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Old 05-08-2007   #1
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1980 Spyder 2000 - intermitant start prob

For years my USA fuel injected 1980 Fiat 2000 has had intermittent starting problems.

Typical Situation: Car starts right up and purrs like a kitten. It drives fine with lots of pep to it. Suddenly it cuts out - it goes dead...

I pulled the wire from the distributor cap - the one that comes from the coil. I held it close to a ground and cranked the engine and there's no spark. No wonder the car will not run! (I also tried this when the engine DOES run just to make 100% sure I knew what the spark should look like - it is good and strong)

While it is in the no-spark mode I can fiddle with wires, fuses and such to make sure they are all seated firmly - nothing helps. Except one thing (and this has been the case for years now) - I simply walk away, go home. Then I return many hours later. I put in the ignition key and ZOOM! It starts right up like nothing was ever wrong.

It's driving me nuts. I've had it to different shops over the years and they've replaced the ignition switch, the fuel pump and the relay that controls the fuel pump as well as some smaller items and wires here and there.

Note: the car DID need the ignition switch and the fuel pump as "the problem" showed an immediate improvement upon replacement of these. But now I have the "no spark" issue. It's always something! And it always fixes itself buy just letting the car sit for many hours or until tomorrow. (Except recently when the fuel pump got so bad that it didn't provide enough fuel for more than a few seconds at a time)

The car has 25,000 miles on it. I've bought it from a friend, the original owner, 20 years ago.

Any ideas on what is the problem with my car?
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Old 06-08-2007   #2
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Re: 1980 Spyder 2000 - intermitant start prob

Since you are not getting spark from the coil, I would look at it first. Coils can have intermittent problems, especially heat related. If the cost is not too high, I would put in a new coil.
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Old 06-08-2007   #3
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Re: 1980 Spyder 2000 - intermitant start prob

Quote Originally Posted by Fine Fiat View Post
Coils can have intermittent problems, especially heat related. If the cost is not too high, I would put in a new coil.
I see two choices in a catalogue here: Ignition Coil Unit USA$152 complete with control module and heat sink. Or for USA$459 a RML Performance Ignition System including Distributor w/optical trigger; Ignition Module and PI40 performance Ignition Coil.

Any thoughts on which is the best choice if totally secure and reliable running of the engine is of primary importance?

The cost is not a "real" consideration, when one considers the possibility of repeatedly being stranded far from home when the system fails, towing the car and the ruined days when I am stranded.

BTW, I only drive the car in the summer, mostly on hot sunny days. Maybe 1,000 miles per year.

I am just "luckily" that over the years the failures have most often been within walking distance from home.
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Old 06-08-2007   #4
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Re: 1980 Spyder 2000 - intermitant start prob

I'm still using the original coil and control module on my '82 with 113,000 miles on it. I would stay with stock.
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Old 06-08-2007   #5
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Re: 1980 Spyder 2000 - intermitant start prob

Quote Originally Posted by Fine Fiat View Post
I'm still using the original coil and control module on my '82 with 113,000 miles on it. I would stay with stock.
Thanks for the input. I just ordered a new coil and while I'm doing that I also ordered a distributor cap, roto, spark plugs and a spark plug wire set.

Hopefully this will cure the problem!
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Old 14-08-2007   #6
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Re: 1980 Spyder 2000 - intermitant start prob

I still have the same problem. Does anyone have any ideas?? I just replaced the coil, rotor and distributor cap. Spark Plugs and Spark Plug wires.

It runs great when it wants to. Then for no reason that I can determine, it just cuts out. Goes dead. No spark comes from the coil wire leading into the distributor. Often most recently the failure is within five minutes of starting the engine. ...but other times it will run for quite a while. The temp here in Connecticut is between 70F and 85F.

Fiddling with wires, relays, electrical connections, plugs, fuses - at the ignition switch or under the dash or in the engine compartment has no effect. If I let it sit for a while (usually a few hours, or until tomorrow) and it will just fire right up.

Then it runs like a champ, until next time. "Next tine" has been most every other time I take it out for a ride. I am afraid to go anywhere with it now as the odds are that it will conk out. I've been so lucky that the past four failures were within "pushing distance" back to my home.
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Old 14-08-2007   #7
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Re: 1980 Spyder 2000 - intermitant start prob

This is an ignition circuit problem. Check your Relays, and fuse box, especially main lines. Check wiring to Starter Motor, and check continuity of wire to and from coil.

Andy.
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Old 15-08-2007   #8
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Re: 1980 Spyder 2000 - intermitant start prob

colincody, sorry for the bad advice. With no spark from the coil, it sure sounded like a bad coil. sumplug is right, it is something in the ignition circuit and it must be before the coil. A relay makes sense. I have not investigated this part of the circuit in my Fiat. Do you have a manual? If so, you can check the wiring diagram and see where the power to the coil/ignition system comes from.

I've been lucky with my Fiat. I have had it 14 years and have had very few problems. None at all with the ignition system. Good luck.
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