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  1. #1

    Default 05 1.3 passion manual gearbox, engine stutter and horrible steering issues.

    Hi Folks.

    New member here.

    So the garage says 'your engine is fine - 50 please' there is nothing wrong with it - It take the car - 30 miles down the road it missfires...

    ----

    I recetly purchased this 1.3 forfour from a local car sales place with 84 thousand miles and no service history. Considering my last daily car a renault clio ran well til it expired at 160k miles (1.2) I didn't really think much of 84k. I'd looked at a bunch of other cars and needed a cheap, reliable second car to do my 50 mile work commute in. I understand that cheap and reliable don't often mix.

    I had been told it had been sitting for a while and it had been hard to sell. Having only a 1 year mechanics course from 15 years ago behind me I decided I was an expert and had the perfect judge of cars and I knew zero about smart cars. I just knew that being really tall I could fit in it and it appeared to run ok and was not going to rust out from underneath me any time soon.

    • Steering - This is heavy (stiff). I've learned it's electric (when I tested it i thought it was hydraulic and needed a fluid change). It's hard to explain, but put it on a motorway at 70mph, go into a typical type of turn and start the car in the turn. Let go of the wheel and the car will drive around the turn withour input. The sterring is stiff. The car tracks straight. On the motorway you need to put four to five mm input before you get any reaction and then you can be in danger of getting an over reaction from the steering. You can end up sawing at the wheel to put it exactly where it needs to be in a lane esepcially on a windy day. Don't even think about trying to drive with one hand for even a moment even in perfect conditions. This theme continues taking it into a turn where it's hard to guess how much steering you need for your turn and how much power your arms require. It's not linear like a non-power steering and it's not light and gentle like a propper power steering and it does not go on light at slower speeds and weigh up in a linear way some cars do. I was tempted to disconnect the eletric power steering to see if the motor has gone, but I think it may be something more. I'm hoping someone might have an idea before I put money into this thing.
    • Engine - It starts fine and runs higher rpm for a while (i read about the initial warmup cycle) and it can drive beautifully. My drive to work is 50 miles so for 10 or 20 miles there can be no problems. So - take it on a motorway, drive it at 70 mph for 30 miles, go back down to normal speeds and you get some random missfires. Stop at some lights, try and change to second and the rps drop to the floor accompanied by a loud 'clack' from the gearbox and your head jerking forward. Drive through town and at random at 3k rpm there may be one or two missfires. Follow in traffic, at 60mph you can feel a quivering at times and minor power loss. Follow a car at 30 mph and now and again the car will missifire and the rpms will go all over for a few seconds. On the motorway at 70mph it's generally OK. Following traffic at crawl speeds it can start hopping at random. Blasting the throttle in neutral does not cure this as some people have told me to try. I think all this is connected and I have a rough idea (again, reffering to old knowledge). It has had brand new oil from the place I got it from. The issue happens at completley random times from hot or cold, but I've narrowed down some common examples above. I expected it to happen more in the rain, but it almost felt better.
    • Gearbox - This is generally fine although where I park at home I often have to go from first to reverse a lot to get the car into the parking spot. Here getting out of reverse can be really stiff and getting straight into first can be hard and it can decide not to fully engage and require a second press of the clutch to fully engage reverse. Also that loud slapping going from first to second after miles in the car is weird (coming from outside) I thought of changing the gearbox oil since the car is so old. The box is a bit stiff generally, but there is no grinding going from gear to gear. Note, initially when the engine is on the warmup cycle I can change the cars gears just fine without and issues at all in forward gears (except for the box getting out of reverse and getting it into first in the mornings)


    I've nicknamed the car my polished turd, but from the MOTs the car was initially driven hard and then in the last few years had 2 thousand miles put on it each year for 3 to 4 mots so I think it's just in need of some mechanical tlc.

    Thanks for reading my post. None of these issues have gotten worse over the last 3k miles, but next week it will have another 500 miles put on it and it's bad enough driving 50 miles to work without having to fight the car along the way. Plus I'm worried these misfires are affect fuel consumption.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    Somewhere on the Wirral
    Posts
    903

    Default Re: 05 1.3 passion manual gearbox, engine stutter and horrible steering issues.

    Hey there, welcome to the forum! Good choice in the 1.3 - I've got one with a automatic gearbox.

    The 1.3 engine is generally bullet proof so I am surprised at the odd RPMs you are seeing. I wonder if the car need a good B (oil, oil filter and spark plugs) service just to rule out the basics but I'd also possibly suggest one of the ignition coils may be failing.

    The manual gearbox linkages are known for going stiff - there are plenty of guides on the forfour.co.uk forum which cover how to lubricate them properly. I may also think, noting that the car has had a hard life, that the clutch may want a look at.

    As for the power steering, they are known to fail in weird manners as well that sounds vaguely similar to as you've described., again there are stories of this over on the forfour.co.uk forum.

  3. #3

    Default Re: 05 1.3 passion manual gearbox, engine stutter and horrible steering issues.

    Thanks for the ideas. I've had a look at forfour.co.uk and will look up the guide. I'm leaning towards an electrical issue with the engine because the throttle does not use a cable if I'm correct?

    I've been researching the car to find many parts are the same as the 2003 Mitsubishi colt even the same engine and steering. The last garage didn't get any fault codes and the engine appears to run as it should. My guess is that it's probably an eletrical issue. I did find a random bolt loose in the engine bay. Where it's supposed to go I have no idea! There is a bolt missing from the rear bumper so was it crashed at some point? Who knows.

    I did discover the power steering is doing 'something' as when I turn the car off the steering heavy like no power steering and it does lighten up a bit when the engine turns on, just not as light as any other car, van or pickup I've driven with power steering.

    I'll have a look up at the gear linkages and see if that's something I can do myself or mention it to the garage when it eventually goes in to have the steering bits looked at with the local mechanics in a couple of weeks.

    When I next get paid I'll also book it in for a service. The garage I brought it from did a basic inspection and gave it shiny new oil. They had to lube the doors because two were so stiff to open, but now they are fine.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    Somewhere on the Wirral
    Posts
    903

    Default Re: 05 1.3 passion manual gearbox, engine stutter and horrible steering issues.

    I'm leaning towards an electrical issue with the engine because the throttle does not use a cable if I'm correct?
    Yes, the throttle is fly by wire. The throttle body does get caked up with oil (from the engine) which can cause it go into safe mode, I've had that happen in the past. I don't think it is what is causing your issue but perhaps giving that a clean out and cleaning the MAF sensor may help as well (even if it doesn't, its worth doing as a preventative measure - guides are on the forfour.co.uk site).

    My guess is that it's probably an eletrical issue. I did find a random bolt loose in the engine bay. Where it's supposed to go I have no idea! There is a bolt missing from the rear bumper so was it crashed at some point? Who knows.
    Where in the engine bay? Having a loose bolt in a engine bay is never a good idea, nor is the bolt missing from the rear bumper. Pulling the carpet up in the boot to reveal the spare wheel well might show if there is anything amiss there.

    I did discover the power steering is doing 'something' as when I turn the car off the steering heavy like no power steering and it does lighten up a bit when the engine turns on, just not as light as any other car, van or pickup I've driven with power steering.
    I guess you've already checked this but are the tyre pressures OK and even (if you look inside the petrol filler cap, there is a guide as to what the values should be)?

    I'll have a look up at the gear linkages and see if that's something I can do myself or mention it to the garage when it eventually goes in to have the steering bits looked at with the local mechanics in a couple of weeks.
    I don't have a manual ForFour (though a couple of my parents do, a 1.1 and a 1.5) but as far as I can make out, it is fairly easy to get to - just remove the battery and the battery tray and the linkages are under there.

  5. #5

    Default Re: 05 1.3 passion manual gearbox, engine stutter and horrible steering issues.

    Check it out.

    Had it in the local garage today for steering.

    Turns out the lower control arm or some part of the steering is bent and they're pretty sure it has been crashed at some point and repaired badly.

    The part is over 300

    I actually gave it its first wash on Sunday and to my disappointment just using car soap and warm water on the side I learn today it is bent and part of the rear arch went from nice shiny black to a dull white and the same side and the mirror has been molested as the plastic around the control knob has been replaced badly.

    I thought it had been crashed when I first got it when I got it because the lack of tow hook cover and missing bolt in the rear bumper, but figured if the car had been repaired to an average standard and because it didn't cost me much shrugged it off.

    I got a full report and I pick it up tomorrow before I have to take it to work and then next Sunday I take it to the place I got it from who have apparently been selling cars for 30 years, family business and of course the car was OK when they sold it.

    We'll see if the 3 month warranty holds up.

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