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Old 4th May 2010, 15:33   #1
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Default All 3 pedals of my INDICA fail while I'm doing 60kph!

This scary incident took place a couple of weeks back. I was driving my 11-year old Tata Indica Diesel, going back home from college. On the Western Express highway(WEH), I was doing about 60kph when these sequence of events took place:

1. My car's accelerator suddenly stops working after I hit a bump on the road. Tried revving several times but in vain.
2. I tried down-shifting but to my shock I realized even the clutch is not responding. It was jammed.
3. The engine shuts off (probably because it was in the wrong gear)
4. I step my foot on the brake and come down to 30kph and then I'm even unable to brake as the brake pedals also get jammed. The Indica has got something called as Booster brakes. In this kind, the brakes don't work if the engine is shut off.
5. Now, I was on the WEH nearing Bandra flyover, doing 30kph and the car is dead. I finally pull the handbrake and the car comes to a halt after some distance. Luckily there wasn't much traffic on the highway, so I could stop safely at the side. Scary situation.
6. Accelerator pedal not responding. Clutch pedal and brake pedal jammed. Now, I crank the engine once. Didn't start. Tried several times, but in vain.
7. My house was just 2kms away from where I stopped and thankfully an Auto repair shop too was nearby. Called up my bro to come along with a mechanic.
8. After 15 odd minutes, the mechanic comes and inspects what went wrong.
9. The clutch wire had broken. He did some temporary arrangement so that the car could be taken to the repair shop and then a new clutch wire would be installed.
10. He now inspects the accelerator wire and somehow doesn't find a problem with it.
11.Now the car still refuses to start. But somehow after a few cranks, it comes back to life! The brake pedal starts working since the engine is running. And the accelerator pedal also starts working!

Now I don't understand how the accelerator failed at first! I'm pretty sure the engine was running at that time since this is an Indica Diesel and one knows when the engine is ON. I highly doubt if the engine shut off first while I'm doing 60kph and hence the accelerator stopped responding, and consequently the brakes too.
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Old 4th May 2010, 19:44   #2
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Check air filter, FIP and nozzles.
How much has your car done?
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Old 4th May 2010, 19:57   #3
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Nitrous, why would you suspect these 3 ? If engine is running, then FIP & nozzles shouldnt be the first suspects. Air filter - definitely not.

@theragingbull - did you check the belts at that time ?
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Old 4th May 2010, 20:10   #4
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Scary situation. Which gear were you in when this started? I feel the clutch cable snapped > engine went dead when you accelerated in maybe 5th at 50-60kmph(or maybe cause of hitting the bump) > due to this accelerator pedal had no response(engine off) > Brakes stopped working effectively(nearly useless) because engine was off..
This COULD be a reason!
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Old 4th May 2010, 21:42   #5
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I don't know what might have gone wrong. I don't even want to imagine myself in this situation. Thank god, traffic was sparse. So, what's the final diagnosis?
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Old 4th May 2010, 22:08   #6
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Brakes can be excluded from this, as the brakes are that way in any modern car. They don't bite when the engine is off.

The clutch failure is also explained, as the clutch cable went kaput.

The only question : Why did the engine turn off ? Why didn't it fire up with the subsequent cranks ?

Last edited by DRIV3R : 4th May 2010 at 22:09.
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Old 4th May 2010, 22:40   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DRIV3R View Post
Brakes can be excluded from this, as the brakes are that way in any modern car. They don't bite when the engine is off.

The clutch failure is also explained, as the clutch cable went kaput.

The only question : Why did the engine turn off ? Why didn't it fire up with the subsequent cranks ?
Ive noticed that in old indicas, at times, the engine would shutoff when the car hits a pothole or speed bump. This used to happen often in my office cabs. The cabs were pre-v29(i think) , owned by the Co. and maintained very well!
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Old 4th May 2010, 22:59   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nitrous View Post
Check air filter, FIP and nozzles.
How much has your car done?
haven't checked the above 3. What's FIP? Pardon me, I am very amateur when it comes to the technical side of cars.
Car has done just around 45,000kms in 11 yrs. And it was also a victim of the 26/7 Mumbai deluge when the whole car was submerged under water for 2 days!

Quote:
Originally Posted by condor View Post
Nitrous, why would you suspect these 3 ? If engine is running, then FIP & nozzles shouldnt be the first suspects. Air filter - definitely not.

@theragingbull - did you check the belts at that time ?
The belts seemed to be fine. The accelerator had started working once the car started after a lot of cranks. I'm also suspecting that the car didn't start up because the battery could have died down.

But can't understand one thing. Can the engine suddenly shut off all of a sudden while I'm cruising on the highway?
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Old 4th May 2010, 23:41   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by theragingbull View Post
... as Booster brakes. In this kind, the brakes don't work if the engine is shut off....
FYI - Its not that they do not work, its just that they seem to have stopped working because they become much much harder.

Press real hard, maybe pump 2-3 times at the start - and they should have a little bite in them.



As for what happened to your car, i would guess :

Big bump = engine stalled + clutch cable broke (at the same time).


Car was still in gear, so it seemed like engine was running, but yet accelerator wasn't responding.


Why the engine stalled? No idea, could be a loose contact on the fuel pump, electricals etc.

cya
R
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Old 5th May 2010, 00:44   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rehaan View Post
FYI - Its not that they do not work, its just that they seem to have stopped working because they become much much harder.

Press real hard, maybe pump 2-3 times at the start - and they should have a little bite in them.
Exactly, i was about to say the same. Maybe you should practice this sometimes on an empty road somtime by shutting off your engine, Makes you well prepared for such situations.
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Old 5th May 2010, 00:48   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rehaan View Post
FYI - Its not that they do not work, its just that they seem to have stopped working because they become much much harder.

Press real hard, maybe pump 2-3 times at the start - and they should have a little bite in them.
That's how I came down to 30kph from 60. After that the brakes were just too hard to be pressed. Had to pull the handbrake then and the car came to a gradual halt.
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Old 5th May 2010, 02:56   #12
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The clutch cable on the petrol Indica I had earlier, had snapped too. On a busy office day. Thankfully it happened as I was about to engage 1st gear and start from a red-signal. This happened within a week of the clutch being 'serviced' at a showroom workshop!
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Old 5th May 2010, 09:12   #13
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theragingbull, that is sure scary to happen for any car! I guess you just had a compounded problem of both mechanical and electronic(please get your ECU checked for any errors).

Good that you are safe.
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Old 5th May 2010, 12:00   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by getsurya View Post
theragingbull, that is sure scary to happen for any car! I guess you just had a compounded problem of both mechanical and electronic(please get your ECU checked for any errors).

Good that you are safe.
@getsurya, A 1999-model Indica has no ECU.
@theragingbull, a really frightening situation there, buddy. If there was a temp shutdown of electricals (battery terminal disconnection), the dashboard clock will reset to 12.00.

Regarding booster breaks, yup, what Rehaan has said is correct; the "booster" (whatever it is, I assume the vacuum booster) effect will be missing without the engine, some kind of not-so-graceful degradation. Let us say a 60% reduction of breaking. I've tested this in my DLS on a "hartal" day. (I live in Kerala).

Last edited by sandeepmdas : 5th May 2010 at 12:02.
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Old 5th May 2010, 12:49   #15
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Thanks Sandeep. Wrong assumption on my part.
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