Happy Fathers Day to all you Dads out there.
I got an early father’s day gift last week with the purchase of a red 1988 Spider veloce!
I’m so happy with it!
My father had a ’54-’55 Spider when I was a youngster and I loved playing in it especially under the tonneau cover over the passenger side. I remember that lovely sent of leather mixed with gasoline. European cars just have a wonderful smell don’t they?
Anyway, I bought it from a couple near the Coast here. I saw an ad in the local paper while vacationing and on a lark, asked my “better half” permission to check-it out. She agreed – what a sweetheart!
The ad said “runs great” – we all know what that means, Right? Well upon the arrival of the car with the owner I knew there wasn’t something quite right. It sounded very rough and certainly not that mellow, rich sound I remembered as a kid. Upon the initial dialog with the owner, I questioned him about the rough running. He said that’s the way it always sounded to him. I was bewildered as well as suspicious at first that he was trying to pull something over on me. Test driving it seemed fine although it was lacking in power (I thought), cornering was good, braking was fine, gearbox and Trans sounded/felt great but the engine was way-off. After popping the hood I asked his permission to pull the cables off the plugs in sequence to find the offending cylinder, he agreed and it appeared to be cyl #2. It had a healthy and fat spark coming from the plug boot so I thought it was a simple fix of a fouled plug or something along the lines of that or a plugged fuel injector. Nothing major. He mentioned that it needed to be smog tested for the current year tags – prolly fail with that bad cylinder I would think. After haggling and pointing out body damage (mostly superficial/minor) and a driver’s door problem of a over-extension exercise causing the door to be miss-aligned as well as the obvious engine situation, we finally agreed on a lowered price. I just couldn’t pass on it. I was ecstatic, my wife was happy for me; all was well with the world.
After driving it home last week I quickly pulled the plugs and indeed found a fuel fouled plug in cylinder 2. All other plugs had a nice brownish-tan appearance. Swapped with all new Champion plugs gapped to .026”. Rechecked the firing order, 1-3-4-2. Check. Started it up and still ran crappy. Now I started pulling the air box off and checked the connectors to the fuel injectors. All appeared good and tight with no corrosion, but it looked as though No. 2’s injector had been replaced once before. It had been attached to the fuel rail upon a nipple to the rail clamped with a fuel hose clamp rather than the other type of clamp, which I guess, is the bosch factory type clamp. After no difference in engine operation I carefully listened to the exhaust manifold. Lacking a auto stethoscope, I did it the old-fashioned/low tech (caveman) way of sticking my thumb into my ear while grasping a screw-driver touching the engine. I now suspect a stuck exhaust valve. How common is this and how would it occur? Lack of lubrication, bent valve, warped head caused by overheating? The temp gauge seems to read close to 200 deg. It has air-conditioning (broken) and the condenser coils probably block some airflow to the radiator.
I’ll be doing a cylinder compression test later today to verify stuck/open valve. Where is the best place to disconnect the fuel pump when turning the engine over? I don’t have a shop manual yet and I’ve been reading threads here mentioning an Alfa’s “Bible” manual. Where would I purchase that from?
Last edited by Bianchi_Guelfo; 06-18-2006 at 12:56 PM.