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1978 Alfa Spider Won't Start

4600 Views 13 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  Alistair Muir
Hi all, thanks for taking the time to read my post. I have a 78 Alfa spider that I have been rebuilding. 
Recently I had the SPICA pump rebuilt by Wes Ingram. I intalled it and it worked flawlessly. Car ran great, but it would not restart after cool down. I have been going through the steps Wes recommends to tune the pump, really tough to get it right. 
The TA is new and looks to be working correctly. Gap is set to .015 when at operating temp.. New fuel pump, hoses, and filters. Plugs, wires, etc.....everything works great when the car is running. Its getting it started thats the challenge. I should also add that when the car cools down a little, it will restart, though it does take some effort. I'm thinking maybe the cold start module is set incorrectly? Its obviously new with the pump, but how would I check if thats the issue?

Any ideas and recommendations would be greatly appreciated

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unplug the cold start solenoid and see what happens
Thanks Rogerspeed. Will try that and give an update.
Changed the coil again. Started right up. Drove and performed flawlessly. Started up this morning but after a minute the engine cut out and will now not restart.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
Also, there used to be one lead coming off the starter motor to the cold start selenoid, then one coming off the selenoid to a harness. I was told to leave that one unconnected since there is only one connector on the new selenoid. Is that correct? Advice?
the original wiring would be harness to starter solenoid then to cold start solenoid, unplug from cold start solenoid.

this however wouldn't explain the engine cutting out, I'd test for spark
Having an issue with my spider. Have been rebuilding for a while now. The last piece was the SPICA fuel injector pump that was rebuilt by Wes Ingram. He does a great job. 
After I installed the pump, she fired right up and I was able to make most of the necessary adjustments to the pump. The car ran great. But as the engine cooled down, it became harder to start. And when the car is cold, it takes alot of cranking before it will start, and sometimes it wont start at all. The TA is working properly and the gap is set properly. I dont believe it to be a fuel delivery issue. Today it started after a bit of cranking, but shut down after about a minute. Will not restart. The sound it made when it died was that of turning off the ignition with the key. Just went dead. No sputter as if it were fuel related. I should also mention that this is a brand new coil, with internal ballast. It was explaind to me that internal ballast is acceptable. I connected the green wire to the positive terminal, and taped off the green\black. Could this be the issue? I also relocated it. Mounted it vertically to the fire wall. 
Also, as you probably know, the rebuilt pumps come with a cold start solenoid that has only one lead, (as opposed to two on the old)and that lead connects to the starter. There isn't a connector on the solenoid for the other wire. Wes recommended that I just tape it off. Everything else is new..wires, points, plugs, etc.. and like I mentioned, when it ran, it ran great. I have mentioned the problem to a few mechanics and they said it sounded like a spark issue but are unfamiliar with how the Alfas are wired. 
Any advice or suggestions would be greatly appreciated. 
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There was never a cold start solenoid with two leads, always just one from starter solenoid.

As for quitting, check the leads you put on the new coil to be sure they are still connected. Why did you replace the coil to begin with? Beyond that it's basically check the 12v circuit through coil to points. Make sure points are opening and closing and grounding the circuit.
Hi....thanks for the reply

yes indeed. There were 2 connections on the old cold start solenoid. One lead went to the starter. The other went to some junction. It was this wire that Wes told me to just tape off. The old solenoid had 2 male connecters on top. The new ones have only one.

all the wires and connections are tight and clean. Changed the coil because it died. Not sure why it died as it was only a year old.
I've never seen 2 wires on a CSS either.......but this guy's 79 also had 2
Interesting, two tabs but still only one actual terminal. I have no idea where the other wire would go or why. Maybe you could trace it back or take some pictures so we could figure it out. I've never seen nor heard of it before and can't find any mention of it in any of the documents I have. I used to own a '79 Alfetta and it only had one wire.
I believe there were two relays, hence two spade terminals? One was the starter relay (23) added in the later models to prevent the CSS feedback issue and the other wire went to the starter ignition advance relay (86). See the diagram below:


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I don't have the whole diagram so it's a bit hard to follow. What is #13 and where's the ignition switch?
Similar wiring #13 is vacuam switch...


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