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  1. #1
    Legendary Lancista OperaHawk's Avatar
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    Engine dies. Boo.

    Hey all.

    I was driving my '81 LBZ a few days ago with no issues when I got the Brake Pad and battery lights flashing at a stop. A minute later, the engine died.

    The starter works, but the engine won't turn over. I have checked the alternator, and it's good.

    A Fiat buddy of mine is thinking Solenoid. Also, I don't have any dash function. I just took it out and repaired the ribbons and connections. Is this a fuse issue, and where would it be?

    Thanks in advance!

    SBJ
    La Fenice 'due' - '81 Zagato Special Edition - going strong!
    RedWing - '89 Dodge Lancer Shelby
    Duress - '15 Jeep Cherokee Latitude - it does tow!

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    Re: Engine dies. Boo.

    Check the battery negative cable is good first. Actually that the battery and its connections are clean and without defect. Then fuses. I can't recall which but I think there is one that can cause something like this. They should be in a row under the hood near the firewall. I think there's a diagram in the glovebox manual, or downloadable Haynes or shop manual here. Next check ignition switch. If it's melted, or one of the wires going to it, you could have similar problems. Check close to where they connect to back of the switch for short or obvious problem. Then hazard connection. Let us know if you find anything.

    Dave

  3. #3
    Legendary Lancista OperaHawk's Avatar
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    Re: Engine dies. Boo.

    Hey Dave.

    Battery cable is good. I'll be checking the ignition switch.
    La Fenice 'due' - '81 Zagato Special Edition - going strong!
    RedWing - '89 Dodge Lancer Shelby
    Duress - '15 Jeep Cherokee Latitude - it does tow!

  4. #4
    Master Lancista LanciaPaul's Avatar
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    Re: Engine dies. Boo.

    Quote Originally Posted by OperaHawk View Post
    Hey Dave.

    Battery cable is good. I'll be checking the ignition switch.
    I vote ignition switch too.
    1974 Fiat X1/9
    1981 Lancia Zagato

  5. #5
    Legendary Lancista OperaHawk's Avatar
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    Re: Engine dies. Boo.

    Hey all - I'm back from a trip, and I'm ready to work on Fenice.

    I have a second ignition switch, so I'll check the wiring first. Any other ideas?
    La Fenice 'due' - '81 Zagato Special Edition - going strong!
    RedWing - '89 Dodge Lancer Shelby
    Duress - '15 Jeep Cherokee Latitude - it does tow!

  6. #6
    Legendary Lancista OperaHawk's Avatar
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    Re: Engine dies. Boo.

    So, I switched out ignition switches. No soap. And now the starter won't turn over/activate.

    Ideas?

    SBJ
    La Fenice 'due' - '81 Zagato Special Edition - going strong!
    RedWing - '89 Dodge Lancer Shelby
    Duress - '15 Jeep Cherokee Latitude - it does tow!

  7. #7
    Legendary Lancista SubGothius's Avatar
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    Re: Engine dies. Boo.

    Do you have a starter relay wired in? If so, put'er in Neutral, pull the switched output wire from that relay (the one leading to the starter solenoid), and try touching that to battery (+). If it cranks, the relay may be bad. Sometimes you can just crack the relay housing open and clean the gap contacts, or you can just replace the relay with a fresh one.
    Best regards,
    -Tye (1979 Lancia Beta Zagato spider)

    "In theory there's no difference between theory and practice, but in practice there is."
    -Jan L.A. van de Snepscheut

  8. #8
    Legendary Lancista OperaHawk's Avatar
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    Re: Engine dies. Boo.

    Quote Originally Posted by SubGothius View Post
    Do you have a starter relay wired in? If so, put'er in Neutral, pull the switched output wire from that relay (the one leading to the starter solenoid), and try touching that to battery (+). If it cranks, the relay may be bad. Sometimes you can just crack the relay housing open and clean the gap contacts, or you can just replace the relay with a fresh one.
    What if I don't? Sorry, might be a stupid question...

    SBJ
    La Fenice 'due' - '81 Zagato Special Edition - going strong!
    RedWing - '89 Dodge Lancer Shelby
    Duress - '15 Jeep Cherokee Latitude - it does tow!

  9. #9
    Master Lancista LanciaPaul's Avatar
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    Re: Engine dies. Boo.

    Quote Originally Posted by OperaHawk View Post
    So, I switched out ignition switches. No soap. And now the starter won't turn over/activate.

    Ideas?

    SBJ
    Which would seem to indicate that the spare switch was worse off than the original (all other things being equal) but it does not necessarily exonerate the original switch.
    Also to clarify, in your original post when you say the "starter works but the engine won't turn over" what does that mean?
    • That when you turn the ignition switch to the start position that the starter rotates the engine, but the engine does not start

    or does that mean....
    • you turn the ignition switch to the start position that the starter does NOT rotate the engine at all but you know the starter is in good order?


    The reason I was leaning towards the ignition switch was two-fold:
    1. they are notorious for failing
    2. typically, when you turn the ignition on, all the dash board lights light-up so that you know the bulbs are all functioning. When the car start, they go out. If random dashboard lights came on shortly before the car died, that could mean that the system momentarily lost power (like you shut the switch off) and then it came back on re-initializing the dashboard light bulb-check.


    Another thing to check would be the high amp fuses (the red ones). I can't remember which one in particular (#10 maybe?) but there will be one in there that will kill the car. Some of the high amp fuses don't neck down in the center (see below) so it sometime is not obvious that it has failed. I've seen them before where they will crack through and look intact and even test good with an ohm meter, but won't carry enough current to make the car run. It could also have caused an intermittent power fluctuation that would re-set the dash warning lights. You could go along and pull out each fuse one at a time and inspect them. It's free and low risk ;-)
    Click image for larger version. 

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    1974 Fiat X1/9
    1981 Lancia Zagato

  10. #10
    Legendary Lancista OperaHawk's Avatar
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    Re: Engine dies. Boo.

    Let me try to answer.

    1) the starter ran, you could hear the engine try to turn over, but never did.
    2) concerning the ignition switch - the original would cause the seat belt warning chime to go off, but no dash lights.
    3) I did check the fuses, and the red ones (high voltage) look extremely thin. I will see what happens with a fresh set of fuses.

    I'll let you know...

    SBJ
    La Fenice 'due' - '81 Zagato Special Edition - going strong!
    RedWing - '89 Dodge Lancer Shelby
    Duress - '15 Jeep Cherokee Latitude - it does tow!

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