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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Greetings all!

My (new to me) '86 Spider got wet in the Nashville, TN floods last year. It appeared that the water reached not quite up to the door handles, not up to the instruments or over the top of the engine. Not high enough to get over the fuel filler. The water receded in less than 2 hours.

It was a nice restored 'weekender' at that time- a well cared for, garaged car in great shape. 70,xxx miles, it even has factory a/c. I got lots of (expensive) receipts and books with it.
The car was 'air dried'- opened up out in the sunlight, water was shop vac'd out of the carpets and trunk. There's no mold or mildew, just silt and dirt from the armrests down. A complete interior disassemble/clean will ensue.
Being the optimist I am, I thought I could handle the cleaning and thorough inspection of all that, and bought the car. I put a hot battery in this week to check things out.
All the power windows, radio, clock, gauges and warning lamps work. Headlights, brake lights, hazards, reverse lights work. Key buzzer works. I did drain/flush and refill the crankcase with a new oil filter- no water at all was apparent in the crankcase. I also removed and cleaned the Jetronic module and connections back there- it looked ok and not corroded/damaged that I could tell.
When I try to start the car, I only get a small electrical 'click' near/under the intake manifold. Like a relay or solenoid sound. I don't hear the starter engage at all, like it would with a weak battery. I've checked and cleaned the battery connections, they are clean and tight.
I did do some reading/searching on here before posting this, and did find a wealth of information. This is a great resource you guys have here. Thanks for tolerating my ignorance- I've worked on lots of other old cars, but this is my first Alfa!

Are there any suggestions for obvious things I should look for first in trying to start it?
 

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Switch on the headlights and have your trusted assistant watch them.

If the lights go dim after a minute or two charge or replace the battery.

If they stay bright for a couple of minutes turn the key to 'start'. If they do not dim noticably then the starter circuit is needs diagnosing - either the starter solenoid is not getting power (defective ignition switch/wiring) or the solenoid is not sending power to the starter motor. If they go very dim (nearly off) the starter motor is defective or the battery is weak.

Post photos. Before and after would be interesting. If a pretty woman is in the photo even better...
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Eric,
thanks for your insight..

I have returned with a new battery- the headlights dim somewhat when moved to 'start'- as do the dash warning lamps for temp/charge, etc.

I'm still only getting the 'click' near the intake manifold, but can't determine exactly where from. It's a decisive click, but not the sound of the starter engaging.

(also my beautiful wife, with her Italian heritage - respectfully declined to be in any photos, sorry :)
 

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Make sure all electrical connections between the battery & starter are 100%. Don't assume - remove, clean & secure all of them (do the + cable's attachment at the starter with the battery disconnected). I like to add a smear of dielectric grease after cleaning & before re-attaching the connections. It helps to stave off future corrosion.

May we assume the engine will turn over? If you put it in 4th or 5th gear and roll the car forwards does the engine turn smoothly/easily?
 

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The starter will be toast. They really don't like being submerged in water, it will be a rusted mess inside. Starters don't have drain holes etc, so once they get wet, they stay wet for a long time. I bet it roll/push starts just fine. The click is the starter solenoid or relay trying to engage the starter high current contacts but being prevented by a seized starter or solenoid.
 

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Before you try to start the car, clean and relubricate EVERYTHING. Change ALL fluids-engine, transmission, differential, brakes and clutch. The floodwaters carry silt that will destroy all moving parts that it gets into. That's why insurance companies total cars that are flooded, no matter how expensive they are.

If it were my car I'd just let the insurance company take it. It'll never be the same.
 

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Just something to keep in mind, it's a Spider, not a Spyder. :)
 

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Hi,

After refilling oil etc...
Try to connect the starter directly to the battery - Be sure you are in neutral gear!
If that works, you may have a problem in the wiring to the starter.
Adding a relay that gets its + from the starter switch and connect the battery to the starter directly may be a good idea.
Saar.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Before you try to start the car, clean and relubricate EVERYTHING. Change ALL fluids-engine, transmission, differential, brakes and clutch. The floodwaters carry silt that will destroy all moving parts that it gets into. That's why insurance companies total cars that are flooded, no matter how expensive they are.

If it were my car I'd just let the insurance company take it. It'll never be the same.
Steve, this is good advice, I know. The car wasn't mine during the flood episode. The gentleman who owned it was paid by his insurance company, and a 'car guy' neighbor rescued the car to his shop the day after. There, it was dried, shop vac'd, and the crank, diff and trans were filled with oil. When I changed fluids, there was no evidence of water present. Again, the water was only up briefly, the car was cheap enough, so I took a chance. If the car had been totally submerged, or for any length of time, I would've passed on it.

Just something to keep in mind, it's a Spider, not a Spyder. :)
duly noted- wow, I really am an Alfa rookie-it's right there on the car.. thank you!

The starter will be toast. They really don't like being submerged in water, it will be a rusted mess inside. Starters don't have drain holes etc, so once they get wet, they stay wet for a long time. I bet it roll/push starts just fine. The click is the starter solenoid or relay trying to engage the starter high current contacts but being prevented by a seized starter or solenoid.
thanks Typhoon- I suspected this as well. I did see the thread about needing remove the intake to get to the starter- I also saw where some had had success without doing that. Search function time.

I'm gonna see if it I can push start it in the meantime.

Thanks to all for your patience with a new owner. I really like the car! My 9 year old loves to sit in it, and already thinks he's an Alfista.. He says he'll be telling everyone he learned how to drive in an Alfa!
 

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Man, sorry to hear your car really got flooded. I thought we (me and Jr) had water problems a month ago in the LA flood/deluge that hit S Cal.........cane out of that without too much trouble....

Good Luck
 

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Discussion Starter #12
thanks Joe Papa! It was flooded before I got it.. still, it was kinda sad to see such a nice car all filthy. I'm near to finishing the cleaning up, spraying contacts and lubing everything.

I do know lots of Nashville car guys who lost their stuff altogether- cars, tools, houses, etc.. We're south of Nashville though-we have 31 acres, as well as a warehouse up on a hill that's probably not going to flood anytime soon.

The old guy who had the Spider was pretty sad about it, but I think he was glad to see me get it. He made me a really fair price for it, and just kept on explaining how nice it was before the water. I could tell it was really special to him.

I don't see any corrosion or rust on anything, and it was a year ago it got wet.. We'll see. I'm pretty pumped about hearing it run. You guys have all been a great help.
 
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