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Old 25th July 2008, 00:47   #1
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Default Does a Aug'07 Palio Stile 1.6 requires coolant top up every 200 km?

Hi there,

This my first post.

Short Story :

Aug'07 Palio Stile 1.6 requires coolant topup every 200km, & makes grunting body noises when halted.

Delivery Date:
20 July 2008, Salesman told me it's Mar'08 make...

Driven : 2800+ km

I drive 80+ kms a day 80% Highway with A/c always on

FE : 10.26 kmpl

Fiat guys clueless why coolant running out.

Serivice Center Visits : 3

Long Story:

I drove a new Fiat Palio Stile 1.6 from the showroom last month.

I need advise on how to get over this strange behavior of my car...

One fine afternoon, a colleague's driver walked in to tell me my car engine is still running in the car park!

i dismissed it as some prank but the chap insisted on me checking it out.
And the car fan was running full on even after a good hour after i had left the car in the car park. The car engine was off, and the car was locked. I assumed that the car must be taking it's own sweet time to cool itself as i read somewhere that the fan's switch on & off. I thanked the driver for his concern and asked him not to worry about it.

Evening, the car wouldn't start. Battery was flat, the car is just two weeks old! Exide bat mobile arrives to have a look, does a quick a jump start & the fan switches on to cool the cold engine...

Fiat, technicians come in next day. One look under the hood... and they diagnose:

No Coolant in the coolant Chamber! And that's the reason for the bright red check engine light on the Dashboard & the Fan running all the time...

Casually, he asks how old is the car? i tell him 15 days... the guy is shocked... He looks around again... offers to take the car for the first servicing as the car has done 1500+

I call Shaman:

Day One : They are trouble Shooting @ Bhandup
Day Two : Car Sent for trouble shooting with Laptop @ Sewri
Day Two Evening : Car is signed off to be in perfect condition.

Next Day : I Drive to work, all's well...

New girl at work, tells me over coffee. How careless people are leaving their engines on in the car park... :(

Yep! No Points for guessing... My fixed, serviced car is the hottest car!

I disconnect the battery, the fiat guys show up again and drives my car away for another trouble shooting exercise...

After a good look at the garage, my March'08 is actually a August'07 make! i can't find the manufacturing date anywhere in the documentation... I am told the RC book needs 45 days to be made... So even the garage guys are guessing but not ready to put anything on record...

And i am topping up coolant every 200km...

Also the car makes grunting noises for no apparent reasons, when stationary!
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Old 25th July 2008, 03:29   #2
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Strangest of issues that i have come accross and i really have no answers to the above because if FIAT/TATA guys could not come to a conclusion after an extensive test then there is nothing much to say except for the fact that this has been a terrible experience with FIAT for you considering the fact that its a brand new car.
Coolant leakage from your car is for sure but the coolant piping/system can be diagnosed in 1hours time max for any leakage to be present anywhere in the entire cooling system including hosings and radiator.

This always intrigued me that why do many manufacturers design to keep the fan running even when the car is shut down completely to cool the engine. If an engine is shut off it will obviously cool by itself. I have seen this in an Astra and Alto and both have complained about battery draining when the car was run for a long distance on a hot summer day just because the fan was running for a long time even after the engine was shut down.
Thankfully its not the case with my car.

Last edited by aah78 : 25th July 2008 at 04:04. Reason: Use the EDIT button please.
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Old 25th July 2008, 10:50   #3
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OK - I have no answer for this but can only relate an experience.
My brother has a Palio 1.2 ELX bought in 2002. After 6 years, in March of this year, he went abroad and asked one of our relatives who stays close to him to run the engine once a fortnight. One evening, I get a call from this relative who says that the car is not turning off i.e. ignition turned off but the lights and motor (not sure if engine or fan motor) are on. I am not sure if the engine is on, as I am on the phone. Apparently it was a malfunction in the wiring of the ignition.

My brother had an accident sometime earlier and had done some work on the fuel guage and some other lighting/wiring systems. Don't know if that repair work caused the above problem.

In a Palio, the fan motor remains on for about 20-30 secs after you switch off the engine. Perhaps some sensor is not working causing the motor to remain on.

I do hope they diagonise the problem soon. Your case is very very very strange and is the first time I have heard it on a new car or any other car.
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Old 25th July 2008, 11:15   #4
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Issue #1: You have a leak in your cooling system.

Does your coolant overflow tank run completely dry? Or does it just go down a little and you top up? If it goes completely dry you have a leak. A leak should be relatively easy to diagnose.

Then next time you fill, fill it with pure coolant with the bright green color. Then when your coolant tank goes empty, look at every hose pipe and hose pipe joint for the green color residue of coolant. Check around the radiator, especially where it joins the side tanks for leaks in the radiator. If all of this checks out, you may have a leak in your heater core.

Get this leak issue fixed prior to trouble shooting the electric fan.

The palio has a two speed electric fan. And has a very nice feature where the cooling fan stays on on low speed for about 30 seconds after the engine has been shut off. This is a very good feature that prevents heat build up. If it does not shut off within 30 seconds or so, it may be due to a faulty relay or the fan resistor which is near the bottom of the cooling fan. This can be determined via a computer diagnostic inspection.

Needless to say this is an unacceptable problem for a nearly new car. Insist with the dealer that they fully diagnose the vehicle and do not take lame excuse from some low level service guy. Escalate this issue with the service manager, and tell him that you will be writing to Fiat India with a complaint if this issue is not rectified promptly. Perhaps you need to find a better authorized service center.
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Old 25th July 2008, 12:13   #5
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As RedMM340 told that FIAT has two speeds for its Fan.
For FIAT Palio they do have a analyzer which diagnose the FAN speeds.
Infact this is checked from second service onwards.
So ask them to check it on analyser whether both the Relays work normaly.
Although FIAT introduced new FIRE series engine in Palio Stile 1.1. But for 1600 cc, its still the same old engine.
My Adventure too takes some time for Fan to stop, after switching off the engine.
Give them one more chance, then fire them left right on their customer care complaint redressal form on the FIAT india website.
As this is manufaturing fault, post your complaint in "Complaint Sales" category.
For Manufacturing date you can find it out by the chassis no. mentioned on the chassis. It is at the floor just behind the driver's seat, hidden by the carpet. There is a cut in the carpet, you have to remove the carpet from that cut to see the chassis no.
It has Alphabets representation to indicate the manufacturing month.
A repreents January, B- February and so on followed by the year of manufacturing.
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Old 25th July 2008, 13:03   #6
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Soumyob, open the hood and if you can spot green or purple color spots in and around engine bay then for sure coolant is leaking.

also check the engine oil level on the dip stick.

also check the manufacturing badge and the date which is to be put on the RC. don't let dealer/salesman take you for a ride.
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Old 25th July 2008, 13:19   #7
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Sorry, this is not a solution, rather a related question- what exactly is engine coolant? My car's manual describes it as distilled water with certain percentage of anti-freeze solution (It's not a palio, though. But I guess it should be the same for all cars). Common sense makes me believe that we shouldn't ever need anti-freeze additive in Indian environment, so we should be able to use just distilled water alone. Is it so?

But then why does it look green? (Is it due to the anti-freeze that may be added by default?)
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Old 25th July 2008, 13:19   #8
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if you look out for leak evidence and cant see any coolant marks in engine bay area start the car and in engine bay area increase the throttle by pulling the cable get the rpms high say 4to 5K blipping it occassionally and you should be able to spot the leak if any. NEVER STAND IN FRONT OF THE CAR WHEN DOING THE ABOVE TAKE CARE OF LOOSE CLOTHING AND BE AWARE OF MOVING PARTS.

if there is no leak engine stopped Check remove Radiator Cap and see the Coolant for any traces of Oil and also try smelling it to see if there is some burnt oil odour. Also check the Engine Oil Cap to see if there is any white youghurt kind of formation.
If yes then you can zero on to a head gasket leak.

Last edited by Jr Godzilla : 25th July 2008 at 13:20.
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Old 25th July 2008, 13:27   #9
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Originally Posted by soumyob
Does a Aug'07 Palio Stile 1.6 requires coolant top up every 200 km?
To answer your question, NO.
Infact, coolant top-up every 200km or even at 1000km intervals is not required for any modern day car, be it of any make, Fiat or otherwise.

While checking your coolant level at regular intervals is a good practice, in modern cars, the level should be OK even if a person does not check/top-up coolant between scheduled service intervals.

A leak is what I would suspect in this case. Would also suggest to check that there is no blockage in the hose that connects the radiator to the coolant reservoir. Faced a problem once with our M800 when the hose was blocked and when the level of coolant dropped in radiator, it could not be replenished from the reservoir leading to engine heating up.
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Old 25th July 2008, 13:54   #10
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@ soumyob

Please go through this thread, it may not be same as your problem. But, you can use steps mentioned in this thread to diagnose problem related to your car.
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Old 25th July 2008, 16:48   #11
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Hi Santosh,,

> Common sense makes me believe that we shouldn't ever need anti-freeze
> additive in Indian environment, so we should be able to use just distilled
> water alone. Is it so?

The same 'anti-freeze' also reduces the evaporation of water in the solution and hence the less necessity of frequent top ups in the system which uses this 'coolant'.

The whole system will work fine even with distilled water (why distilled water? plain water will work fine) but the topups needed will be more and temperature control less efficient.

> But then why does it look green? (Is it due to the anti-freeze that may be > added by default?)

The green (or blue) is due to the 'anti-freeze' (coolant) that is added!
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Old 25th July 2008, 17:50   #12
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If there are no signs of leaking coolant under the car or on any of the hoses. There is a fair chance of a leaking head gasket & the coolant getting into the engine. In which case get the gasket changed immediately.

Although the service center should have checked that out on the onset. Coolant in the engine can be very unhealthy !

Hope your problem gets sorted out at the earliest. I can imagine how frustrating it can be when something like this happens in a new car. Defeats the purpose of buying a brand new car in the first place.
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Old 25th July 2008, 19:04   #13
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@soumyob, I sympathize with you, because it is a brand new car. My two pennies- finding out leaks in the whole cooling system would be relatively easy, except internal leak into engine and heater core (located under the dash, used for cabin heating). If you are not able to find any leaks anywhere in the "easy" portion, get the other two checked. The company and the dealer owes you speedy and prompt service, so don't let them loose!

Ordinary water would cause problem due to scaling on internal surface, especially tiny ducts of radiator and heater core. More so since it is to be heated frequently, and if it happens to be bore well water, well... I believe normal water is not recommended even as washer fluid for that reason.

Regarding evaporation, isn't it an air tight system (leak proof should imply air tight too)? Unless radiator cap, reservoir cap or any other portion for that matter, are allowed to be non- air tight (which can be intentional as well! I don't know). In that case evaporation should not matter much, should it?
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