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81 Spider overcharging...?

963 Views 5 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  userissue
I's a bit long winded :eek:

I have had my Spider for a year or so and it has had its share of issues. One, and it really hasn't been a big deal, is that the alternator light has always glowed dim when the car is running. When more items (headlights, lighter, etc) were turned on, the light got a little brighter.

Well, last week I replaced the clutch, so i had the console removed, still electrically hooked up and laying on the floorboard. I drove it like this for a few days cuz I still had a bit of work to do.

When I put the console back in place, all my electrical issues seemed to be resolved...the instrument lights were nice and bright, the windows moved at a decent speed rather than a crawl, the wipers behaved like normal wipers should, etc. I thought "GREAT! woo hoo!"

Well, come to find out, it wasn't such a good my brand new battery literally boils..not such a good thing.

My question is, is it a coincidence that when I put the console back in, it started doing this? Is there something in the wiring behind the console that would cause this? I haven't had a chance to put a meter on it, since I just noticed the problem and am at work now, but plan on checking it out when I get home. Though I think it would be an amp issue rather than a volt issue and I only have a volt meter. Is it possible that the alternator is bad and is somehow overcharging?

Any help would be appreciated as a boiling battery is a BAD thing
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There is no item in the console that could explain the symtoms you describe.

Cleaning electrical connections/grounds can help electrons travel where they should with less resistance (usually a Good Thing). Simply removing/replacing connectors can often (temporarily) helo them make better connections. But that won't make the battery boil.

Many chain auto supply store will test the starting/charging systems for free (keep in mind they tend to want to sell you things but if you are having a problem they should be able to point you in the right direction). If it were me, I'd remove the alternator & take it to Ye Olde Fashioned auto electrical rebuilding shop (typically an old place on the 'wrong' side of the tracks). They can test it and if needed repair it.
If it were me, I'd remove the alternator & take it to Ye Olde Fashioned auto electrical rebuilding shop (typically an old place on the 'wrong' side of the tracks). They can test it and if needed repair it.
I'm with ghnl.

Did the '81 have a separate voltage regulator, or had Alfa gone to an integrated alternator-regulator by then? The earlier design - with the external regulator - was more prone to failure, including overcharging. So, if your '81 does have a separate regulator, I'd bring both the regulator and alternator to Ye Olde Time Electrical Repair - the problem is with regulation.
Had similar issue with my 82. Boiling battery acid leaking onto the trunk carpet. Relaced the voltage regulator. really simple job ~ $30
I figured it had nothing to do with the console wiring, but with Alfas being...well, Alfas...I figured it didn't hurt to ask.

I am not sure if the regulator is separate on my 81, but I sure will be looking into that tonight. It's kind of too bad too, cuz it was nice to have bright lights, a lighter that worked, a radio that stayed on after turning on the headlights and windows that worked at a higher rate than turtle speed :)

I appreciate your input and suggestions.
The regulator was the problem. I even found a little shop on my way home that had the part. woo hoo!!

Thanks for all your help once again.
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