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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Self Test for SPICA Injected Alfa Owners:

1. T F SPICA Injection pumps are pressure lubricated with engine oil.

2. T F SPICA Injection pumps do not require any preventative maintenance other than changing the dedicated oil filter every 12,000 miles.

3. T F SPICA Injection pumps do not suffer from internal corrosion problems because they are constantly bathed in clean oil .

4. T F SPICA Injection pumps have oil filters because they require more fine filtration than the normal engine filter can supply

5. T F What filter? I didn’t know my car had a separate oil filter for the injection pump.

6. T F I’d rather not take the 60 minutes a year to maintain my injection pump. I’d rather spend $750 on a rebuild than maintain my pump for the long haul.

Answers:

1. Trick question . . . . . PARTS of the injection pump ARE pressure lubricated. There are two sections to the injection pump. The Pump Section and the Logic Section are physically segregated. The Pump Section is pressure lubricated by the regular engine oil system, however, the Logic Section IS NOT. In pre-75 models (T255/1) and earlier models, the Logic Section relies on oil directly added to the Logic Section. It’s splash/bath lubrication system. 1975 and later models have a passageway that allow a slight bit of non-pressurized oil to ooze into the Logic System (but not much). In all models there is an overflow port in the logic section that allows excess oil to gravity drain back into the engine oil sump.

2. Another trick question . . . . . . . Theoretically, yes, according to the Alfa Owner’s Manual . . . only the oil filter. HOWEVER, the Alfa manual assumes you are using Alfa mechanics to maintain your pump. You will find in the book that they warn against ANY tampering or opening of an injection pump. Thirty years later, however, very few Alfa’s are really maintained by factory-trained technicians. I would say the vast majority of owners do a good bit of their own maintenance, either out of love or the lack of an experienced local Alfa mechanic. That said, IMHO it is important that your injection pump be given a fresh change of oil every year or so, especially on pre-75 cars. Even on later models, the oil can stagnate in the logic section and harbor moisture and acids that can cause corrosion of logic section parts. One popular item for rusting and failure in poorly maintained pumps is the internal compensator link retaining spring . . . . a typical example of a $5 part that when it rusts apart will instantly disable the injection pump.

3. FALSE. See question 2. This is especially true of engines that are not operated regularly and for long enough to allow the already “cool running” injection pump to burn out any existing condensation and moisture. If you drive your car to work every for a half-hour each way, you probably don’t have much to worry about. But if it’s just a short haul or weekend driver, you do need to be concerned.

4. FALSE. The reason the small oil filter is in the injection pump base is that the oil passage that the pump draws its oil pressure from is direct from the oil pump and prior to the main oil filter. So, the injection pump is receiving unfiltered engine oil directly from the sump.

5. If you answered TRUE, you are in desperate need of a tech manual or an experienced Alfa mechanic to do you oil changes.

6. If you’ve got that much money, send me some!


HOW TO CHECK THE LEVEL OF OIL IN THE LOGIC SECTION:

1. Remove the three screws holding in the Barometric Compensator (the triangular plate on top of pump. On a 74 and earlier model, note how the detent spring for the temperature lever is positioned. 75 and on don't have the lever.

2. Carefully lift up the BC out of its cavity. The BC consists of a flexible bellows that expands and contracts with atmospheric pressure. You can puncure it if your not careful. The BC is not attached to anything inside the pump. It merely provides a calibration "stop" for the compensator link. DO NOT MOVE THE THROTTLE WHILE THE BC IS OUT OF THE PUMP BODY. Be careful with the BC, it's somewhat fragile. Place it in a protective tray or box on soft cloth. Guard it from damage.

3. Look down into the cavity of the pump. You should see some oil in there. A large syringe, such as those you can buy at Walmart to measure 2 cycle engine oil makes a good tool to suck out the old oil. Use a thin enough hose to fish down into the bottom of the pump and suck out the old oil. It helps the suction process if the oil is warm. Fill the cavity with about a half pint of clean engine oil. There is an overflow drain inside the pump that will allow excess oil to drain back into the sump, so you don't have to worry about overfilling.

4. Carefully replace the BC and snug up the screws.

5. Smell the old oil you removed from the logic section. If it smells like gasoline, you may have a worn FI pump that is allowing fuel past the pump plungers.

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For free written guides on the Spica Fuel Supply system and Roadside Guide, go to www.wesingram.com/hp.htm. For a Bench Check Guide to the Spica injection pump, go to http://www.alfabb.com/bb/forums/carburetors-fuel-injection/5825-pre-purchase-inspection-spica-injected-alfa.html.
 

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John,

YOU 'DA MAN!!!

Make your way south and I'll buy you the best bottle of Tequilla, and drink with you to your continued health and happiness!

Just keep us on our toes like you have been and help us along this road to AlfaSPICAnervana.

Again, thanks for being. :D
 

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I realise Q1 was a trick question, but I came across this in the Alfa Spider FAQ :

"The pump section has four tiny pistons milled to fantastically small tolerances that move up and down inside cylinders to push fuel to the engine. The gasoline is used as a lubricant in this area, and running a pump completely dry can be disastrous."

So I take it that the oil-lubricated parts are separate from the gasoline-lubricated parts?
 

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boggissimo said:
I realise Q1 was a trick question, but I came across this in the Alfa Spider FAQ :

"The pump section has four tiny pistons milled to fantastically small tolerances that move up and down inside cylinders to push fuel to the engine. The gasoline is used as a lubricant in this area, and running a pump completely dry can be disastrous."

So I take it that the oil-lubricated parts are separate from the gasoline-lubricated parts?
boggissimo,

You are correct. And, as unleaded fuel has diminished lubricating properties compared to leaded fuel, Roadtrip recomends adding Marvel Mystery Oil to the fuel to enhace the lubrication of both the main fuel pump and FI pump. I do this with every fill-up.
 

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ar1750gtv said:
boggissimo,

You are correct. And, as unleaded fuel has diminished lubricating properties compared to leaded fuel, Roadtrip recomends adding Marvel Mystery Oil to the fuel to enhace the lubrication of both the main fuel pump and FI pump. I do this with every fill-up.
In which case, so will I! :D

Thanks for the tip...
 

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Discussion Starter #7
MMO is a good idea. At best it does help with pump plunger lubrication, at worst it certainly does no harm. Wes Ingram recommends it, which make it good enough for me.

I'm surprised nobody has asked about "OK, wise guy, how do I know what the oil level and quality is in the pump's logic section right now?"

To check, you just need to remove the three screws holding in the barometric (also called the altitude) compensator on the top of the pump. I'll scrounge up a picture and diagram and revise the sticky post above with some detailed instructions.
 

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ar1750gtv said:

... as unleaded fuel has diminished lubricating properties compared to leaded fuel, Roadtrip recomends adding Marvel Mystery Oil to the fuel to enhace the lubrication of both the main fuel pump and FI pump...
I actually only got it partly right. The SPICA FI pump was originally designed as a diesel injection pump. Diesel fuel has more lubricating properties than gasoline (leaded or unleaded). Still MMO is a good additive to help lubricate the pump.
 

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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
Looks like I can't add pictures to the stick post. Here they are:

First is a picture of the Barometric Compensator Cavity and Retaining Spring. Visually check the retaining spring for rust and security. The second is a picture of the BC removed from the cavity.
 

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Discussion Starter #13 (Edited)
Couldn't figure out how to post more than on pix per post. I don't think the server allows it.

Have patience with me. Computer operator in training.
 

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Thank you John! Nice quiz! You are awesome.

Me - Alfa operator in training :D

Roadtrip said:
Couldn't figure out how to post more than on pix per post. I don't think the server allows it.

Have patience with me. Computer operator in training.
 

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John,

I am going to be doing a Spica oil and filter change soon. I have a nice hoard of Spica oil filters, but am out of gaskets. Most suppliers say they are NLA.

What do you recommend - cutting a new gasket or using a sealant?

Joe
 

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Discussion Starter #16 (Edited)
Joe - I've never tried it without a gasket. You may be able to get another use out of the old one if it's in good condition. I suppose you could try it with some Blue RTV, but the sealing edge is pretty thin, so I guess I wouldn't be surprised if you get a leak. If you do use RTV only, let it cure throughly before you put it under pressure.

If it were me, I'd cut a new gasket. Be sure to clean any sludge out of the filter cavity while you have it out. Also be careful about overtightening the nuts on the small studs. They've been know to break or strip if abused.

How'd you end up with a bunch of filters and no gaskets?
 

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John, Another great informative spica piece, thanks for the input, keep up the great service for us and our injection systems. I plan on engine removal and bay cleaning this winter and will be certain to check/change cavity oils. Enjoy the Thanksgiving holiday.

Paul R.
 

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JoeCab said:
John,

I am going to be doing a Spica oil and filter change soon. I have a nice hoard of Spica oil filters, but am out of gaskets. Most suppliers say they are NLA.

What do you recommend - cutting a new gasket or using a sealant?

Joe
As of a week ago, they are available at Centerline. More worrisome, I was told that their manufacturer wasn't making any more of the filters, and they were looking for a replacement.

I'd check with Wes Ingram first, he'd probably know better on worldwide availablilty than a (hopefully misinformed) tech guy, before we all freak out and start buying up all available ones...

Jon
 
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