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3.2 Mondial complete system shut-down....why?

Discussion in 'Technical Q&A' started by Robin Wells, Nov 23, 2003.

  1. Robin Wells

    Robin Wells Rookie

    Aug 26, 2003
    29
    Dubai, United Arab E
    Full Name:
    Robin Wells
    I had a most bizarre, and potentially disastrous, system shut-down on my recently 're-freshed' 3.2 Mondial Cab last night and wonder if any F-chat members could shed some light.

    Basically, ten metres from home after a good 300km trip, the entire system shut down. Just like that. Lights off, engine off, everything just shut down and it coasted to a halt. While it was slowing down I tried to 'jump-start' it in a lower gear and dropping the clutch, but to no use - this car was dead to the world.

    Not even the hazard warning lights worked. Nothing - no radio, no lights, certainly no engine.

    The actual 'switching off' moment happened just as I flicked the column stalk to operate the main beam - this would appear to have done something to cause the shut-down.

    I checked under the bonnet and found two things in the dark. Firstly, the battery inspection cover had moved from its proper place and was lying in front of the spare wheel. Had it touched or dislodged something whilst moving out of place?

    Secondly, a small earth wire (black) was loose, just behind the r/h pop-up headlamp motor. There is a spade connection on the side of this motor which is bare (ie without anything connecting to it) and there is also a small brass connector protruding out of the backside of the motor, again with nothing connecting to it. Where does the earth wire go?

    Above all, though, what on earth could ever cause a car to simply shut down like this? The consequences of it hapenning on a main road don't bear thinking about.

    Any comments much appreciated.
     
  2. Slomo

    Slomo Karting

    Nov 22, 2003
    145
    Bellevue, WA
    Full Name:
    David Chambers
    Hello,

    I am not a Ferrari expert by any means, but I do have a lot of general automotive experience. Touching the stalk at the steering column and the other things you noticed could be a coincidence, but I am willing to bet that something has just come loose in your starter switch.
    This should be pretty easy to find with some patience and a multimeter. I would start by checking for resistance between your switch and something that only works with the switch in the "on" position. This could be a wire to your starter, or windows or most any other thing that only works with the switch turned on. No continuity equals bad switch or loose wire.

    I will be curious to hear what you find out.

    DC
     
  3. Modificata

    Modificata F1 Rookie
    Silver Subscribed

    Apr 27, 2003
    2,650
    Hampton, England
    Full Name:
    Andy Rasool
    Sounds like an inceident I had in my MB G Class. Took the family to Woburn Safari park last year, and just our luck. Right in the Lion's enclosure the car completely shuts down! tried to start it but absolutley no power (as you described). Within seconds our car is being circled by lions who probably figure we look quite tasty! Luckily we stayed in our car and a few mins later the park wardens arrived to tow us to safety.

    We managed to jump start the car and get moving again, but a short while later the same happens again. Fortunately my brother was drivign the A Class and we were able to jump start from that car each time it happend.

    We finally managed to get home by jump starts every ten minutes! Each time we jumped the start we would have to do the following:
    1. Connect the cables
    2. Wait 5 mins for the battery to charge
    3. After 5 mins we would then start the G and drive
    4. Count ten mins before the car would stop again!

    Finally got home and then dropped the car to a garage. Turns out the alternator (I think from memory) packed up and stopped charging the battery. Therefore in No. 2 above we were actually charging the battery, and drove the car until the charge ran out.

    Not sure if thats the same as your problem but hope it helps.
     
  4. 308GTS

    308GTS Formula 3

    Dec 27, 2001
    2,220
    TN
    If it was an abrupt stop then it wouldn't be the alternator. When the alternator goes it gradually starts to show signs, your headlights get dimmer and dimmer to where the car will want to stall, clock will start fading if digital. Easy way to test is to charge the battery then start the car and test the V at the battery. Less than 12V means that the alt. isn't charging. It sounds like a main ground from the battery came loose or the like. HTHs.
     
  5. Slomo

    Slomo Karting

    Nov 22, 2003
    145
    Bellevue, WA
    Full Name:
    David Chambers
    If Robin described it accurately, then it is very much not the alternator. It is very much a loose or broken wire, fuse, or switch. Actually, instead of the earlier tests that I suggested, an easy one to eliminate several possiblities would be to check for current at the fuse box. This will tell you if you have juice between the battery and the box, which will tell you much.

    Good Luck!

    DC
     
  6. Robin Wells

    Robin Wells Rookie

    Aug 26, 2003
    29
    Dubai, United Arab E
    Full Name:
    Robin Wells
    Many thanks to Adnaan, HTHs and DC for your replies and advice.

    Here's an interesting coda to that story - though I'm not sure it's fixed yet...

    Later in the evening, I went out to the car, opened the bonnet and put the battery cover back where it should be. In doing so, I must have touched something because the power came back on again. Lights, radio...everything.

    So, I start her up, fires first time no problem, and I test most of the major elec stuff, like elec windows, radio, antenna - all works fine. Then, I put the lights on, hit the main beam again and .... BLACKOUT. Everything just shuts down as before - no engine, no lights, nothing.

    So, mmmm, I think. I go under the drivers seat to get at the manual bonnet opening again, have a look around the battey area, have a jiggle around, turn the battery disconnect switch on and off again, move the battery inspection cover and on comes the power again.

    This time I just run it for a while and don't try the main beam switch.

    Next day, I cover up the exposed headlamp earth wire with some tape, put the headlamp inspection cover back in place firmly and secure with more tape, tighten all the earthing bolts around the battery disconnect switch - and it starts and runs fine. I go out for a short drive in the evening and this time the main beam works fine - no shut down or anything.

    It would appear to be working normally, but my concern is this - if you don't know exactly what caused a problem, then you don't know if you've fixed it. Jiggling stuff around, even though I do it with great technical precision, isn't the most permanent solution...

    I would agree with DC and HTHs/308GTS that it's unlikely to be the alternator given the above (though thanks to Adnaan for the story - as well as charging your batteries before going there, I might also add not to take a vinyl roof car through the monkey's area at Woburn).

    So, I will keep checking. I've got a multi-function voltmeter thingy, so here's my chance to find a use for my O level in physics (failed).

    Any further suggestions would be most welcome. Thanks.
     
  7. TOM B

    TOM B Formula 3

    Jul 24, 2003
    1,038
    Orange County, NY
    Full Name:
    Thomas Buckley
    I'm no electrical engineer but it sounds like an intermittent problem with the fuse / relay box. When I replaced mine it solved a host of electrical gremlins.

    Tom
     
  8. Modificata

    Modificata F1 Rookie
    Silver Subscribed

    Apr 27, 2003
    2,650
    Hampton, England
    Full Name:
    Andy Rasool
    I agree that its unlikely to be the alternator. Esp since you were able to get power back again with the expert jiggling of the wires!

    In my case we didnt realise the power was dropping. It was daytime so our lights were off, and there are no digital displays on the dash. Plus the stereo was off, so we didnt have a clue until the lions started eyeing us up!

    Good luck with your problem though. All I can suggest is go over all the wires and connections to make sure you dont have any obvious problems. Then pray that it doesnt happen again!
     
  9. davem

    davem F1 Veteran
    Silver Subscribed

    Jan 21, 2002
    5,251
    Stepford, Connecticut
    Full Name:
    dave m
    Sounds like you need a new ground to the chassis.
     
  10. Robin Wells

    Robin Wells Rookie

    Aug 26, 2003
    29
    Dubai, United Arab E
    Full Name:
    Robin Wells
    Well, I think I fixed it. So far it's worked, so here's what I did...

    First, I cleaned all the ground connections at the battery, particularly the negative terminal to chassis ground strap - the connection at the chassis was a bit mucky, so I cleaned it up and filed down the connector to get bright shiny metal. And so on with all the other connections at the battery.

    Then I removed the battery disconnect switch, checked that worked OK (it did) and cleaned up the connections again before re-fitting.

    That was the battery side done.

    Then, I checked the fuse box connections. True to form, here was the gremlin. On the 3.2 Mondial, there is a plastic block connector at the far side of the fuse board (heading towards the centre of the car) where the various wires and feeds go into the box. As I disconnected the connector from the fuse board, I saw a burned-looking area where the brown and black striped feed-wire enters. When I went to investigate and pulled very lightly on the wires, both came away in my hand, leaving the spade connector still in the plastic block.

    Looking a bit more closely, it's a bit of a design failure. Two wires have to go into this small little metal connector and I guess the poor connection (the fact that they had worked themselves loose) was the reason for the signs of over-heating signs on the plastic connector shroud and, ultimately, the reason for my shut-down problem.

    When I checked this on the archives, it seems that Russ Turner had the same problem on this 3.2 Mondial - see his post of 16th April 2003, under the thread titled '3.2 Mondial electrical issue'. He even posts a photo of the plastic connector, with some major burning in the same spot.

    So, this is perhaps something all 3.2 Mondial owners should check as the connection is clearly a poor design and is probably prone to failure.

    I fixed it with a new spade connector (I bodged two together, but it works very well) and it's been fine since.

    Hope this helps, and many thanks to those who provided their suggestions when I first posted this problem.
     
  11. TOM B

    TOM B Formula 3

    Jul 24, 2003
    1,038
    Orange County, NY
    Full Name:
    Thomas Buckley

    Robin,
    I've done a similar fix 2X in the last three years. Even going so far as to replacing the entire terminal strip. Each time, it came back. This last time I pulled the fuse block and removed the back and looked at the printed circuit board. It too was burned. I ended up replacing the entire fuse block.
    I hope your repair lasts longer than mine did. Good luck.

    Tom
     
  12. 32-valve 2+2

    32-valve 2+2 Karting

    Mar 14, 2004
    53
    Seattle, WA
    Full Name:
    Bill B.
    I had the exact same problem with my Mondial QV (Euro).

    There is a connector (underneath the car) between the cable from your battery to the engine. It corrodes ... either replace it or clean it up.

    Good luck.
     
  13. Paul_308

    Paul_308 Formula 3
    Silver Subscribed

    Mar 12, 2004
    2,335
    Believe the non-mondy 308's have the battery ground disconnect on the drivers side beneath the headlight well. A super handy way to disconnect the battery for maintenance etc.

    If your mondy E switch is on the r/h side so be it. It simply came unplugged - perhaps your battery isn't tied down too well. no big mystery

    Say a few hail Mary's as those problems usually happen at the farthest end of the road, not 10M from your house upon returning.
     

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