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147 GTA - Motor Control System Failure

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147 GTA - Motor Control System Failure

Postby Ammaco on Sun Jul 15, 2012 3:01 pm

Hi Guys,

Maybe someone can help. I have used the search function which has helped a little but thought I would post to see if I can get any more specific help.

On Friday we made a last minute descision to head to Thredbo for a day of snowboarding. Packed up the car and headed south. Car was driving perfectly on the way down. I did notice the temperature on the dash sitting a bit below the middle where it should be,. I put this down to 110 kph ( :wink: ) in 6oC cooling the engine a little more than it would like. Parked up in Cooma for the night. It was around 3oC at 11pm but im sure it dropped below zero as the night went on. Got into the car in the morning to head for Thredbo, about 15 minutes into the journey "Motor Control System Failure" message came on as the engine light stays on constantly on the dash. Had a look in the user manaul which doesnt give a lot of info as to why it came on. None the less we got the Thredbo and had an awesome day of boarding.

Then the drive home lastnite. Light still on, we got to Jindabyne and I pull over and popped the bonnet to find the radiator fan doing its best impression of an army helicopter. Engine temp was now sitting at the bottom of the scale. Decided to pull out the radiator fan fuse to see if it had any effect. Did that and the engine heated up in like a minute. Decided it probly wouldnt be a good idea to drive back to Wollongong with no radiator so i replace the fuse along with the helicopter sound effects.

Got home lastnite, took it easy on the way home, I did notice fuel consumption and emissions up as the manual said I would. Had my fingers crossed that a night in slightly more normal temperatures would sort things out. No joy, started it again this morning and still error message is coming on.

I am convinced that it something to do with the cold weather, coolant sensor or the likes, but that may just have been a coincidence. Anyone able to shed some light on this?

Keen to sort is ASAP as im planning to head back to the snow mid week :-)

Cheers - Brendan
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Re: 147 GTA - Motor Control System Failure

Postby 06GTA on Sun Jul 15, 2012 3:20 pm

MCSF could be a number of things such as a bad air flow meter, coil pack or similar

Best to have fiatecuscan or alfadiag run on it which will give you the errors specific to your issue

From that we or your mechanic can give you some advice
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Re: 147 GTA - Motor Control System Failure

Postby gbernard on Sun Jul 15, 2012 6:56 pm

as o6gta said, do that, but based on the symptoms, i would say it is a failed temp sender unit or thermostat .
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Re: 147 GTA - Motor Control System Failure

Postby Ammaco on Sun Jul 15, 2012 9:54 pm

Update:

As I hoped, the fault has cleared itself after spending some time in warmer weather. The helicopter sound effects are no more. However, i have noticed that the temp guage flucuates as I am driving, when driving it falls a little and when stopped in traffic it goes back to normal. This tells me that something is still not quite right, sticky thermostat? bad connection/faulty temp sensor?

I imagine temp sensor change is a fairly straight forward job? Any help locating it would be appreciated! Cheers
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Re: 147 GTA - Motor Control System Failure

Postby shiny_car on Sun Jul 15, 2012 10:00 pm

Dodgy thermostat or water pump are amongst the shortlist.

When is the cambelt due? To change the water pump, the cambelt needs to come off, so people usually do it at the same time, and fit a metal-impeller version (from a 916 GTV V6; readily available).

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Re: 147 GTA - Motor Control System Failure

Postby gbernard on Sun Jul 15, 2012 10:33 pm

as shiny said, but check the simple things first, temp sender unit sits below the thermostat

the fans go nuts as a safety measure usually when the ECU stops receiving a valid signal from the temp sensor
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Re: 147 GTA - Motor Control System Failure

Postby 06GTA on Sun Jul 15, 2012 11:15 pm

I never forget a face, but in your case I'll be glad to make an exception. Groucho Marx

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Re: 147 GTA - Motor Control System Failure

Postby pac03 on Mon Jul 16, 2012 12:25 am

Sell it while its still moving !!! BWAHAHAA
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Re: 147 GTA - Motor Control System Failure

Postby Lucky on Mon Jul 16, 2012 1:13 am

Was that your Red GTA with black teledial wheels??? I was madly staring at it from a Jeep Cheroke at Jindabyne Saturday night if so :P

I had this come up ONCE for 4 seconds on a very cold night...cursing at it made it go away and never return, i'm guessing it's a sensor :?:
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Re: 147 GTA - Motor Control System Failure

Postby Ammaco on Mon Jul 16, 2012 2:23 pm

Yes mate that was me indeed! Car was very dirty so you didnt get to see it in its true colours. Where you in the lifted jeep with black wheels? Nice wagon, a much better snow going vehcile. The alfa just about copes with snowboards crammed into her haha.

Cheers for all the help guys!
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Re: 147 GTA - Motor Control System Failure

Postby Horse on Mon Jul 16, 2012 4:35 pm

Ammaco wrote:However, i have noticed that the temp guage flucuates as I am driving, when driving it falls a little and when stopped in traffic it goes back to normal.


Ok putting the warning aside, in cooler conditions this does happen. During the winter period my car does this all the time and everything was and is running fine. I'm not the only one it happens to as well. So this is normal.

Just as the others have said check the basics. I do believe that in this car the thermostat(?) is usually the first port of call when temperature issues arise.

However if the temp did drop to around zero or below, there is a high chance your coolant started to freeze up which would probably cause a couple of scenarios/issues; no/limited coolant flow past the thermostat, the thermostat itself was clogged or jammed by frozen or "slushie" coolant.

This could have thrown the error message......

Perhaps before your next snow run put in some anti freeze.

Anyway a quick check to see if you thermostat is stuffed or not;

Go out to car when engine is cold, lift bonnet, start engine, grab hold of upper radiator hose. It should stay cold, and then all of a sudden a rush of hot water as the thermostat begins to open for the first time.

If the pipe gradually gets warmer instead, you need a thermostat.

This helpful tip was grabbed from Alfa Owners. It will show you that the fluctuating temp needle does happen to others in cooler conditions;

http://www.alfaowner.com/Forum/alfa-gta/254387-water-temperature-too-cool.html
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Re: 147 GTA - Motor Control System Failure

Postby Lucky on Tue Jul 17, 2012 11:47 am

Ammaco wrote:Yes mate that was me indeed! Car was very dirty so you didnt get to see it in its true colours. Where you in the lifted jeep with black wheels? Nice wagon, a much better snow going vehcile. The alfa just about copes with snowboards crammed into her haha.

Cheers for all the help guys!


hahaha yeah I wanted to drive the GT over but we had a slightly large group and enogh spots in the cars. Yeah I was wondering how your GTA was holding up haha, I was about to get out and meet you but my driver realised we would probably never end up at the snow if she let me go off talking to another Alfa driver,

It looked lowered as well (very very nice! :mrgreen: ), for snow on that day you really need a lifted 4WD but those twisty roads up to Thredbo you should've had fun with though :D

Your car was clean mate but just like me ;) it can NevEr Be clean enough hahaha
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Re: 147 GTA - Motor Control System Failure

Postby AndrewK on Thu Jul 19, 2012 1:29 am

I had this happen in my 147, not long before the thermostat died, when I drove to the NSW Southern Highlands and it was very cold (4 - 7 degrees). New thermostat and MCSF never seen again.
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Re: 147 GTA - Motor Control System Failure

Postby pasey25 on Fri Jul 20, 2012 8:50 pm

this is a temp sender for sure. if you start driving in really cold temps at speed before the engine is fully warmed the temp sender sometimes loses its link with the ecu and the MCSF is tripped. It resets itself in time, after an ignition cycle and the engine fully warms.

things are worse on a GTA selespeed as it won't let you out of 2nd gear,
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Re: 147 GTA - Motor Control System Failure

Postby chefadrian on Sun Nov 11, 2012 4:08 pm

Tell me guys, when it started going back to normal did the warning light go away? Same thing happened to my gta last night but fixed itself up today (fans only going on at 90) but the mcsf warning light remains. Do I have to clear the fault before the warning light goes away?
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