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I have a 1986 Spider Veloce that's been in my garage since 2003. I am doing a minor cosmetic restoration as it needs a new top, upholstery, could use carpet and a general cleaning up. It's a 77,000 mile, two owner Southern California rest free car so it's definitely worth it.

Evey couple of years I get motivated to do something and yesterday was that day. I removed the couple of years accumulation of boxes, papers, sleeping bags, etc. from it, aired up the tires, removed the battery and charged it overnight. Put the battery back in today along with 3 1/2 gallons of fresh gas and it cranks over great. So good in fact that I can eventually read a bit of oil pressure being developed, but that's all it does is crank.

In years past it has always jumped to life within 10 seconds of being turned over but now all it does is crank. I can't remember what it is supposed to sound like when being started, so let me make these observations:

I get a nice click from the area of the ECU when turning the ignition on so I assume that's the fuel injection double relay

I do not seem to hear the fuel pump running at anytime

strangely the gas gauge is not reading anything when there should be almost 1/4 tank of gas in it

I do not obviously smell gas like it is flooding

Any suggestions or words of wisdom before I start the basic does it have fuel and/or spark checks? Like I say, all the time in the past after being after being "asleep" for a couple of years it has always started instantly.

Best Wishes,

Ed
 

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Have you got spark?
If so it should fire when you spray some "quick start" into the air cleaner.
Once you answer those questions, help can be more specific.

Elio
 

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1. Old battery might not actually be making the minimum required voltage to light up the ECU. Try a known good battery as a test. Don't rely on jumping it from another car, as a shorted cell in your Alfa battery can drop the total voltage to below the necessary amount.

2. You probably won't hear the fuel pump. It does not continue running until the engine starts.

3. Spray a little gas into the intake (quick-start is an unnecessary chemical for this). I've done this via the air by-pass hose. Doesn't take much. If it fires after that, you should suspect the fuel system, which could be any combination of gummed up cold-start valve, bad thermo-time switch, gummed up injectors, bad fuel pump, bad master relay, etc.

4. A bad master relay can click, but not make a good contact, thus keeping the fuel pump from delivering any pressure. The above test should at least tell you if the ignition is working.

5. Bad in-tank pump. If you have only a little gas, the in-tank pump is necessary to get things rolling. It can be bad, and/or the rubber hose that connects it to the outlet pipe can be shot. Not hard to get to it by pulling out the tank fuel level sender.

6. Possibly a bad ground to the tank, as this would keep your sender and in-tank pump from working?

Good luck,
 

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strangely the gas gauge is not reading anything when there should be almost 1/4 tank of gas in it
Kinda random, but that is possibly a result of either the float being incorrectly calibrated, (unless of course it worked fine prior to these issues), or, it's plausible that the ground wire may have come loose/off at the sending unit.

Why is it relevant?
If the ground wire is bad, then the in~tank pump won't function and with really low fuel levels the main pump underneath cannot draw enough up through the sending unit to feed fuel to the engine.

Course I could be well off on the ground and its relation to the gauge, but it definitely needs to be intact to allow the pump to run.

Alternatively, it's also viable that the stepped hose that ties the pump to the sender has failed. This will allow the main pump to sump air instead of fuel with less than 1/2 a tank present, and again, no running.

'Usually' the stepped hose issue is preceeded by ongoing and ever increasingly worse high end performance (like the engine won't pull, goes 'flat', or may even refuse to go above an RPM level that it normally would otherwise) and extreme difficulty starting.

All this is pure speculation on my part though, and represents some of the more 'worst case scenario' type problems that can cause your issue. Might just be gummy injectors for sitting static for so long.

The pumps should run for 1/2 a second or so when the key is turned from off to on, but as Don mentioned above, they won't run continuously unless the engine is being cranked or the engine is running.

And we'll be requiring pictures BTW
 

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...strangely the gas gauge is not reading anything when there should be almost 1/4 tank of gas in it...
...that is possibly a result of either the float being incorrectly calibrated...
Unless there is a large puddle of gasoline under the car...!
 
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