Have I ruined my engine?


Active Member
Hi all.

Does anyone have any ideas on the following problem?

I have a Fiat Bravo (W reg). 16valve 80 model.

The other day, I was driving to work when all of a sudden the car lost a bit of power and started sounding very throaty and rough.
At first I thought it could be the exhaust as there is a lot of corrosion on the manifold. (looked when it was on ramp prior to MOT).

However, when I got home later on to have a good look, I could not detect any holes, or obvious problems from the exhaust.

I then popped the bonnet and could clearly now hear that it was only running on three cylinders. Having checked the plugs, all were really in need of replacing. 3 were a nice biscuit colour but the gaps on each were larger than they were supposed to be. The other plug was black. I replaced them all, and started up, and it sounded sweet again.

Thought that was that….

However, when I went to work the next day, I could tell that it wasn’t 100% right. It didn’t sound as bad as before but it was noisier, and power wise, it was not a patch on how it used to be.

Because I drove it for about 30 miles when it was only using 3 cylinders, have I now damaged the engine? Im not clued up on what could be further damaged if a plug is faulty.

Can anyone advise if the faulty plug could have caused further problems?
Any thoughts?


Distinguished Member
Sounds like coil packs or a timing issue to me.

Do you know how to check that your getting sparks?



Well-known Member
If you were running on 3 cylinders, you would have been passing unburnt fuel into your CAT, which they arent particularly fond of.


Active Member
Hi there. I checked that sparks were going across the plugs yesterday... All 4 plugs were sparking OK, albeit they all needed adjusting and one was black - I changed them anyway as they were about due, wich seemed to cure the problem.
Now I am imagining an expensive repair bill. Wanted to check as much as possible though before taking the car in.

Deleted member 27989

Do you have a leak in the air-intake? Are all air-connections correct? Is your MAFF nice and clean, etc...


Active Member
You're unlikely to have done any damage to your engine running on three cylinders, though as has been mentioned your catalytic converter mightn't like it. If one of the plugs was black that is a clue, if it was black soot then it could be overfuelling/poor spark on that cyclinder (HT lead/coil pack possibly), if it was black oily that would suggest bore wear or valve stem wear (basically oil getting where it shouldn't and fouling the plug).


Distinguished Member
Sometimes to save time and money it's worth getting a diagnostics done, get a quote from the local Fiat dealer or ask some mobile mechanics if they have the proper equipment to read the ecu.


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