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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
With only 250 miles on my new Spider I parked it with a battery tender and left for my work outside the US. When I cam back it would not start. The engine would "spin" and I could tell there was no compression. After a tow to the dealer they informed me that the engine uses a unique oil column design to actuate the vales and IF I EVER PARKED THE CAR FOR MORE THAN 3 DAYS IT WOULD NOT START IT WOULD NEED TO BE TOWED IN! AND IT WOULD NOT BE COVERED UNDER WARRANY NOW THAT THEY HAVE WARNED ME! I can't believe this is normal and there is no check valve or something to hold the oil column in place. Certainly other Fiat owners leave their cars for more than 3 days without having to get it towed to the dealer. I called Fiat USA and they were zero helpful and just referred me back the dealer who told me to get a neighbor to start my car every 3 days! Has anyone else had this problem? Suggestions?
 

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I've never heard of that, and it's absurd besides. It's the same engine FIAT's been using for almost a decade now, and that's never been an issue.

I've left mine sitting over a week when on vacation, while others here have left theirs undriven all winter, and no one has had this issue.

Your dealer is lying to you.
 

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http://articles.sae.org/8703/

The Fiat Multiair system uses engine oil as a hydraulic fluid to transmit force from the cam follower to the intake valves. There are solenoids in each hydraulic line that the computer can open to relieve the oil pressure back to the sump, this is how the engine varies its valve timing and lift. It is possible that while your car was sitting the oil drained out of these lines back to the sump, so your intake valves did not open when you cranked it.

How long did you try to crank it for before getting it towed? Mine has sat for a few days several times and I've had no problems starting.
 

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With only 250 miles on my new Spider I parked it with a battery tender and left for my work outside the US. When I cam back it would not start. The engine would "spin" and I could tell there was no compression. After a tow to the dealer they informed me that the engine uses a unique oil column design to actuate the vales and IF I EVER PARKED THE CAR FOR MORE THAN 3 DAYS IT WOULD NOT START IT WOULD NEED TO BE TOWED IN! AND IT WOULD NOT BE COVERED UNDER WARRANY NOW THAT THEY HAVE WARNED ME! I can't believe this is normal and there is no check valve or something to hold the oil column in place. Certainly other Fiat owners leave their cars for more than 3 days without having to get it towed to the dealer. I called Fiat USA and they were zero helpful and just referred me back the dealer who told me to get a neighbor to start my car every 3 days! Has anyone else had this problem? Suggestions?
I left my 124 Abarth unused (and without a battery tender) for a month, and it started right up. Where is your dealer? Everyone should avoid that dealer.
 

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At best, the dealer is incompetent, at worst, they are lying to you.
 
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The dealer is talking cow manure. Name and shame 'em.

From the Owner's Manual:

Extended Park Starting
Note: Extended Park condition occurs
when the vehicle has not been started
or driven for at least 30 days.
1. Install a battery charger or jumper
cables to the battery to ensure a full
battery charge during the crank cycle.
2. Place the ignition in the START
mode and release it when the engine
starts.
3. If the engine fails to start within
10 seconds, place the ignition in the
STOP (OFF/LOCK) mode, wait five
seconds to allow the starter to cool,
then repeat the Extended Park Starting
procedure.
4. If the engine fails to start after eight
attempts, allow the starter to cool for at
least 10 minutes, then repeat the
procedure.
 

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Wow, that is one **** of a scam from a dealership.

Like the time my mother's Saturn windshield washer pump froze and seized. The dealership said it was her fault for not bringing it in for the winter fluid change.
 

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More from the manual. Nothing that even comes close to the rubbish this dealer is sprouting:

STORING THE
VEHICLE
If the vehicle is left inactive for longer
than a month, the following precautions
should be observed:
Park the vehicle in covered, dry and if
possible well-ventilated premises and
slightly open the windows.
Check that the parking brake is not
activated.
Disconnect the negative battery
terminal and check the battery charge.
Repeat this check once every three
months during storage.
If the battery is not disconnected
from the electrical system, check its
state of charge every thirty days.
Clean and protect the painted parts
using protective wax.
Clean and protect the shiny metal
parts using special compounds
available commercially.
Sprinkle talcum powder on the
windshield and rear window wiper
rubber blades and lift them off the
glass.
Cover the vehicle with a fabric or
perforated plastic sheet, paying
particular care not to damage the
painted surface by dragging any dust
that may have accumulated on it. Do
not use compact plastic sheets which
do not allow humidity to evaporate from
the surface of the vehicle.
Inflate the tires at a pressure of
+7.25 psi (+0.5 bar) higher than
recommended on the tire placard and
check it periodically.
Do not drain the engine cooling
system.
Any time the vehicle is left inactive for
two weeks or more, operate the air
conditioning system with engine idling
for at least five minutes, setting external
air and with fan set to maximum speed.
This operation will ensure appropriate
lubrication for the system, thus
minimizing the possibility of damage to
the compressor when the system is
operated again.
Note: After placing the ignition in the
OFF mode and having closed the driver
side door, wait at least one minute
before disconnecting the electrical
supply from the battery. When
reconnecting the electrical supply to the
battery, make sure that the ignition in
the OFF mode and the driver side door
is closed.
 

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Gee.....what a palaver.

About to leave the car un-driven for a month. Never done all this stuff before though!

My MX5 BTW, won't go more than about two weeks unattended without flattening its battery! Mazda's "gram strategy" having left it with a battery that's marginal for the job at best.

Sounds like I'm going to have to disconnect the battery on both cars!
 
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Gee.....what a palaver.
Really ?? Remember Mark's car ?? (on FB) - same sorta thing happened

My car was delivered with a misfire - diagnosed as a similar issue

Having said that - my car is a weekend toy so only gets started once a week with no issues
 

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More from the manual. Nothing that even comes close to the rubbish this dealer is sprouting:

STORING THE
VEHICLE

Any time the vehicle is left inactive for
two weeks or more, operate the air
conditioning system with engine idling
for at least five minutes, setting external
air and with fan set to maximum speed.
This operation will ensure appropriate
lubrication for the system, thus
minimizing the possibility of damage to
the compressor when the system is
operated again.
This is the part of that section that gets me the most. I'm not an automotive refrigeration expert, but running a refrigeration system during conditions for which it was not designed (such as winter in Minnesota) surely can cause it's own problems. That said, I'm guessing the windshield defrost system utilizes the AC system, but running the car every 2 weeks during long term storage to run the AC? I don't run the AC during the summer as it it, nor the windshield defroster. It's a convertible, my roof is nearly always down (except when parked in the lot at work). Nor do I run my household air conditioning system during the winter, doing so will harm a household AC system.

So to repeat someone else's question- are the dealers running the AC systems on all their parked inventory every 2 weeks to prevent problems with the AC? I say there is a 0% chance of that happening anywhere in the country.

How about when every single 124 Spider built sat in a Japan shipyard, and in the cargo hold of a ship, and in rail cars... for unknown days/weeks, were batteries charged and engines turned over to maintain engine oil pressure and AC systems activated every 2 weeks, etc.? These things they suggest contradict the whole notion of long term storage.

My car will be mothballed in November sometime, and not brought back into service until about April 1. I'm not going to start the engine every 2 weeks to run their suggestions, only to foul my fresh motor oil, and engine, with corrosive, acidic condensation. (The engine oil will not be up to full operating temp in 5 minutes of idling in a MN winter. Maybe in 20 minutes.) My engine will be full of water by spring if I do this. I can't believe an automotive engineer wrote this. Who are they trying to kid?

Thoughts? Please correct me if I am wrong.

Steve.
 

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Cmon what's this BS I am reading here, Most of us winterize the spider, and every 3 weeks I would go and pay a visit. Start her, go back and forth a couple of time and put her asleep and never missed a start. She would tell me AU REVOIR.
 

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A battery tender will keep the battery "UP" and extend it's life span.
In a communal garage in an inner city apartment. No power source to connect a battery tender to so it's not an option.

You'd think you could leave a modern car for a month without problems!!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
http://articles.sae.org/8703/

The Fiat Multiair system uses engine oil as a hydraulic fluid to transmit force from the cam follower to the intake valves. There are solenoids in each hydraulic line that the computer can open to relieve the oil pressure back to the sump, this is how the engine varies its valve timing and lift. It is possible that while your car was sitting the oil drained out of these lines back to the sump, so your intake valves did not open when you cranked it.

How long did you try to crank it for before getting it towed? Mine has sat for a few days several times and I've had no problems starting.

I tried to start it about 8 times before I stopped before I ruined the starter or something else...
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I left my 124 Abarth unused (and without a battery tender) for a month, and it started right up. Where is your dealer? Everyone should avoid that dealer.
Dealer is Thomson Dodge Jeep in Thomson Georgia. Since you're in Portland doubtful you'll have to use them for service!
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
http://articles.sae.org/8703/

The Fiat Multiair system uses engine oil as a hydraulic fluid to transmit force from the cam follower to the intake valves. There are solenoids in each hydraulic line that the computer can open to relieve the oil pressure back to the sump, this is how the engine varies its valve timing and lift. It is possible that while your car was sitting the oil drained out of these lines back to the sump, so your intake valves did not open when you cranked it.

How long did you try to crank it for before getting it towed? Mine has sat for a few days several times and I've had no problems starting.
Does anyone know if the oil is supposed to be held in place by the solenoids or a type of check valve? If not the case I'm wondering if the crankcase machining is out of spec allowing the oil to drain out..... Since the dealer is clueless I'm trying to figure out the technical diagnosis so I can go back to Fiat for some kind of repair solution. Help anyone?
 

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This is the specific condition i mentioned i was warned (in the storage thread) could happen when the car sits for a period of time. Your dealership gave way too short of a period before it happens, but it can happen, just because most haven't had it happen yet doesn't mean it can't. As others have stated it is possible to get the car started it is just a bugger and you will likely need to have a charger or jumpers cable on the vehicle to achieve resuscitating the engine when i has bled down.
 

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The car is under warranty. As the above answers (and common sense) show, in 2017 it is NOT the case that special measures have to be taken when leaving a car undriven for a few days. Everyone goes on holiday/away for work/drives another car for a few days; many (including me) will only use the Spider at weekends, and not every weekend.

You therefore have to go to your dealer and insist, on the threat of legal action, that they report the problem to Fiat and give you an urgent solution.

It may be worth casually mentioning that you have already discussed the matter with a lawyer; also worth mentioning the power of social media.
 
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