Alfa Spider 89 cuts off after starting. - Alfa Romeo Bulletin Board & Forums
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post #1 of 21 (permalink) Old 08-13-2019, 11:18 AM Thread Starter
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Alfa Spider 89 cuts off after starting.

Hello looking for some advice. My Alfa spider was idling in neutral after running for 5 minutes and eng cut off. It starts up and immediately turns off. I have concentrated my focus on the fuel delivery. I found a wire rig on the center terminal of tank sending unit that was not connected to anything or broke off. I connected to main relay behind passenger seat so submersible pump works with ignition turned on. There is fuel pressure from main fuel pump as well. Wonder what else it could be if not fuel.
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post #2 of 21 (permalink) Old 08-13-2019, 11:56 AM
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Check your fuel pressure regulator (FPR) located at the end of the injector delivery rail. Pull the vacuum hose off the top and check for fuel inside. There should be none. If there is fuel in that hose or that you can see in the FPR, then the diaphragm is torn and you need a new one.

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post #3 of 21 (permalink) Old 08-13-2019, 12:45 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the tip. Just checked and looks ok.
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post #4 of 21 (permalink) Old 08-13-2019, 01:51 PM Thread Starter
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Checked electrical on main pump looks ok. Main pump seems to be working it’s about 5 years old. Car starts cuts off after 2 seconds.
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post #5 of 21 (permalink) Old 08-13-2019, 06:12 PM Thread Starter
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Is there any other issue that may cut off the car after it starts. Ignition temp sensor, cold start sensor, etc? I checked auxiliary and it has a small opening. I’m thinking new main fuel pump. Not sure if pump working properly. Any suggestions?
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post #6 of 21 (permalink) Old 08-13-2019, 06:19 PM
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If you can arrange a fuel pressure test that would help decide if the main pump (or FPR) is at fault. My guess is they are not.

Peek inside the various electrical connectors. The metal connectors inside can get displaced. Electrical connections then become erratic or fail altogether. See: https://www.alfabb.com/bb/forums/spi...connector.html
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- - Eric
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- -~ 1981 GTV-6 ~
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post #7 of 21 (permalink) Old 08-13-2019, 06:51 PM
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Does it catch and fire for 2-5 seconds then stall?
Check this:
https://www.alfabb.com/bb/forums/spi...ml#post8450248
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post #8 of 21 (permalink) Old 08-14-2019, 07:00 AM Thread Starter
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This morning, I tried to start and I heard some clicking going on behind passenger seat where relay and control unit are. Started up and ran for a good 2 minutes and cut off. I found a loose ground back there and fixed it. Been trying to start it since but no luck. Definitely something electrical. Does anyone know where the terminal in the center of three terminals that are attached to the tank sending unit goes to and connects from factory. I have center terminal connected to a green wire that connects to the relay that switches on pumps. It works, just curious where it really goes and should the submersible stay on always while running?
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post #9 of 21 (permalink) Old 08-14-2019, 07:27 AM Thread Starter
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The clicking noise is not the one click you hear when you flip the ignition with relays behind passenger seat. It was several clicks not sure where it was coming from and it started right after and ran a good 2 minutes. Then cut off.
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post #10 of 21 (permalink) Old 08-14-2019, 06:55 PM
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Don't know if the 89 is different that an 84, so ignore the following if you like.
For an 84 Spider sender unit:
A black/white wire is the low fuel level light (one side of the three)
The other side is violet, and is the fuel level
The center should be red/white for the in-tank pump. That red/wht is also in parallel with the in-line fuel pump, goes all the way forward to the inertia switch, then back to the fuel drive relay, terminating at pin 87 of the fuel drive relay. Check you have 12V downstream of the in-line fuse that is connected to pin 30 of same relay.

Again, this is for 84 Spider, so I really don't know if 89 is same.

Also, check the white/black wire that activates the fuel relay. It should be connected to pin 31b to ignition coil - Clicking indicates the relay is cutting in and out from an intermittent connection on their coil terminals.
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post #11 of 21 (permalink) Old 08-15-2019, 05:37 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the feedback. Need to find out why they rigged the center wire on the submersible pump and wire was routed to the relay area behind the passenger. Going to try and find that color wire. Could be different color. I’m starting to suspect ignition coil. I bought the car in 2013, never replaced it and it makes an effort to start after a few minutes. Something tells me coil may be cooling down after several attempts and then it starts but cuts off because coil bad. Any thoughts on this?
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post #12 of 21 (permalink) Old 08-15-2019, 06:45 AM
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I'm always leery when I find a wiring change - a PO's attempt to fix a symptom without fixing the problem. When wired correctly and working properly, the two fuel pumps work together. The drive relay gets a tachymetric signal from a sense wire on the coil to 'know' the engine is running - the drive relay then sends power to both fuel pumps. There is also a bypass circuit that powers up the fuel pumps when the key is turned to 'start'. This bypasses the drive relay to ensure the fuel pumps are powered on during cranking/before the engine starts. Fault in the sense wire or the drive relay will prevent the fuel pumps from getting powered up.

There is another factoid that might apply. On the early models (up to '84 or '85) there was an inertia shut off switch to cut power to the fuel pumps in the event of an accident. This switch proved problematic and it was determined the drive relay would serve as a shut off device (if the engine should stall in an accident the fuel pumps would be shut off). So, the inertia switch was deleted after ~ 1985 models but (why is there always a but...) Alfa did not change the wire harness. Instead they just connected the wires that used to go to the inertia device together and buried the connection in the wire harness. There have been reports of this connection going bad (loose or corroded). If you decide to pursue this repair, the inertia switch was located on the firewall between the hood latch & the windshield washer reservoir. The wires you'd be looking for (inside the harness wrap) are a red/white & pink.

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- -~ 1981 GTV-6 ~
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post #13 of 21 (permalink) Old 08-15-2019, 09:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alfaromero1067 View Post
Thanks for the feedback. Need to find out why they rigged the center wire on the submersible pump and wire was routed to the relay area behind the passenger. Going to try and find that color wire. Could be different color. I’m starting to suspect ignition coil. I bought the car in 2013, never replaced it and it makes an effort to start after a few minutes. Something tells me coil may be cooling down after several attempts and then it starts but cuts off because coil bad. Any thoughts on this?
Can't comment on the ignition coil, but if the center wire of the sender was routed directly to the relay, that suggests the inertia switch was either never present in your '89 or removed by someone. The inertia switch, if you have one, is the only thing in series between the fuel relay and the in-tank pump. A direct connection from the fuel sender to the fuel relay is a simple bypass with a much shorter wire run. It might be good to check that the in-line pump power is also connected to the relay (or the inertia switch). Both pumps should get their power from the same source, i.e. they are in parallel.

If the clicking is intermittent and usually you hear a few close together, as in clickity-click--click, I'm going with the intermittent relay signal/connection theory. I'm referring to the coil of the relay itself, i.e. the signal and pins that activate the fuel relay's coil.

There is a black and green wire that provides +12 V to both the fuel drive relay (coming off the hot side of fuse #8, which means you need a good ignition switch too) and the main (fuel injector) relay. Check good connections there.
The (-) side of the main relay is grounded through the fuel ECU, while the (-) side of the fuel relay is grounded through the (-) ignition coil.

I think I got that right...

Please keep us posted.
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post #14 of 21 (permalink) Old 08-15-2019, 09:34 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the tip I will surely look into. As far as ignition coil going bad going to pull the coil off my 88 and try on the 89. See what happens. Keep you posted.
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post #15 of 21 (permalink) Old 08-15-2019, 09:47 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks Doctorb, keep thinking coil cause I checked function of relay with test light and it’s getting the intermittent with ignition on and once it starts there is continuos power to pumps. Yet car cuts off after a few seconds. I had read that if ignition coil is faulty and gets hot it will start up again after a few minutes cool down of coil. This is what it does when cold on a first start, but then it shuts off. When you try again it won’t start, wait a few it starts and cuts off and so on.
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