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Hi,
I recently bought a 78 Alfa Romeo Spider (SPICA) and I had a couple of questions about the engine oil. So the previous owner said he hasn't changed the oil in about 2 years though he has filled it up with some 10W-30 engine oil whenever the oil level gets low (these is small engine oil leak near the pan). So my question is, should I just drain the oil, change the filter, and put in some new oil (I am thinking, 15W-50 as I saw in the another thread), or should I try to clean it out by using some sort of engine oil flusher? I do not know if there has been any sort of build up of miscellaneous gunk so if possible I want to clean it out.

Also, would anyone happen to know what the oil capacity is on this car?

THANKS!
 

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But Mad North-Northwest
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Don't use engine flush. Bad, bad idea. Just drain the old oil and replace the oil and filter.

Takes about 7 quarts. Buy 8, pour in 6, and then add more until the dipstick shows full. Check again and top off after you run it a little.
 

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The Spica pump has a filter that you will want change at the same time.
 

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Hi,
I recently bought a 78 Alfa Romeo Spider (SPICA) and I had a couple of questions about the engine oil. So the previous owner said he hasn't changed the oil in about 2 years though he has filled it up with some 10W-30 engine oil whenever the oil level gets low (these is small engine oil leak near the pan). So my question is, should I just drain the oil, change the filter, and put in some new oil (I am thinking, 15W-50 as I saw in the another thread), or should I try to clean it out by using some sort of engine oil flusher? I do not know if there has been any sort of build up of miscellaneous gunk so if possible I want to clean it out.

Also, would anyone happen to know what the oil capacity is on this car?

THANKS!
buy some inexpensive 15 30 and change the oil and the filter , put 50 or a 100 miles on it all at once... nice long ride at highway speeds, change the oil and filter and do another 50 or 100 , then change the oil and filter a third time and put in what you want to run. the motor needs " flushing " but not with the chemical cleaners as mentioned above . running a a couple of quick service cycles thru it with relatively thin oil will leave it squeaky clean inside and all the old contaminants will have left the building with the two old filters.
 

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I use diesel engine oils in our old engines. Whatever is on sale at the local store. Usually Rotella. 2 year oil isn't all that old so I would not really go all OCD on it. Just get it changed.
 

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I use diesel engine oils in our old engines. Whatever is on sale at the local store. Usually Rotella. 2 year oil isn't all that old so I would not really go all OCD on it. Just get it changed.
its not about old oil. its about establishing your own maintenance base line. its a 30 year old car that he knows nothing about as fact. so what do you do ?

1) retorque the head cold
2) flush the oil as I described
3) change all the fuel filters and inspect all the fuel lines
4) inspect all the belts and hoses
5) get fresh antifreeze in it.

that way you don't get ambushed by something someone never did for 30 years and you know where you are from a basic maintenance standpoint
 

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You're probably fine just a single oil change. Spiders are usually not driven that much so there's probably less than 2k miles on that oil. Take a look at it when you drain it. Changing the Spica oil filter is mandatory. Although the injection pump filter gets its oil after the main filter, this is a further filtration by the injection pump filter. Changing it is easy, but spray some penetrating oil a few times on the 3 small nuts the day before you change it. When trying to remove the nuts, be gentle and don't reef on them too hard. You don't want to break the studs. If you do, it's a PIA to fix. The lower part of the injection pump base will have to come off the engine.

Go here and download the guides. http://www.alfabb.com/bb/forums/carburetors-fuel-injection-air-intake/335530-spica-technical-guides.html


As a new owner, take a look at the other two "sticky" threads on the Spica system. You should do an assessment on the condition of your injection pump. Hopefully you did this before you bought the car. One common failure is for the injection pump to leak fuel into the oil, so pay particular attention to that when you drain the oil. Smell for gasoline in it. Also, you should check the injection pump logic section for signs of fuel incursion. How to do that is in the guides.
 

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its not about old oil. its about establishing your own maintenance base line. its a 30 year old car that he knows nothing about as fact. so what do you do ?

1) retorque the head cold
2) flush the oil as I described
3) change all the fuel filters and inspect all the fuel lines
4) inspect all the belts and hoses
5) get fresh antifreeze in it.

that way you don't get ambushed by something someone never did for 30 years and you know where you are from a basic maintenance standpoint
Yup, that's my suggestion also. Cheap insurance and will also familiarize yourself with the car. Don't forget the rear fuel filter and the SPICA oil filter!
 

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7) change brake & clutch fluid

........cause if oil hasn't been changed in 2 years, it's almost certain the brake fluid is a lot older! (brake fluid should be changed every 2 years)
 

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The suggestion to do a couple of quick turn-around oil and filter changes using a lighter grade detergent oil is a good one. I have eliminated tappet noise in older cars that didn't get much driving in the past by just doing this. I avoid using any oil, coolant or fuel additives except adding a little top oil in the gas tank to lubricate fuel pumps.

I never trust what the PO has done with routine maintenance despite what he may have told me unless he has actual maintenance and repair records. Otherwise, the first thing I do, ALWAYS, upon getting a used car home for the first time (particularly a seldom driven collector car) is:

Change engine, trans and differential oils; replace all filters; grease any fittings it may have (my '91 Alfa hadn't had the driveline sliding joint greased in years); bleed brakes and clutch hydraulics (if it has one) and take off the wheels to check brake wear and re-torque wheel nuts (you might want to inspect and repack the front wheel bearings while you are in there since most owners don't ever remember to do this until the bearings are shot); clean ground connections and check the condition of high-tension wires; change coolant; check all vacuum, fuel, and coolant hoses and belts and replace as necessary; clean off the undercarriage and engine well enough to see where leaks may be occurring (there always seem to be some); and finally, give the car a minor tune up (noting condition of spark plugs when you take out the old ones) including new plugs, points, condenser and check rotor and timing if it is an older car. (While not the first thing I normally do but fairly soon after I get an older car, I check the float level and fuel pressure at the carb intake and choke operation on cars with carburetors once you know the specs, as well as operation of the heat riser valve on cars that have one).

I am not familiar with Spica cars but I have early Bosch mechanical fuel injection on my '77 Mercedes that has some unique maintenance requirements and I think Spica has its own quirks. With Alfas, I would also check all differential connections for play or deterioration and check for oil leaks around the base of the head and oil in coolant recovery tank (although you should have done those things before you bought it since they are known Alfa problem areas).

Then drive the hell out of it (while you wait for the shop or repair manual you ordered to come) to see what else you didn't notice when you bought the car.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Hi,
Thanks guys for all the helpful suggestions! It looks like I will do 1 or 2 runs using some thinner oil before going to the actual oil I want to use. I'll also go through the sticky posts about the Spica system. And yeah, I agree that it does not look like the previous owner did much so I'll be doing a very thorough inspection and change all the fluids and filters.
 

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But Mad North-Northwest
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Thanks guys for all the helpful suggestions! It looks like I will do 1 or 2 runs using some thinner oil before going to the actual oil I want to use.
In the absence of other known problems that's most likely overkill. Two year old oil isn't that big a deal if the car didn't have a ton of miles in that time.

Honestly I'd just put in new oil and filters and call it good. It's not like you really need to "clean out" the oil system or anything: the clean oil will do that for you.
 

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In the absence of other known problems that's most likely overkill. Two year old oil isn't that big a deal if the car didn't have a ton of miles in that time.

Honestly I'd just put in new oil and filters and call it good. It's not like you really need to "clean out" the oil system or anything: the clean oil will do that for you.
the operative term being "known" . there's an old saying in engineering... " you don't know what you don't know "

maybe he could just call a 900 number psychic hot line... im sure they can tell him all about the last 30 years of maintenance that's been done. that way he can certainly avoid the dreaded overkill... remember to hold the phone close to the car so all the vibes can get thru clearly . wouldn't want to do that extra oil change for nothing...
 

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In my earlier post, I said that the injection pump got it's oil before it was filter by the main filter. This is incorrect. It gets its supply AFTER the main filter. The pump's filter is just an adjunct.
 

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But Mad North-Northwest
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I understand what you're saying, Steve. But it's not clear to me that doing "short-duration oil changes with thin oil" would actually *do* anything even if there were a theoretical oil system problem. That's as much voodoo as anything else.

Look, just pull the oil cap and shine a flashlight around. See any significant varnish or sludge deposits in the galleys? Nope? Then you're probably good.
 

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Come on guys! let him get the old girl rolling before spending all his time fixing it. I got cars with 20 year old tires and I drove them all summer! So stop FREAKIN" out this guy who only want advise on an oil change.
Use the Rotella more cleaners run it 2K change it again. As far as the rest well you can decide?
 

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Word! Driving these cars on a shakedown cruise is a slippery slope, though. You may not want to stop driving it after you first get it...I have about $600 worth of parts that I haven't put on because I couldn't stop driving the car...the date code on my 'new' tires is over 8years old, the oil is from early this summer when the guy sold it to me...good thing it's rainy and crappy in Portland now. I just need the time to get in the garage and jack her up to replace all the stuff that I need to.
 
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