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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
1988 Milano Verde, assistance requested! Over the last week or so the Low Beam headlamps started to get finicky; intermittently they would not come on (always both sides simultaneously), but if I tried again, usually they would; at first I chalked it up to the severe cold snap we had at the time, but now they have ceased to operate at all when the column switch is rotated to Low Beam position. The final failure mode was on for an instant at first switch-on, then they both failed and have not returned since. All other lights controlled by the column switch operate normally, i.e. the Parking Lights/Euro 10 Watt City Lights, and High Beams, all work fine. There's no audible relay click when the high beams come on. Fog Lights work fine (audible relay click at the fuse box). Here's what I've done so far: Research this topic (to include relay recall retrofit info posted by Gubi and Alfisto Steve, among others)=Check. Looking at the fuse box, I believe my car to be a later year model that did not have the Recall Retrofit applied, although there is a relay attached to the door lock relay bracket behind the storage bin to the left of the steering wheel. This is as described in the retrofit bulletin. However, the wire colors at this relay do not marry up to any wire colors at the column switch nor per the retrofit instructions, nor is there any continuity at this relay to any column switch wire, nor is there any any power at this relay when the headlight column switch is turned to any "on" position. Just for fun, I swapped out this relay with several spares I own, but nothing changed. So, column switch=Replaced with a new one, checked OK (Power to new column switch? Check; Power out? Check); Both fuses=Checked OK; Both Low Beam bulbs=Checked OK (Low Beams illuminate when a jumper from the battery is applied directly to the bulb spade); Good ground at bulbs? Check; All wire harnesses inspected for obvious chafing or damage=Checked; Removed fuse box, inspected all connections=Checked; Continuity from headlamp connector back to fuse box? Check; Continuity from fuse box to headlight column switch=Checked EXCEPT for the Grey 1.5mm wire at the column switch. I cannot find where this wire terminates. My dilemma is that the shop manual depicts this grey wire as the one that feeds the low beams through fuses 10 and 11 at the fuse box. The wiring harness colors match my shop manual colors at the column switch until the wires disappear up under the dash beyond sight and reach; but the wire colors at the fuse box connector don't match my shop manual wire colors. According to my shop manual, fuses 10 and 11 protect the Low Beams, but there's no connector attached behind those fuses; just connector spades. The fuses must be ganged to the adjacent connector via bus bar. No grey 1.5mm wire at the fuse box ring out back to the column switch grey wire. Wire colors do match up again to my shop manual diagram up front at the bulb connector. I see no evidence of any PO hack job behind the dash or at the fuse box. There's a bank of relays behind the fuse box, but the wire colors on any single relay don't match the column switch wire colors. Could one of those relays be the factory headlamp relay? My shop manual depicts no headlamp relays at all. Does anyone know where the factory-installed headlight relay(s) are located? I do not want to have to pull the dash to trace that grey wire down.
Thanks!
 

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Richard Jemison
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Switch

Common failure on all later Alfas with rotating stalk switches.

If the parking light position still works, jumper a feed from the parking light`s fuse holder`s hot feed to the low beam fuses. Then low beams will work. They will be on in both half turn and low beam position, so basically it solves the problem.

However if you feed from the bottom of the fuses you must raise the fuse capacity at the parking fuses positions..

I may have a new switch in the box, but it`s not labled so I wolud need a pic to confirm.
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
Thanks Richard- but my switch is new. I edited my previous post to clarify that. BTW an orange sharpie applied under a magnifying glass with a steady hand makes the white markings (only version available new from Centerline) look perfect!
 

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But Mad North-Northwest
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Yeah, switch would've been my guess too, but if you swapped it out...

If you've got an '88 my *guess* is that it should have the relay retrofit, which would not be in the fusebox. In the early cars like mine it's just tucked behind the little coin cubbyhole to the left of the steering wheel (this just pulls out).

If not, it may be behind the fusebox. IIRC you can unscrew the fusebox to get behind it if needed.

Any of those relays you found click when you turn on the low or high beams? You should be able to hear/feel it.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Hey Gubi,
No relay that I have found so far clicks at any headlamp position, even for the high beams that do work. I found a relay behind the coin tray but it has no power running to it in any light switch position, nor any continuity to any wire in the light switch stalk harness connector, nor any continuity to any wire in the low beam connector at the lamp. I'm stumped.
 

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But Mad North-Northwest
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Huh. That should probably be the retrofit low beam relay, but if you don't have continuity *anywhere* to the lighting system from it I'm not sure what to tell you. Does it have +12 at terminal 30? If so, I guess you could try jumpering between terminals 30 and 87, see what it turns on.

I'm attaching the document for the low beam relay upgrade: it may give you some clue on finding the wires. Note that the upgrade harness came later: earlier cars like mine were kind of modified "by hand" so my wiring doesn't exactly match this doc.

Is it possible the gray wire got pulled out of the fusebox and is floating around back there somewhere?
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks Tom. I pulled the fuse box and searched around back there, no stray wires to be found. I will jumper the relay this weekend to find out just what it powers.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Fixed

Well that relay, located just where the headlight recall relay is supposed to be, has nothing to do with the lighting on my car. However, there is a large red Alfa Romeo OEM relay 113-19-42-027-00, (a quite complex fog light relay) plugged into the upper right corner of the fuse box that is tied to the lighting system. It clicked when the high beams were activated. The Milano diagram shows the upper left relay in the fuse box as the fog lights relay. Whatever.
Anyway, to solve the problem, I jumpered 12V to the harness connector pins at the back of the fuse box for the wires out to the headlights. Both low beams illuminated. OK, harness from the fuse box out to the lights: Good. Next I had to figure out why no power to the fuse box from the new switch. I went to the headlight harness at the steering column switch to determine if the grey wire from the headlight switch had continuity down to the fuse box at Connector F (the brown connector), pin 4 (grey wire). Nope, and no voltage at the fuse box from the grey wire when the switch was rotated to the low beam position. So I bared some insulation from the grey wire a few inches down stream from the switch connector, verified 12V there, then jumpered power from there down to pin 4 connector F at the fuse box. Voila, low beams on. I soldered in a new grey wire from the switch harness to pin 4 connector F at the fuse box. Heat shrink over solder area, problem solved. The big red Alfa relay in my fuse box now clicks when the low beams are turned on. No idea how/why that grey wire decided to break up behind the dash. That's a bit odd for a wire to do that.
 

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So I bared some insulation from the grey wire a few inches down stream from the switch connector, verified 12V there,
I stick a pin through the insulation and measure to that when I am looking for an open circuit in a wire. Don't do it on 120 volts!
 

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Common failure on all later Alfas with rotating stalk switches.

If the parking light position still works, jumper a feed from the parking light`s fuse holder`s hot feed to the low beam fuses. Then low beams will work. They will be on in both half turn and low beam position, so basically it solves the problem.

However if you feed from the bottom of the fuses you must raise the fuse capacity at the parking fuses positions..
I am currently travelling, so I would like to try this temporary fix.

When I tried to turn on the headlights yesterday, I felt some resistance in the switch and when it eventually rotated, low beam remained off. Can someine provide some more details?

- What is the fuse holder's "hot feed"? How do I find it and how to I attach another cable there?
- The other end of the cable should go into the headlights "fuse holder's hot feed", I assume? Same question as above.
- What does "from the bottom of the fuses" mean? To what number should I raise the fuse capacity?

Thanks, everyone, hopefully I can get back on the road soon.
 

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Keep in mind that the Milano ignition switch is a fragile junky thing, prone to quitting or breaking inside, as ours did. A tab/piece broke off inside and kind of jammed the function of the switch, eventually not allowing the key to turn. Had to pull it out and take the broken piece out, but turned out that piece was not critical to the actual functioning, so was able to put it back together again and reinstall it in the car. I think that broken piece was something to keep the key locked in the switch when turned to run, allowing the key to be removed only when the key was turned to off?

Anyway, just a thought.
 
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