My Alfa Romeo Won't Start While in Park

car image by Edvin selimovic from

If you find that your Alfa Romeo's engine will not start while in park or turns off when it is starting or stationary, follow these diagnostic steps.

These steps are for the Alfa Romeo 147. If you have a different model, check with your mechanic or refer to online discussion forums for repair troubleshooting procedures specific to your model.

The Alfa Romeo 147 "Selespeed system" involves a mechanical transmission in which a monodisk clutch and synchronised gears are moved by hydraulic power steering. An electronic control unit manages the gearbox activity. Take these steps to correct your starting problem.

Check the oil level. If the level is below the maximum, top it off. If it is above, bring it down to the maximum mark. If the oil level is good, go to the next step. If the level is less than the maximum, conduct an oil leaks check, doing a visual inspection of the pipes, electric pump, tank, hydraulic unit, engagement actuator and the clutch stop pin. If there are any leaks in these parts, repair or replace the parts, top up again and restart the oil leaks check. If there are no leaks, see whether the oil level of the first top up is above or below 200cc. If above 200cc, replace the hydraulic unit; if below, do another visual inspection, in particular to the clutch stop pin. If all is fine, continue to the next step.

Check the oil pressure. The electric pump should be off when you do this. Look for a pressure of 40 to 55 bar at environment temperature (826 degrees C Celsius). If OK, go to the next step. If the pressure is less than 40 bar, do an electric pump operation check. For this, use the Alfa Romeo Examiner diagnostic tool to check the voltage of the battery. Voltage should be higher than 11V, otherwise check the battery. Also use the Examiner to see whether the pump relay output is ON or OFF. If the pump relay output is ON at environment temperature with the battery voltage higher than 11V and electric pump activation lasts 4 to 14 seconds, then the electric pump is operating. Go to the next step if the pump passes this test.

Check for any electronic control unit (ECU) errors. In particular, watch for a clutch sensor error, clutch solenoid valve current error, load relay error, odd or even gears engagement errors. If none, go to Step 5. If there are errors, go to step 4.

Correct the errors according to the type of error. For example, for a clutch solenoid valve current error, check the wiring for faulty connections. Repair or replace the wiring, or if necessary, the valve. Do a gear lever to see if the valve functions. For a clutch sensor error, check the wiring first to see if that is the source of the problem. Replace the clutch potentiometer if necessary and check its functioning by doing a gear lever. For odd and even gear engagement errors, run a solenoid valve active diagnostics test. If the results of the test are not satisfactory, check the wiring. Restore and replace the wiring if faulty. If the wiring is not problematic, do another solenoid valve active diagnostic. If the results are still not satisfactory, replace the solenoid valve. If corrected, end the diagnostic. If the problem persists, go to Step 5.

Check that the clutch does not drag. Use this procedure for telling whether the clutch drags: check the valve of the clutch disk speed parameter while the engine is running at minimum and the gear is in idle. If the clutch speed reading is above zero, there is a clutch drag condition. You may have to repeat the above steps after calibrating the clutch parameters and doing a series of take-offs by pressing the accelerator over halfway. If you correct the problem and there is no clutch drag, go to Step 7. If it drags, go to Step 6.

In the event of a clutch drag, overhaul the clutch/flywheel kit and replace any broken components. After this, check that the problem is gone. If so, end the diagnostic. If not, go to the next step.

Check that there are no problems in any other systems installed on the car. If none, go to the next step. If so, see what the Examiner diagnostic indicates about how to correct the problem.

If problem(s) persist, contact technical assistance.

Most recent