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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi All,

I am a new owner of a 74 Spider. It was running well, although rich when I got it. Being the naive Alfa owner I decided to take matters in my own inexperienced hand and adjust the cold start (although it does not have the lever to adjust, nor the documented "N,C,F" markings. I also toyed with the Allen nut that I assumed to be an adjuster. I have read all the manuals that are cited in this forum, AFAIK. - John Stewart's is *great as well as Wes'.

Since then, it will not start and stay running. On 3 out of 4 starts I can get it to run at high idle but once allowed on its own it sputters and dies.

I have replaced the filter in the back and the lines. I am getting fuel to the pump but once there I am not sure what happens at intake.

I am on the edge of doing a conversion to the weber carb just for ease and my own skill set.

I come to the altar of the Alfa Guru's for sage advice.
 

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First, welcome to the BB!

I am on the edge of doing a conversion to the weber carb just for ease and my own skill set.
:confused: While you may not be familiar with the SPICA, converting to carbs is by far neither the quickest nor the most cost effective route... Even if you had a unit that needs to be rebuilt it would still be cheaper to send it to Wes than to do the conversion...

One of the nice things about the SPICA is that once it is set-up properly you don't have to touch it. I have not done anything to the one in my 1974 Spider in years - to the point that my knowledge is more than rusty and I couldn't give advice without re-reading the diagnostic manual carefully.

Not to worry however, John ("Roadtrip") is a regular contributor to this Board, and I'm sure he will chime in, as will other members...

Best regards,
 

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Sounds like you were adjusting the barometric compensator and not the Cold Start Solenoid. Arrow points to the CCS in the picture.
 

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Sean - Congratulations. You are the BB's newest poster child for messing with the Spica system without doing your homework first. Don't worry in a couple of days, someone else will take the heat off ya.

Ok. I'm going to say this for the benefit of those that might read this later.
NEVER ADJUST THE MACHINE SCREW/LOCKNUT ON THE BAROMETRIC COMPENSATOR. It set by the factory under specific pressure altitude conditions. The function of the BC is to compensate for changes in altitude by leaning or richening the mixture automatically, unlike carburetors where the jets have to be changed. Another clue is don't adjust anything that has anti-tamper red paint applied to it. It's not there for decoration.

Also, do not touch the allen screw on the top rear of the pump. That is also a factory adjusted setting that NEVER needs to be changed. The purpose of that screw is to restrict the upward movement of the vertical notched lever.

OK, lecture over.

I think the primary problem is the allen screw. Which way did you turn it? So it went farther into the pump, or farther out? If you turned it “in” it’s likely that the screw is now preventing the vertical notched lever from moving at all, or preventing it from engaging the spring clip on the compensator link, thus preventing any/much fuel delivery. Try and return the screw to the original position if you remember how may turns you did to it. If not, try having about 1 thread showing above the locknut. If that doesn’t work, try 1.5 threads showing. For the BC, try and return that to the original position if you can remember.

All is not lost, however. I think we can get it back ok. Since the BC doesn’t have a temperature adjuster arm, I think the pump has been replaced with a later model. Look on the side of the pump and tell me what the “T” number is.

I’m away from home right now and won’t be back until next weekend when I can look at my pumps and give you some more exact settings. In the meantime, PM me an email address and I can send you some manuals and guides. Let me know which guides you already have.

Here's a rather poor quality picture that might help. I had to blow it up and crop it, since I don't have any macro pix of those specific parts.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks all for the speedy posts. If others can learn from my mistakes I definately dont mind being the whipping boy. ;)

In retrospect it was the BC that I adjusted. Also that Allen nut. I have reset them both to what I think is the approximate original positions. I have also tried to start her by adjusting each, seperatly, by 1/2 turns.

The T numbers look to be T260. I have taken photos but none clear enough to discern.
 

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Are you sure yours is a '74? Does it have the black bumpers or stainless steel ones? A "T260" injection pump is from a '75 model. It is perfectly possible that some previous owner installed it when the original failed. An original '74 model is a T255/1 and has a temperature lever on top the BC.

Does it start after you tried to return everything to original positions? If not, we're going to have to open the inspection plate on the rear of the pump and check to ensure that the allen screw is not interfering with the VNL and that the Compensator Link is in the 7th-9th notch from the top. If we're not sure about the BC, I'll trade you a good one for you're maladjusted one. I have a few good ones on junk pumps. I could just measure the length from the bottom of the mounting plate to the bottom pin, but my house is at 4000' pressure altitude, so you'd have to be at the same altitude to set it the same.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks in *large* part to the Roadside side guide from John Stewart I have the Alfa running!! Victory!

The spring that is attached to the Compensator was disconnected. I also had to readjust the compensator arm, and now have it around 7th position.

She does idle very low and stalls once the throttle is slightly touched. I'll start scouring the bb for those symptoms but of course all suggestions are more than welcome.

Again, I cant thank this community enough for their support. I am grateful this forum exists and look forward to much more participation.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
BTW, she has black bumpers and from what I understand it is the last year before the newer safety bumpers were mandated.
 

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BTW, she has black bumpers and from what I understand it is the last year before the newer safety bumpers were mandated.
The black bumpers are the 5 mph type that were mandated by US regulations starting with the 1975 model year. It is important to note that it is quite normal for the new model year to be manufactured in the latter half of a the prior calendar year. This means that production of 1975 Spiders with black bumpers actually starts in 1974. Hence, a Spider with a 1974 manufacture date may very well be a 1975 model year car, and it sounds like that is what you have. I say this because the 1974 model year was the last year for the stainless steel bumpers, and your car has black bumpers.

Best regards,
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
My declaration of success was premature. She wouldn't start this morning when I was about to address the low idle. Interesting enough I attached a picture of the BC and as you can see it is in excess of 50 mm. When the compensator arm is at it highest post on the notch arm the distance from the comp arm to the top of the FI pump is still 47 mm. This is in direct contrast to all documentation which states 27 mm nominal. Since I am in Boston I know it is not altitude.

BTW, this was taken on the front bumper and as you can see it is black.
 

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Sean - Standby on the nominal measurements of a BC. That 27mm figure from the Roadside Guide may be a typo. Since you're the first person since the inception of the BB to change the setting on the BC, no one has brought it up before. For now, measure the distance from the top of the logic section casting to the compensator link while the compensator link is sitting in the 7th notch. Reset your BC to that and try a start. When I get home I"ll remeasure. I'm thinking when I typed that in, I was thinking the 27mm standard for the Thermostatic Actuator, not the BC. But I'll know this weekend and let you know.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanks Roadtrip,

No worries. I am headed out of town as you are headed back so I am on hold for another week+. Glad I am breaking new ground on the BC. ;~)

I have set the Comp Link Arm to the 7th and every position therein, attempted a start after each setting with no success. I will say that 7th +-1 gives the most glimmer of hope. Worth noting that the new plugs I put in are caked in black and I have cleaned them, again. Indicates a richness to me and yet it reacts as if running too lean.

Also, on the off moment I did get it to start and idle low the butterfly's are completely closed, as they should be.

I have bypassed both the Fuel cut off and the cold start per the guide's directions. I have also checked the cold start for a stuck position, WD40 etc.
 

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Ok, I'll ask since no one else has: How is your ignition system? Poor spark get show as a rich condition as well. As we all have experienced, the poor SPICA gets blamed for much that is not its fault.

As far as bumpers go, the '71 - '74 (Series 2) bumpers are generally known as Stainless Steel bumpers although they have a black plastic insert. Starting in '75, huge, ugly solid rubber unibrow bumpers (Series 2a) were mandated in the USA along with increased ride height. While it is common for folks to retrofit the SS bumpers on an S2a it is unlikely that anyone has gone the other route.

So if your Spider has stainless bumper it is probably a '74 but with a T260 SPICA you might have a modified later model. If you have a black rubber unibrow bumper your Spider is surely newer than '74.

Here is a later model bumper for sale: http://www.alfabb.com/bb/forums/alfa-romeo-parts-sale-wanted/169304-77-spider-front-bumper.html
 

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I measured a couple of BC's tonight. My house is at 4000' pressure altitude and the BC extension is 47-48mm measured from the flange underbase to the tip of the BC. The Roadside Guide is a typo. Should be about 47mm, not 27mm which would be impossible.

Next time I go to NY (sea level), I'll take a BC and measure it again to see what the difference is. For now about 46-47mm should bring it very close to original, assuming your at sea level.

Expect the sea level measurements toward the end of next week.

Do make sure the ignition system is correct and that the engine is timed correctly.
 

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The defining data point for adjusting the BC is altitude compensated barometric pressure. Please click below.
 

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Thanks Jim. I actually remember seeing that and think I have it in my stack of Spica stuff, but forgot about it. Geez. 57 and the brain is already shot.
 
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