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Discussion Starter #1
First, let me apologize for possibly having some dumb questions here -- I am not a very experienced mechanic, although I'm very motivated and try to handle most jobs myself because I enjoy working on my cars.

I have also posted this question in the GTV/GT/GT Jr. section, so excuse me if you've read this before.

Here's my problem -- I recently adjusted my valve clearances in my GT Jr. 1600, and since then I have not been able to get the car to start. The car was running fine when I parked it about a month or more before adjusting the clearances. The car cranks but gives no signs of ignition.

I have checked and rechecked the cams, and they are lined up perfectly, on TDC, compression stroke, both lobes pointing out, and rotor pointing to piston #1.

I pulled the fuel line going to the carbs, cranked the engine, and no gas came out. I thought this was my problem. I replaced the fuel filter, confirmed that the gas lines were clear, and then replaced the mechanical pump. After replacing the pump, I rechecked the gas line going into the carbs and this time gas spurted out with each crank of the engine.

Still, she wouldn't start.

I've checked the spark by pulling the HT leads and holding each lead w/a plug in it upto a ground while cranking the engine. Every plus sparks, but the spark doesn't seem very strong to me. I replaced the plugs, but that didn't help. I checked the ignition timing (or at least that's what I tried to do -- as I said I'm not so mechanically inclined so there's always a good chance I'm doing something wrong).

I rotated the engine forward to "F" on the compression stroke. When I attached a test light between the terminal under the distributor (Marelli), the light was on. I loosened the distributor and rotated it a bit, and the light stayed on. I then removed the cap and turned the rotor a little, closing the gap completely (I could see it make contact) and the light stayed on. I tried connecting the test light to the terminal on the coil, but that didn't change anything. The light stayed on.

Are my points bad? I'll replace them anyway, once I find a store that carries them. I guess I should just replace the cap, rotor, and wires while I'm at it. They've been on there for a long time and the rotor is definitely showing wear. But if the engine sparks even a little, the car should start, right? I just can't figure this out and it's driving me nuts!

Thanks to anyone for their help.
 

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[/QUOTE
][I have checked and rechecked the cams, and they are lined up perfectly, on TDC, compression stroke, both lobes pointing out, and rotor pointing to piston #1.

I pulled the fuel line going to the carbs, cranked the engine, and no gas came out. I thought this was my problem. I replaced the fuel filter, confirmed that the gas lines were clear, and then replaced the mechanical pump. After replacing the pump, I rechecked the gas line going into the carbs and this time gas spurted out with each crank of the engine.

Still, she wouldn't start.

You have an ignition problem. The first thing to do is make sure everything in the ignition loop is optimum: plugs, wires, cap, rotor, --- everything. Remember that Alfas are old cars. Some things get replaced and some things don't. You can end up chasing your tail because someting in the loop is defective and you don't know it.

You mentioned the the spark was weak. Check the spark from the coil wire. Is is weak too? A good spark is blue-white. With points the spark won't be what you'd get with an electronic ignition but it'll still look like a good spark. Then check the spark at the plug wires. Same or different? You need a good spark at both ends.

Weak spark at the coil wire: check or replace the coil. Coils do go bad and I'm guessing this one's been on the car a long time.

When you checked the timing, did you also set the points? You should always do that first before anything else. The light should go on and off as you rotate the dizzy.

Getting an ignition set right isn't really that hard. It's just a series of steps and it sound like you've got most of 'em down.

One thing I'd recommend is getting a copy of one of the old Clymer publications repair manuals. They are long out of print so you'll have to go to your local library. All the Clymer manuals came with a chapter or two at the front which detailed basic falut finding. It's the best I've ever seen and something you should commit to memory. Go to the library, photocopy the fault finding chapter and keep it in your toolbox.

Good luck! :)
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for your response. I've ordered all the replacement parts, thought hard about buying an electronic ignition and decided against it until I do some more research. I'll replace the points, condenser, wires (already replaced the plugs), cap and rotor, and then I'll try adjusting the timing of the distributor again. The problem I had last time I tried is that the light didn't go on and off when I rotated the distributor. It just stayed on, even after the points visibly closed. I figured the points were bad causing a lack of energy to build up between sparks, but I'm not sure about that conclusion. Hopefully that was my problem!

We'll see soon!

Thanks
 

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Thanks for your response. I've ordered all the replacement parts, thought hard about buying an electronic ignition and decided against it until I do some more research.

Makes sense. The most important thing right now is making sure what you have works. There are a number of informative threads on the site concerning ignitions. Pertronix makes a brakerless electronic ign. that fits entirely inside you distributor. They work well and, once set, don't degrade the way points do. MSD makes the 6A multi firing ignition that will work with the Pertronix trigger (I think it will, anyway). The mods and money just keep going up from there. :)
 

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unless you disconnectedthe distributor from the coil, the light might stay on all the time. since you were getting a weak spark, the pionts must be opening. on my old 74 spider, the screw on the bottom of the dist had corroded, causing a high resistance from the coil wire to the points and a weak spark.
good luck
cliff
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks to everyone for your advice. I think it's time to pull the distributor and give it a complete cleaning. I appreciate everyone's help.
 

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time to pull the distributor and give it a complete cleaning..
I think I'd try the points first. One of my favorite cheap tester tools is a 'spark gap tester'. It's just a little insulated box that one point is a clip that grounds to the engine and the other point is a screw that you can adjust for different gap distances from the grounded point. The other end of the screw is shaped so that you can connect it to your plug wire. You can adjust it to see just how big a gap your spark can jump. They cost less than $10 at Advanced Auto and the like. I keep mine in my auto toolbox and it has paid for itself several times over. Good for lawnmowers too.

Bill
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Well, it was an ignition problem indeed! After replacing the cap, rotor, points, wires and plugs (I intended to replace to condenser too, but the one I ordered never showed up!) she started right up! I was so relieved to hear her gurgle back to life again. WHEW!

Thanks to everyone for your help!
 
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