Quick battery question - Alfa Romeo Bulletin Board & Forums
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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 11-20-2017, 12:00 PM Thread Starter
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Quick battery question

My spider ('82 L-Jet) has been relegated to living outdoors, and it doesn't like it. In protest, it won't start.

Battery (Bosch) is new as of 6 months ago. With no load on it, fully charged with a trickle charger, it's reading 12.6V.

When turning over, it reads 11.4V and won't start.

Would you a) change the battery again, b) change the trickle charger (Battery Tender Plus) or c) look elsewhere?

Thanks much.

'82 Alfa Spider Veloce + '74 Fiat X1/9 + '10 Mazda RX-8 GT
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 11-20-2017, 12:09 PM
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Does your Battery Tender transition into the blinking light mode which I believe means its charged and desulfating. If not it may not be charged
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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 11-20-2017, 12:21 PM Thread Starter
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Yep - when it's charging it's solid red. When it's nearly charged it flashes green, and then when it's (supposedly) charged and in storage mode it's solid green - it appears to be functioning as per the instructions and as it has the past several years.

'82 Alfa Spider Veloce + '74 Fiat X1/9 + '10 Mazda RX-8 GT
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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 11-20-2017, 01:25 PM
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I'd chose "C - Look elsewhere". A voltage drop of only 1.2 V with the starter running sounds healthy to me.

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'63 Guilia spider
'65 Guilia Sprint GT
'67 Duetto
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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 11-20-2017, 07:48 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks - I think the problem is that 11.4V isn't enough to kick on the L-jet ECU so no start, unless I'm mistaken with that value.
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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 11-22-2017, 06:08 AM Thread Starter
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Ah - I figured it out. It was a bad, corroded ground near the ECU. I thought I had caught all of the grounds. Per the L-Jet diagnostic, the ECU only needs 10-10.5V while the starter was active, so "C - look elsewhere" was correct. Thanks, all.
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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 11-22-2017, 07:06 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sgweiner View Post
Ah - I figured it out. It was a bad, corroded ground near the ECU.
Thanks for letting us know what the problem was - you'd be surprised how few posters report back when their problem gets identified.

Glad you got it fixed - and so quickly and cheaply!
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'63 Guilia spider
'65 Guilia Sprint GT
'67 Duetto
'91 164L
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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 11-22-2017, 07:16 AM Thread Starter
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I know - I always like to know the solutions, too!
It wasn't quick and cheap - new battery, new starter, new flywheel sensors, new coil, dizzy, plugs, wires, fuel pumps, hoses ;-)
And in the end it was pretty much just a stupid ground. But at least I have fun working on the car so we'll chalk it up to "hobby fees".
But word to the wise - if you have an L-Jet with starting or running problems definitely follow the diagnostic:
Bosch L-jetronic Fuel Injection Idle Adjustment Diagnostic and Tune Up Technical Article Alfa Romeo Spider Specific

'82 Alfa Spider Veloce + '74 Fiat X1/9 + '10 Mazda RX-8 GT
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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 12-01-2017, 07:27 PM Thread Starter
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HELP!!!

Okay, my Alfa Amici - I am really, really stuck.
I thought I had the solution with a bad ground but now my poor spider completely refuses to start.

A recap:
Symptom - turns over normally and strong when I turn the key. However, sometimes it was hard to start and would go after several attempts, sometimes catching only as I was letting go of the key.
Now, it is completely non-starting - it turns over strong but I have a no spark/no fuel situation.

Where my retirement fund has gone:
New battery, new starter, 2 new flywheel sensors, new cap/rotor/plugs/wires, new fuel pumps, new fuel lines, new silicone hoses in engine bay

What I've checked:
Battery strong, at least 10.5V while cranking
Flywheel sensors giving normal resistance, even back to the ignition ECU harness
Ignition ECU harness check diagnostic all shows appropriate resistance/voltage
Followed the L-Jet diagnostic to a T and everything checks out
Cold start injector does not squirt at all during attempted start up
Fuses all conducting, appear to be in good condition (despite being old bullet type)
Fuel pump fuse was upgraded and appears to be normal
Both the fuel pump and main relays click when the ignition is turned on

Things I've noticed:
If I disconnect the fuel ECU harness and turn the ignition to on, both fuel pumps run normally and continuously
Last week when I last wrote I had cleaned the ground by the ECUs and it started right up (that was the last time it started)
After it starts, even when it was hard to start before, it would then run fine - no issues. It's only a start-up problem.

Questions I have:
1) Can you think of anything else to check?
2) My understanding is that the flywheel sensors would give a no spark/no fuel situation but they check out. Anything else that would make this happen?
3) I know an electronic distributor removes the need for the ignition ECU. If the ignition ECU is faulty, would that solve my problem? (and if so, how does it tell the main ECU to start pumping fuel?)
4) If the problem is the main (fuel ECU) would that give these symptoms?
5) The ignition switch is also an obvious suspect given that before this problem became really bad it would start just as I was letting go of the key. I bypassed it and the symptom was the same, though. Would it turn over normally even with a faulty ignition switch?

Thank you in advance - I am completely stumped this time.
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'82 Alfa Spider Veloce + '74 Fiat X1/9 + '10 Mazda RX-8 GT
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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 12-02-2017, 11:44 AM Thread Starter
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Never mind - I figured it out.

My cold start injector was to blame. I finally got spark but no fuel. I had no fuel through the CSI either. I finally unplugged it to test the connector with a testing light and the car started right up. Very strange, as it was just replaced a couple of years ago. I also thought they would fail by not squirting, but not cause a no-start condition for the car if defective. But it now makes sense why it would run fine after it got started, because the CSI would no longer be active in that situation.

Hope this helps someone else in the future.

'82 Alfa Spider Veloce + '74 Fiat X1/9 + '10 Mazda RX-8 GT
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post #11 of 14 (permalink) Old 12-02-2017, 02:01 PM
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I don't think that you've found root cause yet- I think moving the wiring harness around may be causing the car to start again.
My no start last year was the TTS.

86 spider Veloce
74 TR6
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post #12 of 14 (permalink) Old 12-02-2017, 03:47 PM Thread Starter
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I certainly would be happy if it wasn't the CSI given the price of these things (and I did change it a couple of years ago - I was surprised it's failed again). What were your symptoms from the bad TTS? Mine gives appropriate resistance as per the L-Jet diagnostic - did yours as well? Also, I'd like to understand this - when I disconnected the CSI the car started right away, so something was impeding it from starting when it was attached. How would a bad TTS do that? I thought the TTS just controlled voltage to the CSI and wouldn't effect the other injectors?
I do agree with you - there probably is something more to find...
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post #13 of 14 (permalink) Old 12-02-2017, 04:34 PM
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Perhaps repeat the test with unplugging/replugging the CSI a couple of times...just to see if it was a fluke?
Picking up John533i's point, perhaps also alternate minimal/large wriggling of the surrounding wiring loom as you test.
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post #14 of 14 (permalink) Old 12-06-2017, 07:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sgweiner View Post
I certainly would be happy if it wasn't the CSI given the price of these things (and I did change it a couple of years ago - I was surprised it's failed again). What were your symptoms from the bad TTS? Mine gives appropriate resistance as per the L-Jet diagnostic - did yours as well? Also, I'd like to understand this - when I disconnected the CSI the car started right away, so something was impeding it from starting when it was attached. How would a bad TTS do that? I thought the TTS just controlled voltage to the CSI and wouldn't effect the other injectors?
I do agree with you - there probably is something more to find...
The fact that your car finally started "after you disconnected the CSI" could have been co-incidence. The CSI is supposed to squirt when the car is cold, but during constant testing and re-testing, the block actually warms up enough so that the car doesn't need it to squirt anymore and will start with just the fuel from the 4 main injectors. That's why when the CSI goes bad, the symptom most often is "the car doesn't start on the first turn of the key, but after cranking several times then waiting a few minutes, it finally catches". Perhaps you disconnected the CSI after you had cranked for awhile and the repeated cranking is why the car started, not the removal of the CSI cable, and only after replacing the CSI was it confirmed as the actual culprit.

Edward
'88 Quad - "Claudia"

Last edited by Norseman50; 12-06-2017 at 07:38 AM.
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