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Discussion Starter #1
I'm a dork. Here's my question:

I have a '74 spider, SPICA. It has had a switch installed that has something to do with a fuel solenoid used for helping the car start.

At any rate - I'm not certain if that's causing this issue, but here goes:

In hotter weather (mid 80's, low 90's) after driving for an hour or so, and then stopping, the next time I start the car it runs rough - real bad. I usually check, and immediately see that this switch has been left on. Turning this switch OFF usually fixes things. I ran the car for hours, on and off, with this switch on and never had a restart prob in cold weather.

Also, i try to make it a point to always depress the accelerator completely prior to turning the ignition key, and while the starter is turning, releasing the accelerator untilk the engine fires. I'm not certain if during the times of hot weather if I depressed the accelerator prior to starting. I was told this helps to 'reset' levers in the SPICA system, so I do it.

There's my question. :)
 

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Dork? Methinks not.

Sounds like the PO installed a cold-start solenoid cutoff switch. Some people installed these to compensate for maladjusted or malfunctioning CSS's. The real solution is to fix the CSS problem rather than try and bypass it.

The CSS is the rear-most "can" on the FI pump. It's function is to momentarily enrichen the mixture for starting. It's power comes off the starter solenoid and it's energized while the starter motor is. When the key is released from the start position, the solenoid is de-energized and a hydraulic action allows the CSS to return to the "normal" mixture position slowly. Sometimes the CSS can stick causing the mixture to be grossly enriched and cause the engine to run poorly.

The fix is usually to clean and readjust the mechanism. In old injection pumps that have not been well cared for, there might be some rust or oil gunk in them. The first thing I would recommend doing is do an oil change and change the oil filter in the injection pump. After than remove the atmospheric compensator and pour about a half pint of oil into the pump. That may help free up any stickiness. There's also an inspection plate on the side of the pump that give partial access to the mechanism. Since I've never taken the plate off the side of the pump in-situ before, I'm not sure if that's feasible.

As far as the starting procedure goes, the following is from the Alfa Owner's Manual:

1. From cold: As an aid in starting from cold, depress, partially and progressively the accelerator pedal. After a cold start and particularly when the ambient temperature is below the freezing point, wait a fairly long time before getting away so as to warm up properly all engine parts and allow the oil to reach all points requiring lubrication.
2. From hot: When the engine is already hot, or with very high ambient terperatures (above 77F) slowly depress the accelerator pedal to facilitate starting. I've never heard of anything like going full throttle to "reset" the mechanism.

If you don't have an Owner's Manual I recommend you get one. There's a '74 Spider Owner's Manual for sale on Ebay right now. Failing that, I can make you a copy of mine.

Also, you need to get a copy of Wes Ingram's SPICA manual and the Alfa Romeo Owner's Bible by Pat Braden. Both are available from IAP and several other Alfa vendors.

http://www.alfaclub.org/techstff/spica.htm

http://www.alfaclub.org/techstff/tunespca.htm
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Roadtrip said:
1. From cold: As an aid in starting from cold, depress, partially and progressively the accelerator pedal. After a cold start and particularly when the ambient temperature is below the freezing point, wait a fairly long time before getting away so as to warm up properly all engine parts and allow the oil to reach all points requiring lubrication.
2. From hot: When the engine is already hot, or with very high ambient terperatures (above 77F) slowly depress the accelerator pedal to facilitate starting. I've never heard of anything like going full throttle to "reset" the mechanism.
Thanks!

These are pretty comical. I bougt an Italian commercial espresso machine and the instructions were totally illegible. I'm guessing this means to push in the accelerator when it's cold. It doesn;t say when to release, although I'd presume right when it fires.

Imma get that Alfa Owners bible. I've got an owner's manual. That CSS thing sounds tricky. I'm also stumped by many of these words:

'atmospheric compensator'
'CSS'
'oil filter on the injection pump' I'm guessing this is a second 'olio' filter.


That's all for me. I'll be getting away now.
 

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MP, I might be able to help out with two of your three questions. There is a small oil filter in the Spica pump. I read some where that it should be changed every other oil change. It's a PITA to get to, at least it was in my Spider.
 

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The oil filter is easy to get to. An 8mm box end wrench works perfect. Access to the CSS mechanism is through the inspection plate shown in the picture. As a quick check of the CSS you can energize it momentarily to see if you get a "click." If it's sticking it may be possible to remove the inspection plate with an offset screwdriver and squirt some WD-40 or something that won't hurt the engine oil. It's easiest to just remove the pump and work it on a bench.
 
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