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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all.

I have a '06 Brera 3.2 Q4 which has been parked up and sorn for a few months as it's advertised for sale and I'm driving my 2.4 159 SW instead.

I've been trying to start it up fairly regularly, but noticed a couple of times it's given the above message. Though it's started fine and shown no other issues. The message has always cleared after it's been run for a while, so I've put it down to the battery being a little low.

A few days ago on trying to start it again, I got the same VPS Unavailable message, but on inserting the fob, also got 'Electronic key not recognized' message.
On pressing start, nothing happened but a small beep.

Theres power to the aftermarket radio, and interia lights but nothing else.

Following suggestions on the AO FB group, I've disconnected the battery for 45 minutes (which cause issues with windows dropping and being unable to raise them again) have checked steering lock isn't active or stuck, adjusted the steering column high and re-locked, disconnected and reconnected the steering lock computer, checked all fuses, checked for short in electrics within passenger wing mirror, replaced key fob battery & inspected the key fob circuit board. Tested battery at 12.9v and even powered by jumping via my 159 battery without the Brera batter connected. Tried lifting clutch and brake levers with my toes in case of dodgy micro switches (most of which were suggestions from another thread on this issue)

At some point, it's stopped telling me key not recognized, but persists in giving VPS Unavailable error, and still power is being cut to everything.

I've got a second hand Teg teader on order (fob reader) but some has suggested this is coded to the car/key and not plug & play. So no idea if that's going to help or not.

The car has been getting rather damp, as I've not been recharging the silica gel sachets often enough, so wonder if the cold/damp might be causing this? I've got a small electric heater on order too to try get the car bone dry (but won't be easy with the passenger window down 3 inches with no way to get it back up)


Has anyone got any other suggestions? Like how I might be able to test the key is working? Or get a diag read from ECU without the car seeming to be powering it?

TIA

Jamie.
 

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If you ain't driving it, the battery will be degrading. As someone said this week, these cars eat batteries.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
If you ain't driving it, the battery will be degrading. As someone said this week, these cars eat batteries.
Yep, I've been charging it before starting it each time.
I know my post was long but I've ruled out the battery by using the known good battery from my 2.4 SW (800amps) and testing my the Brera (Bosch S5 610amps) battery, giving 12.9v.

Cheers.
 

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Hard to think how it gets key not recognised. Silly question but if you have two cars with identical fobs could you be getting them mixed up? I assume you have a spare key and have tried that.

As for the protection message, I was getting a lot of that (normally accompanies by the hill holder / VDC) but since the brake switch was replaced it’s been perfect. I’m not sure if toeing the pedal up would do anything for you because I think there’s a ratchet type self-adjusting mechanism.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Hard to think how it gets key not recognised. Silly question but if you have two cars with identical fobs could you be getting them mixed up? I assume you have a spare key and have tried that.

As for the protection message, I was getting a lot of that (normally accompanies by the hill holder / VDC) but since the brake switch was replaced it’s been perfect. I’m not sure if toeing the pedal up would do anything for you because I think there’s a ratchet type self-adjusting mechanism.
Wish I was getting them mixed up! I'm using the key that lock & unlocks the car ;)

I've only ever had one key for this car unfortunately.

I'll have a look at unplugging the brake & clutch pedal switches in that case - thanks.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Bad luck Aaron!

Is you car damp at all?
As mines been stood a while I'm wondering if some electronics have become a bit damp causing it.

Have just got a small heater to put in the car to see drying it out may help.
 

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Bad luck? It's Italian electronics not the end of the world. If it does turn out to be simply the switch, I think it only cost about £17 and 15 mins to change.
 

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Bad luck Aaron!

Is you car damp at all?
As mines been stood a while I'm wondering if some electronics have become a bit damp causing it.

Have just got a small heater to put in the car to see drying it out may help.
Yes pretty damp inside, I'm currently stranded 30 miles from home... starting to feel like this was a mistake now...😔
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I've got the heater setup in the car. Giving it a few hours to really warm it up and will check again. If that helps me I'll report back, but I've a feeling it won't 🙄
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Yes pretty damp inside, I'm currently stranded 30 miles from home... starting to feel like this was a mistake now...😔
Here's a thread I found on this from a while back, unfortunately the suggestions towards the bottom haven't yet helped me but you might have more luck.

 

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Discussion Starter #12
Ok, car is toasty inside, but there's still a little moisture on the bottom of the windowscreen.

Still the same issue though.

Tempted to leave the heater on overnight to see by morning. But not holding out too much hope.
 

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Check the steering lock. There is a know issue with the steering lock actuator (the sensor fails, and the ECU doesn't know whether it is engaged or not), so it doesn't engage it anymore.
Had a similar issue, mine was just stuck needed a few love taps. Could be because it has been engaged/disengaged for a long time it's not moving as freely anymore.

It should throw an error code, so you can check with MES/AlfaOBD.
This would be a good check anyways.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Ok so I fixed it.

Turns out the steering lock was at fault.

The beeping noise I was getting was the steering lock motor attempting to run but being stuck.

It seems the cog was stuck in a middle position. Lock not engaged and not completely unengaged either.

I took the circuit board out the housing and connected it to the car and held one of the mircoswitches and the car came to life just fine.

I reset the position of the cog to 'lock' and put it back in the housing and it still didn't work, so reset the cog position to 'open' the lock and it then worked.

Thanks to the person who wrote this this guide and those that also contributed to it!
And the person the mentioned the thread on the AR owners Facebook group!

 

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Discussion Starter #16
Locks & unlocks as it should. I just used the guide to help me see if the steering lock box was the issue or not.

Thankfully it became an easy(ish) fix.
 

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Good to see your problems finally solved but it leaves me a bit confused as to why I was seeing the same message under different conditions. I never had a problem starting and only saw the message along with the hill holder/vdc once the car had been run for 10 minutes or so, and then, only if I accelerated a bit rapidly. I knew the brake pedal switch was on its way out, but this message would appear reliably without touching the brakes. Once the switch was replaced, the message never appeared again so there must be some convoluted logic somewhere in the engine management.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Good to see your problems finally solved but it leaves me a bit confused as to why I was seeing the same message under different conditions. I never had a problem starting and only saw the message along with the hill holder/vdc once the car had been run for 10 minutes or so, and then, only if I accelerated a bit rapidly. I knew the brake pedal switch was on its way out, but this message would appear reliably without touching the brakes. Once the switch was replaced, the message never appeared again so there must be some convoluted logic somewhere in the engine management.
On researching the issue, I found a post where someone appears to have gone to great length to identify potential causes. From the list supplied, it would seem there are varying degrees of issues that can affect the 'vehicle protection system'.

I can only assume some of them are show stoppers such as those that may affect security of the car, but others are less severe which it seems fit just to issue a warning about such as those that affect driving assistance (hill hold/vdc).

Just a thought.
 
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