SPICA FI Pump Maintenance - Page 5 - Alfa Romeo Bulletin Board & Forums

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post #61 of 124 (permalink) Old 06-05-2006, 09:16 AM
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Can't start car again!

Hi. Purchased '74 AR for my son. Car had problems starting-wants to fire up, but can't. Not getting enough spark? Replaced Spica fuel pump with another used one, changed oil, replaced thermostat. Car ran for one week, and now won't start again. What else? Also has oil leak now.
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post #62 of 124 (permalink) Old 06-05-2006, 09:50 AM
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do you mean replaced the injection pump or the electric pump?

Dan
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post #63 of 124 (permalink) Old 06-05-2006, 09:56 AM
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- replaced the injection pump with used, not rebuilt, injection pump.
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post #64 of 124 (permalink) Old 06-05-2006, 11:26 AM
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how about the electric pump in the back and check the wiring to it?

Dan
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post #65 of 124 (permalink) Old 06-05-2006, 11:35 AM
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electric pump working, checked wiring also. not that.
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post #66 of 124 (permalink) Old 06-05-2006, 01:23 PM
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fuel circuit

You'll need to check the fuel circuit. You should have a syphon pump in the gas tank. This pump elevates fuel to the high pressure (HP) fuel pump, usually under the car. If the syphon pump is bad, then fuel cannot be supplied to the HP pump and the HP pump will draw vacuum. You will need to verify fuel pressure out of the HP pump to the Spica. This can be done at the inlet of the Spica, under the hood. For a time, I had so many problems with the factory syphon pump, that I replaced it with a over the counter electric (non-positive displacement) pump and installed a fuel pressure gauge under the hood, as described. Its been a while, but I believe that your pressure should be 32 psi at the Spica inlet. Double check this. Ensure your spica is timed correctly. Pending all that checks out and pending your used Spica is "known good" when you bought it, you'll have to look elsewhere for the starting problem. IF (big if) your problem is the Spica, you can probably choose betwen replacing it or converting to carbs, as your Alfa may predate emission inspection requirements for your state. Make sure before you spend considerable cash on a conversion. Shame to construct a working, but illegal daily driver.

Good luck;

Mike Pate
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post #67 of 124 (permalink) Old 06-05-2006, 01:30 PM
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jus' one more thang

As always, with high pressure fuel circuits, make sure of what you are doing. Use only high pressure compatible lines and fuel grade connectors. Any modifications should provide safe routing and strain relief for fuel cables. Check repeatedly for leaks, the first few weeks. The only case that I know of where a guy was torched in a spontaneous vehicle fuel explosion, involved an Alfa. Could have been any car of course, but one lesson is enough.

Mike Pate
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post #68 of 124 (permalink) Old 06-05-2006, 01:53 PM
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I'll check it out. Many thanks.
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post #69 of 124 (permalink) Old 06-06-2006, 05:07 AM Thread Starter
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Need to correct some information here. The Spica fuel supply is not a high pressure circuit, although the supply pump is capable of high pressure if deadheaded (never do that). It is a recirculating system that runs at a nominal 10-17 psi (7 psi minimum, which turns the low pressure warning light on).

Download the fuel supply diagnostics guide from www.wesingram.com/hp.htm and read it a couple of times. It will help you to make sure that the fuel supply system in your car is functioning normally.

It doesn't sound like you know much about the Spica system. You can't just replace the pump without retuning the system (long rod, pump gap, running mixture,etc). You also must make sure that the ignition system is 100% before blaming the injection system. Did you check to make sure that the microswitch isn't shorted out and sending a constant shutdown signal to the fuel cutoff solenoid? Have you tried using some spray starting fluid to get the engine initially started? When replacing a pump, sometimes fuel drains out of the fuel pipes to the injectors and will cause rough running for a few seconds until the pipes are reprimed again.

John Stewart
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post #70 of 124 (permalink) Old 06-06-2006, 07:14 AM
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thats the picture

Thanks for looking into the thread, John....

I only wish we had these resources, when I was a novice owner. As I mentioned, the pump that I referred to as high pressure was relative. High pressure compared to that of the syphon pump. I did suggest verifying the inlet pressure at the Spica. I was only off by 100%... suspected as much, as it has been a while. Indeed, the fuel circuit is a full loop, back to the tank and the "dribble stream" should be audible inside the fuel tank filler inlet. But presence of the dribble stream isn't enough to qualify adequate pressure at the Spica inlet. My memory is that the fuel pressure was pretty constant and on the higher side of the range, as read via a fuel pressure gauge, when all worked. A fuel pressure gauge is the surest method of knowing that the Spica getting a proper feed. I don't recall the low fuel pressure warning light coming on every time I had a fuel pressure issue, regardless of the fact that I had periodic fuel pressure (syphon pump) problems. That being said, I think that what John and I have described gives the picture of the proper operation of the fuel circuit. The excellent Spica maintenance threads should be read and adhered to. Best of luck....

Mike Pate
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post #71 of 124 (permalink) Old 06-06-2006, 08:43 AM
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Thanks again. I think I have plenty of work to do now. Actually, I do not think it is the Spica pump as that has been carefully installed and all pertaining parts coordinated. I am leaning toward the ignition or firing order -or tripped inertia switch?

No, I'm certainly no expert on Spicas or Alfas for that matter. All I know is that I spent $1000 replacing the Spica injection pump, only to have the same problem all over again one week later, car won't start. Seems not to be able to catch the spark.
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post #72 of 124 (permalink) Old 06-08-2006, 07:49 AM
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I believe we have found the problem -

Inside of the Spica fuel injection pump, there is a spring that is attached to a bar on one end, and to a screw on the other end. The end that was attached to the bar was not attached. I wanted to use wire to wrap the end of the spring around the bar. I don't see any other way to re-attach it.

Does anyone know a better way of attaching the spring other than this band-aid fix? Thank you.
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post #73 of 124 (permalink) Old 06-08-2006, 08:26 AM
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yeah, I reckon that could do it.
try here, look for the "roadside diagnostic" Pdf download.
http://www.wesingram.com/hp.htm

Dan
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post #74 of 124 (permalink) Old 06-08-2006, 08:35 AM Thread Starter
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That is the compensator link spring. It is very very difficult to reattach the spring at the bottom (compensator link) with the pump on the engine. This is why I don't recommend buying used injection pumps unless you know how to inspect it and know what to look for before installing it.

Depending on where it's broken, you'll probably need a new spring. It can't be just any spring from a hardware store. It must be a specific tension and length. My advice is to consult with Wes Ingram to see what he would charge to open the logic section and replace the spring.

Below is a picture of the bottom attachment point. The spring end threads through two small holes. If you do a search under "link spring" you'll find a bunch of pictures and previous threads on broken compensator link springs.
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John Stewart
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post #75 of 124 (permalink) Old 06-08-2006, 09:47 AM
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options

At this juncture, you may want to evaluate whether to convert to carbs or not to convert. You have a '74 model and that probably predates emissions inspections in your state. If that is the case, you won't have that to worry about based on your decision. I realize that this may sound oversimplifying at this time, but the spiders aren't that complicated and this is a challenge that you can overcome.
You need to get the pump qualified, and Ingram can do that or afix repairs. Honestly, at this point, I would be more tempted to convert, as I have done that succesfully once and quite enjoyed the car afterwards. However, it is most imperative that before any additional money is spent, that you can become confident in the scope of expenditure.
A source list including some old-time alfa used parts outlets follows:
http://clubs.hemmings.com/clubsites/...ource_list.htm

As I recall, I bought my conversion parts from Alfa Heaven. Ereminas Imports has been around a long time. The outfit that sells you a conversion kit must be able to advise you during the installation, or you risk having purchased from a source that doesn't understand the conversion to begin with. They should be able to take you all the way through tuning your Dell'Ortos or Webers.

Whatever route you choose, I suggest first learning everything possible about the injection or carburation system, to the point that once you start the work, its feels like repetition. The information for either system is widely available now. Best of luck....

P.S. If you are doing most of the work and your son is waiting on you to finish, then from experience I suggest keeping the Alfa for yourself and buying your son a Honda. Let's face it...this Alfa is a hobby for whoever will be driving it.

Mike Pate
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