Alfa Romeo Forums banner

1 - 20 of 35 Posts

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,103 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
It all began yesterday when a routine startup resulted in a tach needle bouncing all over the gauge (engine operation, nominal) then settling down followed by a short drive for fuel. At the service station, no crank, and the voltage gauge buried on the low side when I tried. Some friendly pushers and a bump start got me running (gauges and engine operation nominal) so I took a short run up the Freeway.

On the way back, the tach acted up again, this time accompanied by intermittent loss of power and a dash full of red lights and as I was pulling up my driveway, the engine again began to sputter and stalled. At the same time, I could hear the starter spinning, but no engagement of the Bendix.

Because of “Phantom Load” issues, I had installed a battery cutoff switch on the trunk facia, and was able to silence the starter. Quite a few years back, my ignition switch failed and as an alternative to R&R, I installed a master toggle and push button to start. Thinking the push button had failed (short), I disconnected one lead of the momentary push button, but the starter continues to spin w/o engagement, when I turn on the master disconnect. Continuity test of the push button revealed it is functional.

I don’t believe in coincidences, so I believe the dodgy running and jumpy tach is related in some way (?) to the starter problem, but I’ll deal with that after I pull the starter. How hard can that be? ;)

Search was uninformative, so any comments are welcome.

Best
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,049 Posts
battery leads tight?
Ground cable where it bolts to trunk floor clean and tight?
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,103 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Good advice...check the low hanging fruit...especially since I added the cut off switch.

Will report back.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,103 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
Well Dom, the negative battery clamp was wobbly, which may explain the funky engine symptoms, but after I tightened it down, still with the spinning starter.

Pulled the WW bottle for a better look and the cables to the solenoid appear and feel tight. Also, used a small hammer to give the solenoid a whack, but no joy.

120k on OEM starter, so...
 

·
Push hard and live
Joined
·
9,591 Posts
The description is of the kind of car that I don't like to work on. Owner workarounds. So, where is the problem? Remove every workaround, put it back to stock, and you'll find your problem.

I will say - the L-Jet cars do not like low voltage. Mostly, they won't start with low voltage, even through the starter may crank. Starters don't like low current supply. They'll spin, but without enough current to kick the bendix in, they'll just spin or grind.

Take out the fixes and start over. Eventually, you'll get there.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
893 Posts
Agree with Don, our L jet cars Do Not like "fuzzy" power. A solid 12+ volts is a requirement at all times. With all the electrical connections on our 30 year old spiders (often not maintained well) good connections are vital
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,103 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
Thanks for your insights, guys!

But what are your thoughts on why the starter spins (without bendix engagement) as soon as I switch my disconnect on? Remember, I’ve removed the start push button from the circuit.

Point taken on sketchy connections, but the starter mod was years ago and the main disconnect (on the battery ground) has endured over a year.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
893 Posts
Sounds as though a wiring malfunction within the starter/solenoid. Can you pull the starter and bench test?
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,103 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
Currently building up my courage to do just that! Believe I will use the “pull the intake” approach. Easy, peezy, right?:) Thanks
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,573 Posts
Is the starter solenoid equipped with a "return spring" that, if broken, could cause the solenoid rod to get stuck in the energized position and keep the armature engaged with the flywheel even when not receiving current?
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,103 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
To be clear, the starter is not engaging the flywheel...it just spins.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,049 Posts
do you have a starter relay fitted?
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
893 Posts
Is the starter solenoid equipped with a "return spring" that, if broken, could cause the solenoid rod to get stuck in the energized position and keep the armature engaged with the flywheel even when not receiving current?
My bet Ed has it nailed
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,103 Posts
Discussion Starter #14
No starter relay I am aware of. Just starter with integrated solenoid.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,103 Posts
Discussion Starter #15
Here’s the starter schematic from the service manual.

Hard to see a circumstance where starter spins but no engagement, but can’t argue with reality.

Will pull starter anon...maybe anon and a half...
3A306A0D-B62E-4CBF-AF84-072B4701DFAE.jpeg
 

·
Premium Member
86 Veloce
Joined
·
873 Posts
Hit the solenoid exciter post with 12V and see what happens
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,103 Posts
Discussion Starter #17
Getting close to being able to try your suggestion.

When Bianchi1 helped me install motor mounts ages ago he persuaded me to not reinstall the main plenum bracket and in the years since, that change has been transparent. Should make things much easier this time around.

89CA021B-C44D-4F77-8FD5-43438C739496.jpeg
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,103 Posts
Discussion Starter #18
Well, so close to pulling the starter, I deduced to forgo SkiBum‘s advice and soldier on with removal.

The oil pressure sender hinders access to one of the starter bolts, so I pulled the lead and grabbed the sender around the metal barrel with small channel locks and began removal.

The sender began to turn, but after some some plastiky clicking noises (uh-oh) it seems to be turning, and turning and turning without coming out. I’m sure there is a fine thread, but something is going on, since the barrel turns fairly easily about 350*, tightens, then repeat.

I’m going to crawl under the covers in the fetal position for a while and attack the sender mañana.

Also pulled the oil separator for easier plenum removal. Concerned about reattaching a lower ball connector in the throttle linkage, but I’ll burn that bridge when I get to it...
 

Attachments

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,103 Posts
Discussion Starter #19
decided hiding under the covers is not an option and took another look at the oil pressure sender. In my feeble defense, clearance between the block and sender is minimal, which is why I attacked with channel locks, but now I see a very thin box wrench can be slipped into the space to grab the stub.

Before I begin sacrificing wrenches to my bench grinder, can someone please tell me the size of the OP sender nut?

Looks like a new sender in my future...

Thanks in advance,
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,049 Posts
You probably twisted the bulb of the Sender and not turned the threaded part
14 or 17 mm wrench depending
 
1 - 20 of 35 Posts
Top