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Discussion Starter #1
My Alfa starts quickly when started first time of the day. When i start it a few hours later, it's slow to start and when it does begin to start, it's like the starter has to bring the firing up to speed so the motor is turning fast enough to keep going and eventually run on it's own. The starter perfoms normal during all starts and attempted starts and I've checked for air leaks in the intake system. Any ideas?
 

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Do you mean it is cranking slower? Or does it seem to crank with the same speed but takes a lot longer to start?

The cheap/easy (relatively) thing to do it clean all electrical connections in the battery/starter/ground circuits. Don't assume they are OK - remove/clean/secure each one. The starter is a big electrical draw and an iffy connection (or, more likely a number of slightly iffy connections) will add a lot of resistance to the circuit.

Next have the battery load tested. Many auto parts stores will do that for free. (well, they are expecting to sell you a battery but if they are honest and the battery tests OK then it is on to step 3. You can do a simple battery voltage test with a volt meter (don't trust the dash gauge). Connect the voltmeter to the battery and see what it reads during cranking. A well charged battery should read ~ 12.6V with everything off and it shouldn't drop below ~ 11V during cranking. A proper load test will give a better indication of battery health however.

Step 3: The starter motor may be on its way out.
 

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Before you replace parts, look for the thread about adding a relay between the ignition switch and starter.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
"Do you mean it is cranking slower? Or does it seem to crank with the same speed but takes a lot longer?"



The cranking speed is the same all the time
. The starter is strong and about 6 months old.
My battery is also about the same age. I've cleaned the battery conection posts and ground to body. The starter helps the engine to keep firing until it builds up enough momentum to start running. It's like lie the starter is a life support till the engine runs by itself. Any ideas?
 

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It would be interesting to know the compression readings, both cold and hot. It sounds like the engine has low compression when hot. Perhaps there is a crack somewhere, or the valves don't seat well, or ...., and that condition is aggrevated when things are hot.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Symptoms:
Crank cold engine in the morning = fast to start
Crank cold engine After a few hours = slow to start
Starter performs the same speed at both starts.
Any other ideas?
 

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The cranking speed is the same all the time.
The starter is strong and about 6 months old.
My battery is also about the same age. I've cleaned the battery conection posts and ground to body.
It doesn't matter that those parts are relatively new - test and prove they are good.

There are more - equally important - electrical connections in the battery -> starter circuit. Disconnect the battery and clean the positive cable's connection at the starter motor. There is also a medium gauge red wire there and a smaller guage black wire at the solenoid - clean those connections, too. Next there are 2-3 red wires in a junction box on the left inner fender. Clean those. While you're at it clean the green wires in the juntion box, too - those are for the alternator warning light. And clean the connections at the alternator. Finally there is (or should be...) a ground strap between the bellhousing and a metal tab in the transmission tunnel (you have to get under the car to get to it). Clean both ends of the that. BTW, I like to smear a bit of di-electric grease (aka tune-up grease) on all the cleaned connections. It helps stave off corrosion.

A compression test or leak down test will reveal any internal problems. For example if the valves are not sealing properly that can cause problems getting the engine to start during cranking yet it can seemingly run OK once started.

A no-cost idea would be to disconnect the CSI (Cold Start Injector) prior to cranking the hot engine. The CSI should not squirt other than for a few seconds during a cold start. But if it were squirting when it shouldn't, the extra rich mixture might make hot starting a problem. Just a guess...

Checking the system voltage during cranking is another quick/easy test. Connect a voltmeter to the battery and see what it reads during cranking. L-jet requires approx 10.5V or greater to wake up and send the make spark/squirt fuel signals. If for some as yet undiagnosed reason the system voltage is marginal during hot starts but not cold starts that could explain the problem. (which would then need more diagnostic efforts to figure out why but we'll deal with that if needed later)
 

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Symptoms:
Crank cold engine in the morning = fast to start
Crank cold engine After a few hours = slow to start
Starter performs the same speed at both starts.
Any other ideas?
In addition to the excellent advice from Eric,

You may want to check the auxillary air valve for proper operation. It may be sticking or non operational. Mine only opens ever so slightly and occasionally leads to a difficult warm-start situation when the engine has cooled just enough but not completely.

Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Thanks for all your responses!
I'll start troubleshooting based on your suggestions and let you know what I find out. Wish me luck!
 

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A no-cost idea would be to disconnect the CSI (Cold Start Injector) prior to cranking the hot engine. The CSI should not squirt other than for a few seconds during a cold start. But if it were squirting when it shouldn't, the extra rich mixture might make hot starting a problem. Just a guess...
Leaking injectors can cause the same issues too. If You find the idle pulsing or hear a slight miss that gets worse after warmup then you might want to pull the fuel rail.
 
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