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Discussion Starter #1
Post #2! (1985 spider Veloce)
After replacing the engine mounts one week (successfully without removing the intake via tiny hands, and much swearing) I came back from a trip to put the skid guard back on and drive.

There is a kill switch located in the trunk which is operated by a small red key. Turning this on gives me power to all electronics but no crank of the engine when attempting to start. There is a click and I can hear the fuel pump starting, but no other sound. All the leads to the battery and kill switch are good when inspected, and though the lights dim slightly when turning the key, they do so just barely.

After I put everything back together during the engine mount work, it started up perfectly and I took it for a spin so I could double check torque on the mount bolts with some use on them. When I came back a week later the problem came up. Even had a AAA guy by to see if he could figure it out, tested the battery, and all seems fine. Starter motor seems new he said and my mechanic had just done the fuel pump in the tank and the starter solenoid. I was very careful to make sure I didn’t dislodge anything and if I did to put it back as it was.
The only thing that may come to mind is a ground wire that was clamped in by the bracket that holds up the plenum supported by the right mount, but this I also though I had replaced properly. And considering it started and ran for a good hour after the initial work I’m not sure what could have happened while I was away.
Disclaimer, I am a little new to cars, but I am very patient and thorough. Wondering what is likely to have changed with it sitting and assuming nobody had tampered with it without my knowing? Kill switch key was left off and In the house while away.
Best Jared
 

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Well, you could go old school and lightly rap on the starter and solenoid with a small hammer as someone has the ignition key turned to the start (crank) position. If this wakes-up the starter motor, it's time for a starter rebuild or replace. If rapping does nothing, it is time to check if you are getting the proper voltage to the starter, and starter solenoid. I doubt that the small ground wire from the intake to the plenum is an issue. The next step that I would do is to remove the thin black wire with the female spade connector from the starter solenoid and then jump a test wire from the 12v+ cable from the battery, or from the starter to the male connector on the solenoid. The starter should operate, if it is good.
 
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I’m waiting till my mechanic is open today for a quick call, but In the meantime I snapped a pic of the wire setup on the left of the engine. Don’t know if this looks like a short or not but here it is.
1644121

It seems a bit messy but it is worth noting that the car has an aftermarket stereo that I assume is adding to the wiring in general.
 

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That black box with the 30 amp fuse may be for the A/C system.

The grounding strap on the plenum is to ensure no static electrical charges in the plenum (nothing to do with non-starting).

While waiting for your mechanic to open up his shop, I'd suggest making sure all the connections in the battery to starter circuit are clean & tight. Meaning one-by-one remove, clean and resecure each one. Including and especially the battery ground cable's attachment to the body. It is sort of behind the battery so often out of sight/out of mind.

If you have a voltmeter (not a dash meter but a hand held tool) connect it to the battery. With everything off, a fully charged battery should show ~ 12.6V. 12.3V is 1/2 to 3/4 charged. A partially discharged battery will not have enough amperage to operate the starter motor - typically a 'click but no crank'.

Finally, it sounds like your red-key switch is what racers use as a kill switch. There are cheap versions that are known to fail. I know of at least two guys who lost a race when their red-key switch failed on the last lap while they were in the lead!
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Very good to know. I’m in the process of checking out all my grounds. The guy who checked the battery (Which was ok) said it’s likely the kill switch or the starter wires. The starter is a newer one, as well as the alternator. Would a ground issue explain why it ran fine and then when I came back I have this issue? The only change would have been turning on and off the kill switch.
 

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electricity is a funny thing. while current is passing through the conductor it tends to heat the wire a bit, this causing a slight expansion of the conductor, upon cooling, that "growth" of diameter shrinks back a bit, thus loosing the contact it had while conducting current. voila, it no start.
All that to say,, Replace that burnt wire! ;)
 
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Currently running down multiple issues but as of today, found that the black spade connector to the starter solenoid may have not been fully connected. The black plastic around it may have obscured a previous attempt to correctly attach and gave only the appearance of being connected. So I removed the plastic and attached the spade without to be sure.
Nonetheless I have a vacuum leak that I am taking as opportunity to learn the intake section before the manifold. Ordered proper tubes today as well as a bevy of new hose clamps.
Yesterday I took off the OVS to give it a bath in some cleaner while waiting for parts and noticed it had been pinching a braided hose that leads to a series of three inlets on the right side of the plenum. It comes out of the body on the passenger side, and when trying to correct it, a hole appeared. Going to replace it but, I’m cross referencing numerous sources to be sure and am unsure what it is with certainty. Any help with this would be lovely.
J
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Currently running down multiple issues but as of today, found that the black spade connector to the starter solenoid may have not been fully connected. The black plastic around it may have obscured a previous attempt to correctly attach and gave only the appearance of being connected. So I removed the plastic and attached the spade without to be sure.
Nonetheless I have a vacuum leak that I am taking as opportunity to learn the intake section before the manifold. Ordered proper tubes today as well as a bevy of new hose clamps.
Yesterday I took off the OVS to give it a bath in some cleaner while waiting for parts and noticed it had been pinching a braided hose that leads to a series of three inlets on the right side of the plenum. It comes out of the body on the passenger side, and when trying to correct it, a hole appeared. Going to replace it but, I’m cross referencing numerous sources to be sure and am unsure what it is with certainty. Any help with this would be lovely.
J
Btw the hose in question is the smaller of the two that are held by a plastic bracket on the body just to the left of the OVS mounting location.
 

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Yesterday I took off the OVS to give it a bath in some cleaner while waiting for parts and noticed it had been pinching a braided hose that leads to a series of three inlets on the right side of the plenum. It comes out of the body on the passenger side, and when trying to correct it, a hole appeared. Going to replace it but, I’m cross referencing numerous sources to be sure and am unsure what it is with certainty. Any help with this would be lovely.
that will be the small hose (lower one of the 3 nipples on the plenum) to the charcoal canister hidden inside the fender.

No big deal. either tape up the hole, or cut out the bad section with the hole and re-attach with a section of slightly larger hose that the small hose ends slip tightly into.
It is a bit of work to actually get inside the fender and completely replace that small hose, not worth the hassle, imo.

ovs connections.JPG
Plenum Vacuums.jpg
 

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Discussion Starter #10
My hero lol. I’ve been looking for a diagram of this, but when you don’t know how to search for something you don’t know the name of... ya. I will likely have enough coming in the mail to do a full replacement sometime, but it’s good to know that it isn’t serious.
As a side note, due to Covid I haven’t been able to do certain hobbies, and so this is now my entertainment. Previous to this I knew nothing about cars and in spite of the time it takes to learn I really don’t mind. If I hadn’t gotten a considerably more popular vintage car (previous being a Nissan pulsar NX) I might not have found as much joy in fixing it. My original justification was only that I wanted a manual transmission, and now I’m gleefully awaiting At-205 reseal like a teen on prom night. I’m also a musician in LA and so my friends are confused. I might not know much but I haven’t ruined anything just yet (knocks on all the wood I can see)
 

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Have you resolved the no start issue?
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Have you resolved the no start issue?
I believe I have. The connection between the coil and starter solenoid was not fully connected. Was obscured by a plastic piece that made me think I’d connected them. Removed it and attached without so I was sure. Before this I drove thinking it was connected and it seemed to jump between steering fine and no crank at all. I think the current was arching over a small gap or not at all.
I suspect though that playing into this is the alternator. It appears really new but the battery light on the dash keeps coming on, so maybe bad connection.
Haven’t done any road tests after this because I’m waiting to tackle several things at once. Found brown sludge in the overflow tank, which I read as two kinds of coolant mingling. Very jello like. And last time it was driven the engine temp got to operating and then stayed there for way too long after parking. Seemed like thermostat was stuck shut so ordered a new one.
Then it’s all new tubes to hopefully route out a sucking sound which I can’t locate. The tubes as they are crack with no effort so for piece of mind I’ll do that while doing the rest.
 

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Update. So after having the plenum off and taking care of as many vacuum hose possibilities as possible, it did the no crank thing when I was testing/ clearing out as much old coolant as possible. The coolant cane out opaque and deep green but def not brown and oily. Most of that color was out of the radiator but only initially as the color coming out of the top of the water pump was clear green. After being confident enough that the coolant was circulating properly, on the final start to get the car at a different angle it then wouldn’t start again, no crank. The next day it started after a few seconds and had enough time to get the nose up and tail down so I could do the coolant bleed being sure there were no air bubbles and it was staying cold.

When on a test drive (and it’s quite hot today in LA) the car stayed mostly a hair above 180 the whole time and low and behold the battery light was dimming or completely off. Ran great and the following starts were perfect. I also just got a new air filter so it’s driving much better in general.

My question is, is there a portion of the cooling system that keeps any of the electrical from over heating? Having the coolant changed doesn’t seem to me as if it would effect if my battery light were coming on indicating either alternator or battery problems.
 

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Engine coolant and battery charging systems are separate systems. It is possible that you got some coolant on the alternator belt allowing it to slip. What is your volt meter registering? At this point, my main concern would be the intermittent no crank, as well as the possible alternator-charging issue. A remote starter switch tool would help to diagnose the cranking issue. An ignition switch issue might be a possibility, as well as wiring connections, rodent chew-through, etc. If the alternator looks new, that is a good place to start. Follow all of the wires and check for good connections. Same for the battery connections.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I think I’ve spotted it.. had a friend who knows how to use a multi meter check the electric. I’m losing about a volt from the alternator to the battery. Probably a bad connection somewhere. Starts fine when all other electric things are off!
 

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Keep looking for voltage drops and you'll find the problem. On the S3 the wire from the alternator to the junction box (left side of the engine bay) was undersized and prone to corrosion. Replacing that with a larger gauge wire has helped some people.

It's the box on the right in post #3 above. Looks like yours may already have had some previous-owner tinkering done to it?
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Plenty of tinkering done. I think that the red wire has already been replaced but that doesn’t rule out bad connection. The good news is like I said it starts if all other electric things are off, but not enough voltage to run stereo. Likely the ground under the right side. Got a look at it and it’s pretty messy I just haven’t been able to get at it yet.
 
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