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Discussion Starter #1
Hi All,

Al I told in my introduction topic I rescued a 159 that won't start from becoming scrap. I hope to bring it up to his former glory and add it to my fleet of other cars.....well car. I do all the work on my Landy myself and work on other too if they need help and though this car will be a nice challange

I did do my research and looked at different topics but haven't managed to get to the bottom of it jet.

It's a 158 saloon 1.9JTDm 16v from 06

Here is what happened:
Car was running fine but then battery got drained and wouldn't start
Think they may have jump started it but it didn't works
There is one key witch opens, closes the car as it should. Opens en closes the windows on long press etc. I replaced the battery for good measure
Last owner wanted to scrap it I bought it and brought it on a yellow taxi to my home where it is now

As said key worked fine but noting happens when I insert it in the slot. I do get the logo when opening the door on the instrument cluster. It then goes off as it should I guess.
Noting happens when I press the Start/Stop button.
Little red light around key slot, nothing around start button (should it?)
Can start radio manually but nothing else
Steering lock is not on

What have I done so far?
Replaced battery even though old one tested fine and double checked the new one. 12.6v
Checked and cleaned earth near battery not jet looked at earch in passenger footwell.
Replaced battery in key
Checked all fuses in dashboard visually and checked for any electricity flowing on the key reader F32 (yes) and start button F51 (nothing) Any relays to check here?
Checked all fuses under the bonnet and all are fine, replaced the steeringlock ecu just to be sure with no result. Any relays to check here?
Checked fuses on + terminal battery. Took the 150a off and cleaned and measured, that is fine. Current does go to fuse box next to it.
Unplugged (with battery disconnected) all the wires and connectors to clutch, brake and steering lock ECU
Checked the brake lights and unplugged them to be sure. One rear turn signal light is broken but doesn't seem to short circuit.

Not checked jet: Wing mirrors to check for short circuit.
Didn't check any relays. Any worth checking?

The key here is that the start button doesn't appear to do anything. Anybody any ideas?

I have ordered some OBD plugs and will install MultiECUscan but have never used it before (have a dedicated diagnostic tool for the Discovery)
 

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When you put the key in, do you hear a whine from the fuel pump in the tank priming the system?

Also try connecting jump lead from battery neg to the engine.

Have you tried pressing both the clutch and brake pedal (separately) when you press the start key? (Sounds stupid, but ask the silly questions to rule them out!)

One final try search, I found this one

http://www.alfaowner.com/Forum/showthread.php?t=884985

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
Hi, thanks for the reply.

So yes I tried pressing both pedals even tried lifting them a bit. As said also tried all connectors

I don't hear anything when I press the button. No click, no fuel pump nothing. Also no lights. Not with key inserted and not with out.

I've had also found that post and also got no results with the starter cable on the battery to the engine.

Not tried the see if the button gets any power, think the centre console has to be taken out for that. Any ideas how?

How does the radio come out without the proper tool or can I get that at Halfords?

As said, it's not even a starting problem it's a start stop button, general power problem.

Are there any relays worth checking?

The 150A fuse on the + pole is working and power gets to the fuses in under the bonnet.

The car also does get power as the interior lights and logo appear come on when I open the drivers door.

Is there a kill switch under the bonnet? Where is it located?
 

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Kill switch is under the passenger seat, but should still turn over. The ice thread in the stickies details removing the fascia


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Discussion Starter #5
Okay no luck jet but I do get something.

When I push the key slot in with my finger I get the message 'electronic key not recognised' that's probably because it's my finger :)

When I do it with the key I sometimes get 'vehicle protection system not available' and sometimes nothing. I also get this message sometimes when opening the doors with the key.

I also hear a what sounds like a fan in the dashboard. Sounds like it's coming from the stereo area.

It's progress I guess. Any other suggestions?
 

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Fan is just the dash fan coming on. Sounds like your guess on the start button is closest.


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Discussion Starter #7
Made a little progress. Removed both mirrors and disconnected them.I now get a little sounds when I push the button (soft krrr) and then the VPS message appears.

The sound either comes from the steering lock ecu or the heating behind the dashboard. Can't seem to locate it.

Read somewhere you can open the steering lock and flick a swith to turn it off.

Here and I quote:
"Under the steering wheel there is steering lock. It has 2 functions : to unlock the steering wheel and to allow the signal to move on to the car pc and give you contact. This is done automatically within few seconds and you may not even hear that the steering lock has a little electronic switch that does what I have just explained. Well good news is your car works. Bad news is that electronic switch is dead and it cannot unlock your steering wheel and thus it cannot send the signal on to the car computer so it cant give you contact. The things become even worse as no diagnostic program can read this because to run the diagnostic tool you need to give power to your car computer so it can connect to the diagnostic pc/tablet/handheld/laptop. DON'T PANIC - You don't any contact. You need a guy ( or you can do it yourself ) to take out that steering wheel lock and open it. Once its open , you ll see that its switched OFF. Switch it to ON, Close it , and put it back. Your car will work now"
Wonder if this is worth a try.
 

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My wife's car sometimes give VPS error and disconnect / reconnect the battery fixes that.

There is a post here somewhere and a chap had the heater resistor problem (smell of disinfectant) and he linked that to causing odd key / VPS error messages.

I must admit since my wife's car also suffered the heater resistor connection fault (I fixed it myself) she hasn't had the VPS problem.

Fan like noise from dash may just be the car going through its heater flap positioning pre-start check.
 

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VPS not available is the steering lock message. You should only get this when you remove the key. At this point it's telling you that the lock solenoid has not engaged with the steering shaft.

Have you connected a heavy duty black jump lead between the battery negative and the engine block? This will bypass any earth issues.

Are you sure you have 12.66 volts on the battery. Is the battery positive connected properly? Is the main fuse on the battery OK.

You will have to gradually work your way from the battery to the other components in a methodical direction and confirming each point. I'm afraid taking out the mirrors won't tell you anything about the starting circuit.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
VPS not available is the steering lock message. You should only get this when you remove the key. At this point it's telling you that the lock solenoid has not engaged with the steering shaft.

Have you connected a heavy duty black jump lead between the battery negative and the engine block? This will bypass any earth issues.

Are you sure you have 12.66 volts on the battery. Is the battery positive connected properly? Is the main fuse on the battery OK.

You will have to gradually work your way from the battery to the other components in a methodical direction and confirming each point. I'm afraid taking out the mirrors won't tell you anything about the starting circuit.
Hi OldEnigneer many thanks for your reply. Same goed for the others.

I did try the jump lad method and it made no difference. I cleaned the earth near the battery and measured after the connection on the body and got a good connection. Battery is new and connected well. (Main fuse 150a) is good, checked and checked again. Took it out cleaned it and measured it. Also measured it in place and lets electricity through no problem.

The electricity is getting to the fusebox in the engine bay and all the maxifuses are okay. But non of them seem to get any juice but then again maybe they don't get any until the steering lock ecu allows it.

I have not jet checked the earth in the interior (seen somewhere it must be behind the carpet in the passenger foodwell but not sure that is also the case on a RHD)

As said I now get a reaction from the strt/stop button so i no longer think it is that.

If it is the steering lock ecu what are my options?

I can get a set of new: Engine ECU, steering lock/immobilizer ecu, keys and barrels for a resonable price but would that allow me to drive it? I think at the very least I would need to code the injectors in and there may be other systems it has to be integrated with.

the other option would be to take the steeringlock ecu out, get a used wan and get my old one cloned o the new one.

the 3rd option might be to open the steeringlock ecu and have a look.

any thoughts?

All other connections seem fine, I unplugged them all, inspected them and put them back.

The funny thing with the mirrors is that after disconnected them I at least got a reaction from the start button and see they are connected to f51 fuse.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
My wife's car sometimes give VPS error and disconnect / reconnect the battery fixes that.

There is a post here somewhere and a chap had the heater resistor problem (smell of disinfectant) and he linked that to causing odd key / VPS error messages.

I must admit since my wife's car also suffered the heater resistor connection fault (I fixed it myself) she hasn't had the VPS problem.

Fan like noise from dash may just be the car going through its heater flap positioning pre-start check.
Thanks for the reply kandbarrett. Interesting. especially as the sound appears to come from the heating system (but might indeed be innocent) Where is the heater resistor located?
 

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There should be some devise ( anthene ) accepting signal from key inserted since no mechanical contact available. Key battery is not involved into start process. Normally you can start car with no battery key. Battery is button function only. I know how this function works with 156"ers, but I have never heard about this with 159"ers. Assuming it is the same to 156"ers you should try to start car in emergency mode. Procedure is to be explained in driver manual. You should have your Alfa- code card and put electronic code ( 5 digit ) into ECU by dedicated press acceleration pedal. If it helps key transmitting anthene to be replaced. If not it is sure ECU or ECU contacts problem.
:thumbup:
 

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Just a thought - do you get the same voltage on both sides of the box that sits on top of the positive battery terminal? I don't actually know, but it looks like it could be a switch that the immobilizer unlocks which then allows power through to the ignition? If not push the button down (hard!) while someone else cranks the engine.

It got mine started from a similar starting point; nothing from the start button and key not getting locked in place, although in my case I had had a red herring "Inertial Switch Intervened" at the same time. Best of luck!
 

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Hi - Any luck with this yet?
Reading with interest as i currently have the exact same problem on my 159 & due to start working through list of possible causes this weekend.
- VPS error message on dash display-interior electrics working-key inserted primes fuel system-steering column lock disengages & engages as it should but it seems that no start permission is coming back from steering ecu or losing power at possible faulty start button (led surround on button remains unlit) & no message to press brake or clutch to start- all dash dials remain unlit apart from vehicle system protection unavailable in main screen.
MULTIECUSCAN showing only B1005 TEG Transponder - which is the key reader unit.

All fuses have checked out ok-battery is good and will be stripping dash fascia this weekend to check TEG /Start button wiring.

Have you found any success yet?it seems that the VPS message has a lot of varying causes most popular it seems is the steering lock ECU-usually accompanied on the dash by the steering wheel & key symbol on the display which i don't have.

Wishing you luck!
 

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Discussion Starter #15
There should be some devise ( anthene ) accepting signal from key inserted since no mechanical contact available. Key battery is not involved into start process. Normally you can start car with no battery key. Battery is button function only. I know how this function works with 156"ers, but I have never heard about this with 159"ers. Assuming it is the same to 156"ers you should try to start car in emergency mode. Procedure is to be explained in driver manual. You should have your Alfa- code card and put electronic code ( 5 digit ) into ECU by dedicated press acceleration pedal. If it helps key transmitting anthene to be replaced. If not it is sure ECU or ECU contacts problem.
:thumbup:
I think they key is being accepted. I have had a diagnostic tool connected and key seems to be accepted. Also I get a "key not recolonised when I insert a finger instead of the key witch lead me to believe the key is being accepten.

I found reference to the CODE CARD in the Owners Handbook but noting about the start-up procedure using that card. Any one know what to do?


Just a thought - do you get the same voltage on both sides of the box that sits on top of the positive battery terminal? I don't actually know, but it looks like it could be a switch that the immobilizer unlocks which then allows power through to the ignition? If not push the button down (hard!) while someone else cranks the engine.

It got mine started from a similar starting point; nothing from the start button and key not getting locked in place, although in my case I had had a red herring "Inertial Switch Intervened" at the same time. Best of luck!
Yes voltage is the same on all points measured even going in to the fuses next to the battery and on the fuses it self.

I am now thinking it might be the steering lock not fully disengaging and the switch not allowing power to the rest of the systems to allow starting. My next plan is to take te steering lock out and open it up to see if I can see anything. Bit tricky with security bolts but hopefully I manage doing something similar to this guide. You Tube guide

Hi - Any luck with this yet?
Reading with interest as i currently have the exact same problem on my 159 & due to start working through list of possible causes this weekend.
- VPS error message on dash display-interior electrics working-key inserted primes fuel system-steering column lock disengages & engages as it should but it seems that no start permission is coming back from steering ecu or losing power at possible faulty start button (led surround on button remains unlit) & no message to press brake or clutch to start- all dash dials remain unlit apart from vehicle system protection unavailable in main screen.
MULTIECUSCAN showing only B1005 TEG Transponder - which is the key reader unit.

All fuses have checked out ok-battery is good and will be stripping dash fascia this weekend to check TEG /Start button wiring.

Have you found any success yet?it seems that the VPS message has a lot of varying causes most popular it seems is the steering lock ECU-usually accompanied on the dash by the steering wheel & key symbol on the display which i don't have.

Wishing you luck!
No did't have much time. Sorry to read you had the same problem, although not entirely the same as it sounds like. Now that I hear something happening when I press the button I no longer think its just the button and now suspect the steering lock (which I did from the start but had to rule out everything else).
Did you have any luck?

I am making a overview post which all information I read before to help people with this same problem. Its just finding the time to collect it all again and then write it down.
 

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hi Sketcher - no will be looking at it this weekend-looking at wiring diagrams on ELearn everything is powered via the ECU on the steering lock not only the lock itself.
I am hoping its something simple & obvious to the eye-corrosion/broken wiring etc as getting square eyes from reading hundreds of differing posts & solutions to the Vehicle System Protection error message-all with slightly varying symptoms,seems crazy that a modern car can be immobilised from things as simple as brake switches,mirror shorts etc as per previous posts.
i haven't looked yet but seen other posts stating that the steering lock ecu is also held in place with security bolts which could make it troublesome to remove in such a limited space.
Looks like another lost weekend to the car.
Will keep you informed if i make any progress.

Paul
 

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I think they key is being accepted. I have had a diagnostic tool connected and key seems to be accepted. Also I get a "key not recolonised when I insert a finger instead of the key witch lead me to believe the key is being accepten.
I found reference to the CODE CARD in the Owners Handbook but noting about the start-up procedure using that card. Any one know what to do?
I mean something similar as attached valid for 156"ers.
Looks like not mentioned for 159"ers. Sorry.

Emergency Starting - Alfa Romeo 156 Owner's Manual [Page 206]
 

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Discussion Starter #18
hi Sketcher - no will be looking at it this weekend-looking at wiring diagrams on ELearn everything is powered via the ECU on the steering lock not only the lock itself.
I am hoping its something simple & obvious to the eye-corrosion/broken wiring etc as getting square eyes from reading hundreds of differing posts & solutions to the Vehicle System Protection error message-all with slightly varying symptoms,seems crazy that a modern car can be immobilised from things as simple as brake switches,mirror shorts etc as per previous posts.
i haven't looked yet but seen other posts stating that the steering lock ecu is also held in place with security bolts which could make it troublesome to remove in such a limited space.
Looks like another lost weekend to the car.
Will keep you informed if i make any progress.

Paul
I'm in the Alfa now and am checking the "steering lock control check" on my back with the feet in the air over the seat. Neighbors must be dialing 999 as we speak to take me to a padded room.

checked step 1: +C1 to - A4 that is a nice 12v

But step 2 +A6 to earth (with key inserted) is only 11.3v What did you get?
 

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Been following this thread purely out of academic interest. Then this morning hit the start button (twice) and nothing happens... Third time lucky!
 
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