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I thought I would share this story with others who can laugh with me on this one.
I took my Spider up to the Caffeine and Octane car show at Perimeter Mall in Atlanta this weekend. Did fine for the hour drive up to the mall, no issues, beautiful morning chasing the sunrise on the interstate.
This is the first time this year I went out to a car show with my car since probably last summer, so I was rather excited to get my car out to be seen for a little bit.

The show had a good turnout with plenty of Italians, including a 4C and an S4 Spider. I spoke to someone who said they had just bought their first Alfa, a 73 spider. He said he was here on the BB on occasion.

I went to leave the show and get some breakfast with a friend, and the Spider is barely turning over. I opened the bonnet, turned the key and watched the fan just barely clunk around. I thought, how odd...the alternator is new so the battery should be charged. The starter must be giving out.
By this point, with it being a car show, I had attracted plenty of attention. A nice man stopped and inspected things with us, I got in the car and turned the key, we saw the brake booster hose was smoking. Again, how odd.
Car won't start and the brake booster is smoking, I haven't read that service bulletin before LOL

I sat and turned the key, the nice man was on the driver side and my friend was on the passenger, trying to figure out where the smoke was coming from. Booster unplugged, no smoke anywhere. Booster connected, smoke.
My friend caught this little tiny electrical arc going from the valve cover to the choke cable.

My first thought was something with the fuse box leaking onto the choke cable, then they said NO its going from the engine to the cable! Not the other way around.
The booster hose was smoking because the cable was heating up from the electrical load. Then it hit me, electronics on the engine block itself-Distributor and starter.
Engine ground!

The choke cable was grounding the engine enough for the starter to try to turn, but not enough for a full spin.
I got up under the car, and there it was. The ground strap was hanging from the body, the bolt on the starter must have gone MIA on the interstate.

SO here I was. Two options, give it a good shove and pop the clutch, or re ground the starter. I didn't like how many people were around, I just didn't feel comfortable trying a bump start at the first option.
I dug around my car and found a bolt long enough, but no nut. The wing nut for the jack fit, but was too big to fit in the small space around the starter.
I got tired of trying to find a nut that needed to last 20 seconds, so I put the bolt and strap on and tried to start it. No dice.
I figured it wasn't tight enough with a nut, so I grabbed the jumper cables, grounded the tip of the bolt to the jack. Started right up!
No questions asked!

I was determined to figure this out. I have AAA and it wouldn't have hurt me financially to get my car towed home, but being at a car show it sure would have hurt my ego for my Alfa to be the only car to go home on a tow truck! Ran fine once it started.

Anyway, Im sure I am no near the first to have a similar story, but this is my first side of the road fix.
Don't worry, I bought a new nut and bolt and used a lock washer and loctite to keep that strap on there.

Photos to come
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Here is the culprit, just hanging
HangingGroundstrap.PNG
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Heres a few of the Italians who were present.
If the owner of the green S4 is on the BB feel free to shoot me a message.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Heres my car also, parked next to a very blue Porsche Cayman.
I think Ive seen this red 4C before, maybe on here or maybe out on the road at a previous show. Either way, some neat cars. It was nice seeing more than 1-2 Alfa's
 

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The ground strap is suppose to be attached to the bell housing stud right below the starter.
 
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Loctite, loctite and loctite ... honestly it is your friend

But well sorted
Pete
 

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We had a car break down on a club tour a few years ago and determined that it just needed an 8 mm nut to fix it. Luckily, with a dozen Alfas along, someone volunteered to take one of the two nuts off his trunk hinge and donated it to repair another guy's suspension. After that, I began carrying an assortment of 6, 8 and 10 mm hardware, as well as tools, bits of wire, electrical tape etc. in my emergency kit. Not that I'll ever need this stuff, you understand. But to help my buddies.
 
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Discussion Starter #9
Its funny you say that, I tried to take one of the nuts off the trunk hinge for this and the stud it was attached too broke.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
The ground strap is suppose to be attached to the bell housing stud right below the starter.
I did not know that, when I pulled my engine some months back my strap was attached to one of the 3 bolts holding the starter to the bell housing. That is just where I have left it. Next time I am under the car I will move it around
 

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Its funny you say that, I tried to take one of the nuts off the trunk hinge for this and the stud it was attached too broke.
Some days it just ain't worth getting out of bed!

Jim G said:
The ground strap is suppose to be attached to the bell housing stud right below the starter.
I'm not disagreeing with Jim. But any of those 8 mm studs will do, as long as they have enough length to still let the nut fully engage with the additional thickness of the strap. Those electrons really don't know which stud they're passing through!
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Some days it just ain't worth getting out of bed!



I'm not disagreeing with Jim. But any of those 8 mm studs will do, as long as they have enough length to still let the nut fully engage with the additional thickness of the strap. Those electrons really don't know which stud they're passing through!
To be fair, those little electrons tried their hardest to use the choke cable instead! It just wasn't hefty enough
 

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Until you try to take it apart.
Depends on which you use. I use red loctite and sure the nut does not spin off quite as easily, but at least they were still there. I'm a huge fan and will continue to use it, and never had to abort a race, or trip, because of something coming loose because of it :)

Pete
 

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Years ago, I was driving to visit an Alfa mechanic. Minutes before getting there, I saw a Berlina by the side of the road with the hood opened. I stopped to see what was happening, the engine was screaming and the owner was hammering something with a vise-grip. Throttle was stuck. I don't remember what I did to help the guy, but I gave him the address of the nearby mechanic I was visiting.

I later heard that the engine ground strap was missing, and the starter current through the (Spica) throttle cable had welded it stuck.
 

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Aaron, I'm the guy who walked up to you early in your troubles at the show. I had my son with me and was with other friends so sorry I couldn't help. The show was PACKED! Happy to see another spider owner in ATL!!!
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Yes!
Great to hear from you, sent you a PM
It isn't too often I get to see another Spider owner in the flesh in our neck of the woods.
 

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Funny!
Similar happening for me with my 88 BMW M3. Car stopped running during drive home. Lucky me, I had read the service bulletin for the alternator ground. Open the hood and there it was. I had my work tools in the car so had a fix in place within 5 min.
 
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