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Discussion Starter #1
This happened to me last weekend, and again this morning. 89 Spider Grad with L-jet. Both times in the driveway at home:

I turned the key to start the car. It cranks a few moments but does not start. Turn off the key and back on to try again, but this time, no "idiot lights" on the dash pod. Checking around, I found that the 20A fuse on the inner fender, near the terminal block, is blown.

Last week, I replaced the fuse, but no change until I got under the dash and tugged on the ignition switch wires (a PO had cut and rejoined 2 of the wires - not sure why - the crimp-on connection seems OK, but I may install new connectors to be sure). After wiggling the wires, the lights returned and the car started. I didn't have time to try the same technique today.

By the way, when the car won't start, all other electrical systems appear to be working fine.

This car is a daily driver. Starting has never been a problem. The only other electrical problems involve a weak alternator (drain indicated when A/C or heater fan is on). The volt needle began to peg high recently, and I ordered a genuine-article Bosch voltage regulator on Ebay today, which will hopefully resolve those problems (current regulator is an aftermarket unit installed by the PO). The alternator seems fine otherwise.

Questions:

1. What is the 20A fuse near the terminal block on the fender? I see a few fuses on the schematics for the L-jet, but no locations are given. The no-start seems related to either fuel or spark missing, which is why I was looking at the fuel system diagrams.

2. Could this be related to the regulator problem? I would think it would occur when the engine is running, if that were the case. But when the volt gauge pegs, everything else works so well: headlights are brighter, A/C motor runs stronger. I know overcharging will eventually fry the battery, so I'm trying to take it easy until the new regulator arrives.

If the problem is in the ignition switch, which it appears by the lack of lights and cranking of the starter - then what is blowing the fuse??? I may be able to figure that out if I can find out what the fuse is protecting/supplying.

I'm going to post this in the Electrical Forum, as well.
 

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i have that same..

20 amp fuse next to the termial block also, p.o. did a hatcht job when he instaled it,never seen so much elec. tape in one place before, i traced it down ( the fused 20 amp wire to a relay that is on the pass. side inner fender) iit goe's to a relay to the started.....
 

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Geo4 said:
Questions:

1. What is the 20A fuse near the terminal block on the fender? I see a few fuses on the schematics for the L-jet, but no locations are given. The no-start seems related to either fuel or spark missing, which is why I was looking at the fuel system diagrams.
Left side of bay near the alternator terminal block?

That one is for the AC.

If in the nest on the right side more up toward the radiator overflow, it's for the VVT solinoid.

2. Could this be related to the regulator problem?
If either of the under hood fuses described above, it's doubtful unless it's got a short somewhere.

Voltage gauge pegging may be an indicator of a short, (it's trying to push juice just as hard and fast as it can through the short and you see the result on the gauge), or there's something goofy in the regulator and/or alternator that is overjuicing and popping that fuse. (it may blow others too up to and including the one under the cargo panel behind the seats that relates to the fuel pumps)

I don't recall right off if there is a 'main fuse' in that system. (if so, that could be gone now too which would give you the no lights, no crank, no ignition issue)

Of course it's always possible that you just have a poor connection at the battery terminals or main ground and it just isn't getting power down the line. :shrug:
 

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In an '89, the regulator is internal (but easily replacable) on the back of the alternator, comes with new brushes, etc, unless the PO did something weird. While you have the alternator out, take it to a shop to have it tested.

If you are getting funky volatge, that's a good place to start.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Toptick said:
In an '89, the regulator is internal (but easily replacable) on the back of the alternator, comes with new brushes, etc, unless the PO did something weird. While you have the alternator out, take it to a shop to have it tested.

If you are getting funky volatge, that's a good place to start.
I don't have the alternator out yet - just the regulator. I have the original, too. The old man at the local electrical shop didn't have a replacement, but he used his regulator tester and said that it wasn't working, so I ordered a new Bosch unit on line.

As for Tifosi's comment about a possible short, a short should pull the voltage DOWN, then the regulator would kick in to raise the output. And if the short remained, I would think fuses would be a-poppin' regularly. I'm pretty confident that the gauge problem is from the alternator - I'll know for sure later this week.

So how can the A/C be related to starting??? The mystery unfolds...

The part that is curious to me is the cut wires on the ignition switch harness. Mind you, the wires were not cut on the wires at the switch, they were cut on the main harness (can't just replace the switch to replace the cut wires).

The only non-standard wiring in the car that I can find is where the hot and aux wires are tied together at the radio. As a result, I can use my turn signals when the car is turned off. I do my best to avoid used cars with wiring "improvements." This one is very clean, other than the ignition and radio wires.

I'm off from work for a few days, but have company coming in this afternoon. If I can't get back to troubleshooting this morning it may be Tuesday until I can get back to it. I'll let you know.
 

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Geo4 said:
As a result, I can use my turn signals when the car is turned off.

That's not a screw up or result of a modification, thats the way they are set up.

Another tweak you'll eventually find is that the trunk, hood and glovebox curtesy lights do not function unless the parking lights are turned on.
 

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That's great to know

I was going to get out the voltimeter and start to trace the problem with those lights:eek: . Turning on the parking lamps is soooooo much easier!
THANKS!
Phil C
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Progress is made...

OK, here's what I found so far:

First of all, the 20A fuse goes to the two relays on the right inner fender. Those are the two relays for the AC condenser fan: one runs the fan when the compressor clutch is on, the other turns on the fan when the car is hot and turned off. The weather has been really hot, so that may be why the fuses blew, but it could still be related to the other problem.

I mentioned earlier that two wires were cut in the ignition switch harness. The brown and black wires were cut and spliced by someone in the past. Crimp-on butt connectors were used. Well guess what? The black wire was well twisted (which fattened it up), but was not pressed far enough into the connector for the crimp to secure the wire. I gave it a good tug and the twisted wire came away from the connector. I installed a new butt connector and the wiring is now in one solid piece. I have no earthly idea why the wires would have been cut in the first place. :confused: The cuts are about 3" from the connector to the pigtail for the ignition switch - on the main wiring harness.

But the problem was not completely solved. I still had issues with the dash lights not lighting (all other features were still working). What I found was that the female connector for the red wire at that same harness connection had melted a bit - probably due to that black wire problem. There was a little black plastic residue inside the connector. I cleaned out the plastic particles and reformed the female spade connector to make better contact with the male side.

It all seems to be better now, but I suppose time will tell. I'll be installing a new voltage regulator later this week, so I'm hoping that I can put this one behind me soon. I'm not sure if the AC fuse had anything to do with the other problem, or it was put there to make things intersting.
 

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Just for insurance, you might want to change the connectors from the alternator to the wheel well block. (Big red wire from the back of the alternator to the wheel well).

That solved my alternator light problem...
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I installed a 4 gauge wire soon after I bought the car. It made no difference whatsoever.

The car ran fine this morning, but the volt gauge needle is very high. I'm hoping my new regulator arrives today... before the battery blows up.

I will continue to monitor the fuse for the AC condenser fan.
 

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Crimp connectors are notorious for causing problems. The only thing they are really good for is as a third hand to hold thigns together for soldering. I would suggest that any time you find a crimp connector on any wire, you cut it out. Then get non insulated crimp connectors and heat shrink tubing. Cut a piece of heat shrink slightly longer than the splice connector. Put the heat shrink over one of the wires to be joined, and then crimp on the non insulated connector. Now use a soldering gun to solder the connection at the connector, and after it cools, cover the connection with the heat shrink, and shrink it with a Bic type butane lighter. Each time you do that to a previous crimp type butt connector, you will eliminate another potential electrical problem.
 

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Geo4 said:
I installed a 4 gauge wire soon after I bought the car. It made no difference whatsoever.

The car ran fine this morning, but the volt gauge needle is very high. I'm hoping my new regulator arrives today... before the battery blows up.

I will continue to monitor the fuse for the AC condenser fan.
Make sure that you are getting the correct voltage regulator. They are specific for the car and might not shut the light off if you get the wrong one. And if you haven't ever installed a voltage regulator before, best to pull the alternator and do it on the bench. You'll find the new brushes retained by a pin that needs to be pulled before installation. Sounds like your current regulator is dumping a bunch of voltage as the rpms go up. I wouldn't drive it until fixed as you can ruin your battery.

Best Regards,
John M
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I have the original Bosch regulator - found one on Ebay with the same part number. The Bosch regulators are not really easy to find. But I'm sure it will be better than any of the aftermarket regulators out there. I'm not a big fan of aftermarket electrical parts.

Replacement is easy, once the air box is removed. Caution to the amateurs: be sure to disconnect the battery - that cable next to the regulator screw will make big sparks if you hit it with the screwdriver while trying to remove the screws at the regulator!! That was NOT the voice of experience, but an observation by someone who uses a multimeter when troubleshooting ... 12+ volts at that one. Be careful in there!
 

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Geo4 said:
The Bosch regulators are not really easy to find.
Sure they are.

Just look for any parts store or starter/alternator rebuild shops that are Bosch certified/authorized.

I picked one up for under $20 right off the shelf at a local rebuilder (certified repair) and even Advance Auto Parts and Napa here carry lines of, or can order directly from Bosch (authorized dealer)

Or, you could go here for a more direct route.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
New Regulator

I got my new regulator yesterday, and everything seems good. Now I have to troubleshoot that fan problem, but the charging is A-OK.

As for Tifosti's remarks, I have 2 rebuilders in town - one had an aftermarket regulator for $28, the other had nothing, but recommended that I only use a Bosch part. Any of the other local outlets either didn't have what I needed, or had aftermarket parts.

The rebuilder that I normally use is 50 miles away. He probably would have had what I needed, but the price would have doubled with the gas needed to get there.

I checked the Bosch site for local authorized distributors. There were 3 listed. Here's what I found.

1. Advance Auto. 4 different aftermarket regulators: $29-83. Special order. No Bosch parts shown.

2. Auto Zone. 1 aftermarket regulator: $90. Special order, no Bosch parts listed.

3. NAPA. "Bosch Type" (aftermarket) regulator: $49. The photo showed the back side of the regulator - can't see the missing Bosch name and part number.

So Bosch recommended 3 places that substituted aftermarket parts at much higher prices.

I ordered Pelham Auto Parts in Mass. through Ebay - $32 + 4.05 shipping:

http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/Bosch-Voltage-Regulator-VW-Audi-Volvo-Mercedes-Saab_W0QQitemZ260017854594QQihZ016QQcategoryZ33577QQssPageNameZWD1VQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem

This genuine Bosch part (#1 197 311 028) is listed as being for several different European cars (not Alfa), but the part number is the same as what I had as the original part. Installed it last night, and it works great. Needle on the gauge sits at about 12.5V (indicated), and it pretty much stays there until I turn on the headlights and AC together, then it dips just below 12V and the warning light still has a very faint glow. But the motors, especially the intermittent wipers, seem to be running better now.

I'm thinking that I will look for a 75 Amp alternator when this 65A one needs replacing.
 

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Well that ain't no good having no outlet for the parts local to you. (I've got 3 places within 5 miles. Mabe I'm hogging up the retailers?)

I'm not real postive, but IIRC, the alternator should put out 13 1/2-14V at idle with no load and not dip below 12V under load. (not counting starting as that can pull down as low as 9 or 10V)
 

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Found a chart over at Centerline that gives some reference. Link

The Bosch rebuilder guy here says that if the battery is in good condition and the charging system is effective, then a steady 13-13 1/2V should be expected at no load idle and it should not peak over 14 1/2V at any RPM.
 

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Geo4 said:
I got my new regulator yesterday, and everything seems good. Now I have to troubleshoot that fan problem, but the charging is A-OK.

As for Tifosti's remarks, I have 2 rebuilders in town - one had an aftermarket regulator for $28, the other had nothing, but recommended that I only use a Bosch part. Any of the other local outlets either didn't have what I needed, or had aftermarket parts.

The rebuilder that I normally use is 50 miles away. He probably would have had what I needed, but the price would have doubled with the gas needed to get there.

I checked the Bosch site for local authorized distributors. There were 3 listed. Here's what I found.

1. Advance Auto. 4 different aftermarket regulators: $29-83. Special order. No Bosch parts shown.

2. Auto Zone. 1 aftermarket regulator: $90. Special order, no Bosch parts listed.

3. NAPA. "Bosch Type" (aftermarket) regulator: $49. The photo showed the back side of the regulator - can't see the missing Bosch name and part number.

So Bosch recommended 3 places that substituted aftermarket parts at much higher prices.

I ordered Pelham Auto Parts in Mass. through Ebay - $32 + 4.05 shipping:

http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/Bosch-Voltage-Regulator-VW-Audi-Volvo-Mercedes-Saab_W0QQitemZ260017854594QQihZ016QQcategoryZ33577QQssPageNameZWD1VQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem

This genuine Bosch part (#1 197 311 028) is listed as being for several different European cars (not Alfa), but the part number is the same as what I had as the original part. Installed it last night, and it works great. Needle on the gauge sits at about 12.5V (indicated), and it pretty much stays there until I turn on the headlights and AC together, then it dips just below 12V and the warning light still has a very faint glow. But the motors, especially the intermittent wipers, seem to be running better now.

I'm thinking that I will look for a 75 Amp alternator when this 65A one needs replacing.

I feel your pain. Been there done that with the search and like you I ended up picking up a regulator off ebay.

Just as a side note the voltage regulator on a series 4 is.....
1 197 311 026

The alternator part number is.......
0 120 488 102 103
K1 14v 28/70a

I ended up buying a reman 75amp alternator from Advanced. Took it back because the light was still on and they got me another one. 2nd one did the same thing as the first. Both leaving the light on from time to time. And falling voltage at idle. End result.....sourced the correct bosch VR off ebay and it functioned as yours is now with the light dimly illuminating under heavy load. This lasted for a week or so until the battery got charged up. Now not on at all.

There is an aftermarket one that will work on series 3. Seems like the part number is VR734 from autozone. But it won't work on a series 4. Glad you are fixed.

Best Regards,
John M
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Tifosi said:
The Bosch rebuilder guy here says that if the battery is in good condition and the charging system is effective, then a steady 13-13 1/2V should be expected at no load idle and it should not peak over 14 1/2V at any RPM.
That spec is pretty much what is cited in the Alfa repair manual. I didn't measure the actual voltage - just reading the display on the dash. But anywhere mid-range is better than off the scale.

Now I have to find out why the condenser fan is blowing the 20A fuse whenever the AC is on... That may be another thread if I don't make any progress quickly. It's still HOT here in Atlanta!!!
 
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