fiat punto multiple problems

well where to start, i got my fiat punto ELX 2000 w reg 5 months ago from an auction. ever since i got it it has gone from bad to worse. the main problem being the power steering going only 2 weeks after i got the car
but me being a student am unable to pay top prices fro ECU and have yet to fix it. then one day my car decided it didnt want to start left me stranded in my local town at 2 am. not impressed. i had local garage to pick it up and they couldnt find anything wrong with it. The car has decided not to start many of times mainly when i am on my way to college/work and its drivin me up the wall. any advice please .....
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lil_miss_keely_anne wrote:

Could be a key recognition problem. I think W Reg Punto had the Fiat Code System fitted to them.
Every time you go to start the car turn the ignition on AND WAIT till ALL the dash lights go out except for the ignition/generator, handbrake and oil pressure light. Only then turn the key to the starter position to start the engine. Rapid progress through the start cycle has been know to cause problems.
Nick /////
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does it cut out?

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nope it doesnt cut out?
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You can buy a little neon tube spark tester which goes between the plug top and its lead. It flashes (best viewed in shade) when there is a spark. Cost about 3 quid or less.
In open, good ventilation, attach clear plastic pipe to outlet of fuel pump, lead to jar or bottle. Crank engine, fuel should be delivered. Piece of pipe about a quid.
Now when it won't start, do both checks.
If you have fuel, and ignition spark, engine should start, or at least try to start. It could be the ECU, but they don't usually repair themselves, so the garage can't find anything. Breakers yards are a good source of ECU's if you know what you are looking for. Other problem sources are fuel cut-off sensor (bad contacts or faulty) fitted in many modern cars to cut fuel in event of a crash. lambda or MAP sensors, though again these don't tend to repair themselves, but can suffer from bad connections. Crank sensors and their connections can become intermittent, they drive the ECU to generate the spark and time the engine.
Problem is it all takes time, garages charge by the hour, if it is intermittent it never shows up at the garage, and eventually (at garage labour rates) you go bankrupt. Does you local night school do engine maintenance classes.?
There is a rubber pipe link between tank pipe and engine fuel pipe to take up flexing. If perished it gets porous, air can leak in. Fuel drains back to tank. Crank engine. At cranking speeds pump doesn't pump air very well, particularly if air is still leaking in. So you crank and crank, it doesn't pull enough fuel from the tank, battery goes flat, cranking gets slower, it won't start. Once you get it started, at engine speed, fuel gets pumped engine runs fine. Two, or so, hours later, or overnight, won't start. The pipe is usually somewhere near the fuel filter, back of the engine, between engine and bulkhead, or clipped to bulkhead It's a long shot but worth checking.
Find a knowledgable boyfriend, feed him well.
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