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The Details: I live in Santa Fe, New Mexico (7,000 foot elevation), and I have a 1983 Bosch fuel injected Spider that runs decently, burns no oil (or other smoke), but smells like it's running rich. The engine was rebuilt by PO 40,000 miles ago. Body and rest of original factory equipment has 209,500 miles on it as of yesterday.

We hope to be moving to Southern California fall of 2011. I would love to take this car with us, but I really don't think that it will pass the smog test as it sits now. As I understand, with almost 210K on the engine vacuum hoses, etc, there could be small leaks causing it to run rich. Also, as far as I know, the O2 sensor is original, as is the catalytic converter.

If I put new hoses, a new O2 sensor, and a cat, do you think that it would pass emissions? Any other suggestions would be helpful.
 

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There is no reason your 83 should not pass.
Important to replace O2 sensor.
Also it MUST be running at temp (18oto 190 degrees) if not it will run rich (computer thinks it is still warming up.
Lastly the injectors will most likely need to be ultrasonic/solvent cleaned and blueprinted (not expensive if you do it yourself and send the injectors out).
Cat can be cut out and replaced, if necessary.
TTFN Elio
 

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Thanks! I had planned on cutting out the cat and either running a small muffler/expansion chamber, or a new cat if we do move on schedule.
 

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Replace the cat in New Mexico as it'll be cheaper. Cats sold in CA need to be CARB certified...not that it'll work any differently but it'll cost you more. Also, make sure to fix any rich running problems before replacing the cat or you'll end up damaging the new one.

Rich running is most likely old oxygen sensor or coolant temp sensor. Go through the l-jet guide at http://www.hiperformancestore.com/Ljetspider.htm for starters.
 

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Replace the cat in New Mexico as it'll be cheaper. Cats sold in CA need to be CARB certified...not that it'll work any differently but it'll cost you more. Also, make sure to fix any rich running problems before replacing the cat or you'll end up damaging the new one.

Rich running is most likely old oxygen sensor or coolant temp sensor. Go through the l-jet guide at Bosch L-jetronic Fuel Injection Idle Adjustment Diagnostic and Tune Up Technical Article Alfa Romeo Spider Specific for starters.
Yeah, the cat will be the last thing I put on. I wouldn't be surprised it the OEM cat is slightly clogged.

Are Magnaflow cats CARB certified?
 

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I do agree with the previous suggestions to replace the O2 sensor. Typical life is ~ 60,000 miles. More than 90,000 miles is past due. Even if it is still 'working' they get sluggish as they age. The computer will ignore invalid or very slow responses and remain in 'open loop' (no feedback) mode. The open loop fuel map is slightly rich.

Check the CTS (Coolant Temp Sensor). It tells the computer when the engine reaches proper operating temperature. Until then it remains in the slightly rich mode. If the CTS is faulty (or the thermostat is stuck open) you won't get computer control of the mixture.

When you replace the O2 sensor, consider installing a heated O2 sensor. It will heat up faster and remain active longer (usually even at idle speeds where the original non-heated O2 sensor cools off and the computer reverts to open loop mode). There is info about installing a heated sensor in the SPider FAQ thread at the top of the page.

When you say, 'smells like it is running rich' - are you sniffing a raw fuel odor?

There is a fuel vapor recovery system in your Spider. Often the one-way valve and air intake valve get gummed up and stick. That can prevent the vapor recovery system from functioning and lead to very strong fuel odors. Remove them and clean then with a few squirts if carb cleaner.

There is also a restrictor in the fitting that enters the top of the vapor separator tank. That can get clogged, too. Poke it clean with tiny soft wire (I use a single strand of copper electrical wire).
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Eric, thanks! There is no raw fuel smells. When I replaced the rubber fuel filler hose, I checked the evaporative valves and they were fine.

Some of the smells that I am calling "rich" could also just be leaking oil burning on the exhaust system, as it does leak oil at the rear engine seal.
 

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Try cleaning (or replacing) the Oil Vapor Separator. It is plumbed into the intake system to scavange oil vapors from the sump. When (not if...) it gets clogged up it will mess with the scavanging and can lead to high internal engine pressures - encouraging oil leaks.

Soak it in solvent until you get all the gunk out. Also check the small diameter hose leading out of the bottom. That is intended to return condensed oil back to the sump. That hose can get clogged, too.

There is a BB member who had some reproduction OVS's fabricated. The originals were plain steel (and can rust through) but his replacements are stainless steel - they should last much longer. I think he has some left to sell.

 

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Discussion Starter #10
Yeah, I bought a clean OVS; I just need to install it with new hoses.
 
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