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I am writing about my recent experience with a new SPICA installation in the hopes that it helps some people out there. While there is much written out there about SPICA tuning, I found myself in the situation of trying to piece all of this together without having had the benefit of ever seeing an installed SPICA system. I purchased a ’71 GTV 1750 with the SPICA system not working. The PO pulled the pump out for me and sent it off to Wes Ingram before shipping me the car so . You can find plenty of information out there about how to determine if your pump needs rebuilding so I won’t cover that here. In our case it became obvious with some troubleshooting that a new (rebuilt) pump was necessary. What this meant is when I got the pump from Wes I had to install it without having ever seen one before. Additionally although I had experience with other 4 cylinder twin cam engines they all had carbs, I had never seen this particular car before and had only a little previous experience with Alfas. So I thought I would write some of this down before I forgot it in the hopes that it helps others do it faster and with less stress and rework.

The resources I found the most useful were various bits on the AlfaBB site, along with Wes Ingram’s book “Manual for Alfa SPICA Fuel Injection”, available from Wes Ingram Enterprises at http://015cb80.netsolhost.com/index.html and the “Alfa Tuneup Day Instructions” by Robert Parry, which I found on the Alfa Romeo Owners of Oregon site at http://www.alfaclub.org/Spica Tuneup 2008.pdf. I did have a manual for the car but found that to be lacking compared to the above references. I could have done the job with Wes’ manual only but found Robert Parry’s document to be extremely helpful as well, particularly since it had more explanations for a beginner and addresses doing the job with tools most mechanics will have.

Please note that this document is not intended to replace any of the reference materials noted above. I would consider those to be mandatory for taking on this project even if you are extremely skilled simply because there is information in there you will need. If you read my notes here without having the benefit of the complete instructions in the other references then they won’t help much because I did not put the information from these other sources into this document as it isn’t my material. This document is intended to fill in the gaps, especially for someone facing this for the first time and/or who didn’t get the benefit of removing the old pump to begin with. Lastly please understand that this is document is based on one install, was written after the fact and has not been tested by anyone yet. So use it at your own risk but perhaps over time it will be added to and further improved.

Finally I did purchase Wes Ingram’s tool for removing or adjusting the Fuel Cutoff Solenoid. I’m sure the job could be done (on a new pump at least) with an old screwdriver but why bugger up a brand new Wes Ingram pump?

As a side note, I lost much more sleep about this project before I actually got the pump in my hands. I probably have better than average garage mechanic’s skills but am a long way from what I would call a really proficient auto mechanic. With all the noise out there about the SPICA system I was really nervous but had the determination that I didn’t want to convert the car to carbs. I’m not speaking down to the carb guys and don’t want to get into all the politics of SPICA vs. carbs but I just felt like taking on this challenge. I had a few conversations with Wes, traded several e-mails and I’ve never had such fantastic support and customer service from anyone in the automotive engineering or repair industry.

One thing is for sure. You have to have the right state of mind to take on this project. That translates to patience, know when to quit and to take the time to make sure each step is good before progressing to the next. If you are focused on getting the car on the street or have an unreasonable deadline then pay someone else to do it. But don’t be put off by the challenge because it really isn’t as bad as one would think by reading all the stuff out there about SPICAs.

The term “SPICA” and “pump” following are both referring to the SPICA fuel injection pump. Not to be confused with the electric fuel pump located back by the fuel tank! “PO” means previous owner.

Lots of words following but trust me, if you are doing this the first time then read it one time, print it out and keep it around as you do the job. You may find the one thing you get confused about along the way.

Step 1 – I received the car without the pump and got the front end up so I could more conveniently get under the front end, which is needed for one or two of the steps. I considered taking the extra couple of weeks I had available while waiting for the pump to arrive to remove the radiator and hoses that are in the way but the PO had recently redone all of this so I decided to leave it alone for now. As the PO had not reconditioned the gas tank to my satisfaction, my son and I pulled the tank and got the interior dipped and coated at the local radiator shop. I should have prepped the outside first and when I got the tank back I had to be very careful when removing a bunch of ugly black paint and silicone that someone had used previously when mounting the tank in the car. We also took some time to clean up the bodywork under the car and where the tank sits and paint it to prevent rust. I tried to replace the little sheet metal nuts that were originally used on the car with some new machine nuts of a similar design but the reach on the ones I bought was wrong and so we cleaned up the original ones and just replaced the screws. Someone had drilled a couple of extra holes in the tank flange that actually proved useful as some of the original hole placements are less than ideal. Getting the tank in and out of the car with the fill tube in place also proved a little bit of a challenge but by far the biggest hassle was the filler neck rubber boot that collects fuel that spills during refueling and drains it into the tank. Someone had recently replaced the original boot with a new one but instead of taking the time to install it properly they slit it lengthwise and then used more silicone to seal it all up. So I had purchased a new one and my son took this project on. While we did have to make little radial slits in the opening where the fuel tank filler pipe pushes through the boot, he was able to get the whole boot fitted over the bodywork inside the fuel filler door. I’m glad he did it instead of me because it looked strenuous.

Step 2 – We replaced the rear fuel filter with a NAPA 3299, which is the one suggested by Wes. I couldn’t find that locally and purchased several online. I’m sure any inline filter with the correct inlet and discharge diameters would work as long as it is intended for a pretty high flow as with the SPICA system the fuel is constantly flowing up to the injection pump and back to the tank. Additionally we replaced the front fuel filter. We didn’t have to worry about the oil filter in the SPICA itself as that was replaced with the new (reconditioned) pump purchase from Wes Ingram. We did not have to worry about the electric fuel pump as the PO had checked it out before sending the car. I believe the spec for the electric fuel pump is that it pumps .6 gal per minute through the whole system and the PO had actually measured that and found the electric fuel pump was operating to spec. All of this worked out and about the same time the tank arrived we had the reconditioned tank back in the car.

Step 3 – We had to purchase a new Thermostatic Actuator because the PO had done the “squeeze trick” to the original unit, which prevented it from being a useful core. Wes provided a new TA for us. There is nothing really too difficult about the TA installation except that as Wes notes, you need to be gentle with it so as not to kink the tube and also not to mount the center clamp until all done with the hot testing. I assume this is because it may slightly influence the settings.

Step 4 - When the pump arrived I took some pictures (see attached), read all of Wes’ notes on tags attached to the pump (very thoughtful and helpful!) and cleaned up the location on the car where the pump was to be installed. The PO had lost the woodruff key that holds the SPICA pulley to the front of the pump and instead of waiting for a metric one to arrive from Wes (he sent one afterwards even though I told him he didn’t need to) I modified a 1/8” by 5/8” key that I purchased at my LHS. I lapped the thickness down and took a little off the ends using a stone until it matched the dimensions of the original metric key which Wes kindly told me provided (.118 in (4 mm) X .607). Another thing is my first time at installing the pump I figured I would install the pulley after the pump was in the car. This proved to be impossible, or at least very difficult, with the radiator in place so I had to pull the pump back out, install the pulley and then reinstall the pump in the car. I thought that access to one of the pump bolts would prove harder with the pulley in place which is why I tried this but it wasn’t that much worse so if I were doing this again I wouldn’t even think about trying to install the pump without the pulley already on it.

Step 5 – We followed Wes’ instructions for installing a new pump. It was obvious where to put the o-ring. I had an e-mail from Wes that said not to shellac the gasket (provided) between the pump and the engine. I’m glad he said that because I’m an old guy and probably would have done just that). Two people are very handy because one can be under the car guiding the pump onto the correct location while the person above is threading the pump down through all the stuff above and taking the weight of the pump. One of Wes’ suggestions it to have a ¼” flex driver and that would have sped things up but I couldn’t find one locally and didn’t want to drive all the way to Sears. So I did it the slow way with an offset box end wrench. The job would not have been possible without this tool. Wes also has some specific suggestions as to how to keep the injector lines out of the way. I did inspect the thermostatic actuator screw and noted the instructions of where to start the setting in Parry's document but I elected to leave it alone as Wes had supplied both the pump and thermostatic actuator. There is some very good information in both Wes' manual and Parry's document about new actuators vs. old ones and some starting dimensions.

Step 6 - We did not connect the fuel hoses at this point because as Wes’ notes a new pump can be ruined by dirt from a dirty fuel system. This is addressed in a step following. We did install the injector lines however at this point. Wes has some specific cautions there. Be sure to start from left to right or you won’t have clearance for the wrench. As a side note I did not get the injectors inspected by Wes but if I were pulling out an old pump to send to him for renovation then I would pull the injectors at the same time and send them along as well.

Step 7 – With the pump mounted on the engine the next step is to get it timed to the car and install the cogged belt. The hardest part for us was to be able to turn the engine over. We pulled out the battery and tightened the v-belt (which we had just replaced) so that we could turn the engine over using a ratcheting box end wrench on the alternator (no room for a socket) in combination of pushing on the belt with one hand so as to increase tension while turning the alternator. This worked well enough though I would really have liked a better solution. We painted the various marks different color so we could see them. Pay particular attention to the instructions about lining things up because the distributor should be just about ready to fire the number four cylinder, and not the number one cylinder when the pump is timed properly. It is very easy to get things out by one revolution if you aren’t careful.

Step 8 – With the crank at the appropriate spot and the pump pulley where it needs to be (we also painted that spot) then you can install the belt. We were installing a new belt and since I had seen some inconsistencies in the blogs about using WD40 or not on the belt, we used soapy water. This was definitely a two person job, with one below and one above. What worked well for us was the person above holding the top part of the belt so that it is just starting to move onto the pulley while the person on the bottom starts working it onto the pulley along the bottom and side. And of course both people have to be careful not to allow the pulley to turn. Anyway once it was partially on the pulley, which we checked by making sure the teeth on the belt were lined up with the teeth on the pulley, then the person below continues to work the belt onto the pulley while the other person goes around to the other side of the car and slowly begins to rotate the engine. You have to make sure that the belt is starting into the grooves on the pulley if you are going to do this but the benefit is that the belt really wants to run in a straight line so it starts to pull onto the pulley. If you have soapy water on the belt and pulley then it works pretty well. Strong fingers definitely help. We rechecked the timing twice more after getting the belt on, including going all the way back to the instructions again and checking the distributor.

Step 9 – It was now time to connect the wires. I didn’t have anything that showed me this in terms I could understand on my specific car but the PO told me that the white wire coming off the firewall went to the micro switch on the bottom of the pump with the other wire off the micro switch up to the fuel cutoff solenoid. There is another heavier gauge black wire coming off the firewall that goes to the cold start solenoid.

Step 10 – At this point the pump was fully in place and ready to operate except for the fuel lines. We noted the warnings about the fuel being clean and at this point we had a clean fuel tank with new rear and front filters, but we didn’t know too much about the fuel lines themselves. The PO had connected the supply hose to the SPICA to the return hose from the SPICA with a small tube as part of his previous testing. We left this in place for now and you will see why in a minute. We put some gas in the tank and after checking that we didn’t have any loose wires anywhere we turned on the ignition which started the electric fuel pump, thereby moving fuel from the tank, through the rear filter, up to the engine area through the front filter and through the hoses leading to the SPICA and then back to the front filter and then back to the tank. We figured this would move any remaining dirt in the lines up near the SPICA (in the “clean zone”) back to the tank without introducing anything into the SPICA. After running for a few minutes then we hooked up the supply and return lines to the SPICA. One thing that we noticed is that the PO had used your typical hose clamps on the lines to/from the SPICA. These will leak and were replaced with some of the European types that clamp all the way around including under where the fastener is providing the clamping torque. Maybe there is another technique for stopping the regular type hose clamps from leaking but I couldn’t find a way. This is not something to mess around with as both hoses are under approximately equal pressure and will leak. As the distributor is very close and the SPICA has electrical connections itself, plus there is good airflow here to atomize and blow fuel all over everything this is not something that you want to fool around with.

Step 11 – Using both Wes’ instructions and referencing the very nice diagrams in Robert Parry’s instructions we made the best guess at the initial settings for the Bellcrank stop screw. Wes calls it the relay crank. Make sure to get the stop screw on the firewall that prevents the throttle cable from returning all the way out of the way first. I spent some time feeling how the throttle plates felt when closing. If the stop screw is too far out then the throttles will dig in slightly in the aluminum throats. The idea is to adjust the screw so that the throttles are just fully closed as the crank hits the screw. I say “best guess” at this point because things do change slightly as things heat up and very minor adjustments may need to be made later on if the throttles don’t open without any hesitation or if they aren’t closing perfectly.

Step 12 – At this point you want to double check that the throttles can open up all the way without interference. Robert Parry’s document describes how to do this. In our case someone had tucked some sort of large diameter hose between the throttle shaft that is worked by the gas pedal and the firewall. We got this out of the way at this point.

Step 13 – Again referencing Robert Parry’s document we were able to determine if the throttles were roughly synchronized. Of course the proper way to do this is after the car is running and tuned using a synchronizing tool but since we hadn’t seen this car run we performed the check that Parry suggests at this point. We didn’t end up making any adjustments here.

Step 14 – Parry’s sequence now has you adjusting the short rod. We also made no changes here.

Step 15 – Now it is time to get the car running. For us this was a bit of a concern since we had no idea what was going on with this engine. It did take a little cranking but did start up without too much fuss. Don’t worry too much about idle speeds, missing, etc. at this point. Just try to get the car up to temperature. I think this caused me stress because I was uncertain if I should be trying to make the car run properly or continue with the adjustments. Obviously if you have some major mechanical issue you need to stop but otherwise unless you have serious ignition/timing issues that are preventing you from being able to tell if the car is missing or not then you should probably continue. We had some slow hunting going on that disturbed me but we decided to proceed. Additionally in our specific case we had to deal with a thermostat that didn’t open but we were able to get up to temperature so we could make the .019” pump clearance and then fix the thermostat. This was pretty confusing for us the first time out because the clearance before starting the car was huge (something like .25”) so it wasn’t obvious to me how this clearance was going to somehow magically reduce to something like 20 thousandths just by heating up to 175 F! Well lo and behold once that thermostatic actuator does its thing then the gap went away! This will become obvious when you disconnect the thermostatic actuator from the pump and adjust the little screw inside because if you press down slightly on the screw you will see the gap change. The thing that messed me up for awhile was REMEMBERING TO DISCONNECT THE LONG ROD BEFORE MEASURING THE GAP! If you don’t do this then you end up making a relationship in your mind between the bell crank adjustment made previously and adjusting the screw inside the pump under the thermostatic actuator. Most confusing so don’t go there! The point is to adjust the screw so as to achieve the .019” (or slightly less) measurement at this point with the engine hot but stopped and the long rod disconnected. Don’t get hung up on exact idle speed at this point as the car may not be running properly yet. Wes’ book provides good instructions on this step, the important thing is that the long rod is disconnected while you take the measurement.

Step 16 – Wes’ book tells you to adjust the long rod at this point to make sure that when you reconnect it you don’t change the .019” gap. I got confused here again because the fuel mix was preventing the car from idling properly. Parry’s document has you go after the fuel mixture next, adjust the idle slightly if necessary and then adjust the long rod. This was ultimately the procedure that I ended up doing but Wes’ method works also because the point is to get the long rod hooked up in such a way that the .019” gap is not changed. It was obvious that someone previously had obviously tried to adjust for SPICA problems with the long rod and bellcrank stop which is part of what confused me and is why I took the time to write all this down. We followed Parry’s instructions for adjusting the fuel/air ratio, which are the same as Wes’ but with more words for the novice. In our particular case we repeated the adjustments twice but since I think we have some ignition issues with and old distributor and points we decided this was good enough for now. We will be coming back to this step after addressing the ignition topics.

Step 17 – At this point we followed Parry’s instructions to slightly adjust the idle airflow. We didn’t have to do too much here as the engine was idling pretty well considering the distributor problems.

Step 18 – Perry’s final step is to check and adjust if necessary the cold start solenoid. We are going work on this after fixing the distributor problems.
All in all the process was pretty fun and rewarding. If you like this sort of thing then I encourage you to take it on. The beauty is if you know the car is supposed to run and you have a newly renovated pump then all of the things that are likely to go wrong are within your control.
 

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Nice writeup. A few things I'll add:

1. It makes things a lot easier if you remove the radiator and fan while R&R'ing the injection pump. When timing the pump, go to #4 (number FOUR cylinder) TDC on the power stroke, then CCW to the "I" mark on the crankshaft pulley. This will correspond to 70deg BTDC on the INTAKE stroke of the #1 cylinder.

2. The relay crank idle and WOT stop screws must be set correctly to provide the proper "delta" between the short and long rods. Chances are, sometime in the past, somebody has changed the idle stop screw thinking that's the way to adjust the idle speed. That is NOT how you adjust the idle speed.

While there are several work-arounds out there to set the stop screws, the best way is to use the calibrated Alfa tool. Set the stop screws and then DON'T change them. I have a tool that I loan to AlfaBB members. It's a calibrated copy of the original tool (which I don't loan out).

3. The ignition system must be functioning correctly before any attempt to tune the Spica system is undertaken. If the engine wasn't running before-hand, simply statically time the distributor. That will get it very very close to correct, and plenty close to properly tune the injection system.

4. For initially setting the long rod, you can install a dummy T/A and adjust it so as to set the pump gap to zero, then install the long rod and adjust it to maintain .019" pump gap.

5. A good initial setting of the running mixture is 9.5 turns in on the Fuel Cutoff Solenoid. This will certainly get you in the ballpark for a good running mixture until you can fine tune it later after you get the engine warmed up and the T/A removing any cold run enrichment.
 

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Thank you, John. Those definitely fill in some gaps in my thinking. Once I get a few other things fixed I am going to go back through the process again and get the idle adjusted properly. Can I look you up at that time to borrow the tool for the stop screws?
 

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Thank you, John. Those definitely fill in some gaps in my thinking. Once I get a few other things fixed I am going to go back through the process again and get the idle adjusted properly. Can I look you up at that time to borrow the tool for the stop screws?
Drop me a PM when before need it. Better to do it early than late. I'm gone from home at least half of the month.
 

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Great thread! The link to the Robert Parry document doesn't seem to work anymore. Does anyone have a current link, or a copy of the pdf that can be posted as an attachment?
 

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Great thread! The link to the Robert Parry document doesn't seem to work anymore. Does anyone have a current link, or a copy of the pdf that can be posted as an attachment?
Here it is:
 

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