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Discussion Starter #1
Well, my '91 is having a nasty week. First the radio getting swiped now this. So I started it up yesterday and was letting it warm a bit before driving out of my garage and I absent-mindedly pushed in the lighter. What happened defied all logic and belief! All the idiot lights lit up momentarily, I think a warning chime sounded, the voltage gauge dropped to zero and the car shut right off, dead, no more idiot lights. I've checked every single fuse and relay and they all seem fine. The interior lights still work, headlights work, you turn the key and no idiot lights light up and it will crank but not fire, the power windows don't work either... I can't hear the fuel pump pressurize the system so I'm assuming it is dead. I'm assuming and hoping I've just lost a ground (helpful leads as to the location of a likely culprit would be greatly appreciated!) or who knows, any and all theories quite welcome here! Maybe it was related to the car barely charging and volt gauge dropping below 12 with wipers on...
 

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I had a similar problem with my 105 series, only I burned the loom to a crumbly tube of carbon. I knew smoking was bad for me but I didn't think my car would object that strongly...

Did you smell smoke? Have you checked the condition of the lighter wire and loom? You may find you too have welded some wires together (not a fun job but hardly rocket science to fix).

What else shares the cigarette lighter fuse?

I asume you've disconnected the cigarette lighter.

Good luck!
 

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Could the bastards that pinched the radio have done damage behind the console?
Crack heads usually don't take the time to sort through the wiring while their riping the dash apart.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
well, when the radio got stolen they just unplugged the harnesses. the car had some sort of electrical quirk before the radio was lifted, as I mentioned in an early post (well, I've only had the car a couple of weeks now so not too early!). I think it was mere coincidence that something failed now, right after the radio. I'm going to dismantle the console and follow wires and see if I can find a culprit. There was no poof of smoke or electrical smell when it happened. the car simply shut down. I did actively look for smoke when it happened, nothing emerged that I could see. Here's a stupid question, what's the red reset looking button next to the ECM? I'm assuming it is a fuel pump interrupter in case of accident as I've seen on certain cars, but its an Alfa so I realize it could be anything.
 

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Hot wire!

I agree with Aldo. The thieves don't give a d--n about the car. Just getting the radio was the mission. There is so little room for error behind a console, I can easily see where the lighter hot wire could easily have come in contact with the wrong surface and set off a series of problems.
 

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Me, I'd put a $5 chip on either a ground coming loose or a hot wire wearing through its insulation. A really ridiculous ground caused our Milano's radio, HVAC fan, and rear windows to behave just this weirdly. Details here: amcgltd: Circular Wiring?

Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter #9
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well, after a few hours of scratching my head and taking quite a bit of the console and lower dash apart I finally figured out that the problem was actually right at the back of the main fuse/relay box. some wires in that INSANE RATS NEST had gotten contorted/compressed when it was swiveled back up and it seemed to interrupt the ground for some of the systems. by far one of the most ridiculous looking wiring harnesses I've ever seen, you guys aren't kidding with your talk of how the Italians make all things electric work. its a wonder anything works at all if you ask me!
 
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