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Franchesca, the dirty little bitty. She's got a dead miss on #2
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Thread: Franchesca, the dirty little bitty. She's got a dead miss on #2

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    Franchesca, the dirty little bitty. She's got a dead miss on #2

    Hello fellow Fiat owners. I had posted this on a different Fiat board, but evidently the moderator of that site would rather approve people's spam posts offering alternative income sources than a post from a guy who writes lots of colorful words. This has sat in their "awaiting moderator approval because it was your first post, and it had too many words" bin for a few weeks - even after a couple of follow up posts, after which I have thoroughly given up on that site. Seems they're more interested in what kind of air freshener is best to cover the smell of farts and body odor in your Fiat, and what fuzzy dice color combinations blend well with certain interior colors rather than helpful posts for wrenching on the Fiat, so, I'm glad I found this site, and I hope this helps someone:

    Good morning, and welcome to my first post here. Yes, it's a long post, but there will be beer at the end for everyone. I promise.

    My bride decided we needed a toad (towed vehicle) for the motorhome so that we could actually go places once we arrive at our campsite. We also need another car since my son will start driving real soon and I really don't want him inside anything of value. Personally, I would rather sit back in a comfy chair at the campground with a glass of Cabernet and a good book, but SWMBO has other designs. Anyway, being that I don't do those facebooks things with that wonderful marketplace thing and I gave up on Craigslist having anything of value after meeting my second ex-wife on their personal ads, this past weekend my bride ended up locating a 2012 500 Sport 5-speed with ~93K miles on the clock about a 20 minute drive from home. "Extra Clean. Just needs a tuneup, P0302 code."

    Faced with the knowledge that we may soon own a Fiat 500, I had flashbacks to 2013 when I had a red Fiat 500 as a loaner for several months while the worst auto body shop in central NC (Gerber collision) butchered attempted to properly repair my 2005 Pontiac Solstice after a driver who had no business driving crossed three lanes of traffic just to run into the driver's side door. With me on the other side of the door. Anyway, that Fiat had an odd feature which I called "depilatory door panels". Quite literally the fabric which adorned the door panels right where one would rest their arm would grab great wads of hair from one's forearm, waiting for one to move said arm. When they did, riiiip!! There's nothing like being of mostly Italian heritage and having that wad of Italian hair ripped from your forearm by an Italian automobile.

    But I digress... Hoping it was just a dead coil or dud sparkplug, we went to check it out. Black metallic, in decent shape cosmetically and interior wise. Dead miss. Cranked it over and it's obviously a compression issue. I'm immediately thinking burnt valve, bent valve, hole in piston... something real fun. After explaining to the gentleman what this would mean as far as it's value and someone's desire to purchase this vehicle, and whether or not I want to take on yet another project, I offer the guy a ridiculously low price compared to what he was asking, and he takes it. In retrospect, I probably could have gone even much less, but I am not the best haggler in the world by far. We returned the next day with the tow dolly behind the truck, and picked it up. And fortunately, the door panels are made from a vinyl or leather type material, not the micro Velcro fabric... this one had the depilatory door panel delete option.

    Sunday found me examining everything inside the cylinder with my borescope, and I was pleased to see absolutely no burned or bent valves at all. Monday had me learning everything I could about the engine, and I was hopefully optimistic after discovering the unusual method of intake valve control the MultiAir engine uses. "Probably just a screwed up MultiAir brick!" I thought.

    I stopped by the local Hazard Frought and picked up a leakdown tester, as all I had was a compression tester that didn't even have the adaptor to fit this metric spark plug bore. Arriving at home, I hooked it up, turned up the air, and was greeted with the sound and smell of air escaping as soon as it entered the cylinder via the intake valves. Odd, since I could not see any problems with the borescope. The only thing I could think of was that since the borescope's side facing camera needs a couple of inches to focus, the intake valves must just barely be off seat or bent in such a way as it hides this fact. Even comparing them to a good working cylinder, my old eyes can't really tell a difference.

    So, to make a long story longer, last night, I get my son to tear himself away from those infernal gaming devices for long enough to help his old man do some actual worthwhile things instead of virtually shooting at pixels on a boob tube. He helped remove the cam cover, and had a crash course on how the MultiAir works. We decided that for S's & G's, we'd crank the engine while looking at the top end. Yes, most people only assume that one cannot observe the valve train working since the MultiAir is in the way. Actually, one can clearly observe the intake valves being actuated by the MultiAir hydraulics, as long as one knows where to look. We used this to discover a fact that I had not read before. I'll post that fact at the end of this book so that it might help others.

    This is pretty much where we left it. The next step is to remove the MultiAir brick and re-check the leakdown. If I'm still getting problems, I'll see if I can see something in the valve seat holding it open that I may be able to remove somehow... perhaps hold the valve open and flood it with WD40 or something more nefarious and ridiculous like a strong jet of water while holding the valve open.

    If that doesn't work, then it's time to remove the head. And that brings up another posted-at-the-end-of-this-article fact that people on this forum might want to know.

    So, if you are still sadistic enough to actually have followed along so far, keep a lookout here. I WILL actually return here and let everyone know what I do, what I find, and what procedure was used to fix Franchesca (Frannie). That's right. My username is NOT DenverCoder9 (props if you know to what this refers). I might even post pictures. Just don't expect a Youboob video... that's for people who don't know how to type words, and who aren't old, fat, ugly, and embarrassed of the useless, slothful hunk of flesh that they've become as compared to what they were in their younger years.


    So for my facts:
    Fact #1: The MultiAir solenoids open up the hydraulic circuit bleeds when no voltage is applied to them. In other words, without power to those solenoids, the intake valves do not get actuated. I thought I had read someone someplace assuming the opposite.

    Fact #2: One does NOT have to remove the engine to remove the head. Just drain the cooling system, unbolt the exhaust manifold, de-tension the timing belt tensioner, remove the timing belt (make paint marks on the belt and toothed pulleys, and you won't even have to re-time the belt, crank, and cam!) unhook all connectors, fuel, hoses, etc. that are in the way, and lift the head up with the intake still attached. There's plenty of room to do this. Heck, it looks as if one could keep the exhaust manifold connected as well if you just can't get it off of the head. I see no reason to pull all of the front end of the vehicle apart or to lift the body around the engine, pulling it out from underneath. And I have fat fingers and hands, so....

    Fact #3: One cannot ruin the MultiAir engine by running it low on oil. I know... this one is bound to be controversial. How is this? Well, there is enough leakage past the intake cam MultiAir pistons and the hydraulic actuators on top of the intake valves that it wouldn't take long to run through the little bit of oil which is in reserve in the oil chambers inside of the MultiAir brick.

    I would hazard a guess that the engine would not run more than 30 seconds without oil pressure before the intake valves simply no longer operate due to the lack of oil in the hydraulic circuits of the MultiAir, and unless you're at 100% load and revving several thousands of RPMs, that's not long enough to cause damage. How do I know? I've worked on an engine that was driven over 3 miles on the highway with zero oil pressure that suffered absolutely no damage. The main and connecting rod bearings came out looking and measuring (with plastigauge) just like they did when they went into the vehicle 22K miles earlier.

    Fact #4: One can observe the intake valves being actuated. A bright light and knowing where to look are the key. A small borescope would be even better. Just be sure to cover all the air bleed holes (which have the ability to shoot oil farther than most older guys like me can piss) located on top of the MultiAir brick with a rag, because....

    Fact #5: Oil will stain clothes. It doesn't matter if they're cheap rags or expensive silk shirts. Oil is non-discriminatory when it gets on the fabric.

    Fact #6: I reserve the right to change my facts at any time, based on empirical evidence which may prove the fact a mere opinion.

    If you've read this far and you're wondering where the beer is, it's at the store. Grab me one while you're at it, please! Come on by and sit a spell in the garage while we work on Frannie the bit...ty. She's such a little bitty.


    Regards-
    -Matt
    Last edited by Fiat500USA; 10-11-2021 at 11:04 PM. Reason: adjusted formatting

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    Thiers's three minutes I won't get back.

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    Welcome to the group, kd4pbs.

    That's an interesting diagnosis and lack of compression can be one cause. There are a few threads on the P030* codes, one is here that lists the possible causes.

    Loss of enough oil will shut down the brick, but I'm not sure if loss of oil pressure (due to pump failure) will or not. The brick has its own oil pump that boosts pressure to over 100 bar as explained in this early video or in this one. As I understand it, the brick (mostly) eliminates a need for the throttle body by controlling intake air directly. Basically, the throttle body remains open, the computer senses the needs of the car, and runs the valves in 5 different modes, using electric solenoids to "bleed off" oil pressure. At full throttle oil pressure is maintained so the valves follow the cam. At deceleration, all pressure is bled off so the valves don't open. Then there is early open, late open, and multiple open conditions.

    As you say, this all depends on the valves sealing and brick to be working properly. There is a huge amount of information on the car's functions and development at the Fiat500USA.com link at the top of the page.

    Happy surfing. This little engine uses some tech unique to Fiat and Jeep, still advanced despite being 10 years old.

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    Thanks, map! Indeed I remember reading about the concept in perhaps the 80s or 90s, then was pleased to see these engines hit the market and that they had finally had enough advancements in technology to make it feasible. Then I saw what kind of minimal power gains and fuel economy gains were realized, and understood that only Fiat would have even bothered. Being that we also own a Chrysler product with an Italian-made diesel engine, I know full well just how terribly the Italians can screw something up. THAT engine was replaced due to more than just bending valves... we're talking breaking them and then breaking the connecting rod as it tried to compress valves, but instead busting out of the side of the block.

    I found as soon as I pulled the brick from the head that the two intake valves on #2 were bent - as suspected. There's a few causes for bent valves, but I found no reason for them. The only thing I could think of is that someone downshifted this and over-revved the engine, combined with having improper oil. Thing is, it's only one cylinder... odd that this would happen on just one cylinder. Regardless, a fair chunk of cash later and I have all the gaskets and parts to fix the bent valves as well as replace the timing belt, water pump and tensioner. Tackling that today.

    Oh, and I can confirm; contrary to popular belief, it is easy to remove the cylinder head without removing the engine.

    From what I've been able to use my Google-fu on, I have yet to find someone else who had the same issue, so hopefully this will help someone in the future.

    norton, just think if all those words that I forced you to read were on a Youtubes video instead.... 15 minutes at least. And I'm glad you found it extremely non-useful... that means you don't have this problem. Someone else though might appreciate the detail as well as the prose. We had a very affectionate term for your kind of posts back in the days that dialup BBSs ruled.

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    Why too early in the morning, to read a novel. In your 7th paragraph make a long story short.

    Hope you get your car fixed! What ever wrong with it.

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    Welcome to the forum. Glad you found us and also glad to hear that you have a handle on the situation. I'm looking forward to the updates.

    An observation is I think you are being a little hard on MultiAir. The technology gives a 10% improvement in CO2, reduced particulate (up to 40%) and NOx (up to 60%) emissions, a 10% power increase and a 15% torque improvement. Fuel economy is also improved 10%. Improvements like these are hard to achieve in this modern day of extreme engine optimization. It was a big enough deal for it to win International Engine of The Year. Don't sell your little car or the Italians short.

    Good luck with all your work.
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    Being mostly of Italian descent myself, I am very aware of the reputation of my fellow goombahs to be able to screw something up, Fiat500USA All of this headache for a minor power and torque increase still is not worth it in my mind. I'd much rather have a more reliable, slightly less powerful engine under the hood. And any emissions improvements, for those who are concerned about such things, are most likely offset by all of these multi-air engines running around on three cylinders. LOL

    smark, thanks, brother! I think I'm more stubborn than it is - I'll get it.

    As for an update, I got the engine put back together yesterday. Upon the first crank of the engine, I am pretty sure heard the sickening sound of mechanical things that should not contact each other contacting each other. The car was running on only one cylinder, and the tell-tale sound of no compression on three cylinders while cranking was evident. A check with the leakdown tester confirmed the intake valves in cylinders 1, 3, and 4 are now bent.
    I did turn the engine by hand several revolutions without interference before attempting to start, but of course, since the intake valves won't operate, that's a moot procedure.
    At this point in time, my best guess is one or more of the following:
    -The cam timing was wrong on this from the get-go... odd though since it ran fine (on three cylinders) when we bought it.
    -Something in the multi-air brick is VERY wrong.
    -For some reason, even after verifying the camshaft/crankshaft timing was the same as it was when I removed the timing belt more than once, the timing is out now.
    Hopefully, my issue is simple, and I don't actually have bent intake valves. I did basically zero troubleshooting last night, so it is possible that something in the multi-air brick is holding the valves slightly open... but that sound was rather unmistakable, so I'm not holding out hope on this one.
    Sigh.... now to tear it apart again.

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    How did you tension the belt?




    Thread on doing the timing belt: http://www.fiat500usaforum.com/showt...rk-in-progress

    Also, you are familiar with MultiAir loosing it's prime?

    We've had a few discussions on this on the forum. I searched for "extended" , "cranking" and "drain". Here's a previous post I made about the procedure. It is taken from the owners manual. The main concern is to give the starter time to cool down and not just keep cranking and cranking it without a rest.

    If the car sat for 9 months oil may have bled out of the MultiAir unit. Here's the procedure:


    1.If the engine fails to start within 10 seconds, turn the
    ignition switch to the STOP (OFF/LOCK) position,
    wait 5 seconds to allow the starter to cool, then repeat
    the Extended Park Starting procedure.
    2. If the engine fails to start after 8 attempts, allow the
    starter to cool for at least 10 minutes, then repeat the
    procedure.


    Note you may have to install a battery charger or jumper cables to the battery
    to ensure a full battery charge during the crank cycle.




    Also, you may want to hold the gas pedal to the floor to cut off the fuel supply while doing this for these cycles and then release the pedal and try again. That was in one of the factory manuals (the procedure has been updated a few times during the years).

    Here's a video:


    Threads on Oil Bleed Down

    As far as MultiAir goes, unfortunately governments care about emissions so all this technology is there to satisfy their strict requirements. Another example of bureaucrats screwing things up for the rest of us.
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    Quote Originally Posted by kd4pbs View Post
    Being mostly of Italian descent myself, I am very aware of the reputation of my fellow goombahs to be able to screw something up, Fiat500USA All of this headache for a minor power and torque increase still is not worth it in my mind. I'd much rather have a more reliable, slightly less powerful engine under the hood. And any emissions improvements, for those who are concerned about such things, are most likely offset by all of these multi-air engines running around on three cylinders. LOL

    As for an update, I got the engine put back together yesterday. Upon the first crank of the engine, I am pretty sure heard the sickening sound of mechanical things that should not contact each other contacting each other. The car was running on only one cylinder, and the tell-tale sound of no compression on three cylinders while cranking was evident. A check with the leakdown tester confirmed the intake valves in cylinders 1, 3, and 4 are now bent.
    I did turn the engine by hand several revolutions without interference before attempting to start, but of course, since the intake valves won't operate, that's a moot procedure.
    Ah... you can't thank Italy for the multiair system... that's all from the Chrysler division. The brick replaces the simpler EU design of a standard intake cam. Naturally, there are numerous changes to electronics and plumbing to support the multiair, but the simple/basic cam works for either engine. This is a unique system, advanced from those they were playing around with in the 90's. Variable valve timing is showing up on many modern cars, but the FCA design has advantages over other systems. One is in throttle body. On other cars the throttle body controls intake and has a small delay in air flow. The multiair can respond much more quickly because it directly controls the intake. This allows for quicker response and less "back wash" of pressure into the intake manifold. Remember, the 10 to 15% improvement is over the standard EU engine, which is already well tuned.

    As Chris posted with the video, the brick loses its prime when pulled. Until the system is primed, the intake valves will not open so that can affect compression tests. If you are hearing interference, it's possible the belt didn't go back on the way it came off, maybe a tooth or two off?

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    Fiat500USA, I tensioned the belt by turning the tensioner spring base CCW until the tension gauge tab was centered in the rectangular cutout of the spring base, then tightened the tensioner nut. It would appear that the doc you have there agrees with my method.
    Yes, I am familiar with the loss of prime in the actuator. That's not what we have here, as when I perform a leakdown test, air is escaping into the intake manifold past the intake valves on cylinders 1,2, and 4. Also, there were induction backfires while it was cranking and when it would barely run on 1 cylinder (only for a couple of seconds). Before this "repair", I was having the same issue with only cylinder 2, which is what led me to see that it was bent valve/s on that cylinder. I'm hoping that something in reassembly got a bit skewed and I'm barely holding valves open... just enough to cause lack of compression but not enough to actually bend anything. If this turns out to be the case, guess who is also buying a lottery ticket? I'm going to scope them tonight just for giggles, but when I scoped #2 before, they were not bent enough to really be able to tell. When I got the head off, I would guesstimate the largest gap between valve and seat to be around .02". As for the emissions issue, I have a close friend who worked for a famous 3-letter gubment agency involved with emissions legislature who left after she was basically told she needed to pull some info out of her cornhole to make a report match the directive they were working on. If the US populace actually knew how unscientific and political 99% of what goes on in that institution is, things would be much different. The TL/DR for those of you who can't read between the lines... 50% of almost zero is still almost zero... it's a fools folly to spend bazillions of dollars and of course pass that cost along to consumers to make it so. :\

    map, yeah - it seemed far more promising and advanced when i first read about it back in the late 80s/early 90s. The major issue I have with the system is exactly what I'm dealing with here... the inability to manually walk the engine through a cycle to ensure there is no interference. Well, that isn't the only issue I have with it, but in this case, for me, right now, it certainly is the main one.
    I doubt that it somehow jumped a tooth. I verified three times that the new belt had the timing marks in the same place I had put them on the old belt, and ensured that once the tension was on the belt, all the marks lined up as they did before. The thing is, of course, with the multiair setup, I can only ensure that there is no interference with the exhaust valves. This is only useful if somehow the cam timing is retarded, for instance by jumping a tooth. In my case, it's the intake valves, so this would indicate the cam is too far advanced. The problem I may have created here is that by doing a no-crank/cam-lock-tool belt swap, I am relying on the alignment being correct to begin with. That will probably turn out to be a stupid thing of me to do . I have ordered the cam/crank index/lock tool, so before I disassemble everything, I will be verifying that it was correct to begin with. The reason I didn't do this to begin with is because this guy ran just fine on three cylinders and didn't bend anything except the intake valves on #2. It's a head scratcher for sure. I got all the parts ordered today to dive in again. I also went ahead and bought a used good multiair actuator from someone in Georgia (maybe one of y'all?) on that auction place.
    Anything worth doing is worth doing twice
    Thanks everyone...
    Status updates as they happen.
    Last edited by kd4pbs; 10-13-2021 at 05:22 PM.

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