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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
:confused:I need some help and have tried all the obvious fixes to the typical "Engine starts up and cuts out" syndrome. This is no longer funny and I'm out of ideas short of a weber conversion. Here is my story, PLEASE tell me something I've overlooked, or anything to fix this.

I have an 87 Alfa Romeo Spider Graduate that starts right up but dies after 3+/- seconds. I bought it a few months ago to be a parts donor for my wife's 87 Alfa Spider Veloce (which works fine - fingers crossed/knock on wood) but have always wanted to street race SCCA so the Grad will live on a bit longer in that capacity. Emissions and street legality is not a concern, so if you have any bypasses or modifications that are good for the track but not street "legal", that is fine. My 1st. priority though is to get it running and drivable. I don't have the resources to do the car all at once so it will be done a bit at a time.

When I bought the car the owner reported the same problem and had started to do a half [email protected]@ job of diagnostics and repairs, so I have some spare parts that I also tested. He obviously felt like throwing $ at the problem hoping to find a cure. I also used the Veloce for reference for re-assembly and comparison.

I pretty much used the diagnostics spelled out on the following web link: L-Jet Spider
Here is what I have so far and the test results:

*compression Cylinder 1: 115psi - good spark when tested with timing light
*compression Cylinder 2: 115psi - good spark when tested with timing light
*compression Cylinder 3: 115psi - good spark when tested with timing light
*compression Cylinder 4: 110psi - good spark when tested with timing light
*It was last registered in 1998
*I drained the old gas (which was the worst Ive ever seen...and smelled) poured in a new gallon and sucked that out too before putting 5 gallons of new fuel in with stabilizer.
*New in tank pump and sock - I did these myself because the previous owner had them all disassembled
*Last owner used 1/2" heater hose for fuel line - I replaced all these but he still pumped through them to the external fuel pump, lines, injectors, etc.
*Transmission to chassis braided ground was sanded clean and reinstalled w/ dielectric grease
*Main ECU ground on engine block was sanded clean and reinstalled w/ dielectric grease
*2 other grounds on the AAV were sanded clean and reinstalled w/ dielectric grease
*Valve cover is grounded with the 2 metal washers
*Battery ground was sanded clean and reinstalled w/ dielectric grease
*Optima red top battery is used with a battery tender hooked up when not in use 12.5 V under no load and 11.5 V when cranking the starter
*Air flow meter hose, plastic middle air duct and intake boot are all hole free
*Other air hoses are original, but I can't find holes blowing in them with my 39 year old non-smoker lungs
*FI ECU (under the parcel shelf ) connections cleaned with electric spray cleaner and reinstalled w/ dielectric grease. ( I have a spare one and the car acts the same with it hooked up)
*Fuel Pump fuse okay
*New intank and external fuel pumps
*main FI relay okay
*Fuses in fuse box okay (now that I changes some bad ones)
*Grey Flywheel sensor checks okay - 880 ohms between the two tabs and no continuity between the others
*Black Flywheel sensor checks okay - 900 ohms between the two tabs and no continuity between the others
*TPS continuity checks okay at idle and full throttle positions, clicks coming off idle and operates VVT solenoid at full throttle
*CTS tests okay - at 50 degrees F it reads 4050 ohms
*TTS reads 50 ohms at 50 degrees F, but the CSI sprays well so I think it should be replaced soon but is not my problem
*CSI sprays LOTS of fuel when I turn the engine over (I removed it to check)
*AAV was filthy and sticky, but I cleaned it up and it's opening looks the same as the Veloce at 50 degrees (shows 25% open). I put it in the freezer and it opens 70% then gets stuck open (frozen water from washing?). I bypassed it with an open hose and the car still does the start/stall thing. I think it should be replaced soon, but looks the same as the Veloce that runs.
*All 4 injectors have 2 ohms resistance and 11.5 V when the ignition is on
*Air Flow Meter looks okay. with proper resistance values. I took the one off the Veloce and the Grad still does not run
*Altitude compensator is okay - I'm at 1000 feet above sea level and the readings between tabs 2&3 is 2200 ohms. The reading between 1&2 is 1800 ohms
*I kept the car running for about 15 seconds by continuously spraying starting fluid in the intake.
*All 4 plugs were fairly black. Not covered in crud nor corroded, but the car was definitely running rich. New Champions are installed now and they fire like they should
*Fuel filter is not blocked nor old
*No other problems I'm aware of, but the care does not run so we'll see.
*Oh, and the most important - I have the black paint and black interior. I know, I know... the Red ones go faster, but build what ya got.

Please guys and gals, what is wrong with my Graduate? If the CSI works can the fuel pressure still be a problem? How can I further test the injectors without removing them? Can I just bypass any of this stuff?

Thank you for your help!
Adam
 

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Your statement that it'll run with a continous spray of starting fluid indicates the ignition system is functioning but there is a fuel delivery problem. Have you tested the fuel pressure and fuel pressure regulator?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
No, I have not tried that yet. I'll buy a fuel pressure tester tomorrow, but the cold start injector works fine. It REALLY sprays and with 2 new fuel pumps, I'm pretty confident that the fuel pressure is okay.
 

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It may well be worth removing the fuel injectors and having them thoroughly cleaned. Note that they cannot be "rebuilt" so don't fall for that sales gimmick. A few parts can be replaced but the internals are inaccessable.

I sent the injectors from our '84 Spider to Cruzin Performance for cleaning. (There are others that offer similar services.)
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
It sure looks like the injectors are not opening but they all get voltage when the car is "running." I would expect that the car would still idle even if 1 or 2 were bad, so could all of them stop working? I have not seen many occasions where multiple failures occur and don't really want to drop $400 without being sure.
 

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It is possible the car is starting and running for the ~3 seconds on the fuel from the CSI. The CSI will typicially squirt for about 3 seconds during a cold start. Co-incidence?

You mentioned how bad the fuel in the tank had become. Imagine that rotten gunk inside the fuel injectors for all those years it sat unused - and likely unprepared for storage. Cruzin Performance does a complete ultrasonic/solvent cleaning of the injectors for $16 each. That adds up to a lot less than $400.

You can remove the fuel rail with the injectors still attached to observe if they actually squirt any fuel. There is one bolt underneath the plenum that attaches to the underside of the fuel rail. Each injector is held in place by a pair of socket head bolts (use an allen wrench type tool). Remove those socket head bolts and the one bolt underneath then move the whole assembly out enough so you can see the injector tips. Have an assistant crank the engine while you watch the injectors for spray pattern. However, once you get that far I'd suggest just removing the injectors and sending them out to be cleaned. The turn around was quite quick - I had them back in about a week.

Replace the FI hoses when you re-install the injectors. The fuel rail to injector hose is a metric size - not usually available from auto parts stores. I bought a couple of feet from IAP. Just measure the length of the old hoses and cut a new piece the same length. What they call a 'welder' in the sketch below is what we'd call a soldering gun. The point being to melt the hose loose and avoid hacking it off with a knife and getting nicks in the hose barbs - could lead to leaks later. Also the 'bushing' is a cup shaped washer - they help keep the hoses from spreading and loosening. If you get the right size (ID) hose then no 'hose clamps' are needed.
 

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*AAV was filthy and sticky, but I cleaned it up and it's opening looks the same as the Veloce at 50 degrees (shows 25% open). I put it in the freezer and it opens 70% then gets stuck open (frozen water from washing?). I bypassed it with an open hose and the car still does the start/stall thing. I think it should be replaced soon, but looks the same as the Veloce that runs.
While it likely isn't the cause of your problem, once the engine does manage to run long enough to warm up even part way, that bypass hose is going to constitue what amounts to a pretty huge false air leak, and you'll definitely get radical surging when at 'idle' (which it won't do, but instead will run up to around 2000-2500, then outright cut, then run up again over and over until you get a functional AAV or a manual valve in there)

I would expect that the car would still idle even if 1 or 2 were bad, so could all of them stop working? I have not seen many occasions where multiple failures occur and don't really want to drop $400 without being sure
1 out mabe, 2 out and I think you'be lucky that it ran at all, let alone idle.


If the gas in the tank looked as bad as you describe, I'd hazard the injectors are just as nasty and gummed up, regardless of whether they are getting proper voltage or not.

I think I'd be pulling the rail and checking the pattern (or even if there's spray) on the injectors once you do a pressure check. (if you've got flow, voltage to the injectors, and proper pressure, the only thing left is gummy nozzles, unless you've got a serious ignition problem which your tests indicate you likely don't)

They can be cleaned by several shops, and you may even find a local one that does it as it's becomeing a bit more of a popular service now that carburettors are definitely on the decline.




EDIT:

Dammit Eric...... :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Ahhh Haaa! Now that sounds like a good and relatively easy test/potential fix. I'll give that a try. Thanks for the advice! I'll post my results. Have a happy and safe new year!
 

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Just read your original post and list of stuff you did and I was going to suggest the injectors as well but the others beat me to it. I've also used Cruzin Performance with good results.

Kevin
 

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Not likely, but you may want to also check the idle speed adjustment nut and rubber o-ring. And it is not the cause of the symptons you describe but I would definitly go ahead and replace the fuel filter too (I think fuel pump warrantys require a new fuel pickup sock and fuel filter).

I had a no-start problem that existed when I got my car and it was indeed very frustrating trying to troubleshoot and track down the problem. Turned out to be the rubber o-ring. If not for this BB, I probably would have given up. Good luck.

Dale P.
'82 Spider w/ FI
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I'll be sure to check the idle adjustment nut and replace the o-ring. I'd really REALLY be happy to do so 'cause that would mean she is running! Yeah!

No such luck just yet though. I had to mail order a fuel pressure tester because the local stores don't have one that will connect properly - Not that I expect a problem there though.

I also ordered a diode specifically made to test the injector signal just to be sure the ECU is sending the pulse to the injectors. This test light may be a waste of $25 but I get nervous when connecting electronics to the ECU.

Lastly, I pulled the fuel injectors out (along with the fuel rail) and none were spraying. They have worn looking rubber and are certainly doing a great job of looking suspect.
 

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Is this what you mean for the injector tester?

eBay Motors: Injector Tester Triumph TR7 TR8 Opel Miata Alfa Romeo (item 300187057297 end time Jan-08-08 18:15:46 PST)

I got a whole kit of these (about 6 of them) from a local cheap tool store for about $16 I think. I found them very useful to ensure I was getting the signal from the ECU to the injector. If you are getting the signal, have good fuel pressure, then you know where your problem is :), looks like you probably found it already though...

Kevin
 

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even thuo the fuel fitler is not dirty or old..i would still change it...
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Well, I got the overpriced LED tester and fuel pressure guage this week, so I formally tested all 4 injector signals (all pulsing the overpriced LED nicely) and the fuel pressure (31.5 psi)

After the tests I pulled the fuel rail and started to remove the injectors. Those fuel hoses are on tight! I had to cut and tear and bit by bit they came off. Do they go on as hard? I think I'll just use hose clamps upon reassembly.

I also broke the throttle linkage removing the fuel rail. That little plastic heim joint/tie rod end type thing that connects the accelerator linkage rod to the butterfly valve throttle. Anyone know where to get a replacement?
 

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Yah, they aren't exactly cooprative in that resepect.

The more common method of removal is to cut the hoses off the injectors and rail with a soldering iron, (less chance of damaging the practically unobtanium rail you see), and shown in ghnl's reply on page 1, post #6 of this thread.

Lubricating w/fuel will help get things back together again.

Prolly at least one of the usual suppliers can get you the plastic bit, but if not, APE would be high on the list of 'most likely gots'.

Lastly, if you end up using clamps on the new hoses, don't use the conventional worm screw type but those specifically designed for fuel injection hose.

Picture is representative only and part # on it is not neccisarily for the size you need

 

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Throttle rod end socket part #1160 $4.95 from IAP (see page 14) also clamps suggested by Tifosi #25191 $3.25/ PAIR, though you asre probably best to order the bosch fuel injector hose/clamp kit complete for all 4 inj's #16893 $15.95 for the kit for 4 inj's
TTFN Elio
 

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I replaced my throttle rod end sockets with new steel units from Centerline.
 

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I haven't replaced the injectors on a 4-cyl but on the Milano no clamps were needed when using the correct size fuel hose. The fit was quite tight and did need a little lubing with fuel but not bad to get on.

Kevin
 
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