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Discussion Starter #1
Hi, first post here and in need of a bit of help.

My dad just went to start his 159, but as he put the key in, he was given the message 'Vehicle protection system not available'. Everything seems to function properly, but as soon as the starter button is pressed, everything sort of shuts down and turns off, and the engine doesn't even attempt to turn over. There is also an icon of what he described as 'a car with a padlock through it' on the display. The remote central locking still functions properly after attemping to start it, though. I did a Google but couldn't find anything that matched all of the above symptoms.

Just wondered if this is a common problem, and whether anyone knows what the likely cause of this is. It's an '06 1.9 JTS if that makes any difference.

Thanks in advance,
Dan
 

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It could be the battery on its last legs with only enough current to power the interior. Cranking the starter requires a he'll of a lot more
 

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No I've had that. It's the steering lock not engaging. It happens about 3 seconds after you remove the key. But everything else is working (Alarm/Locking).
 

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I had this happen to me.
I believe that it could be caused by the clutch pedal switch (or possibly the brake switch).

In my case, after thinking the battery was dead, and proving that it wasn't, I rolled the car a couple of feet down our drive (depressing the clutch as it was in gear) tried to re start the car and all was normal and has remained so for the last 2 months! Strange....yes.

Normally I depress the brake to start the engine. Pressing the cluth must have "cleared?" the switch I assume?

http://www.alfaowner.com/Forum/alfa-159-brera-and-946-spider/303009-ecu-meltdown-or-simple-fix.html
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for the quick replies.

I did think think the battery was a possibility, but it seems a bit odd to me that it would give this error if it was a knackered battery. I'll see if I can borrow a battery from someone and see if it'll start.

If it was a steering lock, I don't understand why it would cause everything else to sort of shut down like it does. I won't rule it out though, so thanks for the suggestion.

I'll tell him to try depressing the other pedal to start it (not sure which he actually uses) and see if it'll start. Again, I'm not sure why it would cause everything to shut down like it does, but it's worth a try.

Fortunately it's still under warranty from where he bought it, but it's about 40 miles away, which is a bit of a pain in the arse when it won't start! I was just wondering if it may be a simple fix.
 

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I had this problem, I usualy press the clutch pedal to start the car, on getting that error, press button and it all dies. Tried it pressing thre brake pedal and it starts. Under warranty dealer said it was the battery, slow trickly charge by them fixed it

Rob
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Just thought I'd update this. We borrowed the battery from my mum's car and it started without any problems. Bought a new battery for it earlier so hopefully no more problems.

Thanks for all the suggestions. :)
 

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I had this happen to me.
I believe that it could be caused by the clutch pedal switch (or possibly the brake switch).

In my case, after thinking the battery was dead, and proving that it wasn't, I rolled the car a couple of feet down our drive (depressing the clutch as it was in gear) tried to re start the car and all was normal and has remained so for the last 2 months! Strange....yes.

Normally I depress the brake to start the engine. Pressing the cluth must have "cleared?" the switch I assume?

Ecu meltdown! or simple fix.
Sitting waiting for my NCT (MOT) and I got the for the first ever time, not ideal. Turning engine off and on with clutch depressed rather than brake sorted it, cheers!
 

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There have been a few topics on this, I'm not saying this cannot have other causes, like battery or something completely unrelated, however if it is the steering lock, to summarize:

The steering lock has been known to cause issues. If it fails to engage, you get the error when parking, if it fails to disengage it will not allow the car to start due to safety concerns. If it disengages poorly it might not start immediately, interupt or just start and throw the error. The lock disengages when you insert the key, you can force the issue by insterting the key and immediately pressing the button. The lock takes a second to disengage, and usually it will have already recognised the key. If you press start within that window it will not crank. I don't know if it will throw an error though.

There are two types of issues for the steering lock, mechanical or electrical.
  1. It is physically blocked (dried grease, metal shavings, light corrosion)
  2. The mechanics are broken (tooth, gear, motor knackered, mostly caused by either cause 1 or torque applied during engaging or disengaging the lock.
  3. the sensors are not working, there are 2 sensors to confirm engaged and disengaged postition. If the sensors are faulty and it cannot confirm disengaged position (eg. engaged sensor stays high, or disengaged sensor stays low) it will not start the car. If the contact is shoddy it might start but immediatly stop the engine.
 

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I had this exact problem today

I went to the auto parts store to get a set of taillight bulbs. I put them in while I was in the carpark. Had the car off and put the lights. It was only 5 minutes.

but went to start it and got the Same message, along with airbag not available and a other faults. I’m sitting in the car thinkingwhat the ****!

won’t crank over, the starter relay starts clicking very fast, dash flickers

got my multimeter out, And battery is very low, lucky I was at the auto store, but not happy about the unexpected 348 I had to pay for a new battery.

I put the old battery on a load tester and it’s dead, probably a dropped cell, 5 years for a battery isnt to bad.
 
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