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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all
Bought a 2000 2.0L Spider 3 months ago. Car went beautifully, did 500 mile journey without any problems.
As I didn't know when belts were last done decided to change them (what an idiot).
Bought the belts + tensioners + idler, new variator, water pump, did the job properly using
cam locks. Finished the job and feeling very smug I started her up, started fine and idled very smoothly.
After 5-10 mins engine cut out, it started again immediately and ran smoothly, took for a drive around the block and engine cuts out, managed to always start again by down shifting and basically lifting clutch to bump start.
Drove home and dismantled to check that belt markings were still O/K and cam locks still fitted in the correct places, everything was O/K.
Investigated further and found a split in corrugated plastic air pipe, didn,t think this would be the problem as the car ran so well initially. Anyway I sealed the split with copious amounts of electrical tape. Car started up well again and went round the block, unfortunately with the same result.
Have since replaced Plugs, Lambda, Thermostat and MAF. Also reset ECU by disconnecting battery etc. Car runs great but still cuts out when it wants (bloody mind of it's own).
Am now thinking in terms of cam sensor or crank sensor !!!!
Anybody out there got any other ideas (before my wife shoots me).
Obviously might have to take to Alfa specialist for diagnosis, but am loathe to do so for cost reasons and prefer to fix things myself.
ps. have tried diagnosing using switchable cable and FiatECU software, could get into airbag and ABS but not able to get into engine ECU with cable set to switch 1.
If anyone has the patience to read all this, would be grateful for any suggestions/ideas.
Cheers
 

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I am thinking cam / crank sensor as well. I would try the crank sensor first, as it is the easiest to fit. You need to take off the cambelt again to change the cam sensor.
 

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You say you are loth to pay the cost of dealer diagnostics but the £50 dealer cost would have been a great deal cheaper than what you have paid out for self diagnosing.

Mind you, there's a fair chance of someone with the FiatECU set up being near you, they may offer to look at it for you if your lucky.
 

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i'd try a new unsplit intake braether pipe first your gonna need one any way, quite a few threads on here about em, i thinks eb spares do em 4 37quid, you are welcome to come over to me my fiatecuscan works on my 2000 spider engine but i am in essex, cheers paul
 

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I know it might sound too simple to be believable, but check the earth lead is under one of the coil pack bracket bolts (and that the bolt is tight), and also the earth lead under one of the ECU mounting bolts. Easy to leave off one or the other, or bolt them somewhere else, and that caused exactly the same symptoms for me... Engine would run, then cut out.

-Alex
 

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In my experience if your engine totally cuts out its an electrical fault, not a sensor/ecu problem. Last time it happened to me it was a power supply problem to the fuel pump relay, which is under the offside plastic cover over the inner wing. Slamming the bonnet used to fix it for a while till it let me down( you are doing this most times it cuts out on you). Then it was easily diagnosed with a meter across the relay. Finding out why it didnt have enough voltage supplied was a trickier matter. Unfortunately you cant tell if its the fuel pump power supply relay with a meter until it won't start.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
thank you all for ideas and suggestions which I will get round to trying.

dont't think its a relay problem as the car always starts 1st turn but local friendly garage suggested swapping the 3 red relays around, tried this but still the same.

crank sensor is on its way if this doesn't work will obviously try all other ideas.

Paul if and when I get this lovely monster sorted would appreciate some help with diagnostics for the future, where in Essex are you?

regards bruce
 

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The car wouldn't start and run okay if it had a valve-timing issue (i.e. if you'd cocked up fitting the new cam-belt) so don't worry about that.

If the lambda and MAF sensors fail they make the car idle (and run) lumpy, they won't ever make the engine cut out altogether.

The thermostat has nothing to do with the car running... just controls the engine temperature.

The most likely culprit is the TDC sensor. Check the connector to it and the pickup on the cam...

When the TDC sensor stops working you get neither sparks (connect an HT lead to an old plug lying on the cylinder head) or fuel (connect a bulb to one of the injectors).

If those are both "dead" then when the engine dies then it's the TDC sensor. If one is working, then the problem is the other... :D (usually a relay).

Ralf S.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Many thanks for all suggestions and advice.

Have just taken the car for 5-6 mile drive. Most of the time she runs perfectly, but then can be going along a straight road at 50 and go to accelerate and the engine seems dead, drop down a gear and let out clutch and off she goes.

This must have happened a dozen or so times, also noticed when I got near home doing about 20 in 2nd and
went to accelerate there was no response, kept both feet off pedals and let car roll on, when it slowed to about 1000 revs engine started up and went fine. The car nearly always idles O/K but just occasionally engine will cut out if I blip the throttle.

Ralf does this tie in with your thoughts on the TDC sensor being the problem and do you know if this would show up with a diagnostic check.

Be grateful for your comments and those of any other experienced Alfa owners picking up this thread.

Regards Bruce

Be grateful for your comments,
 

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Not 100%... usually TDC failure just cuts out the engine and then the only way to get it started again is to wait for the sensor to cool down again, when it suddenly starts working again. Your symptoms sound more sporadic and intermittent than that... but then who really knows what's going on inside a TDC..? :D

It sounds like you're losing sparks and/or petrol for just a few seconds... so you have to look at issues that affect the sparks and fuelling. The TDC controls both, so it's a fair bet for a good place to start. Forget sensors etc. for the time being since they generally fine-tune the engine's running, not make it suddenly die.

I'd also discount anything ignition-related for the moment (apart from the TDC) because a complete ignition system failure is pretty tricky to achieve... you have 4 coils in there and 8 plugs.. so they would have to be all going wrong at once to stop the engine. If you take a coil out, it'll idle like a tractor.. but it won't cut out.

Fuel system is another contender, since a pump issue could cause momentary loss of fuel supply to the engine. It's unlikely to be the pump itself though... when they die they tend to pack up and have done with it.. it's more likely to be an interruption to the pump's operation.

Check the fuel pump relay.. and the wiring to it.. and the state of the connectors in the wiring to it. If they're flaky, the pump will be getting "switched off" basically, whenver you go over a bump and the dodgy connectors get rattled about. You can check the electrical feed to the pump pretty easily. As you crank the engine, the fuel pump connector should give you a flashing signal.

If the pump is getting a signal and the injectors aren't, it's the TDC. If the pump doesn't get a signal then that's not the TDC. TDC works on the injectors not the pump. Use one of those all-glass bulbs with the metal tangs folded round the base to test the injector feed. If you straighten the wire-loop tangs, they fit just nicely into the injector connector prongs.. :)


Ralf S.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
hello Ralf

Thanks for all your input, unfortunately buying this car seems to have been a bad idea, I'm used to SU carbs and contact breakers!!!!, these electrical problems are really stressing me out.

Will try all connectors but think I'll have to put the car into an Alfa specialist after Xmas.

Regards

Bruce
 

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usually TDC failure just cuts out the engine and then the only way to get it started again is to wait for the sensor to cool down again, when it suddenly starts working again
Thanks for your input on this thread Ralf this is exactly what happens to the GTV! Went back down to the car after commenting earlier and the car starts right back up.

I'm going to change the belts soon will put that on the to do list :thumbs:
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Managed to get into the engine ECU with fiatecuscan, what I was doing wrong was stupidly connecting to'98 model, my spider is a 2000, after I switched to '03 model all diagnostics worked.
The error that showed up was air flow meter which gave warning that the signal was very weak possible short somewhere in the wiring, checked as well as I could but found no obvious shorts.
Diconnected MAF and took car round the block, it cut out once and then ran well so have ordered a Bosch MAF.
Keeping everything crossed that this is the problem. If not will keep trying.
 

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Funny I was just going to say MAF. My GTV 2.0TS was playing up something rotten today. I had noticed at the weekend that the air pipe wasnt sat on the MAF properly so I took the jubilee off and put it back on and did the jubliee up again but whilst driving today it must have popped off as the car wouldnt idle at all, just wanted to constantly stall, lack of power so I pulled over and checked over to find the pipe had popped of the MAF :), my bad, I hadnt done the jubilee clip fully up, so yes a MAF problem can make the car stall. Once connected properly again the car ran fine.

I take it that your problem Andy is with your new silver GTV? I hope its not with your lovely Spider.
 
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