could it just be the battery? - Alfa Romeo Bulletin Board & Forums
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post #1 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-27-2018, 07:21 AM Thread Starter
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could it just be the battery?

Have emissions testing due soon so stressing a little. While working on center IP lights issue, i inadvertently left one of the interior lights on the battery died. Took to local parts store and they charged it overnight. Only into maybe a year and 8 months of a 2 year battery so I wasn't crazy about replacing it just yet. Car (94 LS)was running fine with charged battery up until a week ago, we had some mild rain and I wasn't sure if the added drain of a/c, lights and wipers was too much for it or what, but the car started running a little rough. Seemed to drive ok but had a definite stumble at idle. Massaged it home and since then it starts just fine. I've not had the courage to drive it yet as I fear being stranded. Looking at the tach i don't see large jumps but i do feel it from the engine bay, an uneven idle. My first thought was maybe an electrical connection got wet but the car's had plenty of time to dry out. I am hoping (fingers crossed) that the battery may be the culprit but if there's something else I should check first, I'm all ears. Again, car starts fine but definitely something different at idle and some hesitation on throttle now.

Last edited by Bronco Joe; 08-27-2018 at 08:02 AM. Reason: including car info
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post #2 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-27-2018, 08:25 AM
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Throw it on a trickle charger for a few days. Doubt it is a battery issue unless you have the wrong battery? Let us know what battery you are using, full specs.

Clean all grounds, check for air leaks, charge battery more. If it persists might have to check timing. Might be a good idea for an Italian tune up.

Just clarify, what are IP lights?


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post #3 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-27-2018, 08:31 AM Thread Starter
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Throw it on a trickle charger for a few days. Doubt it is a battery issue unless you have the wrong battery? Let us know what battery you are using, full specs.

Clean all grounds, check for air leaks, charge battery more. If it persists might have to check timing. Might be a good idea for an Italian tune up.

Just clarify, what are IP lights?
instrument panel lights, car at home so will need to update later on battery info, car running relatively well until the recent rain storm so I'd be surprised if it's the wrong battery but the recent servicing prior to my purchase was a little suspect so it's possible
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post #4 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-27-2018, 09:06 AM
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Clean the multiwire connectors for the two ignition modules located under the CC actuator to the right of the air filter box. Once cleaned with electronics spray, use dielectric grease on them to protect them from water and dirt. They are in a vulnerable area for contamination. This might be part of the problem, as well as a low battery.

My LS had a problem like this, esp when it rained, and these dirty connectors were the problem. Haven't had this problem with them since I cleaned and protected them.

Del

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previously owned since 1964:

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post #5 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-27-2018, 11:28 AM
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Yup, clean those modules and re-paste those things as well.


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post #6 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-27-2018, 12:33 PM
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Load test the battery whenever it is suspect. Simple test. Some battery suppliers will test your battery for free.....

Fully discharging an auto battery even once can kill it. Not usually but definitely possible. Car batteries are not designed for deep discharge and recharge.

Cleaning suspect wiring connectors, including the battery and battery cable terminals, is always a good idea. Dielectric grease (commonly available now for direct ignition wiring both high and low voltage) is very useful for any suspect connection that may get wet or even just damp.

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post #7 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-27-2018, 01:31 PM
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Quote:
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Load test the battery whenever it is suspect. Simple test. Some battery suppliers will test your battery for free.....

Fully discharging an auto battery even once can kill it. Not usually but definitely possible. Car batteries are not designed for deep discharge and recharge.

Cleaning suspect wiring connectors, including the battery and battery cable terminals, is always a good idea. Dielectric grease (commonly available now for direct ignition wiring both high and low voltage) is very useful for any suspect connection that may get wet or even just damp.
This is why I use Yellowtops in any of my cars that sit around a lot. Just put one in the Alfa (battery was definitely shot despite being not old, tested it), But if it gets run down it can be recharged to no ill affects. Pricey though.

That said The electronics were behaving a little strange, and since the new battery everything is fine now.

-RL; 1991 Alfa Romeo 164S, 2014 Mercedes Benz E350 4Matic, 2010 Chevrolet Camaro SS, 2008 Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD, 1995 Volkswagen Golf (Race Car)
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post #8 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-27-2018, 01:58 PM
Del
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Yeah, takes a certain voltage to run the engine electronics, ~11.5 volts or more. If the alt is not putting out...

Just as a general battery recommendation, I've had good luck with plain old Costco (now Interstate labeled) batteries, lasting at least 10 years or more. My 91S just has always had the size 27, but while I do happen to have a size 31 in the LS, but I'm sure the car doesn't need that herky battery, it just came with it.

Keep in mind that when the ignition is turned off, the only thing draining the battery is the radio memory, which actually is more than you would think. I always pull the radio fuses in our 164s if we are away for a couple of weeks or more.

If you haven't gone through and cleaned/protected all electrical connections under the hood, including the ignition modules, do it just to be sure. These electrical problems can come and go, as I found out.

Del

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1989 Milano, Shankle Sport
1991 164S, stock
1994 164LS (~Q)
1972 Morgan 27

previously owned since 1964:

62 Morris MiniMinor 850, 67 Austin 1275 Cooper S (Downton 3/4 race), 64 Giulia Sprint GT (1st red one made), 72 Fiat 128 Sedan, 75 Alfetta Sedan, 78 Alfetta Sedan, 78 GTV, 81 GTV6, 86 GTV6

Last edited by Del; 08-27-2018 at 03:04 PM.
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post #9 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-27-2018, 02:41 PM
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Why would the battery be a potential cause of rough idle while driving?

Is the theory that it was so deeply discharged that it is acting as a short to the alternator/charging system?
If this were the case, a voltmeter across the battery when the car is running would be below the ~14volts you should see from the alternator. So, that is a simple test.

Since the car seems to always start just fine, it sounds like it's something else: fuel, timing, wet wires, bad wires, bad plug, compression issue.
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post #10 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-27-2018, 04:26 PM
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Clean the throttle body and IAC motor and then take it for a drive. Disconnecting the battery will sometimes cause a low idle when there is carbon buildup.

hz
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post #11 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-27-2018, 04:37 PM
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Quote:
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Why would the battery be a potential cause of rough idle while driving?

Is the theory that it was so deeply discharged that it is acting as a short to the alternator/charging system?
If this were the case, a voltmeter across the battery when the car is running would be below the ~14volts you should see from the alternator. So, that is a simple test.

Since the car seems to always start just fine, it sounds like it's something else: fuel, timing, wet wires, bad wires, bad plug, compression issue.
Electrical faults can show weird effects. The engine management system processes various inputs from sensors that are voltage and amperage sensitive. You are correct that the car runs on around 14 volts when the alternator is spinning.

I'm not sure how you think you could measure battery voltage across the battery terminals with the engine running and the alternator putting out more than 12 volts. Surely all you'd see is alternator output voltage. Battery voltage is tested with the engine off and a load tester connected which draws current briefly from the battery and measures the voltage instantaneously after the current draw before the battery has time to recover the resting state voltage. You can't test the battery in this way with the alternator trying to charge it.

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post #12 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-27-2018, 05:38 PM
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... car starts fine but definitely something different at idle and some hesitation on throttle now.
Joe,
How many miles do you have on the current set of spark plugs? If they are high mileage or the car burns some oil you could have a fouled plug. The distributor cap and rotor can get oily inside or develop carbon build up too. Both can result in symptoms like you describe.

OBTW, I may have met you and your family at the Rizzo's Alfa Party on Lake Lanier last year.

Mark

Last edited by IRONBLOCK; 08-27-2018 at 05:44 PM.
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post #13 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-27-2018, 06:31 PM Thread Starter
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wow, I appreciate all the responses. With respect to battery info, autokraft silver, 810 cold cranking amps at 0 and 1000 cold cranking amps at 32 degrees, part # 27-3. I will try Del's multi-wire connector cleaning first as it seems simplest, he mentioned it happened to him in the rain and it's something I feel comfortable trying.

Mark, good memory! we weren't able to make it this year. Alternator replaced Jan 2015, spark plugs replaced with battery 04-2014, I didn't realize the battery was replaced so long ago but if it matters any, mileage-wise that was only < 5000 miles ago
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post #14 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-27-2018, 06:42 PM
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Cleaning/protecting wire connectors is so easy... do every one you can find in the engine bay, including that big round one over the flywheel.

Yes, it did show up a couple of times when it was raining, couldn't figure out what it was, but tried cleaning/protecting those module connectors first, and it fixed the problem since. They were pretty dirty, and the semi-conductive moisture and dirt just let everything start to short out.

Have you mentioned which plugs you are using? I've found that the NGK Iridiums are as good as they get for the 24V engine. Also, I use a small bottle of Techron every several fillings to help keep injectors clean. Those injector cleaners do work.

Del

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1989 Milano, Shankle Sport
1991 164S, stock
1994 164LS (~Q)
1972 Morgan 27

previously owned since 1964:

62 Morris MiniMinor 850, 67 Austin 1275 Cooper S (Downton 3/4 race), 64 Giulia Sprint GT (1st red one made), 72 Fiat 128 Sedan, 75 Alfetta Sedan, 78 Alfetta Sedan, 78 GTV, 81 GTV6, 86 GTV6

Last edited by Del; 08-27-2018 at 07:38 PM.
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post #15 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-27-2018, 07:07 PM Thread Starter
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ok, I wasn't 100% sure which connectors I was supposed to clean so I picked three electrical connectors somewhat to the right of the air cleaner (#1 lifting up and removing the black plastic cover near the radiator, #2 disconnecting the orange pull-apart pin connector to the immediate right of the air cleaner, #3 disconnecting the yellow pull-apart pin connector near the top of the driver's side strut and sprayed them all pretty good with electrical cleaner. All of them looked pretty good but they got sprayed anyway. reconnected them and tried starting the car unfortunately no change. If anything, one side of the yellow pull-apart connector (the one with the poles and not the holes) came close to disintegrating in my hand, several plastic pieces just kind of fell apart. So basically it likely needed to be replaced pretty soon anyway but unfortunately no change.


So, Jason (alfissimo), you got this piece in stock?
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