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I have read many times about the infamous braided ground strap on Alfas but for the life of me can not find one on my 88 Graduate! If anyone has a pic and could send or post or very clear instructions on location I'd appreciate it.
I've looked high and low, all around the bell housing, underneath, etc. The only grounds I see is a group of single small wire grounds coming out the wiring harness and at the left side connected by a small screw on the head close to the FI. Those are a group of maybe 3 or 4 wires with what looks like factory terminals.
I have the radiator out right now and that gave me the opportunity to view the starter area, thought for sure I'd find it there but to no avail.
My Spider has the typical slow intermittent drain, red lights on the dash under heavy electrical load. I can typically see every addition on the ammeter as I go down the road, when the lights and wipers are both on the ammeter ticks down into the 10 range with every swip of the wipers.
I have checked the alternator output; its a solid 12+ with our without load at idle or with the revs ramped up and checked and cleaned wires etc .
If I drive once a week I have rarely had the drain effect get me but sometimes it will sneak up and I do suspect the ground leaking.
Thanks artart
 

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Found these of an S4 Spider that happens to have the ground strap in them. Pic one points to the groundstrap body attaching bolt on the lower rightside of the trans tunnel. In pic two, same angle as pic one, you're looking straight up at the idler arm assembly that's in the lower half of the pic. The two insulated pipes in both pics are the fuel lines. The trans end of the strap is usually attached to one of the nuts holding the trans case halves together just toward the rear of the car from the slave cylinder.
 

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The chassis ground strap for an 88 is in the trunk. This provides the negative battery connection to the body.
The stock alternator is rated at 55A and is not sufficient to carry all the loads relegated to the US version. You will be real happy when you get your alternator upgraded during a rebuild $75 at Start N Charge Ca.
A healthy electrical system will show 13V and not less than 12V under full running load.
To find your "leak", disconnect the +ve at the battery, connect a digital ammeter in series with the battery lead and the battery post. This will tell you if you have a leak. If you do, disconnect fuses, one at a time and look for a drop in leak current, that will tell you the offending circuit.
My guess from what you are saying is that you have a bad/weak battery.
Best regards, Elio
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks to all

Definately don't have that braided strap. Hard to miss that one in the pics, even with my oil and grease covered undercarraige. I have obsessively cleaned the ground cable in the trunk.
My voltage at the altenator is good, couldn't remember exactly but it might have been up to 14 for all cases with virtually no drop or increase with load added or revs increased. I'm pretty sure I saw the alternator has already been upgraded to a 65A model.
I would believe that another ground strap at the motor/tranny would help, maybe not required but help. I haven't gone through the diagnostic process to find which circuit at this point. If nothing else to reduce the transient voltage floating around which certainly helps rust these beauties away. Galvanic corrison is bad stuff, think the multiple combinations of metals within the typical Alfa coupled with the weak electrical is one reason they are so rust prone. Italian metal is by far the major reason though.
Just planning on putting her back together today from the broken fan and shroud. Need to check those motor mounts.
 

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Remember this, a missin ground strap or poor connection will contribute to your ability to charge the battery and or deliver current to an electrical load, but it has little to do with draining current when your car sits. I think you need to ascertain if you have a leakage path draining current.
Elio
 

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Ground Strap

Greetings,
ArtArt, what makes you think a ground strap from the engine to the body is not required? Some cars had a ground from the timing cover ( top left front) to the body, but if you don't have some means of grounding, the path will be chosen for you.......throttle cable or whatever is the path of least resistance.
Regards, Ian.
 

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VeloceOne said:
if you don't have some means of grounding, the path will be chosen for you.......throttle cable or whatever is the path of least resistance.
Bingo!

And, when the throttle cable becomes the ground, it can get very hot and melt, causing the throttle to stick open and can cause some really dangerous situations.

So, make sure the engine is grounded. It's such a little thing, but it can cause so many problems.

Joe
 
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So are there 2 braided grounds straps on an S4 or only one at the transmission to chassis?
You always need that ground connection at the battery in order to reference the battery negative to chassis ground, AND you need to have a ground strap between the engine and the chassis (as shown in the pictures above) to provide the current return path for the starting motor. You will notice that there is only a big positive cable going to the starter motor, the return current path is through the block, then through the grounding strap in question to the chassis and finally back to the battery. As mentioned above, if the strap is missing, some other component such as the throttle cable is (unhappily) providing this path. Definitely get the ground strap installed and then see if your drain problems still persist.
 

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So are there 2 braided grounds straps on an S4 or only one at the transmission to chassis?
Not sure about an S4, but an S3 with a Bosch L-Jetronic FI system has 2 braided straps: the heavy one between the chassis and the gearbox (as shown in Jim's photos above) and a smaller one that runs between a bolt on the intake side of the head and the FI plenum.
 

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1972 Spider ground strap

Hi all,
I suspect ground strap problems are one of the reasons that I'm having so many problems with the electricals in my '71 Spider (I have already experienced the melted throttle cable). I am wondering if anyone can tell me where to look to check for the necessary ground straps--I am assuming there could be more than one.
Thanks,
Derek
 

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Thank you, Chris. And thanks jvico for the Galco link. When I visit the web site, there are several ground strap options. I looked in the Workshop Manual and a couple other manuals, but I couldn't find a parts list that includes the ground strap. On the web page, I think the one that looks correct is the flat braided strap (Ground Strap, 120A Max, 100mm Long, 6.5mm Hole Diameter, MBJ 16-100-6). But there are others with different Max Amp ratings and different lengths. Should I get 120A, 100mm Long or should I get 75A Max, 200mm Long? Does anyone know? Or should the bolt holes be larger than 6.5mm for the engine block to body ground strap?
 

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Ground strap I used

Okay, just want to follow up on what I found in my Spider. I found three ground straps. One connecting the hood to the body (covered in red paint). One along the engine block (long and bright silver). And one underneath the car. I've attached photos of each. The straps on the hood and the one along the engine block seemed unnecessary, so I removed them and have not replaced them. The strap underneath the car was very old and deteriorated so badly that it seemed about to fall off. I replaced it in the same location with the one in the third photo -- it is a strap that I bought from Galco thanks to the link in this thread. The part I ordered is:
Ground Strap, 150A Max, 200mm Long, 10.5mm Diameter Hole, MBJ 25-200-10, $5.10
556690 - ERICO - Ground Straps | Galco Industrial Electronics
 

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