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Discussion Starter #181
Guys, I'm just done.
I've swapped three different AFMs and three different ECUs. Gone back to stock ignition components (coil, ballast, amp, plug wires), replaced every sensor and wiring, checked continuity for everything at the ECU harness, replaced gaskets and seals, checked injectors and wiring, compression, battery, etc. I've literally gone step by step through the L-Jet tuneup guide no fewer that four times in the past two weeks alone. None of it does any good because the car either won't start, or will run beautifully for 30 seconds then abruptly shut off. The ONE thing I haven't replaced is the distributor.

I'm just at a complete loss. This problem is clearly beyond my capacity to solve, and my wife is just angry thinking about spending more money on it. I think I have to part it out or sell it outright. It's been problematic from the day I got it, with random and dangerous shut-downs. Every time I think I solve it, the problem reappears, but slightly different. Instead of an immediate switch off, it'll choke out. Instead of choking out it'll begin missing violently. Instead of missing violently it'll shut off, like originally.

Ugh. This car is cursed and I just can't contain my frustration with it.
 

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181 posts ?
Another case of using the wrong method to solve a problem......
This happens time and time again here. No end of suggestions from members leading the thread author in circles and emptying his wallet. Many times ending as you have, in sheer frustration.

Troubleshooting by internet is often a fools game.

No competent mechanics near you ??
 

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Discussion Starter #183
There are a couple. It's been towed home twice from a mechanics garage though, costing me about $1500 with no results.
I'm taking with a guy who's an old school Alfa guy, but I have to arrange a tow an payment. At this time I have no more money to spend though. Something my wife lets me know about almost constantly.


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181 posts ?
Another case of using the wrong method to solve a problem......
This happens time and time again here. No end of suggestions from members leading the thread author in circles and emptying his wallet. Many times ending as you have, in sheer frustration.

Troubleshooting by internet is often a fools game.

No competent mechanics near you ??
No negativity here...

182 posts, and this ONE is all you contributed to help this Alfa owner? What a useless, condescending response. I disagree with you completely on the usefulness of the Alfa BB. People try to help each other here for all the right reasons. Know what? I think you ought to buy his car... outright... right now... cash deal. Then fix it and sell it back to him, since you're convinced of your superior methodology.
 

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Discussion Starter #185
Don't want to start a war.

I've done literally everything recommended and in the process I've actually worked out a few problems, like fluctuating fuel pressure. Unfortunately NOTHING has caused my car to run. Short of starting to just wholesale replace everything, I don't know what else to do.

Megasquirt was recommended as a possible option, but I'm also pretty much out of money. So it's either throw in the towel or deep-freeze the car for a year or so while I replenish my funds.
 

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Hindsight is 20/20 - you could have bought a plug and play Megasquirt for less than you have spent trying to fix the Bosch L-junk.
 

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Hindsight is 20/20 - you could have bought a plug and play Megasquirt for less than you have spent trying to fix the Bosch L-junk.
Maybe...but since it hasn't been determined what the root cause is, that may have been thrown away money as well. He's swapped ECUs and AFMs, so it's likely not the L-Jet. I still wonder about the rebuilt head (if I remember correctly). If the valves don't have enough clearance, they'll stick when they start to warm.
 

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If the valves don't have enough clearance, they'll stick when they start to warm.
Do you know of an instance of that happening?
 

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Discussion Starter #189
Well, that was a couple of years ago and I actually put quite a few trouble-free miles on the car between then and now. The problem I'm having now literally just manifested one day. I'd finally gotten around to replacing the plug wires (mine were original, hard, and would drop voltage if they were crimped). Swapped those, drove a little bit, was checking the idle and timing, as it was beginning to miss, and it rapidly [progressed from missing after warming up to not running at all. I've checked and rechecked the coolant temp sensor, including continuity to the ECU harness, and it's fine. Injectors continue to pulse even if the car won't run. I pulled the rail and they aren't leaking, and squirt evenly into six little jars when I crank. Spark plugs spark when cranking. The vacuum is OK as long as the timing is advanced and idle is high, but the whole thing shuts down rapidly after about 30 seconds. It SEEMS like other start/stall situations but none of those solutions have had any effect whatsoever on my car. Like I said, I've literally checked every single component that could be causing the problem, but nothing seems to be out of sorts. I have the distributor on my workbench now but I don't have a schematic at the moment. That's all I have left.
 

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Discussion Starter #190
Distributor - I had the Hall sensor replaced 6 or 7 years ago. I suppose it could be bad? I can't tie its failure directly to the hard start or start/stall problem, but maybe?
 

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Discussion Starter #192
Deep into VW Vortex (God help me) and many of the symptoms I have are tied to a bad distributor/Hall sensor in older VeeDubs with Bosch ignition. Not all, and the intermittent running seems to contradict the "it works or it doesn't" functionality of the Hall sensor, but I guess it's worth exploring. I suppose it's possible my replacement was or went bad...
 

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If the injectors click then the hall sensor is working, at least when you tested it. You may have been asked this before: when the engine dies does the tachometer drop immediately to zero or does it fall slowly as the engine slows? If it drops suddenly then something on the low voltage side of the coil is failing. If it drops slowly then it is in the high tension side of the ignition or you have lost fuel. A pressure gauge Teed into the cold start injector line will tell you if you have fuel. An obstruction in the exhaust system could also cause these symptoms. When we were kids we would stuff a potato into a tail pipe as a practical joke. The car would stop running soon after it started.
 

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In reply to the comments on Megasquirt: With MS you can see all of the information that the computer sees plus the results of it's calculations. There is no window into L-junk, that is why you swap out AFM's, CTS's etc. Of course MS gets rid of the awful AFM and uses a MAP transducer and you can see it's output both in real time and in data logs. Same for coolant temp, air temp, injector on tine, ignition advance, dwell time,......... Troubleshooting is much easier. Even if the problem is not associated with the engine management, it allows you to eliminate it and focus on the other stuff.
 

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Discussion Starter #195
What's the rough cost for a basic, mostly ready to install system? I don't mind fabricating harnesses and whatnot but I don't want to be soldering circuit boards!


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Contact Reale - Al Mitchell. He built mine.
 

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Validation....

No negativity here...

182 posts, and this ONE is all you contributed to help this Alfa owner? What a useless, condescending response. I disagree with you completely on the usefulness of the Alfa BB. People try to help each other here for all the right reasons. Know what? I think you ought to buy his car... outright... right now... cash deal. Then fix it and sell it back to him, since you're convinced of your superior methodology.
The last 14 posts would seem to make my point...
Which was to get the car to someone who can fix it!
You can take it to 20 shops that don't understand the car and you will have the same result!
There are numerous Alfa Club and BB members not too far away who could recommend a knowledgeable shop or have a hands on look for themselves and give a more informed opinion.
 

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Discussion Starter #198
Ive actually been asking around for help from locals for months now but so far no one is willing or able. If I could come into a couple thousand bucks I could have it towed to a guy and just leave it for as long as it takes to get it running, but that's simply out of the question.
It seems the problem is either incredibly simple, like a single bad wire or connection, or incredibly complex, but either way would require possibly days of testing every possible component and many of Jose procedures are either unknown to me, like bypassing and hot-wiring components, I require skills and knowledge I don't have.
Hence the fatalist frustration. I feel like I've gone through every documented process and now it's down to highly specialized knowledge and skill.


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Lots of folks call themselves "mechanics" but are just parts changers with little understanding of the systems in a particular car.......

Are you in the local Alfa Club group? There are a lot of very smart folks in the hill country near you.
 
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