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Smoking 2.2 Fiat again

Geoff Cole

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In September 2010 I started a thread about the problem I was having in France with my Fiat based 2.2 Motor home pouring out black smoke. After having the EGR valve replaced which was not the problem I then took it to a Bosch diesel specialist. There diagnosis was that I had picked up some bad fuel, they cleaned out the tank and replaced filters this was not cheap either.

I was still not convinced that this was the problem, I had reported that I had a problem with the engine misfiring on occasions followed by a the rev counter and temp gauge going to zero as well as the mileage not recording. I found that if I disconnected the plug on the mass airflow sensor located in the outlet pipe from the air filter then reconnected it the problem disappeared.

As this occurred before bellowing out volumes of black smoke, I thought that the problem was possibly with a malfunction of the air flow sensor. I relayed this information to the Fiat garage that I had been directed to in order to have the problem looked into and repaired. I also had reported this problem to the Fiat garage that was looking after it whilst under the 3 year warranty.

The reason that I have brought this matter up again is to warn you all that miss diagnosis by Fiat service centres can leave you out of pocket with bodged up repairs and parts replaced unnecessarily with the problem not fixed.

Whilst travelling down to our base in France recently the problem re-occurred the engine misfired, instruments went haywire and I noticed clouds of black smoke in the mirror. Thinking it could be dirty injectors I put a bottle of injector cleaner into the fuel tank and carried on my journey.

When we arrived at our base there had not been any great improvement. So bonnet up air filter out, no problems there but I did notice that there was soot around the flanges of the EGR valve that had been replaced in September 2010, I removed it thinking there was a blown gasket, well I was not far wrong, it would appear that when the new valve was fitted they did not replace the stainless steel gaskets but coated them with exhaust paste, this had blown out and caused an air leak it had also damaged the surface of the flanges on the EGR valve. I re-dressed the flange services replaced the gaskets and refitted the valve correctly using no jointing compound. So not only did I pay for a valve that I did not need, it was a bodged up job.

I still had the problem of a very sooted up exhaust poor fuel consumption and pouring out lumps of soot, giving passing cyclists black knees and our Westie looking more like a Dalmatian when outside the camper. I was still thinking the problem was with the airflow meter, the engine was obviously being over fuelled, it was like running with the choke out! the tick over uneven and if the accelerator pedal was lightly pressed volumes of black smoke belched out.

I phoned the garage that now carries out my servicing as the Fiat agent is no longer trading; it is a proper garage with real mechanics that don’t just rely on computers. I relayed the problem and my own thoughts as to the cause, he agreed that the problem was possibly in the airflow sensor, he said the best way to test whether it was faulty would be to disconnect the airflow sensor and take the camper for a run, this is what he would do presented with this problem with the diagnostic computer connected so that fuel pressure readings could be taken, apparently the ECU defaults to a standard setting when the airflow meter is disconnected and the engine will run ok. I disconnected the airflow sensor and started the engine, I noticed straight away that the tick over was even, so off we went on a run through the landes forest with straight roads and not a lot of traffic it provided ideal conditions for the test. Looking in the mirror there was no smoke to be seen, it was running a lot better and performance was fine. We did about 80miles visiting Barbotan les Thermes and the lake on the way super campsite there very nice spa town.

On returning to our base I discussed the outcome of the test with the garage we both agreed that the sensor was probably faulty and a replacement should be sought. A new Bosch airflow sensor has now been ordered costing around £200 “ouch” and hopefully the problems I have had should be solved.

But this begs the question “why have 5 Fiat service centres not been able to solve the problem” it started in September 2007 when the it refused to start and was towed off to a fiat service centre in Agen France where they managed to get it going blaming the alarm system and then to the Fiat service centre on our return to the IOM.

As in most things if you follow your gut instinct on a problem you are usually right, I had my suspicions all along that the fault was with the airflow sensor. Had I followed my instinct I would have saved myself a lot of grief and expense, also the problem would have been solved some time ago. It would seem that the so called “experts did not listen to my diagnosis of the problem, they had their own agenda relying on computers to provide the answer, they did not even take it for a run to test my theory. It’s no good complaining to Fiat they just fob you off and don’t want to know. We always end up picking up the cost of these errors and mistakes by the so called experts, in my case I have been charged about £700 for bad workmanship unnecessary parts and faulty diagnosis.

Time will tell whether I am right but I am far more hopeful that the problem has finally been solved.

I hope that by passing on my experiences it might be of help to others that find themselves in the same situation.

Regards to you all

Geoff Cole



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My experiance of two different Fiat main dealers are that they are useless.

First one could not adjust sld and bodged a fix to stop open door alarm sounding.

The second also couldn't adjust door, told me would have to visit body specialist, so I fixed it myself *-)

Also on first service, told "park it over there sir, we keep campers seperate to wvm as we know you like to look after vehicle" well looking after vehicle seems to mean getting oily fingerprints over front and scratching front panels. Well thats the dealers in MK and Cambridge off my chrismas card list, next time it gets serviced at my friends independant garage where I can be assured the job gets done correctly.

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