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Better shot of center wore on distributor cap.
you are kidding, right?

that cap has totally had it, finito, period, chuck it in the trash.
the leads will be shot too, throw them out
and I bet the Rotor has had it too.
and the coil, where the king lead fits into is probably not good either

These connections need to be brand spanking shiny new.....anything less is asking for trouble........no wonder you have a slow to start......it's amazing it starts at all;)

When you replace all those, let us know
Get a Bosch cap and a Bosch rotor, not some aftermarket cheapo thing.
(btw: no, you do not need to disconnect the battery to undo that stuff)

we are making progress:)
 

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Discussion Starter #42
you are kidding, right?
Well.. I knew it wasn't a good sign if that means anything :) Thanks for the tip on getting the bottom ring off, I would have struggled with that thing for a while.

and the coil, where the king lead fits into is probably not good either
Not sure what those are (yet), but I'm guessing those will be replaced when I get my new Bosch cap and rotor.

no wonder you have a slow to start......it's amazing it starts at all
On that note - it HAS been starting (not quickly... a few cranks and then it starts). Better to use the time while I'm waiting on the parts to get here to dismantle and get it ready to put the new cap, rotor & wires in or leave it connected in case there's time for another drive or two? Is it dangerous to drive in the current condition? Might be a dumb request but being that we have such a short season in Maine I try to get as much driving time in as I can :) I'm selfish that way... but not reckless at all with lives or the car so any guidance appreciated.

Get a Bosch cap and a Bosch rotor, not some aftermarket cheapo thing.
Starting that process now - open to any suggested vendors if the board has them.
I'm also going to get the wires you suggested and I'm going to do a new fuel filter too.

we are making progress:)
Thank you for your help! It feels that way! I'm pretty excited by it!
 

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You probably could drive it that way but I wouldn’t myself.
That cap is so bad you might get stuck (breakdown) and have to pay a hefty tow fee back home!
Your risk.

the 'king lead' is the main HT/High Tension lead that goes from the centre of the distributor cap (that broken bit!) and the coil.
Pull it off the coil and look down there in the hole...if it is green, burned etc, you need to clean it up properly.

Rotor and cap: I do not know the bosch numbers for the rotor...take off the old one (it just pulls off) and lets see a photo...it should have a number on it. In fact the cap you have is a Bosch, it too should have a number on it (Bosch 1 235 522 056 ?)
the cap is a common cap, should be about 15-20 bucks, Bosch short part number in USA would be: 03010 (all over ebay, maybe your local VW shop as its a bug cap too, or your local auto parts shop)
 
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You probably could drive it that way but I wouldn’t myself.
That cap is so bad you might get stuck (breakdown) and have to pay a hefty tow fee back home!
Your risk.

the 'king lead' is the main HT/High Tension lead that goes from the centre of the distributor cap (that broken bit!) and the coil.
Pull it off the coil and look down there in the hole...if it is green, burned etc, you need to clean it up properly.

Rotor and cap: I do not know the bosch numbers for the rotor...take off the old one (it just pulls off) and lets see a photo...it should have a number on it. In fact the cap you have is a Bosch, it too should have a number on it (Bosch 1 235 522 056 ?)
the cap is a common cap, should be about 15-20 bucks, Bosch short part number in USA would be: 03010 (all over ebay, maybe your local VW shop as its a bug cap too, or your local auto parts shop)
Did you remove the sparkplugs.
I always use this type of wrench. You can AND pull AND push or put a longer bar trough the holes.
Be sure you buy the right size.


1636662
 

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Discussion Starter #46
You probably could drive it that way but I wouldn’t myself.
That cap is so bad you might get stuck (breakdown) and have to pay a hefty tow fee back home!
Your risk.
I have AAA so the tow wouldn't be bad... but it's not worth it... It'll take me a while to pull this all apart anyway and it's a rainy day so might as well put the time in the garage while I have it.

the 'king lead' is the main HT/High Tension lead that goes from the centre of the distributor cap (that broken bit!) and the coil.
Pull it off the coil and look down there in the hole...if it is green, burned etc, you need to clean it up properly.
Got it - I'm going to take that apart now and we'll see what we have.

Rotor and cap: I do not know the bosch numbers for the rotor...take off the old one (it just pulls off) and lets see a photo...it should have a number on it. In fact the cap you have is a Bosch, it too should have a number on it (Bosch 1 235 522 056 ?)
the cap is a common cap, should be about 15-20 bucks, Bosch short part number in USA would be: 03010 (all over ebay, maybe your local VW shop as its a bug cap too, or your local auto parts shop)
I'll get the part numbers when I take it apart - looking at Centerline for parts - they can't guarantee a Bosch cap/rotor although they said their parts are good quality from Italy. (And mentioned Bosch outsources their caps/rotors to Brazil so sometimes the quality isn't like it was.) I'll keep on looking for a true Bosch part once I get the #s and we'll if I can get my hands on them easily.

I also was looking at their wires and noticed the OEM is $$ compared to their brand. Anyone have luck with them? (@spiderserie4 - will look at the link you sent too - just trying to consolidate my order to one company if I can for ease/cost/shipping)

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That's really fugly!!
I ain't arguing...

Not sure how that happens - just time/wear?

Did you remove the sparkplugs.
Not yet - I couldn't budge them with all my might. Thanks for the link to the tool! I'll check it out.
Bought a breaker bar to help but turns out there are different size sockets (I'm sure you all knew that). I got a 1/2" and have a 3/4" spark plug socket.
My brother in law just leant me a piece that lets me use the 3/4" on the 1/2" breaker bar so I expect I'll be able to get them off now. Will take photos of them as well.

Have replacement plugs already so I'll plan on getting them in while I'm waiting on the new distributor and rotor.
 

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i'd get the correct metal style wires from that wire shop
Ok those red ones will work, sure, but your car never had them. It has electronic ignition and originally had those metal 5 kOhm suppression caps.
If CL can't guarentee a cap costing 25 bucks is made by Bosch then get one at AutohausAZ (they have lots of Bosch parts for german cars....many shared with alfa) where they do sell a Bosch 03010 for half that price.
and they might have the rotor too once you have the number.....or someone here with an S3 tells you the number.

personally I'd prefer Bosch made in a Timbuktoo (who cares where it is made, Bosch have worldwide quality control) than any no name item, when it comes to ignition or electrics on the alfa.

But it's your car.
 
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Discussion Starter #48
Hear you re: Centerline items. Will respond after I’m done on the car today.

In the meantime - So got the cap off.
Not sure about the rust/red around the middle but the rest looks clean.






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There is a crack in it. Not sure if I did that taking it off.



Better shot of the damage by the wire.


Working on a few spark plugs now. Think they’ll be interesting.
 

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Discussion Starter #49
So got the spark plugs out. And they don’t look like the spark plugs I bought to replace them. (NGK BPR6ES)




And they look beat up.


Are they supposed to be missing the curved part at the top?

Not sure if I bent the top when I was taking them off. I tried to be careful and can’t remember if they had that before I put the socket on them.



So folks - how bad is it?


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Ouch!

I never had an issue with a cap and rotor from centerline, I believe I also bought my wires from them tho it may have been Alfaholics.
The coil, pop the wire off that goes from the coil to the cap, look inside the hole. If it looks like that cap, replace it.

Looking at the underside of your cap, those leads look good(enough) and that explains why your car ran at all. Im shocked it had spark. I bet your car will feel much better in all ways with new ignition components!!

The golden lodge plugs are different, they arent shaped like a "normal" spark plug. So that isn't too odd, but your plugs look very worn out. Your car certainly had its money worth out of its ignition components thats for sure!
Your number 1 plug looks a bit rich, but truthfully with the impairments in your ignition Im not sure I would read too much into the plugs. Just keep a mental note that #1 may be running rich. Maybe. Come back around to that later.
 

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Discussion Starter #51
If CL can't guarentee a cap costing 25 bucks is made by Bosch then get one at AutohausAZ (they have lots of Bosch parts for german cars....many shared with alfa) where they do sell a Bosch 03010 for half that price.
and they might have the rotor too once you have the number.....or someone here with an S3 tells you the number.

personally I'd prefer Bosch made in a Timbuktoo (who cares where it is made, Bosch have worldwide quality control) than any no name item, when it comes to ignition or electrics on the alfa.

But it's your car.
I’ll continue looking at that site for the wires.

I checked out AutohausAZ and they have the rotor and the cap for less then Centerline’s cap (including shipping)

I’ll check in the AM in case a local place has it so I can fix it sooner, otherwise I’ll place that order.
Thanks for the pointer on that.


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Your problem is not even remotely related to a charging issue. You’re having trouble with your thermal time switch or something related to fuel.
It’s very common to have an issue there as this was the bane of Bosch’s electronic FI system back In the day. Otherwise it was very reliable.
Secondly, Bosch derives system power for the ECU from the positive terminal by molding the positive ecu lead right into the positive battery connector. If it’s dirty or internally corroded you’ll have trouble and you’ll never find it as it’s inside the molded connection. Usually if this were a problem, it would show as a start and stall issue in some cases.
The thermal time system was electro mechanical or on some later systems it was timed by temperature. If the system isn’t working properly, it won’t start right away and the colder it is outside, the longer it will take.
Think of the thermal time system as a “choke for fuel injection” it supplies extra fuel (via an extra injector) on startup based on temperature verses time.
For example, a colder temp would keep the thermal time and injector open longer than at a warmer temp.
If you need proof this is faulty, simply spritz some Fuel or starting fluid into the intake and I’m sure she’ll start much quicker than in your videos. That’s indicative of a problem with the thermal time system.
 

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Discussion Starter #53
I never had an issue with a cap and rotor from centerline, I believe I also bought my wires from them tho it may have been Alfaholics.
Good to hear. The place @spiderserie4 mentioned, AutohausAZ has the Bosch parts for cheaper so I'll likely go with them unless I can find something local so don't have to wait for/pay for shipping.
I am sure I'll be sharing my money with Centerline many times in the future.

The coil, pop the wire off that goes from the coil to the cap, look inside the hole. If it looks like that cap, replace it.
I'm new to auto repair, and I tried to follow, but honestly I'm not sure what this means. I'm going to give it a go though b/c it's good to try and figure stuff out. :) (Plus I have a mechanic's manual handy for reference)

So, the wire that came from the center of the distributor cap goes to the Coil (another round cylinder device :) ). I'm thinking you're saying that check that connection on the Coil - if the coil looks burnt up like the distributor cap then replace the coil too.

Looking at the underside of your cap, those leads look good(enough) and that explains why your car ran at all. Im shocked it had spark. I bet your car will feel much better in all ways with new ignition components!!
I'm looking forward to it! (I didn't think it ran to poorly, honestly... but I hadn't driven it in 20 years really so didn't have much to compare it to.)

The golden lodge plugs are different, they arent shaped like a "normal" spark plug. So that isn't too odd, but your plugs look very worn out. Your car certainly had its money worth out of its ignition components thats for sure!
Your number 1 plug looks a bit rich, but truthfully with the impairments in your ignition Im not sure I would read too much into the plugs. Just keep a mental note that #1 may be running rich. Maybe. Come back around to that later.
Thanks for the clarification! (I had looked up Lodge plugs after I got back inside and saw the difference on Centerline's site). I saw on another thread the NKGs were recommended and I didn't have to go with the Lodge. I think new, compatible, plugs of almost any type will be better then what I had.
Question: how can you tell that plug 1 is running rich? What are you seeing? I think plug 4 looks worse then 1, but they all look kinda dark and have crud on them. I'd like to learn what to look for.

(Kind reminds me when my Brother-in-law was looking at the pile of wood someone left us at the house we bought. He commented that it was all soft wood. I asked, "how do you tell?" and he said. "I dunno. It looks like soft wood." I'm still trying to determine how to identify soft wood from hard wood 😐 Hoping I can learn to identify if a spark plug is running rich. :) )
 

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I'm new to auto repair, and I tried to follow, but honestly I'm not sure what this means. I'm going to give it a go though b/c it's good to try and figure stuff out. :) (Plus I have a mechanic's manual handy for reference)

So, the wire that came from the center of the distributor cap goes to the Coil (another round cylinder device :) ). I'm thinking you're saying that check that connection on the Coil - if the coil looks burnt up like the distributor cap then replace the coil too.


Thanks for the clarification! (I had looked up Lodge plugs after I got back inside and saw the difference on Centerline's site). I saw on another thread the NKGs were recommended and I didn't have to go with the Lodge. I think new, compatible, plugs of almost any type will be better then what I had.
Question: how can you tell that plug 1 is running rich? What are you seeing? I think plug 4 looks worse then 1, but they all look kinda dark and have crud on them. I'd like to learn what to look for.

No worries, these cars are fun to mess with you'll get it :)
Yes, the ignition coil is shaped sorta like a soda can. It has one wire going from the center of it that goes straight to the center of the cap.
The coils go bad, either with age or a lot of miles. Usually they get weak and appear fine for a long time, until the car just doesn't seem to have the zip that it used to. Or on newer cars that have 1 coil per cylinder instead of one coil per car, the bad coil can cause a misfire on an individual cylinder.

The spark plug is an easy one, googling spark plug color meaning will give you a much better set of advice than what I can.
But, darker black sooty plugs means the car is running rich (too much fuel), lighter plugs that look white mean leaner mix (less fuel). Brown is what you want to shoot for. If your car has bad wires/cap/rotor, then one or more spark plugs may not be sparking at full capacity. This would lead to blacker plugs due to fuel not being burnt up efficiently.
You are right, 4 and 1 look very similar. From what I can see I would say running rich
 

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Ok cap is toast (not even old by the looks inside) with that crack and the centre lead hole burned like that.
Plugs are original Lodge 2HL, they haven't been available for well over 10 years (so that is how old they have been sittin in there most likely) and thats why they were hard to remove no doubt....but seem to be running ok.
No. 3 you have unfortunately bust when removing it, the part on top that is bent. I'd keep them in a drawer, in fact keep one (clean it up) in the trunk with the tools...always useful to have a spare plug if you have to test for spark (no need to remove one, you see)

leads are Bosch, they too haven't been available for ages, so replace. Old leads break down.
Rotor is Bosch 1 234 332 309 (looks OK, but for the few bucks just renew it)...short pn 04138
yes. look down into the centre hole of the coil to make sure it is clean, not burned. If it is clean (or show a photo here if you are uncertain) use it. If burned, replace it.

corroded coil with green gunge. If it looks like this you can probably clean it out. But if it looks burned, chuck it.
The coil will have a Bosch number on it...get the same one, if replacing.
corroded coil.jpg
clean coil, shiny inside
clean coil.jpg

the new NGK plugs are fine, just more modern type.
When you screw them in, just snug them down by hand, then a 1/4 turn to tighten them
(NGK normally writes on their boxes: " tighten by hand until the plug seats then by 1/4 to 1/2 a turn then NO MORE" )......you do not want to over tighten spark plugs in an aluminium head

I would not worry how rich or lean the car is running for now, the plugs all look ok to me, no oil, no heavy soot....it is a credit to Alfa how that car started and ran smooth at all!

so to summarise:
when you get new leads,a new rotor, a new distributor cap and you put in those new NGK plugs, your car should start so much better.....if it doesn't, then it will at least run so much better.

If the starting problem is still there, then we can look at fuel as Richy suggests (TTS and CSI etc), but lets first get this terrible burned ignition stuff sorted out!
 

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Discussion Starter #56 (Edited)
Ok folks!

Ordered the Bosch Cap and Rotor from local parts place - should be in for tomorrow. 🤞 Was more expensive then the place @spiderserie4 mentioned, but I'll have it immediately and it buys me the weekend to get it installed.

Kingsborne is closed until the 8th :-( so I'll need to wait on new wires.

I did get a "It's the OEM, just in our box" cap, rotor, fuel filter and wires from Autozone (also available tomorrow) as backups. Figure I don't want to use the old wires on my new cap/rotor and spark plugs. Even if I just use them temporarily.

I checked the Coil - looks clean to me.
1636788


A few questions:
  • Trying to follow the mechanics manual on what order the cables go in but having trouble figuring out which is which, especially since I've taken the cap off already. Suggestions?
  • I can try to clean the coil a bit before I reconnect it to the distributor but not sure what to clean it with outside of a rag.
  • Same question for the plugs - Thanks for the idea to clean them and keep them around but just wipe with a rag and water or something specific. (See that folks clean stuff with brake fluid but not sure when that's appropriate)
Headed to the autoparts store (two of them in fact) in the AM. All I have is what you see below (the dialectic and anti seize is for the spark plugs) - so if you think I need it let me know :)

2020-06-30 11.32.28.jpg
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Am going to get another quart of oil to have on hand (20W50 if memory serves, but I'll check the boards again on that)
 

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Discussion Starter #57
You are right, 4 and 1 look very similar. From what I can see I would say running rich
I'll check it out - thanks for the pointer. There is oil on a few of them (that soaked through the towel I left them on) but as you said - let's get the rest of it fixed THEN see what we see.
When you screw them in, just snug them down by hand, then a 1/4 turn to tighten them
(NGK normally writes on their boxes: " tighten by hand until the plug seats then by 1/4 to 1/2 a turn then NO MORE" )......you do not want to over tighten spark plugs in an aluminium head
To be clear... so if I snug them by hand and I put the socket on at "12", then 1/4 turn would be "3" and 1/2 would be "6"

I do have a torque wrench on the way and the manual (if I am reading it properly) says "18.4 to 25.1 ft-lb" so I can check it next week when that gets here.

Hopefully this gets us where we got to be and we don't need to look at @Richy04 suggestions (and the many others on this thread) I have another backlog list of items I want to look into on the car and it'd be great to get this on the DONE side of the chart. :)

Thanks everyone for your ongoing support!
 

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Coil looks very good.
Yes you need to put the plug wires in correct order obviously!
The cylinders are numbered 1-2-3-4 counting from front of engine to back.
No. 1 lead therefore needs be fitted to the cap in no. 1 position and that is basically about 3 o'clock looking down at the distributor ( there will be a little "mark" on the edge of the distributor, see photo where it says 'mark on distributor'... when the cap is fitted that where no 1 lead fits)..then follow round putting the other 3 leads into the cap in a clockwise manner so 1-3-4-2 (firing order)
Ign timing - distributor.JPG
 
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Glad you are getting things squared away! One thing about torque wrenches. If you bought a cheapy you are almost better going by feel, they can be so inaccurate it would amaze you. A good one will cost you a couple hundred bucks and come with a calibration sheet from final inspection. Dont worry about torque on the plugs, they have a crush washer, just go by the 1/4 turn rule...
 

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Glad you’re moving along, lots of great help here. Although your ignition parts are well dated, the excess cranking literally Harkens back to the 80’s when I forever worked on Bosch FI systems.
I remember those Golden Lodge plugs, they’d scare anyone who had never seen one before lol!
I’m sorting out a 91 now that’s been down since 1999. Three people tried to get it running and never got it going. It took me an hour to have her up and running. Now, Just some bum parts I received are holding me up and it’s a waiting game for Mr. fedex to arrive with the new stuff.
I placed a big “Alfa order” to Colorado and it’s due here in NY tomorrow. So happy days for me! I’ll finally have the clutch goodies I need, then off for new tires and an oil change and then to repair whatever falls off after that! Lol

Regards Richy
 
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