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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Alfisti,
I have a part time driver 84 Spider here in the Bay Area which is always garaged and fires up no problem. (Disclosure: The O2 sensor has been lit for a month or so-the mechaninc said it comes on at mileage points-I am at 154K). This morning after the car turned over I noticed the idle sounded clunky. The tailpipe seemed to rattle a little more than usual. Once I pulled out of the garage and on to the street the car had limited power and I nursed her around the block back into the garage (never got enough power to get out of first gear).

I think its a problem with the exhuast system but I did not have a chance to get under the car and check the muffler, etc.

Any ideas before I have it towed in to my Alfa mechanic? Thanks.
 

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Loss of power is a wide area of issues.

Air leaks
Fuel pump or filters clogged
A loose exhaust wouldn't cause the problem but a clogged Cat-Converter could.

Very hard to diagnose without lots more info.....
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Sorry for lack of info-I was in a rush to get to the office and didn't spend time. I drive the car maybe once a week a distance of 8 miles. It really came out of nowhere but the only thing noticeable was the tailpipe rattle and obviously the lack of power once the clutch was released in first.

Before I phone my mechaninc and so I don't sound like a complete idiot, are there things I should listen or look for when I turn it over again this evening? Given my description are there any questions he is likely to put to me which I could better prepare to answer?

At the end of the day I don't see how I don't tow it to his shop anyway-not the way it was running this morning.
 

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You might try giving the catylist can a thump with your fist or a rubber mallet.
Any rattle from within is indicative of a broken/failed/melted down monolyth which in turn can restrict flow horribly.

In regard to the oxy sensor lamp, check the FAQ at the top of this subsection for info and linx to pictures.
The short of it: all you need to do is press a button to reset.
 

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I drive the car maybe once a week a distance of 8 miles.
I noticed the idle sounded clunky. The tailpipe seemed to rattle a little more than usual. ...the car had limited power... (never got enough power to get out of first gear).
I'd bet fair money that you have a dead miss. Meaning that one (or more) cylinders are not firing. A fouled sparkplug would top my list because of a very short 8 mile drive only once a week.
 

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The O2 sensor has been lit for a month or so-the mechaninc said it comes on at mileage points-I am at 154K.

I drive the car maybe once a week a distance of 8 miles.
As you've been told, the light on the dash is triggered by a mileage counter. It is set to go off every 30,000 miles.

The O2 sensor life is typically 60,000-90,000 miles. By itself a failed O2 sensor won't cause the symptoms you describe but, when they do fail the computer reverts to its default mixture mode which is slightly rich. That, combined with your admitted only short drives could lead to the catalytic converter getting overwhelmed with a rich mixture (the cold running mixture is also a little richer). That will lead to the demise of the catalytic converter. Such a failure can plug the catalytic converter. If exhaust gasses cannot exit the engine it can act just as you describe.

Either that or someone stuck a potato up your exhaust pipe...


At the end of the day I don't see how I don't tow it to his shop anyway-not the way it was running this morning.
Do you have reasons to not trust your mechanic? Does he have a large boat payment due?

It will be a lot easier for someone with hands-on ability to diagnose your car than us idiots on the internets.

Anyway, if you don't want to seem like a dumb owner, peruse the Spider L-jet diagnosis page (link below) to learn a lot about your car's fuel injection, ignition & emissions systems.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
No problem with my mechaninc-he is Alfa only and good done work on my car before. Just want some idea on how to explain the issue or what possible problems are.
 
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