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Old 1st September 2013, 21:32   #1
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Default Fiat Palio MJD: Engine Failure & Rebuild

This is a story of a tank which never lost its battle, however had to undergo a heart surgery to get a second lease of life.


All bhpians,below written is an excerpt from a life of palio 1.3mjd and its last few days before it underwent a heart transplant.


I bought this used car from a working professional in Chennai and the car had clocked a healthy 41000km on its odo in 3.5 years.Buying the car was a pleasant experience and the tank did its duty diligently on regular Chennai Bangalore runs.Within 7 months of purchase I clocked an additional 21000km on this car before its engine started showing signs of ailment.
Through the last few runs on this car I had been experiencing a gradual loss of power and performance with every subsequent trip between Chennai and Bangalore.Slowly it became very evindent as my tank barely managed to keep up with other multijets on the road.I knew something was wrong until one day I drove my colleagues palio multijet.The difference in the drive was noteworthy and I knew my pocket was waiting to be drilled.


Soon after I consulted my Chennai mechanna ,he droped a bomb that the engine was on one if its last runs and would soon be dead.

Precisely as I pieced together the history of symptoms of engine failure my tank had been showing, I remembered I started feeling something big was going to go wrong when turbo whine became unusually audible on one of my highway runs and it sounded like the impellers were touching the turbo housing due to axial play on the shaft.


Prior to that car had consumed 1 litre of engine oil in 3000km of running after I did an oil change service.
Slowly I started noticing traces of blue smoke when I would start car in the morning and also while idling.exhaust fumes smelt like burnt engine oil.I thought it was only turbo which was causing the mayhem and had almost decided to get a new turbo charger for 12000 INR from turbo energy limited.


Consultation with my Chennai mechanic revealed that the engine had also developed a compression leak as the dip stick was leaking unburnt charge when he pulled the dipstick with the engine idling.My heart sank at that moment and it felt like the world came crashing.


The day I drove my colleagues car I realized that I had bought a lemon and my car never packed the rocket punch as his car did.
I got this bummer after meticulously maintaining the car and changing e oil every 5000km and one gear oil change and a clutch replacement.


All of this put together made me decide to do away with the car and invest on a new punto.This incidentally also came at the time of mega discount offered on the punto. I went to Ramky fiat Chennai and took a test drive and nearly got the loan sanctioned along with trade in of 2lakh INR for the existing car.I was hoping I would get 250000 INR and loan the balance amount to buy a punto diesel dynamic which was turning out to be 698000 INR on road.


A lot of thinking and mind bending happened which finally compelled me to drop the idea of going for a new punto.Future plans and other commitments did not allow me to go for it.
In the mean time my tbhpian colleague introduced me to another mechanna (sorry cannot share the details).He used to be the erstwhile FASS back in the era and now has a full fledged 10+ bay workshop.I also came across two other palio mjd owners who faced the same problem and decided to make their tanks undergo a heart transplant at this garage. They were satisfied and their cars had clocked more than 40000km after the replacement.

I made up my mind and my and finally decided to give the car for its heart transplant.
On going through various other forums I found out that lot of palio mjd owners are facing this issue – turbo failure and compression leak.These failures are surfacing typically around 60-70k km mark on the odo.
I never entertained the idea of overhauling my tanks heart because for the same price I could get a factory assembled one although used but there is remarkable difference in the life of a heart which is assembled on a line as compared to the one which is overhauled at an authorized dealership or a garage of an expert mechanic.




Key learnings out of this experience-
  • 1) Never buy a car without consulting a good mechanic.I tried to act a hero and ran a few checks on service history of the car etc, test drove it found ok and went ahead to purchase it.
  • 2) Always benchmark the car before you buy it.I should have driven atleast 2 cars to know how different my car felt, now given the fact that from the day one my car was a slow turtle in comparison to other palio mjds.I realized it very late when I test drove my colleague’s car.
  • 3) Before buying a diesel car – do the simple dipstick test.I do not know why it is not mentioned on Teambhp’s thread of ‘how to buy a used car’. It is such a simple test which is a telltale for compression leak. Start the engine and simply pull the dipstick up, if you see white smoke(unburnt charge) coming out you are looking at a doomed diesel engine.
  • 4) Bring the engine to its optimum running temp so that oil thins out and rev it hard to find out the health of turbocharger.My turbo would whine very loud like a ghost when oil would become thin and I would have run the car for sometime. Believe it or not turbo did not whine when I got the car evaluated at a couple of used car dealers. They did not even check the dipstick.Had they given me 20-30k more they would have bought a wrecked engine.When you are out there test the turbo hard. One or two revs will not do much.rev the engine hard to find out any failure.
  • 5) Carefully sit near the exhaust and observe the colour of smoke.Take a white sheet and place it on the ground to enhance the contrast.Blue smoke in my car was not visible unless looked at carfully.Check the exhaust tip for wetness. A kaput turbo will sputter oil.oil can be found either on exhaust side or intake side.If given a chance you can see the intercooler for any oil traces.
  • 6) Take the car on highway and push It beyond 2500 rpm in topgear. Engine with compression leak like mine will struggle to cross 2900-3000RPM.
  • 7) Never play around with the oils.Always stick to the recommended oil. It is not only for an OEM’s commercial benefit that a genuine oil is recommended for use, there is lot of testing and research that goes behind selection of an oil for a motor.
Below attached is my video which is simple and tells how to do the dipstick test.Also attached is the sound track which has captured the whine of a failed turbo on my car.


I dont think I will be able to share other details about my tanks heart’s transplant on a public forum.(donor heart comes with some legal implications) to name a few are insurance, motor’s number,donor’s condition.


Donor has to be carefully selected. Total loss vehicles can be evaluated.If it is a side or rear impact or a turtled vehicle then you can weigh your options and get the heart.


If you are an enthusiast then you can also consider going for a powerful version like I had the option of plonking a 90HP one but I did not do it because I simply did not want anymore experimentation, but you will have to see if your gearbox is capable of handling the torque produced by a more powerful engine.


Finally thanks to my colleague and another PUG member, the car is back and running. It floats like a cady and stings like a bimmer.


I got the EGR port blanked.There is a blanking gasket which does not allow the gases to flow back now.
Catalytic converter has also been thrown away.The car expels all the burnt gases freely now.
I had to take the above mentioned two environment damaging steps because I do not want my tank to get a third lease of life .


Last edited by GTO : 2nd September 2013 at 16:30. Reason: Embedding video
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Old 1st September 2013, 22:33   #2
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Default re: Fiat Palio MJD: Engine Failure & Rebuild

The compression emission through dipatick is known as blowback and is a symptom of compressed charge leaking through the Piston and Rings into the crank case.
This applies to gasoline engines as well.
My advice is to get the new engine's number endorsed in the RC so that it becomes legitimate. (Though some mechanics punch in the number of the discarded engine on to the donor engine)

Last edited by rajeev k : 1st September 2013 at 22:37.
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Old 1st September 2013, 23:35   #3
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Default re: Fiat Palio MJD: Engine Failure & Rebuild

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Originally Posted by antorquetik View Post
Catalytic converter has also been thrown away.The car expels all the burnt gases freely now.
Did you get any error code because of the de-cat?
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Old 1st September 2013, 23:42   #4
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Default re: Fiat Palio MJD: Engine Failure & Rebuild

Quote:
Originally Posted by antorquetik View Post
This is a story of a tank which never lost its battle, however had to undergo a heart surgery to get a second lease of life.


All bhpians,below written is an excerpt from a life of palio 1.3mjd and its last few days before it underwent a heart transplant.


Despite all the travails, your positive frame of mind is inspiring. And so is your willingness to share your story and spread information. Anyway, wish you many a happy mile on your "Tank" after the OHS.

Cheers,

Jay

Last edited by JayPrashanth : 1st September 2013 at 23:43. Reason: grammar
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Old 2nd September 2013, 08:09   #5
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Originally Posted by antorquetik View Post
I got the EGR port blanked.There is a blanking gasket which does not allow the gases to flow back now.
Catalytic converter has also been thrown away.The car expels all the burnt gases freely now.
That was a real informative thread for me. As someone asked I would like to know whether there is any error message coming for removing the cat and a blocked EGR?

What made you decide to block the EGR? To my knowledge it plays a vital role in complete combustion of fuel especially during acceleration and I believe the ECU is programmed to work with EGR. correct me if I'm wrong. The ECU might sense the absence of EGR and act accordingly, but I suspect that might affect the intended performance of the car. Please let me know if you got any info on this
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Old 2nd September 2013, 20:47   #6
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Default Re: Fiat Palio MJD: Engine Failure & Rebuild

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Originally Posted by rajeev k View Post
The compression emission through dipatick is known as blowback and is a symptom of compressed charge leaking through the Piston and Rings into the crank case.
This applies to gasoline engines as well.
My advice is to get the new engine's number endorsed in the RC so that it becomes legitimate. (Though some mechanics punch in the number of the discarded engine on to the donor engine)
yes these are blowby gases which are not allowed to escape into atmosphere by virtue of a positive crank case ventilation system.certain amount of blowby is normal where the oil vapour passes through baffle plates to collect the oil back and a PCvalve which opens on a particular pressure buildup to allow passage of blowby gases back into intake manifold.
Some nasty oil motors are found to produce lot of blowby gases and there it is advised to use an oil catch can which can collect all the oil and allow only gases to flow back to engine thus reducing oil consumption to an extent and largely preventing gunk formation on the intake side.

Yes you are right on the engine Number suggestion, but for some practical reasons and it being a daunting task to visit RTO a million times, I'd rather let it be.
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Old 2nd September 2013, 20:49   #7
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Default Re: Fiat Palio MJD: Engine Failure & Rebuild

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Did you get any error code because of the de-cat?
No mine was and is a BS3 engine. so it will not throw any error.Additionally there is no measure of NOx by any sensor on the exhaust side.
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Old 2nd September 2013, 21:27   #8
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Default Re: Fiat Palio MJD: Engine Failure & Rebuild

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That was a real informative thread for me. As someone asked I would like to know whether there is any error message coming for removing the cat and a blocked EGR?

What made you decide to block the EGR? To my knowledge it plays a vital role in complete combustion of fuel especially during acceleration and I believe the ECU is programmed to work with EGR. correct me if I'm wrong. The ECU might sense the absence of EGR and act accordingly, but I suspect that might affect the intended performance of the car. Please let me know if you got any info on this
I decided to blank the EGR because I did not want any trouble with the engine.
BS3 engine may or may not detect an unplugged EGR connector and will accordingly advance the injection.just to be on safer side I let the connector be so that ECU know it is opening and closing the EGR valve but no gases flow back into the engine due to blanking plate.
A 90HP BS4 engine will throw a check engine light on pulling the EGR connector out.Only way to stop EGR is to blank it or Re-map the ECU with EGR deleted.

EGR starts at part loads and allows exhaust gases to take place of fresh air thus reducing the oxygen content and helps cylinders burn fuels at lower temperatures.Low temperature combustion translates to less amount of Nox produced.EGR provides compliance with emission norms but at the cost of lost power and lowered engine efficiency.It also allows soot to flow back into the engine and also can cause swirl flaps or sticky oil buildup, increase in engine oil acidity and abrasives.
Some injection timing advance will also happen which will make the engine peppy but little noisy and will cause higher cylinder temperatures.Running very hot cylinders might lessen the life of pistons but either way I'd rather age my engine juicing every bit it can offer as compared to allowing EGR to ruin it.
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Old 2nd September 2013, 22:10   #9
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Default Re: Fiat Palio MJD: Engine Failure & Rebuild

Would this white smoke smoke come only during startup or would it remain continously during idling? And is this also applicable for NA diesel engines??
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Old 2nd September 2013, 22:33   #10
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Default Re: Fiat Palio MJD: Engine Failure & Rebuild

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Would this white smoke smoke come only during startup or would it remain continously during idling? And is this also applicable for NA diesel engines??
The theory is, piston rings wear causes combustion gases to leak into the crankcase and this is thrown out through the oil dipstick hole.
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Old 2nd September 2013, 23:06   #11
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Default Re: Fiat Palio MJD: Engine Failure & Rebuild

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Would this white smoke smoke come only during startup or would it remain continously during idling? And is this also applicable for NA diesel engines??
An engine with worn out piston or collapsed piston rings will emit this unburnt charge at all times.
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Old 3rd September 2013, 20:09   #12
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Default Re: Fiat Palio MJD: Engine Failure & Rebuild

What I heard from my mechanic is the plastic top cover is very important for all the MJD engines. Overtime these plastic will crack and allows dust to enter the engine and also the engine loose boost. slowly higher concentration of soot will wear the rings faster. All turbo pipes must be inspected at possible intervals to prevent damage to the engine.
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Old 3rd September 2013, 20:56   #13
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Default Re: Fiat Palio MJD: Engine Failure & Rebuild

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Originally Posted by antorquetik View Post


I got the EGR port blanked.There is a blanking gasket which does not allow the gases to flow back now.
Catalytic converter has also been thrown away.The car expels all the burnt gases freely now.

Mate this is not the right way to do it . EGR is the only thing in a exhaust system that can reduce NOX emissions. Now i need not specifically explain what NOX can do to our environment.
CatCon treats the unburt particulate in emissions.
I am sorry but just had to post this here.
Although the above two measures does affect the performance of an engine we as a educated society does have moral obligation to protect our environment.
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Old 3rd September 2013, 20:56   #14
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Default Re: Fiat Palio MJD: Engine Failure & Rebuild

A crying shame that you had to learn of this ailment when you were so passionate about your tank. But it's also good that you stuck to it and brought her back to life. I would definitely like to get some details about this from you being a fellow Fiat Palio MJD owner and what not.

I've more or less given up on Fiat after sales service. Irrespective of what I believed earlier, the old school staff that kept my faith alive, and the love for the brand and it's legacy, I've given up. I might sit down with a cup of coffee and write a long thread about how my enthusiasm and loyalty for Fiat died.

My MJD however, is the first car I got with my money. My feelings associated with this car are independent of the brand or painful service center experiences. I can't seem to ditch the car. I'm shifting states soon and I'm at the verge of selling the car in Delhi before I move. My heart however, says keep the car and maintain it with a nice old reputed mechanic (who I know).

The reason I'm stating all this in your thread is because my car has done 36,000 kms with a full clutch assembly replacement at 30,000 kms itself. It's a showroom car. I'm getting a little fearful about maintaining it after reading your story. I've already spent quite a bit of time and effort doing up the car according to my tastes, i.e. body kit, pumped up music system, interiors, accessories, etc. Inputs?
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Old 3rd September 2013, 23:23   #15
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Default Re: Fiat Palio MJD: Engine Failure & Rebuild

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A crying shame that you had to learn of this ailment when you were so passionate about your tank. But it's also good that you stuck to it and brought her back to life. I would definitely like to get some details about this from you being a fellow Fiat Palio MJD owner and what not.

I've more or less given up on Fiat after sales service. Irrespective of what I believed earlier, the old school staff that kept my faith alive, and the love for the brand and it's legacy, I've given up. I might sit down with a cup of coffee and write a long thread about how my enthusiasm and loyalty for Fiat died.

My MJD however, is the first car I got with my money. My feelings associated with this car are independent of the brand or painful service center experiences. I can't seem to ditch the car. I'm shifting states soon and I'm at the verge of selling the car in Delhi before I move. My heart however, says keep the car and maintain it with a nice old reputed mechanic (who I know).

The reason I'm stating all this in your thread is because my car has done 36,000 kms with a full clutch assembly replacement at 30,000 kms itself. It's a showroom car. I'm getting a little fearful about maintaining it after reading your story. I've already spent quite a bit of time and effort doing up the car according to my tastes, i.e. body kit, pumped up music system, interiors, accessories, etc. Inputs?
Well shame is not what I would call it,I knew such a thing could happen but I dont know why I did not eliminate the possibility of such failures. This is my first car as well which I bought with my own money but unfortunately not lucky enough like you to have bought a new one. For obvious reasons I was not as connected to my car as you are because It was used, but now after having invested so much not only money and time but my effort I am certain about having my tank until it falls apart.You can PM me if you need any details.

Clutch is something which is predominantly related to your driving style, although sometimes some clutch plates might have a manufacturing defect but most will last long enough depending purely on your driving style.
Being from the commercial vehicle industry I have seen customers who burnt clutches within 8k km.On the other side I have my wagon R which has crossed 1.1lakh km with factory clutch.

You should not be worried about your car, a multijet could fail on any car not only palio.
Drive hard , enjoy the turbo and pure handling that your car offers.
I would suggest not to sell your car.Atleast for me the math of selling and buying a new car did not make sense.
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