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Okay, I just bought my first Alfa -- a 1981 Spider -- so please be patient with these ignorant questions:

Supposed to run 10W 50 motor oil in the engine, but it just doesn't seem available anywhere.

What's a suitable replacement?
-15W 50?
-20W 50?
-10W 40?

And are synthetics OK?

Or does it really matter all that much (wouldn't be the first time I was accused of being anal!)

Thanks!
 

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I run Castrol 20-50 in the summer and 10-40 in the winter in my Spider. Since you're a new owner, I'll throw in another recommendation:

Use a Baldwin main oil filter (vice the FRAM cardboard junk). They're available through Centerline or IAP. Also, every other oil change or min once a year, change the small SPICA fuel injection pump filter as well. THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT. Many uninformed Alfa owners do not change that filter. That Injection Pump is a delicate and very fine piece of machine work, and expensive to repair or replace. Protect it and change the filter regularly. I'll bet the one in your car is goopy and filthy.

Since your engine is old, I would NOT change to synthetics. Synthetics can magnify even very tiny oil leaks. If you do a rebuild and replace all the seals, then a switch to synthetics would be ok.

Welcome to Alfa ownership. They're great cars and easily maintained/repaired by an owner who's willing to learn. And the more you learn, the more you'll want to know.
 

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Thanks, Roadtrip!

I'll follow your advice on the Castrol oil and I'm going to order the filters via IAP today!

I'm sure I'll many, many more questions as time goes along and it sure it reassuring to have a helpful resource like this to turn to.
 

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For a new owner, I recommend the following books:

1. The Alfa Romeo Owners Bible, by Pat Braden. Robert Bentley Publishers.
ISBN 0-8376-0707-8. Available through Amazon, Borders, etc. I bought mine off-the-shelf at a Borders Bookstore. About $30. This is an OUTSTANDING reference, especially for a new owner, but as a long time Alfisti, I still refer to it often. It has an excellent section about the SPICA fuel injection with detailed photos, systems description, troubleshooting, and tune-up. Pat Braden is a legendary Alfisti and probably forgot more about Alfas than most people will ever know. Sadly I hear he died several years ago.

2. Alfa Romeo Giulia-Spider Owners Workshop Manual, Brooklands Books. ISBN 0-85146-128-X. Good workshop manual and the only aftermarket manual printed for Spiders that I know of. Available through special order from a bookstore, or from International Auto Parts (IAP) (www.international-auto.com)

3. Manual for Alfa Romeo SPICA Fuel Injection, by Wes Ingram. This is a 37 page booklet (no ISBN) authored by Wes Ingram, who is probably the foremost authority on the SPICA Injection system in the U.S. (see www.wesingram.com). This is an excellent source of info, troubleshooting and tune-up. About $18 and also available from IAP.

Good Reading:

1. Alfa Romeo Buyer’s Guide. by Joe Benson. ISBN 0-87938-163-9. Motorbooks International

2. Original Alfa Romeo Spider, The Restorer’s Guide to 1300, 1600, 1750, and 2000 Models 1966-1993. by Chris Rees. MBI Publishing Company. ISBN 0-7603-1162-5. About $35. Lots of excellent full-color plates of exterior and interior views of cars restored to original condition.

You can get some of these books on ebay occassionally.
 

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Welcome to Alfa-dom and the BB Rick!

And Roadtrips recommendations, as usual, are first rate!
 

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Welcome aboard Lowaspider!!

I've just got my first Alfa a month ago, and everyone on this BB, Roadtrip and Jim are very very friendly and helpful!!

I got those books RoadTrip recommended, they're very detailed and very helpful to all Alfisit. :D

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I'm just wondering what is the last year of SPICA on Alfa engines, and what do they use after that? BOSCH Metronic?

Thank you.
 

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alfa_chan said:

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I'm just wondering what is the last year of SPICA on Alfa engines, and what do they use after that? BOSCH Metronic?

Thank you.
Not quite sure but I think the switch from Spica to Bosch L-Jetronic came in the early '80s - '81 or '82 perhaps? Bosch Motronic followed some years after that.
 

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'81 was the last of the SPICA injected Alfas, and of course, was a mechanical system. In fact the SPICA pump was originally designed as a diesel system. The cost of producing the SPICA injection pump and the ever increasing emission regulations were just too much. Besides, electronic fuel injection was much more accurate and cheaper to produce, install and maintain. It was argueably more reliable. The next system on Alfas was the Bosch L-Jetronic. The "L" stands for "Luft" (air) in German. It is an excellent system and used by many manufacturers, making parts and repairs much easier to obtain. The Motronic system came along in the early 90s. The Motronic is a computerized system that also controls spark timing and controls more functions more precisely than typical the older electronic systems.
 

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roadtrip or anyone, I am a spica spider driver myself, but have often wonder do other cars use this same bosch L jetronic. Do you know is this something that alfa has in common with say VW, BMW, Audi or is the L jet used only by alfa?
 

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Hey Rick, welcome aboard! You'll find lots of great people here and great advice too.

I used to own a 1981 Spider myself. As mentioned '81 was the last year of the Spica fuel injection. A well tuned Spica should not need further adjustment for years to come.

Keep in mind, the 1980 and 1981 models have several parts that are unique to any other year. It all starts with that aluminum casting intake "plenum chamber".
 

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Roadtrip said:

3. Manual for Alfa Romeo SPICA Fuel Injection, by Wes Ingram. This is a 37 page booklet (no ISBN) authored by Wes Ingram, who is probably the foremost authority on the SPICA Injection system in the U.S. (see www.wesingram.com). This is an excellent source of info, troubleshooting and tune-up. About $18 and also available from IAP.
that book is part # 04365000 on IAP, fwiw.
 

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To expand our infinite Alfa Wisdom:

A little Alfa trivia. Alfa did have some 82 Spicas. Our board member SpencerTurtle1 (Eric) has one. Alfa either had some left over 81s that they shipped as 82s, or did a mid year swap to the L Jet. Eric and I went back and forth over what his car must have being an 82 prior to him sending me pics.

And for Cupp, I will add that VW uses a motronic not so dissimilar from the motronic in our 91-94 Spiders.

Best Regards,
John M
 

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There are a few unique to Alfa parts on the Bosch cars, specifically the fuel injectors are a unique shape. Not sure why, as everyone else uses a rather universal set up....

That, and there might be some details that are different, but in how it works, it will be all the same across BMW, VW, Mercedes... the "computer" inputs and outputs all the same way. That blue "Bosch Automotive Handbook" can be really handy.

Eric
 

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Welcome to the board,

I have been running my 88 spider on synthetic oil since new and have never had a problem.

If your spider is running on conventional oil, then I would leave it and keep running it.

Might put your engine into shock switching things around 20 years later!!

One Question, How many clicks ?
 
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