SPICA: Hard starting AND running rich? - Alfa Romeo Bulletin Board & Forums

  #1 (permalink)  
Old 10-12-2006, 04:35 PM
Registered User
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Sammamish, WA
Posts: 969
SPICA: Hard starting AND running rich?

I have a 76 Alfetta GTV. I'm just now starting to go through the car and have been combing archives in search of Spica information...etc.

I strongly suspect that my car has a bad TA, but one thing sticks out in my mind as odd...

It is very hard to start, and mostly requires the pressing of the gas pedal to start. However, once started, it will idle and run but very, very rich. It's this rich running that makes me suspect the TA. But if it's set to rich, wouldn't it be easier to start, not harder?

The low fuel pressure warning light goes out as it should.

I am just now getting to check everything out...I know the fuel cutoff solenoid is disconnected electrically. (bad wire). There is also a wire which looks like it goes to just under the Spica injection pump that is fried/cut.

Anyone have any thoughts why a rich running car would be hard to start? My goal is to figure out the condition of the injection pump....yes it smells like gas in the oil, but when the car is started, it runs really rich...rich enough to foul the plugs. Thus gas in the oil can't be counted on to assess the pump condition.

Thanks in advance on any thoughts out there..
__________________
Brian White - 1979 Alfetta GTV - 1988 Milano Verde - 1981 Lancia Beta Zagato - 2006 Land Rover LR3 - 2005 Audi S4 Avant - 1990 SCCA SpecMiata
Digg this Post!Add Post to del.icio.usBookmark Post in TechnoratiFurl this Post!
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
  #2 (permalink)  
Old 10-12-2006, 06:49 PM
conedriver's Avatar
Senior Member
Platinum Subscriber
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Lexington, KY
Posts: 2,914
Hi Brian,

An internal combustion engine will run within a certain air / fuel mixture range, but will not run if the mixture varies beyond that range, either excessively rich or lean. Your car might be hard to start because it is too rich. By pressing the gas pedal, you provide additional air thereby leaning the mixture and coaxing an out-of-spec engine into running.

I just installed a rebuilt SPICA on my '76 Spider. While discussing some of the setup problems with Wes Ingram, he made a big point to "go back to the basics". That is, go back and do all of the recommended adjustments in order. I thought I had everything in order, but found the throttle butterflies were not closing completely, and were not correctly synchronized. These steps are early in the sequence, and nothing I tried later was completely sucessfull until I went back and corrected these two items.

The wire from under the injection pump to the FCS is from the microswitch. This cuts off fuel under closed throttle conditions, but the pump has this same function redundant as an internal feature. This wire is not the cause of your problem.

I'm sure many replies after this one will ask if you have Wes Ingram's SPICA manual. Do you?. If not, see http://www.alfaclub.org/techstff/tunespca.htm until you get the manual.

Having said all of the above, gas in the oil may be the kiss of death for a SPICA pump. You need some expert advice. Are you an AROC member?. Wes Ingram is one of the Club tech advisors (on, guess what? SPICA!), and is available for consultation.

Good luck. Keep the BB informed with your progress.


Quote:
Originally Posted by bjwhite
I have a 76 Alfetta GTV. I'm just now starting to go through the car and have been combing archives in search of Spica information...etc.

I strongly suspect that my car has a bad TA, but one thing sticks out in my mind as odd...

It is very hard to start, and mostly requires the pressing of the gas pedal to start. However, once started, it will idle and run but very, very rich. It's this rich running that makes me suspect the TA. But if it's set to rich, wouldn't it be easier to start, not harder?

The low fuel pressure warning light goes out as it should.

I am just now getting to check everything out...I know the fuel cutoff solenoid is disconnected electrically. (bad wire). There is also a wire which looks like it goes to just under the Spica injection pump that is fried/cut.

Anyone have any thoughts why a rich running car would be hard to start? My goal is to figure out the condition of the injection pump....yes it smells like gas in the oil, but when the car is started, it runs really rich...rich enough to foul the plugs. Thus gas in the oil can't be counted on to assess the pump condition.

Thanks in advance on any thoughts out there..
__________________

George Schweikle

1976 Spider (Dedicated Autocrosser, "SPICA, No Carbs")
1991 Spider Veloce (Retirement cruiser)
Scuderia Non Originale
Digg this Post!Add Post to del.icio.usBookmark Post in TechnoratiFurl this Post!
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
  #3 (permalink)  
Old 10-12-2006, 07:58 PM
Roadtrip's Avatar
Senior Member
Gold Subscriber
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Rapid City SD, Black Hills of South Dakota, Queens NY
Posts: 8,123
Send a message via Skype™ to Roadtrip
Gas in the oil is likely a worn-out injection pump, but also could be from a super-rich mixture over time.

My advice is to:
1. Warm the engine up to operating temp, then check the pump gap. If it's .019" or less, chances are the TA is ok. If the TA is bad the pump gap will be much wider.
2. If in any doubt, pull the TA and bench check it against spec.
3. Even if you have a bad TA right now, you can install a dummy TA to replicate a functioning one at normal ops temp.
4. Check the operation of the Cold Start Solenoid to make sure it's not sticking.
5. Check the timing of the injection pump to make sure some knucklehead in the past didn't screw that up.
6. Go through the tuneup procedure soup-to-nuts in lockstep order.
7. A functioning microswitch and electric fuel cutoff is not essential to good operation of the pump. Microswitch replacement can be deferred until the next time the pump needs to come off the engine.
__________________
John Stewart
74 Spider
91 164S
Digg this Post!Add Post to del.icio.usBookmark Post in TechnoratiFurl this Post!
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
  #4 (permalink)  
Old 10-12-2006, 08:32 PM
Registered User
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Sammamish, WA
Posts: 969
Thanks to the both of you for advice.

This pump has a missing anti-tamper cap, which tells me someone has messed with it before...however, it isn't fresh...it hasn't been messed with in a long time, so who knows.

Regarding the TA and the pump gap......

What is the pump gap normally with the car is dead cold? Mine is HUGE.


Given that, I'm going to try and remove the TA tomorrow and test it out against spec. I'll also check the operation of the CSS.

I did notice this evening that the air pump belt is missing. Required?
__________________
Brian White - 1979 Alfetta GTV - 1988 Milano Verde - 1981 Lancia Beta Zagato - 2006 Land Rover LR3 - 2005 Audi S4 Avant - 1990 SCCA SpecMiata
Digg this Post!Add Post to del.icio.usBookmark Post in TechnoratiFurl this Post!
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
  #5 (permalink)  
Old 10-12-2006, 09:38 PM
Roadtrip's Avatar
Senior Member
Gold Subscriber
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Rapid City SD, Black Hills of South Dakota, Queens NY
Posts: 8,123
Send a message via Skype™ to Roadtrip
A missing anti-tamper cap does not necessarily mean that the screw has been moved. 99% of the time, the safety wire corrodes and the cap just falls off.

There's no specification on the cold pump gap. It is only set with the engine at 175F TA in, or with a dummy TA.

Go to www.wesingram.com/hp.htm and download the Spica guides.
__________________
John Stewart
74 Spider
91 164S
Digg this Post!Add Post to del.icio.usBookmark Post in TechnoratiFurl this Post!
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
  #6 (permalink)  
Old 10-12-2006, 10:13 PM
Registered User
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Sammamish, WA
Posts: 969
yup...already pouring through the Spica guides and have been reading a bunch here since I bought the car. I'll start the car up tomorrow and actually let it warm up to operating temp. It's way too loud for the night. <grin> Single resonator and Ansa tips.

Thanks again John.....
B
__________________
Brian White - 1979 Alfetta GTV - 1988 Milano Verde - 1981 Lancia Beta Zagato - 2006 Land Rover LR3 - 2005 Audi S4 Avant - 1990 SCCA SpecMiata
Digg this Post!Add Post to del.icio.usBookmark Post in TechnoratiFurl this Post!
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
  #7 (permalink)  
Old 10-12-2006, 11:29 PM
smestas's Avatar
Admin
Administrator
 
Join Date: Nov 2002
Location: Santa Clarita, CA
Posts: 4,858
I had a bad T/A and the car was doing exactly as you mention. I always had a hard time getting it to fire up. Once it was warm it seemed OK but I can tell it was still rich from the smell of excess fuel in the exhaust. I ended up getting a new T/A then going thru the full SPICA guid (bottom of that page) from BB member Roadtrip and got things set right. It took a while to dail it all in but was well worth it.
__________________
Simon Mestas
Digg this Post!Add Post to del.icio.usBookmark Post in TechnoratiFurl this Post!
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
  #8 (permalink)  
Old 10-13-2006, 01:57 PM
Roadtrip's Avatar
Senior Member
Gold Subscriber
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Rapid City SD, Black Hills of South Dakota, Queens NY
Posts: 8,123
Send a message via Skype™ to Roadtrip
BTW - Here's some symptoms of a mis-timed injection pump (usually 180 deg out):

1. Sluggish performance
2. Flat spots
3. Takes lots of throttle to maintain speed
4. Poor fuel mileage
5. Black tailpipe
6. Appears to be running rich
7. Difficult to adjust mixture properly
__________________
John Stewart
74 Spider
91 164S
Digg this Post!Add Post to del.icio.usBookmark Post in TechnoratiFurl this Post!
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
  #9 (permalink)  
Old 10-14-2006, 05:42 PM
Registered User
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Sammamish, WA
Posts: 969
Well well....I feel like I'm going backwards.

First time I saw the car, I actually got it started...even drove it around a bit. Ran really rich, but it worked.

Then when I got it home (trailered), I got it started. Same thing..felt strong, but ran really rich again.

Then I cleaned the plugs, etc...and made a dummy TA. Now it started easier, but only ran on two cylinders. BTW, even at 29mm extention on my dummy TA, my pump gap was like a 15-20mm. I came back in the morning and tried to start it without changes from the above and it wouldn't start at all.

With the dummy TA out, I pressed a bit on the Actuator Screw and the pump gap did change. So I turned the screw counter-clockwise (to lean it out) and got the pump gap to something not quite as far out. I had to adjust the long rod slightly after the adjustment.

At this point it jumped once like it wanted to start...now nothing at all. Plugs don't seem drenched in fuel.

I tried with my dummy TA at 20mm and at 25mm and at 29mm. Nothing.

I confirmed I was getting spark before, but now I'm just venting. I feel like I'm going backwards.

Although I think the engine may be flooded right now still.....esp in cylinders 2 and 3.
__________________
Brian White - 1979 Alfetta GTV - 1988 Milano Verde - 1981 Lancia Beta Zagato - 2006 Land Rover LR3 - 2005 Audi S4 Avant - 1990 SCCA SpecMiata
Digg this Post!Add Post to del.icio.usBookmark Post in TechnoratiFurl this Post!
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
  #10 (permalink)  
Old 10-15-2006, 09:35 AM
Roadtrip's Avatar
Senior Member
Gold Subscriber
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Rapid City SD, Black Hills of South Dakota, Queens NY
Posts: 8,123
Send a message via Skype™ to Roadtrip
Brian - You probably need to stop and go back to basics.

1. Recheck the ignition timing, firing order, clean the spark plugs, etc.
2. Recheck the injection pump timing.
3. Remove the long rod.
4. Check to be sure that the short rod is set so that the throttle butterflies "just" close as the relay crank hits the idle stop screw. Make sure the the front and rear throttle bodies are synchorized.
5. Set you dummy T/A to 29mm and set the pump gap (long rod still disconnected) to .019".
5. Recheck that your TA is serviceable and extends to at least 29mm at 175F.
6. Install a servicable TA. If your TA is bad, you can use the dummy TA but the engine may be a little harder to start. Use some spray starting fluid.
7. If you leave the dummy TA in, adjust the long rod so that with the relay crank on the idle stop screw, the pump gap remains at .019".
8. Check that the Cold Start Solenoid is about 1/4" from the pump body to the bottom of the solenoid can.
9. Reset the Fuel Cutoff Solenoid to 9 1/2 turns in.

Try a start. If you have the dummy TA in (no cold start enrichment other than the CSS), use some starting fluid and press the accelerator down about an inch as you crank the engine.
__________________
John Stewart
74 Spider
91 164S
Digg this Post!Add Post to del.icio.usBookmark Post in TechnoratiFurl this Post!
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
  #11 (permalink)  
Old 10-21-2006, 04:24 PM
Registered User
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Sammamish, WA
Posts: 969
Should the actuator (in the Spica pump) return to top easily after pushed? Is there anything that can be damaged in the Spica pump if the actuator was pushed down too far?
__________________
Brian White - 1979 Alfetta GTV - 1988 Milano Verde - 1981 Lancia Beta Zagato - 2006 Land Rover LR3 - 2005 Audi S4 Avant - 1990 SCCA SpecMiata
Digg this Post!Add Post to del.icio.usBookmark Post in TechnoratiFurl this Post!
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
  #12 (permalink)  
Old 10-21-2006, 05:48 PM
Roadtrip's Avatar
Senior Member
Gold Subscriber
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Rapid City SD, Black Hills of South Dakota, Queens NY
Posts: 8,123
Send a message via Skype™ to Roadtrip
Are you talking about the pump gap adjustment screw down in the cavity where the TA mounts into the top of the injection pump? If so, yes, it should have pretty stiff spring that pushes up. As far as pushing it down too far, no, that shouldn't cause any problem. It should just hit a stop.
__________________
John Stewart
74 Spider
91 164S
Digg this Post!Add Post to del.icio.usBookmark Post in TechnoratiFurl this Post!
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
  #13 (permalink)  
Old 10-21-2006, 05:56 PM
Registered User
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Sammamish, WA
Posts: 969
Thanks as always John.

Seems when I press it down, that it almost oozes back up...there is fluid around it, maybe that's the reason why. I don't know.

I can pull up thought on the long bar and it comes back....

Maybe there's some tight adjustment in the throttle body plates....I'll check that. Thanks for the confirmation John, and everyone else that is onthe thread.
__________________
Brian White - 1979 Alfetta GTV - 1988 Milano Verde - 1981 Lancia Beta Zagato - 2006 Land Rover LR3 - 2005 Audi S4 Avant - 1990 SCCA SpecMiata
Digg this Post!Add Post to del.icio.usBookmark Post in TechnoratiFurl this Post!
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
  #14 (permalink)  
Old 10-21-2006, 07:11 PM
Roadtrip's Avatar
Senior Member
Gold Subscriber
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Rapid City SD, Black Hills of South Dakota, Queens NY
Posts: 8,123
Send a message via Skype™ to Roadtrip
Yes, there's oil in the logic section. It doesn't smell like gasoline, does it??
__________________
John Stewart
74 Spider
91 164S
Digg this Post!Add Post to del.icio.usBookmark Post in TechnoratiFurl this Post!
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
  #15 (permalink)  
Old 10-21-2006, 07:42 PM
Registered User
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Sammamish, WA
Posts: 969
Yeah, it does....but that could be because of how rich is was running when it was running. Even my 84 Volkswagen Rabbit GTI's oil smelled like gas when it was running on two cylinders after the injectors got clogged by rust on the tips. (K-Jetronic...gotta love it, simple, low (no?) maintenence, always works.)

I dig Spica though...it's a pretty cool system all things considering.
__________________
Brian White - 1979 Alfetta GTV - 1988 Milano Verde - 1981 Lancia Beta Zagato - 2006 Land Rover LR3 - 2005 Audi S4 Avant - 1990 SCCA SpecMiata
Digg this Post!Add Post to del.icio.usBookmark Post in TechnoratiFurl this Post!
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Reply

Quick Reply
Message:
Options

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the Alfa Romeo Bulletin Board & Forums forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.
User Name:
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.
Password:
Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.
Email Address:

Log-in

Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.



Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off










Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Copyright 2002-2011 AlfaBB.com All Rights Reserved.



SEO by vBSEO 3.3.2