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  • FIRST POST
    • mad_rich
    • By mad_rich 10th Jan 18, 4:44 PM
    • 804Posts
    • 374Thanks
    mad_rich
    Electrical shutdown on diesel Fabia
    • #1
    • 10th Jan 18, 4:44 PM
    Electrical shutdown on diesel Fabia 10th Jan 18 at 4:44 PM
    I wonder if the forum has any advice on what this problem might be.

    15 year old Skoda Fabia 1.9 TDi.

    I started it the other day early in the morning (after -10 temps overnight). It started without problem and was merrily defrosting as I loaded luggage and scraped the windscreen etc. I didn't notice any unusual warning lights.

    When I tried to pull away the steering was incredibly heavy. At this point, I noticed that all the accessories had stopped working (dash lights, radio, blower, rear window heater, interior light - which had all been on for the previous 5-10 min) and the dashboard was lit up like a Christmas tree (including PAS light and brake warning light). The headlights were still working fine.

    I decided to drive it round the block to see what happened, and after five minutes, most of the warning lights went out, and all the accessories sprang back to life. The PAS still wasn't working and the associated warning light was on.

    I drove it across town with no PAS. When I restarted the engine 10 minutes later, all the problems had gone away. The warning lights have gone, the PAS is working, and it has behaved itself ever since.

    My first thought was battery or alternator problem. But battery seems unlikely, as it started without effort on that cold morning. The alternator was replaced three years ago, as was the battery.

    Any ideas? Could the alternator or aux belt just have 'stuck' in the cold weather?

    Thanks in advance.
Page 1
    • verityboo
    • By verityboo 10th Jan 18, 4:55 PM
    • 902 Posts
    • 1,119 Thanks
    verityboo
    • #2
    • 10th Jan 18, 4:55 PM
    • #2
    • 10th Jan 18, 4:55 PM
    Dodgy earth lead?
    • IanMSpencer
    • By IanMSpencer 10th Jan 18, 5:03 PM
    • 1,291 Posts
    • 975 Thanks
    IanMSpencer
    • #3
    • 10th Jan 18, 5:03 PM
    • #3
    • 10th Jan 18, 5:03 PM
    Firstly, the thing to have done was to have stopped and started the car (turn off ignition, leave for a few seconds before restarting). If there is a computer glitch, that will clear it.

    Assuming it is similar electronics to my Golf I used to have of similar era, what it is likely to be is that the battery was low on charge, combined with the very cold weather. With my Golf, I used to get all sorts of spurious faults in that state.

    A 3 year old battery may not be of good quality and it can still fail. It really comes down to how much you drive - short journeys in winter, hammering the electrics with everything on, I am not overly surprised that you can get a glitch.

    As I say, the starting point is "rebooting" the car and see if the errors clear. I would think though it is that the battery has been overcome by 10 minutes of everything being on and it has caused the car's computers to not get enough voltage and all bets are off then.
    • wgl2014
    • By wgl2014 10th Jan 18, 5:13 PM
    • 494 Posts
    • 304 Thanks
    wgl2014
    • #4
    • 10th Jan 18, 5:13 PM
    • #4
    • 10th Jan 18, 5:13 PM
    Check the battery voltage both with the engine off (battery check) and running (alternator check).

    Process described here https://haynes.com/en-gb/tips-tutorials/how-test-car-battery
    • mad_rich
    • By mad_rich 10th Jan 18, 6:19 PM
    • 804 Posts
    • 374 Thanks
    mad_rich
    • #5
    • 10th Jan 18, 6:19 PM
    • #5
    • 10th Jan 18, 6:19 PM
    Thanks all. Will test the battery voltage in the morning, since I've just driven it.

    It gets regular long journeys (2h+) at least once a week, and had just had one the night before.
    • mad_rich
    • By mad_rich 11th Jan 18, 12:04 PM
    • 804 Posts
    • 374 Thanks
    mad_rich
    • #6
    • 11th Jan 18, 12:04 PM
    • #6
    • 11th Jan 18, 12:04 PM
    I've tested it with the Multimeter this morning.

    I get 12.5V with the engine off which seems fine, and 11.7V with the engine running, which sounds way too low.

    Does that mean the alternator is failing?
    • Tarambor
    • By Tarambor 11th Jan 18, 12:22 PM
    • 1,959 Posts
    • 1,395 Thanks
    Tarambor
    • #7
    • 11th Jan 18, 12:22 PM
    • #7
    • 11th Jan 18, 12:22 PM
    Yes, most certainly does if its going down and is most likely a short in the voltage regulator inside the alternator. With the engine running it should be within the 13.6-14.4V range.

    Most areas have places that do alternator reconditioning with fitting so just get it changed over. I'd want change out of £100.
    • wgl2014
    • By wgl2014 11th Jan 18, 1:18 PM
    • 494 Posts
    • 304 Thanks
    wgl2014
    • #8
    • 11th Jan 18, 1:18 PM
    • #8
    • 11th Jan 18, 1:18 PM
    £100 for fitted? That sounds incredibly cheap to me.
    I would expect more like that for just the part plus an hour or so labour.
    If you could link to anywhere that can do that I'll save it just in case!
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