Alfa Romeo Forums banner

1 - 10 of 10 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
6 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hi...first of all thanks to whomever I need to thank for this forum. I'm glad that I found it.

Secondly, I'm a new Alfa owner, and an immediate frustrated Alfa owner...

When I bought my used 81 spider, I hated the radio set up in it, and on the 4th day, took it to Circuit City to have a CD/Radio put into it. They blew the starter by accidently hot wiring my car, and not knowing where the battery was (or how to open the trunk), they let it try to start for about five minutes before they disconnected the battery.

I got the starter rebuilt, and sent it back to my mechanic (a story in and of itself!), and it was installed yesterday. Unfortuneately, it still doesn't work (the starter grinds, but doesn't start the engine).

Anybody know what the problem is?? I'm thinking that the dohicky that attaches to the starter is stripped, but obviously don't know what dohicky it is!! I can do some mechanical work, but am a rank amateur.

Thanks in advance for any help.

Cibao
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
58 Posts
Can you explain a little more about what you mean by the "starter grinds, but doesn't start the engine"? Does it turn the engine over? Where are you located and who did the rebuild, installation?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Hi Alfa Spider,

I haven't heard it myself, but what the shop said indicates to me that the starter is spinning, but not turning the engine, and that there is a grinding noise when it spins...they initially thought that the starter wasn't properly rebuilt, so we sent it back to Starter Express in South Carolina, and they looked at it again, and took out a brake washer, but on reinstall it's still doing it. Starter Express said that they checked it and it was "purring like a kitten" after the brake washer was removed, but it was working before that too.

I'm in Fresno California, and I've got a shop working on it (not an Alfa shop, just a traditional non computer mechanic).

I'm thinking (and starters are beyond my ability) that the starter has to connect to something to spin the engine to start the engine. If Circuit City ran the starter non stop for 5 minutes as they admitted, then maybe the connection between the starter and the engine wore out. I just hope that it's an available part, as my spider has been sitting for 3 weeks now.

Cibao
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
23 Posts
Cibao,
Your starter has a 3 key parts -- the main motor, the drive gear and the solenoid. The main motor turns the drive gear. The solenoid is an electromagnetic device that sits on the side of the starter, and when you crank the key to "start" it pushes the drive gear out a little shaft about an inch or so and causes it to engage with the teeth of the ring gear on the flywheel at the rear of the engine. This is how the starter turns your engine over. The starter is designed to only momentarily engage with the flywheel, then the gear springs back toward the starter and disengages after your engine starts.

If your starter is spinning but it will not turn over your engine, there are 2 possible problems.

First (likely), the solenoid is bad, and it is not extending the drive gear, so the gear is just spinning in the air and not turning the flywheel.

Second (unlikely), your flywheel is missing a section of teeth, and the starter drive gear is extending to the ring gear but it's finding nothing to engage with.

A third possibity is that your mechanic has not properly installed the starter, but I'm hoping he's at least checked his own work.

I guess a 4th possibility is Starter Express messed up the rebuild.

Did Starter Express replace the solenoid when they fixed your starter? And, is Short Circuit City paying for your repairs (I hope)? You should at the least get a fresh rebuilt starter, maybe even push for a new one, on CC's dime. Also, be sure your mechanic installs the starter with the mounting bolts in the correct positions. One of them is a shoulder bolt, it has to be in the correct hole to properly secure and align the starter. Getting it in the wrong hole can cause your bell housing to crack after while.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
Thanks Tony, that was very helpful.

The solenoid was included in the starter that was sent back, so I hope that it's okay. I would think that the bench test would include the solenoid working correctly, but you never know.

I'm thinking that it wasn't properly installed, and on Monday I'm hoping they'll spend some time with it, and get it right. For the fly wheel to be shot, I would think that even Circuit City couldn't mess that up.

As for them paying for this, I've heard them say, "It's the car's fault for having bad wiring" a ton of times. The store manager wouldn't return my calls. Nice place eh? Lucky for me the State of California has an Automotive Electrical Installation regulatory department, and they've been very helpful. They say the same thing that I say, "If it worked before they put their hands on it, and it worked while they put their hands on it, but it didn't work when they gave it back, they ARE responsible." So I hope to get my repair costs back. The problem that won't be fixed is that it's been sitting for 3 weeks now...going on for 4 weeks! But that's life I guess. I always heard that Alfa's were "problem" cars, but I didn't realize that they meant that people AROUND an ALfa are the problems, not the car itself!

By the way, when I get it back I've got to get it smogged. Any ideas as to how to help her run clean enough to pass?

Thanks again for your help.

Cibao
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,451 Posts
cibao said:

By the way, when I get it back I've got to get it smogged. Any ideas as to how to help her run clean enough to pass?

Thanks again for your help.

Cibao
Well what i did with my old 86 bmw 735i, is warm the engine up well. Basically drive it hard before you take it in. Most smog places give you 2 smogs checks for the price of one, so if you dont pass the first time you can go back. If you dont pass the 1st time they say they can fix the blah blah for 900 dollars.
But in most cases, its the Oxygen Sensor, which costs under 100 dollars.

Thats my step.

You might of already known about what I said, but there might be some that don't. It sure use to happen to me, then i got a 73.:D
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
Thanks Sniady,

I have heard that, but confirmation is always good. Actually let me post what I have heard on the internet for anyone else who might need it:

Do not subject your vehicle to a Smog Inspection if it does not run right. Chances are that it will fail the inspection and you will lose your inspection fee. Seek repair assistance first. This will save you time and money.

Change your oil and filter -- Unburned gasoline (hydrocarbons) can accumulate in crankcase oil. The excess gasoline vapors can cause an engine to exceed emissions standards. In addition, up to 25% of internal engine friction is due to small particles in oil. When particulate levels are reduced, internal engine friction is reduced, fuel economy is improved, and tail pipe emissions drop.


Replace your dirty air cleaner—Your engine needs a high volume of clean air to run properly. If your air filter is dirty and restricting the flow of air, it needs to be replaced or your vehicle may fail the test for excessive Carbon Monoxide (CO).


Check your tires—In more advance emission programs dynamometers (a tread-mill like device)are used to place a road load on the engine and test for Oxides of Nitrogen. The added friction from soft tires places an additional load on the engine, and may cause the vehicle to exceed its emission standards. Tire pressure should be at mfg.'s recommended levels.



Change your gas cap -- In many inspection programs gas caps are checked for their leak rate. Most gas caps start leaking after two years, with each cap contributing up to 30 lbs. of excess hydro - carbons a year. Gas caps that are older than 8 years can leak up to 300 lbs. of excessive Hydro - carbons a year. Replacing an $8-10 gas cap will help prevent the evaporative losses of 25-50 gallons of gasoline--$25-$60 a year or in wasted fuel.


Check your muffler and exhaust system—If your muffler or exhaust system leaks, outside air will enter the system and dilute emissions levels. While this sounds like a great way to pass the test, the emissions testing equipment checks for Carbon Dioxide to see if the exhaust sample is being diluted. If you can see smoke leaking from your muffler or exhaust pipe, the vehicle will probably fail. This is also a major safety issue because exhaust leaks can allow dangerous levels of Carbon Monoxide to enter the passenger compart -ment and make you very ill.


Check your exhaust pipe for black smoke—A smoking vehicle indictes that your vehicle is wasting gas and oil—or both. The engine may be running too rich or there may be excessive engine wear to the engine. In either cause, the vehicle could be failed outright.


Check your Cooling System --- if engine is running hot and overheating, the emissions levels will be elevated. One of the chemical reactions that produces air pollutants is based on engine temperature. If the engine is overheated, there may be an exponential increase in this contaminant -- Oxides of Nitrogen.


Look for fuel leaks—They are a source of hydrocarbon vapors, and a fire hazard. In some state inspection programs a fuel leak will cause your vehicle to be rejected prior to testing, or result in an immediate test failure.


Check your check engine light—if your check engine light is on, take it to a service facility and have it repaired prior to having the vehicle inspected. In many states, if the check engine light is on, your vehicle will fail the
inspection--even before it tested.


Clean your fuel system--Contaminant deposits in your engine’s fuel distribution, and particularly in the injectors, is one of the primary service problems in today’s high performance engines. These power - robbing deposits are formed during the combustion process and result in lower power; hesitation, rough idle, hard starting, and excessive emissions. There are many fuel system cleaning products and services available. Run it through and then fill it up with a fresh tank of gas.

Run a lower octane fuel

Cibao
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
23 Posts
By the way, when I get it back I've got to get it smogged. Any ideas as to how to help her run clean enough to pass?
I'm a little vague on Spider years and equipment, does your car have Bosch injection or Spica? If it's got Spica, it would probably be worth taking it to a shop that specializes in Alfas and knows Spica, to be sure the system is all set up correctly and all parts are functioning as they should. Spica is a mechanical injection system used only by Alfa in the US, so you can't take it to just anyone. In spite of the rumors, Spica is very reliable and is pretty much "set and forget" except for making sure to change the oil filter in the pump when you change your engine oil, and checking the condition of the pump drive belt once in a while. Most problems come when someone who doesn't know the system tries to "fix" it...

If your car has Bosch injection, it's easier to find help as Bosch systems are very similar from car to car and anyone with general Bosch experiece is probably going to be able to deal.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
Tony,

It is a Spica. When I get it back I'm going to put in a new oil filter, and 'change' the oil (as per the alfa bible). The car runs pretty well, so I don't think that the Spica has any problems, but I will look for an Alfa mechanic, though not having seen many in the area I sort of wonder if I'll have any luck. I'd hate to have to drive to LA or San Francisco just to get a tune up!

Thanks again for the imput.

Chris
 
1 - 10 of 10 Posts
Top