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Discussion Starter #1
Having recently had my S3 Spider back on the road after various battles, I've been out and about on progressively longer runs. The latest on Saturday was about 60 miles, and I made the rookie mistake of saying how well it was running. I intentionally mixed up a bit of stop start town traffic with some open road at a steady 50-60 mph.

When I went to start it the following morning, I couldn't get the engine to kick in. When I turn the key, it's turning over as if it's getting ready to start, but never does.

So far I've tested the battery - fine - and swapped the spark plugs with some new ones I had. There's no change.

I'm wondering whether there's a block in fuel getting through, or perhaps there's no charge getting to the plugs, but don't know how to test for these potential problems. There may also be something else I should be investigating - any ideas?

It shouldn't come as a surprise (it's an Alfa after all) but after running so well one day, to no start the next has me perplexed!
 

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Hi,

I’d check the spark at the plug first, take out the front plug, put it back into the lead and rest it on somewhere metal like the cam cover bolt head so the end will short. Turn it over and see if it sparks, you should have a good pulsing blue spark.

To check the fuel is getting through, remove the fuel line to the carb (?) and put a rag underneath, when you crank it over the fuel should pulse out.

You can then rule out the easy things or work back from whichever one is at fault.
 
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I remember the battle...the front crank nut and seal;)

yes, we need to know is your S3 carbs or injection?....makes a huge difference when diagnosing a no start...
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Quick update, there's no spark at the plug when I tested. I'm guessing I work back via the HT leads, then distributor next to troubleshoot? Anything else to look out for???
 

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I’d check the coil first, see if you’ve got voltage at the positive terminal when the ignition is on. Hopefully you will have which will mean the issue is between the coil and the plugs. As you’ve gone from working to not working, it may well be that something has come loose as opposed to broken. Check all the connections are good and clean, distributor cap and rotor are seated properly, not cracked and contacts are clean, points if you still have them are set correctly etc etc. Work methodically from one end to the other.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I’d check the coil first, see if you’ve got voltage at the positive terminal when the ignition is on. Hopefully you will have which will mean the issue is between the coil and the plugs. As you’ve gone from working to not working, it may well be that something has come loose as opposed to broken. Check all the connections are good and clean, distributor cap and rotor are seated properly, not cracked and contacts are clean, points if you still have them are set correctly etc etc. Work methodically from one end to the other.
Thank you. I've nticed there are a couple of nicks in the lead running from the coil to the distributor, (photo below). It looks as though it may have been caight by the cooling fan.

I'll replace the leads anyway, but could this perhaps cause a non-start?
937781
 

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It could be that although the nicks don’t appear to have got through the rubber. Either way, that’s a bad idea to run any loose lead near the fan.
Can you post a pic of the engine bay?
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I'd like to know why the lead is running along the radiator?
Is your coil mounted on the driver's side?
Well, it's on the passenger side as the car's a LH Drive conversion. So I guess originally it would have been the driver's side.
 

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Check the points gap, it could have slipped and closed up too much. They seem to be able to run, but not start with a tiny gap.
 

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You need to move the coil to the same side as the distributor and run the HT leads to the plugs the other side of the radiator top hose. Like Simon says, its a bad idea having any wires near the cooling fan. And follow Mitch's idea.

Start with that and new leads and report back.
 

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the coil on rhd conversions (which more often than not were poorly thought through) was actually placed where yours is, near the battery.

However the coil lead (must take the record for being the longest HT lead in existence;)) should run along the top brace, as here, well out of the way of the fan!

rhd.jpg


your battery clamp is odd as well, sat along the top of the battery when it should clip over the edge (it won't fit correct as someone must've bought one for a truck battery!)....snip a couple of inches off the ends, and it should fit how it was designed to fit:)
In an accident that battery will just go flying.
 

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I still dont see why the coil has to be there in any case.
 

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I still dont see why the coil has to be there in any case.
I agree, there is no reason whatsoever, apart from the fact everything got a little bit tight for space when the conversion was done....till some bright spark ('scuse the pun) found a 4 foot HT wire, and thought
aha! I know where!

But, if the HT lead was tied up properly as it should be and not found dangling down near the fan, it works.

Like I say UK rhd conversions when you compare them to alfa factory conversions (which stopped in early 1970's) are a bit of a joke.
I mean look at that contraption on the brake booster, and a big rod going along the firewall to the 'driver's brake pedal... then the steering box crammed down by the starter.....must be a nightmare doing any work down there..

Wallace & Grommet would be proud of course..:)
 

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So on a factory RHD car, where is the coil?
 

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Discussion Starter #19
the coil on rhd conversions (which more often than not were poorly thought through) was actually placed where yours is, near the battery.

However the coil lead (must take the record for being the longest HT lead in existence;)) should run along the top brace, as here, well out of the way of the fan!

View attachment 937953

your battery clamp is odd as well, sat along the top of the battery when it should clip over the edge (it won't fit correct as someone must've bought one for a truck battery!)....snip a couple of inches off the ends, and it should fit how it was designed to fit:)
In an accident that battery will just go flying.
Thanks SS4. I took delivery of the new ht leads today, and they've caused me a couple more questions.
Firstly, the caps which fit over the spark plugs are different from the old ones - see pics. the new ones have a "step" whereas the old ones are smooth. I haven't fitted them yet, but have tried one over the plug and it seems to fit snugly, so maybe just a different design?
Second, what's the very thin black wire with spade connectors either end for? - there isn't anything like this on the set that's on there atm. On the third picture, I've tried to show a connector on the distributor (the yellow square) with a green wire, which passes behind the top of the radiator and then under the battery - is this an earth?
Finally, the end of the new ht lead for the coil has a big rubber cover attached -should this fit over the coil? There's nothing covering the coil atm.
937988


937987


937986
 

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caps are probably just a different design...if they fit on the spark plugs nicely, then that is fine.
The coil rubber cover....used to stop moisture getting to the coil...don't see a problem with that. Use it.
The coil lead though...I cannot see how that is going to fit all the way over across the top of the radiator to the coil?? You have a lead set for a normal spider, but your conversion with the coil over on the other side is another matter. Either move the coil, or buy one long ignition lead separately to fit the coil
the small wire.....see what your old leads set has. Sometimes it was needed for a normal points distributor. which I do not know if your car even has.....if it hasn't got that lead ignore it or pull it out of the sleeved set and discard it.
 
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