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Discussion Starter #1
So far my 79 Spider has been great. Much nicer drive than my MGB was and much more powerful. But it does have a few issues. At first I was having some electrical issues that were inconsistent. Replacing the alternator cleared it all up after I checked every damned ground before actually checking the voltage. That was an easy fix though.

I have driven her about 1000 miles already- she is intended as a driver and I don't think I could ever own a show car.

Cold starting seems to take about 3 tries every time. The she idles pertty low for a minute, but if I step on the gas she stalls. After a minute running I can rev her up a bit and she smooths out with no problem and runs fine. When warm, she starts on one crank.

3rd gear is messy to get into. Sometimes if I shift her in slowly she goes with no issue, but a good amount of the time she grinds- I back off, try again and she goes ok. This is more common on the downshif than the upshift. Is my syncro gone or is this another issue?

In 4th or 5th gear, if I let off the gas completely at speed she sputters a bit. step just lightly on the gas and she is fine.

Temp (according to the gauge) is at about 200 on an 85 degree day on the open road. She doesnt go higher and has never quite hit the 212 mark.

Oil pressure drops way off when she is warmed up at idle. It is just under the 57 mark when cruising down the road, but at idle she drops to 1/2 of that. Is this normal? (My MG did the same thing and it was normal).

Ok guys-- give it your best!
 

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Oil pressure drops way off when she is warmed up at idle. It is just under the 57 mark when cruising down the road, but at idle she drops to 1/2 of that. Is this normal? (My MG did the same thing and it was normal).
Normal. Many Alfa oil pressure gauges show nearly zero at idle. The Alfa gauges are more of a general indicator than an absolute measure.
 

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3rd gear is messy to get into. Sometimes if I shift her in slowly she goes with no issue, but a good amount of the time she grinds- I back off, try again and she goes ok. This is more common on the downshif than the upshift. Is my syncro gone or is this another issue?


Oil pressure drops way off when she is warmed up at idle. It is just under the 57 mark when cruising down the road, but at idle she drops to 1/2 of that. Is this normal? (My MG did the same thing and it was normal).
Greetings,

Your problem with 3rd gear is likely just a synchro issue. Try shifting a bit more slowly, and if it still grinds just learn to double-clutch and forget about the problem. My Alfa will grind going into 2nd and 3rd gear if I don't double-clutch, but after spending some time getting used to the car I'm able to up- and down-shift quickly and without crunching during even spirited driving (which should be just about always in one of these cars). If anything, it just makes the car more rewarding to drive, so it's probably not worth worrying about if you just want an entertaining driver.

The oil pressure issue you mentioned is quite common and probably doesn't indicate any real problems. My S3 Spider does the same thing, and I'm pretty sure my old S2 did as well. If your oil pressure warning light ever comes on, then it's time to worry. If the light stays off, chances are you're fine.


Evan
 

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Another possibility regarding the difficult shifting is to drain the gearbox* and refill it with the proper oil. The Alfa synchros do not funtion well with many modern oils - they are too 'slippery'. Alfa specified Shell Spirax 'back in the day'. That can be hard to find (but most on-line Alfa suppliers do sell it). Redline sells an oil that works well. The one to get is 75W90NS.



* make sure you can access the fill plug before you drain the transmission...
 

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Temperature Issue

Heres my findings from my previous post, You can test yours the same way to feel comfortable.

I just went through this with my 92 spider. My dashboard temperature gauge would sit 1 1/2 notches over 175 (202 degrees) durning driving and 2 notches over 175 (212 degrees) at idle.

Here are my results.

Coolant overflow tank idling checking with digital meat thermometer.

Dashboard Temp gauge reads: 212

Digital thermometer actual temp 180 degrees

The coolant overflow tank temperature increases to 185 degrees and then the electric fans start up, and the temperature decreases to 180 degrees again.


Radiator temperature idling checking with an infared heat gun. (dash gauge still reads previous temps)

185 degrees at idle

increases to 190 degrees and electric fans start up, then drags the temperature down to 165 degrees with in seconds. Mind you, this is with the hood open, I am not sure how the open hood vs. a closed hood alters the real life scenario.

From what I find, there is a 5 degree difference between the radiator and coolant overflow bottle.

I feel comfortable my operating temperatures are within range.

I hope this gives you some comparative information.

Kevin
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks for all the advice.
Yesterday was a really hot day- today, with the morning temp of 68F She never topped 180F on the way to work (35 mile drive).
Double clutching seems easy enough and I will work on that.
What about the sputtering when letting off the gas while in gear? (SPICA by the way).

The only other issue I have is some excessive steering play- I haven't had a day to open up the steering box yet.
 

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Is your clutch pedal on the same plane as the brake pedal? there have been a couple recents posts where the clutch pivot arm is about to twist off the shaft. A clutch pedal at rest below the plane of the brake pedal is an early indicator of impending doom. If so your clutch may not be releasing completely. It may not be releasing completely anyway. Are all other shifts ok? It is a bit odd if second is good and third is worn. A little blip of the throttle on down shifts will help match speeds and ease transition.

Spica should work a lot better than that. sounds like it is in need of some adjustment. I believe the sputtering on decel was typical of the very early Spica units and indicates something is not working on the later units.

Don't go at it blind!

You can download a diagnostic guide from Wes Ingrams website

Ingram Enterprises, Inc. || Spica Pump Rebuilds

and there are a few special tools required to work on it but most can be worked around. Check out the carb&fi section.

Wayne
 

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The sputtering could be from your fuel injectors themselves. I had a 69 spider that would sputter when taking out of gear and would lightly backfire in third/fourth/fifth if I let off the gas and used the engine for decelerating. Anyway, I pulled the fuel injectors (pretty simple), disassembled them (pretty simple) replaced the 0-ring in each one (easy to access/remove/replace) cleaned everything up (including the built up crud). Put them back in and by and large all of the "spica based problems" were gone. My belief was that all the crud and worn o-rings were causing either the injectors to "drip" fuel when they should be shut off or the spray pattern was disrupted and caused a fuel drip at the injector. In any case, the problem went away and the car ran really well afterward. The job took about 2 hours from start to finish - could be done much quicker if one wanted to rush.
 

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just a helpfull hint on filling the tranny, when i was running a alfa romeo tranny, i filled it with oil thru the shift tower, very easy to do, yes you muct remove the centre consule, but it is much easyer than trying to pump the oil in from the bottom..no mess..
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Well, the tranny issues aren't bad- its almost as if the shifter is misaligned. If I keep her as far to the left and still in the right gear she doesn't grind.

Suddenly though I seem to have lost a ton of power. Acceleration is poor and once I get her to 4th she takes her sweet time getting the rev's up and won't go over 4000. In 5th she barely accelerates at all and will lose speed going uphill even with the throttle floored. She is also sputtering if you let of the gas in gear or quickly release the throttle after revving high in neutral. Help?
 

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How recently did you change the fuel filters? I had that happen to me on at least two different occasions as I recall. Changing the tank filter solved the problem. And no, the low fuel pressure light never came on.
 

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Well, the filters are brand new-- the engine was rebuilt 1500 miles before I bought it 2 months ago. I changed the filter in the engine compartment this morning and it was snow white, inside and out. Made no difference. Looking at the rear filter, it is not the original spec or a compatible one-- it is MUCH smaller and is not mounted to the clamp above the axle. When replacing the filter under the air cleaner I realized things have been monkeyed with pretty heavily- two of the ports on the filter casing are blocked off. Although I want to fix this as well, I still need to figure out why I have had this sudden loos of power. Other than this the car seems to be running beautifully.
 

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Well, the filters are brand new-- the engine was rebuilt 1500 miles before I bought it 2 months ago. I changed the filter in the engine compartment this morning and it was snow white, inside and out. Made no difference. Looking at the rear filter, it is not the original spec or a compatible one-- it is MUCH smaller and is not mounted to the clamp above the axle. When replacing the filter under the air cleaner I realized things have been monkeyed with pretty heavily- two of the ports on the filter casing are blocked off. Although I want to fix this as well, I still need to figure out why I have had this sudden loos of power. Other than this the car seems to be running beautifully.
The main fuel filter housing will have one port blocked off; not all of them are used.

Try replacing the tank filter; these clog first and you need to do that anyway.

It could also be a timing issue.
 

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Thanks for the info. I replaced the filter above the rear axle,also to no avail. Is there one inside the tank as well? Just to note, the fuel pressure light works as it should, on for a second or two when you turn the key, then off. Next step i guess is to check the timing. She runs so smooth at idle though I dont suspect that is the problem.
 

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Thanks for the info. I replaced the filter above the rear axle,also to no avail. Is there one inside the tank as well? Just to note, the fuel pressure light works as it should, on for a second or two when you turn the key, then off. Next step i guess is to check the timing. She runs so smooth at idle though I dont suspect that is the problem.
Maybe the timing is not advancing.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
I feel pretty idiotic right now--- I spent a couple of hours and dollars replacing fuel filters. I spent a few days worried something awful was wrong, figuring I was going to have to bring it to someone. The problem had nothing to do with vacuum, fuel pressure, or filters. The **** distributor was loose (really loose) and the timing was retarded and getting worse as I ran the engine. Just need to grab a timing gun and re calibrate and tighten it down.

Thanks
 
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