79 Alfetta GT -No start - Ignition switch or starter? - Alfa Romeo Bulletin Board & Forums
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-11-2019, 01:14 PM Thread Starter
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79 Alfetta GT -No start - Ignition switch or starter?

Hello,

I went to start my car and no sound from the starter.
I have a new battery and I can hear the fuel pump and
all lights activate.
But no starter noise..
I would get this issue sometimes when I insert the key
into the ignition, turn and nothing happens, only I hear
the pump.
I am not sure what to replace?
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-11-2019, 01:34 PM
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I used to get the same symptoms with our Spider. Sometimes it'd crank right up, other times turn the key and nothing. My guess it was a failing ignition switch. The internal contacts become unable to pass the current needed to activate the starter. The fix is to either replace the ignition switch or try adding a relay to the system. Then the switch only needs to send a tiny bit of current to activate the relay which can easily pass the current needed to activate the starter. This can make the ignition switch last long enough to become an issue for my heirs.

- - Eric
don't read this
~ 1984 Spider Veloce ~
- -~ 1981 GTV-6 ~
Mebane, North Carolina


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Last edited by ghnl; 02-11-2019 at 02:44 PM.
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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-11-2019, 01:52 PM
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That happened with my '78 GTV.
The ignition switch has a security bolt, underneath, on the steering column that is REALLY fun to remove.
This bolt has no head for removal so you have to be resourceful to extract it.
They rounded them off at the factory as a security measure.
I used a small section of hacksaw blade with needle-nose vise grips to cut a groove it and then was able to remove it with a normal flat head screwdriver.
Good luck with that if you determine the ING switch is faulty.

'67 Duetto, '74 GTV
Past '78 Alfetta w/ TwinSpark
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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-11-2019, 03:14 PM
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Sounds like ignition switch problem. I just replaced mine on my 1976 alfetta GT. Its relatively easy to replace. A Dremel with a small cutting wheel is needed to cut a slot for a flat head screwdriver to extract the retaining bolt. Do a search on the BB and you'll find several threads on the replacement issue. Maybe a 10-15 minute procedure to extract the existing ignition switch.

If you haven't removed the plastic steering cowling, remember it takes an allan wrench to remove the bolts, that hold the two piece cover together.

You'll also find that replacing the ignition switch will make you fuel pump run better, better starts, etc.

'76 Alfetta GT, 2013 Fiat 500 Abarth, '78 sports sedan (2 of them) - sold, '91 164L - sold, '83 GTV6 -sold, '87 Milano Verde - sold, '91 spider -sold, '69 MGB GT,
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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-11-2019, 03:31 PM
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Some info on replacing the Spider's ignition switch - likely the same as the Alfetta. https://www.alfabb.com/bb/forums/spi...placement.html

- - Eric
don't read this
~ 1984 Spider Veloce ~
- -~ 1981 GTV-6 ~
Mebane, North Carolina


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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-11-2019, 03:39 PM
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Yep, good review on how to take out and replace. Need to take the plastic connectors off the wires, since they plastic connectors wont go through the hole.

Now, you'll have to call around to find a new or used one. I bought a used one from Alfa Parts in Berkeley, CA. Last one he had.

'76 Alfetta GT, 2013 Fiat 500 Abarth, '78 sports sedan (2 of them) - sold, '91 164L - sold, '83 GTV6 -sold, '87 Milano Verde - sold, '91 spider -sold, '69 MGB GT,
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 06-25-2019, 11:33 PM
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Before fault can be apportioned to any component, I'd first quickly check the following in sequence:
1- Earth strap to engine not loose - engines can run with no earth strap due to the choke cable etc, still providing ground for small current loads.
2- Remove starter lead spade terminal, and fit a jump wire in its place. When this wire is connected to the battery positive, does the starter fire? if not, then the solenoid is probably faulty. Solenoids can become sticky for various reasons (gunged with old oil, grit and sometimes abrasion seizure etc.)
3- If it fires, then check the starter lead gets 12V at the solenoid terminal when turning the ignition switch to 'crank'. If not, then the ignition switch is the fault. If it does get power, but still won't fire, then there may be a voltage drop across corroded ignition switch contacts etc., whereupon fitting a relay as suggested previously should cure the fault without needing to replace the ignition switch.
Generally, Italian electrics are not the finest, and I once had a problem where my race car would misfire horribly and cut out through fast corners. After an exhaustive search for the fault, including multiple carb overhauls, wiring replacement etc., we found that the keys encountering cornering forces would momentarily move the switch contacts to open circuit!
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 06-26-2019, 11:53 AM
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Had the same issue with mine last month. It would start 60% of the time. I diagnosed it down to a faulty electrical portion of the ignition switch. Swapped it over to a tested known good one and it works perfect now. Easiest way to remove that bolt in the lock cylinder is drill the head a bit and use screw extractors. Works like a charm.

Ryan Baker
1979 Alfetta GT, 1963 2600 Spider
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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 06-26-2019, 02:59 PM
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Had this problem with both my Alfetta gtv 's! First one turned out to be gummed up solenoid on starter motor confirmed by smacking it while turning ignition on. Removed starter motor, dismantled, cleaned and lubricated it with good old WD 40 and it's been as good as new ever since (more than two years now)
The second one was a faulty ignition switch not sending power to the starter motor so thought I would try shooting WD 40 down the slot where the key goes in! Guess what, its been fine ever since! Assume it was a dry connection in the switch itself. So I would try this as a first step, if it works it's a lot cheaper and easier than changing the ignition switch if you can even find one!
Regards John
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