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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-13-2018, 04:40 PM Thread Starter
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79 2000 spider veloce wonít start

Hello!
This is my first post! I just took delivery today of a 1979 Alfa Spider, complete with its frustrating spica injector system.

Iíve rebuilt two cars before; a 1960 Oldsmobile 88 and a 1978 Mercedes w123. Both of my previous projects have been carbouetted, so fuel injection is something completely foreign to me.

This car turns over, and kicks when it has starting fluid sprayed into the air intakes, but frustratingly doesnít seem to want to start.

I can hear the fuel pump working when I turn the key, but it wonít fire, so my only guess is that either the pump isnít actually doing anything or thereís a blocked line somewhere. Or the Spica is messed up.

I pulled the plugs, and they were dark, but not black. Tomorrow Iím going to test the thermostatic actuator, but I somehow donít feel like thatís really the problem. Would a bad actuator keep the car from starting?

The tank was empty, so I put in some fresh gas and a bit of Lucas injector cleaner/fuel treatment in with it.

Also, the hazard light button seems to be stuck on. It presses in to disengage, but wonít stay, and Iím not sure how to get it out to examine it.

Itís going to be a long, strange journey, and I hope someone here can help make it a little easier.

Thanks in advance for any advice you can give me! I certainly need the help.

1979 Spider Veloce, 1978 Mercedes Benz 230 (Euro Spec) [Sold] 1960 Oldsmobile Dynamic 88 ďscenicoupeĒ [Sold]
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-13-2018, 08:37 PM
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I've had my a few no-start situations with my 1974 Spider with SPICA, the most recent one two weeks ago, and they were all ignition related: fouled plugs and arguably once, a distributor cap that needed a bit of cleaning.

Here are a few ignition things to try:
  • Check spark plug wire arrangement for 1-3-4-2 firing order
  • Check distributor cap
  • Points or electronic ignition?
  • Might be worth giving new plugs a go (consensus seems to be NGK, but there is also support for Champion)

Also, IIRC there are two fuel filters in in the SPICA system.

The hazard switch: If it's the same round one as on my 74, it is poorly engineered and breaks easily. Even worse is that replacements are absurdly expensive. It's held in place by a nut on the back; you have to remove the panel next to accelerator pedal to gain access. There is a thread here on the BB where one member described how to repair this switch. (I will try to find it later. If you pull it, please share the wire connections as I had to disable mine while on a car club drive and in my haste didn't record them.)

The AlfaBB is a great resource and its knowledgable members are generous with their advice. I am sure that some of them will also provide suggestions.

1974 Spider
Work gets in the way of my hobbies. Nothing takes just 5 minutes.
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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-14-2018, 12:04 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BobG View Post
I've had my a few no-start situations with my 1974 Spider with SPICA, the most recent one two weeks ago, and they were all ignition related: fouled plugs and arguably once, a distributor cap that needed a bit of cleaning.

Here are a few ignition things to try:
  • Check spark plug wire arrangement for 1-3-4-2 firing order
  • Check distributor cap
  • Points or electronic ignition?
  • Might be worth giving new plugs a go (consensus seems to be NGK, but there is also support for Champion)

Also, IIRC there are two fuel filters in in the SPICA system.

The hazard switch: If it's the same round one as on my 74, it is poorly engineered and breaks easily. Even worse is that replacements are absurdly expensive. It's held in place by a nut on the back; you have to remove the panel next to accelerator pedal to gain access. There is a thread here on the BB where one member described how to repair this switch. (I will try to find it later. If you pull it, please share the wire connections as I had to disable mine while on a car club drive and in my haste didn't record them.)

The AlfaBB is a great resource and its knowledgable members are generous with their advice. I am sure that some of them will also provide suggestions.
Hey, thanks! I made a separate post about the hazard button and was linked to the post you were talking about, so I have it bookmarked now.

Iíve got a pretty bad cold right now, or else Iíd go out and take a photo of how itís wired up for you, as I have to take it out anyway. (I think perhaps Iíll try the toothpick trick first until I can get the engine running, as thatís my first priority)

The previous ownerís mechanic didnít seem to know what he was doing, but he left me 4 brand new plugs in the trunk, so maybe Iíll swap them out just for kicks. I pulled the ones in it now, and they were a little dark, but not powdery black like some Iíve seen.

You wouldnít happen to know what the gap is supposed to be on the plugs, would you? Also, if someone could tell me how many degrees the timing light is supposed to be set for, thatíd be pretty helpful too.

Either way, as soon as we get some decent weather here, the first order of business will be a good, thorough cleaning. Itís amazing how much debris and filth can accumulate in a few years, and nothingís worse than trying to work on an engine and hoping little shards of leaves and spiderweb donít fall into your engine.

So far, everyone hereís been pretty helpful and supportive, I think I like this place, haha

1979 Spider Veloce, 1978 Mercedes Benz 230 (Euro Spec) [Sold] 1960 Oldsmobile Dynamic 88 ďscenicoupeĒ [Sold]
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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-14-2018, 05:23 AM
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Follow this thread for the flasher switch fix (if it's the round style) http://www.alfabb.com/bb/forums/elec...ch-always.html
It's not too bad an operation, once you have it loose. I've repaired two of them successfully.

I can't make the same claim about SPICA fuel injection

I'd verify your spark before digging into the fuel injection... Those in-line visible spark checkers are cheap... https://www.amazon.com/Lisle-20610-I.../dp/B0002STSC6

50 years from now - how are we going to restore a "classic" microprocessor based modern car?? Alfas - 1980 Spider, 1987 Milano, 1976 Spider
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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-14-2018, 09:06 AM
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You wouldnít happen to know what the gap is supposed to be on the plugs, would you? Also, if someone could tell me how many degrees the timing light is supposed to be set for, thatíd be pretty helpful too.
Spark plug gap is 0.025" for NGKs, but note that some members using exotic electronic ignitions go bigger.

36-38 degrees BTDC is common, but as I've been recently learning distributors vary in their maximum advance. So you have to advance the timing more to achieve the desired advance. For example, one common distributor makes 28-29 degrees of advance and their installation instructions advise setting an additional 5-10 degrees.

Punchline: You need to identify your distributor: Marelli, Bosch, aftermarket, and whether it's mechanical or electronic. (A Bosch blue coil is one external indicator of an electronic ignition.) Even if it's Marelli or Bosch you should still check to see if its mechanical guts have been upgraded to electronic.

1974 Spider
Work gets in the way of my hobbies. Nothing takes just 5 minutes.
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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-14-2018, 09:08 AM
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Originally Posted by bruce1976spider View Post
I'd verify your spark before digging into the fuel injection... Those in-line visible spark checkers are cheap... https://www.amazon.com/Lisle-20610-I.../dp/B0002STSC6
+1 for this Lisle tester. Recently got one and you can easily see it flashing while sitting in the driver's seat cranking the engine.

1974 Spider
Work gets in the way of my hobbies. Nothing takes just 5 minutes.
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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-15-2018, 09:59 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bruce1976spider View Post
Follow this thread for the flasher switch fix (if it's the round style) http://www.alfabb.com/bb/forums/elec...ch-always.html
It's not too bad an operation, once you have it loose. I've repaired two of them successfully.

I can't make the same claim about SPICA fuel injection

I'd verify your spark before digging into the fuel injection... Those in-line visible spark checkers are cheap... https://www.amazon.com/Lisle-20610-I.../dp/B0002STSC6
Quote:
Originally Posted by BobG View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by bruce1976spider View Post
I'd verify your spark before digging into the fuel injection... Those in-line visible spark checkers are cheap... https://www.amazon.com/Lisle-20610-I.../dp/B0002STSC6
+1 for this Lisle tester. Recently got one and you can easily see it flashing while sitting in the driver's seat cranking the engine.
I definitely will pick up one of those testers. Iím pretty sure thereís spark because starting fluid does make the engine run, but Iím going to check the timing and points just in case.

I swapped the spark plugs yesterday before it started snowing, and charged the battery. Still nothing. I can verify that the fuel pump is working; when you turn the key and stick your ear up to the tank, you can hear fuel flowing.

Let me test out your suggestions and get back to you! I do appreciate the advice!

1979 Spider Veloce, 1978 Mercedes Benz 230 (Euro Spec) [Sold] 1960 Oldsmobile Dynamic 88 ďscenicoupeĒ [Sold]
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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-15-2018, 11:32 AM
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Ah, I see you mentioned that starter fluid worked in your other thread - http://www.alfabb.com/bb/forums/spid...er-veloce.html

How about the low fuel pressure light? Off or on? (is it working??)

I know what I'd do next - take the fuel feed line off, put it in a catch basin, and turn on the ignition long enough to see if fuel is getting through the filters (on my spider, there's one in back underneath the gas tank by the fuel pump, and a bigger one under the air cleaner near the starter.

If no fuel flow, there's several things it could be - plugged lines or filters, and a collision fuel shut-off solenoid valve...

50 years from now - how are we going to restore a "classic" microprocessor based modern car?? Alfas - 1980 Spider, 1987 Milano, 1976 Spider
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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-15-2018, 11:43 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by bruce1976spider View Post
Ah, I see you mentioned that starter fluid worked in your other thread - http://www.alfabb.com/bb/forums/spid...er-veloce.html

How about the low fuel pressure light? Off or on? (is it working??)

I know what I'd do next - take the fuel feed line off, put it in a catch basin, and turn on the ignition long enough to see if fuel is getting through the filters (on my spider, there's one in back underneath the gas tank by the fuel pump, and a bigger one under the air cleaner near the starter.

If no fuel flow, there's several things it could be - plugged lines or filters, and a collision fuel shut-off solenoid valve...
I havenít seen any low fuel pressure lights, but only a handful of the lights on my console arenít burnt out. I think Iíll definitely do as you suggest and check those filters. Iíd much rather fix a cheap thing than an expensive one!

Iím just waiting for a good day to get under it. Thereís nothing worse than dealing with gasoline when itís already cold out!

1979 Spider Veloce, 1978 Mercedes Benz 230 (Euro Spec) [Sold] 1960 Oldsmobile Dynamic 88 ďscenicoupeĒ [Sold]
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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-12-2018, 04:38 PM Thread Starter
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Update: replaced the spark plugs, charged the battery, and it fired right up. It’s very rough, though, and dies as soon as it’s given any throttle. It almost acts like the choke is stuck.

1979 Spider Veloce, 1978 Mercedes Benz 230 (Euro Spec) [Sold] 1960 Oldsmobile Dynamic 88 ďscenicoupeĒ [Sold]
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post #11 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-12-2018, 05:57 PM
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There's no choke as such on Spica; just enrichment when cold, leans out when hot. There are plenty of settings to check and things that have to work for it to run right, after you get the ignition sorted out.
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