Alfa Romeo Forums banner

1 - 20 of 22 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
50 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
So today I went to work in the Alfa, car was perfectly fine. Started instantly, drove great, no issues whatsoever.

A few hours after getting to work I had to leave for a meeting but when I went to start the car nothing. There was battery power, I even connected my powerful lithium-ion battery booster thinking battery might be dead but still nothing. No power was getting to the starter, just complete silence and the red alternator light on in the dash.

I end up going to my meeting with a cab. Around 3 hours later I come back and decide to try and start the car, it starts up instantly.

Clearly there is some electrical issue in my car but struggling to pinpoint from where. Actually not true I think it's a grounding issue but not sure if it can cause such havoc. So far here are some weird electrical issues taking place in my car:

- dash lights weren't bright and i read this is grounding issue related
- fuel gauge sometimes stays on empty when i turn car on and only comes to life when i go into reverse
- oil pressure gauge works on and off and i read thats also ground related
- my left front light signal isn't coming on and its not a burnt bulb
- i have a button under dash thats red for the extra electrical fan i had them install, sometimes button light comes on even when in off position but then when i put on the left turn signal the light on the button goes off
- Last week when I would turn off the car the red alternator warning light would come on and stay on even after I've completely shut off the car and taken out the key. Issue resolved itself after a few days.
- today car starter wouldn't work, 2 hours later it's working fine

Could all this possibly be a ground issue? I'm thinking if its not the ground then maybe something to do with the wiring of the electric fan?
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
13,174 Posts
Check the connections to the power cables. They are :
At the battery
Where the battery -ve connects to the body
Where the battery +ve connects to the starter
the copper braid that connects the bell housing to the chassis
the power terminal on the left fender

If all of them are good then look at the connections to the fuse box.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
9,989 Posts
One single electrical fault could not cause all of these symptoms; it would take several bad grounds & weak connections to create such a wide variety of issues. You will need to diagnose them one at a time.

As alfaparticle wrote, the failure to start problem could be an issue with one of the high-amperage cables that connects to the battery or starter. It could also be a bad ignition switch that doesn't send power to the starter solenoid when you turn it to the "start" position. Your ignition switch is also suspect in the "alternator light stays on" problem. Or it could be a failing starter solenoid.

- i have a button under dash thats red for the extra electrical fan i had them install, sometimes button light comes on even when in off position but then when i put on the left turn signal the light on the button goes off
Uh, who is "them"? I would ask them about this one.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
50 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
Was out all day with the Alfa, started perfectly fine every time. Awhile ago went to grab dinner near my place and when done the car wouldn't start again so had to walk home. Just ordered a new alternator and starter, I think my ignition is new because it's not the original (different set of keys). I don't know, need to find a good electrician to take a look at it all.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,210 Posts
Hmmmm...I would look at the ignition switch. It sees all the current for the starter solenoid and the contacts erode over time. It might have been changed before... maybe in 1981?

A switch with eroded contact might trigger the starter sometimes, and not do anything the next time. Leaving the car parked in the sun may be enough to make a difference.

The other issues may be independent and ground related. The alternator light that stays on drains the battery. On these cars with Bosch alternator and regulators, the alternator light is part of the voltage control circuit; if this lamp has a bad ground, I don't know exactly how it will affect the regulator but I'm pretty sure it can screw things up.
 

·
Richard Jemison
Joined
·
7,106 Posts
Weird electrical issues

There`s nothing weird about electrical issues. They are normal.
Any thing flowing through a solid is the work of the Devil!
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
13,174 Posts
There`s nothing weird about electrical issues. They are normal.
Any thing flowing through a solid is the work of the Devil!
You should know:wink2:
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
6,351 Posts
Does it have a starter relay? My 74 has one on the right side back corner at the top of the fender skirt. I've had your exact issue a couple of times and a tap on the relay has got me going again. I've since put a higher rated starter relay in and have not had any problems for about 6 months now. Also pin 86 is a wire to ground and sometimes the ground will not make contact resulting in no start.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
50 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
Does it have a starter relay? My 74 has one on the right side back corner at the top of the fender skirt. I've had your exact issue a couple of times and a tap on the relay has got me going again. I've since put a higher rated starter relay in and have not had any problems for about 6 months now. Also pin 86 is a wire to ground and sometimes the ground will not make contact resulting in no start.
I highlighted something in the photo below, is this the relay you're talking about?
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
50 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
What should I look for in the fuse box? All the fuses look fine.

This morning I headed to my car to see if it would start and of course, it started absolutely fine on the first try. Trying to find a pattern here and can't really. Told my mechanic to come in next week once my new starter arrives so he can swap it out and then double-check all the wiring everywhere.

Gonna have to keep the car parked in my garage now until then since no idea when it could just decide not to start...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,210 Posts
Your photo... that's the horn relay. Totally original. Although the direct feed from the battery is not. With an integral fuse holder, better than original.

The only GTVs I know that have a starter relay form the factory are the US spec 1974 models, as part of the infamous seat belt interlock regulation. It would have been a small, square Bosch relay mounted near the coil. You don't have that.

Your engine compartment is so clean it is very easy to read. I do not see any signs of other modifications. The type plate is missing though.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
114 Posts
Sometimes fuses look ok, but don´t work properly.
Maybe there is a little dirt or corrosion somewhere.
At least i would take them out and back in.

Worth a try.
Done in 1 minute.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
50 Posts
Discussion Starter #16
Will do that, read somewhere about cleaning the contacts with a metal brush, so will do that and then put back all the fuses.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
9,989 Posts
Will do that, read somewhere about cleaning the contacts with a metal brush, so will do that and then put back all the fuses.
As I recall your list of issues (and my recollection may not be 100%), the problems don't seem fuse-related. E.g., you don't have something black and white like "my left highbeam stopped working". So I'm not optimistic that playing with the fuses would fix a problem like: "fuel gauge sometimes stays on empty when i turn car on and only comes to life when i go into reverse".

Still, cleaning up the fuse contacts is a good, preventative maintenance task. Two suggestions:

- Disconnect the battery before taking a wire brush to the fusebox.

- Instead of re-installing your old fuses, just put in new ones. Fuses are cheap, the new ones won't be oxidized, and the old ones may have developed hard-to-see cracks across the conductors.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
6,351 Posts
Interesting about the 74 US spec cars, seatbelts, and relay. If you have a multi tester you can unplug the wire to the starter solenoid and check for voltage when the key is turned to start. But being an intermittent problem it may or may not be getting 12v when you turn the key. It would also be worth checking how firmly the wire connector grabs the male connector at the starter solenoid. Sometimes they will work loose and cause intermittent starting issues. If it looks or feels iffy I would cut the connector off and put a new one on. 95% of the time it's usually the simple stuff.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
9,989 Posts
It would also be worth checking how firmly the wire connector grabs the male connector at the starter solenoid. Sometimes they will work loose and cause intermittent starting issues. If it looks or feels iffy I would cut the connector off and put a new one on.
Instead of cutting off the old connector, you can often get away with crimping it down with pliers so it will grip tighter. But yes, the proper way to do it would be to replace the connector.

mark248am said:
is there just one black wire connected to the starter?
Well, there should be at least two: the heavy-gauge wire from the battery and the wire that energizes the solenoid. However, an intermittent start problem wouldn't be caused by a wire that's totally missing (e.g., it would never start if one of those two wires weren't there).

From you photo, it looks like someone already has replaced the connector on the wire from the ignition switch that energizes the solenoid. That connector with the blue insulator didn't come from the factory. I wonder how well it is crimped to the wire.
 
1 - 20 of 22 Posts
Top