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Discussion Starter #1
Uh-Oh. So I went out this morning to check my air filters to see if they needed changing on my S2 SPICA. I pull the spark plug cables when I remove the airbox for ease of unscrewing some of the hose clamps. While the airbox was out I checked the connections on the coil as the car has been stalling on hot days and thought since the hood is already open I might as well check for dirty connections/anything wrong. Didn't see anything and reassembled everything as it was/as I have done multiple times before.

Here's where it gets weird.

I went to start the car to go run some errands and i turn the key to the "accessory" position and wait to hear the rear fuel boosted whine. Nothing. so I cycle the key to "off" and then back to "acc" and hear the whine plus what sounds like a slight burble. I turn the key to start and nothing happens. Ugh-dead starter motor I think. I cycle the key back to "off" to try again and nothing happens the second time. Then I smell something funny and look down and there is smoke coming out of the lights/turn signal stalk opening in the steering column. I shut everything off and am now incredibly stressed.

I tried to open up the steering column but couldn't figure out how. Do I need an allen wrench?

Any good/quick shops in the Bay Area? Any advice on what to do?

Please help.
 

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Discussion Starter #2
I also pulled one spark plug to check to see if I need new ones. Any thoughts? Also what is this red box on top of the coil? the wire was disconnected. should it be?
 

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Is that a LUCAS switch by chance?
If so this is the solution.
In other words, I'm not familiar with your system or I might have a better idea!
 

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Marelli is more fun. My guess is it is the switch contacts failing. I doubt it's the wiring loom itself. You will need to look at the page from the parts manual to see what disassembly involves, or HOPEFULLY some other reader that is familiar with this system has seen the same failure.
The red box is, I believe, a start / run resistor that gives the coil full battery voltage in the start position, but less (6V?) in the run position. This is to prolong coil and ignition points life. The replacement coil may have this built into the coil, not requiring the resistor.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Update: I pulled the steering column cover and nothing appears to be melted/smoking. so I try to start it again and nothing smokes; the starter motor kicks in right away, but it wont fire. I've just returned from the auto parts store with a multimeter to diagnose the problem. but first I need to learn how to use the multimeter.
 

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You are headed in the right direction Grant.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thats reassuring. Hopefully I can have the problem diagnosed and solved tomorrow. If not, getting to work on Wednesday will be interesting.
 

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Have a bicycle??? Gotta have a bicycle if you own an Alfa. Particularly an older Alfa.
 

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With a bicycle, you show employers RESOLVE. Very important for Alfa owners. You must also be RESOLUTE. I keep my daughters high school bicycle right near my vintage Italian cars. She is 25 now and I'm 68, but the cars know! Leave me stranded? Can't happen.
Buy a used bicycle.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
you bastard. A 911/912 is pretty much the only thing I'd willingly sell the Alfa to get. Why do you have to tempt me so!? Also thats a pretty 964.
 

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I've a BMW M-3. Same idea. Reliable. But when I feel Italian failure is near-at-hand, I just pump up the bicycle tires.
 

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Here's one I mailed to my e-mail subscribers today. Titled @%&# hydraulic clutch!
Under the second picture are the words "BANISHED! Poof!" Note the bicycle in picture one, and lack of bicycle in #2
 

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Does it every 2-3 years, for the past 44 years. I'm used to it. Italian cars are not for the faint-of-heart. The early 275 system used an inverted "J"trap that collected air. As I'm older now, I've a NEW plan. I'm using a NEW slave and master cylinder that looks like OEM but will do away with the "J" trap. I'll preserve the OEM system for the cars next caretaker. (I've collected a few over the years.)
 

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Back to the original topic.

Bianchi alluded to it. Do you have an ignition relay on your car?

The stock electrical system passed the full battery current through the ignition switch of the car. The switches aere not robust enought to handle that current for 40 years.

Most of us have added an external relay near the starter, so the ignition switch just passes the heavy lifting to the relay.

It sounds to me like your ignition switch and/or wiring is melting. You should add a relay asap.

The steering column shroud is held together with hex bolts accessible from below. There are a bunch of them. Smallish. Don't recall the size or number...
 
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