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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
sorry I was going to delete this and put it in the carbs/fuel section but I couldn't figure it how to delete this.

Hi, I have a few issues that I was hoping to get some advice for. I have a 74 spider with a rebuilt engine and head gasket replacement just 10,000 miles ago. with spica injection. one issue is I have seen just a tiny pool of oil sitting in just one of the cylinders around the base of the spark plug. I dab it up and it comes back after sitting for a few weeks in a garage. there is no oil in the coolant, coolant is clean and bright. but sitting a lot over the winter I took it out and it was very loud, the exhuast was loud like it had cheap kid mufflers on it, it had no power and died at idle. so I replaced the spark plugs and it was back to normal, the plugs were very fouled. also it was belching white smoke like crazy, but after the plugs were changed it was clean and no loud exhaust and ran very good. back to normal but it still died at idle. the low pressure fuel light stays on at idle, but goes out when I press down on the accelerator.then comes back on and dies immediately when I idle. so I took off the air cleaner box and noticed oil on the engine block exhaust pipes and a little bit of oil inside the air cleaner box itself, and some oil puddled down below inside the engine compartment.

so I have some downloaded info about troubleshooting and it said to pinch off the fuel return line and see if the low pressure light goes out, if it does, then you might have a bad fuel pump. it didn't go out when I tried this. so next it said might have a clogged fuel filter, so I'm going to change that and see if this helps. I think I'll just try to change the main one and wait on the fuel tank filter. or it said I could have a clogged fuel line.

it's the original spica pump and has not been tinkered with or replaced and has always been finicky with starting. I have always had a bit of fuel smell but the mechanics tired to trace it down and found nothing. but I think it could be coming from inside the spica pump. but that's just a guess. the funny thing is before I always had a hard time starting it, but now it starts great. also before it would have a very hard time starting, and after I got it started, it would die at idle but only for the first few miles of driving, then it would idle fine the rest of the day, and never any problem re-starting it when it was warm. but then the next day same thing, same pattern. but now, it starts perfect and runs and the first 5-10 minutes of running, it will stay running at idle, but then once it goes past that first 5-10 minutes, it dies every time at idle. the exact opposite.

any ideas about this and why the oil coming out the exhaust on the engine into the air filter box?
 

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Leaky cam cover gasket, or oil filler cap gasket, is the only source for oil in the sparkplug wells. Oil down the sides of the engine can be from leaky cam cover gasket or bad head gasket. Have seen both on our old Alfettas. I would refit the cam cover gasket, clean the sides of the engine and look for seepage down the sides from the block/head junction or from the cam cover/head junction on cold startup as we had to do on our 75 Alfetta sedan to see which the problem is. Hopefully it is just a poorly fitted cam cover gasket. If leaking from the head/block joint, try retorquing the head first before thinking about changing it.

And one common/usual source for oil in the intake bellows or air cleaner box is from a plugged oil vapor condenser can. Does your car have one of these? This is a common problem in the 164 V6, the can being far too small for the amount of blowby, oil always present in the intake bellows from the can. If your car doesn't have a condenser can but the blowby is just vented/piped to the cam cover, then the problem is just a lot of blowby with oil vapor in it. Not a problem in general. If very bad, can be bad piston rings.

I would also change the gasoline to new gas and use something like Techron for a few fillings to help clean up the fuel system and injectors. I've always used that stuff in all my Alfas through the years, and have never had a fuel system problem. Our 78 Alfetta sedan with Spica ran 180k miles without injection system problems. Same now for the 91 164S at 175k miles, no fuel system problems.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
thanks for the reply. I don't have oil down the sides of the engine, not on the engine block itself at all. its sitting on some of the car body itself down by the wheels and dripping a bit from the oil pan cover which the bottom of has oil sort of spread out on it dripping. and just a little in the intake bellows and inside the air cleaner box, but not much, almost like you said blowby with oil vapor in it. I dont' know if this year of spider has an oil vapor condenser can or not. I dont' see any oil around the filler cap at all. I had thought of bad piston rings but like I said the whole top end of the engine was meticulously rebuilt with new rings etc. the gas sat all winter in the car but I did add some injector cleaner and some heat with injector cleaner. I do see a bit of oil around that cam cover gasket but I wonder why the oil is only around 1 spark plug well and not the others and not really on top of the engine at all, just in the front well closest to the oil filler cover though. but the gasket itself looks kind of like it could be leaking a bit.
 

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As I said, the cam cover gasket or oil filler cap gasket leaking are the only sources for the oil in the plug well. Any plug well will do, the engine doesn't care, lol. Never had a four cylinder Alfa engine without it sooner or later. If it is closest to the oil filler opening, then it may be the cap gasket leaking blowby.

External oil leaks can be blown everywhere to strange places, so if the cam cover gasket is leaking, the oil could drip and get blown who knows where. Also could be front main seal leaking, or oil filter seal leaking.

The basic rule about Alfa engines is that they all leak to one extent or another.

Rings have nothing to do with oil leaks, except they can increase blowby, causing more oil in the intake and filter housing, or burnt oil smoke out the exhaust, perhaps.

I think once you get rid of that old gasoline, and put in some fresh stuff, the car will run better, esp if you have gone through and cleaned the inside of the dist cap, rotor, etc. I will reiterate that the use of something such as Techron regularly will go a long way toward keeping the fuel system very clean. BTW, Costco has a very good deal on it right now.
 

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Richard Jemison
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White smoke

White smoke is brake fluid. The vaccuum hose for the booster is connected to the #4 intake. You should open the connection to the booster and see if there is fluid in it. If so you need to suck it out and replace your brake Master cylender.

There is a hose from the dipstick to the oil/air separater and from it to the intake air box. Probably the seperator needs to be cleaned.
Get a gallon of Zep Industrial cleaner from Home Depot. Immerse the separator in it for a couple of days. Do not delute it or get it on your skin. It will ean any organic material including you. Excellent for cleaning engine internals for rebuilding.
 
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