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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Last Monday, as I was leaving work in my 1983 Spider, I smelled fuel and opened the hood to a gusher of fuel coming from the front of the engine (engine was running--no leak after shutoff). Hoping for a simple fix, I replaced the short hose from the fuel injector rail to the number one cylinder fuel injector. The car started right up, and no more leak.

Unfortunately, after about ten minutes (spent mostly checking for leaks), and before I could get it out of our downtown office building parking garage, the engine died and now won't restart.

I have a local shop, but would like to get it running so I can get it there for further trouble shooting. I plan to check for air leaks (perhaps I dislodged something), fuses, and connections around the ECU, but much of that would have to be a coincidental simultaneous failure.

Anyone have any ideas? I'm wondering if there is a trick to getting fuel flow back to normal after opening the system perhaps. A call to the shop produced only "can't say without the car in front of me."

Thanks. I'm familiar with these things, and have worked on mine some, but still not up on all the little idiosyncracies.
 

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No trick after replacing fuel lines, filter or pump. The system has a supply & return line - the pump supplies plenty of fuel, the regulator controls pressure and any excess returns to the tank.

So, when you say the engine won't restart, what does it do & not do? Is it cranking? Is there spark? Did you replace all the intake air ducts & vacuum hoses? Check the fuel pump fuse? (it is under the shelf behind the seats)

If the battery voltage drops below ~ 10.3V during cranking the computers won't send the fuel/spark signals - no start. It can sound like it is cranking over with good effort but if the available voltage is below that threshold it'll not start.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks, Eric. The only thing I replaced was the one hose between the rail and the cylinder one injector.

Engine cranks, and if I keep the starter engaged for 15-20 seconds it sounds like it wants to start, and the engine sounds like its starting to fire, but upon release of the starter the engine dies again.

So I think it is a fuel issue, whether or not caused by low battery voltage. At first, low voltage sounded unlikely to me, since the car started easily right before and right after I replaced the hose. After it quit yesterday, and I could smell fuel but found no leak, I figured it might be flooded and let it sit overnight. Today it sounded like it might be cranking slowly.

Again, thanks for your input, and for offering it so quickly. If you have any other thoughts, I'm all ears. And if you ever get to Richmond, VA, beers are on me.

Stan
 

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Don't know how many times or how long you cranked, but I can tell you that once you open an injector hose air does enter the system, as gas drains back. So you gotta get trhat air purged out for fuel to get to injectors.
Also since the engine was hot, you would not have gotten the benefits of the CSI.

If you battery got or gets weakl from a few cranks, the the ECU does not wake up, as Eric has pointed out.

I'd make sure the battery was up to charge during cranking and would spray some ether/quick start into the air cleaner.

TTFN Elio
 

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Clean or replace the spark plugs. They could be badly fouled by now.

With the plugs out, crank the motor for 30 - 45 seconds. That will help clear out any flooding. Even moreso if you disable the fuel system - remove the fuel pump fuse.
 

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I was having fuel flow issues, and found that disconnecting wire from the Coolant Temp Sensor (CTS) forced it to run rich & start when it otherwise wouldn't. This is contrary to the flooding theory above though. If it isn't flooded, maybe it's starved.
 

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As always, folks have some great advice... I'll add ine to what has already been said... perhaps you tripped the Intertia Switch (firewall... a black sort of box with reset switch on top, at least mine was...). On my 84 a few years back, mine actually failed... would crank and crank and crank... simple to test... bypassed it real quick with a short jumper wire... bingo fired up. I ended up just cutting it out and connecting the in/out wires. Some day I will replace... of course I have been saying that for a few years now. (-;

Anyways, just something else fairly simple to check. Keep us posted.

Ron F.
--------
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks to everyone for the great tips. I'll be using them tomorrow afternoon to try to get my baby running again.

Assuming air in the system, any ideas on how to bleed without starting a fire?

I tried to jump it this afternoon after work with no results--so it may not be a battery problem.

I'll clean the plugs, try to get the air out of the system, and go for a start. Of course, I'll let you know what I find.

Again, thanks. You guys are great.
 

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Thanks to everyone for the great tips. I'll be using them tomorrow afternoon to try to get my baby running again.

Assuming air in the system, any ideas on how to bleed without starting a fire?

I tried to jump it this afternoon after work with no results--so it may not be a battery problem.

I'll clean the plugs, try to get the air out of the system, and go for a start. Of course, I'll let you know what I find.

Again, thanks. You guys are great.
Have you pulled the cold start and checked to see if it is spraying gas on cold crank? If so you should be pressurized I would think.. Easy look and see. And by chance if you do get a fire, don't forget pictures!! We like pictures.
Just have extinguisher handy! ;)
 

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Assuming air in the system, any ideas on how to bleed without starting a fire?
There is no need for any special procedures re: bleeding the fuel system of air. There might be a few hiccups if air gets into an injector but it will all self bleed once it is running.

I tried to jump it this afternoon after work with no results--so it may not be a battery problem.
Maybe. Iffy connections at the battery or any of the stops along the way could be causing a low voltage to ECU problem. Clean the battery connections, the ground cable's connection to the floor of the trunk, the positive cable's connection at the starter motor and the connections at the junction box on the left inner fender (do those with the battery disconnected).

Check if you have spark. Remove a spark plug wire, put an spare spark plug into the wire, ground the threaded part of the spark plug and watch for a definite blue spark while a trusted assistant cranks the motor.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
It turns out that the problem is the fuel pressure regulator.

The original breakdown manifested itself in a geyser of a fuel leak at the front right of the engine. I replaced the hose from the fuel rail to the number one injector, and saw no more leak. But the leak was actually from the fuel pressure regulator, which spits fuel from the top if the vacuum hose is removed.

I'm guessing it's not supposed to do this.

After replacing the feeder hose to the injector, I also replaced the vacuum hose from the plenum to the regulator, in an effort to make sure an air leak was not keeping the car from starting (this hose was cracked where it fitted onto the regulator). After replacement, it was tight enough to keep the pressure of fuel from the regulator from pushing it off and spitting fuel from the top.

So I think a new regulator will fix the problem. I'll let you know after I install one.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I finally found a regulator and installed it. The engine fired right up, and the problem is solved. In fact, the thing has probably been bad for a while, since the engine idles better and has more power than it has since I had the head gasket replaced.

Replacing the regulator is not easy with the fuel rail on the engine. The 24mm nut holding it on is difficult to loosen, both because it gets stuck over time and because getting leverage is difficult.

I solved this by twisting the mount strap (very thin sheet metal) and clamping a vise grip around the old regulator, then turning the nut while pushing on the vise grip.

The local expert says he has never seen a fuel pressure regulator fail, but told me that an oil change is in order if it was spitting fuel into the plenum--since this could get into the engine oil. Since I cranked it a lot and it never really fired, I think this is a real possibility, so I'll take care of that tonight.

Thanks for all the suggestions and thoughts--I appreciate it. And remember that these things really do fail, so if you have an L-Jetronic Spider that cranks and tries to fire but won't start, take the vacuum hose off the regulator and make sure you don't see fuel coming out of the top. This looks like a progressive--not an all-at-once-catastrophic--type failure. The fault has had an effect on how the engine runs.

Thanks again.

Stan
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
You know, it never occurred to me that I might want to take pictures as I worked through this. So I don't have a shot of vise grips around the regulator or my straining face as I cranked on the wrench.

I sure will next time.

I can post photos of the car and the relevant part, though.
 
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