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i have been told that a lot of alto`s have pinking problems,is this true? and why are they still being sold?????????
 

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In my experience, YES, they pink. I am now on my second ECU and the dealer just doesn't seem able to get Suzuki to properly investigate and CURE the problem. It always starts at this time of year, ie when the car gets hot. I'm convinced it's because the ECU overheats, because it's hidden right up inside the dashboard. Next year my warranty expires, so I will be faced with 1000 pound a year bills for supply and fitting of new ECU. I have talked to three other Alto owners and none said they had a problem. I drove their cars and they WERE pinking. Interestingly the average age of an Alto owner is high enough that their ears can't hear the high sound frequency, so Suzuki don't have many complaints. IMHO, it's a damn good reason to buy another brand next time. Frustrating, utterly frustrating.
Graham
 

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Hello. Sorry to bring this back up.
I am here in 2019 with a 2005 Alto and it pings like mad. Unless I use high-octane, which quietens it significantly (this is how I am sure of what it is).
I haven't been able to find any other issue so I assume it is likely this same problem that you're talking about.

I was wondering if you ever actually got to a resolution with yours? Any help is much appreciated!
 

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Reasons for engine ping:

  1. Ignition too far advanced,
  2. Lean fuel burn,
  3. Plug gap too wide,
  4. Carbon in piston
 

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Reasons for engine ping:

  1. Ignition too far advanced,
  2. Lean fuel burn,
  3. Plug gap too wide,
  4. Carbon in piston
Thanks for the response, Phillip. However, I've already investigated these things. Amongst other little things, I've checked all plug gaps 10,000 times (0.035"), seen the carbon (or lack thereof) on the pistons with a borescope, replaced the ignition leads, cleaned the EGR valve and replaced the knock sensor even though the old one appears to work anyway. The fuel trims are normal, there are no codes and it runs totally fine other than the pinging. The ignition isn't adjustable, it is entirely electronic. The only thing left, really, is the ECU. This is why I was curious about the idea that ECUs were being replaced for a pinging issue when new. At the moment, I'm just driving around sounding like a tumble dryer of ballpoint pens. Or spending too much on expensive petrol.
 

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The fuel trims are normal, there are no codes and it runs totally fine other than the pinging. The ignition isn't adjustable, it is entirely electronic.
Fuel trims normal as in +/- what?
Base ignition timing can be adjusted, you have to fix(stop auto timing) the ECU first, then adjust the CAM sensor.
Most Pro scan tools have the fix capabilities...
Have you monitored the CAM/Crank correlation while under load (PING)?
 

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Fuel trims normal as in +/- what?
Base ignition timing can be adjusted, you have to fix(stop auto timing) the ECU first, then adjust the CAM sensor.
Most Pro scan tools have the fix capabilities...
Have you monitored the CAM/Crank correlation while under load (PING)?
Unfortunately, my scan tool at present is an ELM327 clone with Torque on my phone. Thus I've no way to fix the timing, nor monitor Cam/Crank correlation (I do have an oscilloscope but only with the one channel), although surely if the latter ever went out it would trigger a code? At warm idle the timing is between 8 and 9 degrees. How does one go about adjusting the cam sensor, in any case? It seems fixed at one angle.

I don't remember the fuel trims but I will record them when I'm next out and let you know. Thanks again for the advice.
 

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  1. although surely if the latter ever went out it would trigger a code?
  2. At warm idle the timing is between 8 and 9 degrees.
  3. How does one go about adjusting the cam sensor, in any case? It seems fixed at one angle.
  4. I don't remember the fuel trims but I will record them when I'm next out and let you know. Thanks again for the advice.
  1. Not necessarily, some vary by a good margin without triggering
  2. That is close to the 5 BTC
  3. There is a lock down bolt on a slotted base, it should advance with rpm..
  4. Like to see FT's at idle, 2000 and 3000rpm
 

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oops, look like philip posted same time as me

cam / crank correlation will not throw a code until the engines basically not running, and even then it can be something obscure in the code it gives you..
An ELM327 and Torque will not help much, you need to look at long term and short term fuel trims, and possibly freeze frame data during a ping event. You could try SZ viewer but it will depend on the ELM unit as to whether you get any more meaningful items to view
My first check would be to borrow a 2 channel scope and verifiy cam and crank signals and their relationship.
 

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Hello again. This will be long, sorry for taking advantage of your patience..

I went on a drive with Torque logging fuel trims. These are once warmed up and from the end of a run at the respective RPM. I'm not sure what normal is, but it was certainly pinging.
3000rpm: 3.13% long term, -1.56% short
2000rpm: -1.56% long term, 0% short
Sitting at idle: -7.03% long term, 0ish% short (fluctuated between 2 and -3 constantly)

To answer Phillip's #3 point.. I do see the screw in the slot. But there is a lot I don't understand.
  • Is it not the crankshaft sensor that is used for ignition timing? I have only two ignition coils, one for 1 and 4 and one for 2 and 3. If it can only fire two spark plugs at once anyway, camshaft information wouldn't be of any use, would it?
  • Why is the knock sensor not picking up the pinging? I have heard of cars where mechanical noise is fooling the sensor and making the car undrivable, implying that the knock sensor has a very large degree of control over the timing. But my car runs fine even whilst I hear the pinging.
  • If it is the cam sensor that needs adjusting, how do I know what "correct" is? Trial and error?
I'd still very much like to know what happened to those whose Altos pinged when they were new. That suggests that it's something beyond the ordinary, doesn't it? Or at least something Suzuki themselves aren't able to fix?

Sorry for all the questions.
 
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