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Discussion Starter #1
Hi guys! Got a 1988 spider with 21k miles that has the following issues:

1) Runs rough and dies if the fuel level goes below half tank, but runs good otherwise.
2) Fuel pump(external) is noisy and gets louder after driving for a while.

Is the external pump going bad or is it being starved because of bad in-tank pump?
Found this pump on ebay for 50 bucks. Is it ok to install this instead of OEM?

New Universal Inline External Mount Fuel Pump Flow 100 LPH Pressure 3 0 Bar | eBay

Hi Jay, I just joined the forum, we are neighbors :)

Best, Mario
 

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Hmmm, that ebay pump looks like the right size- looks just like the one I put in my S3. As long as they rate it for your car, price is excellent. I got a lifetime pump though, when it breaks, get one free. Way to go. yes, lifetime costs way more than $50. BUT, that pump is NOT your in tank pump. Watch out. Still, noisy external is not good. others here will recomend what to do- many here have way more experience than me on fuel.........

Noisy pump is bad- any way you cut it. Just watch it closely- dont wait til youre stranded. Good luck, man.
 

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The issue you describe about less than half a tank of fuel is a symptom of a cracked stepped hose on the in-tank pump, which coincidently doesn't come with a new pump, and I think the sock filter is also sold separately. It would make sense if your in-tank pump is acting up or not working, the main pump under the car must work harder which could be the cause of the noise, but so could a filter in need of replacement.
 

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FWIW, I went through a few $280 Bosch external pumps years ago on my 84 Alfa (that wasn't being driven enough). Even new, the Bosch pumps made a buzzing sound.

My last pump failure was in 2007. My car was on the side of the road and after a few calls, I located and purchase an aftermarket pump from Autozone for $160.

When I installed the pump and turned the key to 'on', I heard nothing and immediately thought that I had a bad pump (again) or had screwed up the install somehow.

Well, the car started and the pump was, and still is, perfectly quiet.

Just one data point....hope it helps!
 

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Hi Jay, I just joined the forum, we are neighbors :)
Hi Mario - where in the OC are you?

The OC Alfisti gather each Saturday at Cars & Coffee Irvine. But this coming Saturday, many of us will be at the AROSC concours at the Autry museum in Los Angeles. And the Saturday after that we'll be at the historic races at Coronado. You are welcome to join us at any of these events.
 

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But Mad North-Northwest
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My main pump only buzzed when the booster pump in the tank had failed.

As Mike said, check the in-tank pump and also the stepped hose in the tank assembly.
 

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I had similar issue on my Milano and it was the fuel pressure regulator. The fuel pump was buzzing loud and the car ran rough but there was nothing wrong with the tank,
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Hmmm, that ebay pump looks like the right size- looks just like the one I put in my S3. As long as they rate it for your car, price is excellent. I got a lifetime pump though, when it breaks, get one free. Way to go. yes, lifetime costs way more than $50. BUT, that pump is NOT your in tank pump. Watch out. Still, noisy external is not good. others here will recomend what to do- many here have way more experience than me on fuel.........

Noisy pump is bad- any way you cut it. Just watch it closely- dont wait til youre stranded. Good luck, man.
Joe Papa Sr,
I agree with you that a noisy pump should be replaced, it's very logical. But as you know, Alfa's are not very rational!!...lol...I just ordered the part anyway, but won't install until I'm sure it needs replacement.
Thanks for your input buddy!
 

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Discussion Starter #10
The issue you describe about less than half a tank of fuel is a symptom of a cracked stepped hose on the in-tank pump, which coincidently doesn't come with a new pump, and I think the sock filter is also sold separately. It would make sense if your in-tank pump is acting up or not working, the main pump under the car must work harder which could be the cause of the noise, but so could a filter in need of replacement.
Hi Mike,
I never thought of that stepped hose. I think you nailed it!! Thx!!

Forzaalfa mentioned it could be the pressure regulator also. I'm guessing that should be fairly easy to inspect, If it checks out, then I'll inspect the in-tank fuel pump assembly.

Thank you so much!!
 

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Discussion Starter #11
FWIW, I went through a few $280 Bosch external pumps years ago on my 84 Alfa (that wasn't being driven enough). Even new, the Bosch pumps made a buzzing sound.

My last pump failure was in 2007. My car was on the side of the road and after a few calls, I located and purchase an aftermarket pump from Autozone for $160.

When I installed the pump and turned the key to 'on', I heard nothing and immediately thought that I had a bad pump (again) or had screwed up the install somehow.

Well, the car started and the pump was, and still is, perfectly quiet.

Just one data point....hope it helps!
Hi Don,

I can't justify paying 200 bucks extra for a Bosch, after all it's just a pump!!
I'll see if I need one in the first place.

Glad you got a quieter Auto zone one for less!!

Thank you for your input!
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Hi Mario - where in the OC are you?

The OC Alfisti gather each Saturday at Cars & Coffee Irvine. But this coming Saturday, many of us will be at the AROSC concours at the Autry museum in Los Angeles. And the Saturday after that we'll be at the historic races at Coronado. You are welcome to join us at any of these events.
Hi Jay,

I'm in Mission Viejo, about 10 minutes away from you!

I would love to join you guys in LA or SD, but I just got this Alfa, and don't feel comfortable driving it to LA yet. Gotta do some work on it first. I know a lot of mechanics, but none of them want to work on it. So I'm working on it myself. Note: I'm a car guy, but not a mechanic!

Thank you, hope to see you soon!
 

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Discussion Starter #14
My main pump only buzzed when the booster pump in the tank had failed.

As Mike said, check the in-tank pump and also the stepped hose in the tank assembly.
Hi Tom,

I agree with you and Mike, and I'm pretty sure that's where the problem is. but would like to check the fuel pressure regulator first.

Thank you so much!!
 

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But Mad North-Northwest
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but would like to check the fuel pressure regulator first.
In the absence of general running problems an FPR problem is unlikely.

Given that the engine runs poorly and dies with less than half a tank, that pretty much localizes the problem to the tank area.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
I had similar issue on my Milano and it was the fuel pressure regulator. The fuel pump was buzzing loud and the car ran rough but there was nothing wrong with the tank,
Hi Forzaalfa,

I was ready to go into fuel tank and check the fuel assembly, but inspecting the pressure regulator sounds like an easier inspection and should be done first. Any idea where to begin??

Thank you very much!
 

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Discussion Starter #17
In the absence of general running problems an FPR problem is unlikely.

Given that the engine runs poorly and dies with less than half a tank, that pretty much localizes the problem to the tank area.
Your're absolutely correct!
I like the way you think :)

Thx buddy!
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Looks like everybody was right!! The main fuel pump is still noisy, and needs replacement. In tank assembly was in pieces. Step hose was replaced by a regular hose with clamps on both ends securing nothing!! Put everything back together temporarily, so far no issues driving with less than half tank of gas!!
Thank you everybody, you guys are awesome!!
 

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But Mad North-Northwest
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That's a good start. Did you check whether the in-tank pump is working?

The power feed for the pump is the pink wire at the top of the gas tank. If you get a remote starter switch, you can connect it to the positive terminal of the battery and the terminal that has the pink wire (with the car turned off). When you hit the button on the switch you should hear the in-tank pump hum/whir loudly. No hum, dead pump.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
That's a good start. Did you check whether the in-tank pump is working?

The power feed for the pump is the pink wire at the top of the gas tank. If you get a remote starter switch, you can connect it to the positive terminal of the battery and the terminal that has the pink wire (with the car turned off). When you hit the button on the switch you should hear the in-tank pump hum/whir loudly. No hum, dead pump.
I spoke too soon!
Good news : Booster pump is working
Bad news: Still have the same problem, car died on the fwy and had to put gas in when half full!! Got it started, ran fine!!

Note 1: I removed the in-tank pump again, thinking it had fallen apart again but it wasn't. Checked the pump as you said, heard the hum.
What gives??
 
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