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Discussion Starter #1
A rare snow/slush storm hit Vancouver Island and I'm driving my daily Spider through a foot of the slop.
Suddenly it's as if I've run out of gas, (3/4 full tank) and the engine dies, red alternator light and gauges all .
Cranking turns the engine as normal, but fails to start.
Tow trucks it to my home, where I find the inline fuel pump fuse is blown.
Ah ha I think; the slush has shorted out the in-line pump terminals !
I replace it with a 9 amp SFE, and crank, but it fails to start.
I replace the inline pump, which I bench tested as dead, and the fuel filter, and cranked; the motor fails to start at all.
I order a tested fuel pump relay from Gerry at Alfa311, the 0 280 230 001 Bosch, install it, check that 9amp fuse again(OK), and crank; it won't start.
I jump a 12v+ wire to the in-tank pump and the pump runs just fine, re-priming the line and filter.
I re-crank the starter and it starts up, runs for about 10 seconds and dies, seemingly out of fuel.
I install a temporary relay from key-on wire of the fuel sender at the tank, and retry the start, which the car does, and then after 10 seconds it dies again, while the tank pump can be heard pumping.
I checked the ohmage of the 2 flywheel sensors, and they are both in the mid 950 ohm range, so they are working.
Is it likely the ignition switch, failing to deliver a 12v+ signal to the fuel pump relay after starting, when the key returns to the on position ?
The switch was replaced about 4 years ago, as it was ki8lling the engine twice a day in traffic !
Over the last several months while driving my alternator red light would come on full, engine still running, like I'd thrown off the belt.
Nope, belt was fine, restarted it easily and drove on.
This happened about 6x in 2 months.
Now it won't start without tank pump priming, and dies in 10 seconds.
ARGH !
 

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I had strange idling issues with my S3 following a long drive though an outrageous deluge of rain last summer. Water filling the streets and splashing over the nose of the car like a boat, etc. For two days the car would not run properly, then all was fine. Perhaps a couple days to dry out might solve the issue? Water in areas where it shouldn't be can have curious, but usually temporary, effects.
 

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do you still have the old 'bullet fuse' holder under the rear shelf (where you replaced the 8A fuel fuse)?
They do fail (signs of burning or melting inside?)
most have swopped it out for a blade fuse holder.

Check you have spark, to eliminate an ignition problem
Check your plugs, wet or dry....to see if fuel is getting in
Check you have min 10.5-11V whilst cranking (or ECU will not work)

could your Cold start injector be stuck on?....flooding the engine
could the fuel pressure regulator be faulty?...remove small vacuum hose on top and check for fuel in the hose (should be none)...check this hose is also not split, and connected to the plenum.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
do you still have the old 'bullet fuse' holder under the rear shelf (where you replaced the 8A fuel fuse)?
They do fail (signs of burning or melting inside?)
most have swopped it out for a blade fuse holder.

Check you have spark, to eliminate an ignition problem
Check your plugs, wet or dry....to see if fuel is getting in
Check you have min 10.5-11V whilst cranking (or ECU will not work)

could your Cold start injector be stuck on?....flooding the engine
could the fuel pressure regulator be faulty?...remove small vacuum hose on top and check for fuel in the hose (should be none)...check this hose is also not split, and connected to the plenum.
The fuse holder is a modern reddish brown unit using the glass style fuse, and appears fine.
The engine runs, it must have spark, and fuel for at least 10 seconds.
The battery is fully charged.
I'll check the FPR.
Thanks,
Don
 

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Following up on spiderserie4, could be its running on just the CSI injection of fuel (which lasts around 8 seconds or so on start up, then shuts down) and then no fuel through the cylinder injectors? FPR a good place to start.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I don't think the CSI is in play here: it's +10C or 50F here in "the warmland" of southern Vancouver Island Cowichan Valley.
The FPR hose is uncracked, and all the plenum hoses are in place.
More and more I'm suspecting a faulty ignition switch, that is failing to trigger the relay to turn on the pumps, but engaging the starter, and lighting up the dash in a normal way.
The car died while travelling, in a seeminly "out of gas" way.
Somewhere I read that the switch might cause this issue.
It has frustrated me daily now for over 2 weeks, so I bought a 1987 Toyota Celica today, just to become mobile again.
I have no intention on giving up on the Spider, and I will put collector plates on it when it runs again.
A 1991 switch is available at Alfa311, but that several hundred $ to assume it will fix it, and it's in Montreal.
All help and suggestions will be greatly appreciated.
;-D.
 

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The FPR can still be bad even though the hoses are good. Take the top hose off and sniff the FPR. If you smell gas, then the unit is most likely faulty. Also, just after the car stalls, try taking the gas cap off. If there is a strong 'wooshing' sound, then vacuum is being created in the tank - not a good thing. Check the vapor recovery tank (located in the trunk, behind the forward panel) as it may need attention. Its valve may be clogged or stuck. Also, do you know if the in-tank pump is still working? Have someone try to start the car while you listen in the trunk for the pump to 'whir'.
Also, the CSI should be in play - it should inject fuel even in warm temps. By 'cold' it means engine not warm, not necessarily cold ambient temps.
 

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The ignition switch is easy to bypass. There are three wires - 12V+ in (red #1 or #3), 12V+ out (brown #3 or #1) and black (#2) to activate the starter motor. Find the connectors that attach to the short harness from the ignition switch (should be up near the right side of the steering column). Fashion a jumper to connect red to brown (#1 & #3) - all switched circuits should now be powered on including the ignition system. Temporarily apply 12V+ to the black wire (#2) to start the engine - remove it once it starts. If it now runs & stays running the ignition switch is faulty.

1612012


That said, the switch usually fails by not reliably sending power to the starter. But I suppose it is possible for it to fail on the power supply contacts.

Another thought is that there is a bypass circuit to power on the fuel pumps. This circuit bypasses the drive relay to ensure the fuel pumps are powered on when the starter is energized. The drive relay needs to get a tachymetric signal from the coil to 'know' the engine is running and it then takes over to keep the fuel pumps powered on. My thought here is that the bypass circuit is functioning but the drive relay is either not getting the tachymetric signal or is itself faulty. The tachymetric signal comes from a sense wire at the coil. It is a white or yellow wire (I forget offhand which...) inside a shielding cable (like a cable TV cable) the shield wire is grounded. So, check all the connections at the coil - meaning clean them and secure them.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Good ideas, all of them, I'll get on them in the next few days, when I can commandeer an assistant, which is one of my fixit problems.
Thanks Fledermaus !
;-D.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
The ignition switch is easy to bypass. There are three wires - 12V+ in (red #1 or #3), 12V+ out (brown #3 or #1) and black (#2) to activate the starter motor. Find the connectors that attach to the short harness from the ignition switch (should be up near the right side of the steering column). Fashion a jumper to connect red to brown (#1 & #3) - all switched circuits should now be powered on including the ignition system. Temporarily apply 12V+ to the black wire (#2) to start the engine - remove it once it starts. If it now runs & stays running the ignition switch is faulty.

View attachment 1612012

That said, the switch usually fails by not reliably sending power to the starter. But I suppose it is possible for it to fail on the power supply contacts.

Another thought is that there is a bypass circuit to power on the fuel pumps. This circuit bypasses the drive relay to ensure the fuel pumps are powered on when the starter is energized. The drive relay needs to get a tachymetric signal from the coil to 'know' the engine is running and it then takes over to keep the fuel pumps powered on. My thought here is that the bypass circuit is functioning but the drive relay is either not getting the tachymetric signal or is itself faulty. The tachymetric signal comes from a sense wire at the coil. It is a white or yellow wire (I forget offhand which...) inside a shielding cable (like a cable TV cable) the shield wire is grounded. So, check all the connections at the coil - meaning clean them and secure them.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Excellent, just excellent, thank you all very much.
Surely this will lead to where the issue lurks.
I may even sleep well for the first time in a fortnight.
I'll be back in a few days with results, all + I hope.
;-D o n
 

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The guy I bought my Spider from last summer handed me the keys and said, "This will be a learning experience". Boy, was he right! I've been where you are now - you'll find the problem.
 
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