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Discussion Starter #1
i dont know much about cars, but i know that im having a big problem. first of all i have an 81 veloce, and when i start it, i usually have to pump the gas repeatedly until the car will start, then, it starts running. then when i take my foot off the gas, it dies almost instantly. also, when i rev the engine, it leaves black marks on my driveway, so im guessing it has something to do with a rich mixture. how do you go about changing the mixture?
 

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Hello Chris and welcome to AlfaBB.com!

I would recommend taking your Spider to a qualified Alfa mechanic who's familiar with the Spica fuel injection system. Be prepared though, to see a grimace on their face when you tell them it's an '81. I know, I used to own one. There are many unique parts on '80 and '81 models. Working on them is more of a hassle than other year models.

For instance, in order to adjust the idle the factory manual says to drill out the brass plug on the aluminum intake plenum chamber. Then a factory tool is used to reach down inside the plenum to adjust the idle. Then you'd need to replace the brass plug. Now that's what the factory manual states. The brass plug does have a hex-key depression (14mm I think), so I'd think one could simply unscrew this plug.

Incidentally, if your Spica pump is running rich I would not drive the car too much. You can burn out your catalytic converter. I know this from personal experience. :)

Lastly, it is possible that someone will chime in and mention adjusting the rods that control the butterfly opening. I could not properly explain this as I am not an expert.

Here's a shot of my engine. The plenum is on the right side.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
i dont know if i want to be drilling anything, and unfortunatly i have not been abloe to find an alfa mechanic around my area. i will see what i can do on my own, i just noticed that all of my vacuum hoses were plugged into the wrong places, thank god for my little diagram on the inside of the hood.
 

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Don't drill anything.

First, my sympathies on having an '81 SPICA. It's usually not a good thing to own the first or last of a type series. The first year the engineers are still trying to get it right, and the last year usually results in a bastardization in an attempt to stretch just one more year out of the emissions regs. That single butterfly throttle system is very . . . . . well . . . . . (let's put it politely) . . . . "unique."

It indeed sounds like the engine is running way too rich. First thing to check is the thermostatic actuator. With the engine hot, check to see if the gap between the throttle arm (rear of injection pump) and the reference screw is no more than .019". If it is greater than .019" (engine hot), then the TA is most likely faulty.

Does the engine stall-out in idle with the engine hot as well?

Check the ref screw clearance and report back.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
where is this reference screw located? what do i do if it is more than .19 inches? ..and yes, the engine will die anytime i let my foot off the gas, even between shifting. it doesnt sputter than die or anything, the RPM's just dont stop going down after letting off the gas.
 

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Roadtrip said:
...the last year usually results in a bastardization in an attempt to stretch just one more year out of the emissions regs. That single butterfly throttle system is very . . . . . well . . . . . (let's put it politely) . . . . "unique."
John,
It was exactly for this same reason that I lovingly called my '81 "The Bastard Year". With all it's "uniqueness" I still miss her.

Incidentally, I will be offloading a bunch of '80/'81 Spider emission and intake parts on eBay this week.
 

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Chris -
The reference screw is the very small "stop" screw on the rear of the injection pump. Also on the back of the pump is the "throttle arm." The long rod attaches to the ball on the end of the arm and goes up to the throttle bellcrank on the top of the intake manifold.

When the engine is cold, the reference screw to throttle arm distance will be much more than that, in order to richen the mixture. When the engine is hot, the distance between the reference screw and the throttle arm should be no more than .019". If it's more than that, then the mixture will be too rich. As the engine heats up the thermostatic actuator (brass thing from the manifold to the top of the injection pump) pushes down on a lever in the pump and causes the throttle arm to go back towards the reference screw (thus leaning the mixture). It's possible that you have a bad TA, which is not uncommon.

If you don't know much about cars in general and Alfa's specifically, you need to find a good Alfa mechanic . . . . or start a crash course in Alfa mechanics. I can recommend some technical repair manuals if you like, but trying to troubleshoot a SPICA injection pump problem when you have little knowledge of mechanics in general is near impossible. If you're going to own a classic Alfa Romeo, then you either need to make yourself mechanically literate or find a good Alfa mechanic.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
thank you for the help, i called around and found an alfa mechanic in novato, not more than 16 miles from me. i'm goign to make an appointment to get my engine all checked up on and such. i also have to get a small electonic problem worked out.
 
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