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Spring has sprung, and as usual a new and interesting problem has appeared with my 74 Spider.

The car will not start after having driven around for a while.
The problem is random, and the car starts just fine when cold.

I have already rebuild the starter.

Does this problem sound familiar to anyone?

Any idea's?

Thanks again for the advice.

Michael
 

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I assume that you mean the starter motor won't crank the engine over, not that the engine itself won't fire.

First of all, check and clean all connections to the starter motor. You'll have to remove the SPICA air box to get to it. UNHOOK the battery FIRST, unless you like electrical voltage up you arm, and sparks close to the fuel lines.

Are you getting a "click" when you turn the key and the starter motor doesn't turn over? If you do, then the solenoid is probably ok, but the starter motor has an intermittent loose connection internally. You may be able to take it up to a local auto electric shop and see if they can overhaul it. It's a standard Bosch unit.

If you get nothing, no "click" or anything, then the solenoid is probably bad. That's about $100 from IAP, Centerline, or Vick's.
If the solenoid is bad, you can bypass it and make sure the starter motor works ok by running running a short between the terminal where the battery cable hooks to the solenoid and where the big wire to the starter motor hooks to the solenoid. The solenoid is just a big relay switch that also engages the pinion drive to the flywheel gear.

My 74 had the same problem last year . . . . intermittent "click" but no crank, especially when hot. I just replaced the whole starter motor with a rebuilt one I found on Ebay. Check this salvage yard in Oklahoma. They seem to dismantle a bunch of Alfas regularly on Ebay. They may have one for a 74.

http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&category=6763&item=2413612490
 

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I had the same problem in my Spider. It turned out to be a faulty ignition switch. There was a service bulletin for my year which I found on the NHTSA web site.

Prior to finding that out, I went through several "rebuilt" starters off of eBay. Not from REZDOC though.

I was also told that a common Alfa problem was that the solenoid might not have been getting enough juice. The solenoid could be 'enhanced' by connecting a GM V6 solenoid in the same manner as RT mentioned. "Between the terminal where the battery cable hooks to the solenoid and where the big wire to the starter motor hooks to the solenoid."

Just my $0.02 worth.
 

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If you're getting a nice audible click of the starter solenoid, my bet is the ignition key switch is fine. If you hear that "click," the solenoid is actuating, thus pulling the pinon pivot to engage the starter gear and driving the copper bar onto the two large contacts (connects the big battery cable to the starter motor) at the back of the solenoid.

Now, if you were having intermittent problems whereby you didn't hear the solenoid actuate, a bad key switch could be to blame and/or a bad solenoid itself. A test light between the solenoid terminal and the wire to the key switch would be a good test.

Also, since it seems to occur only when hot, that may be an indicator of a connection thermally opening inside the starter somewhere.

Key switches are a high ticket item and a pain to install.
 

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I have this problem currently. But mine does it all the time. I've gotten use to turning the key 15 time's before it cranks up.

I'll get it rebuilt or a new starter, one day.

Thank's for the info RT, I always thought the click was the a jammed solenoid.
 

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RT, I am not an expert but was rather relaying what I was told was the problem with my Spider. My problem was intermittant with the engine both hot and cold. Upon turning the key, I would hear one click.

When the problem occurred, any number of attempts would not get her to crank over. Since a Spider is relatively light, I just got used to pushing her down the driveway and popping the clutch. Come to think of it, I'd enlist either my wife's Camry (sorry Honey for bending your spoiler) or the neighbor kids to give me a push.

The problem did not show up nearly as often once I did install my 4th starter. The 1st starter took me a day and a half to replace. The 4th took me less than two hours. Since it was an '81 I had to remove the entire intake manifold each time.
 

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Hmmmm. . . . . . It's certainly possible that your ignition switch was bad, but if you get 12v to the starter solenoid (small wire on the solenoid tang), then the solenoid should actuate and the stater motor engage. That would be easy to check with a voltmeter and ammeter to make sure there's sufficient current. I've heard about putting another relay in the system. That certainly would help the delicate contacts in the key switch, but I've never heard of that problem with key switches. Headlight switches, yes, but not ignition switches.

I wasn't aware that you have to remove the intake manifold on an '81 model to get to the starter. I didn't think that they were much different from the earlier SPICA years. What's in the way that you have to remove the entire intake manifold?

Starters should not take more than about 20 minutes to remove.

For anyone reading this about starters, IT IS IMPORTANT to note that when reinstalling, the bolt with the "shoulder" goes into the CENTER position. That bolt sets the clearance for the pinon. It you install it into another position, it is likely that you'll eventually damage the starter and/or flywheel ring gear.

We'll I'm off to pick up my daughter and her 2 metric tons of "stuff" at college (on my day off I might add), and NOT in the Alfa, unfortunately.
 

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Roadtrip said:
I wasn't aware that you have to remove the intake manifold on an '81 model to get to the starter. I didn't think that they were much different from the earlier SPICA years. What's in the way that you have to remove the entire intake manifold?
1980 & 1981 are bastard years. (my affectionate term) They have many components that are unique to any other year. Alfa was preparing to switch to Bosch injection starting with the '82 models.

I was mistaken, it was not the intake manifold that I had to remove. It was the intake "plenum chamber" which is bolted to the manifold. This aluminum casting houses the throttle assembly and idle control. It was a PITA just to get to the bolts that attach it to the intake manifod.

The Weber setup of my GTV is much simplier than that '81 Spider's intake system.
 

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I had the same problem with my 78 Spider.
Installing a relay from the ignition switch
to the starter/solenoid cured this problem.
I think the ignition switch over time gets
crud built up in it because it really cant
handle the current, then there is to much
resistance, and a voltage drop, especially
when hot, then the car wont start. When it
would not start, I still heard the "click".
So the solenoid engaged, but the motor would
not turn, very frustrating. Relay worked great!!
 

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My GT Junior is doing this now too. (maybe it heard this discussion) It only fails to start after a long motorway run - when I stopped for fuel on the way down to a hill climb this weekend. Lights on the dash but no click. Bump started no problem. It has also done this twice before - again after a long motorway run. It was fine during the competition - 8 flat out runs up the hill no problem so I beleive it is only when the solenoid gets fully heat soaked. Never a problem when cold.

Looks like it's time to get the starter off the parts car........
 
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