The mess that is stop start... - Page 5 - Alfa Romeo Forum
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I have driven less than 1000 miles in the two months since collecting my Stelvio two months ago and much of that sounds like it's too urban for charging the battery. And the alarm has gone off spuriously recently. Had i better go on a couple of longer trips?
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I have driven less than 1000 miles in the two months since collecting my Stelvio two months ago and much of that sounds like it's too urban for charging the battery. And the alarm has gone off spuriously recently. Had i better go on a couple of longer trips?

Based on other alarm related posts I would be surprised if the spurious alarm was related to your minimal usage.

Granted, some who have inadvertently drained their battery flat have stated that the Alarm went off (probably as a result of the voltage being too low to function) during that process.

You definitely should be driving it more though, especially now you have retired


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I drove my daughter to school today as her friend she walks with is off sick and I had a load of cardboard to take to the waste tip. The guy at the gate said he'd never seen an Alfa like it before then said "expensive to run". I thanked him for the reminder. Off to a British Cycling coaches conference in Surrey tomorrow so I may get a bit of charge out of that. Then it's going to sit there for a week while I'm in Denmark...
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Yes, sadly the application of a battery charger does not seem to have fully resolved the HRW issue. Maybe the battery simply gives up after about 18 months, but it is reported as an issue to Alfa and they will take a look at the next service (in about a month) - so will compare notes.
It got worse last week: My car has hardly been used for a fortnight, and the battery lost enough charge to mean the car wouldn't start. I lost my rag and called out Alfa Assist, who arrived and jump started me, (Could have done this myself of course but I wanted the problem recorded). The car is in with the dealer in a fortnight.

I am getting quite annoyed with Alfa now, this will be the third failure to run fault on the car in two years. I still have an intermittent misfire on start - which Alfa can't track down, the aircon decided to vent water into the car which resulted in a new wiring loom having to be built in Italy.... So far Alfa have offered me some silly points thing that recompenses me for all the grief with a ruddy cream tea.. (or a nights stay in a hotel as long as that night isn't a Friday, Saturday or Sunday). I have pushed it with FCA as well pointing out that so far I have spent almost a month in a diesel G rather than my car. FCA wrote back saying that "they didn't have to provide a loan car at all, and some people preferred diesels as they were cheaper to run". Which made me rather angry as you can imagine.
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I recently read somewhere that this kind of issue could be due to trying to reduce CO2 emissions of the car. Many cars now only activate the alternator when the vehicle is on overrun so as not to cause a drag on the engine when it is under power. There must be some additional logic that tells the alternator to work when the battery is low, I would have thought!

More complexity for very little additional benefit, but I can sympathise with the manufacturers who are now 'under the cosh' when it comes to CO2 emissions and the diesel panic. Just look at the decline in car registrations. With no viable electric vehicle solution in sight for the mass market, I predict that we'll soon see bankruptcies.
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I have quite interesting information for you.
Today I had my Veloce in dealer for finalizing some minor things which were left out of last service 2 weeks ago (we run then out of time, I had to hurry to my office), and there were 2 new updates (BCM(Body Computer) and ICP(dashboard)), in the time I got also update for RFTM if I remember exact name of the module (antennas/passive entry etc)).
Also I asked technician to go with me through settings available in various computers (as after radio replace I lost navigation icons from dashboard screen while using android auto, and picture from camera become dark), and I noticed that as MES, their Witech2 displays my country as Portugal instead of Poland (the same I seen with MES earlier). Earlier I got confirmation from other owners of Giulia's in Poland(2016-2018 models), that they also have country set to Portugal according to MES, so blamed MES is not decoding country right. But after Witech2 confirming the same, I thought maybe it is really set wrong by italians (Portugal/ Poland, one beside each other on alphabetic list?). I asked technician to change it to Poland.

Now, I do not know if below was effect of changing country (from warm to cold market) or it is because of BCM update, but with my battery currently reporting 86% of SoC in BCM, I have all the time 14.4V charging voltage. Earlier at this SoC level it was only 12.7V (13.5V at 80% etc).
I suggest you check with dealer for both updates, and maybe country setting, maybe either will get rid of "inteligent" chargning strategy which does not work in real life for a lot of Giulia/Stelvio users.
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One thing to add. I observed voltmeter in my cigarete lighter slot today while I started car or on traffic lights while idling. For first say minute, it linearly grow up from 13.2V to 14.4V, and kept like this for all journey. I had checked earlier IBS SoC and it was 86%. I do not know what is charging voltage when accelerating or driving with steady speed - I think I will take in nearest time my laptop with MES, and do a few minutes journey log while monitoring SoC, battery voltage, rpms, torque or boost pressure, and doing various scenarios (mild acceleration, heavy acceleration, idling, steady speed etc).

EDIT
Going back from work I glanced twice at voltmeter while I was mildly accelerating, still 14.4V. At home I opened MES, checked SoC in BCM and it is 88%, so looks like my potential charging deficits are history.

Last edited by epsonix; 22-02-19 at 20:09.
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Originally Posted by Andy Bowden View Post
One owner has posted that customer care or alfa technical only take notice of reports submitted by dealers. However, I don't trust my dealer to submit a sufficiently detailed report for the problem to be understood.

Perhaps the better course of action might be to write to Alfa Romeo UK, maybe even using the phrase 'Not Fit For Purpose as supplied'.

Andy
(As a side issue)....I say go one step further, straight to the top to complain; Alfa Romeo Customer Service, ITALY (as ive done). It really works.

The manufactures Customer Service has been exemplary. My issues were of a different nature but they have been first-class in resolving the matter, with constant updates (from Italy) via SMS and phone calls, all from the same representative, who spoke perfect English. They have 'nailed' my feckless lazy dealer service department, who have done nothing except lied and deceived me (and as a consequence Im changing dealerships; fingers crossed there!).

In my experience most Alfa dealership are multi-franchises and some (not all I may add) couldn't care less as long as they have got your hard-earned pennies. However Alfa Romeo does care, no more so than with the Giulia range, as this (along with the Stelvio) has to work for them. Its their flagship range and it just cannot cannot fail under any circumstances or it really could be the end of Alfa as we know it.

So my advice if you want anything changing, go straight to the top; send Alfa Romeo in Italy an email. It works, believe me!
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(As a side issue)....I say go one step further, straight to the top to complain; Alfa Romeo Customer Service, ITALY (as ive done). It really works.

The manufactures Customer Service has been exemplary. My issues were of a different nature but they have been first-class in resolving the matter, with constant updates (from Italy) via SMS and phone calls, all from the same representative, who spoke perfect English. They have 'nailed' my feckless lazy dealer service department, who have done nothing except lied and deceived me (and as a consequence Im changing dealerships; fingers crossed there!).

In my experience most Alfa dealership are multi-franchises and some (not all I may add) couldn't care less as long as they have got your hard-earned pennies. However Alfa Romeo does care, no more so than with the Giulia range, as this (along with the Stelvio) has to work for them. Its their flagship range and it just cannot cannot fail under any circumstances or it really could be the end of Alfa as we know it.

So my advice if you want anything changing, go straight to the top; send Alfa Romeo in Italy an email. It works, believe me!
I regret that my experience of responses from Customer Care in Italy to emails I've sent them differs.

Yes they sound courteous and speak good English, in fact many seem to be native English speakers and, in any event, my Italian is good as is my engineering expertise.

I accept Customer Care are good at dealing with inadequate after sales service provided by UK dealers, but nowhere near so good when dealing with design deficiencies which is what this thread relates to.

One email I sent related to my battery going flat and went into some detail. It got me nowhere.

Once I've got a few more facts together, I will consider trying again by emailing Customer Care, but also will be sending a recorded delivery letter to ARUK quoting the Sales of Goods Act and using the term 'Not Fit for Purpose'. My purchase contract is one under English Law with them and/or my dealer, not one with FCA in Italy.

However, my hope, on the basis of the post by epsonix in #106 above that a BCM software update is out which improves things, is that a solution is available and such action won't necessary.

Andy

Last edited by Andy Bowden; 26-02-19 at 13:34. Reason: correction
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My logging of IBS data using MES in my Quadrifoglio on the move was always done with the battery charge no higher than 75%. So my conclusion that the Quadrifoglio's battery voltage doesn't vary when the brakes are applied might be wrong.

When I have time I'll put my battery on charge and try to get it above 85% and do some more logging.

It remains a mystery to me why my battery hasn't had a charge higher than 82% reported by MES at any time in the last few months even right after I'd driven 3,000 miles in about a fortnight. Perhaps it is defective or was damaged when it was completely flattened a year ago.

Andy
Last week I chose to put my Quadrifoglioís battery on charge using my CTEK MKS 3.8.

Whilst Iím aware of the owner manualís instruction where to connect a charger, I chose to connect it to the jump start points in the engine bay. I believe that connection respects the importance of connecting the charger in a manner which ensures the charge current is sensed by the IBS. Iím reasonably sure the negative terminal in the engine compartment is a direct connection to chassis hence my charging current passed through the IBS shunt attached to the battery -ve terminal.

That belief is born out by the fact that on Friday morning after about 45 hours charging, the CTEK had reached state 6 (Float or Fully Charged) and the State of Charge as logged by MES had risen from 79% to 87% . I would have hoped to get SoC nearer to 100%. The failure to do so might suggest that the battery was damaged by its total discharge experienced about a year ago or that the IBSí assessment of SoC is inaccurate.

On Friday afternoon, I drove the car for about 4 hours. On Saturday, it was left idle. On Sunday, it was driven for about an hour. I disabled STOP/START on each drive.

Yesterday straight after first starting the car, MES logged the SoC as 89%.

On completion of a 3 hour drive that day, MES still logged the SoC as 89%.

During a drive of about 12 minutes MES logged SoC as 89% throughout and battery voltage as about 13.4V for about 90% of the time. The battery voltage rose to between 14.6 and 14.8V for short periods.

I believe I can safely conclude my Quadrifoglio does have Ďpseudo regenerativeí braking. My dealer was supposed to update all ECUs software at the early December service, I canít be certain he did so. As soon as I can, Iíll get NJS to check if my car has the latest software.

I will be monitoring SoC over coming weeks to see if my battery charge stays in the high eighties.

The situation is far less clear when I examine the Battery Current logged by MES whilst driving.

During the early part of the 12 minute drive, the battery current was logged by MES as varying frequently between about 1A and 8A charge with rare excursions to 6A discharge. The logged charging current would change from 1A to 8A and back to 1A in a little as one second. Also MES reported the battery charge current was lower when the voltage was about 14.8V than it was when about 13.4V.

I canít believe that my interpretation of this MES data is a true reflection of actual battery current. Iíll be posting my findings in more detail on the MultiECUScan forum soon, hoping someone there is better informed than I.

I have posted more detailed text on MultiECUScan forum, but I was unable to add an attachment so I've put it here.
Attached Files
File Type: pdf I and V Plot.pdf (171.0 KB, 19 views)

Last edited by Andy Bowden; 26-02-19 at 17:18. Reason: correction
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@Andy Bowden , just want to remind 2 things, one it was not only update for BCM, but also we changed country to Poland (I had Portugal), I'm only speculating but there may be that FCA designed different charging strategies for "cold markets".

The BCM update for my car is very fresh release - 3 weeks ago I was in dealer and there was only update for RFTM (keyless/antennas), 2 weeks later 2 new updates BCM&ICP. First thing I suggest everybody who has issues with battery to go to dealer and see if there are any fresh updates.

Over 5 days of using the car only on short distances (2-7km a few times a day) commuting around town, my SoC managed to raise to 90%, so it works brilliant.
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I regret that my experience of responses from Customer Care in Italy to emails I've sent them differs.

Yes they sound courteous and speak good English, in fact many seem to be native English speakers and, in any event, my Italian is good as is my engineering expertise.

I accept Customer Care are good at dealing with inadequate after sales service provided by UK dealers, but nowhere near so good when dealing with design deficiencies which is what this thread relates to.

One email I sent related to my battery going flat and went into some detail. It got me nowhere.

Once I've got a few more facts together, I will consider trying again by emailing Customer Care, but also will be sending a recorded delivery letter to ARUK quoting the Sales of Goods Act and using the term 'Not Fit for Purpose'. My purchase contract is one under English Law with them and/or my dealer, not one with FCA in Italy.

However, my hope, on the basis of the post by epsonix in #106 above that a BCM software update is out which improves things, is that a solution is available and such action won't necessary.

Andy
I would agree with all of the above. I was impressed with how quickly Customer Service got back to me, but ultimately they couldn't actually do anything. You would think that they would be monitoring incoming complaints to look for trends and common issues that needed sorting at factory level (do they even read forums such as this? Answer - No!). It seems that they don't trust any information that doesn't come via a dealer.

Having said all that, my G has just been back to Mangos to have the failed heater blower and low battery charge issue sorted and I have to say that despite some recent on-line criticism of them, their service was very good. I was given a Veloce loan car for 6 days and felt that they were really trying to resolve my niggles. The blower failure was diagnosed as water ingress and, after replacement, sealant has been applied, under the direction of Alfa Technical. The low battery (and therefore no HRW) issue has been addressed by replacement of the radio on/off/volume switch, which they say can stick and partially drain the battery: now I have my doubts about this as it doesn't explain why the battery wasn't getting recharged when the car was running, but they say it has resolved the problem on at least 2 other cars that they have dealt with, so I will wait and see. So far, haven't had occasion to use the HRW, but Stop/Start is working, which means the battery is up for now, so here's hoping that Mangos are right. Incidentally, there wasn't any mention of software updates in the comprehensive technician's report that they gave me.
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Let's hope we don't all have to complain about these issues!
In my experience Alfa themselves will listen to customers with things that need fixing. Otherwise how did I get the dealers to correct the use of the incorrect oil on my first Multiair Giulietta? The dealer is hardly likely. To own up.
I can see a week into owning my £43000 car that the fuel door appears a bit too flat and I'd expect a dealer to negotiate a fix on my behalf. If they don't then I'll need to call Alfa.
Yes my filler flap is the same - but not hopeful of a fix tbh - please let us know how that pans out :-)
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Never had any issues with start stop or battery 22500 miles on a soon to be changed Speciale. There is a new part number so a new part for the filler flap issue.
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The mess that is stop start...

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You would think that they would be monitoring incoming complaints to look for trends and common issues that needed sorting at factory level (do they even read forums such as this? Answer - No!). It seems that they don't trust any information that doesn't come via a dealer.

On the US Giulia forums there is an Alfa Social Media rep @AlfaRomeoC ares who responds to threads to offer advice on how to get things dealt and asking folk to pm them directly with further information, donít understand why AlfaUk donít do the same (well I do, itís because they get away not doing it)

Example post



Conversations I have had with certain dealer staff would suggest that they do read some of the threads on this forum.


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Last edited by matty74; 27-02-19 at 17:53.
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@Andy Bowden , just want to remind 2 things, one it was not only update for BCM, but also we changed country to Poland (I had Portugal), I'm only speculating but there may be that FCA designed different charging strategies for "cold markets".

The BCM update for my car is very fresh release - 3 weeks ago I was in dealer and there was only update for RFTM (keyless/antennas), 2 weeks later 2 new updates BCM&ICP. First thing I suggest everybody who has issues with battery to go to dealer and see if there are any fresh updates.

Over 5 days of using the car only on short distances (2-7km a few times a day) commuting around town, my SoC managed to raise to 90%, so it works brilliant.
Thanks, epsonix.

I'm hoping that the software update will solve the problem. Your report is promising. It would definitely appear there is newer software than I got in January.

I very much hope that there's no need to change country setting. Whilst, the hrw and general battery charging problem must be worse in a cold country, it's a problem for many in UK, which this week at 22C is becoming sub-tropical albeit briefly with snow forecast for 10th March.

I'm 5,000 miles from my next service and very rarely do short journeys. So I don't intend to go in for a software update before that unless problems arise.

Andy
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... donít understand why AlfaUk donít do the same (well I do, itís because they get away not doing it)
Once thing you could be sure of is that Alfas wouldn't sell in North America if that market had to suffer the aftersales service provided in UK.

Perhaps the longterm Alfisti in UK are to blame. We just have got accustomed to poor service over the years and have failed to complain loudly and often enough in the past.

Andy
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Yes my filler flap is the same - but not hopeful of a fix tbh - please let us know how that pans out :-)
Just had mine replaced for the second time. Can't see that it is obviously any different to the original, but don't have the old one to compare. The one on the 18 plate loan car that I had was as bad as or even worse than mine.
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Thanks, epsonix.

I'm hoping that the software update will solve the problem. Your report is promising. It would definitely appear there is newer software than I got in January.

I very much hope that there's no need to change country setting. Whilst, the hrw and general battery charging problem must be worse in a cold country, it's a problem for many in UK, which this week at 22C is becoming sub-tropical albeit briefly with snow forecast for 10th March.

I'm 5,000 miles from my next service and very rarely do short journeys. So I don't intend to go in for a software update before that unless problems arise.

Andy
You will see, then let us know. Country change is probably not a big deal if there is no BCM update for you or if it won't fix it - speedo anyway is in English for polish setting, and the rest you likely setup in radio (Language setting, imperial units etc), so should work OK even if it turns that was the trick for my car.

One more information. Yesterday (I did only 2x7.5km trip) my battery was charged from 90->94% SoC and now I see back the "smart" charging kicked in - on end of journey I seen 12.8V charging on idling, and then checked SoC to be 94%. Anyway, that threshold for kicking in such limiters seems OK (not as it was start limiting at 75% and at 85% being no charging). I'm so confident now that charging for low distance commuting is good, that I'm considering to change my dash-camera connection to permanent +12V rather than through ignition.


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Just had mine replaced for the second time. Can't see that it is obviously any different to the original, but don't have the old one to compare. The one on the 18 plate loan car that I had was as bad as or even worse than mine.
There is TSB instruction on this 006.18 released in Mar 2018 with instruction to dealer to create ticket and do number of measurements and checks and send to TESEO. Looks like they are looking for some statistics to prepare fix and/or correct something on production.
Ask your dealer if he did this, or only replaced flap.
I have no problems with that, nonetheless car is used in bigger temperature variation conditions (like up to +35C in Summer and say -15C in Winter (mild Winter this year, we have sometimes -30C)).
One of guy on Polish forum had that problem, and dealer managed to fix it without replacing the flap, but do not know the details.
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update from me on charging strategy. so, up to yesterday all was going brilliant, full charging all the time. I reached (or caught) 94% SoC, but charging already limitted. I thought earlier that it that threshold for low charging moved to say 95% or something, but nope. Today I did 4 rides: 7.5km to work, 1.5km lunch, back 1.5km 30 minutes later, and in the evening back home 7.5km. Voltage (on idling) was all the time 12.7V. At home I checked with MES, SoC is now 85%...No surprise if most of the time no charging.
I wonder if the algorithm (new or old or related to country selected) has some built in cycles of full charging and bit of only say minimal charging? I will be observing that for next days and will let you know. All looked so good over last week, today my mood regarding charging strategy bit depressed.
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So benefits of buying a modern car:

Battery chargers some times as per alien logic.
Boot can't be opened if battery dead and no folding seats.
If engine can't be started, car can't be put in Neutral unless you can perform rocket maintenance under the car with a special "tool".
Parking brake can't be released.
In this scenario, You are pretty much [email protected]

At least you will look good in a great car..
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So benefits of buying a modern car:

Battery chargers some times as per alien logic.
Boot can't be opened if battery dead and no folding seats.
If engine can't be started, car can't be put in Neutral unless you can perform rocket maintenance under the car with a special "tool".
Parking brake can't be released.
In this scenario, You are pretty much [email protected]

At least you will look good in a great car..
All true, but at least when it goes it really goes.

To be honest, I wouldn't have realised that there was anything wrong with battery charging if it hadn't been for the posts here on AO.

My battery went flat on me totally once a year ago when I guess I'd forgotten to shut it down in P. Otherwise no problem and hrw has worked for me whenever I needed it except once immediately after a software update.

If I did lots of short journeys, things might be different.

Andy
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All true, but at least when it goes it really goes.

To be honest, I wouldn't have realised that there was anything wrong with battery charging if it hadn't been for the posts here on AO.

My battery went flat on me totally once a year ago when I guess I'd forgotten to shut it down in P. Otherwise no problem and hrw has worked for me whenever I needed it except once immediately after a software update.

If I did lots of short journeys, things might be different.

Andy
I've seen a recent suggestion that if you do lots of short journeys (in a car with all the latest wheezes to minimise published fuel consumption), then you should expect to have to treat it like a 'mini hybrid' and top up battery charge occasionally. Either that or get a 'proper' e- or hybrid- then you can do short journeys as frequently as you wish. Kinda' makes sense, huh?
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I've seen a recent suggestion that if you do lots of short journeys (in a car with all the latest wheezes to minimise published fuel consumption), then you should expect to have to treat it like a 'mini hybrid' and top up battery charge occasionally. Either that or get a 'proper' e- or hybrid- then you can do short journeys as frequently as you wish. Kinda' makes sense, huh?
as I proven a few posts earlier, when charging algorithm does not execute "smart charging", so all the time allows full 14.4V, then even on short journeys, battery gets quickly charged - I reached 95% I think only doing short journeys - 1km - 7.5km.Then car decided to turn on Reduced charging (so 12.7V all conditions except braking), and over one day SoC dropped to 85%, then next day (yesterday evening) I seen 81% SoC. Now I see charging is bit up 13.1V. SO looks like I'm back on what I seen on previous weeks, where up to 75% SoC there is full charging all the time, and above it gradually drops charging up to 85%.
I will defeinitelly talk to FCA about this. Car coudl do brilliant in terms of battery SoC if they didn't add/invent this stupid "smart charging" - I do not want that and will be doing all I can (complaints etc) to force FCA to e.g. add setting for this or permanently disable. Surelly I'm not going to plug charger every 2 weeks, as anyway it makes no sense, since in 2-3 days I will be back at 80%SoC due to charging algorithm they went for.
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Originally Posted by U696783 View Post
Whilst issues around Giulia niggles are covered in a number of threads, this is an attempt to draw a couple of threats together and call out - stop start as the culprit.

So - after picking up your lovely Giulia from new - you find that the stop start mechanism is very quick to cut in. For the first month or so, this is charming - and hey, it is saving the environment.
But, by the third month it is starting to get a bit annoying. So after you fire it up, you remember to press the button to disable the stop start, perhaps a little annoyed that you have to do this everytime. But - at least you have an off button.
So - six months has gone by. And then you think - when was the last time you remembered to disable the start stop? And you can't remember. But you also can't remember the last time it kicked-in. Bonus, surely?
And then winter comes and you worry about snow and whether the front spoiler will be good as a snow-plough. But first comes frost. And you scrape the front screen willingly, but then you notice the rear screen hasn't cleared. And that's a bit of a problem as you can't see out of the back. Worse than that, sometimes the heater rear screen works fine, sometimes it doesn't. So you get on this forum and see what you can find out...so here it is. (I don't claim the facts are 100%, but there is enough dialogue for them to be plausible.)

1 - Stop Start technology is really really hard on batteries. You need a good one. Possibly even lithium, certainly more than a box standard one.
Nope - The OEM battery is standard (albeit a bit bigger than usual). It's also in the boot, so it stays cold - not great for a battery in winter.
2 - The Guilia has an intelligent battery monitoring capability. If the battery is a little below par, then it proactively disables some battery draining activities such as stop start (See above) and oh - heated rear screen (and other things, which you will simply find out about in due course). And it decides, not you. It also doesn't tell you what it has done.
3 - The Guilia has an eco-friendly alternator, which means that it doesn't charge the battery all that well - especially if you do short journeys or use eco-mode. Sure, it saves the planet (by reducing the resistance against the engine), but the whole point of an alternator is to charge the battery, isn't it? Well, no - apparently not.

So we have a £30,000 car that, in winter, doesn't have a working heated screen - that may also be a safety issue. It's fine for the first year, but these niggles will appear.

In defence of Alfa - this is not unique to Alfas - it's just the start stop concept is a bit rubbish.


And for the first time in many many years, I find myself buying a battery charger. Progress?
So let me circle round on this thread, having just had my second service done.

I duly reported the HRW problem, and they came back with - no fault found. So I told them about the known charging problems. "Oh," they said - "we had a similar car the other week with the same thing - that might explain it."
So - conclusion - FCA have not told their dealers about this problem.
Oh - and it still doesn't work, despite a charger having been bought. I suspect that the two year old battery is past it.

On a plus point - Alarm sensors changed (this is a known problem, but I think they will only change it if you ask) - so far so good.
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