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1.0 Liter R Reg Engine AER wont start/run


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Hello All,
I have a 98' SEAT Arosa 1.0 with engine code AER. with 35,000 miles on the clock (sorry kind of a cut down Polo really)  It was a great runner until it was parked up at the side of the house 2 years and 8 months ago. I started it every 6 months or so and ran it for a while with no problems. The Saturday before last I decided to get it back on the road so jump started it and it started first time and settled down to tick over nicely for 20 mins or so until I turned it off. As the battery was knackered I ordered a new one that week (reasonable quality VARTA). This was fitted this weekend, unfortunately when I came to start it it was running really bad. like it was only on 3 cylinders. Instead of persisting I decided that the fuel was most probably past it, so I got hold of a new fuel filter, drained the tank and filled up with fresh fuel. The old fuel was the colour of Whiskey so it wasn't good.
No change. still very lumpy. Checked the Dizy and all HT connections etc, Nothing obviously loose etc. Tried unplugging cylinder 1, this made no difference to the running, 2 and 3 caused the engine to stall, 4 also made no difference. All HT's seems to be arcing away strongly to the metal shrouds on all cylinders. Checked the plugs for damage and cleaned (looked really good actually) however, 1 and 4 were wet. Didn't have any spare plugs or leads so sprayed the whole area in WD40 to see what happened. started and ran beautifully, 5 mins then reverted to running badly.Tried the spay again, but still ran badly.
Decided to compression test it just to clear up any concern about valves. Did this with a cheap AM-Tech unit which I know from testing my Ghia is not correct and it gave 85 psi across all cylinders which is very low, but that's the crappy gauge. the important thing was they were all identical. Checked the connections to the injectors for security etc. Tried to start again, but now would not start at all. Just the odd fire and backfire through the throttle. Checked the dizzy again and found it to be cracked. GREAT. ordered a new on. This arrived today. Fitted it, still the same. Wont start. Checked the leads and coil with my timing strobe and there is power traveling down the leads from the dizzy, so I guess the coil, dizzy and cap are OK, so maybe just the connections to the plugs and/or the plugs or something fuel related?

Any pointers/experience would be much appreciated.

This was supposed to be a cheap recommissioning as it also needs an exhaust and MOT. I really don't want to throw money at it. Shame really as its in really good nick, Money so far - Battery £45.00, Fuel filter £7.50, Fuel 25.00, Dizzy and Rotor £15.00 = £92.00. It soon mounds up.

Update, Just removed all the plugs and checked them for firing. They are all sparking, how well I am unsure but there is a blue spark present for all of them. All of the plugs except one from number 2 cylinder were wet and smelled of fuel. Number two is the one that is firing now and then, so was dry and sooty. So, fuel is present along with a spark, Cant think what I'm missing?

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  • Mooresy

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Welcome. 

 

I assume distributor cap not distributor unit was cracked...

If you rotated dizzy unit it could simply be wrong timing.

 

Why did cap crack?

Is the rotor arm damaged?

 

Edited by dvderlm
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Hello and thanks,

Yes, the dizzy cap was found to be cracked.

Rotor arm fine.

Dizzy was the OE Magneti Marelli dated 1997 so original to the car. The actual distributor body was not moved and probably has not moved in 22 years. Still bolted up tight. Cap may have cracked due to age and maybe disturbing it to remove and re-attach, I guess it happens.

Ordered a code reader to see whats going on as my old school ways don't work on 'modern' stuff, I'll save them for may Ghia.

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Check the throttle body is actuating. I think it's a fly by wire on these (sensor and a stepper motor, which might need its base values resetting to idle OK, but should still run). If you put the key on the second click, you should hear it buzz, then see if it moves with the pedal.

 

The old fuel won't help, but I would be suprised if it was just that stopping it. 

 

I know its no-ones favourite option, but I'd be tempted to give it a quick whiff of easy start in the hope the engine gets going enough to give the ECU some useful numbers to work with. 

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On 09/11/2019 at 12:42, Yeti said:

Check the throttle body is actuating. I think it's a fly by wire on these (sensor and a stepper motor, which might need its base values resetting to idle OK, but should still run). If you put the key on the second click, you should hear it buzz, then see if it moves with the pedal.

 

The old fuel won't help, but I would be suprised if it was just that stopping it. 

 

I know its no-ones favourite option, but I'd be tempted to give it a quick whiff of easy start in the hope the engine gets going enough to give the ECU some useful numbers to work with. 

Fuel and filter was changed.

 

Does anyone know of a cheap code reader that will read the codes on this car. I guess its a cut down early  MK3 Polo, passably with a MK2 engine? Bought a MemoScanner U281 and it wont read it, reads my Jag ok but not the Seat?

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nige8021
35 minutes ago, Mooresy said:

Does anyone know of a cheap code reader that will read the codes on this car. I guess its a cut down early  MK3 Polo, passably with a MK2 engine? Bought a MemoScanner U281 and it wont read it, reads my Jag ok but not the Seat?

If you have a windows laptop ? this will be your best option https://www.gendan.co.uk/product_VAGUSB.html 

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Thanks for the pointer Nige,

Just borrowed a Snap-on Solos-Ultra, just been playing with it and it lists my 97 Arosa 1.0 MPI, so what could possibly go wrong?

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Thanks all,
Just put it back together with a fully charged battery and performed a scan using the Snap-on Solus Ultra.

Initially it was displaying 6 fault codes -

00533 Idle speed regulation control limit exceed.
01087 Basic setting not performed, signal outside tolerances.
00524 Knock sensor 1 (G16) open circuit/short with ground - intermittent.
00537 O2 Sensor Regulation control limit exceeded - intermittent.
00518 Throttle position sensor (G69) open circuit/short with power - intermittent.
00530 Throttle position sensor (G88) open circuit /short with power - Intermittent.

I then reset the fault codes and attempted to restart the engine.

It then came up with only two fault codes -

00533 Idle speed regulation control limit exceed.
01087 Basic setting not performed, signal outside tolerances.

Reset the service indicator and performed an instrumentation/ calibration check.

Cleared the 2 codes above and tried one last time, came up with the same 2 codes on attempting to start.

00533 Idle speed regulation control limit exceed.
01087 Basic setting not performed, signal outside tolerances.

The engine will just about start and run if you hold the throttle open. Sound/feels like its only running on 2 (or even 1 if that is possible)

Any idea's ?
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nige8021

Not sure with the Solus if it will allow you to run the TBA (Throttle Body Alignment) test ? (http://wiki.ross-tech.com/wiki/index.php/Throttle_Body_Alignment_(TBA)) as that should get rid of those remaining codes, if not take it for a drive for around 20 mins and drive it with as much variations of throttle/speeds and that should allow the ECU to relearn the values for the throttle body 

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Yes, Had a play around and the Solus Ultra does have a function for throttle body alignment. So this is now done, It went trough the cycle fine.

 

Didn't think this would fix it, but its now elinminated, from experience throttle body alighnment on this model usually means high/low and erratic tick over rather than simply not starting, but I may be wrong.

 

No fault codes are now showing. It was originally 00533 Idle speed and 01087 basic settings not performed.
Unfortunately, the car is still in the same state. No codes but will only try to fire on what sounds like one cylinder. No change?

Tank full of fresh fuel (yes, checked its not Diesel )
Fuel filter changed (its on the right way around)
Fuel pump operational (squirting lots of fuel out when pipe disconnected on turning the key)
Compression test fine (all exactly the same)
No vacuum leaks (that I can see of feel)
Spark plugs are wet and smell of fuel (so fuel present)
Spark plugs sparking (looks to be a strong blue spark, also checked with strobe)
Cracked Distributor cap replaced (Intermotor part not a cheapo)
New Varta Battery, fully charged.
No fault codes (all cleared when the throttle body was aligned)

Cant understand why last weekend it ran perfect for a bit after a dowsing in WD. May have been a coincidence as it didn't do it again, and wont now.

 

So, nothing here pointing to -

HT leads 

Coil 

Spark plugs

Fuel supply

Fault codes

 

What will/wont the ECU log. ie can it detect a defective plug or plug lead? Would this get recorded as a misfire on whatever cylinder, like-wise if the throttle body was defective, would the ECU trow a fault up for this?

Any Idea's from experience, as this is now doing my head in. I'm guessing that if something was wrong, it would log it on the ECU?

 

Any Idea's from experience, as this is now doing my head in. I'm guessing that if something was wrong, it would log it on the ECU?

Edited by Mooresy
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nige8021

The ECU will only log info from it's given sensors and on your engine that is quite limited, if it was running and it was misfiring then yes that would be picked up from the "knock" sensor but it doesn't (can't) monitor each HT lead.

 

As you have fuel on the plugs and a good spark at the each plug? the only things that would stop it from running would be zero compression but you have eliminated that so the only other thing would be the spark and injection isn't happening at the correct time

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Thanks,
Firstly, not going to get too hung up too much on the timing at the  moment. As when I was attempting to get it running right a couple of weekends ago I managed to restore it to running perfect by doing nothing other than spaying WD over everything, unfortunately this was short lived and I wasn't able to replicate it again 


I must admit, my first port of call would have been HT's, then coil etc. Problem is when I test them, with my strobe, all are sparking, or appear to be sparking.

Just took the coil off (its the single Mono-motronic, pre 98 set-up). I have just checked it and the readings are as follows -

Referencing the wiring diagram, Terminal 1 of the multi plug is earth, terminal 2 goes to ECU/control, terminal 3 is positive, goes to fuse box. Fuse cant be gone as it tries to fire on one cylinder.

Results -
Primary terminals (across positive and negative) is 2.20k Ohms, which is ridiculously high? Suff I'm finding on ignition coil testing is saying it should be more like 0.4 to 2.0 Ohms.

The secondary resistance between the positive and the HT output is coming in at 3.05k Ohms which should typically be over 6.0 Ohms.

Positive to casing gives same as pos to neg terminals.

Now if the coil is knackered, its doing a good job of pretending its not as I have a spark on all cylinders?

Maybe its weak and does not spark under compression?

Any Idea what the readings for a good coil should be. I'm going to check/compare my Karmann coil an see what results I get from that just to ensure I'm not doing something wrong, as the Karmann does run sweet.

Edited by Mooresy
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Just tested My Karmann Ghia coil which works perfectly for a 50 year old coil -

Results -
Primary terminals (across positive and negative) is 0.4 Ohms, which is in range for a good coil. Suff I'm finding on ignition coil testing is saying it should be 0.4 to 2.0 Ohms.

The secondary resistance between the positive and the HT output is coming in at 7.93k Ohms which should typically be over 6k to 8k Ohms, (with some as high as 15k Ohms) so that fine.

Tested the Arosa coil one again just to make sure.

Results -
Primary terminals (across positive and negative) is 480 Ohms (I had to dial the mulimeter up from 200 to 2000 to get a reading) when the Ghia coil gave me a reading on the 200 multimeter range of 0.4. So this does not look right, Its too high.

The secondary resistance between the positive and the HT output is coming in at 3.05k Ohms which should typically be over 6.0k Ohms, so looks dodgy.
Must have does something wrong when I tested the Arosa coil first time to get 2.20k?

Then checked the HT leads (while connected to the cap to check the cap connection also).

So in order of length as numbered by VW on the OE leads -
Coil to center terminal of dizzy = 2.11k Ohms
4 = 5.48k Ohms
3 = 5.94K Ohms
2 = 5.74k Ohms
1 = 5.83k Ohms

In theory they should get more residence as the length increases which is broadly right other than the exception of No 3.

Flexing the leads whilst under test didn't cause any of the values to move or flicker.

Checked one of my new Karmann Ghia leads (much thicker) and got 1.92K Ohms. Significantly lower, but doubtful this is the cause.

 

Looking like the coil is suspect, but its sparking at the plugs?

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Thanks for that Nige, most helpfull.

So the coil had a little fold down door to get at the terminals. Using the 3 pin connector at the top gives a different (and out of spec) reading. Must be some additional circuitry.

So I have ran the tests -

Bridging 1 to 15 = 0.07 Ohms - In spec (0.5 to 1.5 Ohms)

Bridging 15 to 4 = 3.08 Ohms - In spec (2.5 to 4.0 K Ohms)

 

So the coil is good and the ignition leads are reasonably good.

 

I just need to check the outputs to the coil on the car when its light.

 

Thanks again for the info.

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nige8021

The three pin connector goes to the ignition amp that is part of the coil unit, so that is why you initially had some strange readings

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Is the throttle body sealed down properly? What you said makes me think it sucked the WD out of the air in under the throttle body and had a feast on that for a while. 

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10 hours ago, nige8021 said:

The three pin connector goes to the ignition amp that is part of the coil unit, so that is why you initially had some strange readings

Quite, It wasn't until I studied the pictures you sent that I saw the cover over the terminals.

 

So here's where I am now -

Halls sensor in Dizzy, I believe if these fail then you get no spark, so cant be this?

Knock Sensor, everything I read says this wont stop the car from starting?

ECU Corrupted/problem?

Spark Plugs, all of them failed at once?

Timing jumped, if so why did it run for a period of time after being sprayed with WD

Loose wire, fuse rely, why does it try to start and fire on one or two?

Coil defective, and failing under load/spark under compression not enough, thought this was more of a misfire issue under acceleration?

 

One observation I made yesterday was when cleaning and drying out the plugs, I decided to check the gaps. Looked in the Haynes and it said 1.0 gap. All were tight, so opened up and gapped at 1.0 mm

Put back in the car dry and warm - nothing, not even trying now.

 

Cross referenced the gap setting on the other sources which recommended 0.9mm which is probably where they were. Now this may be a coincidence but opening the the gap by 0.1mm changed the status from trying to not firing at-all. So could the coil be still suspect as I cannot see a healthy ignition system being bothered by 0.1 mm, but I suppose that its not healthy.

 

Building a great thread here for the AER 1.0 engine, lets just hope it ends well!

 

 

 

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4 hours ago, Yeti said:

Is the throttle body sealed down properly? What you said makes me think it sucked the WD out of the air in under the throttle body and had a feast on that for a while. 

Thanks, Throttle body hasn't been moved and is bolted down tight. Car was running perfect when started a around 4 weeks ago, same as when it was laid up over 2.5 years ago. As mentioned, could not repeat the WD trick again, may have been a coincidence?

 

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nige8021

The plug gap varies between the different makes but 0.8~1.1 should be fine, have you taken all 4 out and laid them on the head and checked they are all giving a nice fat blue spark ?

 

If the knock sensor was bad that would of thrown up a fault code so we can assume it's OK 

 

The hall sensors do fail, but if it had you wouldn't be getting any spark 

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Had another look at this today -
Unfortunately, it started to get dark at about 15.30 so had to pack away without actually trying to start the thing.

Removed ECU, cleaned the connector with electrical cleaning spray.
Opened the ECU and checked for any visible deterioration, water ingress etc. Fine so spayed with electrical cleaner.

Broke all the connections I could find, spayed with electrical cleaner and remade.

Removed the spark plugs again, checked for resistance, continuity, shorting etc, all ok

1 = 4.91k ohms
2 = 4.22k ohms
3 = 4.21k ohms
4 = 4.22k ohms
Should be between 4 and 6.5 depending on resistor so all good and no shorts.

 

All plugs gapped at 1.0mm

Removed all earth points to engine and body cleaned/sanded and reattached.

Not checked starting yet, but don't hold much hope?

Just a question, Whats the best way of checking the timing and is there any way of ruling out the ECU?

 

So, stuff to check further.

Relays, could it be a dodgy relay somewhere?

ECU, How do I now if this is dodgy, corrupted etc? 

Injectors or injection rail/wiring, fuel is getting there but may not be at the right time /quantity etc?

Thanks,
Chris.

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steveo3002

forgive if its been mentioned already

 

hold a spark plug with its lead still attached to the metal part of the engine ..get a helper to crank it and watch for a bright spark....plenty of youtube vids to show this /same on most cars

 

after cranking pull all 4 plugs...are they dry or wet with fuel ?

 

does the fuel pump buzz at all when ign turned on 

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  • 2 weeks later...

OK, Its fixed. Thanks for all the support and suggestions.

 

Still cant get my head around it. Well I can, but there are still some things I don't understand.

 

Bought a set of new Intermotor  HT's, fitted them today and it fired-up instantly and settled to a smooth idle at around 900 rpm. Perfect.

Totally confused by how the originals failed, all at once, all together, also how each plug was sparking strongly when tested with no tracking when checked in the dark. Also, checked with strobe HT clamp and it showed them to be sparking. Finally, tested them for continually and resistance and all tested fine. So why didn't they allow the feckin' car to run?

 

Took the new ones off and replaced with the old again, just to check that I wasn't loosing my head, and no, wouldn't start, just 'chugging' on one cylinder? intermittently. Took each  plug out and to check and they were fooking sparking, every fooking one!!!

Put the new ones back on, fired up instantly, ticking over smooth. Took the new ones out, and obviously they were sparking, just the fooking same as the original ones.

 

So, what happened was, the car was stood for over two years and started every now and then, It always started and ticked over fine. The week before I got into these problems it started fine and ticked over sweet. The very next weekend it was started again and developed a misfire on one cylinder. At this stage I beloved it to be a plug lead perhaps as I found that one could be unplugged without effecting the running. Next weekend it wouldn't start, so this made me think it perhaps has a dodgy lead, but now something else has developed. 

 

These are the readings for the defective plug leads. ie defective meaning they allow the plugs to spark and give the impression of functioning leads but not allow the engine to run?

4 = 5.48k Ohms
3 = 5.94K Ohms
2 = 5.74k Ohms
1 = 5.83k Ohms

For reference the new plug leads all tested at around 2 - 2.5 Ohms. Now I don't think the results above are bad enough not to allow the car to run, but it appears that they are?

This has been a frustrating journey, that totally mislead me. Still will never know how the HT's can go from an intermittent misfire on one cylinder to a complete no-start in less than half an hour.

 

One big circle. Just glad it was something and nothing.

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