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Seat Alhambra Mk1 TDI 110PS S - Engine cuts out when driving or 'crawler mode'.

Started by grumpypanda, November 18, 2021, 05:45:28 PM

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Our Alhambra has started randomly cutting engine power. On a couple of occasions the car has not had a complete engine cut-out, but instead kept going at low speed, between 10 and 20 miles an hour.
We have been able to re-start the car and continue driving normally for a time, but not confident that the car will continue to do this with any reliability. Due to associated safety concerns the Alhambra is now on the drive awaiting further investigation.
When the car is running normally it is driving really well. The intermittent nature of the fault has not helped me decide on the root cause of the problem.
I am not sure that this fault is caused by the known '109 relay' problem and would appreciate advice. Currently considering replacing the 109 relay to see if that fixes the issue.

It certainly has a lot of the hallmarks of the 109 relay. I don't generally condone swapping out parts without knowing the root cause but the relay is so cheap and a known weakness that I would replace it before doing anything else.
03 Ford Galaxy 1.9 TDI 115 Ghia in Spruce Green Metallic
With cream leather interior, Full Bodykit, Remapped at 145bhp, Lowered on 18's
13 Porsche Cayenne 3.0 V6 Diesel in Umber Metallic
262Bhp AWD and Factory fresh...for now!
58 Ford Transit 2.2 TDI 115 in Frozen White
With retrofitted everything except another slidey door! :)
LAUNCH X431 Pad PRO - Scanning & Coding for all makes and models done in Wiltshire in exchange for winegums! :)

I have known the equivilent relay 30 on the petrol mk2 to cause the engine to cut out when its playing up (mk2 being 2000-2006) The usual clues to it playing up are flashing led on the door, failure to connect using diagnostics and sometimes finding smacking the fusebox area or slamming the drivers door can be enough to make it start working again, although that obviously only works for a short time usually.

You could pull the relay out and inspect the pcb/solder joints as thats the usual failure, and may be fixed by just resoldering the points on the board.

As said above (whilst I was typing this reply) its not an expensive part to replace. And if nothing else, you can leave the old one in the car as a spare just in case if its not the issue.

Update on 24 November 2021:
I ordered a replacement 109 relay, which has arrived, but not yet fitted. It was inexpensive and I ordered it from a parts store in Preston through EBay. It amuses me that TPS charge more for the part, but also only supply garages/businesses.
I checked out carefully what the car was doing when starting from cold. No obvious 109 relay type problem such as flashing LED on door or fail to start. Car started well repeatedly.
I tracked down the CAN VW/AUDI U281 I got for reading DTCs on my daughter's Seat Ibiza, which used to work really well and I could check her car codes and reset them with it. Not tried it with the Alhambra before, but when I tried it, although it powered up it seemed to freeze when trying to read codes. So the U281 code reader did not help me out.
Worse is that I found a new fault, which may help diagnose the root cause of the car's problem (or it could be a second problem), fault as follows:
After start from cold there was an uncommanded right hand indicator activation. I could not stop it by moving the indicator stalk, which was in the neutral position initially. I stopped the right hand indicator by selecting hazard lights switch to on and then back to off. The issue has been seen twice. Any thoughts on what could have caused that would be welcome. Or ask me for extra information about the Alhambra if that helps.

Your indicator might be down to broken wires in the door wiring shorting out. Most likely either the drivers door or the boot, though I think the other instances of that fault have usually been later cars post 2006 when the indicator is in the wing mirror assembly (and the wiring would run though the front door in that case).

I think your probabbly looking at the right option with diagnostics, most here use VCDS lite with a laptop. The Amazon listing for your device suggests it should work, but hard to really say if it will or not without trying it

I wrote above: "Worse is that I found a new fault, which may help diagnose the root cause of the car's problem (or it could be a second problem), fault as follows:
After start from cold there was an uncommanded right hand indicator activation. I could not stop it by moving the indicator stalk, which was in the neutral position initially. I stopped the right hand indicator by selecting hazard lights switch to on and then back to off. The issue has been seen twice. Any thoughts on what could have caused that would be welcome."

But I have since discovered that what I am getting is uncommanded hazard lights on.
The left hand indicator light in the instrument console does not work.
I have had the uncommanded hazard lights another couple of times, each time just after starting the engine.

I would check out the drivers door and tailgate wiring first as that can cause many problems as already mentioned.
If that's OK I would suspect the indicator relays which are hidden inside the GEM board, this is the black box that all the fuses are plugged into it involves completely dismantling the fuse box you would then need to unsolder the old relays and replace with new taking care not to damage the circuit board.
Although I've done this job I don't have any pics but this is the relays used below.

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/183794748270?epid=22005579783&hash=item2acb054b6e:g:RjQAAOSwFGxfaLTg
2016 Vauxhall Insignia Elite Nav in White 2.0CDTI Manual.
2009 Kia Sedona GS In Black 2.9CRDI 183PS. 5 Speed Manual WAV.
2003 MK2 Galaxy Ghia In Solid Black 1.9 TDI 115PS. 5 Speed Automatic.
Upgraded Eberspaecher booster heater to independent heating with 7 day timer.

With VCDS lite (full version) need a code clearing or want to scan for faults in the north kent area, PM me. All for a pint of Strongbow.

Update on 4 December 2021. I have changed the 109 relay. I wasn't convinced that there would be any change as I was having trouble getting the car fault to occur again (random cutting out while driving or parked with engine running). I have taken the car for a short test drive yesterday without any fault reoccurrence. Today I went for a longer normal roads test drive to the supermarket and back and all was fine. I will do some more driving and report back about if the engine cutting out returns.

The other thing I have noticed is that the 'random hazards on' has not occurred over the last 4 days and I had thought that the LH indicator bulb in the instrument panel had blown. But I noticed that when I lock the car and put the security system on, the LH indicator in the instrument panel comes on (as well as the RH one). So the bulb is ok. I am thinking this proves Chrispb's theory that I have an indicator relay problem.


Well fancy that! Who would have thought a simple little indicator relay could cause the car to conk out.

Don't you just live nice simple fixes like this.

The Alhamb (and the Galaxy): The Best Cars Money Can Buy (Mk2 or earlier).
I drive a Seat Alhambra 1.9Tdi which has 115bhp and an automatic gearbox.

I am happy to help you with all your questions. I am not a qualified mechanic but seem to be better at fixing my car than even the most experienced garages.

I have lots of friends here and very much enjoy talking with you all. Always remember, a motor car is a serious tool and should be treated with respect. Put your safety first, always.

Its not quite as simple as an indicator relay, thats part of the problem, its a timer unit used to control other functions as well thats on that board (such as the delay before the interior lights go off after shutting the door etc).

Just a thought, the flashing hazard lights might be relating to the immobiliser/alarm which relay 109 has quite alot of influnece on. This being a Seat rather than Ford some bits around that may act differently to the other brands, so it may be a symptom of the relay failing on a Seat model. I know the keyfobs off the VW/Seat models do not seem to work on the Ford models (at least I could never get them to pair up).