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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Short question. Is there a way to manually open the trunk from the inside of a 1992 S?

The car has been sitting with a bad steering rack for a few months as I got waylaid with a couple life events & holiday travel and expenses. I started it once a month to keep the battery charged and had no problems.

The tow company is coming Monday AM to take her over to the local Alfa expert to begin the steering rack work. I figured I would go and start her up today and check gas and all that stuff. Battery is flat dead. Not a peep outta anything.

Thats when I discovered the two keys sent along by the seller DO NOT fit the trunk. This kind of approximates my reaction: :taz:

I can't get in to the trunk to charge the battery to start up the car and get it out of the parking deck. A flat bed isn't going to make it up the ramps and then down out of the deck. Its kinda crucial for me to get the car out of the deck under its own power. Don't like the idea of cruising down ramps with no power steering and no power brakes with the engine shut off.


Any ideas on how to get to the battery?????
 

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I think you can pop the hood, and using a different battery or charger, attach the + jumper cable to the big + terminal on the firewall where the 40A strap fuse link is above the brake booster, and the neg to a body/engine ground. Mind the polarity. That should power up the car. Then you can pop the trunk from inside to access the real battery.

BTW, one can open the trunk lid from outside, but I don't remember how to do it. Richard2 found out how to do it somehow, I think by drilling a hole in the latch itself after swinging the cover to one side, then using a screwdriver to pop the latch? Would have to do a search in the BB. Actually similar to the solution for the Milano with a broken cable.

Also, could it be that the spare keys you got are the parking attendant/valet keys?
 

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Ditto to what Del said. Connect jumper cables to the + connection under the hood and the negative to the engine block, and pop the trunk with the pushbutton. Disconnect jumpers and either jump the battery from it's posts or charge it. Super fast and easy.
 

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I had the same problem with the Alfa roof rack keys I bought. The cut blanks were correct but they were too thick to fit in the slot. Had to thin them down. Seems to be a common problem with some replacement keys.
 

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The car has been sitting with a bad steering rack (...).
If it's leaking, I have had immense luck with ATP AT-205. The leak appeared when I had the car in the body shop and it leaked as much as a whole liter of ATF a week. I didn't use the whole bottle and it worked. The leak stopped and hasn't come back.

Later I built a vacuum machine from scrap to flush the fluid properly and changed the tank to the BMW type. When the return filter fitted in the bottom of the tank gets clogged, pressure causes a gap to appear between the filter element and the sheet metal disc that covers it. You'll need to buy 12 mm ID hose and two 90º elbows to reroute the hose.
 

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Here in the States, we can try Lucas Power Steering Stop Leak. I used it last summer in the leaky power steering of the 91S. It stopped the fluid loss completely after eventually pouring in a bottle and a half of the stuff over about a two week period. Worked like a champ, with no fluid loss after about a couple of weeks. I think what it does is swell the seals slightly, enough to make them seal properly again. It is thicker but I've slowly sucked out fluid once in a while and add some fresh regular steering fluid to slowly bring the viscosity back to normal, eventually to reach 100% regular fluid. The fluid does recirculate throughout the system including the reservoir. There has been no fluid loss at any time.

I'm very happy with the result, steering working properly. If one has a rack losing some fluid, I recommend trying it before tearing out the rack.
 

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Here in the States, we can try Lucas Power Steering Stop Leak.
I tried Lucas after I used ATP AT-205 (which is also an American product and impossible to find in Europe) because of the pump noise I mentioned. While I can't say Lucas has done harm, the fluid turned black very fast. When I replaced the tank, I noticed the filter element had moved slightly to the side and there was a gap through which particles could escape.

It seems likely that the back pressure created by the extra viscosity could cause the filter cover (a sheet metal disk) to be pushed upwards and so lose grip on the element. I have since replaced the fluid and tank and it's working as new.

ATP AT-205 is a completely different additive. It's a thin clear liquid, supposedly silicone based, that will mix in any oil and restore pliability to seals instead of swelling them. I'm not one to believe in magic bottles but this saved me good money.
 

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I think the trick is to slightly swell the seals, in other words, making them slightly larger in diameter, rather than just making them pliable again, although I'm sure that helps. I suspect the process of swelling them also makes them more pliable.

This idea is the same as used for the Valvoline High Mileage version of their oils, where additives swell the seals to reduce oil leakage in the engine.

In the case of my using the Lucas stuff, I noticed no change in fluid color or any other problem.

Mind you, I'm not saying this stuff will work for every problem, but if one is going to pull the rack anyway, might as well try it, nothing to lose.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I just want to verify that I am connecting to the correct fuse strap as I am operating sans manual / electrical diagrams.

It appears I should be connecting the cable on the right hand side of the box - or in this rotated picture, the larger black cable at the top and not the smaller red cable at the bottom.

Thanks for the input everyone!
 

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Mind you, I'm not saying this stuff will work for every problem, but if one is going to pull the rack anyway, might as well try it, nothing to lose.
That was exactly my idea. Considering the cost of a new rack, buying AT-205 (and a jug of ATF to top up as it kept leaking and AT-205 took almost a month to arrive!) was well worth the risk. It worked so well the body shop owner bought the rest of the bottle.

The idea of making seals pliable again is that it allows the spring inside the seal to do it's job. I've since changed the fluid and so far I've no evidence that whatever made it work can "migrate" through evaporation or dilution back to the fluid.
 

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"I just want to verify that I am connecting to the correct fuse strap as I am operating sans manual / electrical diagrams"

Sure, that post will work. It is marked on my 91S and 94LS as being the positive power post. Actually, both are powered, as I notice that mine in both the S and the 94LS has a 40A strap fuse across from post to post, and yours doesn't. Should yours have that fuse as well?
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Thanks Del - I have no idea if it should have a strap fuse. No manual to work from.

When it comes to electrics, this is what most conversation sounds like to me:

 

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Discussion Starter #16
Hey gang, I appreciate all the input on steering rack solutions.

At the advice of Alfisti Steve, Del, and others, I tried both the ATF & leak sealer fluids along with trying to go lock to lock with the front end off the ground. Tried every possible combo and have simply wound up with buckets of fluid to be disposed of at the local oil change.

At this point with a squealing power steering belt, graunching sounds when going lock to lock and almost immediate draining of the fluid, its time to get it over to a professional.
 

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Where is the fluid coming from? The rack ends themselves, filling the boots, or a burst hose? I had a hose blow out on the 91S once. Have not had seal leakage, although many do.

BTW, the seal stop leak took about two weeks to work. Sounds like you lose fluid much faster. Almost sounds like a hose rather than seals, but you would have to check.

As far as the fuse is concerned, since both my 91S and the 94LS have it, I would assume your car should also have it. I wonder why you don't. There is also a similar fuse on the back side of that power terminal block behind the false firewall as well on my 91S.

I use the Honda 45A strap, available at your local auto parts store. It's a little longer, and thus you have to put a slight "wow" in it when connected. I think that "wow" makes the fuse link last longer. The OEM flat fuse links seem to fail from thermal tensile stresses, developing a crack.
 

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Boot lock could also have been changed from original.....
 

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As far as the fuse is concerned, since both my 91S and the 94LS have it, I would assume your car should also have it. I wonder why you don't. There is also a similar fuse on the back side of that power terminal block behind the false firewall as well on my 91S.

I use the Honda 45A strap, available at your local auto parts store. It's a little longer, and thus you have to put a slight "wow" in it when connected. I think that "wow" makes the fuse link last longer. The OEM flat fuse links seem to fail from thermal tensile stresses, developing a crack.
That's the fuse that melted on my car and since it covers the radiator fans I'd really want to know why it's not there myself.
 

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Yes, knowing that it does power the radiator fan, I wonder if the original fan power wire has been bypassed somewhere. I would sure check that, as you don't want to have that fuse eliminated.

Unless there is something about the 92S we don;t know about? Will have to check the wiring diagram.
 
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