S3 starter and plenum - Alfa Romeo Bulletin Board & Forums
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post #1 of 21 (permalink) Old 05-09-2016, 01:21 PM Thread Starter
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S3 starter and plenum

I have an '87 S3 with A/C. I am getting ready to replace the starter. I think that it makes most sense to pull the induction plenum and remove the starter from above. It would also be a good time to pull the compressor out for a rebuild.
My question is, what is the most logical order of dis-assembly for the plenum. Looks like a Rubics cube!

87 spider grad, 06 audi cab, 12 prius, 79 bellanca viking
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post #2 of 21 (permalink) Old 05-09-2016, 02:39 PM
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I'm not sure if there is a step by step write up. Since the plenum is often removed to replace the motor mount, check for threads about that. If your motor mounts are due for replacing this would be the ideal time to do that, too.

Say, how about if YOU do a photo essay for intake plenum R/R...?
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post #3 of 21 (permalink) Old 05-09-2016, 03:03 PM Thread Starter
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Eric, good point about searching under motor mount replacement. I actually have a pair of mounts but I probably would not have thought to do a search. Duh! Thx for the idea!

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post #4 of 21 (permalink) Old 05-09-2016, 04:53 PM
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I would be nice if the engineers had designed the plenum as they did the spica air box. Loosen a few screws and hoses and pull it up and out. Look for hidden nuts and bolts where the support strut fastened to plenum. Harder to replace than take off. I just replaced the starter on my S4, just like all newer models, a lot had to be removed just to gain access to the starter and there were still was areas of " blind" removal. For the record removing the OEM air plenum on Webers is not EZ either
It will test you.
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post #5 of 21 (permalink) Old 05-10-2016, 06:50 PM
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Its not nearly as tough to do as it looks. Best part is that after you've done it once, its way easier next time! I bet I can pull my plenum in under 30 minutes now.

Make sure you disconnect battery you will be working right over the top of the starter and may (like me) drop an occasional socket or fastener...

Bottom line, besides vacuum hoses and electrical connections, remove your windshield washer tank and your coolant reservoir. Once out of the way, you can reach under the plenum (hugging it) to remove the two bolts that hold the plenum to the mount (17mm IIRC). .Disconnect throttle linkage (vertical rod) Loosen the intake runners and wiggle that bad boy out.

[FONT="Microsoft Sans Serif"]Don - 1984 Spider Veloce[/FONT]
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post #6 of 21 (permalink) Old 05-11-2016, 12:16 AM
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Good time to replace the air intake hoses or at least do a good visual, odds are they are cracked...
Also check the throttle link ends, if they're plastic they may be worn and getting ready to fail, went to the local pick a parts place last year and found an old low mileage Mercedes with metal link end and replaced them... Fit great and work well
LB

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Nobody remembers the guy who finished second but the guy who finished second. Bobby Unser

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post #7 of 21 (permalink) Old 05-11-2016, 09:56 PM
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I think every S3 owner becomes a pro at pulling that darn intake plenum. I still hate doing it, but I can yank it out in minutes now. I did my starter a while back, seems like it was rather a pain. I'm a big guy, so working in that tiny engine bay is not nearly as easy as my old long-nosed Datsun Z cars I used to have.

Definitely check out your motor mounts....might as well replace them anyway since you've got a set. IIRC my RH side took more time due to some interesting contortions I had to go through in order to get the new mount in place and start some of the bolts, but it was still a relatively easy afternoon project. LH side is a piece of cake.

For the money and (relative) ease, I suggest you also do the following:

Metal throttle linkages: https://www.centerlinealfa.com/store/2023

New intake runners: https://www.centerlinealfa.com/store/383

I didn't realize how bad my intake runners were a few years back until I got in there to replace the one I knew was getting funky (thankfully I'd had the foresight to order the complete set). Car sure ran better after replacing them.

Matt
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post #8 of 21 (permalink) Old 06-25-2016, 11:48 AM Thread Starter
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Here I am again. Very discouraging...removed overflow and washer jugs. front access is not bad, but from the rear, really tough! Wiring harness and especially a/c hose is blocking. Is the bracket to the motor mount the only solid mounting of the plenum?? Is it better to remove the mounting bolt holding it to the motormount and leave it attached to the plenum? How does one remove the plugs to the throttle pos sensor, injectors, etc, without damaging them.
Also, I can see already that the topmost starter bolt is completely missing. I also see no evidence of a shim between the starter and the bellhousing. Is the shim always supposed to be there, and is it always the same thickness? If so, does anyone know where to obtain one?
My starter runs, but makes no attempt to engage. I had assumed that it was a bad starter drive, but now I hope that the ring gear isn't missing a tooth. I didn't think so, because the starter used to work fine, although would skip an occasion, and only refused to engage when the engine was extremely hot. Let it cool down and it was fine. Now it always just spins.

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post #9 of 21 (permalink) Old 06-25-2016, 12:26 PM
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Originally Posted by mgsteve View Post
I hope that the ring gear isn't missing a tooth.
To test that theory without removing anything, put the transmission in 4th gear and roll the car forwards a few feet. Then try starting it. If there are missing teeth on the ring gear this will move them to a different position.

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post #10 of 21 (permalink) Old 06-25-2016, 01:38 PM
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There are two bolts that hold the bracket to the plenum. The hardest part is breaking them loose. The bracket attaches at the motor mount, as well as to the intake manifold at the top. The fuel rail mounts to the bracket as well. I have heard it's possible to remove the plenum with the bracket attached, but I can't figure out how.

Those Bosch connectors just pull off. I like to wiggle them and rock them while gently pulling them loose. It makes me feel better. I'm pretty sure if I just grabbed and pulled they'd come off with no problems though.

If you haven't figured it out yet, once you have the plenum off change the motor mount whether it really needs it or not. It's a PITA to get the plenum off! Though actually I guess after the first time it's not all THAT bad.

Chris

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post #11 of 21 (permalink) Old 06-25-2016, 02:18 PM
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Interesting, I usually can't get those Bosch connectors off without manipulating the metal clip that goes over the larger connector. Sometimes I take the pin completely out and just put it back after reinstalling the connector. Had the same problem with my Datsun Z cars.

Matt

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post #12 of 21 (permalink) Old 06-25-2016, 09:31 PM
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I sent my fuel injectors out for cleaning when I replaced my starter. I also installed a starter relay and replaced the rubber isolater mount on the fuel rail.

Kim - 1987 Spider Quadrifoglio (~170K original owner miles)
Huntsville, AL

Last edited by bongju; 06-25-2016 at 09:32 PM. Reason: Added info.
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post #13 of 21 (permalink) Old 06-26-2016, 04:06 AM Thread Starter
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Shim

What's the story with the shim?

87 spider grad, 06 audi cab, 12 prius, 79 bellanca viking
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post #14 of 21 (permalink) Old 09-25-2016, 09:28 AM Thread Starter
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Does it make sense to split the throttle body from the plenum first? Seems like alot of stuff to be removed to get the plenum out!
Does the bottom removal make sense to consider; how hard is it to disconnect the steering arm and do you still have to get the plenum support bracket out of the way?
It's a shame...almost looks like the starter would come out from above with the plenum in place with the AC hoses out of the way

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post #15 of 21 (permalink) Old 09-27-2016, 03:43 AM
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I've removed the starter on S3 Spiders from the top on numerous occasions. Remove the windshield washer bottle and it'll fit between the plenum and firewall. Helps to have small hands though...
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