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Sputters at idle / 3 service lights
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Thread: Sputters at idle / 3 service lights

  1. #1
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    Sputters at idle / 3 service lights

    2015 Abarth automatic transmission, 42K miles. Engine mods: piggyback, air induction system, high flow downpipe, single tip exhaust, Dyna-Batt light weight battery, FMIC.

    After running the engine for a while, it will suddenly sputter at idle / low rpm and then flash "Service Transmission", "Service ESC", "Service Hill Holder". The "D" will also flash in sync with the transmission light. Car then does not run as it normally does. I can pull over, turn the car off, restart then it's back to normal (other than the check engine light that is always on due to the O2 sensor misreading the high flow downpipe). It will run great after restart until another idle / low rpm moment and then the car repeats the problem. Thoughts???

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    I thought someone else on here had something similar happen. It was either the battery or the throttle body if I recall correctly. But since you have a piggyback, double check all its connections and possibly remove it to at least help troubleshoot.
    2015 Fiat 500 Abarth (Red Rosso, automatic)
    Alfa 4C Coil Packs
    ATM FMIC
    EuroCompusion Euro+Drive Tune (FT695 / Phase 1)
    EuroCompulsion v4.1 Intake
    EuroCompulsion/HPSI Silicone Vacuum Line Kit
    Forge Motorsports Recirculating Blow Off Valve
    Sila Concepts Thermal Blanket
    Turbosmart Wastegate Actuator

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    Jackie Moon (04-09-2019)

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    AWD enthusiast Lifetime Member 5port's Avatar
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    Look at your battery voltage at idle. Those light weight batteries are great for a while but under certain conditions are borderline.
    2016 Fiat 500X Easy/nero cinema, go pedal, LED headlights and reverse, Osram amber DRL, carbon fiber shift gate, ST T9 wheels, PIAA silicone wipers, '17 motor mounts

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    Senior Member streetsurfer's Avatar
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    My lightweight battery gave zero problems and is now in year five. The factory negative cable clamp and factory battery were where I had the same exact issue you are seeing @Jackie Moon.

    A low battery from loose or fouled connection, or age, or alternator/belt trouble could be a cause. When a battery is marginal, then you use the brakes (often right before it starts to stumble) that can draw down the voltage enough to cause it to stumble at idle during a stop. But it could be other things.
    Refresh the battery cable clamp connections. Remove, clean posts and clamps, retighten securely. See that your grounds to the frame horn are good, and that the ecu ground strap and it’s connection to the negative clamp is sound. Load test the battery.

    A good way to start the diagnostic process is to carry a volt/ohm meter with you. When this happens again pull over as soon as is safe to do so and shut it down (being sure to also having a portable jumper pack on hand), then quickly check the battery voltage. A battery can top itself off at rest, so if you wait long, (or drive on if the stumble resolves), you may not find the battery charge low as being a cause, when it might have been. Further driving can add to charge, since the fault that causes a drain can be an intermittent problem. A loose clamp can act up intermittently like this. More voltage re-welds a connection, and a jolt or movement can re-break it....akin to the old aluminum wiring that was tried in homes for a short while. It would do the same. If when tested right after an occurrence, the battery shows a low charge, then fully charge the battery, load test it, clean and secure connections, checking for any that might have contributed to the issue. You may have repaired it with the battery connection work, or find the battery is on the way out, or it could be other things related to charging-alternator, belt, other connections.

    Some sensors responsible for engine management run on lower voltages, and when the battery is low, the fluctuations during a power drain (brake use, starter motor use, accessories) are more impactful to those sensors, and this can be why things can go haywire suddenly when under an insufficient or marginal charge.

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    Jackie Moon (04-11-2019)

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    Found a deal at Pep Boys on a H5 battery for $97. Replaced last night and will update once driven hard again. I know the Champion battery is not the best, but it will at least give me an answer if the battery is the culprit. I love the Dyna-Batt and it's manufactured here locally so I can just pick up anytime, but this is a replacement for the 1st one I had that only lasted a year as well.

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    After a few days of driving with the new battery, I haven't had the issues at idle that were occurring. Even though I love the design of the Dyna-Batt, I just think the engine bay heat zaps it within a year... This started me thinking about engine bay temps. Are there any tricks that can be done to reduce this problem other than hood scoops (which I don't care to do)? Anybody ever tried Mishimoto Liquid Chill?

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    AWD enthusiast Lifetime Member 5port's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jackie Moon View Post
    After a few days of driving with the new battery, I haven't had the issues at idle that were occurring. Even though I love the design of the Dyna-Batt, I just think the engine bay heat zaps it within a year... This started me thinking about engine bay temps. Are there any tricks that can be done to reduce this problem other than hood scoops (which I don't care to do)? Anybody ever tried Mishimoto Liquid Chill?
    Glad to see a new battery corrected the problem. As far as getting the heat out I've seen people cut two rectangles in the hood and install louvers. There is also a mod that involves removing part of the cowling near the window to let the heat out the rear of the hood. I don't know much about that one...perhaps someone can chime in.
    2016 Fiat 500X Easy/nero cinema, go pedal, LED headlights and reverse, Osram amber DRL, carbon fiber shift gate, ST T9 wheels, PIAA silicone wipers, '17 motor mounts

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    Jackie Moon (04-13-2019)

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