Intermittent Heater Control on Fiat Grande Punto

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Q   My wife has a three-door Fiat Grande Punto 1.4 8v. The problem we have is with its heater control. When we go over bumps or potholes, the blower turns off. Then if you knock near the fan switch, it comes back on. From what I gather, this appears to be a common fault on this model and is due to the heater wiring melting in the passenger footwell. I have reasonably good DIY skills, so, if this is the case, can I buy some wire, cut the block out and rewire? Where would I get the correct grade of electrical wiring? Is this joint called the rheostat? Second, how do I remove the centre console? I can’t see where the screws are that hold it on. The fan switch appears to be fine and in working order. Can you suggest if this is a job I can tackle once I access the wiring? Or should I get the garage to assist me? I have been told this could cost hundreds of pounds. A photo would greatly assist me.
Kevin Evans

A   If your Grande Punto is suffering from the common fault you are referring to, you should be able to do a repair without too much trouble.

Very often, the cause is down to a multi-plug connection in the loom not far from the blower motor. This is located up in the passenger footwell and is normally black. The plug heats up due to an inadequate connection and then melts the wiring or the plug and connectors.

The repair can be made by simply cutting out the plug and joining each wire up, soldering the joint before insulating each wire. You should disconnect the car battery before the repair and, of course, take care with the hot soldering iron. If you do need to add in a short length of wire, your local Halfords has some adequate lengths for £3.79.

There is a very good thread on the Fiat Forum, with pictures taking you through the process. You should also check the plugs to the heater blower motor and the rheostat to ensure that the connections are good. These can both be found in the same area of the passenger footwell.

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