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Discussion Starter #1
Hi everyone,

lots of useful material here in this forum. However, I wasn't able to find an answer to my dilemma. About two months ago I bought a new Kia Picanto 1.0, the base model. The car rides well, it's fairly comfortable and I would've been perfectly happy with it if it wasn't for the lack of power and a terrible fuel consumption. Power doesn't really bother me since I need the car only to get to work and back, unfortunately power and fuel consumption go hand in hand. The consumption that I'm getting after two months of driving it, or nursing it rather,lot of coasting and using the fifth gear as much as possible, is 7.5 liters per 100km or 31 miles(US) and 37 miles(UK) per gallon which is a far cry from the advertised consumption(or the information on the sticker on the inside of the windscreen). The consumption that Kia promotes is 5 liters per 100km or 47 miles(US) and 56 miles(UK) per gallon.

I don't think that there is anything wrong with the car except the timing. These engines as far as I know were assembled and tested at the sea level and I live at an altitude of 1350m or approximately 4500ft which renders the timing well out of it's specs when it's applied to the altitude that I just mentioned. The closest dealership is quite far and to drive all the way there for the ten minutes worth of timing change is the last alternative for me. I have over 25 years of experience when it comes to working on cars but the location of the distributor just baffles me. Most probably if I start digging under the bonnet I will come up with a necessary result but the car is new and I don't want to fool around too much with it. I just want to twist the distributor a few degrees and see if it makes a significant difference regarding the power and consumption issue. Also, the idling speed is going to increase or decrease and I would have to adjust that too. That part escapes me as well, at least on the surface, when you just look at the engine without dismantling all the covers and plastic and so on.

If anyone has gone through this process already and could help me with the information on how to perform this operation exactly, I would sincerely appreciate it. Also, I hope this thread assists many members looking for the solution to the same problem. Thanks a lot.
 

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99 Kia Elan 1.8L, 17 Ford Edge Sport 2.7L V6, 15 Mustang 3.7L V6, 2013 BMW K1600 GTL
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Welcome to the forum.

I don't know your model, but most of them these days don't use a distributor.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Hi Ron,

thanks a lot for your reply. I forgot to mention I'm from South Africa. Will check the link you posted in a minute. I'm quite surprised to learn about the distributor, or the lack of it. What determines the timing then? Maybe I'm just light years behind. However, I'm glad I made some progress. I have a 1 liter Picanto and I posted a picture below. Thanks once again.
 

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99 Kia Elan 1.8L, 17 Ford Edge Sport 2.7L V6, 15 Mustang 3.7L V6, 2013 BMW K1600 GTL
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Hi Boet,

I expect that your car is fuel injected (most cars are these days) and the timing is controlled by the ECU looking at the crank and camshaft position sensors.

The ignition coils are typically mounted on each spark plug so no need for a distributor.
From the KiaTech web site:
Ignition timing is controlled by the electronic control ignition timing system. The standard reference ignition timing data for the engine operating conditions are preprogrammed in the memory of the ECM (Engine Control Module).
The engine operating conditions (speed, load, warm-up condition, etc.) are detected by the various sensors. Based on these sensor signals and the ignition timing data, signals to interrupt the primary current are sent to the ECM. The ignition coil is activated, and timing is controlled.
The KiaTech web site doesn't have the Picanto, but look for another model similar.

Soul:
https://www.kiatechinfo.com/viewer/dispimg.asp?path=/data/Passenger/KM/KMA/ENG/SHOP-Images/KM-AM13-IMAGES-ENG/SMDM11024L.gif
 

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2007 Kia Magentis LX
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Higher altitude = thinner air = less HP = using your right foot more = poor fuel consumption.

edit: and higher altitudes also usually = going up/down big hills = poor fuel consumption.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Hi Boet,

I expect that your car is fuel injected (most cars are these days) and the timing is controlled by the ECU looking at the crank and camshaft position sensors.

The ignition coils are typically mounted on each spark plug so no need for a distributor.
From the KiaTech web site:

The KiaTech web site doesn't have the Picanto, but look for another model similar.

Soul:
https://www.kiatechinfo.com/viewer/dispimg.asp?path=/data/Passenger/KM/KMA/ENG/SHOP-Images/KM-AM13-IMAGES-ENG/SMDM11024L.gif
All right, so much for my plan to sort out the timing and fuel consumption. Since the timing data is preprogrammed and I have no way to fiddle around with it, I'll have to go to the dealership. Ron, thanks boet :D ,it's much appreciated.
 

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The dealership usually cannot (and usually will not) attempt to change the mapping of the ECU.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Higher altitude = thinner air = less HP = using your right foot more = poor fuel consumption.

edit: and higher altitudes also usually = going up/down big hills = poor fuel consumption.
Hi p mori7,

thanks for you reply. You're right about the altitude and a heavy right foot. However, I still think I should be able to get the consumption a bit lower than it is now(at the dealership if nothing else). Its a small car, 1 liter engine and only me in the car. The difference between Kia's claimed consumption and the actual one is ridiculous. At least according to me- I bought this car because of the consumption factor. Thanks again.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
As I read through other forums on the internet, many people are complaining about exactly the same issue as I did. And these Picanto owners live all over the world, so be it high altitude or sea level, it doesn't look like it makes much difference. Only those who travel by highway every day have a bit more to brag about. The rest of us who use city streets to commute (and that was the main reason for buying a small, 1 liter-engine-car on the part of most of us) are stuck with it. By now I'm quite disappointed in this little car,at least regarding the consumption rip off.
 

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MPG or fuel economy is a variable outcome and the results from the same car can vary greatly with different driver or driving style.

I had a Proton Persona 1.3L that got around 32MPG when I first had it - but once I started to drive it gently it got up to 46MPG.

Our Picanto was getting around 36MPG orginally but that's now gone up to over 40 and we regularly see 42 - but every so often it will dip back drown to 36~38MPG.

I have a 2012 Hyundai Sonata - which gets 38MPG easily....sounds bonkers I know!

My last car, a Hyundai Coupe used to get upto 47.5MPG on a long run..more than the Picanto ever did! ;)
 

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Hi,

Did you come right with your issue? I have a 2008 picanto lx, and cannot get more than 300kms on a tank with mixed urban and highway driving?? Dealership says there is nothing wrong with the car. I also live in south africa in Cape Town
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Hi,

Did you come right with your issue? I have a 2008 picanto lx, and cannot get more than 300kms on a tank with mixed urban and highway driving?? Dealership says there is nothing wrong with the car. I also live in south africa in Cape Town
Hi,

Sorry, haven't had a chance yet to get on the internet and read through the forum again. I haven't been to the dealership as yet simply because I'm fed up with this car and I don't want to go through the same treatment that you mentioned. However, I did plan on going there this week and I'm not looking forward to it. Regarding the fuel consumption, my car consumes anything between 7.5 and 8 liters per 100km. I'm not sure about your 2008 picanto but I'm more than sure that late timing is the problem with my car. You live at the sea level and shouldn't experience much of a trouble when it comes to the timing(that is if your engine has been assembled and tested in the factory at the sea level). That's not to say that the issue is not exactly with the timing itself. I would suggest you look for a second opinion and go to another dealership and tell them specifically to have a look at the timing. You shouldn't mention the issue with the fuel consumption, just tell them the car doesn't have power and its sluggish(I assume it is, maybe it isn't). On the other hand, it could be the fuel mixture or just about anything. I'll post here what happened at the dealership.
 

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I forgot to mention the KIA Picanto replaced a Mazda 121 DB (bubble shape) it was a great little car but had one fault...terrible fuel economy.

It would get 32MPG on average and on one long run down to Manchester on the motorway it actually only acheived 28MPG!!!

I never got to the bottom of this but it had allsorts of tests & diagnostics done and eveything verified that it was running per factory specifications.

The car was owned for 10 years but it was so reliable we kept it until the rust set in at 14 years of age...
 

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I forgot to mention the KIA Picanto replaced a Mazda 121 DB (bubble shape) it was a great little car but had one fault...terrible fuel economy.

It would get 32MPG on average and on one long run down to Manchester on the motorway it actually only acheived 28MPG!!!

I never got to the bottom of this but it had allsorts of tests & diagnostics done and eveything verified that it was running per factory specifications.

The car was owned for 10 years but it was so reliable we kept it until the rust set in at 14 years of age...
We had a Ford festiva 1998 which I believe was a close copy of the Mazda 121 Bubble car and actually made by KIA. Super reliable and still going strong when we traded it to get the Cerato (Forte). Fuel consumption was 28MPG (Imp.) around town and 38MPG on the highway. -Not bad for a 1.3 litre 3-speed auto; engine used to work fairly hard on the highway; it didn't like hills.

The Picanto and Rio have a bad reputation for fuel economy, and there doesn't seem to be a cure.
 

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We had a Ford festiva 1998 which I believe was a close copy of the Mazda 121 Bubble car and actually made by KIA. Super reliable and still going strong when we traded it to get the Cerato (Forte). Fuel consumption was 28MPG (Imp.) around town and 38MPG on the highway. -Not bad for a 1.3 litre 3-speed auto; engine used to work fairly hard on the highway; it didn't like hills.

The Picanto and Rio have a bad reputation for fuel economy, and there doesn't seem to be a cure.
Was it one of these?

 
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