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Discussion Starter #1
So I'm new here, and hope to not offend with stupid/redundant questions. I have just taken delivery of an 87 Spider. The car appears in decent visual condition, but has probably been woefully under-driven during the last many years. I don't know the age of the Interstate battery in the car -- but visually, it looks relatively new.

With both my multimeter and Sav-A-Battery device, I am seeing consistent 13.2 volts at the battery when the car is OFF and all devices off.
With both my multimeter and Sav-A-Battery device, I am seeing consistent 14.2 volts when the car is running and all electrical devices off.
When running, and operating headlamps and/or high beams, the intensity of the lamps doesn't really change.

The car starts pretty anemic and once running (idle is smooth after a 10 seconds or so), the dashboard battery light dims/flickers weakly and/or comes on erratically. I haven't driven the car anywhere, as the plan is to get it on the lift within the next week.

Question: Is the dashboard lamp just a random source of illumination for grins and giggles? Or, is it actually telling me something? The multi-meter and Sav-A-Battery don't seem to jive with the dashboard lamp.

Question 2: The 'buzzer' to notate an open door and/or key in the ignition is dreadfully weak. It sounds like a dying goat, and I wonder if this has something to do with state of the battery when the engine is not running. Is this supposed to have a steady (albeit annoying) sound? Mine doesn't... it varies quite a bit.


Thank you in advance for any possible insight.


p.s. Board doesn't let me post a link to that Sav-A-Battery device.... but if you need to see what I'm referring to it is a model 9950 from battery saver dot com
 

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Check the battery lead connections, the connection between the battery -ve lead and the chassis, and the braided wire that connects the gearbox/bellhousing to the chassis. Clean them and tighten them if necessary. If that does not help then check the connections to the large terminal on the starter.
 

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I'd question the accuracy of your voltmeter or how you used it. A fully charged automobile battery should show 12.6V. If you measure it shortly after taking it off a charger it will read higher but that is a 'surface charge'. After sitting for a few hours the surface charge will dissipate.

I second what Ed has advised - clean & secure all connections in the battery to alternator circuit. Don't assume, remove, clean and secure each one. On the left inner fender is a junction box with 3 or 4 red wires and a green wire - clean & secure those, too. (the green wire is for the battery light in the dash)

The annoying sound of the 'hey dummy, the key is still in the ignition' buzzer is likely from either low voltage &/or some iffy electrical connections.

Another thing to consider while chasing recalcitrant Alfa electrons is to replace the fuses. Your '87 should have the blade type fuses which are more reliable than the bullet type used in the earlier models but, they could be decades old - I suggest replacing them to eliminate any possibility they are aging out.
 

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86 Veloce
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My charge light stays lit until I hit 1500 rpms or so.
 

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Question: Is the dashboard lamp just a random source of illumination for grins and giggles? Or, is it actually telling me something? The multi-meter and Sav-A-Battery don't seem to jive with the dashboard lamp.
In general, yes, that light does tell you whether the alternator is working or not. Since you are measuring a higher battery voltage with the engine running, the charging system is probably OK. If the light is flickering, the most likely cause is a corroded socket, or poor connection at the alternator. But sure, the flickering could also indicate problems with the alternator/regulator.

The car starts pretty anemic
Can you be more specific? Is it:

1) The starter seems to turn slowly

2) The starter spins OK, but the engine doesn't catch

If it's #1, you may have a failing starter. But first check the connections as alfaparticle advises. It wouldn't be surprising to find them corroded / loose / dirty on a car that hasn't been driven much.
 

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Push hard and live
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A common problem in this range of years is the modestly heavy gauge red wire from the alternator output stud to the gang post on the left inner wheel well.
Don't bother testing, or even removing that wire. Go get a heavier gauge wire, maybe 10 or 8, solder on some lugs, and add it between those posts.

I predict things will get better immediately.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Holy cow, this is some great feedback! Much much appreciated. I'll pull and clean up the connections tomorrow, and get some fresh blade fuses. (I'm embarrassed to admit, I have not yet even given the fuse box a good inspection to determine what corrosion my exist there either)

@DPeterson3 I like that idea a lot. It should be easy to get that done quickly too.
 

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1984 GTV6, 1973 Berlina, 1987 Milano
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Poor grounds and electrical connections are a common problem on all old Alfas. Finding all the grounds and cleaning them is a great deferred maintenance project.

Case in point, the interior lights on my Berlina didn't work when I bought it. Problem#1 was abln oxidized fuse and fuse holder. Problem #2 was oxidized connections in the light itself. 10 years on and only one side still works, I'll fix the passenger side one of these days. Lol!

Sent from my GM1917 using Tapatalk
 
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