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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
....Yup, really.

I've been doing a few things to my car lately. New fuel injectors, new injector connectors etc. The new injectors lead to replacing fuel filters. The first order of business was tackling the in tank filter and step hose, which is not a big deal as I'd tackled replacing the in tank pump years ago.

It was good thing I did job as I found the positive pump lead was hanging on by only a few strands of wire. After fixing the wires I found my sending unit was bouncing around like crazy. I removed the unit from the tank again and tried cleaning the sending unit contacts but after 38 years, taking the sender apart proved to be its undoing. the plastic was so brittle that I couldn't put it back together worth a crap. No biggie put the unit back in the car and order another sending unit. I put everything back together and started the car....all good....

....until I decided, for no good reason, to put my windshield washer bottle back in place. I say for no good reason as the only time the Alfa sees rain is by mistake. The car is garaged as the the car in not the most water proof car I own. Anyway, I'd found the washer bottle in my trunk and while doing the in tank work, I'd added some cleaner to the bottle and let it sit.

With the fuel tank stuff taken care of, I decided to install tank as it now looked like new! I connect the hose and the electrical connector and set the bottle in place. Done!

Since my fuel gauge would be inoperable while waiting for parts I decided to go fill by gas tank and reset my trip odometer just to be safe. I hop in the car and turn the key and crank crank crank but no start. I try a few more times until the battery starts to go flat (you think a 10 year old battery would crank longer!). Crazy. I mean, I had just started the car after wrapping up the fuel tank stuff. You could hear the main pump get power when turning the key on so it wasn't a fuse issue.

I know the reference sensor and rpm sensor connectors are located in the same area of the washer tank and will make a no start condition, no problem. Thing is, I'd replace parts of the two connectors recently as the originals had disintegrated over the years.

I figured I must have a pulled a wire out or something and sure enough, I find a wire that had pulled out of one of the pins of one of the connectors (my bad workmanship, not having the correct crimp tool for open barrel pins).
Anyway, I re-terminate a new pin, install into the connector and crank the car and....

...no joy. Car still won't start.

Dang. Now I'm running out of ideas.

Anyway, I finally found my gremlin. On ECU side of the other connector (gray), I pull the boot back and see a cracked insulation on one of the wires that looks awful close to the bare shield wire. I separate the wire from the shield and Bingo! I have a running Alfa again!

I plan to redo that connector (parts again) but in the mean time, a little liquid electrical tape and I'm good to go.

The culprit...
Motor vehicle Electrical wiring Automotive fuel system Automotive design Cable
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Don, that's a ratty-looking couple of wires ya got there. Hard to believe the car must have been running with them in that shape.

Miracle!

David OD
Laguna CA
Agree! Did I mention I had a small engine fire back in 2007? Probably not the best thing for wiring.
Between the pictured connector and and the wire that was about to break in the fuel tank, my car was certainly planning to strand me somewhere! Thing is, the car has been running pretty dang good!
 

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Don -

Might be a good idea to look carefully, as best you can, at all the connectors in the car - a 'safety audit'. I was stranded roadside once when a wire burned thru just adjacent to an ECU connector under the shelf. The failing wire would have been visible if I'd looked. Now if your connectors near the washer bottle looked OK, then maybe looking isn't going to help much . . .

But hopefully your Spider has better behavior than mine. Mine had to go on a flatbed, 'unable to proceed', six times in the first 4 years I had it!

David OD
Laguna CA
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited by Moderator)
Don -

Might be a good idea to look carefully, as best you can, at all the connectors in the car - a 'safety audit'. I was stranded roadside once when a wire burned thru just adjacent to an ECU connector under the shelf. The failing wire would have been visible if I'd looked. Now if your connectors near the washer bottle looked OK, then maybe looking isn't going to help much . . .

But hopefully your Spider has better behavior than mine. Mine had to go on a flatbed, 'unable to proceed', six times in the first 4 years I had it!

David OD
Laguna CA
That's actually what I started doing. I'd noticed split boots on various connectors and decided to address. I'd already done the 4 fuel injectors and TPS connector. As for the Crank sensor and Rev sensor, I'd replaced the sensor side connector but not the ECU side as they appeared intact and the boots weren't split. I will address the ECU side when parts arrive. I'm not planning to do the AFM connector as it is in good shape.

As an aside, I replaced my fuse box last summer with a box from an '87 Alfa....what a difference! Even though my original fuse box had been cleaned (sand paper and contact cleaner) and fuses all replaced (no aluminum), I always had a few weird electrical issues over the years. Now everything works and power window movement is much quicker than it'd ever been.
 

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Hello Don -

I've thought about updating my bullet-fuse box, but it seems like a mammoth task. I see a picture like this and it looks overwhelming:

Light Electrical wiring Cable Electronic engineering Computer hardware



Did yours look like that, and did you do it yourself? How long did it take, and did you have to do it from the floor, lying on your back?

David OD
Laguna CA
 

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I've thought about updating my bullet-fuse box, but it seems like a mammoth task. I see a picture like this and it looks overwhelming...
they all look like that. I'm sure if you photograph things well then undo one connector at a time it is all quite possible.

BTW, is there something not working in your car? I spot a single connector with what looks like a yellow/black wire in that photo which is hanging loose:)....maybe turn signal, heater fan, electric window...something like that?

(oh, and what is that black box on the left marked "SET 200", an aftermarket alarm?)
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Didn't have to lay on back at all....Entire fuse box is easy to remove from its mount and drop down to get to the back.
Battery disconnected of course.
I did take a few pics of my fuse box from different angles prior to removing wires and connectors which proved to be quite valuable. IIRC, Everything worked on first attempt except for flashers but it didn't take long to sort that out.

I'll bet I had the box 4 or 5 years and alway made excuses to not do the work. It was actually quite easy and well work it!
 

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Another member of the "Killed Your Spider With a Washer Bottle Club!" I beat you by a few weeks. For me, my coil was pressed up against the bottle, melting it a little. So, I repositioned the coil when I was washing the bottle, just to keep it from touching. Turns out, my repositioning wasn't great, and the coil took a little nose-dive, pointing downward. After a week or so, out of nowhere, I had trouble starting the car. I could get it running, but it very roughly and it would die. I put my timing light on it, and cylinder 1 wouldn't even trip the light. I noticed the coil was facing down, and righted it, and now at least I could trip the light at around 1/3 the actual rate. Put in a new coil and everything was back to perfect. However old this coil was, it turned to be sensitive to uprightedness, which I'd upset when reinstalling my washer bottle.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Another member of the "Killed Your Spider With a Washer Bottle Club!" I beat you by a few weeks. For me, my coil was pressed up against the bottle, melting it a little. So, I repositioned the coil when I was washing the bottle, just to keep it from touching. Turns out, my repositioning wasn't great, and the coil took a little nose-dive, pointing downward. After a week or so, out of nowhere, I had trouble starting the car. I could get it running, but it very roughly and it would die. I put my timing light on it, and cylinder 1 wouldn't even trip the light. I noticed the coil was facing down, and righted it, and now at least I could trip the light at around 1/3 the actual rate. Put in a new coil and everything was back to perfect. However old this coil was, it turned to be sensitive to uprightedness, which I'd upset when reinstalling my washer bottle.
Glad I'm not the only one and glad you got it figured out! I've owned my car since 1993 and sometimes forget just how old the car is and that just because I'd fixed something doesn't mean it isn't time for it to break again.
 
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