Fiat Tipo Won't Start When Cold

Dear all,
My Fiat Tipo 1.4 i.e. (1992) about 4 weeks ago suddenly developed an annoying problem. When cold, like in the morning, it is almost impossible to start. It takes 5-10 minutes before I finally get it
running, and if not for the battery's good condition it would be impossible. However, when warm it runs like a dream.
I can best describe it as trying to start a cold engine without pulling the choker. Darned difficult, but if you do get it started it will run smoothly as soon as the engine is warm enough. This is how it feels, but of cause, it being an i.e. injection model it has no choker.
The engine does not need to be red hot to start willingly. Up to about 2 hours after stopping, it starts relatively easy. The it goes bad, really bad.
The Haynes repair manual unfortunately only covers up to the 1991 model, so the injection system is not covered. In the carburettor models there is a PTC controlled inlet manifold heater system which, if defective, probably could cause a problems as described. Does a similar system exist on the injection models and if so, can I check the function?
I would appreciate any hints or comments that would help my fixing this problem. Just to make things clear, I have already spent $150 getting it fixed on a workshop - they changed the spark plugs and cleaned the distributor, but they did certainly not fix the problem. Furthermore, they forgot to mount the air cleaner hose and talked rubbish about the choker even when there isn't any, so I don't trust them.
Hopefully someone here can give me a clue :-)
Thanks so much in advance, Martin
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Well on mine, with similar symptoms, I found a rubber fuel hose link between the engine and the firewall, fairly low down and hard to spot in the confined space. Fuel was draining back to the tank. The hose link was more porus than split. So you cranked for many minutes pulling in air until a bit of fuel got through, this wetted the wall and created a bit of resistance, so more fuel flowed and away it went. May not be your problem but it's worth checking the fuel piping. I thought at first it was electrics but a timing light said it was firing ok during cranking. Took off outlet from fuel pump, cranked after standing overnight, zilch, nada, nothing - no fuel, no start.
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ato snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com wrote:

Could be the cause, yes. But what is a firewall (in a car), what shall I look for?
Thanks, Martin
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The firewall is the bulkhead between the engine and the passenger compartment. If, as you say, you have sparks, I'd suspect lack of fuel. Causes can be either a perished fuel hose link, or possibly fuel pump. The usual test for fuel delivery is to take the outlet from the fuel pump, attach another piece of rubber hose (if needed) put end in a bottle, and get someone to crank the engine for a few seconds. Pump should pump fuel into the bottle. Do it outdoors to minimise fire risk from fuel fumes, not in a garage. If you have an air leak between the tank and the fuel pump, the pump pumps air, not fuel, and when you stop cranking it drains back to the tank.
Sometimes in warmer weather (less load when cranking) the engine cranks fast enough to get some fuel, the engine starts, then runs fast enough to keep running. Mine ran fine, it was such a pain to get it started.
I went through all the usual, plugs, electrics, blocked fuel filter, and so on, getting nowhere. Turned out quite simple in the end.
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Try cleaning and/or re-placing the leads from distributor to spark-plugs and specially the one from ignition-coil to distributor. Nine out of then, they are the cause. Try starting in the dark: you might see sparks jumping all around the leads.
f.
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frans wrote:

Unlikely to be this as the engine emp would not make much if any difference. I seem to remember some older fiats had a manual summer/winter setting on the air intake, is this correct.
If there isn't one theremay be an electronic air temp sensor & control valve linked to it. Not sure how you could easily diagnose faults in the though.
Mike
Mike
Mike
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and
leads.
It's not the engine temperature tht matters, but the humidity of the cold air that condenses on the leads. Once the engine runs for a short while, the leads are dry and the engine compartiment warm enough to prevent new condensation. Until the next morning...
f.
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Mike wrote:

I don't understand what you mean? What is an engine emp?

There is what they call a cold start sensor and I actually do suspect that. It it not easy to diagnose, I'm afraid :-(
Thanks, Martin
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The Tipo has no seperat cold-start-sensor, only a water-temp and an air-temp-sensor. f.
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frans wrote:

I did clean them, but non the one between the ignition coil and the distributor. I will try that.

There are actually sparks around the leads, but there is also sparks if I insert a screwdriver in the caps and approach it to the chassis. But of cause, they might be too weak.
Another question: it started from one day to another. Can leads suddenly malfunction like that?
Martin
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and
That's the one that gave exactly this kind of problems with my Tipo.....

leads.
There it is: there should be absolutly no sparks around the leads. They're leaking the power, those leads....

Yes, the first day is always the first day.... In fact they probably have already for a longer time spots that aren't isolated enough anymore. But as long as the sparks cannot jump to mass/ground, you won't notice it. If you move the leads a bit, and/or with some condensation, that can change at once.
f.
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Usual cause of this on the tipo is a faulty crankshaft sensor. Easy to change two screws!

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