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Old 26th January 2011, 13:42   #1
AKB
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Default Swift VDI Unique Starting Problem - Experts' advice sought

Friends,

I have a Swift VDI (2009) and have clocked 45k till date. The car has been a good companion everyday on the hellish Gurgaon-Faridabad highway. Last night was, however, different. Halfway into my journey I stopped to attend a phone call. I switched off the car completly. Talked for 15 mins and cranked the engine.

And I get the surprise, the engine won't start. I gave the car 5-6 long cranks and then realised that it wont help to just crank and that doing so will only drain the battery. The car was able to start in just 2-3 seconds when I started it at the start of the journey and I had covered nearly 20 km before I stopped.So the engine was hot and the battery charged.

Luckily I happened to be near a petrol pump, so requested some nice truck drivers to help me push start the car. We tried 4-5 times with three people and yet as soon as the clutch was relased, the car would just stop. The engine seems to be pushing us back. Gave up on that method and keeping in mind that the owner's manual does not recommend push starting the car ( any gyan on why would be helpful). I, with some help, reached the petrol pump.

Gave a call the lovely (and as I realised- useless) SPEED Car Helpline. After 8 calls and 1 hours wasted arguing with them. They had the final say. The voice on the other side of the phone said politely that he wouldnt serivice me at 12 in night on the gurgaon - faridabad road and that he doesnt care if I am entitiled to the sercive or not. I can do whatver I can. He then politely put the phone down. I then requested the pump owner for some help. Sometime later he agreed. He asked me to bring the car near the generator room and then we tried to jump start the car using generator battery. The car threw the same tantrums and did not start.I tried reaching for the fuse box to check but the Swift VDI fuse box is impossible to reach without decent set of tool (the placement of various parts around engine is not done using a common man in mind for sure in VDI).

It was 1 am already and I realised that in life there are moments when you are a piegon and when you are the statue. The car had been statute for last 2 years. Today the car was saying that it was my turn . I just called for a cab (Thank God for Meru) and parked the car at the pump for the night. Next morning I reach the pump with a trusted mechanic and the mechanic tries to jump start the car.

The car starts in less than 2 seconds.

The confusion is :

What happened in the night when a hot engine would not start by own battery, push start or even jump start.

The advice of gurus here is actively sought to understand the cause and to mitigate the risk of this happening again.

Some pointers:

1. Battery is not dead. It has decent power in it but is also not like new.
2. The headlights etc were functioning fine.
3. The tank was full and the quality of Diesel was reliable.
4. Car was serviced 4 k km earlier.
5. The dashboard does not show error indicator.

~ Amit

Mods: Please merge with other thread if required.
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Old 26th January 2011, 14:59   #2
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Default Re: Swift VDI Unique Starting Problem - Experts' advice sought

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Originally Posted by AKB View Post
...The confusion is :

What happened in the night when a hot engine would not start by own battery, push start or even jump start...The advice of gurus here is actively sought to understand the cause and to mitigate the risk of this happening again...~ Amit
I am no guru but can think of one possibility. I beleive VDI comes with remote central locking and immobilizer. If yes, there is a possibility that after 15 mins of talking on phone the immobilizer got activated so it won't let the car start unless you lock and unlock using remote locking button. Did you do that?
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Old 26th January 2011, 15:36   #3
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Default Re: Swift VDI Unique Starting Problem - Experts' advice sought

The EXACT same thing happened in my Xeta!

I was driving with mom & sis in Nanganallur, just happened to notice the temp needle slightly over the halfway mark. Luckily we had just reached our destination. Then I let the car cool while waiting for mom & sis to be done with the work for which we came (which took ~ 1 hour) during which I waited with the bonnet open to let it cool more quickly.

Then, though the temp needle came down to around the quarter-mark, the *car wouldnt start*! I put mom & sis in an auto & sent them home and got ready to deal with the problem on my own. Took help from an autorickshaw guy and a roadside mechanic. They were both puzzled what the problem could be, so quickly diagnosed it as ECU problem .

After another 1 hour and much cranking, the car did start! After driving a few meters, it started accelerating on its own! So just stopped it by the roadside (unfortunately had to stop it near a junction this time) and after this, it just wouldn't start no matter what! Battery healthy, plenty of fuel... we were confused.

Anyway, I pushed the car to the roadside and took an autorickshaw home. Talked to my bike-mechanic friend who got his friends and an Ambassador to tow the car home, in the night. We went around 12PM ready with ropes etc to tow the car. And what did we find?

The car started as usual! No problem! So we concluded that it is (probably) due to engine overheating and by the time we went back in the night it had cooled down.

After that I took the car to TASS and then this happened: http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/techni...zero-heat.html (Indica Xeta - Engine stays at zero heat)

In the end, it was a faulty temperature sensor.
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Old 26th January 2011, 17:47   #4
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Default Re: Swift VDI Unique Starting Problem - Experts' advice sought

The only thing I can think off is air lock in the fuel feed lines. Have a mechanic look for extremely minor leaks in the fuel feed system near the suction end of the feed. The pressure side will give itself away by showing a wet area with dust accumulation at the leaking site. Plug the leaks and you should be good to go. If this repeats even after plugging the leak then ECU could be the culprit or anyone one of the numerous sensors. This though can be easily assessed at the A.S.S vehicle analyzer if the problem is repeatable.
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Old 26th January 2011, 17:56   #5
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Default Re: Swift VDI Unique Starting Problem - Experts' advice sought

Amit,
Get the car diagnosed using ECU analyser. Fiat cars used to have this starting problem while the engine is hot. Mostly it used to be the TDC sensor (or RPM sensor). Sometimes, it may not show up in the analyzer as the sensor could be in a deteriorating stage.

regards,
Bejoy
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Old 26th January 2011, 18:58   #6
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Default Re: Swift VDI Unique Starting Problem - Experts' advice sought

I don't think it was the immobiliser. If the engine is shut down using the key, the immobiliser goes on, but on restarting the car the ECU will recognise that the key is valid and allow the car to be restarted. There is no need to lock and unlock the car. Of course if the engine stalls, just turning the key wont do the trick, you have to turn the key back to the "stop" position and then start the engine again to restart the process of key recognition.

One question, was the engine cranking at all or not. If it was then I would say that there was some malfunctioning sensor that sent spurious data to the ECU preventing the engine from starting. If it is actually a faulty sensor then it should be fixable, but it also may be the case of a one off malfunction, due to certain specific conditions.

But whatever the case, it definitely has something to do with the engine electronics in my opinion.
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Old 26th January 2011, 19:04   #7
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Default Re: Swift VDI Unique Starting Problem - Experts' advice sought

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Originally Posted by AKB View Post
The engine seems to be pushing us back.
Overheating -due lack of oil/ poor fan module/control unit or faulty sensors.

Check the battery for health.

Does the service lights stay on now?
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Old 26th January 2011, 19:20   #8
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Default Re: Swift VDI Unique Starting Problem - Experts' advice sought

possible causes could be-

1-Faulty ECU-some error signal generated from any of the sensors could have made the ecu to prevent the engine from cranking up,did you try removing one of the battery terminals and reconnecting it?
2-As some one had suggested an air lock in the fuel line
3-diesel pump generating lesser pressure
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Old 26th January 2011, 21:37   #9
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Default Re: Swift VDI Unique Starting Problem - Experts' advice sought

@drpullockaran: Are there possibilities of air lock even on tank full? I had nearly 35 L of fuel.


@rakesh_r : I agree that ECU might be culprit. But can it so happen that ECU gives problems intermittently. All the chips are either working fine in electronic are they need to be replaced ( assuming digital chips and not analog chips). Can ECU change its behavior back to normal in morning

@TOR: Battery is fine. I have been using car throughtout the day ( did nearly 25 km in city) and signs of any battery problem or ECU behaving bad. I had checked all light, no error lights from ECU. The car was not heating and was serviced some time ago and at 40k MASS did what they called a 'major' serice.

The question to my mind is that are there any possiblities in a Diesel engine ( even though it is a new generation) that restarting is a problem due to stroke, before the engine was shut down, left the pistons in a position that the compression in the cylinders was providing more than usual resistance to the self.

I will take the car to MASS on saturday, cant afford to miss office due to prior commitments.

ALSO, a related but important matter.

Are there any reliable road helpline services. I had been using SPEED for lst 2 years and yesterday when I gave them a call for the first time, they disspointed me.

Regards,
Amit
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Old 27th January 2011, 13:13   #10
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Default Re: Swift VDI Unique Starting Problem - Experts' advice sought

The problem with the DDiS ECU is that it can go into 2nd Cycle shutdown quite easily with out there being a major fault-- i.e slightest weakness in the battery, often causes a mistaken "Water in Fuel" error. When it happens the second time- the ECU goes into shutdown mode..i.e it cuts off the fuel supply (engine will still crank).
Your situation sounds more like a "Fuel Vapor Lock" can happen even to Common Rail engines when they are switched off rapidly from a long (and hot run)- since you didn't have any warning lights- before or when you tried to restart.

Thats why the old advise : "Always let the engine idle a while before swithching off especially when very hot" is good advise (it's not only to protect the Turbo)

Best way to restart the car is to let the engine cool down sufficiently- then switch the ignition on- don't crank the engine- wait for about 20- 30 seconds ( i.e wait for the fuel pressure to build up and dislodge the vapour lock) then crank (sometimes may have to do this a couple of times)

If it still doesn't start- then the ECU has gone into shutdown. Then just Disconnect the Positive cable on the Battery ( Or unclip the ECU wiring harness connector if you don't have tools with you)- wait a few seconds, re-connect it. And do the above proceedure.

I've had this infernal "Battery Week situation for the last two month's- just havn't had time to change it- so just keep on with the above proceedure every second time I start the car.
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Old 27th January 2011, 13:33   #11
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Default Re: Swift VDI Unique Starting Problem - Experts' advice sought

Sorry forgot to mention: Can't be a "stroke issue' because in a Diesel engine one clinder is always at TDC and another at BDC.
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Old 27th January 2011, 18:22   #12
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Default Re: Swift VDI Unique Starting Problem - Experts' advice sought

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@drpullockaran: Are there possibilities of air lock even on tank full? I had nearly 35 L of fuel.

Yes there is a definite possibility of an air lock or fuel vapor lock even in a full tank. It all depends on whether the primary fuel pump in the fuel tank is able to provide sufficient pressure to the fuel feed lines. IF there is a minor leak in the feed lines then the suction by the secondary pump is going to over come the feeble pressure provided by the primary pump. Majority of the diesel cars now have twin pumps one of which is immersed in the tank


@rakesh_r : I agree that ECU might be culprit. But can it so happen that ECU gives problems intermittently. All the chips are either working fine in electronic are they need to be replaced ( assuming digital chips and not analog chips). Can ECU change its behavior back to normal in morning
Any electronic product whether digital or analogue is soldered. Dry solder is not very uncommon in electronics and use of non metal film capacitors in modern electronics gives hiccups occasionally. Metal film capacitors have populated present day mother boards but its not that widespread as of yet
My answers are in bold.

Last edited by drpullockaran : 27th January 2011 at 18:24.
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Old 11th February 2011, 19:44   #13
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Default Re: Swift VDI Unique Starting Problem - Experts' advice sought

AKB
Has the problem solved or its still there
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Old 23rd February 2011, 14:23   #14
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Default Re: Swift VDI Unique Starting Problem - Experts' advice sought

The Maruti *** did not find any fault in the ECU scan and the problem has not recurred also. So no action has been taken and the car is doing fine since that day.

But what happened that day is still a mystery


~Amit
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Old 23rd February 2011, 16:17   #15
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Default Re: Swift VDI Unique Starting Problem - Experts' advice sought

As far as road side assistance is concerned, why not try the Maruti Suzuki roadside assistance itself? They have their number mentioned on the sticker on the front glass. Happened with my car about 3 years back and they promptly got to help me in the middle of the night.

As for your problem, even i feel it could be related to an Air pocket in fuel line.

Would flushing the entire fuel out and re-fuelling again, solve this kind of problem? Experts, please advice.
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