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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
2017 4C Coupe; been faultless recently but I'd left the car for 2 weeks without running it. It's been left that long before and been fine.

This time, it wouldn't start - very weak attempt to turn over. Tried a few more times...nothing. The occasional click or whirr. Then the battery died, panel went off, no life.....battery flat. So left the battery overnight on a CTEK charger/conditioner, which after a few hours reported a healthy battery and full charge.

Once charged, tried again...same issue. Very weak attempt at turning over. See the YouTube video linked. No errors on the dash. Thought the battery might be dead, despite CTEK report. New battery fitted....and same issue.

Specialist advised this is a known fault with the TCM, although I hear the transmission charge on opening the door, and can change between 1/R/N in the car (with associated noise when I press the buttons) so it seems to be behaving. No transmission errors on the dash.

Any suggestions before I get it transported to a specialist? I feel like I need to reset something after the battery died, like I'm missing something simple!

 

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Pressing really hard on the brake pedal?

Replacement battery is fully charged and tested OK?

CTEK doesn't really "test" the battery, does it? It goes through its programmed cycles based on what it senses, but I'm not sure it can be relied upon to confirm condition of a questionable battery.
The lights on the CTEK are not like the bars on your phone - they indicate the process of the charging program / cycle it is performing.

I'd leave the charger on the new battery overnight and try again.
 

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And I don't recall a TCM fault that prevents the car from starting (although I may be mistaken). Certainly, it ought to raise a code and dash light.
Do you have a code reader?
Are you able to measure the no-load voltage of both batteries?
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Battery is brand new, fully charged. Yeah, pressed really hard on the pedal.

Tried re-seating the TCM plug as advised by specialist - no good. I have noticed the oil warning light stays permanently on....even after all other lights go out. I've previously had a loud metallic whining noise shortly after a cold start if the car has been left for a while...rises and falls with revs...it goes after about 30 seconds. I'm wondering if the issue could be the oil pump?

Edit - I do have an ODB reader, but for some reason I can't pull any readings from the ECU. Just says it can't communicate.
 

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Battery is brand new, fully charged. Yeah, pressed really hard on the pedal.

Tried re-seating the TCM plug as advised by specialist - no good. I have noticed the oil warning light stays permanently on....even after all other lights go out. I've previously had a loud metallic whining noise shortly after a cold start if the car has been left for a while...rises and falls with revs...it goes after about 30 seconds. I'm wondering if the issue could be the oil pump?

Edit - I do have an ODB reader, but for some reason I can't pull any readings from the ECU. Just says it can't communicate.
What’s the oil level on the dipstick like?
 

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What’s the oil level on the dipstick like?
Keeping in mind that it will be higher than actual, because you won't be able to check it in the recommended fashion (which involves starting and running the car briefly, before checking).
 

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Keeping in mind that it will be higher than actual, because you won't be able to check it in the recommended fashion (which involves starting and running the car briefly, before checking).
What I’m thinking of is there’s the chance of no reading at all.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thankfully, oil is showing (but as mentioned - high, relatively).
I'll get it recovered tomorrow and hopefully find out what's going on!
 

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...

I've previously had a loud metallic whining noise shortly after a cold start if the car has been left for a while...rises and falls with revs...it goes after about 30 seconds. I'm wondering if the issue could be the oil pump?
@MattyB My money is on a starter-motor bendix failure.
If it didn't throw-out (disengage) cleanly last time you started the engine and you gave the engine a rev, it will have reached a pretty decent RPM (due to the gearing ratio) and may have terminally damaged your starter motor.
On subsequent starts, if the bendix doesn't throw-in (engage) cleanly to engage in the starter ring on the flywheel & make the electrical contact on the terminals, then it won't get power to the starter itself and won't turn-over the engine. Which sounds like exactly what you have been experiencing.
Assuming you are not Thor and do not have his hammer handy, give the side of the starter motor a good thump with a hefty hammer (it sometimes frees a stuck bendix) and try again.
If you are mechanically minded, removing the starter-motor for a closer look at the bendix is not that difficult.
Cheers,
Alf.
 

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Hi Matty,

I have haid the exact same "sound" some time ago, resulting in absolutely not starting the 4C
After a long technical discussion (also on the 4C formum) and replacing several parts
- new battery
-new starter motor
-full OBD diagnostics (which only made it more unclear)
-could turn the crankshaft without problems against the turning direction of the engine
-absolutely not possible to turn the crankshaft with the engine direction...
----> Turned out that the Alternator was 100% stuck!
Replacing this part, solved all problems (corrosion caused this to full block)

See my post:
(13) Engine won’t crank after 6 months being parked | Alfa Romeo 4C Forums (4c-forums.com)
 

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Hi Matty,

I have haid the exact same "sound" some time ago, resulting in absolutely not starting the 4C
After a long technical discussion (also on the 4C formum) and replacing several parts
- new battery
-new starter motor
-full OBD diagnostics (which only made it more unclear)
-could turn the crankshaft without problems against the turning direction of the engine
-absolutely not possible to turn the crankshaft with the engine direction...
----> Turned out that the Alternator was 100% stuck!
Replacing this part, solved all problems (corrosion caused this to full block)

See my post:
(13) Engine won’t crank after 6 months being parked | Alfa Romeo 4C Forums (4c-forums.com)
Hi Matty,
What triggered me was your youtube recording, making the 100% same sound as when i started my engine...at least tried to...
Im sure its the same problem i had
 

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We should all be worried if our car's engine ancillaries can seize in just a couple of weeks of being parked up.
Mine sleeps in a dry garage and has had three months of inactivity due to government endorsed lockdown in my city (I checked the battery charge regularly) and it started just fine.
I am wondering what combination of factors in storage are causing issues for some owners, while others are fine.
Cheers,
Alf.
 

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We should all be worried if our car's engine ancillaries can seize in just a couple of weeks of being parked up.
Mine sleeps in a dry garage and has had three months of inactivity due to government endorsed lockdown in my city (I checked the battery charge regularly) and it started just fine.
I am wondering what combination of factors in storage are causing issues for some owners, while others are fine.
Cheers,
Alf.
Relatively cold, wet climates with salted roads in winter might have something to do with it. England and the Netherlands as examples.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 · (Edited)
Hi Matty,

I have haid the exact same "sound" some time ago, resulting in absolutely not starting the 4C
After a long technical discussion (also on the 4C formum) and replacing several parts
- new battery
-new starter motor
-full OBD diagnostics (which only made it more unclear)
-could turn the crankshaft without problems against the turning direction of the engine
-absolutely not possible to turn the crankshaft with the engine direction...
----> Turned out that the Alternator was 100% stuck!
Replacing this part, solved all problems (corrosion caused this to full block)

See my post:
(13) Engine won’t crank after 6 months being parked | Alfa Romeo 4C Forums (4c-forums.com)
As an update - it was this! Alternator had siezed - as you also said, engine would only turn in one direction. In the process of getting the alternator refurbed (as a new one is £380!) so hopefully back on the road within the week.

Appreciate the post (y) also helpful for anyone else who has a similar issue.

Relatively cold, wet climates with salted roads in winter might have something to do with it. England and the Netherlands as examples.
Yep - cold, wet salty roads. Even so, I'm suprised this is such an issue on new(ish) cars. I've had alternators last many, many years. Maybe it's the combination of cold, wet and lack of use.
 

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...and the winner of the guess what's wrong with this 4C is @Henkjan.
Glad to know that you have saved yourself the cost of the refurbed alternator on diagnostic fees that you didn't have to pay at the stealership @MattyB.
It makes you wonder if it's worth giving the alternator a good spray of one of those proprietary brands of water displacement spray if you take your car out in a wet and salty environment. It couldn't hurt as long as you get one of the sprays that is compatible with the electrical connectors. It wouldn't take more than a few seconds to pop the engine cover and squirt some lube in the appropriate orifices.
It seems that a modern 4C alternator corrodes faster than a 1970's Fiat in the wrong conditions of moisture and salt.
Cheers,
Alf.
 
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