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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I have an 87 spider that is a family car since new. All documents and ALL manuals. I have been the care taker of it for about 17+ years. During that time I have been able to get it running reliably for only about max of two months over the years. When ever it sits for a few weeks it will not start.
I have had over time, shops rebuild all the different systems, and six months ago did the fuel system full rebuild. Including a tank flush.
Now again it ran for a month and now it will not start.
I replaced the ignition system plugs, wires, coil, all that Jaz, new battery with a charger on it, no start.
It turns over strong, just doesn’t catch.
I’m looking into sensors? I’m not a mechanic, I don’t know how to test for things, I have a friend that used to help until COVID.
With guidance, I’m willing to get dirty and wrench everyday with it. I’m retired, currently teaching at a local college, so plenty of time.
Just don’t know where to look.
This is a family car that will be handed down to the next generation with my collection, I hate that it doesn’t run.
Looking for assistance to give me some ideas of where to look for the problem? I would really appreciate it. No one in The Phoenix Arizona, Area knows anything about them, and I don’t trust the new dealerships.
Like I said, I catch on fast, understand how to follow instructions, but do not know how this thing works, but I want to.
So slow step by step suggestions. I can figure things out with research, if I’m given the direction.
Thank you.
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Wish I could help, but I’m in a similar boat with my 86 Spider. (It does run tho.. or did before putting it in winter storage)

Wishing you luck and hope to learn with your journey too.

Edit: similar boat = family car, dad was original owner. Have manuals and original paperwork (including window sticker).
Also have very limited knowledge but willing to learn.


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I'm not a master mechanic by any means. A car needs 3 things to run. Fuel, spark and air. You can get a cheap test light at harbor freight. You plug it into the spark plug wire at the engine. Turn the engine over and look to see that the light flashes as the cylinder being tested should fire. Check all 4 cylinders. If you're getting spark to the cylinders, I would check ( maybe even check first) that all the main air intake hoses are leak/crack free. The accordion style hose connected to the air filter box is prone to cracking. These cars do NOT do well with air leaks. Also, make sure the ground wires have good contact. The main one by the battery and also check that the wires connected to the starter are clean and well connected. There is also a main grounding strap connected to the block.Even if they look good, clean them up using a wire brush to make sure. Electricity can be funny, allowing enough juice to turn over but not fire. And, these cars do NOT run well w bad grounds. If you got spark at the cylinders, all air hoses are good and your grounds are good, time to check your fuel. Since you replaced quite a few parts, I'd rent a pressure tester from one of the big parts stores to test that you have good pressure at the fuel rail. A bad pressure regulator would cause a no start. But test first. This is a very basic checklist. If you do a little searching you will find a more in depth testing procedure for the L jetronic system Either member gubi or ghnl has the procedure in his signature line. Hope this helps.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Wish I could help, but I’m in a similar boat with my 86 Spider. (It does run tho.. or did before putting it in winter storage)

Wishing you luck and hope to learn with your journey too.

Edit: similar boat = family car, dad was original owner. Have manuals and original paperwork (including window sticker).
Also have very limited knowledge but willing to learn.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Stay tuned and hopefully we both learn something. Funny how many people with these cars are in the same boat. Are we all missing something here in the states? Lol.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I'm not a master mechanic by any means. A car needs 3 things to run. Fuel, spark and air. You can get a cheap test light at harbor freight. You plug it into the spark plug wire at the engine. Turn the engine over and look to see that the light flashes as the cylinder being tested should fire. Check all 4 cylinders. If you're getting spark to the cylinders, I would check ( maybe even check first) that all the main air intake hoses are leak/crack free. The accordion style hose connected to the air filter box is prone to cracking. These cars do NOT do well with air leaks. Also, make sure the ground wires have good contact. The main one by the battery and also check that the wires connected to the starter are clean and well connected. There is also a main grounding strap connected to the block.Even if they look good, clean them up using a wire brush to make sure. Electricity can be funny, allowing enough juice to turn over but not fire. And, these cars do NOT run well w bad grounds. If you got spark at the cylinders, all air hoses are good and your grounds are good, time to check your fuel. Since you replaced quite a few parts, I'd rent a pressure tester from one of the big parts stores to test that you have good pressure at the fuel rail. A bad pressure regulator would cause a no start. But test first. This is a very basic checklist. If you do a little searching you will find a more in depth testing procedure for the L jetronic system Either member gubi or ghnl has the procedure in his signature line. Hope this helps.
Ok, I’m ordering testing equipment. I had the grounds redone 2 years ago with a rewire of most electronics. But anything could happen or the job was bad. Brush in hand I will check, and look at the hoses for signs of wear. I will repost with results and pics.
thank you.
 

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All these cars have the same problems because they are all old. And the same parts tend to wear out. Luckily, you don't tend to see many major engine, transmission or differential problems. It's just the normal consumable parts. Happy hunting.
 

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The way you describe the history of the car running and then not running, and without any other info, I'm inclined to think it is an electrical connection issue. That is, an intermittent wonky ground in the ignition system, an intermittently loose connector on something like the TTS or CTS. Just about every issue I've had with my 89 has been traced back to a bad electrical connection somewhere. Its a lot of work, but you'll be doing the car a favor by cleaning just about every electrical connection you can find. It could be something as simple as a corroded fuel pump fuse blade. The fact that it runs, but then doesn't, kinda points to this sort of issue.
 

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First of all you have neglected to post any photos. How can we determine the details we need to know to help diagnose it (like what color it is) without any photos? Suggest you rectify this right away.

If I am understanding what you wrote - if you drive sort of regularly it'll start & drive OK. But if you don't drive it for a length of time then it won't start. Is that correct?

You say a shop did a 'full fuel system rebuild'. Do you know exactly what they did? Did they remove the fuel injectors for a thorough cleaning? There isn't really anything you can put in the gas tank that will clean out clogged injectors. A thorough cleaning involves cycling solvent through the injectors and running them through an ultrasonic bath.

When you have not driven the car for a month (the shame...) does it crank over with good vigor? And even if it does, it would be a Good Idea to check system voltage during cranking. Connect a voltmeter (a cheapy one from Harbor Fright is fine for this test) to the battery (a dash gauge is not useful for this test). With everything off a fully charged battery should show 12.6V. 12.3V is half charged. Next see what it reads during cranking. If it drops below ~ 10.5V the computers will not power up to send the make spark/squirt fuel signals.

Remember - photos. ASAP.
 

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Check your mailbox for a "Private Message", "PM"
Welcome to the board!!
Don't stress, she will run!! If you love her enough!! LOL
Paul
 

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Hi Todd,
(I told you you'd get some response if you posted here in the spider section:))

I would check first for spark. ...no spark we look for ignition/electric problems
Good spark, we look for fuel delivery (fuel fuse, or fuel relay problem)

spark:
If no spark then follow Eric's suggestion to verify good cranking voltage. If that is between 10,5 and 11V "whilst cranking", then it's ok.
Next I would check the wires on the coil are clean and tight (you said you replaced coil) and double check you put them all back on the correct posts...green/blacks on the positive side, all the others on the negative.
That done, I would test for voltage at the coil (positive post of coil to ground)....you should have good battery voltage...

If you have voltage at coil, cranking voltage is above required minimum, then check tachymetric signal: watch your tach needle carefully when cranking the starter, does it moves slightly as the starter cranks?
I'm guessing (IF you have a no spark situation) that it does not.

If no tachymetric signal, then move on to testing the flywheel sensors.
In Eric's post # 8 above, click on his signature and download the L-jetronic troubleshooting guide. On p. 19 of this guide are simple instructions how to test these. Check also the connector plugs up by the washer bottle are not corroded, or broken in any way.

that'll keep you busy;)

Dom
Ps. do you have a good (sooper dooper coloured Papajam) wiring diagram? I have an 88 MY I could send in a conversation if you need it?
 
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