Alfa Spider 86 will not start. Please help! - Alfa Romeo Bulletin Board & Forums
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post #1 of 35 (permalink) Old 03-02-2019, 11:14 AM Thread Starter
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Alfa Spider 86 will not start. Please help!

Hello,

I bought this 1986 Spider Quadrifoglio car from someone that bought it in the first place from some Californian owner. As I understood they bought it not running and then I got it the same way. After playing with it I made it run. It was a combination of a dirty fuel filter, a bad main fuel pump, poor ground connections but made it run excepting the gasket failure. Then I discovered why the guy that sold it to me made emphasis on the fact that he removed all the coolant or so he told me. In fact he tried that but forgot to remove the engine coolant plug and that corroded the head really bad, so I took it to the shop and they filled/welded the corrosion spots and shaved it and also replaced valve seals and checked valves, seats and guides and I was good to go.
I used Victor Reinz head gasket, viton seals, and square cut roll pin seals and anaerobic seal for the back zone of head gasket and follow recommended head torque settings from head gasket manufacturer and Alfa technical bulletin.
When I tried to start up the car for the first time after the job I got spark, air and gas but car did not run and sounded as no compression, so I checked and there was almost nothing so I realized my mistake! Instead of pointing intake lobe number one outwards, it was actually pointing inwards, and the marks were there to align, since it has two notches, so my stupid mistake. Fortunatelly there was no interference so two rights (the marks and the no interference situation) made a big wrong!
Anyway I fixed the mistake and tried to start the car only to find out it starts and dies on me right away, and that did not happen before when I made it run with the faulty head gasket.
I checked the cold start injector and it works spraying a fine fuel mix when cold, but I think it dies out of fuel after getting the CSI mist.
The fuel pump works fine and it has a lot of pressure as I did the gallon test, and you can here it working for a few seconds every thime you open the ignition, then stops. I was thinking, after checking the Jetronic guide, that this could be a problem with the flow meter microswitch and I just wonder if somebody could steer me right.

Thanks in advance for your help.

J.P.
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post #2 of 35 (permalink) Old 03-02-2019, 11:49 AM
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The fuel pump works fine and it has a lot of pressure as I did the gallon test, and you can here it working for a few seconds every thime you open the ignition, then stops....
that is good, means relay is working correctly.

the fuel pump works, but does the FPR (fuel pressure regulator) hold pressure in the rail?

pull off the small vacuum hose off the top of the FPR on the fuel rail and check for signs of fuel...if fuel is in that line, even a little, the diaphragm has split, so FPR bad. Check also that that small hose itself has not split (thus no vacuum)

you could also clamp off the hose at the bottom of the FPR (fuel return line) and see if that allows it to run.

if that is no help, then you should check the injectors are firing (the CSI fires independant of the injectors so just because the CSI fires does not mean the injectors do)

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 #3 of 35 (permalink) Old 03-02-2019, 12:13 PM
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There are a lot of parts in the L-jetronic system - and they must all work properly for it to work at all. See the link in my signature to a page of info about diagnosis of an L-jet Spider.

As Dom has stated, the Cold Start System is independent of any computer control. The fact you get a spray from the Cold Start Injector is good - there must be some fuel getting to the fuel rail. But it has to be at the right pressure so if possible check it with a pressure gauge. L-jet has a 'drive relay' that sends power to the fuel pumps once the engine has started. It gets a tachymetric signal from a sense wire on the coil to 'know' the engine is running. There is a bypass circuit that powers on the fuel pumps when the key is turned to the start position that bypasses the drive relay. Then, when the key is released to the run position the drive relay keeps the fuel pumps powered on. But if the drive relay is faulty, the engine might start with the fuel supplied by the bypass circuit but it will then die if the drive relay isn't working properly or isn't getting the expected signal.

Glad you figured out the two marks on the camshafts! How about ignition firing order? If the distributor and/or the spark plug wires have been messed with triple check the firing order is correct (1-3-4-2 - the rotor turns clockwise - don't use any markings on the cap to assume that is the firing order).

How long was the car sitting while you made all those repairs? Today's gas doesn't store well and the injectors could be gummed up. But that would the last thing I'd wonder about for the time being - lets check all the easy/cheap things first. (but it might be a good idea to add some fresh gas to the tank if it is more than a few months old)

- - Eric
don't read this
~ 1984 Spider Veloce ~
- -~ 1981 GTV-6 ~
Mebane, North Carolina


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post #4 of 35 (permalink) Old 03-02-2019, 01:09 PM Thread Starter
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I checked the FPR hose and it is fine and the diaphram holds vacuum and no gas odor or leaks on hose. the 3 vacuum hoses are in the correct order from top to bottom:
Fuel pressure regulator
Oil vapor seperator
Fuel vapor recovery
It has plenty of fresh gas in the tank, but just to discard possible problems with the submersible pump I added 5 more gallons, so it has plenty of gas and not a change.
One thing I noticed was that at some point when I was dissasembling the car to do the head job the pump was not stopping and made a mess with all the spilled gas, then when I finished with the head job and corrected the compression/timing issue I also found the same problem came back and pump was sending fuel and I could hear and feel the pressure on the system making the return diaphram open and sending the gas back to the tank, but that just stopped and now you only hear the pump for a few seconds and that's it.

Last edited by ieshouston; 03-04-2019 at 08:35 AM.
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post #5 of 35 (permalink) Old 03-02-2019, 01:36 PM Thread Starter
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Yes I've been checking that page about diagnosis of an L-jet Spider and I used it to check several things including filling a gallon in two minutes expectation or so to check proper fuel delivery, but I just went to the autopart store and they lend me a fuel gauge at pressure is about 30PSI. In any case both pumps are brand new as the fuel filter and the car was running (after several years just parked in the garage) even with the damaged head and the oil/coolant mix issue.

I'll check relay and the little fuse behind/under coolant reservoir just in case.

Yes firing order is fine 1, 3, 4, 2 and spark plugs are clean and spark is bright.

I got this car almost 2 years ago. I made it run about 7 months ago, but one of the repairs I did was to service the injectors and to my surprise they were not that bad and I even got a performance report and replaced fuel lines and O rings, so I assumed injectors are fine.

What is really weird is that when I was disassembling the car I opened the ignition switch and the pump did not stop sending gas and then when I was ready to start the car after the time issue I got the very same problem and pressure was so high you could feel it on the hoses and hear the return spring in the FPR, but the problem suddenly went away.

I was checking de the diagnosis document and it mentions a microswitch for the AFM, could this also be an issue on the Spider?

Last edited by ieshouston; 03-04-2019 at 08:37 AM.
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post #6 of 35 (permalink) Old 03-02-2019, 06:37 PM
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Any pics of the engine bay? Check for any intake leaks. Check the AFM.
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post #7 of 35 (permalink) Old 03-02-2019, 07:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ieshouston View Post
I was checking de the diagnosis document and it mentions a microswitch for the AFM, could this also be an issue on the Spider?
What diagnosis document are you referring to? The L-jet system in the Alfa GTV6 has a microswitch in the AFM. The Spider does not.

- - Eric
don't read this
~ 1984 Spider Veloce ~
- -~ 1981 GTV-6 ~
Mebane, North Carolina


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post #8 of 35 (permalink) Old 03-02-2019, 10:32 PM Thread Starter
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Yes, I just found out there is no microswitch for the Spider. I checked hoses and they look fine, I really think this is a gas problem and I was thinking of a way to check the relay, but after reviewing some earlier post I was kind of scared. I dont want to toast the computer nor the fuel pump relay, so I wanted to ask you guys about how to jump the relay connectors to by-pass the relay. I am assuming I have to remove the black fuel pump or drive relay from its socket and then connect a wire from 30 to 87 to energize the pump?
I squirted some gas thru the hole where the CSI and the car lasted running longer but die anyway so I still think this is a gas starvation problem.
I also checked the AFM and the connector is clean, I did not remove the black cover and still has its original sealing material.

Thanks for all your help.
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post #9 of 35 (permalink) Old 03-02-2019, 11:30 PM Thread Starter
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I checked the AFM connector. It is clean and making proper contact. The black cover still has original sealing material and looks unmolested. The metal flap moves freely.
I powder coated the engine cam cover, but I removed the finishing to secure proper ground contact with the head via rear bolts with aluminum washers. I also cleaned the holes were you secured the AAV in place and cleaned those ground connections and the other ones near the injectors. I dont think there were other ground conectors on the radiator fan shroud, but I also cleaned the coil terminals and the ground connections near said coil.
I also checked the TPS and it clicks when switch is open and you move the venturi.
So when you open the swith you hear the pump working and everytime you crank gas flows thru the hose, then it goes to the injector rail, but then you need the tachymetric signal from the coil to the drive relay, so I assume this is what I have to simulate?
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post #10 of 35 (permalink) Old 03-03-2019, 12:53 AM
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..I am assuming I have to remove the black fuel pump or drive relay from its socket and then connect a wire from 30 to 87 to energize the pump?...

yes, do that....the big relay.
If the car starts & runs with relay jumped, then that relay is likely bad.
if it doesn't help, then check that fuse (8A) back there, especially the bullet fuse holder if that is still there, they are troublesome and worth changing out for a flat fuse holder in any case.

What relay have you? do you still have the good Bosch 0280230001 relay, or has it been replaced with KAE or something else?

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 #11 of 35 (permalink) Old 03-04-2019, 08:19 AM Thread Starter
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I jumped 30 to 87 on the black relay connector without the relay and you could hear a click but pump will not run, so I then assumed the relay had to be connected and again jumped 30 to 87 with relay in place and the pump ran uninterrupted and also some lights on the cluster turned on as the ignition switch was on, then I tried to start it but id did exactly the same: The car starts and runs for 3 or 4 seconds and dies.
Yes I do have the original Bosch relay 0280230001.
I also checked continuity from ground connectors to ground on cam cover and from head and they show zero resistance.
I checked continuity on both bullet style fuses and fuse holders for the pump next to relay and the other one near the coil an under the coolant reservoir and they show also zero resistance.
Should I remove the fuel injectors to see if they are firing? I got them cleaned before I did the head job and the report read they where upto par and the car ran with them even when I got the bad head.

Thanks for all the help.

Last edited by ieshouston; 03-04-2019 at 10:15 AM.
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post #12 of 35 (permalink) Old 03-04-2019, 08:50 AM
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What wires are connected to which terminals on the coil? One of them - either a white or yellow (I forget which and the yellow often fades to dirty white...) is the sense wire for the drive relay. The sense wire runs inside a braided shielding cover which is all then inside a black outer cover.
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- - Eric
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~ 1984 Spider Veloce ~
- -~ 1981 GTV-6 ~
Mebane, North Carolina


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post #13 of 35 (permalink) Old 03-04-2019, 10:12 AM
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The other relay back there, the small main relay.......remove it and put any other 30-85-86-87-87 relay in its place, and see what happens
(horn relay for example is the same)

and yes, definitely check which wires are connected to coil and remove and clean these connections.
...should be 2 x green/blacks to the plus side (15) and all others - thin white, thick white, white/black and yellow (this one could be faded to white!) to negative (1) side of coil.

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 #14 of 35 (permalink) Old 03-04-2019, 10:33 AM Thread Starter
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Those wires were untouched and car ran before the head job, so they are in the same position, but all of them show continuity and there are no loose conections. But black pastic cover was not present when I got the car. When I jumped the connectors 30 to 87 pump ran continously even with ignition off, but the condition remain the same. It starts for a few seconds, then dies. I checked CTS and TTS again and also physically checked the CSI and it is spraying a fine mist and then stops, so I assume it is fine.
I hope you can see the picture.

Thanks for the input.

J.P.
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post #15 of 35 (permalink) Old 03-04-2019, 10:50 AM Thread Starter
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I was about to swap the horn relay for the small relay near the ECU and the drive relay and suddenly I got back to what happened to me when dissasembling to do the head job: I was checking again the L-jetronic guide and decided to check the AAV, so I disconnected the device and then when a put a plastic coupler instead of the valve to test I realized the pump was running with the ignition switch off, so I assumed it was because the ground connectors attached to the AAV where not connected, so I went ahead and decided to put them clustered on the head manifodl instead, but still the pump is working on it's on with the ignition off and the only way to stop it is by disconnecting the battery. This is the third time it happens, but on all three ocassions the grounds to the AVV where disconected and after reconnecting and several attempts it went back to normal. Anyway I found the AVV valve closed, but it has a little "pie slice" cut, so it is never fully closed, but after putting it in the freezer it should be wide open right? It is not, but then again I use a plastic coupler instead of the AVV and the car acted the same, just running for a few seconds.
oh! One more thing, again when the pump is running constantly you can hear the gas returning to the tank and even feel the pressure on the return hose, so the FPR is doing what it is supossed to be doing and pinching the return hose does not solve the problem.
I am going to swap relays after connecting the AVV and ground connectors and check if the fuel pump stops as it is supposed to, then report back to you guys, to see what it does with the horn relay (that I know it is a good one since horn works) in place of the other.

Againg thanks for all the help.

J.P.

Last edited by ieshouston; 03-04-2019 at 04:02 PM.
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