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Discussion Starter #1
My daily driver Alfa suddenly stopped running, luckily a few houses away from mine. After inspecting, I found a 20 amp fuse located in the engine compartment (driver side above fender well. It was blown apart. (see pic). I cannot locate this on my shop manual and can't find what it is for. I had just replaced the plugs/wires/coil and she was purring like a kitten--- then nothing. I use this car day-to-day, so I am anxious for any replies... Thanks Alfa community!
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I think that fuse is part of the A/C system. If so, it wouldn't explain why your car stopped running.

Click the link in my signature to a page of info about diagnosing the L-jetronic system in our cars. L-jet is a system - all the parts have to work for it to work at all.

When dealing with a no-start issue, first question is 'do you have spark?'. If you have spark, 'do you have fuel?'.
 

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Thanks Eric. Its a puzzle for sure. I got it running today, just by checking connections etc. Then it just stopped again. Then its starts but dies the second I give it gas. I don't understand... it ran like new for a few days then bam. I have an interview tomorrow- first one since this covid19 crap. And I can't get my car to stay running. Not sure what to do...
Getting spark, but something is not getting through somewhere.
 

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Since common things happen commonly, first thing to check is for any "false air". Any leaks in the air intake ducts or vacuum hoses can cause the symptoms you describe. Remove the black rubbery duct attached to the Air Flow Meter (AFM) at the air filter housing. The accordion shaped section of that duct can develop splits that open & close leading to on & off stalling/poor running. Then make sure all the other connections of that main air duct over the top of the engine are snug.

Next up are iffy electrical connections. Especially grounds attached to the aluminum block. Aluminum corrosion is aluminum colored so hard to see at a glance. There is a group of 2 or 3 black wires attached to the right, rear of the block and another group under a bolt for the Aux Air Valve on the cam cover. Remove, clean and secure those.
 

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Ive checked and rechecked and rechecked for grounding issues and vacuum leaks. I regrounded the coil, tried the old coil, the new coil, reset the new cap/rotor. I will take those ground wires off and do what you suggested, but it feels like the ecu might be the issue. It ran for about 10 minutes earlier, perfectly. Then it started acting up again now with the engine not even starting. Been working on it all day and about at my wits end... but I appreciate the help.
 

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Unfortunately there isn't any specific tests for the ECU. Best we can do is check everything else until the only thing left is a faulty ECU...

Check the link in my signature for a page of DIY diagnosis for the L-jet system in our cars. L-jet is a system - all the parts have to work properly for it to work at all.

What model year is your Spider?
 

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Discussion Starter #8
1988 Spider Veloce, about 80k miles. I had to rebuild the transmission over this covid19 stay at home thing. Also changed the oil and cap/rotor/plugs/wires. It ran better than it ever had. I drove it around all over for 2 days, then last night it just died out of the blue. I love this car, but its killing me right now :|
 

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I got it to start again, it ran seemingly ok for about 4-5 mins, then it died and won't start again. Starting to lose my sanity.
 

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When the engine dies, try to watch what the tach needle does. The tach gets its signal from the ignition (coil). If the issue is loss of spark, the needle will drop right away. If the issue is lack of fuel, the needle will read as it dies.

How old is the gas? How old are the fuel hoses? Fuel filter? How much gas is in the tank?
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thanks again Eric! Fresh gas, hoses are good- changed filter a year ago. I was reading another post here and one guy having similar trouble replaced the drive relay- should I look there? How can I bypass/test it?
 

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If memory serves (it doesn't always...) jump terminals 30 & 87 of the drive relay (the larger one). This completely bypasses the drive relay - it is not safe to drive the car with such a bypass in place. But if the engine then starts and runs normally it would suggest the drive relay is faulty.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
So I spent some time behind the back seat, and from what I can tell everything seems to be functioning properly, everything is clicking etc. It starts occasionally now, but bogs really easily. I can get it to rev sometimes, for a few minutes at a time. I noticed the battery light on (now) and wonder if the battery could be the issue. I know how sensitive it is to voltage drops. Its just bizarre how well it was just running... anyway, I am going to take the battery in to be tested tomorrow and go from there. I want to replace those old inline fuses with modern ones as well- they seem iffy to me, even though I metered them and they seem to be working. I will keep you posted, I really appreciate the advice Eric!
 

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That is a standard 12V cube relay. Very useful but the Alfa Drive Relay (aka Main Relay) is a very specific device (and not inexpensive...). There is a KAE brand that fits but there have been reports it does not function the way the proper Bosch relay does.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
I was wanting to replace those types of relays as well. They are on several locations on the car. I think the drive relay is working, but I will investigate further tomorrow after I get the battery verified. Time consuming, and frustrating- but when it works its heaven ;) Thanks Eric!
 

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Discussion Starter #17
I took apart the fuel pump today- the in-tank step-up hose was mutilated. Thinking that could be it... but I wanted to ask, can you use any standard nylon zip tie in the gas tank? (for the pump assembly, the old ones broke). I don't want them to dissolve or anything. I had used small clamps (like radiator hose clamps) but I think that is what tore up the hose.
Getting there...
 

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Discussion Starter #18
I replaced the step-down fuel hose, new fuel intake (sock) filter, new fuel filter. Started up for about 30 seconds. Wont start again. I checked for spark, and I have a good white spark. At my wits end.... well almost.
 

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The intermittent behavior of your engine's symptoms makes correct diagnosis of the problem(s) difficult. My best advice is to adapt a very structured troubleshooting approach. Eric mentioned some key steps above to help narrow down variables.

If you are getting spark but the engine won't start, then lack of fuel is suspected. Are both fuel pumps running? Normally, they will only run for a second or two when you turn the key on (first position on the ignition switch). If you jump the terminals on the relay as Eric described above, both pumps should run whenever the key is on (engine off) and you can move to the trunk and under the car to confirm. If they are both running, try to to start the car. Let us know what happens.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Hi Rich, Thanks for the help...
Here's where I'm at: I started checking things on the L-Jet checklist, the aux air valve has me a bit puzzled. I froze it, it was mostly open certainly not a fully open circle though, when I heated it with a heat gun it closed to a pin sized hole. Assuming that's functioning properly. Not sure that it is set properly though (adjust nut setting). Checked the throttle position sensor, it's good. Found 2 ripped hoses, replaced them. Made sure there was no leaks in the plenum. I replaced the in tank hose and filter sock, but I am getting a lot of vacuum in the tank now. So I think that the zip ties aren't doing the job- although that hose was very snug going on. I had small metal hose clamps on previously, I think that is what ripped up the old one. So that is suspect. I also removed/cleaned/deoxidized several ground connections. But after all that, it doesn't even try to start at all now. Nothing. Do have spark. So I will try jumping the pins on the drive relay next- I need to find a good way to do that.

I also replaced a few of the fuses with newer modern blade fuses (all soldered), and replace all of the fuses under the dash with new ones.

I can't help but suspect a component failure based on how it happened. I had vacuum issues before, and at least it putters a bit before it dies. This was like someone thru a switch and killed the engine. I really need my car though, it's my daily driver... so I appreciate the help.
 
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