Kill switch question - Alfa Romeo Bulletin Board & Forums
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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-12-2019, 05:06 AM Thread Starter
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Kill switch question

I have a kill switch in my 85 graduate that was installed via a previous owner. It appears to go to the coil on one side and ground on the other. Iím trying to understand how this works as Iím having some problems with the car not wanting to start. I read on this forum someone asking if a wire connected from the low tension coil terminal (distributor side) to ground (which mine appears to be) will create a short circuit and prevent the ignition system from creating a high voltage spark?

Marc
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-12-2019, 09:15 AM
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I have a kill switch in my 85 graduate that was installed via a previous owner. It appears to go to the coil on one side and ground on the other. I’m trying to understand how this works as I’m having some problems with the car not wanting to start. I read on this forum someone asking if a wire connected from the low tension coil terminal (distributor side) to ground (which mine appears to be) will create a short circuit and prevent the ignition system from creating a high voltage spark?
is your spider standard, in other words original L-jetronic and a distributor with just a rotor inside?....ie. it has not been swopped out for an RML electronic distributor or something similar.

is the problem a no spark?

have you tried removing the aftermarket kill-switch and checking for spark/trying to start?

Dom - Alfa Spider 1990 S4 - formerly: Alfa 101 Sprint, 2600 Sprint, Montreal - family classics: Jensen Interceptor II, '58 Hooper RR Silver Cloud I, Shadow II, '60 Corvette.
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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-12-2019, 10:01 AM Thread Starter
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Here’s the long story... my heater wasn’t blowing hot air, so was looking under the dash and removed the center console to see if it was an issue under the dash. While putting everything back, I tightened up the kill switch which looks like it goes from one side of the distributor to ground under the dash. I also totally drained the coolant to flush the system and replaced the radiator hoses. Now the car won’t start and there is no spark to the plugs. I have a cap and rotor in there. I’m hoping I hit something loose in the console removal. I also want to take the kill switch off but know to get the car running first before I start screwing with too many things. I did try starting the car with the kill switch hardwired as well as totally undone with no spark.

Marc
1985 Spider Graduate
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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-12-2019, 10:16 AM
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I read on this forum someone asking if a wire connected from the low tension coil terminal (distributor side) to ground (which mine appears to be) will create a short circuit and prevent the ignition system from creating a high voltage spark?
Yes, with a points-style ignition, that's a pretty standard way of creating a "kill switch". The car certainly won't start if the coil "-" is connected to ground, as the energy in the coil can't discharge into its secondary circuit when the points open. E.g., to the coil, it seems like the points are always closed.

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I did try starting the car with the kill switch hardwired as well as totally undone with no spark.
There must be two or more (*) wires connected to your coil's "-" terminal, one of which goes to that underdash kill switch. I'd just pull the kill switch wire and try starting the car. If you still don't have ignition, then the kill switch wasn't the issue.

*) Is the tachometer on an 85 graduate mechanical or electric? If electric, then there may be a third wire connected to the coil "-" that's the signal to the tach. I guess you could temporarily pull that wire too, and see if it makes a difference.

Jay Mackro
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'65 Guilia Sprint GT
'67 Duetto
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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-12-2019, 11:07 AM
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Electric tach on L-jet cars.

Page of DIY diagnostic info is in the link in my signature.

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


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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-12-2019, 11:08 AM
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kill switch wire. One side goes to ground and the other...?
you say it goes to the distributor and then mention the coil....

also, can you describe what wires (colours) you have going to the coil:
the plus side should have a couple of green/black wires and the negative side a couple of whites....
do you have 12V to either side of coil with key on (engine not started)

As jay says, if electronic tach, then if the thin white from the coil negative to the tach is abraded or grounding along the way you will not get spark.
Remove that wire, just to test.

As the only thing you touched under the dash was the kill-switch, I'd follow that wire (note colour) up to wherever it goes and remove it.

Of course it could be anything else, which just happened coincidently: flywheel sensors, relay, wire pulled somewhere...

Dom - Alfa Spider 1990 S4 - formerly: Alfa 101 Sprint, 2600 Sprint, Montreal - family classics: Jensen Interceptor II, '58 Hooper RR Silver Cloud I, Shadow II, '60 Corvette.
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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-12-2019, 06:25 PM
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Did you ck al the fuses perhaps in dong the work you grounded something and blew a fuse or a fuse got

knocked loose or maybe the po had installed a inliine fuse to the cut off wire and it blew


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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-12-2019, 08:08 PM Thread Starter
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An update... I took the kill switch out and re did all of the wires for coil to distributor and spark plugs. Good news is I now have a spark, but not turning over. Thinking I now have a fuel problem. I sprayed starter fluid in the air filter and started to turn over but obviously it won’t run. Now I have to find a gauge that reads 32 psi+ that hooks up via a hose clamp. I’m hoping it is my fuel pump. Of course I have no idea where the fuse for the fuel pump is to start with the easy stuff. Anyone know?

Marc
1985 Spider Graduate

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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-13-2019, 01:01 AM
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fuel pump relay and 8A fuse are under rear shelf, near ECU.
If you still have the old bullet type fuse holder, open it and check that too (well worth changing for a modern blade type fuse/holder)

some checks here plus a photo (the large black relay is your fuel/drive relay, the smaller one the main relay):
https://www.alfabb.com/bb/forums/spi...ump-relay.html

you can bypass the fuel/drive relay by jumping the relay socket between pin #30 & #87, that will(should!) make the pumps run...if they do, the relay is at fault.
https://www.alfabb.com/bb/forums/1069084-post2.html

Dom - Alfa Spider 1990 S4 - formerly: Alfa 101 Sprint, 2600 Sprint, Montreal - family classics: Jensen Interceptor II, '58 Hooper RR Silver Cloud I, Shadow II, '60 Corvette.
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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-13-2019, 07:08 AM
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First some semantics... Turning over = the crankshaft rotates as it should when the starter motor is engaged. AKA 'cranking'. So it sounds like you have a 'cranking but no start' condition. </lesson>

Before worrying about changing the fuel pump but after checking the fuel pump fuse*, consider cleaning or replacing the spark plugs. Frequent failed attempts at starting can cause fouled spark plugs.

* the original fuel pump fuse is a 'bullet' type fuse inside a cylindrical fuse holder located near the FI computer - under the shelf behind the seats. These fuses and fuse holders are problem prone. If your car still has the original style fuse/fuse holder, I suggest you replace the entire affair with a modern blade type fuse/fuse holder. 8 amps is the correct rating.

- - Eric
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~ 1984 Spider Veloce ~
- -~ 1981 GTV-6 ~
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post #11 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-30-2019, 05:24 AM Thread Starter
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Success!!! And it was nothing I would have suspected. Fuel pressure was ~ 32, so I had fuel and spark, and the car would turn over but not even catch at all to try and start. I was stumped like none other. Recently in driving it to work, it would have a crank, no start situation, but eventually start after 30 seconds or trying. This is why I wanted to remove the kill switch thinking that a short in it can be the issue.

I have had the car for 13 years and remembered how when my old battery died, the car would turn over but not start. I knew it needed some juice to get going and heck, that was like 10 years ago. Could that be the issue? No, it turns over!?!? Figure before I tow it to someone and pay a mechanic to diagnose something, which I haven’t done since the 1990s, as a last ditch effort, I hooked up jumper cables to a known good new battery. It worked!!! Bought a new battery and has been running no problem and fires right up. Still no heat, but I’ll worry about that later.

Moral of the story: if you can’t remember when your battery was replaced, do it. These cars need a lot of juice to start and I think my trickle charger was masking a crappy old battery!
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post #12 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-30-2019, 07:30 AM
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Quote:
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Success!!! And it was nothing I would have suspected. Fuel pressure was ~ 32, so I had fuel and spark, and the car would turn over but not even catch at all to try and start. I was stumped like none other. Recently in driving it to work, it would have a crank, no start situation, but eventually start after 30 seconds or trying. This is why I wanted to remove the kill switch thinking that a short in it can be the issue.

I have had the car for 13 years and remembered how when my old battery died, the car would turn over but not start. I knew it needed some juice to get going and heck, that was like 10 years ago. Could that be the issue? No, it turns over!?!? Figure before I tow it to someone and pay a mechanic to diagnose something, which I havenít done since the 1990s, as a last ditch effort, I hooked up jumper cables to a known good new battery. It worked!!! Bought a new battery and has been running no problem and fires right up. Still no heat, but Iíll worry about that later.

Moral of the story: if you canít remember when your battery was replaced, do it. These cars need a lot of juice to start and I think my trickle charger was masking a crappy old battery!


LOL I spent hours trying to start my 1984 spider and then I read a thread about the battery. I thought I had 12v battery measured by a volt meter as I was diagnosing the no spark issues I still was not able to produce a spark. I had worn down the battery and charge it still no spark. Purchase new battery and the car started. :-). For what ever reason the ECU really needs a lot of voltage to wake it up after setting for a while. I wish I would of read this thread earlier!


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post #13 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-30-2019, 09:22 AM Thread Starter
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Yup! I just returned the old one and the date was October 2009. I got my money’s worth on it. I agree, these cars need juice in order to fire up. I swear it turned over well when I was trying to get it started but obviously it needed a new battery.

Marc
1985 Spider Graduate
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post #14 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-30-2019, 10:09 AM
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Bosch never specifically said what the threshold voltage was but anecdotal evidence indicates it is about 10.5V. The starter motor draws a lot of power - it can sound like the engine is cranking over fine but if the available voltage is near/below that level the computers won't power up. To check system voltage connect a voltmeter directly to the battery. With everything off a fully charged battery should read 12.6V. 12.3V is half charged. Now see what it reads during cranking. Don't use a dash mounted gauge for this - they are often not wired to give proper readings during cranking. For one point of reference, our Spider reads about 11.6V - 11.8V during cranking.

Good preventative maintenance is to clean all the connections in the battery to starter circuit - including all the ground connections. The battery negative cable bolts to the floor of the trunk sort of behind the battery - out of sight, out of mind. There is also a ground strap between the bell housing & the transmission tunnel - way under the car. I like to clean each connection then apply a smear of dielectric grease. This helps prevent corrosion.

- - Eric
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~ 1984 Spider Veloce ~
- -~ 1981 GTV-6 ~
Mebane, North Carolina


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