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1979 Alfa Spider
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
As I write this afternoon, temps here in the desert are going to hit around 115. My new-to-me '79 Spider is in the garage, out of the sun, where it's pretty much been since we moved to Palm Desert at the end of July. It's a different climate for sure than the previous owner in Florida, but I think the dryness will be good for it.

After purchase, I had the car delivered to the home of a friend who already lives here because we were about to move down this way and it didn't make sense to ship it to Vancouver WA just to move it again. When I visited it while house-hunting, it started up and idled great although I didn't have time to drive it on that trip. So when we finally got moved, I went over to pick it up.

From the moment I backed it out of my friend's garage, the car didn't want to idle. Just kept dying unless I shifted into neutral and kept one foot on the gas and one on the brake at stops. I couldn't figure it out, since it ran so well in the garage when I first had a chance to start it.

After much thought, I realized that it had run fine with the charger connected but not so much with it disconnected. Battery problem? I discovered that the ground strap that attaches to the floor of the trunk was badly corroded, and after fixing that and installing a new battery (battery probably wasn't necessary...) it ran fine and I was able to take my wife for a ride around the neighborhood.

The next time I tried to start it, nothing. Just a click from the starter without turning over, so this time I cleaned the positive cable to the starter and the ignition wire to the solenoid. Nothing. Connected a jumper cable directly from the battery to the starter with the same result.

So...as I had the aircleaner pulled off and had some access to it, I tapped the solenoid and starter with a hammer like we used to do in the old days. Success! It fired up, and after a little warming, idled also. It's obvious the starter or solenoid or both are tired, and I don't want to be stranded because of something that can be fixed fairly easily - a new Bosch starter is on its way from Larry at Alfa Parts Exchange up north of me in Lodi CA.

Larry's also looking for the smog equipment that was removed previously, and if anyone has a box of such that they pulled off their car gathering dust somewhere, I'd be interested.

BTW, I understand this is not a common color for the Spiders and believe it is Marrone Metallizzato / Metallic Brown. With any luck I'll be able to attach a picture.

Cheers,

Ryan in Palm Desert CA
Land vehicle Vehicle Car Classic car Hood
 

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And the brown ones are only a little slower than the black ones...
 

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I sorry guys put if you think the color of the car makes it faster, that's the same thinking as the bunch of guys who think "Click and Klack" were serious when they asked what color is the car as if it made a difference as to getting the problem solved..
BTW: Black and brown are the worst colors for any Italian Car.
NB: You have to be over 50 to know what I am talking about..:cautious:
 

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I sorry guys put if you think the color of the car makes it faster, that's the same thinking as the bunch of guys who think "Click and Klack" were serious when they asked what color is the car as if it made a difference as to getting the problem solved..
BTW: Black and brown are the worst colors for any Italian Car.
NB: You have to be over 50 to know what I am talking about..:cautious:
I would take a guess most of us on this BB is over the age of 50! I have not seen a spider I don’t like red, green, brown, blue, gold, sliver, white and black!


Ken Smith
 

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1979 Alfa Spider
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
To Tom and Ray Magliozzi, RIP old friends, I miss your show every weekend. As to brown alfas, well, everyone knows that red attracts more tickets. :)
 

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Although I am partial to red and silver I have to admit that Murray Siert's black spider is the fastest naturally aspirated spider in North America.
 

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1979 Alfa Spider
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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
@RandallM - I agree!

Unfortunately, mine won't run at the moment. I've hardly driven this car, and already encountered a problem where it wouldn't run well or idle when I drove it to its new home. I diagnosed a bad ground cable in the trunk, replaced the battery just in case, and thought I had the problem solved. Took my wife for a spin around the neighborhood and all was good.

Until next time I went to drive it and the starter wouldn't work. After more wiring inspection, it turned out the solenoid was getting erratic. So I installed a new starter.

Now it spins over and tries to run, but dies after about twenty seconds. I've diagnosed most of the common Spica glitches without success, and am about to replace the rear fuel filter as it seems like a starvation issue. Keeping my fingers crossed - so odd that all these problems occurred simultaneously....
 

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1979 Alfa Spider
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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Low pressure light glows around 10 seconds at key-on. Don't know how old the fuel pump is, but it looks to have been replaced. I just replaced the back filter with a new WIX 33299 and still have the same problem of hesitant starting, running for about 20 seconds if I keep pumping the throttle, and then stalling.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I see from the Spica Diagnostic Guide by John Stewart that the low pressure light should go out in a few seconds. Is that correct? Is ten seconds telling me I have a weak/failing main pump?
 
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