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My God, I love you guys!
Just spent two hours having a panic attack.....and I SORT OF know what Im doing...but NO CLUE about this Multi-Air peccadillo....Now that I know about it, it seems totally no big deal, but without this forum I'd be calling Fiat and trying to figure out how to get the car to a dealership SINCE MY LOCAL ONE JUST CLOSED! (yes, I'm yelling...)
After ruling out battery issues and ignition key gremlins, I was left with the conclusion it was a broken starter Bendix, the one-way clutch that lets the engine speed up when it starts, without ripping the starter apart...the sound I heard on the video posted here was EXACTLY what mine sounded like, and I daresay does sound like a starter with a broken Bendix...
So glad it's not...
Why this isn't in the owner's manual or at Fiat's website is a travesty, do they WANT to piss us off and drive everyone crazy?
I so love/hate the feeling of relief one gets when a terrible problem is easily explained (Is the computer plugged in, sir?)
Thanks to all contributors again...even the silly ideas were fun!
AND, the thread was only the third one down...doesn't get better than that !
 

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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. :-(
 

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2018 Classica stick, white with tech group option + RM, Enkei Compe, Driveguard RFT195/55R16
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Short cranks worked to recover!

Well so much for my cranking and not starting all winter. As with the first winter, this winter I fogged the cylinders and left the spark plugs and fuel pump disconnected. I cranked for a few seconds every month or so until I thought I heard the speed variation from compression showing the valves were working. The last crank in March or early April I didn't clearly hear the speed variation, and sure enough, no start yesterday and high speed no compression cranking. I let the cranking run its full length a few times with some rests to cool the starter while I re-read this thread. After a few tries I noticed the sound of compression / trying to start in the first few seconds but then it was back to free spinning. Based on the short on - off descriptions above I tried cranking not more than a few seconds until the compression stopped, then rests of 5 - 10 seconds. After less than a minute of this, it fired up and runs fine. Note that pushing the starter button again when its cranking stops it you don't have to use the brake or the clutch.

One odd thing I noticed was the lack of fuel smell - I did some cranking with the pedal down but much of it was with the pedal up so it should have been fueling. If the intake valves are stuck closed there won't be net flow out the tailpipe, but I still would expect to smell fuel, and when it starts see black smoke - the exhaust did smell a little different but not "rich". I wonder if some of the no - start issue is not getting fuel up there right away either after long storage.

I'm still not a fan of starting it periodically and just idling it which guarantees condensation on the cylinder walls when you stop. Next time for sure will run it later in the year and start it earlier in the spring as I will be retired and it will be my daily driver, but Michigan is no place for even a short drive in the winter as there is always salt even if the roads are dry for a day. I'll probably do the same fall fog / periodic crank with no start again but less months and longer / more frequent cranks. Thanks to all the posters as we learn about this strange beast without much help from FCA.
 

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Today I responded to another thread on this issue...It seems folks don't use this resource deeply enough to find these answers....I was happy to find it, so I respond when I see it...It does seem to be a crazy issue, all the more so as Fiat does not document it...
 

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From a different recent thread on the same topic. Heed the info that you are adding oil to the engine via the Multiair brick. Do not allow for what will be an oil overfill of the engine if your dipstick already reads full. If planning for this spring procedure at winter shut down, you may want to hold a few ounces of oil out if you are replacing the old oil at winter shut down. The mentioned 200ml of oil is around 6.75oz. Also check the messages right around this one.
2018 Classica Manual Trans - Start sequence lasts only 1...

Steve.
 

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2018 Abarth
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Just curious...

Has anyone tried priming the oil pump by removing the filter and pouring some fresh oil into the bowl? Sound like the pump could be going dry as well?
 

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Very upset with this shitty design right now. I have tried to crank my car at least 50 times tonight with no start. I have tried the magic button(doesn't work, my BB does not depress at all) and I have tried adding in a little extra oil in the oil filter port(did not help, also my fresh oil did not touch the oil filter at all after trying to crank 40+ times). So frustrating and nothing I can do except for try to crank it another 50 times tomorrow. This is after draining my oil to do my turbo upgrade and having gotten sick my car ended up sitting for 5 months with no oil, future warning to anyone in my position..

I just hope it starts eventually because right now my 124 is as dead as a door knob.
 

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Well it turns out the magic button is the cure to this problem if your car wont turn over, no need to have it towed to the dealership.

After posting yesterday that the ball bearing would not move(and it would not budge, we tried, believe me), when I checked it this afternoon it pushed in as if it was the easiest thing in the world. Cranking the car must have pressurized the system not allowing the ball bearing to be pressed in. Letting the car sit for however long (about 12 hours in my case) relives the pressure and allows it to be pressed in.

After finding that out I got a pump ( Multi-Use Transfer Pump ) and oil can ( 4 Oz. Flexible Spout Oil Can ) at harbor freight and got to work. I used the pump to take out about 2 quarts through the dipstick, since I was a bit over filled anyways after feeding oil in the oil filter, and I wanted to get the correct oil levels, so better to take out extra and put it in correctly than guess and be over. After that I used the oil I removed and filled the oiling can and ran that through the multi air brick twice, Putting in what I would estimate to be ~3 oz of oil/90 ML (a far cry short of the 240 ML I believe is recommended). Why only 90 ML? Well its a pain in the ass to fill the brick and my hand was hurting pumping that little oil can, as well as it leaks a bit, but I ran the can through twice( you won't get all of it since its tilted and the hose is short) and that was enough to prime it.

I then proceeded to do the start up procedure. Gas pedal all the way down and crank for 10 seconds. Try 1- nothing. Try 2 - Nothing. Try 3 - Noth... by god we have compression. Try 4 with the foot off the gas pedal so it can get fuel, and we started right up. Bingo.

So anyone who is having this issue and is failing to get your car started with only cranking, just get the oil can and prime the multi air box. It is extremely easy and it is a one man job. You don't have to remove the oil like I did if you aren't over full, and realistically putting in about 3 oz of extra oil isn't going to hurt anything( 1/10th of a qt) so you can just get the oil can with the small sharp tip like the harbor freight one that allows you to press in the ball bearing while you fill. Also as I was filling, oil would come right out of the port next to the ball bearing but sometimes a bit of air would come out as well, I was hoping that it wasn't just going in to come right back out, but it seems to not be the case, so don't be worried when you see that.

Attaching my start up video also so you can hear the noise change from the fast spinning to getting some compression. Don't even bother giving it fuel and cranking if you don't get this compression sound when you crank it without gas as you risk flooding your engine otherwise. You'll know shes ready when she starts making that compression noise.


TL DR 50+ cranks last night and nothing. Prime the "magic button" with 1/10th a qt of oil and starts up on the 4th crank.
 

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Oh and just to quote my friend whos probably the biggest subaru tuner in our state, as he was there yesterday at our shop and sat in the car cranking it for 30 of those attempts while I was googling stuff on how to get the car started, when I sent him a picture of the oiling can earlier he said

"Buys next generation engine with pneumatic computer controlled valves..... requires an oil can from 1885 to start after being stored"

Thought some of you around here might get a kick outta that :)
 

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Well it turns out the magic button is the cure to this problem if your car wont turn over, no need to have it towed to the dealership.

After posting yesterday that the ball bearing would not move(and it would not budge, we tried, believe me), when I checked it this afternoon it pushed in as if it was the easiest thing in the world. Cranking the car must have pressurized the system not allowing the ball bearing to be pressed in. Letting the car sit for however long (about 12 hours in my case) relives the pressure and allows it to be pressed in.

After finding that out I got a pump ( Multi-Use Transfer Pump ) and oil can ( 4 Oz. Flexible Spout Oil Can ) at harbor freight and got to work. I used the pump to take out about 2 quarts through the dipstick, since I was a bit over filled anyways after feeding oil in the oil filter, and I wanted to get the correct oil levels, so better to take out extra and put it in correctly than guess and be over. After that I used the oil I removed and filled the oiling can and ran that through the multi air brick twice, Putting in what I would estimate to be ~3 oz of oil/90 ML (a far cry short of the 240 ML I believe is recommended). Why only 90 ML? Well its a pain in the ass to fill the brick and my hand was hurting pumping that little oil can, as well as it leaks a bit, but I ran the can through twice( you won't get all of it since its tilted and the hose is short) and that was enough to prime it.

I then proceeded to do the start up procedure. Gas pedal all the way down and crank for 10 seconds. Try 1- nothing. Try 2 - Nothing. Try 3 - Noth... by god we have compression. Try 4 with the foot off the gas pedal so it can get fuel, and we started right up. Bingo.

So anyone who is having this issue and is failing to get your car started with only cranking, just get the oil can and prime the multi air box. It is extremely easy and it is a one man job. You don't have to remove the oil like I did if you aren't over full, and realistically putting in about 3 oz of extra oil isn't going to hurt anything( 1/10th of a qt) so you can just get the oil can with the small sharp tip like the harbor freight one that allows you to press in the ball bearing while you fill. Also as I was filling, oil would come right out of the port next to the ball bearing but sometimes a bit of air would come out as well, I was hoping that it wasn't just going in to come right back out, but it seems to not be the case, so don't be worried when you see that.

Attaching my start up video also so you can hear the noise change from the fast spinning to getting some compression. Don't even bother giving it fuel and cranking if you don't get this compression sound when you crank it without gas as you risk flooding your engine otherwise. You'll know shes ready when she starts making that compression noise.


TL DR 50+ cranks last night and nothing. Prime the "magic button" with 1/10th a qt of oil and starts up on the 4th crank.
How long was your Spider sitting unused before all of this?
 

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That will do it! Glad you got it started. I've noticed this engine likes to be driven daily. If I don't run it for 3-4 days it sounds and feels rough at first start. Also, does not like the cold! Must be the DNA of an Italian sports car!
 

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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. :-(
I started mine every 30 days because of the oil settling issue and the multi flow? Air brick issue. Saw one post saying they drained out some oil, put it back in at top and that fixed the settling issue and it started. I did not want to risk it. Good luck.
 

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That will do it! Glad you got it started. I've noticed this engine likes to be driven daily. If I don't run it for 3-4 days it sounds and feels rough at first start. Also, does not like the cold! Must be the DNA of an Italian sports car!
I have to say mine sat for 30 days at a stretch. The last start was rough idling before she settled down and we had bitter cold days for weeks. Might just be lucky. I would start her more often but then worry about condensation , etc.
 

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18 Abarth 6MT, all the options, Chipbox and OEM Abarth fender badges. Pedalbooster not installed
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Yes, the oil drained out of the multi air brick from sitting too long. The only way to avoid that it to not let it sit beyond a month. I start mine every 3 weeks over the winter. I let it run for at least 15 minutes, full operating temperature with climate control set so that the defrost is active (causes the A/C compressor to cycle). It runs smoothly every time. Salt is finally off the roads here so I pulled it out of storage today and it started on first try, running smooth as a Rolex. Had a nice drive listening to the lovely RM exhaust note. 👍
 

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Well it turns out the magic button is the cure to this problem if your car wont turn over, no need to have it towed to the dealership.

After posting yesterday that the ball bearing would not move(and it would not budge, we tried, believe me), when I checked it this afternoon it pushed in as if it was the easiest thing in the world. Cranking the car must have pressurized the system not allowing the ball bearing to be pressed in. Letting the car sit for however long (about 12 hours in my case) relives the pressure and allows it to be pressed in.

After finding that out I got a pump ( Multi-Use Transfer Pump ) and oil can ( 4 Oz. Flexible Spout Oil Can ) at harbor freight and got to work. I used the pump to take out about 2 quarts through the dipstick, since I was a bit over filled anyways after feeding oil in the oil filter, and I wanted to get the correct oil levels, so better to take out extra and put it in correctly than guess and be over. After that I used the oil I removed and filled the oiling can and ran that through the multi air brick twice, Putting in what I would estimate to be ~3 oz of oil/90 ML (a far cry short of the 240 ML I believe is recommended). Why only 90 ML? Well its a pain in the ass to fill the brick and my hand was hurting pumping that little oil can, as well as it leaks a bit, but I ran the can through twice( you won't get all of it since its tilted and the hose is short) and that was enough to prime it.

I then proceeded to do the start up procedure. Gas pedal all the way down and crank for 10 seconds. Try 1- nothing. Try 2 - Nothing. Try 3 - Noth... by god we have compression. Try 4 with the foot off the gas pedal so it can get fuel, and we started right up. Bingo.

So anyone who is having this issue and is failing to get your car started with only cranking, just get the oil can and prime the multi air box. It is extremely easy and it is a one man job. You don't have to remove the oil like I did if you aren't over full, and realistically putting in about 3 oz of extra oil isn't going to hurt anything( 1/10th of a qt) so you can just get the oil can with the small sharp tip like the harbor freight one that allows you to press in the ball bearing while you fill. Also as I was filling, oil would come right out of the port next to the ball bearing but sometimes a bit of air would come out as well, I was hoping that it wasn't just going in to come right back out, but it seems to not be the case, so don't be worried when you see that.

Attaching my start up video also so you can hear the noise change from the fast spinning to getting some compression. Don't even bother giving it fuel and cranking if you don't get this compression sound when you crank it without gas as you risk flooding your engine otherwise. You'll know shes ready when she starts making that compression noise.


TL DR 50+ cranks last night and nothing. Prime the "magic button" with 1/10th a qt of oil and starts up on the 4th crank.
So plot twist. After being stored successfully and firing up without a single glitch restarting for the winters of 2017-18, 18-19 and 19-20, this week-end I went to pick mine up and had this phenomenon happen.

In my case it started up after 6-7 tries but she got me nervous there for a minute. The gentleman who "guards" the car in the winter was also getting nervous and I explained to him that it's "normal" that these engines need to build pressure.

Note that I heard that sound a couple times last summer when, because of the "situation" where we weren't allowed to go outside for days/weeks coupled with bad weather in April and May, it sat in the carport for a few days/weeks without starting. But then it still started on the first "crank" try after whining for a second or two. It made a sound like:

"Weee weweeee vavroum.."

Last summer, I didn't drive the car enough to change the oil. Manual states every 8.000km. I'm at 23.700km. I'm booking my oil change now.
 

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Had a problem starting mine after the first and second winter. Took at least 5 - 6 startup sessions separated by 1 minute cool down. Now she's parked @ sister's condo basement and my brother in law star her once a month. No problem since.

You know you'll need to change oil at least once a year event if you don't hit 8000km mark?
 

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Had a problem starting mine after the first and second winter. Took at least 5 - 6 startup sessions separated by 1 minute cool down. Now she's parked @ sister's condo basement and my brother in law star her once a month. No problem since.

You know you'll need to change oil at least once a year event if you don't hit 8000km mark?
Yeah I knew that. It'll get changed by the end of the month. I check it regularly though and it's nice and full. It's also pretty clean honestly I wouldn't change it except that the dealership will want it changed for warranty purposes but it's a waste I find - maybe change just the filter.
 

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I went through the same thing after storing my Spider in a heated garage and hooked up to a trickle charger. I started it from time to time, but let a couple months pass before trying to take the car out of storage. Cranked over nicely many times, but there was no sign of ignition. I tried many solutions mentioned in this forum. No luck. The key fob batteries had low voltage and I concluded that problem led to the anti-theft system causing the car not to start.

The closest dealer was 65 miles away. I called and described the problem to the service manager. He said i should have the car brought to the dealership. Since the car was under warranty, Fiat would pay to have the car trucked in. Shortly after the car was dropped off, the service manager called and said the car had been repaired. He said the problem was caused by the oil draining down to the oil pan. He said cranking the engine normally would not help because the fuel injectors would inject gas. It was necessary to hold the gas pedal to the floor while cranking. Somehow that would prevent gasoline from being injected.

The repair write-up described the starting process as the "clear flood mode." It should be in the front of the car's instruction manual.
 

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2020 Abarth 124 Brillante White Velleno package with Monza exhaust.
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Does anyone read anymore? All you have to do is prime the multiair brick through the little oil hole under the valve cover. It is very visible by just removing the fill cap for the oil. A couple oz apparently is enough for the brick, a couple cranks and voila. Sorry if this was a little harsh sounding, but I know this and have never need to use it.
 
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