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Discussion Starter #1
I was driving up a long hill today and suddenly the engine was running rough. I saw the temperature getting hotter and I pulled over. It never got above about 210.

I don't see any coolant leaks and the fan belt is intact. Can anyone please suggest troubleshooting tips?
 

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If the 210 reading is accurate then it should not have caused your motor to run rough. You may have two different problems.
 

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I have an '84 spider that started heating up and was getting progressively hotter, clearing the 210 mark on one occasion. I had the radiator flushed and pressure tested. They said it was fine. Still ran hot. I bought new thermostat and bled the system. Still ran hot. Finally one day before a long trip up the river road, I saw it spring a leak. I bought a new radiator and hoses from Vicks and now she runs right smack in the middle, even on really hot days. I guess mine was just too clogged and getting worse. Hope that helps.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
After my car cooled down, I opened the radiator cap and verified the coolant was full. I was able to drive my car home, but I saw the temperature start to rise on every moderate hill. I turned on the heater and blower to keep the temperature around 175. The outside temperature today is only 75.

I flushed and replaced the coolant over the winter. Is it possible I have an air pocket or that I introduced some other problem with the cooling system? The water pump is about 1 year old.
 

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is this the first time you drove it since changing coolant? its very likely an air pocket....check first to see if it is...always do the cheap checks first!
 

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Discussion Starter #6
No, I've been driving it all winter. But today is probably the warmest day since I changed coolant.
 

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One easy thing to check is the exterior of the radiator fins. I have seen several Alfa's overheat because the radiator was obstructed with dried mud or an oil/dirt mixture.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks Roger. I will check the plugs and compression on each cylinder.

The engine definitely felt like it was missing when it started running rough. I couldn't maintain speed even after downshifting.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I checked compression and got readings of 140, 150, 135, 120. Plugs 1, 2, and 3 looked dry and brown. Plug 4 was gooey and black. I put some transmission fluid down cylinder 4 and still got a reading of 120.

I checked my oil and it is low a quart. I have driven about 1000 miles since the last oil change.

Do the symptoms sound like a blown head gasket? How can I tell if I have a valve problem too?
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I changed the spark plugs, fuel filter, wireset, distributor cap, and rotor to solve the running rough problem. The wireset was original, and the rest of the components were at least 7 years old. I went with the Magnecor KV85 wireset from IAP. It's been two weeks and no recurrance of the problem.
 
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