak light stay on.
I can only presume there is a connection 'bridged' somewhere which shouldn't be? Anyone know where I should try next?
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If it is any help the cross light problem occurs a lot on ford vans .It is invariably a cracked housing and bad earths.
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(Post Link) post #6 of 15 Old 19-07-16 Thread Starter
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OK, quick update for anyone still reading this, front lights are now functioning correctly, I think it was the multiplug on the passenger side at fault, it was loose in the light so I clipped it back in place, put the plug back in and they are now doing what they are supposed to.
The main thing though is there is still abs, asr, and glow plug failure showing up as soon as the battery is connected, and the dash still won't go off, even with the key out!
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(Post Link) post #7 of 15 Old 19-07-16 Thread Starter
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Heater plugs are new and also just replaced glow plug relay.
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Not done my discs and pads for a while but it might be worth checking the leads from the pads are plugged in and similar at the back. (Stand to be corrected here because it's been a while since I did the brakes on the alfa and I think I might be getting confused with the wife's panda and a ford galaxy I did at the weekend.) Can't do any harm having a look.
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Also, did you buy the car from a dealer. Sometimes they like to steam clean the engine bay prior to a sale. Not a good idea and can cause all sorts of electrical gremlins.
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Body ecu if no one has mentioned that . that itr out open it up and see if its got water ingress or black terminals.

grey boy behind fuse box right side of wheel lower panel
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(Post Link) post #11 of 15 Old 19-07-16 Thread Starter
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Just opened up the body ecu, all looks good + clean inside but is there any way of testing it without replacing everything?
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(Post Link) post #12 of 15 Old 20-07-16 Thread Starter
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Made a few calls today around ecu repair shops, most agreed that the body computer sounds the likeliest culprit, some said they wouldn't touch Alfa/fiat units, others have quoted around 60 to test and about 140 to repair if it can be repaired so assuming it can be repaired, I think we can live with that.
I haven't posted it away yet as I was wondering if anyone on here had any experience with any ecu repair places and had any recommendations or places to avoid?
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(Post Link) post #13 of 15 Old 22-07-16 Thread Starter
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Well.. After a discussion on the phone with an 'Alfa specialist' I took the car to him today as we discussed on the phone about swapping the body computer for a different one to see if the fault would go, I know it wouldn't start with the wrong one in but it was mainly to eliminate this being the problem before I send away something to be fixed that doesn't need fixing.
As swapping the body computers is a ten minute job I thought this would be as easy way to get a diagnosis.
However.. He insisted I left the car and he'd ring me when he'd had a look, which is fair enough, I understand people are busy, even though it was booked in.
Several hours later I got a call to collect the car.
I was told it had been on the diagnostics computer and had come up with a wheel speed sensor fault.
I then asked what was the result in swapping the body computer over to which I got there is no point its your wheel speed sensor that's at fault, and then billed me for a diagnostic check that I didn't ask for!
My argument was then, well surely when the key is not in the ignition then the abs is not active??
Anyway he wouldn't have it so I changed the wheel speed sensor even though I knew, and turned out to be right that this would not solve my issue.
So yes the dash is still on all the time along with abs, asr, and parking brake lights.
I've even tried with the abs ecu unplugged and its still all lit up permanently.
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(Post Link) post #14 of 15 Old 24-07-16 Thread Starter
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OK, bit of an update, after speaking to a couple of auto electricians, they are as baffled as I am! One agrees body computer, the other says no.
The Alfa place I went to the other day says the body computer is not the problem, although he did admit that he doesn't know what it is.
So as it stands at the moment,
Engine running, all is fine, no way warning messages other than glow plug fault, the plugs have been replaced but apparently you need to reset it to stop the message coming on.
As soon as the engine is turned off, abs, asr, parking brake and computer display all light up and stay on.
I'm now wondering if it's an instrument cluster fault, I'd just bang in a used unit but have read this will **** up the mileage unless I swap a chip off the back.
So my temporary (hopefully temporary anyway) fix is, I have removed the fuse for the instrument binnacle so there is no permanent live to the dash and added a wire with fuse from a ignition on live (back of the cigarette lighter in this case) to the fusebox feed to the instrument cluster.
This of course means the clock will loose its time every time the engine is switched off but at least I don't have to open the bonnet and disconnect the battery after every journey.
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(Post Link) post #15 of 15 Old 03-08-16 Thread Starter
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Well... Body computer is fine, after swapping everything over, reconnected the battery and the sodding dash lit up like a Christmas tree.
Only thing that changed was the mileometer was flashing because presumably it thinks I'm trying to con the mileage.
Anyway, all swapped back now.
I got a fault code up the other day though that might have something to do with it, headlamp washer unit down to ground.
This car hasn't even got headlight washers?
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