Rough running will not idle - Alfa Romeo Bulletin Board & Forums
 
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 12-23-2017, 03:56 PM Thread Starter
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Rough running will not idle

Hello Forum members.

My 86 Graduate was sitting awhile (3 months or more) and now runs terrible. It starts but runs rough and won't idle. Changing out the plugs usually takes care of it, because they get oily (especially #1 and #3) It didn't help. Cap and rotor and wires appear to be fine. Someone mentioned VVT solenoid could be the issue. I don't find an inline fuse or one next to the relay under the back seat. Not sure it even has one. Tried applying 12V to connector blades, nothing happens. I've been searching the forum but need some help. Anyone willing to weigh in on my problem would be welcomed.

Thanks.

Rick~
1986 Graduate
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 12-23-2017, 04:12 PM
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Lots of info in the Spider L-jet Diagnosis page - see the link in my signature.

Make sure there are no leaks in any of the intake ducts or vacuum hoses. L-jet is very intolerant of those. Have you added some fresh gas? Today's gas does not store well - I've found it seems to go stale in a few months.

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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 12-23-2017, 04:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ggblackspider View Post
Hello Forum members.

My 86 Graduate was sitting awhile (3 months or more) and now runs terrible. It starts but runs rough and won't idle. Changing out the plugs usually takes care of it, because they get oily (especially #1 and #3) It didn't help. Cap and rotor and wires appear to be fine. Someone mentioned VVT solenoid could be the issue. I don't find an inline fuse or one next to the relay under the back seat. Not sure it even has one. Tried applying 12V to connector blades, nothing happens. I've been searching the forum but need some help. Anyone willing to weigh in on my problem would be welcomed.

Thanks.
Rick,

Sorry to hear about the troubles. The VVT solenoid won't be the problem unless it is stuck in the EXTENDED position. If it won't extend, it will hurt performance at high throttle positions, but will not impact the idle. You should be able to look through the hole on the solenoid holder/housing and see if it is extended. If not, you can remove the holder/housing by removing the three allen bolts and see.

Not clear how you checked it with the 12V applied to the contacts, but when you apply the 12V to one, you need to remember to ground the other. As for the in-line fuse for the VVT, it should be located near the radiator overflow reservoir (not under the parcel shelf -- that's where the fuel-pump fuse is).

Could it be that the spark plugs wires are not in the correct order? They should be (clockwise starting at front of the distributor) 1-3-4-2, but if a prior owner did some work and didn't use the right timing marks on the cams, they might need to be moved 180-degrees. Could it just be bad gas? Or you could have a vacuum problem, which could be a cracked hose somewhere (most notably the large intake tube that runs across the engine). Another thing to double-check is that your air flow meter (AFM) electrical harness is connected.

Rich

'85 Spider Veloce
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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 12-23-2017, 09:39 PM
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Start with the simple things first before going all digital / hard core mechanicals :
1. Clean all filers and drain old fuel or top up with new clean fuel.
2. Warm engine up and drive hard across the rev range to free up any residues (the italian tune up). Do it a few times over a few days.
3. Check all vacuum lines and if carburated, consider changing gaskets on the intake manifold.
4. Check cylinder compression if you can. Could be worn out headgasket... notorious for going bad after long sitting (many months)... specially if (like me) you skimped on changing coolant every year or two.
5. If it all works out suggest you make a point of starting and warming up the engine at least once every 2 weeks. I do not have access to electric socket in my parking spot for a trickle charger so I simply disconnect the negative plug while it sits to help keep the battery from draining.
Good luck.

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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 12-24-2017, 06:18 AM
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If your plugs are oiling up quickly sounds like you have ring/valve guide issues. Are the plugs fouling because of oil? Runs OK when you change them, at least til they get oily again?
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 12-24-2017, 01:35 PM Thread Starter
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Good news. The coil wire was at fault. It runs again much like usual. Occasional miss at idle. Hope it will pass smog next week. Previous owner must have put a lot of miles on it, odometer doesn't work so the mileage is unknown. It's a loose motor no doubt. I'll have the engine looked over for the items you all mentioned, when I get some money set aside.

Thanks to all of you for your suggestions.

Rick~
1986 Graduate
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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 12-24-2017, 05:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ggblackspider View Post
Good news. The coil wire was at fault. It runs again much like usual. Occasional miss at idle. Hope it will pass smog next week. Previous owner must have put a lot of miles on it, odometer doesn't work so the mileage is unknown. It's a loose motor no doubt. I'll have the engine looked over for the items you all mentioned, when I get some money set aside.

Thanks to all of you for your suggestions.
Glad to hear you are running again.

How did you determine it was the coil?

Thanks,

Vin

1991 Spider Veloce - Red on Tan - Rosa Bionda
1987 Spider Quadrifoglio - Red on Grey - Rosa - Sold
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 12-24-2017, 05:15 PM Thread Starter
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I suspected it was ignition related so I pulled the cable from the distributor cap and saw it was grungy. I cleaned the connections and voila!

Rick~
1986 Graduate
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