Alfa Romeo Forums banner

261 - 280 of 302 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,131 Posts
Discussion Starter #261
Well, now we're back to where we were. Got the battery back up to a full 12.6 volts, cranked it, started, ran rough for 10 seconds, shut off. It doesn't even run long enough for me to test anything or get from the ignition to the timing light.

Harrumph.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
333 Posts
Have you tested the alternator? If it's bad, it could be discharging the system.I suppose it could wreak havoc on the ignition if the internals are bad.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,198 Posts
If it will start again, depending on your AAV function it might need some time to get cleared out and start running evenly. You have the standard Bosch auxiliary air valve, or a manual valve? See if it will start again... forget about testing for now, let's see if it will run and warm up everything.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,131 Posts
Discussion Starter #264
The voltage regulator could also be the culprit for the fried ignition components. Might have to pull it and bench rest it though. Won't run long enough to get any sort of numbers from it.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,131 Posts
Discussion Starter #265
And I do have a manual AAV but I put the original back in after spending far too long adjusting it. Toaster oven and freezer method.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
446 Posts
Did you plug fall of the mass air flow meter? That would cause that too..


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,131 Posts
Discussion Starter #267
Well, a couple of updates. Charged the battery to 12.7 volts and dropped it back in. Started the car with the manual AAV in full open. Grumbled to life, choked and spit for 10 seconds, then died. Tried again with the same result. Trouble starting a third time so I checked the battery voltage and it had dropped to 12.3. I also noticed I had 0 fuel pressure. Fantastic. Swapped the combo relay around, checked some wiring and fuses, and after a half hour on the charger tried again. No start. No fuel pressure.
What the hell, guys.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,131 Posts
Discussion Starter #268
Fuel pressure is back. No idea but I think the AFM harness was loose. It's still not running it'll start but coughs and sputters before dying. It SEEMS like timing. Maybe the entire distributor is bad? I was sent a spare, some assembly required, so that's next up.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,131 Posts
Discussion Starter #269
OK. So let's assess. Help me out.

The timing belt is tight. Turning the motor by hand both cams align with the marks on the caps, the crank pin is on the P/F mark (My '92 has M, a P/F, and an R marks), and the distributor rotor is roughly aligned with the score mark on the body, which also aligns with the #1 plug wire. The plug wires are in order - 1-4-2-5-3-6 going clockwise, and are attached to the correct plug. The distributor is sending signal to the ignition amplifier and will fire the injectors and spark plugs when turned by hand (not seated in the engine). The fuel pressure is correct, as per the permanent gauge on the feed line. The pump, filter and pressure regulator are new. I've swapped the AFM, the ECU, the ignition amp, the ignition coil, and the distributor for know-good parts, in various combinations. The battery is charged to 12.7 volts and rises to ~14 during the brief moments the car will run. I have replaced all of the fuses and cleaned and tightened all of the springy connectors in the fuse box. I have removed, inspected, cleaned, and reinstalled every connector on the back of the fuse box. I have cleaned and tightened every ground connection. Compression in all six cylinders is fine (all within 10% of one another). Spark plug wires are new (I've gone back to the old wires twice, in case the new set is defective). Coil wire is new. Spark plugs are new-ish and gapped to ~.35 mm. I've tried hotwiring the fuel pump. I've swapped the combo-relay. I've bypassed the inertia switch. I've checked continuity of every wire that's testable at the ECU harness. I've tested and/or replaced every sensor and every connector, testing continuity to ensure they'll work. I've gone through the L-Jet tuneup guide a dozen times. I've tried starter fluid. I've disconnected the cold start injector. I've pulled the fuel rail and checked the injectors. The plugs are wet though, indicating the spark isn't burning the gas that's being injected. But there is spark - I've seen it. Somehow the timing is just off and I can't fix it.

Consequently, the car won't run for more than 10 seconds. It sputters, coughs, chokes, backfires, shudders, and dies. Touch the throttle and it dies instantly. Move the distributor and it dies instantly.

I'm going to walk away from the thing for a month or so, try not to think about it at all, and either have an epiphany or decide to drag it to a shop and part with the $2,000 estimated to just diagnose the problem.

I really am at a point where I don't know what else to do without ripping out every piece of wire, building a new harness, and installing a brand new ignition system, or just replacing the engine. I'm really, truly out of ideas. I'm just repeating things I've already tried.

Ugh. Just... ugh.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,131 Posts
Discussion Starter #270
The only epiphany I've had - could it be the catalytic converter? The car was running over-rich for an eternity and everything was pretty sooty - plugs and O2 sensor.
That's all I've got.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
248 Posts
Hi,

I have been following this thread from the beginning, and have even offered some suggestions, but I stopped once I realized that it seemed to be futile. I suppose could re-read the entire thread, and maybe I would discover a hidden clue that would suggest what to test next, but I am leery of sending you down a rabbit hole that results in another weekend of frustration and pulling your hair out.

I think that this thread proves that internet help can only go so far (not that there have not been lots of good suggestions), because none of the responders can actually see and hear the car, and it is why I refuse to diagnose any customer cars over the phone, even when I am 99.9% sure what the problem is. It seems like you have gotten to the point where you should take the car to a professional shop that is proficient in Bosch fuel injection (does NOT have to be an Italian car specialist). Now, finding a German car specialist or Bosch Service Center that is willing to take on an Alfa GTV6 is another story, but you never know.

You keep stating that it would cost $2,000 just to diagnose what is wrong---if there is a shop telling you this, that means they don't want to work on your car. Sure, the eventual repair could easily cost $2,000, but it's not like your car is only stalling once every 500 miles---because your symptoms seem to be chronic and repeatable, a competent shop with professional test equipment would likely figure out what is wrong within a few hours. If I weren't able to figure out a similar issue with one of my customer's cars after $2,000 worth of labor (even here at Santa Barbara labor rates), I'd consider quitting my job and do something else; this is not to say that I haven't had my share of problem cars over the years, but we certainly wouldn't charge a customer an exorbitant amount of labor if we could not solve an obvious issue.

I hate to sound cruel, but Bosch L-Jet is not rocket science, and none of the components of the GTV6 injection or ignition system are unique to Alfa or Italian cars. Once all of the various Alfa-specific voltage drop issues are taken care of, it is a matter of knowing how the system works and what to test.

Of course, aftermarket wiring and modifications to a 35+ year-old can muddy the waters, and it sounds like your situation is further complicated by the fact that you (at least somewhat) converted the ignition system to the later version, and seem to have other underlying issues as well. But even then, a sharp technician with a good DSO and multimeter and a 5-gas analyzer should at least be able to figure out the reason for the stumbling/stalling fairly quickly.

Please don't take this post the wrong way. I admire your persistence and fortitude, especially because it sounds like you work hard and have a family to support. But at some point, I think you have to throw in the towel.

I should be in Austin in mid-September to visit my sister and nephew who live there and to see the AMLS race at COTA. If you somehow still have the car then and it's still acting up, I'll happily volunteer a couple of hours of my time to at least determine what is going on.

Good luck.

Chris
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
446 Posts
Is the flap on the air flow meter stuck? Put a screw driver in there and make sure it isn't stuck closed. But that doesn't coincide with the wet plugs.. Worth a try though..


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
13,096 Posts
I suggested many posts ago that a plugged exhaust could cause your symptoms. You could disconnect the cat and see if it will run with an open exhaust.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
15,431 Posts
Just remembered that a friend years ago had an older Ferrari onto which he had installed a pair of Pontiac (I think) used cats, and the car would start, but not continue running. Turned out that the used cats (from a junk yard) had collapsed inside and were blocking the exhaust. Replaced them with straight pipes and the car ran fine.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,131 Posts
Discussion Starter #277
To clear the air on the blocked exhaust issue, we did check that ages ago but at this point I figured a check specifically on the cat would be an easy thing to accomplish. I just didn't realize the cat is welded to the downtubes and can't be unbolted, so the best I could do was open the O2 bung (no change) then loosen the exhaust manifolds from the heads, again with no change.

To clarify the $2,000 estimate though, that's a flat rate of $180 to tow the car (I also don't have access to a trailer and the only person I know who has one wants $150 to rent it to me, plus a capable tow-vehicle), a two hour flat-rate diagnostic at $80 an hour, and assuming that doesn't uncover the issue I begin to incur the Bosch specialist rate of $120 an hour until they find it, and he estimated 10-15 hours to go through every component in the system. That was from a European specialist with a Bosch certified technician. The only other shop I called in the area that would even agree to work on an old Alfa Romeo was a Porsche/BMW place and they wouldn't give me an estimate, although he said the initial quote was probably accurate for them as well, based on their rates and the fact they'd have to study the Alfa system prior to starting work.

There are a couple of local Alfa guys as well who I've worked with in the past. It's much more difficult and expensive to get the car to them, however, as they operate FAR form my home. If I could find someone with a car trailer with a comealong or winch who'd be willing to let me borrow it for a day... They've been offering advice and parts to test.

So yeah. I give up. You're right. The whole point of this car was to be a fun project and a fun drive, but for the past several years it's been neither. I'm almost certain that once it's running I'm putting it up for sale. Keeping a car like this can be illustrated with a simple Venn diagram - time, money, and skill/expertise. Two areas can make up for the third, but I presently have NONE. No overlap, hence the unmitigated frustration on my part and non-running thing on the car's. But I have to get it running. Without naming names I've received messages from a couple of somewhat-local folks who are sort of circling like vultures, offering peanuts for the car in its non-running state. Someone even flagged a couple of ads I posted for help fixing the car on Craigslist. I mean, there's no proof but when someone is aggressively pressuring me to sell them me the car for $800, while posting in another car forum that they have a lead on a fairly clean GTV6 that isn't running but could be fixed in less than a day because the idiot owner can't fix it himself - har har har - (and thanks to a friend on the Jalopnik Oppo forum for directing me to that post), then several of my posts asking for a mobile mechanic, a local gearhead, or anyone able to work on an older European car, are all flagged, I suspect things.

That's neither here nor there, other than to illustrate how burned out I am with this car. There's no joy left in it. Even if I got it running like a top I don't think I'd ever trust it enough to enjoy driving it.

Anyway, blerg.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
248 Posts
To clear the air on the blocked exhaust issue, we did check that ages ago but at this point I figured a check specifically on the cat would be an easy thing to accomplish. I just didn't realize the cat is welded to the downtubes and can't be unbolted, so the best I could do was open the O2 bung (no change) then loosen the exhaust manifolds from the heads, again with no change.

To clarify the $2,000 estimate though, that's a flat rate of $180 to tow the car (I also don't have access to a trailer and the only person I know who has one wants $150 to rent it to me, plus a capable tow-vehicle), a two hour flat-rate diagnostic at $80 an hour, and assuming that doesn't uncover the issue I begin to incur the Bosch specialist rate of $120 an hour until they find it, and he estimated 10-15 hours to go through every component in the system. That was from a European specialist with a Bosch certified technician. The only other shop I called in the area that would even agree to work on an old Alfa Romeo was a Porsche/BMW place and they wouldn't give me an estimate, although he said the initial quote was probably accurate for them as well, based on their rates and the fact they'd have to study the Alfa system prior to starting work.

There are a couple of local Alfa guys as well who I've worked with in the past. It's much more difficult and expensive to get the car to them, however, as they operate FAR form my home. If I could find someone with a car trailer with a comealong or winch who'd be willing to let me borrow it for a day... They've been offering advice and parts to test.

So yeah. I give up. You're right. The whole point of this car was to be a fun project and a fun drive, but for the past several years it's been neither. I'm almost certain that once it's running I'm putting it up for sale. Keeping a car like this can be illustrated with a simple Venn diagram - time, money, and skill/expertise. Two areas can make up for the third, but I presently have NONE. No overlap, hence the unmitigated frustration on my part and non-running thing on the car's. But I have to get it running. Without naming names I've received messages from a couple of somewhat-local folks who are sort of circling like vultures, offering peanuts for the car in its non-running state. Someone even flagged a couple of ads I posted for help fixing the car on Craigslist. I mean, there's no proof but when someone is aggressively pressuring me to sell them me the car for $800, while posting in another car forum that they have a lead on a fairly clean GTV6 that isn't running but could be fixed in less than a day because the idiot owner can't fix it himself - har har har - (and thanks to a friend on the Jalopnik Oppo forum for directing me to that post), then several of my posts asking for a mobile mechanic, a local gearhead, or anyone able to work on an older European car, are all flagged, I suspect things.

That's neither here nor there, other than to illustrate how burned out I am with this car. There's no joy left in it. Even if I got it running like a top I don't think I'd ever trust it enough to enjoy driving it.

Anyway, blerg.
Ugh, sorry to hear that someone is adding insult to injury by pushing you to sell it as-is. I hope that you can somehow work it out, there must be someone out there willing to help you tow it somewhere (future advice: this is why I pay $100+ a year for Platinum AAA with the 200 mile tow option---nice when you have a fleet of old cars like I do!).

At least take a break for a bit to clear your head, then figure things out from there (I wish I had some silver bullet ideas, but I do not). Like I said, I can help you in September if need be!

Chris
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
262 Posts
Chairman - time to change your signature block I feel...

Tell the vultures to f-off. That is so not cool behavior to kick a guy when he is down.

Engine swap for less that $2k and get into Megasquirt. Then you are changing your focus from getting the **** thing on the road to an upgrade that is worth the blood, sweat and tears. And then also reliable :)

Just a thought.
 
261 - 280 of 302 Posts
Top