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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Well, I checked the valve gap on my other 91 Alfa Romeo spider today. Or should I say, soon to be my girfriends spider. Bought one for her that did not run as well, and restoring it too. Not as much issues as red one. Her's is white. It had a bad fuel pump. Replaced it, and car fired up. I heard a ticking noise, and sounds like a exhaust leak, but kinda also sounded like valves. Have not yet fixed exhaust leak, but thought I would check the gap on valves as well. Here is what the results were. Intake 1=.013, Intake 2=.015, Intake 3=.016, Intake 4=.014. Exhaust 1=.018, Exhaust 2=.017, Exhaust 3=.019, Exhaust 4=.017. These values are thousandths of a inch. Should I worry about intake 1 and 4? They are a little tight from the specs I have read on this site. From what I gather, on the motronic systems the gaps should be Intake .015-.018 and exhaust .017-.020 thousandths of an inch..
 

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They are too tight per the spec. I would set them right.

When the get tight, it can mean that the valve is receeding into the seat. If it gets to the point of not sealing you will be looking at a burned valve and head work.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
They are too tight per the spec. I would set them right.

When the get tight, it can mean that the valve is receeding into the seat. If it gets to the point of not sealing you will be looking at a burned valve and head work.
Will adjust them. Is it unheard of to sand them down in a figure 8 pattern? That is what people do with ducati motorcycle shims, including myself.
 

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Pat Braden, the Alfa guru, states in the Alfa Bible that he doesn't bother to adjust valves that are .005 within spec. But that some Alfa owners like them within .0005.

Your ticking won't go away by adjusting the valves. The valvetrain in S4's can be noisy. Having them set tighter would actually decrease the noise.

And frankly, your specs look pretty good - if you want to adjust the tighter ones, go for it, if not, you're probably fine. I find that readings can be different on the same car in different ambient temperatures. So just wait for a colder or warmer day and take the readings, and the numbers will be right where you want them. ;)

Of course, that's a bit of a joke, but the noisiness is not due to a valve that's .002 out of spec, in my experience.
 

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Your ticking won't go away by adjusting the valves. The valvetrain in S4's can be noisy. Having them set tighter would actually decrease the noise.
Yep. I've been told some of the noise can be due to worn valve guides which apparently the Motronic cars are prone to as well.

Also note that the injectors can be CRAZY loud on these cars in some cases, so don't let that ticking noise fool you into chasing the valve train. Use a mechanic's stethoscope to make sure you know where the noise is coming from.
 

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If indeed there is an exhaust leak - especially at the exhaust manifold to the head - it will sound very much like ticking valves.

I would not sand down the valve shims. Seems like a 'shade-tree' repair. but of course that means you have to remove the current shim, measure it and obtain a shim in the new (correct) thickness.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks for the information fellas. Going to order correct shims once I remove cam and find out what size they are.
 

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Will adjust them. Is it unheard of to sand them down in a figure 8 pattern? That is what people do with ducati motorcycle shims, including myself.
Probably not. I do it on my Ducs too. I have a nice piece of granite that I use just for this job. What do you ride??

I have a few of them......:)
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Probably not. I do it on my Ducs too. I have a nice piece of granite that I use just for this job. What do you ride??

I have a few of them......:)

I Restored/Modified a 06 Ducati 749 about 2 years ago. Also ride my Yamaha Rz350 that I have had for 16 years. Neighbor joker is hangin' it up after 55 years or so of riding, he is 75 years old now. I've known him since I was 7 years old, am now 40. He is going to let me buy his 93 Soft Tail Springer at a considerably lower price. He is almost like a dad to me. Don't really like the stigma/attitude that harley riders tend to have towards other bikes etc.. I just like **** that is gas powered.
 

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Very nice 749! Was it originally a Dark?? What a great ride and track tool that bike is.

I have as my main ride a 2005 Multi with a worked motor make 97hp and 87 ft lbs torque. A real stump puller. Some of the others are:

87 750 F1
94 900SS
86 Indiana 650
64 250 Diana

There's a few others but essentially more of he same...... It's and addiction similar to the alfa disease.
 

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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
Very nice 749! Was it originally a Dark?? What a great ride and track tool that bike is.

I have as my main ride a 2005 Multi with a worked motor make 97hp and 87 ft lbs torque. A real stump puller. Some of the others are:

87 750 F1
94 900SS
86 Indiana 650
64 250 Diana

There's a few others but essentially more of he same...... It's and addiction similar to the alfa disease.
It was originally a 749D. But originally it had a silver frame, which was tweaked, as well as the rim, triple tree, front axle, instrument cluster, and all the fairings were toast. It didn't have keys either. Didn't know about the built in immobilizer these bikes have, that tie the keys with the instrument cluster and ecu. Had to buy a donor set from e-bay. Didn't know how many miles it had on it when I got it because the instrument cluster was toast. I bought the bike from a salvage yard out of las Vegas. Don't know the history of the bike, but buy the way it looked when I got it; donno if the original owner made it out alive. Might b a ghostrider bike???? So being that it is a ducati and what I read about them. They require a valve adjustment every 6k. What a suprise to me when I adjusted the valves!! Never saw anything like that b4; desmodromic free floating valves; one rocker to open the valve and another rocker to close the valve. Two rocker arms per valve, really blew my mind. But managed to figure it out. Changed belts as well. From what people say and the service requirement say, they must or should b changed every 12 months. Modified the stock exhaust as well to get a little more grunt, without messing up the fuel/air ratio. I liked the black stealth look, so I stuck with the matte black that the 749D had, but if you looked real close at the original matte black, it had almost a little silver flake in the matte black. Didn't care for it. I painted all my different color donor panels with dupli-color bumper black rattle can paint. And the gas tank with dupli-color low gloss high heat, gas resistant rattlecan paint. cost me about 40 bux to paint the bike. Makes it easy to re-paint if something get scuffed up. The Ducati lettering was cut out of .016' aluminum with a CNC machine. and the foot,rear brake plate and heat shield were plated with black chrome.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Finally finished adjusting valves, changing lower exhaust gaskets, oil change, painting of the valve cover air cleaner box as well as underneath the air cleaner box as there was rust forming on both. the rear trunk was also in need of sanding and painting. The Battery from the previous owner spilled in the back and really did some pitting. neutralized it with baking soda and water, then sanded and painted with rust tough krylon gloss white. Started the Car this past sunday. Did 1 heat cycle on it that day. Engine sounded good. The pulley bearing sounds like it needs to be replaced. shot some lubricant in it while it was running and it shut up. But on the next day I did another heat cycle and it was back. Also the fuel pump is ridiculously loud, I read up in the search engine on this most awesome website, that cause is from the in-tank fuel pump not working and is causing the secondary pump to work harder.. Yesterday I did another heat cycle and engine ran well up to the point where I revved it a couple of times. It would not idle properly after that, stumbling while sputtering a little. I cleaned out the AAV today with carb cleaner and then shot a little lube in it as well. Also checked for vacuum leaks, checked oil vapor canister to make sure it wasn't clogged as well. Did not check 02 sensor or temp sensor between injector 2 and 3. Dont know how to check them anyway? I should have checked the cap and rotor when I changed spark plugs oil etc. This car had never been deep into. All the original factory one time use clamps where still on all the hoses. The initial problem with the car not being able to start was a bad external fuel pump. witch still had the factory clamps. Did not no it until recently that it had a in-tank fuel pump as well. I am familiarizing myself with these later alfa's, I am very familiar with the earlier alfa's like my 73 spider, 74 gtv 2000 and 81 spider. Car still stumbles. Finally checked the cap and it is narly corroded dirty, the rotor doesn't look very well either. going to order a new cap and rotor tomorrow. Hopefully that takes car of the Stumbling and slight sputter. Will also be ordering a new in-tank fuel pump. probably even a new sending unit as the one in it is not working. Grounded the two wires and the fuel gauge moves, so it must be bad sending unit? Oil gauge not working either, but oil and gas pressure light working. Going to ground it tomorrow and see if the oil gauge needle works. Need long alligator clips or my girlfriend to sit in there and let me know if it moves. or maybe even tape it to the aluminum block? Here are a couple of pics of Engine and rotor, which is hopefully the culprit of the idle issues.. Also have a vid from my iphone that i took, will also try and upload it. May now allow me as it is 2.7 megaByte?
 

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Looks like you're making some good progress. Rest assured that with your attention to detail you'll find the source of the sputtering. Check that your engine grounds are secure near the passenger side engine below the valve cover. Clean them too. Clean your battery strap ground too if it was nasty back there.

Do your cap and rotor - that'll help. Also check the screw on the Throttle Position Sensor. Make sure with the car off, you hear a click when you open or shut the throttle with your finger. It was set at the factory, but it could be off. Also check for vacuum leaks. If, when the car is running, and you pull the dipstick out and there is no "lag" or choking, then you might have a vacuum leak somewhere. Check that all clamps are tight and no cuts in places you can't see. Really, going around the engine bay and cleaning all the engine connections with some De-Oxit (or similar) and light dialectric grease will just assure that you have everything checked. Clean the connections at the in tank fuel pump, as well as the fuel pump - ditto with everything under the rear parcel shelf behind the seats.

Doing all of these things are a good way of sorting things out before looking at individual components. Once those things are all checked and secure, then we can look at other possible culprits. Change your fuel filter too - there's a sock in the tank and one near the fuel pump under the car.

Anyway - sounds like you're going through it all methodically and are in no rush to complete the project - both of these are good things. Let us know what else you find out - but really, just making sure everything is clean and secure, you will sort out possible problems and then perhaps reveal some others that you might not have seen. I've had a car die simply because the fuel pump connects just stopped passing current. Cleaned them, and the car ran. That's the kind of thing we're dealing with, with a 20 year old car.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Looks like you're making some good progress. Rest assured that with your attention to detail you'll find the source of the sputtering. Check that your engine grounds are secure near the passenger side engine below the valve cover. Clean them too. Clean your battery strap ground too if it was nasty back there.

Do your cap and rotor - that'll help. Also check the screw on the Throttle Position Sensor. Make sure with the car off, you hear a click when you open or shut the throttle with your finger. It was set at the factory, but it could be off. Also check for vacuum leaks. If, when the car is running, and you pull the dipstick out and there is no "lag" or choking, then you might have a vacuum leak somewhere. Check that all clamps are tight and no cuts in places you can't see. Really, going around the engine bay and cleaning all the engine connections with some De-Oxit (or similar) and light dialectric grease will just assure that you have everything checked. Clean the connections at the in tank fuel pump, as well as the fuel pump - ditto with everything under the rear parcel shelf behind the seats.

Doing all of these things are a good way of sorting things out before looking at individual components. Once those things are all checked and secure, then we can look at other possible culprits. Change your fuel filter too - there's a sock in the tank and one near the fuel pump under the car.

Anyway - sounds like you're going through it all methodically and are in no rush to complete the project - both of these are good things. Let us know what else you find out - but really, just making sure everything is clean and secure, you will sort out possible problems and then perhaps reveal some others that you might not have seen. I've had a car die simply because the fuel pump connects just stopped passing current. Cleaned them, and the car ran. That's the kind of thing we're dealing with, with a 20 year old car.
Alot of great leads there, much appreciated.. Did remove oil cap, and it really started shivering. Did not find any vacuum leaks as of yet. The rear battery terminals are pretty shot. Will replace them. Will also clean those grounds you are referring to as well; thanks. Ordered the cap, rotor, fuel filter from vicks. Was also going to order a new fuel sending unit and in-tank fuel pump, as the one currently in the tank after testing is not working. None of the 3 major Alfa parts establishments have it, I.A.P.,Centerline, Vick's. They have the in-tank pump, but not the sending unit. So I guess I will use the 1 on my red 91 alfa that i'm restoring for me, that still is far from being started or being on the road. Will order the set when available. Or maybe as one of the order takers suggested; it might just a bad float on the old sending unit? Need more testing..
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Got the Cap & Rotor and fuel filter from vicks today.. Installed the Cap & Rotor and to my dismay, it did not take care of the stumbling motor. Heard the click on the TPS when I open the throttle body. Will put the in-tank fuel pump and new fuel filter from my red 91 into my girls white 91 sometime this weekend/week to eliminate that issue. Cleaned the ground wires on right side under valve cover, nothing. Noticed the master brake cylinder didn't have much fluid in it. Thought maybe the master brake cylinder is leaking and sucking brake fluid into motor; so i plugged the vacuum hose and still didn't change the way the motor is idling I will just have to keep going through the process of elimination.. So far things I have not eliminated is in-tank fuel pump not working, and is causing the external pump to work harder. Dont know if that is enough to cause the motor to stumble? . Will eventually check timing, temp sending unit for computer? 02 sensor, fuel pressure regulator, pull each spark plug while car is running to see what kind of effect it makes from each cylinder, compression check, check new plugs just installed for color. Dont think I have any kind of blown gasket. Dont see any white smoke, or smell anything sweet from antifreeze, not blowing blue smoke. Just have to keep testing, till I resovl
 

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You might want to run a compression test.
 

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Have you checked that the VVT plunger is not stuck pushed in?

This make the cam run advanced and give the engine what seems like a huge vacuum leak.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Have you checked that the VVT plunger is not stuck pushed in?

This make the cam run advanced and give the engine what seems like a huge vacuum leak.
The plunger is retracted. When I blip the throttle a bit, it extends out, then retracts when I let off of it. From what I have read, you dont even have to have the car running, just ignition on and flip throttle body. Thanks for the help.
 
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