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1987 Alfa Romeo Quadrifoglio
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Discussion Starter #1
All, having an issue when driving and trying to start. When im driving, lights will flicker on dash and car either dies or tries dying. When starting, it will start fine when it connects, but a majority of the time i turn the key and nothing happens. No dash lights, no crank or nothing. Battery is fully charged, starter recently rebuilt. New battery terminals as well. Car is 87 spider quad.
 

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1987 Alfa Romeo Quadrifoglio
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Discussion Starter #3
Yeah i thought that as well. Shouldnt the lights on the dash turn on regardless if the relay is there? Half the time i turn the key and nothing happens.
 

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Do your driving lights flicker? They are independent of the ignition switch so if they flicker the problem is upstream of the ignition switch. If you only have problems with the wipers, heater blower etc then the ignition switch is suspect.
 

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What Eric said. Depends on which lights you are referring to. As you may know, the dash illumination lights are controlled by the headlight/combination switch. Have you had this problem at night? Do the headlights flicker or go dark? You mentioned new battery terminals. Are you sure they are tight? Is the battery ground connection clean and tight?

Yes, warning lights should come on when you turn the key. I have had your symptoms when a battery terminal was loose.
 

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1987 Alfa Romeo Quadrifoglio
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Discussion Starter #6
Ill check once I get the battery back in. From what i remember last fall, the headlights stay on, the dash illumination light stayed on, the actual warning lights in the dash (park light, headlight light...etc) flickered then the car sputters and dies. Turning the key after doesnt light any of the lights on but the headlights stay on i believe. Will confirm once battery is full.

Battery ground is clean, new terminals are tight, cant pull them off.
 

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My money is one a bad ground. Battery is attached to body by cable.
Body is attached to engine by a "ground strap".
Lights flicker while going down road due to loose bolt on ground strap.
The strap could be anywhere. (Engine rides on rubber.)
You could add a temperiary ground wire to confirm.
 

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Battery ground is clean, new terminals are tight, cant pull them off.
Well yes, they're clean and tight at the battery end. But remember, wires have two ends - how do the battery cables look where they attach to the body and starter? How does the engine-chassis ground strap look? (That one is typically near the starter, visible from underneath the car).

But I'm not so sure this is simple as a bad ground...

Turning the key after doesnt light any of the lights on but the headlights stay on i believe.
That symptom does suggest that it could be the ignition switch. So when you turned the key after it died:

- Did the starter operate, but engine fail to start because of no ignition?

- Did nothing happen?

- Did wiggling the key in the ignition make any difference?
 

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1987 Alfa Romeo Quadrifoglio
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Discussion Starter #10
Cables look good at both the body and battery/ starter end. Cleaned up both a little while back. Ground strap is clean as of last summer, but will confirm tonight.

turning key after it died/ half the time when i was cold starting was nothing happening. No lights, no crank, car basically didn't know the key is turned. Eventually, after turning the key a handful of times it would make connection and the car would start. Usually there's nothing though.
 

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Check the connection of the power cable to the terminal on the left inner fender and if that is good check the other end of it at the fuse box.
 

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No lights, no crank, car basically didn't know the key is turned.
Confirm - by "no lights" you mean no dash lights? What about headlights? The dash lights are controlled by the ignition switch. The headlights are not. If the headlights remain on that would confirm the problem is the ignition switch. If no headlights then the problem is elsewhere. If the headlights go dim when you turn the key to the 'start' position then the starter is drawing power but is possibly faulty. In that case the dash lights would likely go so dim they'd appear unlit.
 

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Eventually, after turning the key a handful of times it would make connection and the car would start.
OK, that really does sound like the fault is the ignition switch. An intermittent ground wouldn't know that you were twisting the ignition switch.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Confirmed ignition switch. Replacement is in and car is running. Next project is the gas thats leaking all over the place. Always something
 
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