FIAT Stilo 1.6 2002 16V - Car keeps cutting out - Roger_Mellie

I bought my FIAT Stilo in July 2010, and since July this year I have had an issue with the car cutting out. It seems a common issue and no one, FIAT, my mechanic, the FIAT forum, seem to know how to fix the issue. The car is currently sitting in my drive unused, and I'm as frustrated as can be with it, as its the first second car I've owned that I have actually liked. It's done 40,000 since I bought it, and been all over the country.

When the problem first occurred my mechanic was told by FIAT that this is a common issue and caused by corrosion. So out he went and bought and engine fuse box (£110), and it didn't solve the problem.

My mechanic was then told that it was a corroded connection, or battery failure. He's checked literally every wire in the engine without success and the battery was tested and came up good as new.

We then sent the ECU away to be tested by BBReman. They tried every test available and had the ECU apart and checked the solder connections, and told me that there is nothing wrong with the ECU, and the only thing they couldn't test was vibration while the car was moving.

The ECU was then replaced with a re-conditioned one. Once again still the same problem.

The Crankshaft sensor was then advised to be the possible problem. Once again replacing it didn't fix the issue.

At this point my mechanic advised us to spend no more money on the car, and get shot of it. So a couple of weeks back my other half went to collect it and it sat in the drive for a few days.

In the meantime I had been researching on the internet and discovered there are a few of these issues caused by the MAP or MAF sensor. As my Fiat Stilo 1.6 16V 2002 doesn't have a MAF sensor but does have a MAP sensor we bought a replacement one off ebay, and my stepson who is in his 2nd year of mechanics course at college, fitted the new one, and stated that the old one was covered in what looks like soot when he replaced it on Tuesday last week. What we think it was is parts of the foam from the outside of the sports air filter, which was in a sorry state. The car was then run for the best part of 2 hours including being driven for about 30 mins.

The car was performing brilliantly, no sign of the jumpy needle on the rev counter which was evident before when idling. It was sat solidly at 1000 revs.

The following day, Wednesday, we bought an fitted a new sports air filter, and cleaned the MAP sensor again which had got a bit more muck in it, and the car was once more run for about 2 hours, once again driven for 30 mins. That evening I took it out and drove it for about 45 minutes and no problems, the car was running brilliantly.

So the following day I decided to drive to work (I do a 64 mile round trip) as the final test. Before I left I checked the oil, and it was down a bit, so I topped it up. The car seemed ok before I left but didn't get more than about a half a mile before the same old problem re-occurs. The car is extremely jumpy on the needle when idling. I drove back home and the car cut out while stationary. It also did it again as I backed into the drive, and made a big air sucking in noise, according to my other half, before it cut out, which might be a clue.

We thought this could be the idle control valve sticking, but have no idea where to find this to check. My stepson found a number of these errors for FIAT for this by looking online. He cleaned out the throttle body, and reset the ECU, but still the car cut out within 10 minutes of starting with the Revs starting off at 1500, and gradually dropping down to about 700 before cutting out, with the needle flicking all the time.

To say we are sick of the car is a bit of an understatement.

One last thing we want to try is to fix the oil leak, in case it is this that is causing the issue, wondering if it could be leaking onto the crankshaft sensor, or elsewhere, and causing the cut outs. We will then clean it up and see if this resolves the issue. I confess I am not hopeful that it could be something this simple.

The most frustrating thing is that FIAT do not know how to fix their own cars, when this problem seems to be quite common. Despite often having different solutions. I still want my car back, but suspect that without getting an electrician involved, which I cannot afford, this is not going to get fixed.

I've seen several posts on the forum where individuals have spent £1100 (ECU replaced amongst other things) and still not had the issue fixed. So I suppose I should count myself lucky that so far I've spent just under £800. I've also seen posts where replacing the ECU fixed the problem for up to 5 weeks or so, before re-occurring.

But I am utterly bemused as to how my car was running fine for 2 days, and there after doing nothing more than an oil top up, it hasn't worked properly since. And no one seems to have a clue why!

The FIAT forum are utterly useless, as are FIAT. My mechanic was tearing his hair out, and having sleepless nights over the car.

I've been told other things to check are the brake sensor? ABS sensor or sensors. And the PCV? But not being an expert I have no idea where to find any of these things.

This is pretty much my last hope! Here's hoping someone knows!

FIAT Stilo 1.6 2002 16V - Car keeps cutting out - madf

You need a new mechanic who:

understands modern electronics

and can test lectrical circuits.

(Yours can clearly do neither)

You are wasting your time and money using someone who is clearly incompetent. I am sure the problem is difficult to find but replacing things is a way of emptying your pocket and not solving issues.

Edited by madf on 23/11/2012 at 21:27

FIAT Stilo 1.6 2002 16V - Car keeps cutting out - injection doc


Remove the sports air filter and fit a genuine panel filter. They just dont suit some cars.

May well be making it run too weak !

Worth looking at the fuel correction values within the ECU to see what % they are running at. If they are more then +3% you have an air filter issue ! or air leak.

Years ago MG Maestros were a common fit for foam air filters and may used to fail ther MOT and suffer idle issues and when reverted back to standard were as good as gold.

FIAT Stilo 1.6 2002 16V - Car keeps cutting out - Fernando P

A family member had the same model as above and it operated very well indeed. I am aware that they are prone to "electrical" problems and as madf above writes, you need to get a proper diagnosis of the problem as a first step. I dont agree with your view that FIAT dealers and the FIAT forum are "useless". Far from it; if you persist and focus clearly on what you are trying to achieve I am sure that you can get satisfactory results.

FIAT Stilo 1.6 2002 16V - Car keeps cutting out - Roger_Mellie

Regarding my mechanic it is far from correct that he is useless. He has been repairing cars for the family for around 26 years and this is the first thing he has been unable to fix, and it was frustrating the life out of him. He was regularly liasing with FIAT, because as he admitted he isn't an expert on electrics. He had the car for around 6 weeks and tried everything he could think of to fix it, plus everything FIAT have suggested, and none of it has worked. For all the time he has put in he charged me just £70 for his labour. All the rest of the cost is the price of the parts.

So this and things I have read on the FIAT forum would suggest that FIAT don't know how to fix this fairly common issue for this model and age of car. So surely that make them useless? I have been advised by a work colleague who builds engines as a hobby (he works for Caterpillar) that the company who make the electrics for FIAT cars are considered particularly poor, which would appear to be the case when you consider the amount of electrical type faults FIAT's seem to have.

As for the FIAT Forum they have been totally useless. The last 3 posts/questions I have put on there have gone unaswered, and after having the ECU replaced one genius suggested I should get the ECU replaced.

After stumping out £800 I am basically cleared out, and as much as I would like to get a second opinion I cannot afford this to go to another mechanioc. If it is top be fixed we have to do it ourselves. The only consolation I have is that I haven't so far spent the £1100 a couple of people have still not to have the issue fixed. And one who had the ECU replaced with a brand new one had the car working for about 5 weeks before the issue occured again. Many of the faults I have seen have also gone to FIAT and remained unfixed.

As for what I am trying to achieve it is to get the answer to what must be to someone who knows a fairly simple bunch of questions.

i) Where do I find the Idle Control Valve?

ii) Where do I find the Brake sensor?

iii) Where do I find the ABS sensor(s)?

iv) Where do I find the PCV?

v) After changing the MAF sensor the car ran fine for 2 days and about 50 miles. Why after topping this up with oil did it cut again within about half a mile? The car idling was fine before this, so what might be happening?

Basically we have sadly decided that unless we can get some idea if we can fix this by Saturday, the car will be going for whatever we can get for it.


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