'82 Spider - car can't get above idle. Nearing my diagnostic wits end. - Page 2 - Alfa Romeo Bulletin Board & Forums
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post #16 of 33 (permalink) Old 06-02-2019, 04:44 PM
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I also had a generic catalytic converter put in. The new ones flow better than the originals so it is worth doing. For testing you can get a long rod to reach in and break up the rest of the matrix then use a shop vacuum to get out as much as possible. If it then runs properly that confirms the catalytic converter was plugged up. Before I drove the car much with a new cat, I'd suggest making sure the mixture is correct - a too rich mixture will ruin the new cat before too long.

- - Eric
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- -~ 1981 GTV-6 ~
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post #17 of 33 (permalink) Old 06-02-2019, 09:31 PM Thread Starter
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Cut the catalytic converter out of the car - still no fix.

Hooked a couple of spark plug testers in-line. They seem to show no-spark on two cylinders with revs - all spark fine at idle, as she revs up the testers go dark and erratic. Changed wires and distributor cap/rotor - no change. Working backwards through the ignition system...
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post #18 of 33 (permalink) Old 06-02-2019, 09:42 PM
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Well, two cylinders not firing would sure make it run bad. And melt your cat converter.

Tom

1963 Giulia Spider (1750 engine)
1974 GTV
1991 Spider
Former: 1987 Milano Gold
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post #19 of 33 (permalink) Old 06-02-2019, 10:01 PM
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Find the ignition module - probably close to the coil. See if it gets hot when the mis-firing starts. They generate heat which must be conducted away through the mounting plate with the aid of heat conducting paste.

Ed Prytherch
79 Spider
85 GTV6 3L
76 Suzuki GT500
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A little government and a little luck are necessary in life, but only a fool trusts either of them. - P.J. O'Rourke
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post #20 of 33 (permalink) Old 06-02-2019, 10:25 PM
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Does an ‘82 even have the flat-ish Bosch ignition module? I didn’t see it on the wiring diagram for the later S3, but maybe the ‘82 has one.

If so, those suckers are really problematic.

Tom

1963 Giulia Spider (1750 engine)
1974 GTV
1991 Spider
Former: 1987 Milano Gold

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post #21 of 33 (permalink) Old 06-02-2019, 11:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by caliautobahn View Post
Cut the catalytic converter out of the car - still no fix.

Hooked a couple of spark plug testers in-line. They seem to show no-spark on two cylinders with revs - all spark fine at idle, as she revs up the testers go dark and erratic. Changed wires and distributor cap/rotor - no change. Working backwards through the ignition system...
Did you leave the muffler unplugged? If the cat broke up like that. It's very likely your muffler is clogged. See what happens when you unplug the muffler.
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post #22 of 33 (permalink) Old 06-02-2019, 11:44 PM
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I think your '82 has two Bosch boxes in the rear passenger section of the car. If so, one controls the fuel and the other controls the spark. I had a problem with my '83 and it turned out to be one of the Bosch boxes. If you have a friend with a spare, try swapping it and see if it helps. Also, DO NOT run a resistance test with the box connected. Your meter can/will put enough current to fry the box. Don't ask me how I know!

Good luck and keep us posted.
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post #23 of 33 (permalink) Old 06-06-2019, 03:42 PM
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Send your injection ecu away for resoldering. Solved my problems that were analgous to yours. Car runs with the AFM disconnected, correct?
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post #24 of 33 (permalink) Old 06-06-2019, 04:16 PM
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If you have full spark at idle but only 2 cylinders sparking at higher revs I'd suggest looking very carefully at the distributor, rotor, & cap. The distributor in an L-jet car is really just a four way switch. The ignition computer tells the coil when to discharge - the distributor is there just to send the output to the right cylinder. The proper rotor has a relatively wide end - about 1/2" wide. A narrow end rotor might not be near the terminal inside the cap and that could get worse at higher revs as the computer advances the timing. The distributor must also be put in the right position - one does not adjust timing by rotating the distributor.

If you have an aftermarket ignition system then none of this applies. And I don't know much about those systems...

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


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post #25 of 33 (permalink) Old 06-06-2019, 04:52 PM
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My '84 had a similar issue and it was a flywheel sensor.
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post #26 of 33 (permalink) Old 06-06-2019, 06:52 PM
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And even if the flywheel sensor checks OK with the ohm meter, remove them to check for physical damage. And to be sure they are in position - the bolt threads into aluminum. If the threads strip out the sensor will fall out yet still be attached to the wire harness and could test OK with the ohm meter.

Regarding physical damage - I once helped a guy with a no-start Spider. When we removed the sensors one had a dent in the end facing the flywheel. We replaced it with use but known good sensor and it started right up.

- - Eric
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~ 1984 Spider Veloce ~
- -~ 1981 GTV-6 ~
Mebane, North Carolina


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post #27 of 33 (permalink) Old 06-06-2019, 07:00 PM
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I'm in agreement with all the people who are pointing at the ignition system and particularly the coil & the module. Also I'd replace the two flywheel sensors as a matter of course. They're not expensive and they fail erratically. Also list your location, when you're trying to diagnose these difficult electrical ignition issue having a good running car to swap ignition parts back & fourth is very helpful. Maybe a local Alfisti will help you out?

Also a little more history would be helpful. This car is new to you right? was it running regularly when you bought it?

Car looks nice like the color.

Bye
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post #28 of 33 (permalink) Old 06-19-2019, 11:32 PM Thread Starter
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Words cannot describe my loathing for this car this evening. She fried the cat, and has had intermittent spark. Given those two items and the advice above, I replaced the catalytic converter, ignition control module, and coil today. Fired her up - no change. Sigh. To sum:

Parts replaced in this hunt: O2 sensor, ignition control module, coil, plugs, plug wires, cap and rotor, injectors and seals, fuel pressure regulator, catalytic converter and downpipe, coolant temp sensor.

Revs ok but not great cold. Does not rev once warm. I can hold the throttle wide open warm and the engine will do a boggy ~1200 rpm.

Fuel pressure is at spec. Spark looks erratic on two cylinders as the motor revs up. Flywheel sensors? Distributor?
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post #29 of 33 (permalink) Old 06-20-2019, 01:31 AM
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when you say you replaced the 'ignition control module'
do you mean the Ignition ECU behind the rear side panel, the one marked Bosch 0227400003 ?

Have you tested both flywheel sensors?
you are sure both sensors are plugged into the correct corresponding plugs?
Have you removed and cleaned the main ecu ground bundles at the cylinder head?

see here:
https://www.alfabb.com/bb/forums/8305918-post2.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 #30 of 33 (permalink) Old 06-28-2019, 11:01 AM Thread Starter
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Weekly update:

I have two spark plug testers. I had them on the car - and noticed that the one on cylinder 4 would stay strong with revs, while the one on cylinder 3 would weaken/flicker out. So I went through the ignition system. Replaced module and coil last week - no change. Cap, rotor, wires, plugs. No change. Still revs ok when cold, after 2 mins, won't get above 1500 rpm. Idles ok, try to rev it and it just won't go. Spark on 4 looks good, on 3 goes out.

So. This week. I ordered a 123 distributor and a bosch blue coil. Just cut the whole original ignition system out of the problem, I thought. Eliminate this issue for good, I thought. Spent a quick evening installing and setting up the 123 distributor. Started the car...

No change. Two minutes of revving, thought I'd licked it. Then...no rev. Weak spark on the testers.

Next step - exorcism.
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