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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey all. I hope everyone is having a terrific year. I apologize in advance for this long post, but I want to get as much info out as I can.

I was getting the dreaded fuel smell from the trunk area of my car yesterday. I also have been hearing the fuel pump louder than I think it should be. Upon inspection, I noticed my vapor box in the trunk was leaking. I can't find a replacement anywhere close to me so until I can get one, I decided to temporarily JB weld it.
I also noticed the fuel hose going to the in tank fuel pump had a small leak near where it connects to the pump. I removed the fuel pump fuse and connectors to fuel pump then cut the fuel hose past the leak and conmected up it and everything else. Then I started it and let it run for a few minutes without seeing any leaks.
Today the car will turn over and started for a brief second then died immediately. But while trying to figure it out, it mostly just turns over without starting at all. Every so often while trying to start it, the larger fuel pump relay and in tank fuel pump stays on after the car is off. I can tap that relay and it stops. It doesn't do that each time.

Things I have done and/or checked
1) Battery is a little over 11 volts while cranking the engine
2) I ran a hot wire to the in tank fuel pump and the pump came on and stayed on (car still wouldn't start)
3) When I turn the key on, I can hear and feel the smaller fuel pump relay click. The larger relay makes more of an unusual noise instead of a clicking.
4) Although the inline fuel pump fuse looked good, i replaced it with one I know is good. The fuse connector was clean and in good shape.
5) Fuel tank is full
6) under car fuel pump comes on but seems pretty warm. That could be from all the many attempts at starting it.

I read posts that are similar to mine (but not the same), and most say the larger fuel relay is the likely culprit (the one making the weird noise when key is switched to on position). But I don't understand what could have happened between one day of just driving fine, then after doing the previously mentioned minor work I done, it now won't start.

Please help. I am desperately needing to take this car to Chattanooga TN (I am 20 miles north of Knoxville TN) by May 10th if at all possible

PS: If it is the relay, do any of you fine Alfa folks out there have one they would love to ship to me or know where to get one quickly (or bring to me and have a beer..haha).
Again, sorry for the long winded text. I just want to enjoy my car in this beautiful Tennessee weather.

Thank you
 

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You can do a search and there is a way to bypass the fuel pump relay to see if the pump or relay is faulty. Hopefully someone else will chime in on jumper wire numbers that you connect to on the relay.
 

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Click on the link in my signature for a page of info & DIY diagnosis for the L-jetronic Spiders. (you may need to first click the down arrow to see the whole signature)

There are two relays near the FI computer. The main relay sends power to the fuel injectors, the computer then controls the injectors by switching their connection to ground. The drive relay (the larger one) is unique. It sends power to the fuel pumps but only when it gets a signal via a sense wire at the coil to 'know' the engine is running. There is a KAE brand relay that is physically the same size but there have been reports that it does not operate the same as the correct Bosch relay. Which brand drive relay do you have? If you determine the drive needs to be replaced, I strongly advise you get the correct Bosch version. Just be sitting down when you look at the price...

The drive relay can be bypassed for testing purposes only (it is not safe to drive the car with the relay bypassed - it acts as a safety device to cut power to the fuel pumps in the event of an accident/engine stall) Remove the drive relay, note where terminals #30 & #87 are located. Fashion a jumper wire to connect those slots where the relay was plugged in. Now the fuel pumps will run whenever the key is on. If the problem is a faulty drive relay the engine should now start & run. Note: the frequent failed attempts to start may have fouled the spark plugs. First thing would be to clean or replace the spark plugs to eliminate that as the reason for a no-start issue.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Click on the link in my signature for a page of info & DIY diagnosis for the L-jetronic Spiders. (you may need to first click the down arrow to see the whole signature)

There are two relays near the FI computer. The main relay sends power to the fuel injectors, the computer then controls the injectors by switching their connection to ground. The drive relay (the larger one) is unique. It sends power to the fuel pumps but only when it gets a signal via a sense wire at the coil to 'know' the engine is running. There is a KAE brand relay that is physically the same size but there have been reports that it does not operate the same as the correct Bosch relay. Which brand drive relay do you have? If you determine the drive needs to be replaced, I strongly advise you get the correct Bosch version. Just be sitting down when you look at the price...

The drive relay can be bypassed for testing purposes only (it is not safe to drive the car with the relay bypassed - it acts as a safety device to cut power to the fuel pumps in the event of an accident/engine stall) Remove the drive relay, note where terminals #30 & #87 are located. Fashion a jumper wire to connect those slots where the relay was plugged in. Now the fuel pumps will run whenever the key is on. If the problem is a faulty drive relay the engine should now start & run. Note: the frequent failed attempts to start may have fouled the spark plugs. First thing would be to clean or replace the spark plugs to eliminate that as the reason for a no-start issue.
Thank you so much for the quick response, and for all the information. I did by pass the drive relay like you explained, but the car still won't start. I can hear both fuel pumps running. It almost kicks over to start, but then it goes back to just turning over. I sprayed stater fluid in the intake and it kicks over but then does immediately. I checked the plugs and they are fine (I had just replaced them).
Now my fuel gauge also is not working with the big relay plugged in or bypassed like you mentioned. The fuel gauge was working yesterday even when it wouldn't start. Could the in tank fuel pump be bad and causing all this even though I can hear it humming? I dont mind buying what it needs. I just don't want to start replacing stuff until I find the issue. That can get very expensive..haha. Any more advice or suggestions to try or ideas of what else it could be? I have been hearing one of the fuel pumps humming a bit loudly sometimes when i was driving it, but I thought that may have been due to the fuel hose going to the in tank fuel pump that had a split.
I can't figure what could have happened between the time I fixed the fuel hose leak going to the in tank fuel pump and now. I keep thinking it's something simple I did or did not do when putting it back togther.
I truly appreciate the help. Thank you again.
 

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You need to buy a volt meter and start some testing. You should also make sure that you are getting 12v to the coil and spark to your spark plugs. Are you sure that if you disconnect the in tank fuel pump wires when you fixed your hose leak that you put them back correctly and or made sure that the ground wire was put back on the top of your in tank pump sending unit spot? Your wires sound crossed up to me is why your fuel sending unit is not working and maybe blew a fuse to the in tank pump.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
You need to buy a volt meter and start some testing. You should also make sure that you are getting 12v to the coil and spark to your spark plugs. Are you sure that if you disconnect the in tank fuel pump wires when you fixed your hose leak that you put them back correctly and or made sure that the ground wire was put back on the top of your in tank pump sending unit spot? Your wires sound crossed up to me is why your fuel sending unit is not working and maybe blew a fuse to the in tank pump.
Thank you again. The fuel gauge was working yesterday after I hooked everything up. I have not unhooked it again except to run a hot wire from the positive on battery to the fuel pump (while the pump is still in tank) to check and see if it comes on, which it did. I also tried running a hot wire to the purple wire going into the in tank fuel pump to see if the gauge came on (it didnt)..While I had the pump wired to my battery and the pump was humming, I tried to start it but still the same. Isn't the only fuse for the pump the one that's online next to the ecu? I took that one out (looked good) and replaced it with a known good one.

Here are some pics of how I have everything. Maybe you can tell me if I have it wrong. I just can't figure out why the gauge stopped working when the wires are the same as yesterday. Is there any other fuses I could have blown to cause the no start and the gauge coincidentally not working now?
Oh yea, I do have a multi meter..haha. Just need to know what to check and how..haha.
I hope you see something I have hooked up wrong or another fuse somewhere I may have blown. Like I mentioned, it was running fine before I messed with the split hose..ugh
Thank you again my friend.
 

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Your wiring does look correct and the ground line is installed. If your in tank pump is humming I assume that you are getting 12 volts to it. Next step would be to pull the in tank pump and sender and do some tests. You can put 12 volts to in tank pump when it is removed quickly to see if your pump is moving with the sock removed and you can do some tests to see if your sender is operating like it should. You can google on how to see how to test sender level. You really need to learn how to use your volt meter. They come with instructions.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Your wiring does look correct and the ground line is installed. If your in tank pump is humming I assume that you are getting 12 volts to it. Next step would be to pull the in tank pump and sender and do some tests. You can put 12 volts to in tank pump when it is removed quickly to see if your pump is moving with the sock removed and you can do some tests to see if your sender is operating like it should. You can google on how to see how to test sender level. You really need to learn how to use your volt meter. They come with instructions.
I agree. I have never really understood the Volt meter..haha. I mean I do know how to use it and what setting to put it on to check my battery to see if it's charged, but I'm not sure about the other settings. I admit this..haha.
If my in tank pump is humming and getting 12 volts, why would I need to pull it out to check it? Also I thought I read somewhere that the main pump would still start the car without the in tank pump connected. Is that actually correct? Also why would the in tank pump and fuel gauge be working the day before I messed with the fuel hose crack, and then all of the sudden it not be? Is there something else I could have blown when I removed the in tank wires around? I mean it did start and run after I hooked everything back up after fixing the fuel hose crack.
It's just that the next day it wouldn't start any more, except for just a second then die. What could have happened between one day and the next if I didn't do anything else?. This is weird to me..haha.
I am fairly handy with instructions and mechanical things but this has me baffled. Almost wish I had never tried to fix the hose..haha

Could the vapor tank in the trunk have anything to do with all this? I did mention it was leaking and I temporarily fixed it. Of course it started after I fixed that and the cracked fuel hose. Just not the next day.
Sorry to keep.pestering you. It just seems like you have excellent advice and things for me to check. I feel like it's going to be something dumb. Like when a lamp doesn't work and you realize it's not plugged in..haha.
I don't mind that at all. I just want to fix it and drive it to my mom's.
I can't say how much I appreciate any more ideas or "how to's" on what to check next. I would even be happy to send you a few bucks for all the help...really.
I domt know if this is allowed, but my phone number is 865-964-7264. (Darrell).
You are fantastic my friend.
 

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Just because it is humming doesn't mean that it is turning. It could be locked up. When my in tank pump went from crap in the tank my car would not start unless I was pumping the accelerator pedal a few times. The under the car pump does not turn on until the car has started. You could take off your gas cap and see if the car will start but I doubt that it will make any difference. You need to get the workshop manual as well.
 

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Also you could remove the hose after the sender some where and put it inside a bucket and turn the car over to see if indeed you in tank is pumping or not.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Also you could remove the hose after the sender some where and put it inside a bucket and turn the car over to see if indeed you in tank is pumping or not.
You really are awesome. I am going to take the pump out and check it as soon as I get back from the store. I am pulling it because I believe the step hose on it is cracked as well. When the car gets below half tank, it starts to cut out like running out of fuel. Plus I want to see if it's all mucked up. It's simple enough to remove. I will let you know, but after reading your post, im starting to think this is the issue.
Thanks again. Next time you are in Knoxville TN area, I will treat you to a nice meal.

Out of curiosity, where are you located and what do you drive?
 

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I am in Westlake Ohio and drive a backdated 1978 spider with spica and a 1987 spider with bosch. Also own a 1977 carbureted project that I am working on.
 

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The under the car pump does not turn on until the car has started.
No. The main pump under the car also comes on during cranking just like the intank pump. If it doesn't you have something wrong.
 

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Interesting. I don't think that mine does that. I think that it only comes to life after my car is running. Doesn't the main pump get a signal from the coil when the car is running for safety purposes just in case the car flips over and the motor stops the main pump will shut off? What you are saying is as long as the key is on the main pump will turn on. That does it with my series 2 spica setup but not with my series 3 bosch.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Also you could remove the hose after the sender some where and put it inside a bucket and turn the car over to see if indeed you in tank is pumping or not.
I am in Westlake Ohio and drive a backdated 1978 spider with spica and a 1987 spider with bosch. Also own a 1977 carbureted project that I am working on.
I was born near Cincinatti. I have family up there still, and we do family reunions often. In fact we are having one in a month, and I am hoping to take my car if I can get it running...ugh..haha

I disconnected the in tank fuel pump hose from the hard line in the trunk. I then wired a battery to the in tank fuel pump, and it seemed to be pumping gas into my can. I let it go that for about 10 seconds. The pump did sound a little weak at times while doing that, but the flow seemed the same. So I'm guessing the in tank pump is working. Even if a tiny bit weak sounding (maybe), the flow seems good enough to get to the main pump easily, unless it is supposed to come out hard and fast. Mine just flows steady.
Do I also assume the large fuel pump relay is good since I could jump it as you explained, and the car still does not start? I believe you stated, if it started when jumping the relay then the relay is bad. But it acted the same with relay jumped or connected up.
Maybe the next step is to test the main pump under the car? Can't imagine it being the fuel filter, because it's been running fine. And this all happened right after I did that basic fix on the hose. But I will take it off to see if it's coming through or dirty. Just lost on what to try next my friend..
Your advice is truly appreciated.

I hope this "high quality" video comes through and helps.
[QUOTE="zedsn, post: 8642303, membe
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Also you could remove the hose after the sender some where and put it inside a bucket and turn the car over to see if indeed you in tank is pumping or not.
I am in Westlake Ohio and drive a backdated 1978 spider with spica and a 1987 spider with bosch. Also own a 1977 carbureted project that I am working on.
I was born near Cincinatti. I have family up there still, and we do family reunions often. In fact we are having one in a month, and I am hoping to take my car if I can get it running...ugh..haha

I disconnected the in tank fuel pump hose from the hard line in the trunk. I then wired a battery to the in tank fuel pump, and it seemed to be pumping gas into my can. I let it go that for about 10 seconds. The pump did sound a little weak at times while doing that, but the flow seemed the same. So I'm guessing the in tank pump is working. Even if a tiny bit weak sounding (maybe), the flow seems good enough to get to the main pump easily, unless it is supposed to come out hard and fast. Mine just flows steady.
Do I also assume the large fuel pump relay is good since I could jump it as you explained, and the car still does not start? I believe you stated, if it started when jumping the relay then the relay is bad. But it acted the same with relay jumped or connected up.
Maybe the next step is to test the main pump under the car? Can't imagine it being the fuel filter, because it's been running fine. And this all happened right after I did that basic fix on the hose. But I will take it off to see if it's coming through or dirty. Just lost on what to try next my friend..
Your advice is truly appreciated.
 

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The in tank pump does not have a lot of PSI like the under tank one. Next step I would see if I am getting spark at the plugs.
 

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L-jetronic is a system - all the bits have to work for it to work at all. I suggest going through all the tests outlined in the L-jet Spider Diagnosis guide (link in my signature). Why something went bad simply from your hose repair will forever defy explanation other than to realize it is an Alfa.

Your '85 Spider probably has the bullet type fuses. If they are of unknown vintage replace them. Especially fuses with the aluminum strip - they can somehow look OK but fail to allow electrons to flow. The fuses with a brass strip are more reliable.

Make sure the flywheel sensors are good. They are what tell the computer the engine speed (rpm) and position (timing). They tend to work fine until suddenly they don't... A noisy main pump usually signals impending failure. The in-tank pump is just a low pressure supply to the main pump. The main pump provides the fuel at the proper pressure for the fuel injectors to be able to inject fuel. A failing main pump will not produce the pressure required and then the injectors won't be squirting any fuel. The Fuel Pressure Regulator (FPR) is what fine tunes the fuel pressure. A quick test for a faulty FPR is to remove the small dia vacuum hose and check for the presence of gas (sniff, wetness). There should not be gas on the vacuum hose side. To test the fuel pump & FPR you need a pressure gauge.

Location of FPR:
1685031


2.3 bar ~ 33 psi 2.7 bar ~ 39 psi
1685032
 

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Jim is correct. And no, the pumps don't run continuously with the key on. Typically, they run for a fraction of a second when the key is turned to "on". They do run with the key in the start position, engine spinning and tach signal being sent from the coil to the drive relay.

Using a jumper on the drive relay will cause both pumps (they are on the same circuit) to run in the "key on" position. The jumper test is just to confirm the pumps are operational and a work around for a bad relay.

If the car doesn't start with the pumps running, however you make that happen, then certainly check for spark.
 
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