Close to giving up on this car!! - Alfa Romeo Forum
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(Post Link) post #1 of 12 Old 12-06-16 Thread Starter
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Close to giving up on this car!!

Since last summer I've had an unsolvable electrical problem. The car would cut out regularly and the error code was relating to the fuel pressure regulator. After changing it twice I concluded that the code was misleading and the error lay elsewhere. I sent the ecu off for testing, no errors found. The fault disappeared after the ecu was re installed in the car.

That was one month ago. In the last week I've had the following errors occur. Three error codes, relating to the brake switch (cruise control stopped working as well) and also to the MAF. Bizzarely the parking sensors now also don't come on automatically (they will if I press the button though?!?) and two days ago, the Menu and Dimmer buttons on the lhs stalk have stopped working.

I've cleared the codes but they return instantly. I've replaced the brake switch but it made no difference. I've removed and cleaned the earth strap today. No change. Because the battery has been removed and the Menu button doesn't work I can't reset the time or date!!!

Last summer I did replace the battery with a budget one. Could this all be caused by a cheap battery? I'm getting to the point where I don't want to spend more money for no return.

Last edited by marknewton; 12-06-16 at 14:31.
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(Post Link) post #2 of 12 Old 12-06-16 Thread Starter
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Alternatively, would anyone be able to recommend a good auto electrician in Hull?
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Can you check the battery with a meter?
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When you're sure the battery is ok....... (Alfa 159 - maf showing -40 degrees and brake switch error)

Are all these "faulty" components on the same circuit, the brake and cruise control certainly will be, they interact with each other.
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Sounds like an electrical short circuit(s) somewhere in the loom which would account for so many different errors/faults being generated.
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Yes it could all be caused by a lousy battery with a bad internal connection between cells. Try and borrow a good one and see if the gremlins disappear. But it's also worth dismantling and cleaning the +ve terminal connector block, looking for corrosion and hairline breaks.
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erratic errors

One area oft neglected is the humble connector plug ,these do corrode unseen,However a budget battery is just that,I would scrounge the use of a premium brand when testing ,,I will never use cheap batteries on my bikes any more.
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There is a lot you can do to resurrect a knackered battery (which it might be). Get some distilled water and some Granville Bat Aid tablets (less than a fiver) from your nearest motoring emporium. Most 'sealed' batteries usually aren't and you can pop off the tops of each battery cell.. for each cell (usually six of them) you just need to make sure the battery plates are well covered with acid (and if not top up with the water), lob in a tablet to each cell, and reseal. Where you are dealing with battery acid, take good care with gloves, glasses, high viz jacket etc. Then fully recharge the battery with a good charger, which really should have a meter on it. Your local motor shop might have something but I use a multipurpose model charger like this one which can pump out the current and don't cost a lot
(It goes without saying that you need to set the charger to a Pb/12v or it will really knacker it!!). I think you may find that once your battery is behaving everything else will as well. Its a lot cheaper to do the above than buy a new battery, even including the cost of a charger and I've restored 6 year old batteries and had them run for a couple more years like this with no issues. Your battery even if it is cheap is unlikely be dead after a year, but it might be run down a bit.
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Is it worth wasting time with a duff cheap battery? I mean, decent ones are hardly a fortune:

Car Battery | Car Parts | Electrical Parts | Euro Car Parts

Buy cheap buy twice, only the rich can afford to buy cheap.
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Have you taken a look for any damage to the wireing loom that comes out of the ecu and travels over the top of the engine ? I had a particular problem last year with electrical issues and after it being in several garages and auto electric places I unraveled the outer wrap on that loom and found that there was a wire rubbing on a metal fitment from the engine and had worn through the coating. Then on regular occasions it would short on the engine and cut out. I didn't have the same errors but there are lots of circuits in that loom.

Good luck.
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Thanks for all the advice, much appreciated. The battery is at 12.8v when the engine is off and 14.4v when the alternator is charging. The earth strap was fine (although I cleaned it all up anyway). I don't think either of those is a problem, even if it is a budget battery. This weekend I'm going to try and hunt through the wiring loom and (hopefully) find a short. Sod's law says it'll be behind the bloody dashboard but maybe I'll get lucky!!
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You should not assume that all these errors are connected.

Cutting out, with a low fuel pressure error can be caused by a faulty in-tank pump, or a problem with it's power supply like faulty relay or burnt connections in the fusebox (engine bay). What exactly was the code and description of the relevant error?

Brake switch error - have you adjusted the switch correctly? Have you checked that the brake lights are operating correctly? Also, sometimes the pedal itself does not return as it should.

MAF error - what exactly was the error? If it was "incongruence" or "invalid signal" then this error can be triggered by leaks in the induction system including a sticking EGR valve.

Parking sensors - have you checked that the reverse lights are working? Failure of the reverse switch is quite common, as are wiring issues into the boot lid, resulting in short circuits.

Stalk button failure - another favourite! Often the result or broken wires inside the column stalk unit. Repairable, but a little tricky.

And ... I have to ask... have you checked the fuses?
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