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Discussion Starter #1
Dear Esteemed Alfisti:
I am trying to narrow-down the culprit for some current illumination/fuse issues. I hope your collected knowledge and experience might shed some "light" on the issue!
The headlight stalk switch in my 88 Spider activates parking lights and headlights at their appropriate "notches" perfectly well. However, the instrument illumination is often partial (top gauges only), intermittent among all gauges, OR currently the effect is "pop" goes the #10, 7.5 amp fuse and then no dash lights, (or RH tailight/sider-marker light) at all! Add to the confusion that the dimmer switch which previously worked well, now seems to have NO effect and the dash illumination is always on maximum bright regardless of how I rotate the dimmer.
Those of you who read my "blog" on the list know that I recently had the dash pod out, the gauges checked and calibrated, contacts cleaned-up AND I replaced all the dash bulbs with identical new ones. This process of elimination leads me to blame the stalk switch. I am preparing to remove it and clean it up to see if that fixes the problem, but any advice prior would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance as this list has made owning a spider manageable!
Best
Andy Smith
88 Spider Veloce
 

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Somehow the poping fuse just kinda screams intermittant or otherwise short to me. As the dimmer is doing nothing, I'd have to wonder about the connections in general anyway. :shrug:

Presumably all this stuff worked relatively well before the gaugework, correct? (or at least lit up and didn't pop fuses anyway)

If the stalk switch wasn't out or tinkered with during the process, then the fault would likely be elsewhere. (*unless you left the switch in and took off the clamshell, but inadvertantly crushed/pinched/shorted a wire on the column proper when you put it back on, which has been known to happen)

Doesn't the dimmer only control the console lights and not adjust the gauge lights at all? (I don't have a monopod, but on the dual pod S3's, that all it controls, and I can't remember if anyone told me before, so I'll ask again LOL)
 

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Discussion Starter #3
good comments and the plot thickens...

Hi Tifosi:
Thanks so much for your responses. Let me dissect them and provide more info:

"Somehow the popping fuse just kinda screams intermittent or otherwise short to me. As the dimmer is doing nothing, I'd have to wonder about the connections in general anyway. :shrug:"

Andy: Yes, I definitely agree that it's a short. Do you think the dimmer itself could cause these problems? I ask because all of the under-dash connections were cleaned up, all of the grounds were also checked and cleaned. Also, all of the under-dash connections are secure, multi-wire harnesses that "click" to connect/lock, they inspire good confidence. Everything under-dash was nice and clean with no corrosion, etc.

"Presumably all this stuff worked relatively well before the gauge work, correct? (or at least lit up and didn't pop fuses anyway). If the stalk switch wasn't out or tinkered with during the process, then the fault would likely be elsewhere. (*unless you left the switch in and took off the clamshell, but inadvertantly crushed/pinched/shorted a wire on the column proper when you put it back on, which has been known to happen)

Andy: Yes, to the above and your logic makes total sense. The reason I thought it might be the stalk-switch is because I did actually "jiggle" it once and the dash lights lit up. Also, because it was the only area that was NOT cleaned-up during the process. I have never had the clamshell off and I have never examined that switch, my next step.

"Doesn't the dimmer only control the console lights and not adjust the gauge lights at all? (I don't have a monopod, but on the dual pod S3's, that all it controls, and I can't remember if anyone told me before, so I'll ask again LOL)"

Andy: Actually, when it's working properly, the dimmer switch controls both the console lights, (e.g. power window switches, heater control lights), AND the gauge lights as well. Currently it is doing nothing on ANY of the lights, gauges OR console.

Thanks. I think my next step is to remove the stalk switch and analyze.
 

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I had the same problem with fuse 10 and the rear tail light and front drivers side running light out.

I purchased a new frame that goes around the ashtray and it was complete with the lighter.Mine was cracked on the thin part of the frame.The lighter worked though.....When I plugged in the new lighter all was OK?

Now figger that one out? I tried to find the short for about a year and cleaned every friggen ground on the car but nothing.

I still have dim instrument lights as you do but no #10 fuse pop and all my other lights are fine and working now.

That #10 fuse is also tied into the license plate lights which I have completely eliminated and put in an LED strip.I think it is a poor design that just begs for rust and shorts.My three license plate lights were very badly rusted out!

Maybe look at the connection where the lighter is though....not sure how it tied in but it seems fine now all but for the weak dash lights.Maybe also check the license lights and the grounds around the front and rear lights.I am planning on getting at the ground to the left side under the dash.I just picked up a very short driver (And I mean short!) to try and get the screw out :) I am hoping it "might" cure the weak instument lights.

Good luck!!
 

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Discussion Starter #5
thanks

that's good advice too. I never thought about the running lights, but I definitely ought to check them too to eliminate them as a possible culprit!
thanks
Andy
 

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I concur. (hell, I wouldn't have thought of that for weeks actually)

Good plan, and much easier to get through than the stalk switch removal etc.

Still, the reostat kinda has me wondering as to the 'why', since one would presume it would do something, be it dim or even flicker the lights or pop the fuse if it's connected correctly and functional.


Did you by happenstance throw a multimeter across it's terminals without it being connected to anything to see if resistance increased and decreased as the knob was turned?
 

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Discussion Starter #7
multimeter

that's also excellent advice. I may not get to the garage for a couple of days but when I do I will let you know what I find
 

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Dear Esteemed Alfisti:
I am trying to narrow-down the culprit for some current illumination/fuse issues. I hope your collected knowledge and experience might shed some "light" on the issue!
The headlight stalk switch in my 88 Spider activates parking lights and headlights at their appropriate "notches" perfectly well. However, the instrument illumination is often partial (top gauges only), intermittent among all gauges, OR currently the effect is "pop" goes the #10, 7.5 amp fuse and then no dash lights, (or RH tailight/sider-marker light) at all! Add to the confusion that the dimmer switch which previously worked well, now seems to have NO effect and the dash illumination is always on maximum bright regardless of how I rotate the dimmer.
Those of you who read my "blog" on the list know that I recently had the dash pod out, the gauges checked and calibrated, contacts cleaned-up AND I replaced all the dash bulbs with identical new ones. This process of elimination leads me to blame the stalk switch. I am preparing to remove it and clean it up to see if that fixes the problem, but any advice prior would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance as this list has made owning a spider manageable!
Best
Andy Smith
88 Spider Veloce
If it's anything like the earlier cars, it's *not* the stalk switch. Look at the wiring diagram, I believe the stalk switch *feeds* the fuse. If the fuse is downstream from the stalk switch, then the stalk switch can't be blowing the fuse.

On all of the earlier Spiders (I only have wiring diagrams to 1981), fuses 7-10 feed the headlights (one each low beam, high beam, left side, right side), with the dash lights coming off fuse 7.

So, before you guess and chew up a lot of time, take a look at the wiring diagram for your car, and look to see what's hanging off fuse #10.

bs
 

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Here is a good way to find those mysterious open/shorted circuits.

Lower and reverse the fuse box to gain access to the connectors at the rear.
Find the connector that is fed by the problem fuse. Disconnect it from the fuse box. Now, you can supply your own power to each of the circuits that are fed by the problem fuse. I have made a rig with an 8 amp circuit breaker on one end and a probe on the other. Find a common unfused 12v power supply (located in the box near #1 fuse) and use the probe to supply power to each circuit one at a time until the faulty circuit is located.

Since some of the supplied circuits have the same color wire you will have to check the function of the systems that are supplied by the failed fuse.
This will at least allow you to focus on a more limited set of possibilities.

And yes, the multi-switch does supply power to the fusebox and is then fused and sent along its merry way.

I would look for a shorted circuit in the trunk/rear lamp area. Something that shares a common fuse with the instrument lamps.

Hope this helps:
ELM
 

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Discussion Starter #10
problem resolved!

Dear listers:
After cleaning all taillight wiring (it needed it anyway), I found the culprit under the center console of the Spider! a dash illumination light was broken, and the filaments were grounding, shorting and blowing that fuse. I replaced the bulb and the problem went away. THANKS for the good advice and happy to share the resolution
Andy
 
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