URGENT help needed for ignition switch wiring - Alfa Romeo Bulletin Board & Forums
 
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-07-2007, 07:56 PM Thread Starter
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URGENT help needed for ignition switch wiring

Hi all,

No start this morning from my GTV 2.0 (carbed, not injected). Didn't even try to crank - even with jump leads on. I concluded something wasn't getting switched so I went in to look at the ignition switch wiring wondering if the switch had failed there. Found that a previous owner had had some kind of ignition kill switch installed and wondered if that might be dead - there was a relay in the steering column, and it was warm to the touch. I could see where it had been spliced into the standard ignition wiring ... or so I thought.

So I cut out the relay, which was wired into 12V and the accessory power and ground, and then had a look at the connector from the ignition switch. It was largely untouched and had a black wire ending in a single connector, and a three-way connector with red, brown and green wires going in. I reconnected red and brown and could not find anything around to hook into the green.

The switch operates by connecting 12V from the red wire (a) to the brown wire when it's in the "run" position, and (b) to BOTH the green wire and to the separate black wire when it's in the "start" position.

My switch is currently connected to the 12V (measured, fine); the brown wire (goes to 12V in the run position, turns on the radio, fine) and nothing on the green wire. The separate black wire goes to a connector with a violet wire and a black wire twisted together into the back of the connector. It goes to 12V when I turn it to "start", and also the green wire with nothing conencted also goes to 12V.

So my question is: what should be connected to that green wire? Where will I find it? How do I know when I've got the right thing hooked up? (oh yeah, the car will start, right.)

Any help AT ALL will be gratefully received. I have a Haynes manual and it has a diagram for the GTV 2.0, but I don't know if it applies to my '84 "Nuova GTV". There is also a diagram for a breakerless ignition system which I suspect my car has. All of them are quite tough to read (and it's hard to remember nero, rosso, bianco, verde, giallo, etc!).
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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-07-2007, 10:03 PM
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Ignition Switch Wiring 83 GTV6

Checking the wiring diagram for a 1983 GTV6 the ignition switch
connector has the following Descriptions;
Ignition Connector Pin 50-Blk-To Starter Pin #50
Ignition Connector Pin 5-Brn-To Fuse #7
Ignition Connector Pin 30-Red-To Battery +
Very few Green wires shown and none close to the ignition switch may have something to do with the key in switch?
Hope this helps,
Cheers,
Kurt
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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-07-2007, 10:17 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks Kurt - it's probably closer to an Alfetta sedan since this is the 2.0 4-cylinder GTV, not all that similar to the injected V6.
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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-08-2007, 10:42 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matthew K View Post
Thanks Kurt - it's probably closer to an Alfetta sedan since this is the 2.0 4-cylinder GTV, not all that similar to the injected V6.
I'd fix the relay problem and put it back..

The early cars draw a lot of current through the ignition switch, I *always* install a relay in my older Alfas. It makes flakey ignition switches last indefinitely.

Fwiw, I also recomment headlight relays..

I'm going to attempt to upload a tech article I wrote on relays a few years ago, as well as a couple of modified wiring diagrams - one with, one without, relays. Hopefully they'll help you figure out your own wiring.

bs
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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-08-2007, 11:54 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for that - I think I have some idea what was going on, now.

As you say the relay was there to reliably bring the accessory power up to 12V without passing all the current through the switch. In my haste to remove any modifications I realise this wasn't actually the problem.

From the wiring diagrams in the Haynes manual, I think I have figured out that the green wire is used to bypass the ballast resistor on the coil during cranking, whereas the black wire is connected to the solenoid.

In cars with breakerless ignition, which I think I have, the green wire is not used because there isn't a coil resistor. There is also a violet wire which is connected to the interior light and presumably switches it off when the car is started.

So by that logic my ignition switch is actually wired OK (although I probably should put that relay back in, I agree) and instead I should be looking at the solenoid.

If I get the chance I will scan the relevant bits of the schematic.
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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-09-2007, 08:05 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matthew K View Post
From the wiring diagrams in the Haynes manual, I think I have figured out that the green wire is used to bypass the ballast resistor on the coil during cranking, whereas the black wire is connected to the solenoid.

In cars with breakerless ignition, which I think I have, the green wire is not used because there isn't a coil resistor.
Yes, you're right, there's no ballast resistor on cars with electronic ignition. If you have standard breakerless ignition, you should be able to tell easily. Just take the cap off the distributor, and have a look inside. If itís got points, itís not breakerless. If it is a breakerless ignition, then chances are that itís a Marelli or Bosch reluctor distributor. This has a toothed wheel with 4 teeth below the rotor button, or below the advance weights in the case of the Marelli distributor. To give you an idea of what the toothed wheel looks like, hereís one from a Mitsubishi Sigma, shown below.

You can see that just below the personís fingers, is the coil which picks up pulses whenever a tooth passes it. That should have one or two wires coming out of it, and going off to the electronic ignition module. One side is usually earthed, which is why sometimes they only have one wire coming out of the distributor. With the Marelli breakerless ignition, the ignition module is included with the ignition coil, in a large finned metal heatsink arrangement Ė it looks like this one, from an Alfasud, shown below. (It's a bit hard to see, because it's scanned from a photostat pic.)

They are generally relatively maintenance free Ė the only things that need attention are the distributor cap and rotor button, which eventually may need replacing, as with a points setup, and the advance weights, which occasionally need lubricating.

Regards,
Don
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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-09-2007, 12:34 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks so much Don, wonderful advice as always.

I'm pretty sure the solenoid is no good - there is a relay on the side of the bay which is connected to it, and it's clicking when I turn the key. It's a pity the solenoid and starter are so hard to get to - I can't figure out how to get the airbox off without contorting my fingers and/or getting some kind of bendable spanner!

Just in case you need it, here's a cleaned up version of the Sud coil pic:

<img ref="http://www.alfabb.com/bb/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=59897&stc=1&d=11734724 54">
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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-09-2007, 04:10 PM Thread Starter
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And now I'm pleased to say that it's all working - the solenoid must have woken up after I sprayed it with WD40 yesterday. Turns out the green wire is NOT required for breakerless ignition cars.

As an unexpected bonus, the effort I put into removing the "kill switch" from the coil means that the engine runs much more smoothly - it had been implemented by running wires from the coil back under the dash, through a switch and forward again. I reckon it may have caused too much of a voltage drop, making the engine run a little rough.

I'm not familiar with diagnosing solenoids - do they gradually fail, or does the fact that it's working again mean I can forget about it for now? It's started three times in three hours, first shot every time.
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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-10-2007, 01:19 AM
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I'm not familiar with diagnosing solenoids - do they gradually fail, or does the fact that it's working again mean I can forget about it for now? It's started three times in three hours, first shot every time.
The solenoid may have been sticking in the off position, so that it wasn't engaging the starter motor with the ring gear, or switching power to the starter motor. Lubricating it may have freed it so that it moves freely. But I'm not an expert on starting solenoids, so it may fail in the future. I'd leave it, in the hope that it doesn't.

Hopefully, if your engine is a bit smoother now, you may have slightly more power. I think you're probably right, in that the wiring from the coil, through the relay contacts near the steering wheel, and back again, had too much resistance, causing a voltage drop.

I can't remember having too many problems gaining access to things on the Alfetta motor. On the other hand, I have been known to cut up spanners to make short ones, in order to gain clearance to move them, on several more modern cars that I've worked on, where they like cramming everything in to the smallest area possible! (And covering the engine with as much plastic and other rubbish as they can get away with, so that you can't see a 'dirty engine'.)

Regards,
Don

Last edited by Tassie Tuner; 03-10-2007 at 01:27 AM.
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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-11-2007, 07:32 AM
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Hey Matt
I just read through this post with interest, as I had exactly the same with problem when I first got my GTV, same specs as yours as you know. After doing everything you did and changing leads, plugs, rotor button etc, etc, everything was fine. I wd40'd the solenoid and then the problem went away................for a while! My brother helped me check some wiring, and then we discovered an interesting problem. All the wires supplying power to and from the solenoid, despite looking perfect, were showing as intermittent in terms of voltage and ohms. Despite everything looking perfect and all grounds cleaned, the wires and connectors at the solenoid had degraded and were no longer reliable.
The only solution was to remove the air cleaner box and strip back the wires at the solenoid back to clean copper, connect them back, using quality covered hella spade and bayonet connectors and drench everything in wd40.
After this, so far so good!
Good luck mate
Jon

1981 Sprint Veloce-sold to a great new owner
1979 Series 2 Chrome Bumper Sud Ti 1.5-sold to professional restorer!
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post #11 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-11-2007, 01:15 PM Thread Starter
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Jon, invaluable advice, except for the bit where it looks like I need to remove the airbox! Seriously, thanks a LOT, it's great to know you've been there as well, and it looks like I have a bit of preventative maintenance to do.

Sometimes I wonder if a manufacturer should make 14 volt batteries especially for fitting to old Alfas to make up for the 2 volt voltage drop in every circuit in the car ... !
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post #12 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-11-2007, 04:49 PM
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Hahahah, yeah, good idea. I use a really big truck battery lashed down in the boot and two grounding straps into the chassis. Works really well.
Cheers
Jon

1981 Sprint Veloce-sold to a great new owner
1979 Series 2 Chrome Bumper Sud Ti 1.5-sold to professional restorer!
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