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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello everyone!

I'm trying to diagnose a strange starter noise my 83 Spider started making within the past week. When we left for a week for vacation, it started fine although it took a little help from the throttle (bad aux. air valve, I know) and there was something that sounded like mild lifter noise. When I came back and started it the lifter noise (or what I think is lifter noise) was much worse and after a few minutes, it stalled. I tried to restart it and the starter is now making a completely different noise. Instead of the usual rhythmic noise you get from a starter, its just a constant whirring noise and the car won't start. It sounds like the starter isn't engaging, but if I put it in 5th and try to start it the back wheels turn so I know that isn't the case. Is it possible for the starter to, I dunno... half fail? It sparks, compression is good, and I can smell fuel on the spark plugs. I just don't understand what would cause the noise to change and it to stop starting when it seems like the starter is still doing it's job. I also don't know if the stalling and starter noise is related or if lighting just struck twice and two problems decided to show themselves at the same time.

Any help/suggestions are appreciated, thanks in advance!!
 

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Hello everyone!

I'm trying to diagnose a strange starter noise my 83 Spider started making within the past week. When we left for a week for vacation, it started fine although it took a little help from the throttle (bad aux. air valve, I know) and there was something that sounded like mild lifter noise. When I came back and started it the lifter noise (or what I think is lifter noise) was much worse and after a few minutes, it stalled. I tried to restart it and the starter is now making a completely different noise. Instead of the usual rhythmic noise you get from a starter, its just a constant whirring noise and the car won't start. It sounds like the starter isn't engaging, but if I put it in 5th and try to start it the back wheels turn so I know that isn't the case. Is it possible for the starter to, I dunno... half fail? It sparks, compression is good, and I can smell fuel on the spark plugs. I just don't understand what would cause the noise to change and it to stop starting when it seems like the starter is still doing it's job. I also don't know if the stalling and starter noise is related or if lighting just struck twice and two problems decided to show themselves at the same time.

Any help/suggestions are appreciated, thanks in advance!!
well.... if you try to start it in gear and the rear wheels turn then the flywheel is still attached to the crank and if you have compression then the pistons are going up and down... it sounds to me like the cams have stopped turning... but then you would only have compression in two cylinder maybe unless the valves are now bent in the other two or something... i think i would have the cam cover off and have a quick look and see if the cams are turning...
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Just took the cam cover off and everything seems to be in order, both cams are rotating when I turn the back wheel manually.... any other ideas? I'm at a loss
 

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Well it's quite the project car so right now its up on safety jacks with a bad clutch slave cylinder, so unfortunately I can't try starting it that way
you wouldn't want to anyway. you know it runs because you heard it. now something is wrong and you don't know what... all push starting will do is risk breaking something and won't tell you a thing about whats wrong...

look... this is a simple deal... fuel and spark at the correct time. do it by the numbers... mechanics 101... top dead center, which way are the cams and dist pointing ok ? now spin... got spark at the plugs ? now hook up fuel pressure gage... got fuel pressure ? ... check the compression... got good compression all cyls ? etc etc... no magic...

just like they taught you in trade school. after a while youll find whats wrong and fix it . one thing at a time... slowly and methodically in some logical order...
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
you wouldn't want to anyway. you know it runs because you heard it. now something is wrong and you don't know what... all push starting will do is risk breaking something and won't tell you a thing about whats wrong...

look... this is a simple deal... fuel and spark at the correct time. do it by the numbers... mechanics 101... top dead center, which way are the cams and dist pointing ok ? now spin... got spark at the plugs ? now hook up fuel pressure gage... got fuel pressure ? ... check the compression... got good compression all cyls ? etc etc... no magic...

just like they taught you in trade school. after a while youll find whats wrong and fix it . one thing at a time... slowly and methodically in some logical order...
Taught me in trade school, I wish! I'm only 19 so I'm pretty much figuring this stuff out with the help of the internet and a dad (begrudgingly giving up garage space) more familiar with chevy small blocks than Italian 4 cylinders :001_rolleyes: After looking at the cams and the distributor, they both look pretty far off. Pictures below. Any tips on correcting this? And any ideas how they both got to be so far from where they should be?
 

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Taught me in trade school, I wish! I'm only 19 so I'm pretty much figuring this stuff out with the help of the internet and a dad (begrudgingly giving up garage space) more familiar with chevy small blocks than Italian 4 cylinders :001_rolleyes: After looking at the cams and the distributor, they both look pretty far off. Pictures below. Any tips on correcting this? And any ideas how they both got to be so far from where they should be?
well... the basic procedures are the same for any car really. if you can fix a small block you can fix this... and go buy a shop manual somewhere before you do anything...

but... i can't tell anything from your pics but lets start at the begining... are you at TDC as per the mark on the crank pulley ? worst case is pull #1 plug and put a coat hanger down there on the top of the piston and rock it until you're sure. and are you looking at the right mark ? and if you are then the rotor ought to be pointing pretty close to the # 1 or # 4 pole . if it is # 1 then the little hash marks on the cams ought to line up with the hash marks on the caps. thats step one.

if the cams are correct and the dist is WAY wrong, same deal... you have to determine what made it change.

. if the cams are correct and the dist is very close you can move on... if the cams are wrong then you are screwed up for some reason and you need to find out what has given up to cause that.

and i am basing this very basic advice on your representation that the car ran and you didn't actually change anything and now it doesn't.
 
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