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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Something I would like to share:
My white Alfa 12V was starting and running real rough, getting progressively worse, and then a week ago it didn't start at all - stranding the Missus.
I was contemplating all kinds of troubleshooting scenarios, especially in the fuel system department. Maybe fuel pump? Filter? Pressure regulator? etc etc. When it stopped completely I was thinking about wiring, which on this car is quite cooked in several places.
But I remembered on my blue Alfa that it wouldn't start and left me stranded once, due to dirty contacts in the distributor. I also remembered advice on this forum where someone had written to check the distributor first.
So I opened up the distributor, which looked brand new, all shiny inside, and I felt a bit foolish, with wasting my time in "barking up the wrong tree". However I got out the Scotchbrite and cleaned those contacts. They were pretty clean, but not shiny on the conducting surfaces.
I jumped back in and couldn't believe my luck, when the car fired up straight away. A job that I was contemplating to last me two weeks, took 10 minutes. I could see that the previous owner had struggled with this fault, as he had the fuel pump replaced and new fuel filter.
Motto: Check the distributor first!
-VARIS
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
If the distributor is such a routine problem, shouldn't Alfa recommend that cleaning the distributor contacts be regular maintenance?
 

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1991 164L
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I have run them for many thousand of miles without an issue but it seems sometimes with moisture and high humidity and even wear on carbon button and contacts do cause problems.
 

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If the distributor is such a routine problem, shouldn't Alfa recommend that cleaning the distributor contacts be regular maintenance?
Of course, newer engines have individual coils, or coil packs, for a reason. That said, distributors of this final design type (no breaker points/pickup) can be very reliable. I bet most of the problem these days is down to aftermarket caps/rotors being of a lesser quality than original Bosch parts - but who wants to pay AU$500 for a new cap? Running these old cars does invariably involve some compromises ;)

-Alex
 

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I'd almost believe that the real problem you had was condensation inside the cap. While you had it open and were cleaning the contacts and rotor, then wiped the crud out, the inside dried out, and away you go!

Still a good thing to clean up inside there once in a while...I need to do that myself.

Well done!
 
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