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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all,

I did a search through the forum, but couldn't find this exact problem.

I have an 86 Graduate that runs great. Recently, after a longish drive I had some trouble starting it. Engine turned over (cranked) fine, but would not catch. Eventually, after probably 5 minutes of trying, I turned the key and it started right up.

It stayed relatively difficult to start (over a period of a few days), but would still catch.

Probably four days after the initial problem, I went to start the car, turned the key, and nothing. No cranking, nothing, just a hollow click. I let her sit for maybe fifteen minutes and tried it again, and it started up instantly.

Fast forward a week of starting perfectly, and it's back to cranking but not catching. At all.

Any help?

A/C
 

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My first guess would be an intermittant electrical connection. Check all battery cables, grounds, and the connectors at the starter motor. Check the connectors on the starter motor while you have the battery disconnected. There isn't much room to work in there. Move the coolant reservoir aside and you can reach in from the front (just barely).

Note that the ECU (computer) needs about 10 volts to wake up and go to work (send the signals for spark & fuel). If available voltage drops below this threshold during cranking, no go. So, if the battery is marginal, it might crank the engine seemingly OK but with not enough reserve to also trigger the ECU.
 

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When you describe that your car would finally start, does it run normally after starting? If this isn't a fuel/air problem, my guess the ignition switch.


Ignition switch faults are quite common. There are two leads that from the switch, one directly to the starter, while the second lead powers other car functions (via the fuse box fuses 6-8) such as the ignition and fuel injection computer.

Your car can turn over like crazy without starting if you have no power to the computer(s).

When in a no start condition, check for power at fuses 6-8. If 12 Vdc is not present, your switch is faulty.

During a no start, if you have no power to fuses 6-8 (as above), you can jumper from fuse 5 to fuse 6 (fuses 6-8 are tied together on their suppy side), thus bypassing the switch and then try starting the car.

I've been there done that.
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
Thanks guys,

Battery is relatively new, so I doubt it's that.

I'll check fuses 6-8. I recently (three months ago) replaced fuse 7, which had burned out.

And, yeah, after starting it runs fine.
 

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The main ground wire off the battery to the body on some cars gets corrosion from the battery spill. Check for good clean contact there first.
 

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The original poster's example of both cranking w/o starting and of no crank followed minutes later by good cranking and starting argue to me for electrical intermittents. Lack of good battery connections, for instance, can do that. I had a poor ground connection that did exactly this no-crank/crank thing to me. Of course, the poster might do well to consider whether the car has _only_ one fault he's chasing. I'd suggest that he clean up all fuse block connections, as well, and check his ignition switch connections. Shortly after getting our '86 Graduate up'n'runnin', we were driving a mile from home and suddenly, exactly nothing happened. We coasted along, and fortunately were able to turn into the local auto parts house parking lot before coming to a complete stop. The ignition switch was connected with twisted wire and electrical tape, and had lost its "run" connection. I _think_ (no certain here) that the starter enable can be active w/o having power to the ECU on the second wire. Intermittents on the "run" wire and the "start" wire would be a real good source of the above-mentioned problems. But there are other candidates.

Michael (with a happily running '86 Graduate)
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks everybody. I'm always astounded at the weath of information on the BB, and am tremendously grateful.

I'll let y'all know how it works out.

A/C
 

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Cranking without starting is very easy to replicate. Off hand I can think of two conditions (of which Alfas are prone to)

1. As mentioned earlier, ignition switch problems.
2. Inertia switch. Try it. if you open the intertia switch contacts your car will crank but not start. The inertia switch only cuts power to the Fuel pump.

Here's a link to the no start condition I fought with my 84. I learned alot during the troubleshooting process. Main thing was check the easy stuff first, don't assume it's ok.
Good luck!

http://www.alfabb.com/bb/forums/showthread.php?t=29724&highlight=alfa+riddle
 
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