Alfa Spider 86 will not start. Please help! - Page 3 - Alfa Romeo Bulletin Board & Forums
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post #31 of 35 (permalink) Old 03-07-2019, 04:28 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for your imput, but I already tried replacing the coil with a brand new one I have laying around and still no dice. I did one in the dark test and I saw some spark from one of the sparkplugs arcing to ground on the head surface, but it was very weak so I do not think it is connected to this problem, but I'm going to try with some new sparkplug wires I have, just to try something different.
I'll get the new relay tomorrow so we will see.
Now, after checking the electric diagram and checking continuity to all ground connectors, including the ones on the coil bracket, the ones on the head valve cover, the ones on the manifold, manifold braided strap and the ones near the fuel computer and ignition computer, plus checking continuity on each relay wire and coil wire, fuse box and in-line fuse holders I have to assume the drive relay must have some problems, particularly because I finally discover this relay was, for the 5th time, making the pump work even with the ignition switch was the off position, and when you knock said relay the pump stops. If a new relay does not solve the problem then, more than likely, the computer is kaput, and the way I see it, I might need an extra ECU to have laying around for testing purposes if planning to keep this Spider for a while.
It is kind of sad how many Alfas fell into abandonment for non starting conditions or the starting then stalling syndrome.
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post #32 of 35 (permalink) Old 03-08-2019, 12:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ieshouston View Post
...I might need an extra ECU to have laying around for testing purposes if planning to keep this Spider for a while.....
to keep in mind in case the new relay doesn't help, these ecus
were just posted in the BB classifieds:

https://www.alfabb.com/bb/forums/alf...87-spider.html

Dom - Alfa Spider 1990 S4 - formerly: Alfa 101 Sprint, 2600 Sprint, Montreal - family classics: Jensen Interceptor II, '58 Hooper RR Silver Cloud I, Shadow II, '60 Corvette.
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post #33 of 35 (permalink) Old 03-14-2019, 11:23 AM Thread Starter
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OK. I (you guys and me) finally found the problem. The car is now, finally, running. I am just posting to finish the thread. There is an element of frustration, for me at least, when you find a thread about a case that is similar or applicable to yours, only to find out at the end that it is not finished telling the outcome or solution to the problem, so you end up hanging with no way to go, so here it goes my recapitulation and conclusion:

1. This car was bought from California as a non runner. After checking the car I found out the owner that bought this car tried to fix it to no avail, but the car was molested by someone trying to make it run. After following the L-Jetronic technical info and diagnostics guide found one of the Flywheel sensors to be faulty, so both of them were replaced, still, car did not run.
2. After checking it was found that spark was weak and intermitent, so problem was traced out to dirty and corroded grounds on intake manifold and engine head valve cover, so degreaser and sand paper fixed this, and spark on plugs was now strong (The car came with new spark plugs) even when wires are old but good, and distributor cap and rotor tested good, same as ignition coil.
3. Fuel was not arriving to fuel rail, so hoses were cleaned, gas tank was also cleaned with heavy detergent and no rust was found, but fuel filter was clogged and even when inner pump was new it was not properly installed and even sending unit was corroded, and outer pump seemed recently replaced, but fuel pressure was too weak. The problem was cured with a new lower pump and some claps for the inner upper pump and new sending unit for the fuel gauge. I also sent injectors to be cleaned.
4. The car ran then, unfortunately, as I would found out later, the previous owner removed coolant from the system forgeting to drain the block, so enough old coolant was left in the block and this heavily corroded the head gasket metals, the head surface and some piting on the block so the head required to be welded, shaved, valve lash adjusted, new viton seals installed, along with a Victor Reinz head gasket and square profile O rings. To address the rear section of the block/head I used anaerobic red sealer and same was used for the little sections of the engine block mating surface showing corrosion pock marks.
5. When installing head I followed timing marks, aligning cams with them and having piston number 1 on top death center. I checked for interference and proper tension of timing chain, finding later there was no compression. This was entirely my fault since even when marks align on camshafts, the pointing lobe on the intake side for first cylinder was not pointing outwards, but inwards, consecuently no compression. This I remedied realigning the admision camshaft with the marks, so both cam lobes on cylinder 1 were pointing outwards when its piston was on TDC and distributor rotor pointing to cylinder one at 3 O'clock. The car did not run continuosly but now had compression 120 PSI even on 4 cylinders with wide open throttle and had the common "run then die syndrome".
6. There was compression, air, spark and fuel, also the vaccum hoses were not leaking, and the car would start right away at every try, then died after 2 or 3 seconds, so it seemed like a fuel injection "drive" or running issue, not a starting one related to the cold start injector. Still, just to verify there was pulse to the drive relay and hence the computer all ground connectors were rechecked with an ohmm meter for continuity, same as replacing main or small metal housed relay with another functioning one from the fuse box (used the horn relay) and also drive relay or black plastic housing big relay which was sourced from a vendor claiming to have the Bosch one from Spain, not the German original one, instead I got the KAE and, as several of you pointed out, does not operate the same way (keeps the pump running with ignition on the on position (which is highly dangerous in case of colitions), but still car was not running, so a new coil was used, checked coolant temperature sensor or CTS, the thermo time switch or TTS, the auxiliary air valve or AAV, the Throttle position sensor or TTP and the cold start injector or CSI, same as the fuel pressure regulator and fuel ICU or computer was opened and checked for water or acid corrosion, burnt components, broken pins, broken tracks and cold soldering joints, but everything seemed fine (what can I tell you guys? perhaps I was desperate and estrangely enough also fascinated with the issue).
7. Fuel pressure was measured to 35 PSI and cold start injector sprayed a fine mist which would increase inversely to temperature, so it was determined ignition system and cold start fuel delivery where okay, with continuity to both relays and power to injectors on both connectors of each one of them (tested with Noid sockets, testing light and volmeter) and cleaned fuse box and fuses.
8. After spraying extra gas to intake plenum via cold start injector oriffice the car could ran for a few more seconds so it was determined that this was a fuel starvation issue after starting so it was starved when "driving", so I removed the injector rail and connecting it to the pump with the return line in a bucket and the cold start injector line plugged up, voltage was sent to injectors with a battery with disregard of polarity and injectors still clicked, but no fuel coming out! Took injectors back to the service laboratory and they told me it was a corrosion issue due to moisture and the "green" cleaners used to service my injectors instead of toluene and other enviromental unfriendly fluids. Technician showed me the bath tubs were they use ultrasound and this "gentle cleaners" that are highly hygroscopic or moisture absorbent that are supposed to be good cleaners as long as you install injectors and keep using them right away, so my mistake was to install them and then wait and also take my time to install the head which caused gunk to form on injector screens and required injectors to be cleaned again (luckily no charge).
9. After injectors were reinstalled again, the car ran right away and everything seems right, excepting some oil leaking from the VVT valve pad oriffice that will require a missing O ring and also slightly higher RPM's that will presently be adressed.
10. I want to thank all of you guys for your invaluable assistance: The wiring diagram, the advice and the great knowledge you fellows have generously provided me with. I've mostly been a Fiat/Datsun guy and this is my second Alfa Spider, which, by the way, consider a better car when compared to the Fiat 124 Spider, particularly suspension wise and the incredible beauty of the Alfa engine.

Thanks again,

J.P.
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Last edited by ieshouston; 03-18-2019 at 07:38 AM.
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post #34 of 35 (permalink) Old 03-14-2019, 11:28 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you. Even when car is running now it is better to have some parts like this laying around.

Best,

J.P.
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post #35 of 35 (permalink) Old 03-14-2019, 11:39 AM
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J.P.
that is a great follow up, one of the best, so a big thanks for that!
Great you are up and running again

It is not the first time that I have heard that newly serviced injectors wouldn't work if kept unused for a while before using.

Indeed, I have a fully serviced fuel rail and injectors sitting on the shelf for the last year...just-in-case...!
So if it ever comes to fitting them I will check they fire beforehand...I did store them with WD40 and a stretched on rubber finger from a latex glove over each injector, though, which might help me...yep, call me odd)

Thanks again for the follow up.
Dom

Dom - Alfa Spider 1990 S4 - formerly: Alfa 101 Sprint, 2600 Sprint, Montreal - family classics: Jensen Interceptor II, '58 Hooper RR Silver Cloud I, Shadow II, '60 Corvette.
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