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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Ok, so I put the car away back in november in a heated garage. Did everything right.
Filled it with 94 octane Chevron (no ethanol), did an oil change with the proper weight and approved oil, bought a battery tender,....and have not started it since. But since it's getting nicer, I decided to fire it up today.
Got in, foot on the brake, foot on the clutch, start button turns green, I push it and the engine spins madly for about 10 seconds but doesn't fire at all. after 10 seconds of very fast cranking it stops on its own - undoubtably to prevent overheating of the starter. It sounded like there might not have been any compression because it was turning over without any sort of lumpy sound. It just spun. I tried a couple of more times with the same result. no start, just lots of fast turning over.

I recall someone else mentioning a while back about a possible but rare issue of the oil in the multiair system draining out and preventing a start, does that sound possible?

Anyone have any ideas?

I have a few mods on my car (no tune), but if i call FCA they will tow it to the closest dealership, which I really don't want to deal with. Unfortunately the Alfa Romeo dealership that i bought the car from has a great service department but they are a long ways away from where the car is right now. :-(
 

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Ok, so I put the car away back in november in a heated garage. Did everything right.
Filled it with 94 octane Chevron (no ethanol), did an oil change with the proper weight and approved oil, bought a battery tender,....and have not started it since. But since it's getting nicer, I decided to fire it up today.
Got in, foot on the brake, foot on the clutch, start button turns green, I push it and the engine spins madly for about 10 seconds but doesn't fire at all. after 10 seconds of very fast cranking it stops on its own - undoubtably to prevent overheating of the starter. It sounded like there might not have been any compression because it was turning over without any sort of lumpy sound. It just spun. I tried a couple of more times with the same result. no start, just lots of fast turning over.

I recall someone else mentioning a while back about a possible but rare issue of the oil in the multiair system draining out and preventing a start, does that sound possible?

Anyone have any ideas?

I have a few mods on my car (no tune), but if i call FCA they will tow it to the closest dealership, which I really don't want to deal with. Unfortunately the Alfa Romeo dealership that i bought the car from has a great service department but they are a long ways away from where the car is right now. :-(
How warm was it when you tried to start? Check your plugs and make sure they haven't mysteriously fouled.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Still in the heated warehouse that it was being stored in. So about 15C or 60F.
Thanks for the suggestion, I will pull a plug or two and check things out. But of course there are no tools at the warehouse it is stored in and its about 3 hours from my house. arggghhh.
 

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check for signs of rats, they have been known to inhabit warehouses during the cold weather and reap havoc on electrical systems they chose to gnaw on...
 

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This happened with my 500 last fall. The oil drains out of the intake valve actuators and the valves go wide open, that's why you have no compression.

You need to keep trying to start it, waiting a minute or so between starts, until the oil pump fills the valve actuators back up. Then it will start normally.

This is a pretty common event for this engine after not running for an extended time.

I am am not sure about the "magic button" thing. I didn't see one in my 500.
 

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This happened with my 500 last fall. The oil drains out of the intake valve actuators and the valves go wide open, that's why you have no compression.

You need to keep trying to start it, waiting a minute or so between starts, until the oil pump fills the valve actuators back up. Then it will start normally.

This is a pretty common event for this engine after not running for an extended time.

I am am not sure about the "magic button" thing. I didn't see one in my 500.
This makes sense. You are effectively using the starter motor to prime the oil lines. Hopefully, it doesn't cause any damage in doing so, and someone can chime in on that.
 
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You just try starting it in short bursts, I don't think it can be started any other way. Could try calling the dealer service department and see what they recommend.

I am not sure what the "button" mentioned above could possibly do, you need oil pressure to fill the valve actuators and to get oil pressure you need to crank the engine. If the button bypasses the lubrication circuit to fill the valve actuators faster, I don't think that's a good idea.

The oil pump is a positive displacement pump, so it will pump oil to the engine's lubrication circuit even at low starter speeds. (at a reduced volume) its enough oil that I wouldn't worry about a lack of lubrication.

The engine will never start without the intake valves working.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks for the suggestions guys, but so far no joy. :crying:

Don't have any tools in the warehouse so I looked for and found "the magic button". It looks like a tiny ball bearing check valve. Tried pressing it while my buddy cranked the engine but no luck. The check valve didn't seem to move at all but I was also nervous about pressing too hard on it and scratching the surface.

Then I looked around, under, and throughout the car for signs of rodents. Carefully scoured under the car, through the engine compartment and through the interior with a great little flashlight. No signs of any chewed up bits of plastic or any rodent droppings anywhere. I have friends that have had this problem and I am really hoping its not this. $$$

Then I did find a Fluke multimeter in the warehouse, so one by one I pulled the fuses and confirmed continuity. No bad fuses.

I am still thinking it could be multiair, oil pressure related because it sounds 'different" when it is turning over. And yes, I think I can hear the fuel pump running while it is trying to start.

Its kind of different trying to start a pushbutton car that doesn't want to start because once you push the button the brains take over and even tho you release the button, it keeps on turning over. Made me nervous the first time because i thought it was never going to stop till it overheated the starter or killed my battery. But it does stop after about 10 seconds or so. Glad to hear that I can still expect the oil pump to be turning because I have tried to start it about 30 times now but to no avail. But surely that would have been enough to get the oil pressure up in the valve train??? The silver lining is the battery is holding up well.

At any rate, I had to go back home to my house 3 hours and a ferry ride away, and I am away for work for the next 10 days so I will hopefully have some more info on this problem on the 19th or 20th of March when I return with a few tools and pull some spark plugs.
Failing that, I make the call to FCA,:eek:
 

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That's quite a bad experience. :( That issue makes me a bit nervous since my Abarth is in hibernation in a heated warehouse about 50-55 minutes drive from home. I'll keep an eye on this thread for sure.

Good luck on your next try jpwfz6!
 
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That's quite a bad experience. :( That issue makes me a bit nervous since my Abarth is in hibernation in a heated warehouse about 50-55 minutes drive from home. I'll keep an eye on this thread for sure.

Good luck on your next try jpwfz6!
Wolf when I get back home end of month, I put a nude poster of a sexy car in front Spider, Alfa JULIA, then I pull off the car cover, and I hear already some exciting movement, after 15 min. I start her, and voila the trick is done.>:):D
These Italian cars behave like animals when when provoked. :confused:
 
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Wolf when I get back home end of month, I put a nude poster of a sexy car in front Spider, Alfa JULIA, then I pull off the car cover, and I hear already some exciting movement, after 15 min. I start her, and voila the trick is done.>:):D
These Italian cars behave like animals when when provoked. :confused:
hahaha ok I'll bring her my Ferrari 488 Spider poster !

 

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Thanks for the suggestions guys, but so far no joy. /forum/images/124Spider/smilies/tango_face_crying.png

Don't have any tools in the warehouse so I looked for and found "the magic button". It looks like a tiny ball bearing check valve. Tried pressing it while my buddy cranked the engine but no luck. The check valve didn't seem to move at all but I was also nervous about pressing too hard on it and scratching the surface.

Then I looked around, under, and throughout the car for signs of rodents. Carefully scoured under the car, through the engine compartment and through the interior with a great little flashlight. No signs of any chewed up bits of plastic or any rodent droppings anywhere. I have friends that have had this problem and I am really hoping its not this. $$$

Then I did find a Fluke multimeter in the warehouse, so one by one I pulled the fuses and confirmed continuity. No bad fuses.

I am still thinking it could be multiair, oil pressure related because it sounds 'different" when it is turning over. And yes, I think I can hear the fuel pump running while it is trying to start.

Its kind of different trying to start a pushbutton car that doesn't want to start because once you push the button the brains take over and even tho you release the button, it keeps on turning over. Made me nervous the first time because i thought it was never going to stop till it overheated the starter or killed my battery. But it does stop after about 10 seconds or so. Glad to hear that I can still expect the oil pump to be turning because I have tried to start it about 30 times now but to no avail. But surely that would have been enough to get the oil pressure up in the valve train??? The silver lining is the battery is holding up well.

At any rate, I had to go back home to my house 3 hours and a ferry ride away, and I am away for work for the next 10 days so I will hopefully have some more info on this problem on the 19th or 20th of March when I return with a few tools and pull some spark plugs.
Failing that, I make the call to FCA,/forum/images/124Spider/smilies/tango_face_surprise.png
It should have started, my 500 started after about 5 tries.

I hadn't considered the effect of a start button. My 500 has a key, but I would estimate that I cranked it about 10 seconds each time, pretty much like the start button.

If it rolled over fast like it had no compression, that's good in a way, the faster it turns over, the greater the volume of oil getting pumped to the motor. Too bad it didn't start though.

Mine is in storage for another month or so, hopefully I don't have the same problem.
 
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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Update: Car going back to dealership

So I got back to the warehouse where my car was stored to deal with this further.
Car still not starting.
I spoke to the Fiat dealership on the phone and the mechanic immediately suggested it was a problem with the oil bleeding out of the multiair system over the winter. Gave me a few more suggestions about trying again and with the pedal pressed to the floor which should prevent the flooding of the engine. At any rate after a few more attempts, still no joy.
I toyed with pulling the coils and the plugs myself and checking for flooding or fouling, but since it is still under full warranty, I decided to let the dealership worry about it. If it becomes more of a problem down the road I want documentation that it started at 14,000km.
So this morning it headed to the closest fiat dealership on the back of a flatdeck tow truck. ( I can hear the "Ha, Fix it again Tony" comments from here)

I also made a short video of the painful sound it made during the starting attempts
 

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Don't like to see that, but I hope they get it back on the road in short order. An aside, the next youtube video to play after yours is a guy starting an abandoned Fiat for the first time in 30 years. You probably could have just called that guy. ;)
 
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After winterizing the car I don't mind if the car starts after a 3rd try, cause that way it will lubricate the cylinders rather than just start on dry wall cylinders. Next week I will start mine after 4 months. Cross my fingers.
 

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Hmmm... about the longest I've gone without starting my Spider is about a month, during which I've kept it on trickle charge in my garage. Sounds like it may good idea to at least start the car up once a month, just to keep it "happy."
 

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I know this doesn't help but it might put some other peoples' mind at ease.

Sunday I got to the garage and extracted all the oil out through the dipstick. It took an hour since it was cold but I figured if all the oil had drained from the valvetrain, it would be a perfect time to do an oil change, especially with all the fuel dilution I had in that oil (according to the oil analysis report).

I changed the filter, put fresh oil in, buttoned it back up, and went to start it.

CLICK. Battery was low.

Plugged it into my 12A fast charger, waited about 15 minutes, and got back in.

On the first try, the car started as if it had only been sitting for a day, let alone 3-4 months. There was a bit of valvetrain noise that went away promptly. I was expecting to have the same issues some here did with their cars. I don't know if it was because I dumped fresh oil on the top of the engine when changed it or something else but it did fire up on the first try.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Spoke to the service advisor and the mechanic today at the end of work.
Good news,...it's not rodents.
Bad News,...they had to put a call in to FCA to ask for more diagnostic time.
They have confirmed that indeed the multiair brick is not building the oil pressure that it needs. They also confirmed that the magic button trick that was suggested in earlier post by another FCA tech is legit and it often works. But not in my case.
They pulled the plugs and coils and confirmed everything was okay in that regard.
But they still don't understand why the system isn't building pressure. Hopefully they will have more info tomorrow. God I miss the sound of my GWR exhaust.
The tow experience was quick and professional with a very nice woman tow truck driver that took great car with my lowered car and the dealership offerrd me a loaner which i declined since i already have a work truck and two other cars at my disposal.

I may sleep a little easier tonight knowing that it is definitely an FCA warranty issue and shouldn't cost me anything.
 
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