Curious 82 Spider No Start Issue - Alfa Romeo Bulletin Board & Forums
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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-06-2019, 02:01 PM Thread Starter
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Curious 82 Spider No Start Issue

Hi all, I've been absent from the forum for some time, partly because the car has been awesome, and partly because I was overseas. I took my car out of 2.5 years of storage and she started easy enough and I was able to drive it home. However, it's developed a curious tendency.

I stopped to get fuel and when I went to start it, it caught for a couple of cycles and then died. I tried to start, but couldn't. I waited an hour (at least the beer was good) and tried to start...no luck. I had a friend hold the throttle wide open (like you would to clear flooding in carbs) and after turning over for about 30 seconds it caught and ran.

This has happened to me twice and I was able to fix and drive on.

After sitting for a couple of months at my cottage I started the car, again with no problems and drove it out of the garage...let it run for a bit and shut it down. When I went to start, caught and died. Same problem...except I cannot get it to start at all. I've done the following.

Waited half a day with the plugs out...tried to start...caught and died.

Replaced plugs and waited over night...same result...caught and died.

I've replaced all my vacuum hoses with silicone and have sealed any small cracks in the main air intake. I removed the fuel line and it seems to be getting lots of fuel.

I checked the fly wheel sensor connectors behind the washer bottle and they seem in good condition.

So, I have fuel, I have air and I have spark.

Your ideas would be very much appreciated. Lolita has never let me down.

Thanks,

Woody

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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-06-2019, 04:15 PM
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How old is the gas in the tank? How much gas is in the tank?

Remove the vacuum hose from the Fuel Pressure Regulator and inspect it for raw fuel (sniff it). There shouldn't be any evidence of fuel on the vacuum side - if there is the internal diaphragm has likely failed. The fuel injection system needs to have fuel at the correct pressure - too much or too little will cause problems.

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- -~ 1981 GTV-6 ~
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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-06-2019, 08:23 PM
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I'm very new to all this, and certainly no expert, but the "start for a few cycles then dies" sounds like the cold start injector gets things going, but the FI ECU isn't kicking on to trigger the injectors (voltage problem) and/or fuel isn't being pumped (or regulated). I had luck cleaning the in-line fuse near the ECU that powers the fuel pumps.
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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-07-2019, 06:21 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks ghnl and doctorb.

This morning, after checking the fuel pumps fuse, I turned Lolita over...same symptom. Fires for a couple of cycles, then nothing. I didn't add throttle at all. That having been said, I did let it turn over for about 20 seconds, and I could smell fuel. Is it possible that the cold start injector is not releasing and floods the engine?

doctorb, what you says rings kind of true. I checked the fuse and fuse holder....both very very clean, so that's not the issue.

ghnl, after trying to start I pulled the vacuum line. There is a faint smell of fuel, but only faint. i assume this is to be expected, or should there me no odor at all?

What should the fuel flow be like if I pull the line of the injector rail and turn the engine over?

Any other ideas? Could it be bad fuel? I added some fuel conditioner to remove water just in case.

Thanks,

Jeff

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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-07-2019, 06:37 AM
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How about checking the voltage during cranking? If you cranked for 20s and a bunch of other times, your battery may be a little weak. I had similar behavior and got the car started by running a jump-start off my Toyota. I offer this b/c you are going through exactly what I went through a couple of weeks ago. I haven't solved it to my satisfaction, but am in a holding pattern waiting for fuel system parts to arrive.
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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-07-2019, 06:44 AM
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You could unplug the CSI and see if the car just turns over without firing at all. That would suggest your CSI is fine, and the remainder of "not starting" may attributed to fuel delivery system (pumps, relays, ECU voltage, fuel pressure regulator, etc. etc.) Do it with a charged battery or jumpstart, so you rule out low-voltage co-morbidity. Since it sounds like it starts off the CSI, you know you're getting a spark, so don't go down the ignition ECU rathole. I'd try the jumpstart before messing with csi though.
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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-07-2019, 07:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Woody View Post
...after trying to start I pulled the vacuum line. There is a faint smell of fuel, but only faint. i assume this is to be expected, or should there me no odor at all?
There shouldn't be any evidence of fuel on the vacuum hose side of the FPR. If there is I'd worry that the FPR's internal diaphragm has failed. See picture of sectioned FPR below.

Quote:
What should the fuel flow be like if I pull the line of the injector rail and turn the engine over?
I don't know the fuel pump's output spec in volume, only in pressure. See attached info from shop manual.

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Any other ideas? Could it be bad fuel? I added some fuel conditioner to remove water just in case.
Bad or old fuel would have been my first guess. Was the fuel treated before leaving the car for so long? Today's fuel does not store well - I've experienced stale fuel after only a few months. More worrisome for your situation is if the fuel injectors are gummed up. If it is bad enough there is little you can add to the gas tank to clear them up. Places like Cruzin Performance will clean them with solvents in an ultrasonic bath and cycle the solvent through them. But of course they have to be removed from the car and shipped to them.

Here's something you can try to see if the fuel injectors are capable of squirting. Remove the spark plugs. Peek down and see which cylinder has its intake valve open (you can see the edge of the open valve via the spark plug hole). Now cycle the key on/off/on/off/on/off to pressurize the fuel rail (each time you switch the ignition on the fuel pumps will briefly power up). While watching the open intake valve, briefly apply 12V + & - to that cylinder's fuel injector (polarity doesn't matter). With the fuel rail pressurized you should see a spray of fuel hitting the back of the intake valve. <No Smoking!>

If the injectors do not squirt (and you are sure the fuel rail has been pressurized) then the fuel injectors need service. A fuel pressure test would be the best way to be sure the FPR & fuel pumps are working properly.
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- - Eric
don't read this
~ 1984 Spider Veloce ~
- -~ 1981 GTV-6 ~
Mebane, North Carolina


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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-07-2019, 07:33 AM Thread Starter
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BINGO! I unplugged the CSI and she fired up like a charm...and runs well. So, I guess a faulty CSI was flooding the engine?

Does this make sense?

Thanks doctorb. I don't think there is an issue with leaving it unplugged and driving until I get it replaced and or fixed. What do you think?

Jeff
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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-07-2019, 07:53 AM
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Leaving it unplugged should cause no problems. I'm trying to think of how it is staying on. Normally the Thermo Time Switch (TTS) senses coolant temperature and allows the CSI to spray for only a few seconds (longer if cold, not at all when hot). Info about the Cold Start System is in the L-jet diagnosis page - link is in my signature.

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Last edited by ghnl; 08-07-2019 at 07:56 AM.
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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-07-2019, 08:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Woody View Post
BINGO! I unplugged the CSI and she fired up like a charm...and runs well. So, I guess a faulty CSI was flooding the engine?

Does this make sense?

Thanks doctorb. I don't think there is an issue with leaving it unplugged and driving until I get it replaced and or fixed. What do you think?

Jeff
Wow - I didn't expect that. I thought it would just turn over without anything...but to start and run?!? Keep posting, this one's interesting (to me, at least)
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post #11 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-07-2019, 08:28 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks ghnl! I used the guide book along the way (I have nice clean grounds, for example). Will follow the CSI diagnosis page and get back with questions if I have them.

Again, thanks to all and the alfabb for the win!

j.

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post #12 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-07-2019, 08:32 AM
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what you could try is with a warm engine, remove the CSI and see if it still sprays when you crank the starter (rags at hand and be careful of fuel and hot engine).....
(that would prove the theory)

if it does my guess is the TTS is faulty not the CSI, as Eric says it's the TTS that fires the CSI and makes it spray (TTS has a bi-metallic thingy inside that is probably stuck?)

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 #13 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-07-2019, 10:49 AM
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This is still bugging me. Woody, please report back any additional findings as you progress. I wonder if it's worth pulling the csi and cranking the engine - while the csi is pointing into a container! See if it shuts down after 3-5 seconds. If it doesn't, sure, the TTS could be the problem, and you're flooding or running uber-rich, causing the stall.
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post #14 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-08-2019, 05:03 AM Thread Starter
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doctor b, will do! I need to step away from it for a bit (work trip), but will report back when I know more.

As this has slowly developed over a while, I suspect that it is indeed the TTS that has slowly failed...but will confirm.

Cheers and thanks again to all for the assist.

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