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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Folks, my Spider is starting to develop an issue. Sometimes when I turn the key, I just hear a click....I then need to turn it once or twice more, and she'll start right up. The fact that I do hear a click, makes me think it is not the ignition switch. The fact that she starts up fine after a few tries makes me think it is not the battery....Starter or starter solenoid maybe? Any suggestion welcome. Not sure whether it makes any difference, but I should probably mention that I have a 2L under the hood. Thanks!
 

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Have you cleaned all of the cable connections? Battery, solenoid, starter, etc.
 

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Where's the click coming from? If it's from the starter area, I would assume that's the solenoid and it's still good, in which case you probably have an ailing starter. But the two relays behind the passenger seat also click when you turn the key. Also I seem to usually hear another relay in the engine bay, so consider that also (I think it has to do with the A/C).

FWIW, on my dirty/failing ignition switch, I had the same symptoms (click but no start) so don't assume it's ok. In fact regardless of the switch's condition, now's a fine time to set up a relay for the switch. :) I had to keep the battery on a high charge all the time to get the starter solenoid to engage....now with the relay I haven't had any more trouble engaging the starter.
 

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If you're talking about your '67 then you've got no relays unless someone put one in somewhere along the way. So, what you have is dead simple, no hokus pokus about it. First thing, as already mentioned, is to clean the battery connections. After that if there's no joy then clean the connection to the starter and the terminal to the relay. After that, check your battery with a hydrometer - they're not expensive, maybe $12 or so and a good tool to have. If that checks good then try bypassing your ignition switch by jumping 12 volts from the battery positive terminal straight to the solenoid terminal on the starter (make sure you have it out of gear!)

If the starter cranks okay then you have a problem with the switch if not then the starter. You can rebuild the starter with new brushes and bushings but it's probably easier to just spring for a new or rebuilt one or even just get one from the salvage yard.
 

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If the problem is with the switch then you can more than likely fix it by adding a starter relay, keeps the high current juice from flowing through the switch which eventually causes it to fail. I had the clicky starter issue on my Spider a couple years ago, I added a relay and it has been working fine ever since.

Kevin
 

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Discussion Starter #7
thanks all...I think I'll start with adding a relay...something I've been wanting to do for quite a while. Not sure what to get exactly, and how to install. Any pointers?
 

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I wouldn't add any relays or make any other modifications until I had figured out what is actually wrong. Troubleshoot what is installed today before complicating things further.

I like kcabpilot's suggestions. Even swapping batteries between your '69 and '67 will tell you something. And/or, just have the starter rebuilt - how long since it was serviced last? - these things don't last forever, so rebuilding it wouldn't be a bad bit of preventative maintenance.
 

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Also consider the fact that the thing has been working fine for the past 40 years without a relay. Adding a relay simply puts something else into the circuit that can go wrong. If the switch is bad just get a new switch.

The original switch and wiring were made to handle the current for the solenoid but somewhere throughout the cars history there might have been a problem such as hard starting, bad solenoid or short circuit that might have caused some overheating or arcing across the switch contacts.

The nice thing about these old Alfas is that even if they start setting off nuclear bombs and the electromagnetic pulses destroy all of the semi conductors our cars will still work.

Unfortunately the gas pumps won't :eek:
 

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All good advice above...(that's what you wanted, right???) :rolleyes:

Do the trouble-shooting as noted and you WILL find the source of your problem. As for the relay, search my posts & you will find a step-by-step to install. Will definitly help a weak ing. switch last longer. Good luck.
 

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Hmmm, I was under the impression that the starter switch wasn't exactly robust enough for the starter solenoid's current anyway, so the relay was recommended regardless. I guess it's just intended as a band-aid for an ailing switch.

Ehh, solved my problem, and saved the price of a new switch. :)
 

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.. if you do replace the solenoid. do not put the org. screws back in.. replace them with allen screws/bolts.. this will make you happy in the future:):)
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I want ot add a relay anyway. I changed out my switch with a brand new aftermarket one about 4 years ago. It did no last more than two or three years. I then found a used original switch, I don't what to lose that one either.

Thanks all!
 

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Maybe the old switches were rated for the high amperage but I wouldn't bet on any new ones you get to be so! The relay is cheap insurance and it if extends the life of your current (no pun intended) switch then you are even further ahead. Just because relays weren't on the cars 40 years ago doesn't mean they are not a good idea...

Kevin
 

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I was having starter probelms, put in a new switch, still had the problem, put in a new starter solenoid, still had the problem, added a relay, no more problem, and I can promise you if my relay goes bad, it is a 1.5 minute fix to put in a new one. Buy a nice bosch one off of ebay with the pigtail, I bought a box of 20 a few years ago, I have used about half of them (headlights in the GTV6, GoTech stuff in the Verde, starter and lights in the Spider), they are not too much (something like $5-$10 a pop with pigtails when I bought them) and they give a nice factory look and with the pigtail, once it is right, just plug in a new one if they ever fail.
 

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FWIW I put a relay in my Spider. The relays available today are far more reliable than what was available 40 years ago. A second point is that, from my personal experience, the aftermarket ignition switches sold by our main distributors are (or were) absolute crap. I put a new switch in when I did my restoration and it's a good thing that it was in neutral when I hooked the battery up because the switch was shorted and the starter began cranking. I decided to open it up and fix it rather than send it back for another one of identical quality. It took some resoldering and a bit of JB Weld to fix it up - it was a sloppy mess and an example of very poor workmanship and quality control. Mind you this was about 5 or 6 years ago so it may not be true of the products available today.

Anyway, despite what I said earlier, I'll go along with everyone and suggest that you do install a relay - providing you do it right so that it doesn't end up causing problems on it's own. I was under the impression that there wasn't really an issue with the original design until the SPICA injection was installed because it introduced a higher current draw as the start position had to also energize the cold start solenoid. But, as pointed out, installing a relay pretty much puts the whole issue to bed so long as it's done properly.

It would also be nice to put a note or diagram with the vehicle records so that any future owner will know what's going on.
 

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thanks all...I think I'll start with adding a relay...something I've been wanting to do for quite a while. Not sure what to get exactly, and how to install. Any pointers?
Try bypassing the ignition switch and applying voltage directly to the solenoid. If it does more than click, then the problem is probably your ignition switch.

I use standard 3 pronged Chrysler starter relays. Installation is very simple, ground the case, run a line from the 'battery' side of the starter to the feed of the relay, remove the wire coming from the ignition switch to the solenoid and connect it to the switched side of the relay, then run a wire from the output of the relay back to where the ignition switch wires used to go on the solenoid.

I think 12 gauge wire for the feed and the output should be fine.

HTH,

bs
 

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I have/had the same problem in my 1980 V12 Ferrari and generally what you are describing is either a lack of current due to high resistance in old wiring or something similar in the switch. Think how old the wiring is in your car and unless you have replaced it as the wires get old (or hot) it will build up more resistance. I too would not go changing the circuit and adding relays since it worked fine before, that is just covering up the problem. Check all the connections and cables (as already mentioned), check your starter is gunged up as well. Does it happen when the car is hot or cold? Hot day? Its a simple circuit and worth fixing like it was originally, after all its worked that way for this long.
 

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I have/had the same problem in my 1980 V12 Ferrari and generally what you are describing is either a lack of current due to high resistance in old wiring or something similar in the switch. Think how old the wiring is in your car and unless you have replaced it as the wires get old (or hot) it will build up more resistance. I too would not go changing the circuit and adding relays since it worked fine before, that is just covering up the problem. Check all the connections and cables (as already mentioned), check your starter is gunged up as well. Does it happen when the car is hot or cold? Hot day? Its a simple circuit and worth fixing like it was originally, after all its worked that way for this long.
I'd respectfully disagree. Most modern cars have relays to lighten the load on the ignition switches. It's a very useful modification to make to a lot of cars that didn't have them originally.

Consider the cost of an ignition switch, and the labor to replace it. A relay will extend the life of the ignition switch indefinitely.

Fwiw, on the older Alfas, I also strongly recommend relays for the headlights as well. Those headlight stalk switches are getting very expensive, and hard to find.

Yes, the circuit should work as designed, but the load on the ignition switch is something like 10 amps when driving the starter solenoid directly. When you install the starter relay, the load presented to the ignition switch drops to something like 1/10 amp.

Stock is fine, if you value originality, and don't mind replacing the ignition switch every 50k miles. But if you want reliability, then the starter relay is a valuable modification.

bs
 
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