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Peted, K&Ned, 1,76,000 Kilometers completed

Discussion in 'Punto 1.3 MJD' started by epicenter, Jun 11, 2010.

  1. Pran

    Pran Superiore

    Grande Punto 1.3
    This is one thread which I always kept close watch on. Too much of technicalities to learn on how to keep ones car running like mint at any point of its lifecycle. This was one thread which gave me the confidence to keep my car even after 100k. We at TFI will be missing the 1st Punto to reach the 190k, although a 200k update from you would have been an icing on the cake. Glad to hear that you will still be part of the family.
  2. epicenter

    epicenter Amatore

    Valsad, India
    Hi gaaij,
    Finally proved that the fiat can cross the two hundred thousand mark on stock suspension and battery.
    Got to know that the car was at the 200017 mark.

    Sent from my HTC Butterfly using Tapatalk
    5 people like this.
  3. Naughty

    Naughty Superiore

    That's great Paaji...

    Cheers... :up


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  4. epicenter

    epicenter Amatore

    Valsad, India
    The Pending update

    Remember somewhere in September 2012 or so, I had started whining that the engine check light would come on when the car crossed the 100 kmph mark and the car would refuse to accelerate beyond the point and even if it did so, it did so in its own sweet time?

    Decided to take the chance and headed off to the authorised workshop and asked for one of the guys I knew slightly better than the others. apparently, he was the only guy now who was authorised to run the fiat diagnostic tool. Once the car was hooked up to the diagnostic equipment and fired up, everything seemed to be normal. he wanted to do the proxy align thing, and I asked him to look at any error codes that would've been stored on to the ECU so that they could be cleared up and we could go for a test drive and see if the light popped up again. He agreed. Found around 5 incidents of the check light coming up and in each, there were five possibilities given for the light coming up. To make it a bit consoling, all the times the light had come up, the options were the same. We had to look at five points and we would find where the fault lay.

    The options that came up:
    1. Crankshaft sensor faulty
    2. Fuel pressure regulator faulty
    3. Mechanical error with the turbo actuator
    4. Mass Airflow Sensor Faulty
    5. Camshaft position sensor faulty

    Clearing up the fault codes, we decided to take a test drive and check what was happening. We took their "new" expert mechanic in tow prepared to go to the highway. I had already tried running the car with a stock filter and the tuning box out, but the light had been coming on, but just to satisfy the ego of the workshop guys, I asked them to do it again.

    Car ready, off we go. The city traffic doesn't let us above 50 kmph but once on the highway, the mechanic hits the throttle and the car get to speed. As the speedo crosses the 80 mark, the workshop guys are 100 percent sure they cleared the codes and there would be no problems. But as the car crossed the 100 kmph mark, the light came up, the car lost a bit of momentum and then threw its usual tantrums. Stopping by the side of the road and restarting the car solved the issue for the time being but once at the service centre, with the scanner hooked on again to read the code, the same five options came up.

    Here is what the workshop guys diagnosed finally:
    1. Crankshaft sensor is faulty OR
    2. Fuel pressure regulator is faulty OR
    3. Turbo has stopped working OR
    4. Mass air flow sensor is dead OR
    5. Camshaft sensor dead.

    So what they would do was order everything that came on the error codes and call me when the stuff was available at the workshop, so that I could drop the car off for about a fortnight when they would remove the engine from the engine bay and check everything out and set right whatever is wrong. This would approximately cost around 75k and I could pay around 40k as advance at the cash window.

    This just blew my socks off my feet along with the safety shoes I was wearing. I mean I look stupid but then I only look stupid. I was good with the car not crossing the 100 kmph mark for a while as I figured out what exactly was wrong with the car. Asking the workshop guys to wake up from the dream of fleecing me, I left.

    Took me a couple of months to get a mindset that this had to be figured out. I just couldn't drive this car at 90 kmph everyday and take photos of the awesome mileage I was getting and annoy friends with it. This car needed to set the highways on fire, again. So that was that, the problem needed to be sorted out. Internet was one source, common sense another and one more mechanic a few minutes from my home where I had seen countless fiats and imported cars being sorted out from the mess the other mechanics made of them. I had three options and I decided to stick to common sense first.

    If it was the crankshaft sensor or the camshaft position sensor, there would've been many more problems related to these sensors since these are a part of the electronic loop of the car. the error lights would be continuously on and not come up at specific times. of course, the scanner chattered out the most common 5 problems that it could think of and we couldn't discount any of them, but we might as well put them on a backburner for a while. If it was the mass airflow sensor, the car wouldn't accelerate at all throughout its rpm band but since it was one error on the scanner, I decided to be doubly sure of it and check whether the sensor worked or not.

    Waited for a Sunday to come up so that I could clear up my doubts on the mass air flow sensor. Unlocked the car, opened up the hood disconnected the mass air flow sensor socket. Cranked the car, the motor fired but burbled a bit and shut off. Connected the sensor socket and started the car again. It started all smooth and nice and idled happily, the valve train clattering a bit till it got to temperature. removed the socket again with the car running. since the car had warmed up a bit, it didn't shut off. Took it out of the parking and headed for the highway. As soon as it crossed the 100 mark, pop went the light. Stopped the car, connected the socket and had a go at it again. The light came up again. Since the performance didn't change, I assumed that the mass air flow was functioning fine. So much for diagnostic tools and scanners.

    So that was that for Sunday. No faulty crankshaft sensor, no faulty camshaft position sensor, no faulty mass air flow sensor. Read a bit about these on the international fiat forums and found that the mass air flow sensor could die and the ECU wouldn't throw a tantrum and set the check engine light on. The car would go absolutely sluggish as the sensor wouldn't be able to meter the air going into the engine. the car would perform normally if the sensor was unplugged. So I was convinced that this wasn't the case.

    This left the fuel pressure regulator and the turbocharger to be sorted out. Then one day it hit me. I was driving to office and the check engine light came up like always and the car slowed down and then it wouldn't cross 100. It hit me so hard that I had to admit that not only did I look stupid, I was actually stupid otherwise.

    You see we are the largest genset builders in Asia and we test these machines on test beds like we stole them. Block loads, overloads, part loads, stuff like that. I remember an incident when we were testing a Perkins 1000 kva machine and it would go nice to the 100 percent load mark but as soon as we tried over a "Boost Pressure High" alarm. Our service guys opened up the turbo and it seemed all fine. They checked out the charge air cooler and found that due to a manufacturing defect it had blockages at some points and that was what was restricting the charge air from entering the engine the way it should. As a result, the turbo tried to keep pushing in the air but since the charge air cooler was already full, it had a sort of pressure build up and again, since the turbo had reached its critical speed but couldn't govern the fuel because of the throttled charge air, it stalled. The Perkins guys called it Over boost. Over boost is when the turbo boosts higher than the waste gate controller is set to allow it to boost. This usually also happens when there is a blockage in the charge air cooler and it doesn't allow the air to flow through it and instead throttles it at the entry. The ECU isn't tuned to the excess boost, and therefore doesn't operate with a proper mixture for it and hence either the turbo stalls and the engine gives a check light or like in the case of the generator, gives the boost pressure high alarm and trip.

    So there I was, as happy as I could be that I had finally figured out finally what was wrong with the car. The only thing I needed now was to open up the innards and check whether I was right or wrong. I wanted to do this myself without wanting to involve any clever mechanics into it. So my saviour turned out to be the next door mechanic, Sahubhai.

    His is an old garage, earlier made of wood and khappars, now made of brick and asbestos sheets, earlier run by his father Munnabhai and now being run by Sahubhai and his young but very enthusiastic son Mohammed or Naddu as he is fondly called. Even during the days of his father, the garage used to be full of ambassadors, fiats, mercs, toyotas and whatever was there on the roads. This family has a knack of solving problems through persistence. They didn't even have an obd2 scanner till the last month when I pushed them into getting one and even shopped it online for them.

    They have been mechanically inclined and that is how it is. Deduce the problems manually first and then if nothing works, call in the computer geeks.

    So I took a day off and went to Munna Auto Garage. Met Sahubhai and told him how the car had been behaving but didn't tell him what I had figured out was wrong with it. He asked if we could test drive it and see whets wrong and off we went. When the light went up, the only words that came out from his mouth were "Boost ka lafda lagta hai". Fingers crossed.

    Coming back to the garage, I told him I had diagnosed something similar and if he would lend me the tools and I wanted to open up the car myself. He understood that I wanted it to be a DIY job, but then he said something that mostly none of the mechanics would say. I could take all the tools I wanted from his place and do whatever I wanted to but his son and one other mechanic would be with me all the time to help me out if I got stuck somewhere. We could talk about the money later, the problem needed to be solved. He said he could make it even better by making his son and the mechanic do the hard work and I could jump in and work whenever I wanted to. Sounded comfortable and after fixing the next Saturday and Sunday for the job, I went home, happy as hell.

    Saturday took too long to come, but once the sun was up and shining nicely, I didn't wait around. I just headed to the garage and I was the first one there when it opened promptly at 9 AM. After the customary chai session, it was the time to get to work. Irfan, the denting guy helped to remove the front bumper for easier access to the fmic and the rest of the stuff and we removed the air filter assembly and the things on the top waiting for the exhaust manifold and all the hot stuff down there to cool down for removal.

    Took a couple of hours till everything was dismantled and it was only when we were putting away the intercooler at a safe place we realised that it had some stuff coming out of it. Oil. Black as the wells of sin. On closer inspection, even the catalytic convertor looked choked. We waited anxiously for Sahubhai to arrive. We didn't have to wait too long.

    "Kya hua?" He asked. We pointed out to the gooey stuff coming out of the intercooler and the carbon choked converter. "Hota hai bohot gadi mein" He said and called his son from where he was checking out wheel bearing noise on a Verna to give instructions what to do.

    Couldn't imagine for the life of me that some serious stuff could be taken care of so easily. Naddu was instructed to prepare a soap solution with lots of surf and hot water. Meanwhile, I was told to tie up one end each of the intercooler and the catalytic convertor with plastic bags so that it wouldn't leak. Once both of us were ready, a plastic bottle was sacrificed to the gods of turbo diesels and used as a tumbler to pour this extra concentrated soap solution into the intercooler and the catcon, fill it up to the brim and set it aside to thaw out all the crap that was stuck inside them. The turbo was, during all that time, lying safely on a spic and span inspection table waiting for the doctor to give the verdict whether it was terminal or not.

    So while the intercooler and the catcon sat aside, it was time to inspect the turbo. Spraying it with some penetrating fluid and cleaning it up, Sahubhai put on his glasses for the finer inspection. with his tongue coming out to sniff the air periodically like a snake, he checked the clearances all around. Taking the actuator tube off from the turbo, he put it in his mouth and checked the pressures. Some things are more accurately done by feel and instinct than by actual calibration equipment. Checking thoroughly for any problems on the turbo, he found that the waste gate was opening only partially, as it was jammed up with residual carbon deposits. Some more penetrating fluid there and a few minutes of waiting later, and a generous spray of penetrating fluid to clear up the goo, the turbo was checked again. Working absolutely fine off the car. Only assembly and testing would tell whether we made it or not.

    The intercooler and the catcon would have to be immersed into soap solution and cleaned up thoroughly and then they would go for a pressure wash to make sure they were as clean on the inside as they were on the outside, then they would be air dried and then fitted back to the car and that would be tomorrow, Sunday.

    So while the gunk was being cleaned out from the car parts, we were sitting there having some chit chat and I managed to ask Sahubhai how could oil get into the intercooler. He admitted that while he didn't have a very clear idea of how it was happening, but he had seen it in a lot of other cars with intercoolers that were high milers and were driven hard. While the intercoolers filled with oil that was a sort of blow by from the turbos, the level rose and it choked many of the tubes of the intercooler, due to which the air couldn't be pushed in and out as required resulting in backpressure on the turbo impeller and stalling it making it stop. So a turbo charged car running like a naturally aspirated car is no fun at all. Simple logic.

    The next day, I was there at 9.30 and as the washing guy opened up his shop, still bleary eyed from last night's drinking, I was staring into his face with an intercooler and a catalytic convertor that needed pressure washing, pronto! Once the compressor was primed, the pressure built up and the hose started, it was simply staggering to see the amount of crap coming out of the catalytic convertor. Crud pieces the size of small stones, lot of black emulsified carbon deposits and foam from the soap all coming out. It was cleaned up till the only stuff that came out of it was clean water. While we hung it up to dry, it was time of the intercooler and it faced the same wrath and fury of pressurised water till its innards had been cleansed of everything but itself. Blowing them dry with air, I stored them carefully on the activa, my ride for the day since the fiat was in surgery. 100 bucks later, I was back at the garage, where Sahubhai was sitting in the sun with his glasses on and the turbo charger in his hand, fully cleaned and ready to be fitted to the car. Chai was earned today.

    Half an hour later, the assembly started. While all this was opened up, I had taken the K&N home yesterday and given it a much needed cleaning and oiling. It was ready to go back into the car. After around 4 hours of intensive labour, everything was back onto the car. All that remained was the coolant fill, the battery to be taken from the charging point, connect the terminals, check all the connections and start the car. This took another agonisingly long 45 minutes and finally the car was ready to be cranked. With fingers crossed behind my back, I stood watching as Sahubhai took the driver's seat, inserted the key into the receptacle and turned on the power. The instrument cluster lighted up like a Christmas tree in Las Vegas and one after the other, all the tell tale lights went off. So far so good.

    Time to crank it up. The starter engaged, the engine shuddered and heaved and sprang to life. Letting it idle and come up to temperature, all the guys got busy checking out for leaks and tightening the bolts just to be sure. Five minutes of idling, the water temperature was good, there was fuel in the car and it was making all the right noises. It was time to drive it now. While Sahubhai took the steering, I took the left seat and putting the car to reverse, eased it out of the garage. Slotting into first, we drove tensely from the service road to the highway connection, changing gears as the speed increased. On the highway, Sahubhai just floored it. We were in the 4th and I was almost thrown back into the seat. I saw the blurry vision of the speedo hurtling past the 120 mark in the 4th and the gear being shifted to 5th and the car kept on going all the way to 150. No check lights. The only strange thing that was happening was that the car seemed to gain and loose power, a slight hiccupping kind of thing was going on. I pointed this out to Sahubhai and as illogical as it may sound, he said that it was that due to this shitty over boost problem, the intake manifold had clogged up and it would take some fast driving and kilometres to clean it up and it wasn't anything to worry about. Since the check light had gone, I put my trust into his words and said ok.

    Back at the garage, since the fuel was still at the halfway mark, we poured in a full measure of the Wuerth injector cleaner to clean up the fuel system nice and clean. Chai was again ordered, and overjoyed by a solved problem, I gave a small party to all the guys who worked on the Punto. About 5 pav vadas each and one more chai each later, it was time to settle the account.

    I had 10k in my wallet and another 20 or so which I could get instantly if required and I was prepared for the worst. My only relief was it wasn't 75k as the workshop guys had predicted it would be. Sahubhai took a calculator, a sheet of paper, his mobile phone and his glasses and retreated to a broken table from the times of Harappa and Mohan jo Daro which served as his office and started adding up the figures. Twenty minutes later, he called Naddu and handed him the bill. He brought it to me and for a minute I thought he had made a mistake. Maybe he forgot to add a zero I thought. "Yeh theek to hai na? Koi galti lagti hai" I said. Sahubhai said he had never billed anybody wrongly and this was what I owed him. The bill was for 1500 (one thousand five hundred) rupees which included the injector cleaner worth 400 bucks or so. I didn't know what to do so I just flipped my wallet, picked out three 500 rupee bills, gave it to Naddu, then on another thought, plucked out a couple of 100 rupee notes and told him to get the mechanic boys something decent to eat and left for the petrol pump 100 feet away from the garage to tank up.

    Drove the car like I stole it for a couple of days and everything smoothed out. It smoked like crazy during those two days, but finally the smoke diminished and finally vanished and the car ran like brand new again.

    This was on the 27th of December 2012. My laziness had taken almost four months to sort out the car and my procrastination has taken another year and two months to share it with you gaaij.

    I had to go to Udaipur on the 31st of December 2012 for some very urgent business and that was the day the car proved that nothing could come close to it in terms of performance for a very very long time, AGAIN. I did a round trip from Valsad to Udaipur and back with an hour's stop at Udaipur to conclude my business and one more for the combined fuel and dinner stop and I covered 1500 kilometres in 17 hours flat. This story has been told elsewhere in this ownership review and I don't think I need to repeat it and bore you guys again.

    Sorry if this last post bored you to death, but the problem is that I usually don't get inspired to write, but when I do, I make sure that I put everything down at once.

    Some photos of the car when the job was being done for your viewing pleasure if any.

    Drive safe, always wear a seatbelt!

    IMAG0058.jpg IMAG0059.jpg IMAG0060.jpg IMAG0061.jpg IMAG0062.jpg
    Iyu, Ganges, neoonwheels and 13 others like this.
  5. Ashpalio

    Ashpalio Amatore

    Grande Punto 1.3
    Your posts are words like jewels in jewellery set, difference is these jewels give the confidence to maintain and experience the Punto to its fullest. Pleasure to Punto and pleasure to driver.... all happy.... in short, total khushi vaasul :)

    Sent from my GT-P5100 using Tapatalk 2
  6. asimpleson

    asimpleson Esperto

    Linea 1.3
    Epicenter, very great writeup of your experiences. The quality of technical troubleshooting and thought process involved along with all your logic and reasoning are simply fabulous. The lack of time of customers and ability of many innocent customers to just payup exhorbitant sums is at the root of all exploitation by service centers. Apart from the great many lessons from this experience of yours, this is one of those cases which I can point somebody to who argue without thinking that changing one part after another is the only way to fix cars. Especially those who believe in earn more spend more theory.

    Thanks for this great value addition on this forum, enjoy a great many miles more on your Punto to break further more records if any. :p
    Iyu and PaddleShifter like this.
  7. Lunafiatic

    Lunafiatic Amatore

    Epicenter, What an amazing writeup. I really want to appreciate you for taking an effort and writing so much. Even I had to literally read it in installments as it was too much for me to read, because I didn't want to read just for the sake it but wanted to understand every bit. This is one of the best ownership reviews I have gone through lately. Simply a commendable job. Wish you are a lot more happy miles on your ride and hope it puts a smile on your face as always.
  8. vj_v1

    vj_v1 Superiore

    Excellent. Thumbs up !

    Sent from my HTC Sensation XE with Beats Audio using Tapatalk
  9. pabhishek

    pabhishek Esperto

    Linea T-Jet
    That was quite a sincere effort to diagnose the problem plus pendown as well!! :clapping
  10. kr_vasudev

    kr_vasudev Superiore

    Thank you for sharing your experience. Since I had gone thru the check engine past 100 speed, It was more interesting to read the full post.

    I had check engine issue with my TJet past 100 KPH. I have no words to describe FIAT SA's :evilsmile, they had folded all the turbo hose pipes and this caused check engine. Turbo is back to life, but I am not happy. I feel still there is something missing.

    From my Palio experience, If you know a good mechanic you should stick to him. Post warranty I am going to follow the same.
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2014

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