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Selling my 1991 Alfa Romeo 164L -

I’ve gotten in over my head trying to restore this beautiful Italian car.
I purchased the car with 99,850 miles on it – with hopes of bring the vehicle back to original state.

I’ve put over two years of time and energy into trying to restore the car.
But, I’ve decided to let it go.

Down side is I cannot get it to start without a jump start--- after that it runs wonderfully.
I’ve checked the battery (near new) and its got the juice – but not enough to start the car.

Here is a list of the repairs / replacements I’ve done.

Maintance Type / Part Changed Date
placed fuel filter & oil change October, 2005
new fuel pump December, 2005
new battery (Napa brand) January, 2006
replaced front flex pipe (exhaust) April, 2006
Transmission flush April, 2006
replaced power steering rack April, 2006
Front sway bar bushings with poly May, 2006
oil pressure light sensor June, 2006
New coolant reservior bottle May, 2006
Replaced radiator resistor, fan switch, and themostat temp sensor June, 2006
timing belt tensioner, waterpump, belt tensioner bearing, all belts June, 2006
radiator flush July, 2006
Rebuilt front springs (everything except strut) September, 2006
Windows switches replaced with VW switches (much better) February, 2007
New CAT back - Alfa brand CAT & Cisam midpipe w/ "S" dual exhaust May, 2007
New master brake cylinder, brake lines, hoses and front calipers. August, 2007
New Bosch brand wires, NGK plugs, replaced bosch ignition coil August, 2007
 

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Do you have a bad cell in battery? Did you check level of fluid and specific gravity for each cell?

Where do you put jumper to get it to start front or rear of car?
 

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MPmoney

A car that won't start isn't worth much. So, although it sounds like you are ready to just cut your losses on the 164, I think that investing a few more $ in either replacing the battery or fixing the charging system will be money well spent. Even my local Auto Zone store can check a battery to determine if it has gone bad (if not, then the alternator is suspect).

Once you've got it starting OK, it will be worth "X". The value of X will depend on how shiny the paint is, standard vs. automatic, the condition of the seats & carpets, its color, where you are located, and whether a motivated buyer comes along. You haven't provided us with much on the car's cosmetics or its type of transmission. From your photos, I see that it is green and registered in Massachusetts (both good).

Follow 164 sales on ebay for awhile - you will see some not reach $1,500, while others go for $4,000. White automatics with faded carpets, split seats, and peeling clearcoat that are located in areas where no one has ever heard of an Alfa just don't sell. Red manuals with shiny paint, sharp interiors, in major metropolitan areas have a much better chance of making ther sellers close to whole.
 

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I'm with steve... If it starts with the jump, but not on it's on own battery, then that seems to isolate the problem. When you say it's got juice, are you referring to the volts you're reading of the terminals? Is it the same after the car sits a while vs. just after you shut it off? (could there be a slow drain over night?) What is the CCA rating of the battery? 164s came with a mother of a battery. Interstate makes a replacement which has 950. I just put in an optima rated at 925 a few months back and am so far very happy.
 

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Again I ask where are you hooking up jumper frontunder hood or rear in trunk?

If in trunk I suspect battery going bad.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I always jump from the battery in the trunk---
The terminals under the hood are too small.

Jump started it this morning and put some new gas in it.
We'll see -- are NAPA batteries crap?
 

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Not necessarily, but....you car won't start if the voltage is less than about 11.5. Before you try starting it next time, check the battery voltage. If you take the battery back to NAPA to get it checked, make sure the do a load test.
 

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IMHO Batteries are Batteries... especially in non extreme weather areas. Yes, one can make the argument that some are better than others... but for the most part they all do the same initial job based simply on the chemical reaction that takes place within each cell...

That being said, Easy way to test if you have a drain or not is to disarm your alarm siren, and disconnect your battery after driving the car and giving it a good charge. Then in the morning hook up the battery again and see if it starts.

If it doesnt... then you know the battery isnt giving enough charge and its past prime... if it does start, then you can be sure there is some electrical drain ... then my best advice would be to make nice with AlfistoSteve.. as he is the king of 164s!!!

Cheers
Martin.
 

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NAPA batterys are not crap same as Interstate batterys and any other brand are not crap but you can get a bad cell in anybody's battery that is what you get a warranty for. Get it checked out and get you alternator checked for 13.7 plus output.

Have you ever replaced alternator regulator and brushes assembly? I have been replacing all my alternator regulators with over 100k plus on them. Also, I have found a Made in Brazil regulater/brush set for about $24 here locally and have not had an alternator gove up on me yet.

These cars are getting old but they don't have to die if you stay ahead of the power curve with preventive maintenance.
 

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Well, I had a Napa battery in my truck fail after 2 months, freak thing, but it was dead as a doornail, with 0 volts, or close to it. Sometimes you just get one that was built on a friday at 4:50 PM! Try a new battery, check for charging voltage, which should be around 14V, and see what happens. Maybe there is a drain somewhere in the system.
 

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In some threads here there are stories (mine is one) of electricals going sour and sapping the battery. When I try to recharge our '91L after it goes flat, the central door locks and possibly seat motors start humming at partial charge. Not immediately (or at least the hum can be induced to go away by cycling door locks, etc), but it comes back in 10-20 minutes, or a few hours, during the charging process. You may have some simlar electrical problems on yours, MPmoney. Pretty green car. And you're on my coast (I'm near Steve's Va Bch location).

You might look at the connections from battery to front jumper lug where starter branches off. What are your no-start symptoms? click-click? slow engine rotation? good rotation but no spark? I could imagine a nearly broken crank pickup (for instance) giving a usable signal to the ECU at idle speed but not at starter cranking speed. That would make for a hard-to-diagnose problem. Our '86 Graduate gave us a similar hard to diagnose problem when it would start above about 40F outside temp but not below. I was about to conclude "battery problem," but found it was a broken crank pickup -- it would work just barely at warmer outside temps, but contracted enough to open completely when very cold. This pickup should have had about 1kohm of resistance but measured near 2 Mohm (2000 times higher).

Hoping to help. I'll give you a shiny five-dollar bill and all the loose change in my pocket for the car....

Michael
 

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are the terminals not tightened down enough? When you test voltage check from the post to post and then from clamp at post to the other terminal. I have had a starting issue that was caused by a faulty terminal. Had the piece actually split in two on me.
 

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I always jump from the battery in the trunk---
The terminals under the hood are too small.

Jump started it this morning and put some new gas in it.
We'll see -- are NAPA batteries crap?
I have had excellent luck with napa batteries. My last one lasted 7 years. I just replaced it a few months ago.
#7237 NAPA truck/bus/tractor battery is what you need.
Sounds like a bad cell. I had same issue. refilled battery with no luck and replaced it and now it starts up perfect.
Jason
 

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Did you ever check whether the charging system is putting out 13.7+ volts? and whether this is making it to the battery? and whether the car is getting drained by some parasitic load overnight? and other stuff? Your problem may have nothing whatsoever to do with the battery. Or the battery may be the whole thing.

Have someone check the battery terminal voltage while you are trying to start from it alone. If you have to do so, just attach your voltmeter to the engine compartment terminal behind the 40A fuse bar for the radiator fan (+) and the engine (-) and measure the voltage there before and during cranking. You should be able to position the voltmeter so you can see it from inside the car. If the voltage droops too low, check at the battery terminals. If it's too low there, then your problem is likely the battery (but even then it could be too large a mechanical load for the starter, making the current drain too high and sapping battery capacity). I'm partly saying that you have to be careful about debugging such problems.

Hope this helps....

Michael
 

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Read all the above very good advice carefully and then read this.....

I have just gone through much the same experience which lasted many months, and I still cannot pin the problem on any one cause.
This is not an exact science.

I cleaned (and I mean cleaned thoroughly) every one of the nine ground points on the car.
Some of those ground points involve up to three contacts each with up to four cables.
Clean every contact separately until your fingers are sore.
Mine were all bad except the one near the sunroof motor.
By bad, I mean considerable presence of rust or the usual film of whatever it is that comes off to reveal a nice shiny metal surface.
I thoroughly cleaned all the alternator contacts in similar fashion, even though my dash gauge looked like it was charging just fine.
Once all that was done I had Sears replace the failed Die Hard which was just over a year old and had gone bad - was it bad from the beginning or bad due to repeated jump starts who knows.......
Sears graciously did the right thing and even upgraded the battery size without any prompt from me.
There is now an enormous hunk of lead in my trunk subtracting at least two horsepower and putting the car into oversteer on the freeway clover leaves.....

We are now into the second month of high power starts every time, even after the car has stood a few days.

Alfa's require extreme patience, tenderness, love and care.
Does that sound like Dr Phil.......

It looks to me like you have a real beauty there and it will be a great pity if you let it go after the sweat and expense already invested.
I do not believe you have a major problem there.....

All the best.

PS: Let us know if you need a diagram of where to locate the ground points.
This is on Car Disc if you have it.
 

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If you have to do so, just attach your voltmeter to the engine compartment terminal behind the 40A fuse bar for the radiator fan (+) and the engine (-) and measure the voltage there before and during cranking.

Michael
A little OT, but where exactly is this 40A fuse bar for the rad fan?

Thanks,

Don
 

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A little OT, but where exactly is this 40A fuse bar for the rad fan?

Thanks,

Don
On false firewall behind/near brake fluid reservoir is 40A fuse bar for cooling fan. The distribution terminal point/junction box on firewall that fuse attached to is where 12v cable from battery is attached.
 

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Read all the above very good advice carefully and then read this.....

I cleaned (and I mean cleaned thoroughly) every one of the nine ground points on the car.....
PS: Let us know if you need a diagram of where to locate the ground points.
This is on Car Disc if you have it.
I'd like not to have to grope through the CarDisc to find the various grounding points you have identified. My '91L with the occasional parasitic load draining the battery and my son's former '92S with the same problem would both have benefited from cleaning all grounds. I strongly suspect this is the problem, anyway.

So can you provide a list of the grounds which appear to have covered your car's particular problems? I'd be happy even with a list of the manual pages on which they are identified (and even more happy if you'd provide the labels on these pages for the ground points).

Michael
 

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On false firewall behind/near brake fluid reservoir is 40A fuse bar for cooling fan. The distribution terminal point/junction box on firewall that fuse attached to is where 12v cable from battery is attached.
Thanks a bunch, this was the final clue that solved the mystery of the fan that wouldnt turn on!

And now to my mystery van to solve other mysteries.. :rolleyes:
 
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