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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi guys new to the Alfa community so bear with me.

I am having problems starting the car.

When I turn the ignition key and if the EXH Sensor light, Brake Light and one other Red light come on the starter will turn and I can get her started.

If these lights do not come on the starter will turn and regardless of how hard I try she just will not start and I can literaly keep trying until the battery just runs down.

The bad thing is that there is no rhyme or reason as to when I can get these lights to turn on an start the car. It is a total "crap " shoot and after getting got serveral times on the side of the road and not being able to restart her I have to get it more reliable.

Any questions on where to start ? I do have the shop manual but I know nothing at all about these cars other than it is fun to drive and she looks "sexy " -smile

Thanks for getting me started in the right direction.

Rick
 

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Could be an intermittent ignition switch.
The switch might be allowing power to the starter every time, but not to the coil and accessories.
 

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That or the ever popular 'poor ground contact' somewhere down the line, or even an intermittant contact at the fusepanel or ignition switch harness under the dash.

The console lights tie into the ignition certainly and ground through the chassis, though it's unlikely the issue is in that part of the circut.

I'd be checking that the ignition switch is functioning properly per John's suggestion, then getting all clean, polish and tighten with the contacts on the back of the fusebox along with cleaning and tightening the fuse contacts and replacing all the fuses themselves (regardless of how good they may look. They won't act like new until you put new ones in)

Also check the ground wires at the AAV for cleanliness and tight contact along with the contacts at the coil terminals.

Query: when the lights do NOT come on, do the triple gauges up above on the console do anything or are they dead too? (oil and temp should zero, fuel should at least simulate how much fuel is in the tank)

Query #2:Do you hear the fuel pumps pulse momentarily when you first turn the key on, regardless of what the console lights do?
 

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Welcome to the BB, Rick!

I also agree with the suggestions in the prior posts. The bayonet fuse set-up also does gets loose over time, where the contacts on either end don't place enough pressure on the fuse. The '84 is my favorite Spider year, and once you get her sorted out, she should be very reliable.

BTW, you may want to include your location and Spider model in your post headings and/or signature...

Best regards,
 

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Welcome to the BB. '84's are the best!

What you are describing sounds like an iffy ignition switch. The warning lights are supposed to come on when the key is first turned to 'on'. (They do in our '84.) If/when they don't it would seem likely the ignition circuit ain't powering up.

Turning the key to the start position sends the 'activate starter motor' signal. (When it's working right the igniton would have remained 'on'.)

Here's a snip from the Alfa shop manual about testing the ignition switch. However, intermittant faults are the hardest to track down...
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Guys,

First of thanks for the replies !!! This is a very active board and that is great to see as I am sure this is the first of many questions that I will have !!!

I really appreciate you all taking the time to reply to me .
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Zunige,

Thanks for tip . I i did it right I did add location and model to my signature page.
 

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Power to the switch comes from the bus behind the fuse box (specifically behind fuses 1 through 5). If your switch is working you should get power to fuses 6 through 8 with the ignition switch in the 'on' position.

Next time you have no dash lights, gauges etc. Check for power at fuses 6-8. If no power (and you DO have +12 on fuses 1-5) you have a bad swich or connection between the switch and fuse box.
There are two connector for the ignition switch; one for the starter (black wire) and a two contact connector for power to and from the fuse box (red and brown wires). Both connectors are located right around your steering column.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Tifosi,

Thanks for reply. I appreciate it.

I do believe that the 3 gauges above do register when I turn the key but I will verify that .

Also I will have to listen for the fuel pump pulse ..I am not sure.

I will take everyone's advise and start with those things and then all know how it is going. I guess these intermittent problems can be little buggers for sure.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Eric,

Glad to see you are a fellow ' 84 er. I will test the ignition switch. Thanks for the information and I am sure we will be talking in the future. How long have you had your '84 and how much work have you had to do on her.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Don,

Another '84 er. How long have you had yours. Thanks for the information and I will check for the voltage at fuses 6-8 when switch is on. I think I will push the car into the garage tonite since then I can work her a little at night. Right now I leave for work in the dark and get home when its dark so the weekends are the only daylight.

With it in the garage hopefully make progress during the week as well.
 

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Eric,
How long have you had your '84 and how much work have you had to do on her.
I bought it in Oct 2005. It was my wife who decided we needed an Italian sports car (she is Italian) to go with the MGA & MGB we already owned. More of that story (with pictures) is here: my Alfa web page.

The car had not been run for a few years when I bought it so I rebuilt the motor, the brakes and installed a new clutch. Been having fun with it since. Here's a page about some troubles I had getting the FI system re-installed: It's Alive! (the PO had removed the Bosch L-jet system to install an aftermarket FI system). And here's a page about some troubles I had with air leaks in the intake system: Embarrassing Confession

We've taken the Spider all over North Carolina and driven it from NC to Watkins Glen, NY then on to visit our daughter in Massachusetts and back to NC. To make long trips more comfortable I installed a cruise control.

Finally, be sure to check out the L-jet diagnosis page - it will help you understand how the components of the L-jet system work (and what to fix when it doesn't work).
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Fuse Box removal

I want to take the advice that several of you have given me to clean the back of the fuse box as well as all of the fuse connectors.

How does the fuse box come off. I looked down there but could not readily see how the bloody thing comes off.

Again thanks gang..and your patience with a newbie ( as you can tell from my elementary questions for sure !)

All have a great weekend and dont OD on football playoffs !!
 

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1) Open the cover

2) Pop the left hinge pin out of the left pivot point (it's a clip) by pulling towards the drivers seat

3) move the whole fusebox slightly to the left to disengage the right hinge pin from it's receiver in the side of the steering column.

From there it'll drop down as far as the wires will let it.
 

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Make sure you disconnect your battery before messing with the fuse box!!

I had a problem with my car dying (while driving) and then starting again. Problem was very intermittent and drove me crazy for over a year. Finally found that I had a wire behind fuse 6 that was just about broke. I reterminated and cleaned all connections and have had no further problems (at least with that!).

I've had my '84 since 1993. Bought it from my brother, who purchased it in '86 with 15K miles on it. I just turned over 59K miles last week!
 

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I had a similar problem and it turned out to the the engine ground. The braded ground cable grounding the engine to the car "looked" fine but it was not. I did two simple things as follows before tearing into anything on the car: 1) cleaned the cable grounding the battery to the car (in the trunk) 2) using a jumper cable I connected one cable to a clean spot on the engine block (one of the heads as I recall) and the other to a bare spot on the body in the engine compartment. The car started up immediately. Even drove around with the jumper cable attached until I got motivated enough to get under the car and clean the braded cable.

On cleaning the fuse box I suggest trying this first. Disconnect the negative side of the battery. Open the fuse box. Pull each fuse (a good time to use a fuse tester to see if the fuse it still good). Spray some electronic contact cleaner into each fuse socket. This will likely clean the areas of greatest potential for problem. If you really want to pull each wire behind the box you can remove it but removing it is a real pain and I found doing so can dislodge wires that may take you a while to figure out how to get them back in the right spot. I just put back together an 86 that i bought in parts...very dirty. It was easy for me to clean the fuse box but I don't think it was necessary except for the fuse sockets.

Best of luck
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Progress Report all Red lights EXCEPT EXH Sensor now on

First of all thanks to all that have posted. I followed up on some of the suggestions this afternoon and here is what the situaltion is.

When I turn the ignition key to the first postion. The red emergency brake light , and seat belt red light comes on as does the blue and green lights if I turn them on .

The gauges such a fuel start registering.

Note the Exh Sensor Red lamp does NOT LIGHT.

Again turning the ignition key will engage the starter but car will not fire up .

So does this Exh sensor light need to light in order to fire her up ?

If so any more suggestions. I am trying to follow the Wiring Disagram I got off the board but I am not sure as to what these devices do etc.

Also any suggestion as to the best maual to get for the car. I thought I had the shop manual for this from the previous owner but the more I delve into it , I might not have the correct manual ( alot of pages are missing incuding the first sections. I could not find the exh sensor light in the shop manual that I have...I do see it on the wiring diagram off the board.

Again thanks all for the help . Much appreciated it ..

Rick
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
thanks so much for the reply. What size jumper cable did you use ...or do you mean the same type of jumper cable use to jump a car. Again thanks much.

Rick
 
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