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(Post Link) post #1 of 27 Old 4 Weeks Ago Thread Starter
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159 1750tbi won't start

Hi all,
My introduction to the rollercoaster of joy and despair that is Alfa ownership continues. Just undertook a long drive to Ireland and back in my new 159 tbi sportwagon. It didn't miss a beat throughout the trip. However, went to start it up this morning for the first time since the trip and it was having none of it. Dashlights etc came on, but on pressing the starter button - nothing. No attempt to turnover, just 5 seconds or so of clicking (presumably the starter motor trying and failing to do anything).
I have tried jump starting but it has made no difference. My initial suspicion was alternator failure, but surely it would at least have tried to turn over following the jump start attempt? So my only other thoughts are a failed starter motor (is this a 159 thing at only 34k miles?!), or could it be this mysterious earthing issue with the battery that I've seen mentioned elsewhere?
Any tips on this would be greatly appreciate as I'm utterly stumped.
Thanks in advance!
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Could be a bad engine earth, its under the battery so hard to check so try putting a jump lead from the battery negative to somewhere metal on the engine.
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(Post Link) post #3 of 27 Old 4 Weeks Ago
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definatley the battery which is the cause but not necessarily the alternator, could have left a light on over night?

How old is the battery?

a replacement can be found here, id go for the 5 year warranty one with the highest cca, no need to buy the most expensive, next day delivery

https://advancedbatterysupplies.co.u...car-batteries/
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Thanks both. Re the earth, when attempting the jump start the negative was earthed to the donor cars engine block, so shouldn't that have solved any earthing problem? I should also have said in my original post that it is a brand new battery, less than four months old.
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No, but if you had put it to your engine block etc it would of.
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Ah, OK, I'll give that a shot tomorrow and see if it'll start. Thanks.
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No joy with this. I earthed the negative to a bolt on the gear box, but hasn't improved the situation. Car even more bonkers than before when trying to start, flashing up a message about excessive radiator temp (despite having not been started for three days) and showing no fuel (there is plenty in the tank). It certainly seems to be an electrical gremlin, but I'm stumped as to what it can be! If it was a fuel issue (pump for eg) it would at least try to turn over, no?
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(Post Link) post #8 of 27 Old 4 Weeks Ago
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have you tried charging the battery at all??

i would avoid trying to start the car until you have as you will cause something to go wrong in the electrics
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I'm very worried about damage to electronics, so having tried and failed to charge it from another car, I'm going to leave it well alone now and await home rescue from RAC to confirm that the new battery is dead and get it to a garage. I fear this issue is above my paygrade!
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Have a look at the wiring to the starter motor, we have had similar problems with some of our work vehicles: the terminals get covered in road spray, corrode and eventually break off and you end up with a no start because there's no power getting to the starter motor. We'd usually have a couple of sluggish "sounds like the battery is on its way out" starts before it failed. Jump starting it wouldn't work unless you clip the leads onto the motor itself. You could touch the broken wire to the terminal while someone tried to start it, just watch for sparks!..... Assuming this is your problem, but it does sound like a bad earth or broken wire somewhere

If you start crying during a flood you're only adding to the problem
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Good point re the starter motor. I did wonder if this might be the cause. It has also occurred to me that when I was under the bonnet a couple of weeks ago with the engine running and did notice an electrical buzzing type noise which I hadn't previously noticed. I wonder if that might be related to this problem, eg alternator on the way out?
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I think you have an earth problem hence the random warning lights that are appearing , first off have checked the voltage rating on the battery and what is it showing via a multimeter? This will tell you if the battery is low. It's possible that the faulty earth is causing an issue with the alternator actually charging.

This happened to mine a few month's ago and the earth at fault was actually the earth point connected to the gearbox that was draining the battery and stopping the alternator working correctly , same issue as you just clicking when trying to turn over...took me weeks to find the issue (My Mechanic eventually did) after replacing the battery , alternator and checking the easy access earth's mentioned above so worth keeping in mind...mechanic said it's position is exposed the dirt and grime so it can become filthy and hence throw this fault...it's not easy to access mind.
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I will lay money on it being the battery, same thing happened to my V6.
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Sounding more and more likely that it is the battery. Hopefully this is the case as it sounds like an easy fix. Just a shame as it had a new batter only four months ago! I'm no expert at auto-electrics, so I'm going to get the RAC out to have a look and get it to a mechanic if necessary (I think I'm going to be getting great use from my breakdown cover with this car, having never needed it for 8 years with my previous elderly but utterly reliable Saab!). I will flag the advice re the earth to the gearbox so that they know where to start looking.
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If it was a dead battery you would expect it to start ok with a jump start and its odd that adding a good earth threw up more faults. Have you checked that the earth clamp on the battery is tight and giving a good conection, some batteries have a slightly smaller earth post than the oe batteries and the quick release clamps dont sit well on them, I had to pack the clamp out with some copper wire on my 159 after fitting a new battery.
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Now you mention it, the negative quick release clamp was pretty loose, to the point that I can wiggle it off the battery post without releasing the clasp. Could that really be the cause of this problem though? I'm still getting some power to the car (dashlights etc coming on, albeit with odd warnings and strange noises!)
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UPDATE - So I borrowed a hardcore battery charger from a neighbour and have left it charging all day - the car has just started!!! It acted very oddly initially thought - idle revs very high (c1200) but have now normalised to the usual 750. Also, engine warning light is on and I had a warning telling me to get engine checked when it first started, as well as various other warnings re airbags etc. It's still running (I daren't turn it off). Am I ok to just put the engine warning down to the battery issue (I still need to figure out what killed the battery in the first place!).
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++ Battery. I had this with My TBi. Dash lights on LOTS of clicking. AA came and started for me, I drove to Halfords and got a new battery. Problem resolved.
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buy a new battery from here, no need to go to halfords, itll be half the price and 5 year warranty

https://advancedbatterysupplies.co.u...car-batteries/
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No, I don’t think of your battery is only 4 months old that it’s causing the issue I’d want to find the underlying cause or it may leave you stranded again.

Get a multimeter in it and confirm it’s voltage with the engine off should be around 12.2 - 12.5 to be healthy levels preferably the higher one then start the engine and it should rise to 13.8 or low 14 to confirm alternator is charging correctly , a multimeter is ten quid in halfords handy tool to have.

Once you know the above you can go from there , maybe it’s the battery but I wouldn’t bet on it if it’s relitvely new and coming off a long drive like that it should be charged.
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If it's only 4 months old it's not likely to be the battery unless it's the wrong one. If the battery has too low an ah rating it'll drain pretty quickly. I was sold a 60ah battery for my old Merc which went flat after 3 days regular use (30 odd mile round trips to work). It should have been a 100ah battery, and since fitting one I've been able to leave the car standing for a couple of weeks without it draining. When buying a battery for my 2.2 jts they tried to sell me another 60ah, but having done my homework first I opted for the correct 90ah.
Not sure what size the tbi should have, but it's possible you may have the wrong size because "that's what the computer listed for your vehicle sir"! I'd be a bit dubious about a battery that doesn't fit properly in the tray or has too small a terminal.....
A broken earth wire won't help matters either!
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lastbreath View Post
No, I donít think of your battery is only 4 months old that itís causing the issue Iíd want to find the underlying cause or it may leave you stranded again.

Get a multimeter in it and confirm itís voltage with the engine off should be around 12.2 - 12.5 to be healthy levels preferably the higher one then start the engine and it should rise to 13.8 or low 14 to confirm alternator is charging correctly , a multimeter is ten quid in halfords handy tool to have.

Once you know the above you can go from there , maybe itís the battery but I wouldnít bet on it if itís relitvely new and coming off a long drive like that it should be charged.
I'm inclined to agree, it seems extraordinary that a new battery (and a reasonable quality one too) would fail after only four months. A multimeter is definitely going in my shopping list, could really have done with one over the past few days! Anyway, it's running now after charging all day and I took it for a bit of a drive this evening. Will be interesting to see if it starts in the morning though...

The Engine warning light is still on however, I'm assuming this is related to the battery issue, or should I be more concerned?
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Quote:
Originally Posted by misterflaps View Post
If it's only 4 months old it's not likely to be the battery unless it's the wrong one. If the battery has too low an ah rating it'll drain pretty quickly. I was sold a 60ah battery for my old Merc which went flat after 3 days regular use (30 odd mile round trips to work). It should have been a 100ah battery, and since fitting one I've been able to leave the car standing for a couple of weeks without it draining. When buying a battery for my 2.2 jts they tried to sell me another 60ah, but having done my homework first I opted for the correct 90ah.
Not sure what size the tbi should have, but it's possible you may have the wrong size because "that's what the computer listed for your vehicle sir"! I'd be a bit dubious about a battery that doesn't fit properly in the tray or has too small a terminal.....
A broken earth wire won't help matters either!
That's a very interesting point on the battery size. I'm going to check this out to see if the wrong battery was fitted. It was done by the dealer who sold it to me (not an Alfa specialist) when prepping the car for sale....
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Originally Posted by misterflaps View Post
If it's only 4 months old it's not likely to be the battery unless it's the wrong one. If the battery has too low an ah rating it'll drain pretty quickly. I was sold a 60ah battery for my old Merc which went flat after 3 days regular use (30 odd mile round trips to work). It should have been a 100ah battery, and since fitting one I've been able to leave the car standing for a couple of weeks without it draining. When buying a battery for my 2.2 jts they tried to sell me another 60ah, but having done my homework first I opted for the correct 90ah.
Not sure what size the tbi should have, but it's possible you may have the wrong size because "that's what the computer listed for your vehicle sir"! I'd be a bit dubious about a battery that doesn't fit properly in the tray or has too small a terminal.....
A broken earth wire won't help matters either!
That's a very interesting point on the battery size. I'm going to check this out to see if the wrong battery was fitted. It was done by the dealer who sold it to me (not an Alfa specialist) when prepping the car for sale....
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By wiggling the earth clamp you might of fixed your issue of a bad connection that can pass enough current for the lights etc but not the much heavier load of the starter motor.
Start with the basics, remove both battery terminals, remember negative off first and on last and clean both the posts and inside the clamps and if nessasary pack out the negative clamp with some short lengths of copper cable so its a tight fit and then remove the 13mm bolt that holds the battery earth to the body and clean up and lightly grease the contact areas.
A high idle is a sign the alternator isnt charging, my 159 did that when the earth cable snapped but check it with a volt meter you should be getting 14v. If its not try the jump lead between the battery negative and engine again and see if it helps.
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