Christine is a horror novel by Stephen King, published in 1983. It tells the story of a vintage automobile apparently possessed by supernatural forces. I suspect Christine has been breeding with my Alfa.
After successfully repairing a stalled aft deck problem (during the hood closing cycle only) and experiencing a problem-free cycle several times in a row by disconnecting/reconnecting the left side flap motor, I thought I had zeroed in on the real problem. It MUST (I incorrectly surmised) be something wrong with the flap drive motor.
This procedure worked a number of times, but as I became more adept at it, I could accomplish the procedure in a matter of seconds. It was then that I found my work-around procedure no longer produced reliable results. Could it be simply a matter of time which corrected the temporary hood error rather than some action I was taking? Does something in the hood logic circuitry reset itself when I remove the ignition key? Perhaps so, because after experiencing another aft deck locking failure, I tried simply waiting for three or four minutes. That did the job three out of five tries. Unfortunately, I'm not quite sure I removed the key each time. It's another data point and something good to know, similar to checking that the hydraulic pump bypass cable is fully stowed, but it is certainly not a real fix.
It could be that the flap mechanism is bad along with another problem. So far the Alfa is definitely winning the war of nerves, at least with me.
During this interesting contest of wills with my Alfa, I noticed that when pushing down on the nearly closed aft deck (with the hydraulic bypass cable pulled) there was quite a bit of resistance. That didn't make sense. I figured I should be able to push it all the way closed manually. Otherwise, opening the boot almost becomes a two man job in order to avoid damaging the paint on either the deck or the forward edge of the boot.
I tried to wiggle the flaps with the aft deck nearly closed. Normally they wiggle a little bit unless they're deployed; i.e. when the hood is fully stowed in the open position. I discovered that both the left and right flaps were gouging into the carpeted finishing panels on the left and right sides of the hood storage area. The flaps were actually holding the aft deck open an inch or two in exactly the position where the automatic cycle stalls. The carpet was worn and frayed in two places, both left and right. So, I covered the worn spots with some black duct tape and applied a dab of silicone lubricant to the exposed (slick) side of the tape. The idea is to cause the hard plastic flaps to slide rather than dig into the carpeting.
There was an immediate improvement when I tried to close the aft deck by hand. It no longer offered resistance and closed with ease.
Eureka, I thought. Since during electrical operation the aft deck was stalling in this exact position (a couple of inches from being fully closed) perhaps the whole problem was caused by this design flaw. I was further encouraged by the fact that the aft deck has always latched correctly EVERY time at the end of the hood opening cycle. In that event, the flaps are deployed, so they don't contact the carpeting. I examined the flaps and hood storage area for any signs of damage or misalignment. However, it appears that everything is normal and positioned as Alfa intended it to be. Is it simply a design flaw?
At any rate, the aft deck is fully closing now when I put the hood up using the normal hydraulic/electrical method. Unfortunately, I'm not entirely sure what that means and I've only tried it a few times so far. Is my car simply torturing what's left of my mind? I've mentioned this before, but I still wonder: Is it tricking me by pretending to work OK? Or, have I stumbled upon the real problem AND actually fixed it? Time will tell. I'll report back unless people complain that they've heard enough.