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post #1 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-13-2018, 06:17 PM Thread Starter
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79 2000 spider veloce

Hello everyone!
I just got my 79 spider today, and being that I have never worked on anything but big, old, carbourated sedans, I decided to join the forum, in the hopes that some friendly Alfa owners would share their knowledge with me. Iíll admit to being a bit intimidated by Alfaís reputation, but thatís the whole reason I bought one; Itís time to start moving out of your comfort zone. Plus, who doesnít want to take a top-down cruise in the mountains on a summer day?

Like any old spider, itís got problems, chiefly that it wonít start. It cranks just fine, and the fuel pump sure makes plenty of noise, but the only time it will fire is when starting spray is shot down the airbox. So we have spark but no gas.

Could it be that the pump is noisey but ineffective? Maybe a blocked fuel line?

My Alfa has the original SPICA in it, which is pretty foreign to me, but Iíve watched a couple of videos on YouTube and I know the basics, like the Thermostatic Actuator might be bad and what the gap is.

I suppose my question is, where should I start? The pump? The lines? The SPICA? Somewhere else?

I may be living on the edge, but Iím still clueless ?

Thanks in advance to anyone kind enough to reply! All advice is welcome (Except bad advice)

1979 Spider Veloce, 1978 Mercedes Benz 230 (Euro Spec) [Sold] 1960 Oldsmobile Dynamic 88 ďscenicoupeĒ [Sold]
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post #2 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-13-2018, 08:37 PM
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When you switch on the ignition, the electric fuel pump starts running. You should hear it humming, and hear the fuel squirting into the tank from the return line if you remove the filler cap and listen through the filler neck. Reasons that it may not include plugged fuel filters (there are two), plugged fuel lines or a bad fuel pump.

If your car has been sitting for a long time the fuel tank may be full of rust and crud, and if the rubber fuel lines are old and hard you should replace them, and the filters.

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post #3 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-14-2018, 07:41 AM
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Is the red fuel pressure light on steady ? It may not be working, but if it is and steady, it would indicate the fuel pressure is low or none at all.

Eric
'79 Alfa Romeo Spider
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post #4 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-14-2018, 09:16 AM
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Welcome aboard! I've had a 74 Spica spider for 13 years and am still in love. I just had my spica rebuilt after 175000 miles. There are step by step troubleshooting instructions in the Technical Forum, (carbs, FI and air intake) in this site. Good Luck.
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post #5 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-14-2018, 11:00 AM
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If its been sitting awhile , and if you have a rubber fuel line...and its been driven some w ethanol gas...you may have a collapsed fuel line?

I did on a TR 6 I bought a few yrs ago....for me it was an easy fix..it was just a 4 inch long rubber line connector to replace between steel lines...

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post #6 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-16-2018, 02:10 PM
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Oh and I forgot, under the hood on the firewall there is a switch that shuts off the fuel pump in the event of a rollover or impact. It's cylindrical with a knob on top. On my '77 this often tripped when I hit a bump or sometimes it just did it on its own. The knob on top is a plunger that resets it; pull it up then push it down. I ended up bypassing it completely.

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post #7 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-16-2018, 02:19 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Steve Ray View Post
Oh and I forgot, under the hood on the firewall there is a switch that shuts off the fuel pump in the event of a rollover or impact. It's cylindrical with a knob on top. On my '77 this often tripped when I hit a bump or sometimes it just did it on its own. The knob on top is a plunger that resets it; pull it up then push it down. I ended up bypassing it completely.
Thanks! I actually found that yesterday; it had been tripped, but unfortunately did not solve the problem. Iím still waiting on a warm day to check the filters and the fuel lines.

1979 Spider Veloce, 1978 Mercedes Benz 230 (Euro Spec) [Sold] 1960 Oldsmobile Dynamic 88 ďscenicoupeĒ [Sold]
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post #8 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-17-2018, 08:08 AM
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You might want to check the resistance value of the inertia switch to be sure. I was able to disassemble mine, clean up the contacts, and reassemble. Food for thought.

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post #9 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-22-2018, 10:24 AM Thread Starter
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Well gents, near as I can tell, the engine is getting fuel. When I take the airbox off after turning it over, I can smell gas. I can hear fuel flowing inside the tank with the cap off and the pump engaged. Unless all of the injectors are blocked simultaneously, I canít see that being the problem.

Is it possible the timing is off? Would incorrect timing prevent the engine from starting? When I bought the car, it fired with starting spray in the airbox (but didnít run). I thought perhaps the plug wires were on the wrong plugs, so I replaced the plugs and put the wires in the positions the numbers on the distributor cap indicated, but the car still wonít start.

Since the plug wires were on the wrong plugs, is it possible someoneís tampered with the distributor and moved it far out of time?

For reference, I have the original distributor.

1979 Spider Veloce, 1978 Mercedes Benz 230 (Euro Spec) [Sold] 1960 Oldsmobile Dynamic 88 ďscenicoupeĒ [Sold]

Last edited by Nick Lysiak; 02-22-2018 at 10:32 AM.
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post #10 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-22-2018, 10:31 AM
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Is it possible the timing is off? Would incorrect timing prevent the engine from starting?
Incorrect timing would certainly prevent the engine from starting, sure. But does anything lead you to believe that someone messed with the timing before the last time it ran? And, you said it fired a bit with spray, so the timing can't be too far off.

What do you know about the history of this car? Just long-term sitting could cause the symptoms you describe. Gas becomes stale, orifices in the injection pump clog, etc.

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post #11 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-22-2018, 10:34 AM Thread Starter
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Is it possible the timing is off? Would incorrect timing prevent the engine from starting?
Incorrect timing would certainly prevent the engine from starting, sure. But does anything lead you to believe that someone messed with the timing before the last time it ran? And, you said it fired a bit with spray, so the timing can't be too far off.

What do you know about the history of this car? Just long-term sitting could cause the symptoms you describe. Gas becomes stale, orifices in the injection pump clog, etc.
You were faster than I could edit my post, ha ha.

I really know next to nothing about this car, other than the last tags on the old plates expired in 2015. The seller said that it had sat in a mechanicís shop for a long time but had not been repaired.

Perhaps I made things worse by moving the plug wires?

1979 Spider Veloce, 1978 Mercedes Benz 230 (Euro Spec) [Sold] 1960 Oldsmobile Dynamic 88 ďscenicoupeĒ [Sold]

Last edited by Nick Lysiak; 02-22-2018 at 10:46 AM.
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post #12 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-22-2018, 11:04 AM
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Try starting for a short time - then pull a spark plug. IS IT WET?? (Wet plug = spark issues, dry plug = fuel isn't getting in the cylinder)

After that test, if starting spray STILL fires the engine, you can be sure you are sparking!!

Note: Test #1 wet plugs AND starting spray fires the engine, then BAD GAS!!

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 #13 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-22-2018, 11:30 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by bruce1976spider View Post
Try starting for a short time - then pull a spark plug. IS IT WET?? (Wet plug = spark issues, dry plug = fuel isn't getting in the cylinder)

After that test, if starting spray STILL fires the engine, you can be sure you are sparking!!

Note: Test #1 wet plugs AND starting spray fires the engine, then BAD GAS!!
Iím out of starting spray, but I just pulled a plug after a few seconds of turning it over and it was wet and smelled like gas.

Weirdly enough, though, I didnít hear the fuel pump kick on, though I suppose if the system was already under pressure it wouldnít need to (?) this car is very strange indeed.

Iíll go to the auto parts store later and pick up another can of starting fluid.

1979 Spider Veloce, 1978 Mercedes Benz 230 (Euro Spec) [Sold] 1960 Oldsmobile Dynamic 88 ďscenicoupeĒ [Sold]
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post #14 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-22-2018, 11:44 AM
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Iíd make sure that the points are good inside your distributor (if a 79 uses one) and the plug wires are in good shape. Iím guessing you started with a pretty topped up battery. All these things can lead to a weak spark which Iíve found my 74 to be quite sensitive to when it comes to starting.


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post #15 of 20 (permalink) Old 03-11-2018, 01:00 PM Thread Starter
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Just a quick update, since we finally had some decent weather this weekend.

I decided to change the plugs anyway, just because I wasnít happy with the cheap little off brand ones that were in there. I bought the appropriate NGK ones; my local store didnít have the fancy iridium tipped ones that I wanted, so I got the cheaper NGK plugs (they only make two types for Alfa spiders).

Either way, it didnít make any difference. Set the gap to .025 as recommended, replaced the HT leads, and nothing.

I also put a new end on the small red wire coming from the distributor, as it was bent and barely making contact.

My next move is going to have to be taking a look at the distributor points. Unfortunately, itís got the original dual point Marelli distributor, and I may just have to suck it up and pull it out. Iím hesitant to do so, having never replaced a distributor.

From what I gather from other posts here, the toughest part will be finding TDC without any specialised equipment.

Even after the distributor work is done, It may be that the coil is bad. I canít test it because I donít have a multimeter. Another Alfa guy recommended the Bosch GT40, so I might try to find one of those.

Any thoughts?

1979 Spider Veloce, 1978 Mercedes Benz 230 (Euro Spec) [Sold] 1960 Oldsmobile Dynamic 88 ďscenicoupeĒ [Sold]

Last edited by Nick Lysiak; 03-11-2018 at 01:03 PM.
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