Thank you all for your suggestions; I have managed to get the old girl back on the road! Hurrah
You will never believe what it was all down to.. one single dirty fuse!
This is the way I went about it:
1. The symptoms that I identified were:
- The engine cut-out whilst idling.
- I tried all of the techniques that have been previously used by other members to re-set the Code box, the ECU etc but nothing dissuaded the Alfa Code warning lamp from going out.
- Using any key and turning the ignition to MAR, only the following lights lit up on the instrument binnacle: Generator warning lamp, ABS warning lamp, Engine oil pressure warning lamp and Alfa Code warning lamp.
- It initially appeared to me that the Code box and/or the associated antenna that receives the immobiliser code from the chip in the key was not picking up any signal and thus was not identifying the key as being the right one.
2. I phoned up a few different people to get some feedback and the only ones that were forthcoming with technical information and help were my local Alfa dealer, Desira of Norwich and Alfa Romeo GB Technical Service.. TOP BLOKES!!! A special thanks to YOU guys
3. Desira asked me which lights were appearing on the instrument binnacle and I described these as per point 1. They pointed out that the Fuel injection system malfunction warning lamp should light up for approximately 3 seconds when the ingition is turned to the MAR position.
4. By looking carefully at the symptoms in point 1. and taking into account the observation in point 3, this was my train of thought:
- Code Box is not talking to the ECU since the ECU has no power-feed; this explains why the fuel injection warning lamp does not come on for 3 sec to confirm that the ECU is operating.
- The Code box apparently needs to check that the code it is being supplied by the key is the same as that stored in the ECU. This explains why I could not reprogram the keys with the master since the Code box could not check whether this key was the correct master key with what was stored in the ECU. The engine cutting-out also pointed the finger to the ECU being starved of power.
5. I decided to check that none of the fuses under the bonnet had blown thus starving the ECU of power. As I could not find any that had gone, I decided to give them a good clean as a few looked quite dirty.
6. Upon the first attempt at turning the ignition key to MAR I was greated with the Code light appearing for a fraction of a second and then disappearing again.. HURRAH
The fuel injection system malfunction light had also finally decided to come on for around 3 seconds and then disappear.
My recommendations to all other members plagued by the Code light.. check the condition of the bulkhead fuses under your bonnet, particularly the two situated above and behind the battery. If they have not blown, give them a clean and grease them up again with electrical grease or electrical contact cleaner/lubricant.
Incidentally, other information that might come in handy is:
- New ECUs for our cars are now supplied with both the chip for the master key and the Code card as insurance companies finally realised what a waste of time it was to register all of the details with the National Vehicle Register.
- Any personal imports like my Q4 were never registered as only new UK cars were directly registered by Alfa Romeo GB and not the dealers. No problems there as foreign cars come with the Code cards; only UK insurance companies came up with the idea to withold the immobiliser codes (B@ST@RDS!)
- CHECK YOUR MASTER KEY BEFORE YOU MIGHT NEED IT (Turn the master key to position MAR and you should see the Code light come on and immediately off. If you turn the master key to OFF and immediately back to MAR, the Code light should now stay ON permanently. You've got a good one. If this did not work, try again. If it still did not work, check that you have a chip in the master key as these keys can be easily obtained. If you do have a chip it probably isn't the right one, if you don't.. oops.. somebody's had you on!
- Q4 owners.. can you access the fault codes stored in the ECU with the throttle pedal technique? I can't.. any ideas why?
Hope this will help someone else as I have had the most miserable 24 hours of my life!