'79 Spica Spider barely runs, way too rich. - Alfa Romeo Bulletin Board & Forums

 
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-05-2016, 07:40 PM Thread Starter
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Question '79 Spica Spider barely runs, way too rich.

Black velvet is not the look I want for my plugs.

Looked at the guides posted here and will try to get at the pump to examine that complexity for mechanical failure.

Surprised to see mention of a micro-switch, so apparently not purely mechanical injection.

Need to find a true manual for Spica, who sells them?

Wish I could have just bought a factory Weber equipped car.

Twin-Cam Hemi, Webers, Headers, Overdrive, Disc brakes, and no emissions equipment to spoil it all. These are gonna be FUN rides!
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-05-2016, 10:01 PM Thread Starter
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OK, maybe the Spica can stay but it's still on probation.

Never saw any other car so sensitive to spark plugs.
Put the Lodge multi-prong plugs from the '78 in and it cleaned up nicely.
Can we even buy those anymore?
Wondering if an MSD 6A might help?
Think I will treat it to some 100 octane fuel along with the fluid changes.

Still cannot get the turn signal indicator to go out and it is just enough to drain the battery.
Oil pressure gauge not working.

But overall now worth buying tires for.

Twin-Cam Hemi, Webers, Headers, Overdrive, Disc brakes, and no emissions equipment to spoil it all. These are gonna be FUN rides!
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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-10-2016, 06:13 PM
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PM me an email address and I'll send you a bunch of Spica stuff including the factory manuals. You probably need to do a soup-to-nuts setup on your system. Normal starting point for running mixture is 9.5 turns in on the Fuel Cutoff Solenoid (FCS).

The microswitch is part of the fuel cutoff system for decel. When the throttle is closed with the RPM above about 1600, the microswitch closes and energizes the FCS, thus shutting off fuel flow to the engine. When the RPM decreases to about 1600-1300, the microswitch opens, de-energizes the FCS and restores fuel flow for recovery to idle. It's an electro-mechanical backup to the internal purely mechanical decel shutoff.

John Stewart
74 Spider
91 164S

Last edited by Roadtrip; 12-10-2016 at 06:19 PM.
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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-06-2017, 10:07 PM Thread Starter
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And now looking like the Thermal Actuator is suspect.
Will try the 29mm fake some time in the next few days.
If that clears up the smoke and soot I will at least know the problem.

Twin-Cam Hemi, Webers, Headers, Overdrive, Disc brakes, and no emissions equipment to spoil it all. These are gonna be FUN rides!
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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-06-2017, 10:42 PM Thread Starter
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HOLY skin me alive with a rusty cheese-grater!

New TA prices are insane, and I do not mean tires.
$479.00 plus shipping.
I know there is mechanical replacement available.
Surprised not to see a simple electric replacement.
How hard can it be?
Electric thermostat connected to a miniature solenoid and mount.
Might even be able to piggyback on the existing thermostat.
Market too small for anyone to bother?

Twin-Cam Hemi, Webers, Headers, Overdrive, Disc brakes, and no emissions equipment to spoil it all. These are gonna be FUN rides!
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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-07-2017, 05:41 AM
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Hello Richard,

just have a look at this one:

SPICA electronic Thermostatic Actuator (eTA)

Wes Ingram sells the TA for 250$:

Ingram Enterprises, Inc. || Price List

I am using a shankle for more then 10 years now, it works perfect:

Sure Start Question

Somewhere in this forum you can find the adress where to buy it.

Good luck and salutations from the Baltic sea

Bernhard
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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-07-2017, 06:41 PM Thread Starter
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Sooo, looks like the TA is partially working.
Put the test piece in and the car ran a bit better, well enough to at least get it warmed up.
Should be 29.00 mm extended as I read the threads.
I only got 27.30 mm.
Nearly 2.0 mm short.
Engine was way better with the test piece in place.
Not wonderful but the plugs also now need to be cleaned.

Also ran long enough to find out that the exhaust headers have some rust holes.
Hoping the headers can be repaired as I have other plans for my cast set.

The cascade of "Minor" (but expensive) issues is why Italian cars have a reputation as being pricey and finicky.
That they were noticeably more expensive than their contemporaries when new does not help even if they are more "Civilized" with their less sporty attached convertible tops and wind-up windows.

Currently a bit indecisive on the SPICA system.
On one hand a "Minor" fix, but $$$!
Still simpler than a Weber conversion, but more $$$ since I already have a set of Webers that just needs jets and chokes.
Of course there is the pesky backward linkage issue.

For now I think I'm looking for a "Sure Start" and may just leave the test bolt in place for a while.

EDIT: In answer to some other comments I saw while researching this.
I ALWAYS let any aluminum engine reach full temperature before use.
Taking heed of advice given me by an old time Ferrari racer.
He claimed you could drive them as hard as you like so long as you wait until they are fully up to temp first.
From what I've seen he was probably right.
I've driven Alfa's hard with no problem, also very hot-rot BOP/R V8's.
But the common failure of modern Rover v8's seems to be head gaskets.
Maybe because the yuppies believe in immediate take-off?

Twin-Cam Hemi, Webers, Headers, Overdrive, Disc brakes, and no emissions equipment to spoil it all. These are gonna be FUN rides!

Last edited by Richard/SIA; 03-07-2017 at 06:52 PM.
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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-08-2017, 08:07 AM
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The cascade of "Minor" (but expensive) issues is why Italian cars have a reputation as being pricey and finicky.
you are the unwitting beneficiary of lots of deferred maintenance. the car is 38 years old. things wear down and break. once set up right the spica system is very reliable and will stay that way for a long time. persevere, will be up to speed soon. will be worth the effort and wait.
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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-08-2017, 11:28 AM
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Rebuilt T/A's are $250 from Wes Ingram. Core charge $75. Be careful with your old one to not kink or break the capillary tube.

The T/A is only a start/cold running aid. If you can get the engine started and warmed up, then running temporarily with a dummy T/A will not cause any problem. With the engine warmed up completely (i.e. temp >175F), is the pump gap zero or no more than .019"?

John Stewart
74 Spider
91 164S

Last edited by Roadtrip; 03-08-2017 at 11:32 AM.
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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-09-2017, 11:51 PM Thread Starter
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I need to get the temp gauge working for final measurement.
Got it outside so that I could let it get fully warm without dying and the TA was still just over 1mm short.
The last 1mm seems very slow to come about.

I think I'm looking for a "Sure Start".
It's Nevada, car will not be driven in snow.
And it WILL be my only SPICA equipped Alfa!

Twin-Cam Hemi, Webers, Headers, Overdrive, Disc brakes, and no emissions equipment to spoil it all. These are gonna be FUN rides!
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post #11 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-13-2017, 06:45 AM
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The dashboard temp gauge may or may not be accurate. A laser temp gun would be better. However, it's not that critical. As long as the pump gap on the rear of the injection pump is .019" or less with the engine at operating temperature, all is good and all enrichment is removed.

If I were you, I'd just spring for a rebuilt T/A from Wes and be done. Should last you a very long time and then you don't have to mess with it. The T/A in my Spider is at least 15 years old and still fully operational.

John Stewart
74 Spider
91 164S
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