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Discussion Starter #1
Brought home a 82 Spider Friday. Got several issues I will have to fix over time.

Speedometer. Some times it works, other times it doesn't. It will read 5 mph, or 7 mph when I'm going 5-8 times as fast. Other times it will be pretty close. Is this a cable thing that might be solved lubing it up? If so, how is that done? Is there a way to trouble shoot this without buying parts I might not need?

I have a GPS unit with cigar lighter shaped power supply end. Lighter in my car seems to work, but might be the wrong one for the car as it seems too deep. The GPS plug doesn't go in far enough to make a connection. The light for the lighter's well illuminates. Pushing the cigar lighter into the well, it heats up but didn't seem to want to "pop up". I had to pry it out with a screw driver. Lighter element was in for over a minute, key on & engine off. Should have been plenty of time for the element to heat up and pop out. I don't smoke, so I could replace it with a HELP section power plug, if the car's 32 year old wiring can take the strain. I really want to get the GPS working, for directions and as a speedo until I can get that get issue resolved.

Lastly, issue with one power window. Tried two local import garages, but they both said they don't work on Alfa's. Since I'm about 150 miles from LA, guess it is up to me. Guess it can't hurt too much to take the door panel off and see if it is something I can tackle. Screws that hold the handle and armrest, can't seem them at a casual glance so guess they are facing down towards the carpet?
 

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To lube the speed cable you need to unscrew the cable at the back of the speedometer. The inner cable can then be slid out, wiped clean and re-oiled. Then slide the cable back in, pull it out about 6" and wipe off that bit of cable. It helps prevent excess oil from getting into the speedo itself. As you slide the cable back in again, twist it until you feel the squared off end engage with the drive in the transmission. If the cable has any kinks or broken strands then the entire thing should be replaced.

I added a 12V power socket. I wanted it to be powered all the time, not just with the key on.

What is not working with the windows? If one works but not the other first try swapping the switches. They can be pried out of the console or remove the ash tray to push them out a little easier. Often the problem is a faulty switch. If swapping the switches 'fixes' the non-working window then either replace the switch or consider opening it up and cleaning the contacts. See here: window switch innards.

If the problem is not the switches, another common problem is broken wires inside the accordian shaped rubber tube at the door hinge post. The frequent flexing causes the wire strands to break. You can pull the rubber accordian loose to inspect the wires inside.

Finally, here's how to get inside the doors:
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for the ideas to check out.

Window goes up about 3" then stops. Started out going almost to top, then about 3" from top, then half way, then about 2-3" out of door. I will use your pic to help when I remove the arm rests, door panel.
 

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I have the same problem with my speedometer. I downloaded a gps speedometer app onto my smartphone - very accurate. You could use it at least until you get the other issues sorted out.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Eric/Ghnl, when you added the power port/socket. Was that in place of the old cigar lighter, and you just wired it in using the existing wire, and installed in the console where your old lighter was? Or was it in addition to the lighter? If so, where did you install it and did you tape into existing wiring or start a new circuit?

Thanks for the info on removing the arm rest. How do I remove the door lever? Is it a set screw somewhere or is there a clip between the door panel and the back side of the door lever?
 

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IIRC, there is a set screw on the underside of the door handle.

For the 12V power outlet I tapped into an unswitched circuit on the back of the fusebox (because I wanted to be able to leave the GPS powered on if I stopped for gas, etc). The fuse box can be unclipped, dropped down and turned around to get to the back side. I then attached a new red wire (red = unswitched power) with a female spade connector. And a new ground wire (black = ground).
 

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On the speedometer, if the suggestions don't fix the problem, it may be that the speedometer head is worn.

There are speedometer shops that cater to truckers that can replace springs and bushings, and generally tune up the head unit for you. You can usually find small speedo shops off interstates where truck dealers and freight companies congregate that work on all kinds of tachometers, speedometers and gauges..

I have had old mechanical speedos from '30s cars to a VDO unit in my '70s Mercedes repaired that had similar symptoms as you describe (intermittent operation, bouncing needles, inoperable odometer). The cost has always been minor. You just need to take out the speedo head and take it into them.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
My speedometer seems to be sort of accurate below 45 mph or so and very erratic at higher speeds. Maybe it is the head, I will have to read through the repair manual and see what if anything it says about the issue.
 

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There are many posts on this BB about the Alfa spider power windows. Too many to reinvent the wheel here. There is one on this page and one on page 2, just for starters. Go back and read these and then if you have questions, ask away. There are plenty of knowledgeable owners here on the BB who are happy to help out a new member. I know a thing or two myself. You can email me or call me. My email is [email protected] email me if you want my phone number.

Welcome
 

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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
VF31Rhill, got the door panel removal figured out, just needed to look at it a bit more. I deleted the post you just replied too.

Next is to do some "poking around" and see if I can fix the window or if I need to take it somewhere.

The plastic shield to protect the cardboard of the vinyl door panel is obscuring my vision, looks like it clips on at the top of the door with metal clips.

FWIW the hand crank for the windows does not seem to work. I did work briefly when I first bought the car and the window issues started. I am hoping this might mean something is out of alignment, and maybe an easy fix. However the cable on the pulleys for raising/lowering the window seems pretty snug, so just have to keep digging and see if I can figure it out.
 

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Palo Alto Speedometer is a good source for reliable tach and speedo repair. They're quick and reasonably priced.

Hope that's useful.
 

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The plastic shield to protect the cardboard of the vinyl door panel is obscuring my vision, looks like it clips on at the top of the door with metal clips.
The plastic shield should not be held on with metal fasteners, just glued on with some kind of non hardening black goo. You just pull it off carefully. But if it is now, or gets torn up, no sweat. You can make a new one out of any kind of plastic sheeting. Just make sure it is pretty heavy duty. If you use garbage bag thickness it may get caugth up in the works of the window mechanism. This may be why your window is not working now - weather shield plastic caught up in a track or winding.

You might as well get used to making up some replacement items on your own. It is just a part of owning an Alfa spider. IMPROVISE!
 

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Discussion Starter #14
With the window problem, door panel removed. I am seeing the bottom of the cable is pretty tight or snug with the window all the way down. Currently the max lift on the window is about 3" and at this position the cable is also snug. The little amount of travel I currently have on the window, the cable goes slack. This is true is I raise/lower by the hand crank or with the power lift switch.

I am not able to completely remove the plastic shield, taking the clips off mostly removes the inner window wipe or gasket. the shield looks to also be sandwiched between two metal pieces bolted together.

I can only see a bit of the spool or whatever that little wheel is called that the window cable wraps around. I can see the cable wrap around the spool in operation, just can't see what is stopping it from winding up more cable and finishing the lift. Can these things "jump time", for lack of a better analogy? Might something have fallen loose inside and be jamming up, if so, what would be a likely thing to check?

I'm going to drive it around the block a few times while the sun is out and enjoy it a little before feeling frustrated again.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
The plastic shield should not be held on with metal fasteners, just glued on with some kind of non hardening black goo. You just pull it off carefully. But if it is now, or gets torn up, no sweat. You can make a new one out of any kind of plastic sheeting. Just make sure it is pretty heavy duty. If you use garbage bag thickness it may get caugth up in the works of the window mechanism. This may be why your window is not working now - weather shield plastic caught up in a track or winding.

You might as well get used to making up some replacement items on your own. It is just a part of owning an Alfa spider. IMPROVISE!
Second time today you posted while I was typing. lol

I will have to get out a flashlight and look around in the door cavity.
 

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Have alook in this thread: Window Cables



Note where it shows 'window to cable attachment'. Try loosening those attachments then cycle the winder motor up & down to locate a better position to re-attach (tighten) the cables to give you full range of movement.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Thanks for the link Eric, I will have to check that out.

Just discovered I can pull the window straight up and down by hand. But it is easily pushed back down as well. A quick scan of that cable adjustment post is promising. I will take my drive around the neighborhood, then come back and see if I fix it or make things even worse!
 

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The cable system is a "closed loop" system. It goes up and down from the winder which is attached to the motor (actually the motor is attached to the cable winder). The window just rides up and down with the cable. The complicated windings of the cable over the puleys is just to have 2 parallel cables for the 2 sides of the window to attach to. You can actually loosten up the 2 clamp bolts which attach the window to the cables and run the cable up and down to check for obstructions/binding without the window moving. Once you get the cables moving up and down smoothly you wind it down and retighten the cable stops on the 2 sides of the window and try it with the window glass attached to the cables. If it still binds or stops, then you have a window channel problem.

If you want to spend some money (about $250.00 per side) junk the cable system entirely and install a retrofit worm drive single channel lift system. I have these in both my doors and just don't have window problems any longer.
 

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I can't catch up on your quick posts. You should NOT be able to raise and lower the window glass by hand. If you can, then it is probably no longer firmly attached to the cable by means of the cable stops on both sides of the window. Try tightening up on the cable stops and see what effect this has. if it works, then you can reposition the system by running the winder down with the cable stops loose. When the winder is at Max bottom and the glass is also at Max bottom, just retighten the cable stops.
 
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