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Discussion Starter #1
Hi Guys,

My 1978 alfetta GTV was running fine yesterday. Went out for a quick drive and parked it outside my house. About 30 minutes later, went back in it turn the key and the car wouldn't start. The car is turning over but not firing up.

Fuel gauge shows nearly half (so definitely got fuel)
Checked all leads to make sure nothing is loose
changed spark plugs over (only because I replaced with a new set a few days earlier)
Car just had the carbs rebuilt but was running great
Also checked the fuse box and no fuses seem to have gone

Could it be a coil? I believe its got a mechanical fuel pump since its a 1978 model (haven't had the car long)

Cheers in advance :)
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Checked all fuses and they seem fine .. Fuel is getting to the Carbs cause I can clearly petrol in the fuel lines above the carbs
 

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Alfetta won't start

Wow...I just had this same problem! Turns out the capacitor on the ignition coil was bad, as was the #8 fuse & the connection (slightly corroded). These are both cheap fixes you could try.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Bought some fuses this morning to tackle the alfa later on after work. Do you remember the amperage of the fuse? I didn't have time to take a look yesterday so I bought one of each.

I have a coil which should work off my lotus.. I'll give that a go and see if I can get her started again.

I think its probably electrical because it was instantaneous. Drove perfectly than after switching it off (about 15 minutes later) it wouldn't start. It fired up only once and ran horribly and turned off right away once I let my foot off the gas
 

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Two possibilities that might be worth consideration . . . if you are running points:

A short to ground from either the wiring harness, or the points themselves.
That is, make sure that when the points are open, the coil-side contact is an open circuit (high impedance) to ground. You would simply know this on a high level if you've successfully check for spark during cranking, but I suspect that you have no spark and this could be the reason. Lastly to this point (no pun intended), I had a new (relatively) set of points leave me stranded (no, I had taken the 'spare parts kit' out of the car at that point for some unknown reason) when the poorly made polymer insulator shorted the coil-side contact to ground, mostly due to high under hood temperatures. Cheap-a$$ replacement parts. No, they are not all the same quality.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
So after sitting out for 2 days the car fired up right away .. I drove the car about 10minutes away to my garage.. Once I got there I opened the bonnet and checked the coil and it was very hot.

Is this normal or am I right in thinking its a faulty coil that isn't functioning well once it gets hot? On the day it wouldn't start, it was after the car had been driven and while it wouldn't start I noticed the coil was also hot
 

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Well good and bad. Good it is running, bad that it is as it is more difficult to diagnose intermittent problems.

Why such focus on the coil? Still could be many things, including the points mentioned earlier. Hard to diagnose over the BB with little information.

To you question, the coil normally dissipates power and therefore will heat up. How hot is relative. If you are still running points (never stated), there is a part called a bypass resistor (or ballast resistor) that is wired into the circuit between power and V+ coil terminal. Its function is to limit power during normal operation by dropping the voltage supplied to the coil. During 'start' the resistor is bypassed (shorted in a sense) to provide maximum voltage to the coil and therefore maximum spark energy. If this circuit operation is no longer wired properly, perhaps the 12V is always provide to the coil and it will run hotter. But again from what you've stated, it would seem nothing can be ruled out. Possibly could be related to the coil but could be due to many other things.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Hi Dragline,

Please excuse my lack of knowledge as I am nearly a complete novice (but more than eager to learn :) ) but how can I tell if it runs points?

It is a 1978 early gtv 2.0 with Bosch ignition coil and mechanical fuel pump. Happy to check things out and supply you with any required pictures. The car is pretty much original with only the HT leads and an aftermarket K&N style air filter
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I believe the car is still running the original ignition system without any upgraded ignition system.. Hope this helps
 

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Given what you've stated, most likely you are still running points.
WRT to electronic module, many people here have switched and are mostly happy. Once in a while hear about electronic failures, but not often. Search this BB for more information. The particular brand you point to is unknown. Some of us, present company included, aren't too smart and still run points with historic success.

In lieu of information, try to post pictures, engine bay, distributor, what have you.

When it happens again (notice the word 'if' was used), immediately identify that the problem is indeed electrical. Take one of those extra plugs you mentioned, pull a plug wire and insert the extra plug. Carefully and strategically lie the plug down on top of the head so the plug body is grounded to the head, the electrode is not touching ground, and that you can see the plug tip through the windshield while engaging the starter via key inside the cabin. Got spark? Great, it's not electrical. No spark? It's an electrical problem, start diagnosing. This would begin with either a voltmeter or a test light to ensure supply voltage at the coil. Yes, then check the coil terminal that runs to the distributor. It should light the test light intermittently while cranking. If all is good so far, then probably the coil is bad.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Thanks Dragline,

I'll take some pictures tonight and post them on the forum.

I think I might go through the ignition system as I am sure it will help the car either way. Thinking of replacing the coil, rotor arm, distributor cap and point. Probably worth replacing as they are fairly cheap
 
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