Engine died - help - Alfa Romeo Bulletin Board & Forums
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post #1 of 27 (permalink) Old 03-19-2019, 01:31 PM Thread Starter
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Engine died - help

Have a 1987 Spider. Problem started last Fall. Every once in a while the engine would cut out and die while driving. Pulled over, and engine would fire up. Happened 2-3 times. Today, happened again. But when I tried to start it up again, there were no dash lights when I turned on the ignition. Appears to be electrical issue? Any ideas what to check first?

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post #2 of 27 (permalink) Old 03-19-2019, 03:19 PM
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Basics first...

No dash lights or no power to ANY electrical devices is a common sign of a problem way back at the start of the power chain...the battery, battery pos and neg connections, battery earth point, or power supply lines from the battery.

Check that Battery terminals, particularly the earth are tight and clean, including where the negative lead is grounded.

If they are good, follow the positive (red) power supply line from the battery to any junction boxes, then to the starter, again checking for clean and tight. Broken, corroded or poor condition cables can also stop power supply.

Do those secondary checks with the battery negative cable disconnected to avoid any surprises.

A multimeter or test lamp can tell you a lot about how far power is reaching along the supply chain.

Edit: and don't forget the engine to body ground strap under the car, rear RHS of engine.

Last edited by Ranz; 03-19-2019 at 04:44 PM.
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post #3 of 27 (permalink) Old 03-19-2019, 03:20 PM
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Does anything electrical work? Or is it only things in the switched circuits (on/off with the ignition switch).

It can't hurt to make sure all battery connections and ground connections are 100%. One by one remove, clean & secure each one. This may not be your issue but making certain those connections are 100% at least removes then from the list of possibilities.

If other things (like the headlights) work but none of the switched items work then I'd focus on the ignition switch. And the connector blocks in the back of the fuse box. Often removing and reinstalling those connector blocks (one by one so you don't mix them up) will clean off the little bit of corrosion that interferes with the flow of electrons.

- - Eric
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~ 1984 Spider Veloce ~
- -~ 1981 GTV-6 ~
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post #4 of 27 (permalink) Old 03-19-2019, 04:00 PM
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That sounds like what prompted me to replace my ignition switch.... fixed.

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post #5 of 27 (permalink) Old 03-19-2019, 04:15 PM
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penny

While we are on the topic of electrical .... Years ago and old salt told me set a penny or two on top of your car battery and say good by to terminal corrosion. Has worked for me for over 40 years. Something to do with electrons.
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post #6 of 27 (permalink) Old 03-19-2019, 07:29 PM
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Going to go with fuel. What level was the fuel?
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post #7 of 27 (permalink) Old 03-19-2019, 07:32 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks, I’ll do some checking. Engine cranks, but no ignition lights on dash.

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post #8 of 27 (permalink) Old 03-19-2019, 07:36 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks, Iíll check fuses and connections behind fuse box. Then Iíll check ignition switch.

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post #9 of 27 (permalink) Old 03-19-2019, 08:03 PM
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Schematic of ignition switch. The knee bolters might make it a little more difficult to locate the connectors where the ignition switch plugs into the harness. But if you can find it, try unplugging it and connecting terminals 1 & 3 together (in effect 'hot wiring' your ignition). If the switched circuits then come alive the ignition switch is likely faulty.
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- - Eric
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- -~ 1981 GTV-6 ~
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post #10 of 27 (permalink) Old 03-20-2019, 05:23 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks, I’ll try this. Would be good to know it’s the ignition switch before buying one!

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post #11 of 27 (permalink) Old 03-20-2019, 12:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alfic76 View Post
Engine cranks, but no ignition lights on dash.
my question would be (just ignoring the ign. lights for the moment):
do you have spark?

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 #12 of 27 (permalink) Old 03-21-2019, 04:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by radamm View Post
That sounds like what prompted me to replace my ignition switch.... fixed.
Same with me. 1980 Spider. It would stop dead, and then restart and run, and then...
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post #13 of 27 (permalink) Old 03-21-2019, 06:50 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for all the info and suggestions. Mysteriously the engine started. Have not had time to explore the fuse box connections or ignition switch. Waiting for some sunny warm weather. I’ll let you all know what I find. Thanks again.

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post #14 of 27 (permalink) Old 03-21-2019, 07:23 PM
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So given the fact that your engine started without issue, I give you this for your reading pleasure (solution on last page).
https://www.alfabb.com/bb/forums/spi...iddle-you.html

[FONT="Microsoft Sans Serif"]Don - 1984 Spider Veloce[/FONT]
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post #15 of 27 (permalink) Old 03-22-2019, 05:55 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks dghii ! Interesting reading.

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