Hell hath no fury.... or, another non-starting Alfa - Alfa Romeo Bulletin Board & Forums
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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 04-21-2015, 07:08 AM Thread Starter
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Hell hath no fury.... or, another non-starting Alfa

I'm stuck and looking for ideas to get my Alfa started.

1982 Spider (FI). Completely rebuilt everything last year. Worked great until parked before the record-breaking Boston winter. Covered and zippered but some moisture got in.

Things I've done:
1) Battery is new and charged. Reads 10.5 while cranking.
2) New spark plugs, distributor cap, coil.
3) Gas tank nearly full
4) Pushed car in 4th and motor not frozen.
5) Turns over fine and cranks strongly; just won't start. Doesn't even hesitate and quit - it just won't start.
6) Pulled CSV (new as of last year) and it's spraying gas appropriately (does this imply ECU works?)
7) Relay clicks and full pump activates when ignition is on.
8) Checked all fuses (including by ECU) and they are fine.
9) Checked as many grounds as I could, including main ground for FI and seem fine.

So I have electricity, movement, fuel but it just won't start. I've tried to follow the L-jet diagnostic to the best of my ability but am still stuck.

Thanks in advance...
Scott

'82 Alfa Spider Veloce + '74 Fiat X1/9 + '10 Mazda RX-8 GT
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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 04-21-2015, 07:11 AM
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Originally Posted by sgweiner View Post
I'm stuck and looking for ideas to get my Alfa started.

1982 Spider (FI). Completely rebuilt everything last year. Worked great until parked before the record-breaking Boston winter. Covered and zippered but some moisture got in.

Things I've done:
1) Battery is new and charged. Reads 10.5 while cranking.
2) New spark plugs, distributor cap, coil.
3) Gas tank nearly full
4) Pushed car in 4th and motor not frozen.
5) Turns over fine and cranks strongly; just won't start. Doesn't even hesitate and quit - it just won't start.
6) Pulled CSV (new as of last year) and it's spraying gas appropriately (does this imply ECU works?)
7) Relay clicks and full pump activates when ignition is on.
8) Checked all fuses (including by ECU) and they are fine.
9) Checked as many grounds as I could, including main ground for FI and seem fine.

So I have electricity, movement, fuel but it just won't start. I've tried to follow the L-jet diagnostic to the best of my ability but am still stuck.

Thanks in advance...
Scott


10.5v is borderline voltage to start the car.
There is a good chance if you boost the car, it will fire.
Good luck!
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'87 Quadrifoglio
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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 04-21-2015, 07:22 AM Thread Starter
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Ah - okay, so that confirms one of my suspicions that it's the battery. I tried using a fresh battery from my old Fiat but it is smaller in size so probably still wasn't enough.

The car is on the side of the house, impossible to get another car nearby to jump it.

Looks like I'm off to buy a new battery...

Thanks!

'82 Alfa Spider Veloce + '74 Fiat X1/9 + '10 Mazda RX-8 GT
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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 04-21-2015, 02:49 PM Thread Starter
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Unfortunately, that wasn't the answer. Brand new battery, 11.5V while cranking. Turns over nicely, cranks strongly, odor of fuel, won't start.

A few questions:
How do you check for spark?
If the CSV is spraying fuel when cranking, can I assume that the ECU and fuel pump are working?

I'm really stumped.

'82 Alfa Spider Veloce + '74 Fiat X1/9 + '10 Mazda RX-8 GT
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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 04-21-2015, 02:59 PM
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Did you check the flywheel sensors per the L-Jet diagnostics?

Rich

'85 Spider Veloce
'17 Giulia Ti Sport
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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 04-21-2015, 03:03 PM
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How do you check for spark?
Easiest is to put a spark plug wire on a spare spark plug, ground the threads and have your trusted assistant turn the key to 'start' while you watch for a spark to jump the gap of the spark plug. Snappy blue spark is good, weak, yellow spark not so good, no spark = further diagnosis.

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If the CSV is spraying fuel when cranking, can I assume that the ECU and fuel pump are working?
Fuel pump, yes. ECU no. The Cold Start System is stand-alone - the ECU has nothing to say about it.

Peruse the L-jet Spider Diagnosis page (link below) for lots of information about things to check. One thing not mentioned is that multiple unsuccessful starting attempts can foul the spark plugs. Now that you've replaced the iffy battery, you might also consider cleaning or replacing the spark plugs.

Next year send your spider on down to North Carolina. We'll drive it all winter then you can come pick it up when the snow melts in May.
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- -~ 1981 GTV-6 ~
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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 04-21-2015, 03:08 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks Eric and Mark,

Yes - I think I need to spend more time with my micrometer. Also, I just changed the plugs for that reason. I was hoping that with new plugs and the new battery I'd be set.

Good to know about the CSV - that was throwing me off.

My spider (and its owner) would love spending the winters down south...

I'll press on.

'82 Alfa Spider Veloce + '74 Fiat X1/9 + '10 Mazda RX-8 GT
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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 04-21-2015, 03:46 PM Thread Starter
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It looks like Rich might be the winner. One of the flywheel sensors reads badly. Not sure why it would give up now - maybe just being exposed to freezing temperatures is enough? I'll order the new part and keep you posted. Thanks again for the advice.

'82 Alfa Spider Veloce + '74 Fiat X1/9 + '10 Mazda RX-8 GT
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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 04-21-2015, 04:26 PM
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My spider (and its owner) would love spending the winters down south...
Well, I am **** yankee. Born & raised in Quincy, Massachusetts. Moved here in 2000. Gave my snowblower away then. I think there's a snow shovel in the shed - but it has probably rusted away from disuse...

- - Eric
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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 04-21-2015, 04:45 PM Thread Starter
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Ha! I'm a San Diego native but have lived in Newton, MA since 2000. What was I thinking????

'82 Alfa Spider Veloce + '74 Fiat X1/9 + '10 Mazda RX-8 GT
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post #11 of 16 (permalink) Old 04-21-2015, 04:45 PM
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Not sure why it would give up now - maybe just being exposed to freezing temperatures is enough
It just happens! Last summer, the same thing happen to me. One day it just wouldn't start. No spark. Checked the sensor and it was crap. Up to that day it was perfectly fine. Its one of those parts that is good to have a spare of.

Mike

'87 Quadrifoglio
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post #12 of 16 (permalink) Old 05-06-2015, 03:52 PM Thread Starter
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Just a quick follow-up and thanks.

The new sensor arrived (isn't eBay fantastic) and after installing, the engine fired right up. I'm sure the new plugs, coil and battery didn't hurt (apart from my wallet).

A few lessons learned:
1) Follow the L-Jet diagnostic completely if your '82 on won't start.
2) The flywheel sensors can go bad at any time. In this case, I should have figured it out earlier because the computer was allowing the engine to crank freely, pump gas through the CSV etc, because it was just waiting for the sensor to find the point on the flywheel.
3) Separating the flywheel sensor from the metal block it's attached to can be a real pain. Mine was completely stuck and took a while to drill out and resurface the inside with a dremel and circular sandpaper attachment.
4) The inside of the sensor is pretty clever - it is a powerful magnet which is surrounded by a coil of copper wire. When the piece sticking out of the flywheel passes it, the resistance changes. Mine had signs of corrosion inside the sensor, which is probably why it failed.
5) There are a few sensors in that family, and I think the difference is only the length of the wire. I replaced mine based on the number on the sensor, which was 0261210001. I think you can use 0261210002 as well. I paid $44 on ebay (shipping included). The comparable part at International Auto is $108 not including shipping.

This board is the best. Thanks for all your help.

'82 Alfa Spider Veloce + '74 Fiat X1/9 + '10 Mazda RX-8 GT
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post #13 of 16 (permalink) Old 05-06-2015, 04:23 PM
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Thanks for the follow-up. You've now paid-it-forward as this helps other Alfa owners know what fixed your problem.

Do you have any photos of the innards of the sensor? Just curious as I've never opened one up.

- - Eric
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~ 1984 Spider Veloce ~
- -~ 1981 GTV-6 ~
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post #14 of 16 (permalink) Old 05-06-2015, 04:32 PM Thread Starter
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It's in pieces on the workbench, garage floor, etc. It took a lot of coaxing/destruction to get out of the metal block :-) I'll try and gather the pieces and post a picture asap.
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post #15 of 16 (permalink) Old 05-06-2015, 04:40 PM
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Cool, happy endings are good to see. Ive found that Bosch part numbers can be used to find the part more cheaply...try looking up the starter or alternator- $300-400+ online from the Alfa parts houses! Rock auto has it way more cheaply, Bosch remanufactured, etc.

86 spider Veloce
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