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Discussion Starter #1
I just got the car back from the shop today. Everything seems to be great, but I noticed a puff of black smoke coming out of the tail pipe when underload. The car idle perfect and powerful. The puff of smoke only appears when acceleration or between gears. I did not have the puff of black smoke before until I took it in for them to adjust the Spica pump.

Any ideas, anyone??

Thanks as always,
Q-Man
78 Alfa Romeo SPider
 

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Check the spark plugs. If they're black sooty, then the mixture's probably too rich. Did the shop set the mixture with exhaust analyzer?

A car with a rich mixture will appear to run well, but not at optimum . . . . and your fuel consumption will go up.

If the smoke was blue (oil), I'd say it was weak piston rings.
 

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Blue smoke from tailpipe between shifts is valve guides it also happens after a long deceleration the extra vacuum sucks it out of the valve guides, smoking on acceleration is rings.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Black smoke, not blue smoke

Again, black puff of smoke, no blue smoke. The spider wasn't doing this until I took it in for tuning. I will contact the shop tomorrow and find out why.

alfajim said:
Blue smoke from tailpipe between shifts is valve guides it also happens after a long deceleration the extra vacuum sucks it out of the valve guides, smoking on acceleration is rings.
 

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Running rich will also burn up your catalytic converter, if so equipped. Q-man, how much did this shop wind up charging you? Perhaps you should've taken Roadtrip up on his generous offer. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I spent $500 total. The fuel cut-off selenoid was not connected, because they could not the original lead power (white) wire for it. I've called and told them that they have to correct this puff of smoke and they told me to bring it back down again when I have some time to spare. It's kind of embrassing driving the car with puff of smoke now and then. They also said, that my Spica pump was kinda worn, but still usable, good way to get out of a problem if you ask me. Well, maybe I will sell this one and buy my self a later model 84' with bosch fuel injection and not have to worry much about it. By the way, what was the offer from Roadtrip? Well, I guess I can screw up a free lunch, hah?

Live and learn

67GTV said:
Running rich will also burn up your catalytic converter, if so equipped. Q-man, how much did this shop wind up charging you? Perhaps you should've taken Roadtrip up on his generous offer. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Roadtrip - To be hinest with you, I don't think they did. They did make the car start very well and idle pretty good though. They said that my fuel cut-off selenoid was not connected because I did not have the original white lead wire for it. They will take care of this when I bring the car back down to them. I did noticed that now, I can hear a slight tapping from the lifters, which I did not hear before. Man, I am sick and tired of these shop that they say that work on Alfas all day long. My spider still have tons of power and plenty power left on this motor. I am not sure what I need to do at this point. Thanks for your comments.

Q-Man

Roadtrip said:
Check the spark plugs. If they're black sooty, then the mixture's probably too rich. Did the shop set the mixture with exhaust analyzer?

A car with a rich mixture will appear to run well, but not at optimum . . . . and your fuel consumption will go up.

If the smoke was blue (oil), I'd say it was weak piston rings.
 

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The SPICA system can be frustrating until you understand it and get it in "tune." Once in-tune, it will stay that way and run like gang-busters for very long time.

IMHO, the mechanic should have never allowed the car out the door without the Fuel Cutoff Solenoid being connected. Not finding the power feed wire? That's not rocket science . . . you can run any wire from a switched power source. All it needs is 12v when the ignition is "on."

Did that service charge include a new thermostatic actuator or any new parts? If so, that sounds really high for just a tune-up on the injection system that should take an experienced mechanic only a couple of hours at most.

Again, take out the plugs and see if they're sooty. That's a sure sign that the mixture is way too rich.

I also don't understand the "worn" pump comment. The only thing that really "wears" is the pump pistons and liners themselves. When they wear beyond limits, they can leak gasoline into the oil. That's pump rebuild time, then . . . about $750 from Wes Ingram Enterprises, Inc. and the pump is BETTER than new. www.wesingram.com

BTW, if you're not already using Marvel Mystery Oil in the gas, start doing so. It adds lubricity to the fuel and can extend the service life of the injection pump.
 

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Marvel Mystery Oil in the gas? I'd like to hear more about that. How much do you add? etc.?

Thanks,
Sarah.
 

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Hi John

How can we tell if the pump is leaking gas into the oil??


And how much MMO should I put in every tank? I put about 4oz, is that about right? THX :D

Roadtrip said:
themselves. When they wear beyond limits, they can leak gasoline into the oil. That's pump rebuild time, then . . . about $750 from Wes Ingram Enterprises, Inc. and the pump is BETTER than new. www.wesingram.com

BTW, if you're not already using Marvel Mystery Oil in the gas, start doing so. It adds lubricity to the fuel and can extend the service life of the injection pump.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Roadtrip - How much Marvel Mystery Oil do I use with the gas or should I just go according to teh recommendation on the can??

Thanks,
Q-Man

Roadtrip said:
BTW, if you're not already using Marvel Mystery Oil in the gas, start doing so. It adds lubricity to the fuel and can extend the service life of the injection pump.
 

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MMO - I just use the directions on the bottle. Works good, lasts a long time.

Regarding fuel leakage into the oil . . . . . keep in mind that I personally have never experienced it, but the following are some techniques that others say they have used.

Pull out the dipstick and smell the oil. If there's significant fuel in it, it'll smell like fuel. Also, if you notice your oil level increasing, that's a sure sign.

Another method is to pull the dipstick out and hold a match close to the dipstick. If there's significant fuel in it, the flame supposidly will jump over. If you have to phsically touch the oil to start it burning, then there's probably not sigificant fuel in it. I

If the leakage is bad enough, some people say they've removed the oil filter in the pump, then turned the key to "ON" only (do not start the engine or you'll really make a mess!!) to start the fuel supply pump. If it's really bad you may see a dripping of fuel migrating from the upper piston area. If it's bad enough to bypass the pistons with only 15psi or so (and without the 400psi pressure applied during operation), you can bet that the pump section is completely shot. Time to send it to Wes Ingram for a rebuild.

As another note, those with T255 and earlier pumps should relube the logic section of their pumps occasssionally. That is, remove the altitude compensator and pour about a pint of fresh engine oil into the logic section. There's an overflow port in the logic section that will drain back into the main engine sump when a the predetermined level is reached. Only the pump (forward section) gets positive pressure oil while the logic (rear) section has to get what it can through the bearing and other small passages back. 75 and later pumps I think have better passages to get oil to the rear of the pump, but occassionally manually lubing them would probably be a good idea as well. Without periodic flushing, condensation can build up in the rear of the pump and cause corrosion of things like the compensator spring. If rusted bad enough that spring can break and cause an instant full-rich condition. In this event you can drive either with full throttle, or off. If you were Italian, it'd take you a few days of driving to figure out anything was wrong. :)
 

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alfa_chan said:
Hi John

How can we tell if the pump is leaking gas into the oil??


And how much MMO should I put in every tank? I put about 4oz, is that about right? THX :D
The best way to check for fuel in the oil is to remove the barometric capsule (triangle shaped flange with three screws on the top of the injection pump) and stick your finger in there if leaking you will be able to smell it.
 

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Excellent idea, Jim.

alfa_chan: Removing the baro compensator is very easy. Like Jim says, just remove the three screws from the triangular plate on the top of the pump and lift the compensator (looks like a small bellows) out. CAUTION: DO NOT ACTUATE THE THROTTLE OR MOVE MOVE THE THROTTLE ARM WHILE THE ALTITUDE COMPENSATOR IS REMOVED!! If you do, the rack link arm will change position on the notched lever. That's not a unrecoverable problem, but will take some other procedures to get it back so that you can reinstall the baro compensator.
 

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Q-man

I'd get your fuel cutoff connected and working before messing with anything else. See what that does for you first.

Don't panic, Spica is a good system.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
You got it!! I went out and got me some MMO and a full tank of Super Unleaded gas and went for a cruise in the city. Even with a puff of smoke now and then, still a blast to drive this car. I had drivers from Miata honk and wave at me as we came to the same intersection, what a blast.

Thanks for the advice.
Q-Man

kcabpilot said:
Q-man

I'd get your fuel cutoff connected and working before messing with anything else. See what that does for you first.

Don't panic, Spica is a good system.
 

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OK - I have some fuel in my oil. I've tried the dipstick test - no burining even when I put the flame directly on the oil.

I also read something about flow through - worn rings can cause the fuel to get sucked back into the oil supply.

So - how can I tell if the fuel in the oil is from worn rings or a worn Spica pump?

Thanks
 

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I doubt if enough fuel could get by rings to cause a problem with fuel in the oil sump. Most likely it's going past the SPICA plungers.

First of all, are you sure you have fuel in the oil?

If you're pretty sure, take the Barometric bellows off the top of the pump as described earlier and give it a good sniff check in there.
 
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