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I had the Spica adjusted and a new cold-start solenoid installed by my mechanic but the car started running worse and worse. Now it's to the point where it won't idle and is very difficult to start. The car runs very rough at anything under 3000 rpm.

What exactly might cause this? The mechanic says that it needs to be adjusted, but what would I adjust and can it be done with the pump in the car?

Yes, I'll order Wes's book- but in the mean-time it's killing me not to drive her this summer!
 

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Is the fuel low pressure warning light operating normally?

Have you triple checked that the firing order on the spark plugs is correct. Should be 1-3-4-2. DO NOT pay ANY attention to the numbers on the distributor cap. They mean NOTHING.
 

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First thing to do is pull the plugs. See what they have to tell you (Rich, lean, dry, wet, etc). Then clean them up and try them out. You car will probably run better just from that. Regardless, you should go through the SPICA tune up procedure. There used to be a great write up on this at the AROC Oregon but it is no longer there. Perhaps someone has downloaded it...

The basic idea in a SPICA tune up is to first make sure everything else is set properly. So, your first step is to make sure the ignition is up to spec. Then verify that the fuel delivery is working (fuel pump pressure primarily). Is the low fuel pressure light working properly? Verify that the SPICA timing is correct. There is a mark on the SPICA pulley that aligns with a mark on the SPICA body when the crank pulley is at the "I" mark for Cylinder #1. Even verify that the thermostat is working and opens at 175F.

Assuming ignition and fuel delivery are good ( and cams are timed properly for that matter), it's time to start work on the SPICA. Here again the idea is to set up everything up to spec.

1) Start by verifying that your Thermostatic Actuator (TA) is working properly. For a '74, an original TA should extend to 29mm at 175F. If it is an aftermarket TA, it should extend to around 31mm and you should have a 2mm shim to take up the difference. If it is good, you can check/adjust the pump gap. If bad, replace it. In the interim you can fabricate a dummy TA - http://www.alfabb.com/bb/forums/showthread.php?t=5847&highlight=adjusting+the+fuel+cutoff+solenoid


2) The pump gap should be set to .019" with the engine at 175F (operating temp). With the engine up to temp, disconnect the long rod and check the gap. If necessary, adjust the gap by removing the TA from the SPICA and using a thin blade screwdriver turn the set screw at the bottom TA hole.

3) Next adjust the short rod so that butterfly valves are just closing when the bellcrank bottoms out. If you have reason to think that the high and low idle set screws have been messed with, you should verify their correct positions (Search).

4) Now set the long rod so that the pump gap is at .019" when the bellcrank is at idle stop.

5) It is time to check the fuel cutoff solenoid. This adjustment really has nothing to do with the FCS function per say but the FCS is used to set the fuel mixture. First you need to back off the big lockwasher. Then unscrew the FCS making sure to count the number of turn until the FCS is out. Now turn it back in 9 1/2 turns. If the FCS was turned more than 9.5 turns it was set rich - less would be lean. You can adjust from the 9.5 position but I think Wes's goes into detail on how to do that (maybe here too - search).

6) Check the Cold Start Solenoid (CSS) for proper operation. With the engine at temp and running, give the CSS 12VDC. If working properly the engine should slow to a low idle but not die. If it does it is too rich, if nothing happens it is probably no good.

When you have gone through all this it would probably be good to clean your plugs again. I find that the plugs tend to foul out with all this horsing around.

If after all this the motor is still not running smoothly, it might be time to look further at the condition of the SPICA itself.

Again, this is a summary - do your homework by searching for all threads on SPICA tuneup and such. John Stewart (Roadtrip) is THE SPICA guru - search out his posts and read. He has posted many, many great pictures of the items noted above as well as copious detailed instructions. He also has instruction manuals available for download on Wes's site.

Good luck and enjoy the journey!
 

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Thank you very much! The spark-plug order is correct. Plug condition indicates that the car is running rich. Cleaning them helps a little- but not for long as they just foul again.The fuel low-pressure light has been on since a mechanic shorted a wire against the instrument panel, so I have been assuming that that's buggered. Maybe it isn't- I'll check that!

I'll look up Roadtrips posts and see what I can come manage to find out after work tomorrow. I'll at least get things torn down enough to see the pump... I have to work evenings as I'm busy every weekend until the end of August.

The dummy T/A is so simple even I can probably manage it...
 

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The fuel low pressure warning light is critical to diagnosis. That needs to be working to do coherent troubleshooting.

I sounds like you should present your mechanic a bill for his damage rather than paying a bill for "fixing" it.

I'd be interested in why he felt that the Cold-Start Solenoid needed replacing. It might be that the cold start hydraulic piston is sticking (fairly common problem), grossly enriching the mixture, but that's not the solenoid's fault. My guess would be that there's nothing wrong with the Cold-Start Solenoid itself.

Download the Fuel Supply Guide and the Roadside Fault Analysis Guide. It has an entry on "Stuck Cold Start Solenoid."

Just don't start monkeying with the system willy-nilly. The troubleshooting process must be methodical and in logical order.
 

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Thanks John- I've downloaded that now. So I guess the first order of business should be to fix that light... After I read the guide.
 

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the suel pressure light has 12 volts on one side (on with ignition) and the other side to a pressure switch on the spica filter which grounds with no pressure to light the light. the simplest test is to unplug the switch and see if the light goes out. if it dont, the wire is grounded somewhere.
cliff
 
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