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Hi I am in a real pickle, I am currently rebuilding a Montreal now need to make a decision on, Spica rebuild or modern fuel injection, the issue I am faced with, that a spica pump needs rebuilding every 10, 000 miles, in the UK we have no one that can do this? so I will have to pack it off to the US or Europe, I have a pump that is with the car and needs total refurb, I know the purists will be cursing me, but the reality is I want to be able to use the car, I am concerned I might devalue my car however, with a modern set up you get more power and reliability, I need to speak with people that have done this,and what equipment did they use?

Please advise in a pickle but Jay Leno has said of old cars improve where you must, leave where you must, if you have any contacts of dealers or sytems I really need to make a decision quickly!
:surprise:
 

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Wes Ingram Ingram Enterprises, Inc. || Home Page is considered the expert on SPICA, can rebuild a Montreal pump, and attended a European Montreal owners convention several years back. Also, a SPICA pump should last far more than 10,000 miles (100,000?).

... the issue I am faced with, that a spica pump needs rebuilding every 10, 000 miles, in the UK we have no one that can do this?
:surprise:
 

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Richard Jemison - Alfar7 has successfully installed Webers on his Montreal engined car. It makes a lot of power and a wonderful sound.

Al Mitchell - Reale has built many Megasquirt programmable EFI systems for V6 motors and I expect that he would give you some advice if you decide to go that route.
 

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I'd fix the Spica. It's actually a long-lasting and reliable system. Where did you get the idea it would last only 10,000 miles? Have Wes overhaul it, set it up right, and maintain it well. You'll be good.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for the reply, but has anyone on the site converted too a more modern system, really would like to know how, who and how much really so I can take an informed view.

Thanks
 

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My biggest issue there is NO one in the UK can repair or set up the pump so, it is an issue should I need a quick fix or spemthing in an emergency, I am nervous about making the wrong decision long term!
 

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I'm sure there are several shops that can do basic tuning and system repair in the UK. At the least, check with Alfaholics. They've done some nice work on Montreals.

If the pump is ready for its rare total overhaul, send it to Wes. Worrying about the absence of a local overhaul shop is like worrying that you might need a quickie heart transplant, so want to live next door to a hospital. My guess is that a Montreal Spica will need overhaul once in the lifetime of the car.

And yes, modding the injection will probably devalue the car substantially. I would not want to buy such a car, unless it was screaming cheap.

There are some threads on the BB about such conversions, but I predict you would find the cost to far exceed that to overhaul and maintain your existing system.
 

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If you're driving a rare 30 year old Alfa and expect to be able to get a quick/emergency fix/parts like a Toyota? I think you need to get a reality check on that.

The Montreal is a fairly rare car and I would be absolutely loath to modify it (especially if it involved cutting or drilling anything), for fear of degrading its value AND not having the conversion actually work the way you want it to AND not being able to return it to original configuration. Now you're stuck with an engine that you just spent $2-3k to modify, still no commercial mechanic is going to touch, and it doesn't work right, and need to spend another $3k to attempt to return to original configuration. If you were an experienced Alfa engine builder like R Jemison, that's one thing. You're situation is completely different.

I would highly advise sending your Injection Pump, Injectors, and Thermostatic Actuator to Wes Ingram for checking and overhaul if needed. Pump overhaul is $2000, plus $400 for a new Thermostatic Actuator, plus probably $150 for shipping. The injectors themselves rarely malfunction. Wes will probably check those for free to ensure they're good. He usually has a several months backlog of pumps awaiting overhaul, so it would behoove you to get yours in the que now while you're working on the rest of the car.

Setting up the Spica system is not that hard if you're willing to make a little intellectual investment and read the manuals for understanding AND follow them explicitly. Also, the Spica system is very reliable and trouble free. Your contention that the pumps need overhaul every 10,000 miles is completely wrong. With a fresh overhaul, no doubt, that pump will easily last the rest of the car's life.
 

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The cost of my Megasquirt conversion on my GTV6 is about $700. You would need two more injectors and maybe a second throttle position sensor and/or MAP sensor for a V8 - not a lot of money. I have the advantage that Al has good fuel maps for V6 engines that would give me a starting point. You would be starting from scratch.
 

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I'll give you the same advice I give anyone that is looking into aftermarket electronic fuel injection. Call around the local shops and find out what they will support.

My first go-around with EFI was a Haltech. Unfortunately, they had just left the US market, and no support was available without calling Oz. Many local shops would not touch the system, and the ones that gave it a try cost me $$$ and gave me nothing that worked.

We have, since, switched everything to MegaSquirt. There is a large community that will help to support the product. We purchase everything from DIYautotune.
 

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I echo the comments here on keeping the SPICA.

The pump on my Montreal had had a relatively recent overhaul when I acquired the car. I have driven it over 10,000 miles since, and it still runs like a top. I have driven this car a 1000 miles in a single day between Lexington, KY and Montreal, Canada, and would not hesitate to drive the car any distance, anywhere, any time.

I am not a mechanic, but like many on this board, am self-trained to do most of my own maintenance. SPICA initially had a bad reputation, but is really not that complicated to understand. Good materials exist today for the home mechanic (or any commercial mechanic who wants to learn). I was able to set up a hopelessly out of spec SPICA system on my GTV by following the steps laid out in Wes Ingram's SPICA manual. My experience with both my SPICA cars is that once set right they are reliable and usually require no further attention.
 

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The same subject was discussed about a year ago and I had the impression that at least the american Montreal owners leaned in the direction of keeping the Spica in order to keep it original.

However in Europe I have seen some EFI Projects, putting the Spica on the shelf and modernising the whole engine management thereby lowering fuel consumption and getting down the pollution to modern levels, thereby getting more clean power and better efficiency. The Conversion is quite manageable for modern tuners, compared to turbo projects its easy, however it costs some money, but after that you have a much better car!

Here a british project on converting a montreal to EFI. You could contact them and ask for the cost of a conversion. Otherwise any respected tuner could do the job. After the installation the car has to be run in a dyno to adjust the Electronics. The time consuming part is the cold start adjustment as the engine is not cold for long when started.

So all in all the easyest thing to do is to send the Spica for service and use the engine as it is! If you want to improve engine management the electronic engine management is the way to go, but you must use qualified people to do it!

Some links to project and earlier link.

1973 Montreal Restoration & Upgrades - Classic Alfa Romeo spare parts

http://www.alfabb.com/bb/forums/alfa-romeo-montreal/286865-spica-x-efi-dilemma-3.html

GK.
 

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My biggest issue there is NO one in the UK can repair or set up the pump so, it is an issue should I need a quick fix or spemthing in an emergency, I am nervous about making the wrong decision long term!
I know a lot of people outside the US are gun-shy about the Spica injection system. Here in the states we have a lot of concentrated experience with the systems, however. Roadtrip is right about Spica systems being reliable and absolutely right about local mechanics being completely mystified about repairing a broken Montreal. Trust me, if something happens that's beyond a simple ignition problem like plug wires or something similar, if you can't fix your car yourself, you'll need expert repair. Really, it won't matter whether you have Spica injection, EFI, or Webers.

The good news is that properly maintained and fettled, Spica injected Montreal's are reliable, perfectly usable Alfas. You just have to remember that you're driving a car that, in the minds of most mechanics, is a car that's already an antique and a highly exotic one at that. That said, a properly installed and adjusted Spica will stay that way for years and years. Beyond changing filters, you'll probably encounter internal engine problems before the Spica needs attention.

As for fitting and fettling, there are certainly good Alfa mechanics who won't back away from working on a Spica Montreal. Barring that, a BMW/MB wrench turner with experience working on 2002 Tii Kugelfischer mechanical pumps or MB Bosch mechanical pumps won't find the Spica strange at all.
 

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if you go with an after market EFI you are less likely to find a mechanic who will work on it.
If you have much about you there will be no need for a mechanic for programmable EFI and in Europe there is no chance of finding a SPICA mechanic.
 

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Spica Rules! They are not difficult at all. They are very reliable and robust injection system. The rumors are false.
I've driven Spica injected cars in the most diverse weather conditions ever. I live in Vermont
Check out this company. They can help and they are close. I got another Spica company over there, but I can't find it. If I do I'll post it.

AMS Service - Home

Keep it original! There were only 3800 made and you got 1 of them.

Hey Tom!! Hope to see you in R.I. this June
 

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Spica is a US specific injection, only the Montreal of the Alfas had it in Europe! Similar injection was on diesels, so old diesel injection specialist could help there. However not many Spica injection cars to build up a living around for a specialist here, so they are nonexistent!

Options for a European Montreal owner is to send the injection over to the US for service or get rid of it and take the job to convert it to a modern injection. There has also been some carburettor conversion projects which can be seen on the montreal info site.

GK.
 
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