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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hi!
It’s a stellar day in my neck of the woods and finally had a few hours to get the car out of hibernation (removed cover, hooked up battery, etc. )

I desperately want to go for my first drive of the season but don’t have the skills to assess the cars drivability quickly (meaning without lots of research and garage time)

What’s the risk of checking tire pressure and, if it turns over, taking out for a spin?

Here is what I was dealing with right before I put the car in Winter storage.

Was getting hard to start the first time of the day.


“Air” sound behind passenger seat.


Thank you for any help!


Notes:
  • 86 Spider
  • Prepped at end of season by “filling” with fabric softener sheets and mothballs. (No signs of pests when I opened it up)
  • used Sta-bil for storage
  • filled tank with gas
  • pulled battery inside and kept on trickle charge.
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Discussion Starter #2
Welp -
The tires are all at different inflations. 20-30psi. A mechanic filled them before I stored it and I’ve realized my pump won’t access due to the narrow space.
I also notice that the size doesn’t match anything in the manual so not sure what the pressure should be.



It’s a Spider Veloce so the manual says 185/70 but they are 195/70.

I’m going to keep poking around the car and sites to see what else I should check before turning the key over.


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Discussion Starter #3
Ok - checked Oil (looks good to me) and looked for leaks under car. There’s a few spots on the cardboard I left but nothing that looks crazy.




What I’m worried about is breaking something “more” by trying to start/drive it before checking/verifying/priming something I don’t know about.

I’m going to do more reading today but if it’s nice tomorrow I’m going to see if I can turn it over and go find an air pump.

Big advanced thanks to anyone out there that also needs to season their Alfas and has springtime advice.


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Discussion Starter #5
I’m case it’s useful for others (and as I learn myself)

Found a handy tire comparison tool. Tire Size Calculator - Compare Tire Sizes | Tacoma World


Looks like the difference is minimal and it’s only a bit bigger.

Most of the tires are overinflated so I’ll bleed them. Think only one (drivers side front) was at 20. Wonder if it has a small leak. All the rest were at 30 psi.


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Discussion Starter #6
It was running fine last season? if so, I would fire that baby up and get some seat time
It was, once I got it started.
All summer I’d think “I should really look into that” but once it started I decide to drive it for an hour and then ran out of time to investigate .

Had the issues from the videos. Hard to get started and that “air flowing” sound.
But drove well once I started it. (Worries about burning out the starter)

Also had a faint fuel smell in the truck last year. Nothing there now at all.


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Yup, if it starts, no funny sounds, smoke or smells then go for a rip. First close stop get some air so they are all 32 or better and even all around.
Hard cold start is unlikely related to your rushing sound if it runs great once going. Check the Ljet guide, could be vacuum leak, thermotime switch, cold start injector or coolant temp sensor, all can be tested on the car. Once running and you pull the dipstick out a bit, 2”, does idle speed change?

Cheers,
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Yup, if it starts, no funny sounds, smoke or smells then go for a rip. First close stop get some air so they are all 32 or better and even all around.
Sounds good! Now I’m on kid dinner duty, but will try after I have them set.
Want to understand 32 psi vs the lower amount shown in the manual? Mind sharing thought behind that?

Hard cold start is unlikely related to your rushing sound if it runs great once going. Check the Ljet guide, could be vacuum leak, thermotime switch, cold start injector or coolant temp sensor, all can be tested on the car. Once running and you pull the dipstick out a bit, 2”, does idle speed change?

Cheers,
Gotcha. That was the stuff I started to look at before the winter hit so I’ll pick that back up. Thanks for the test using the dipstick. I’ll give that a go once it’s started.

Ty!


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That air or whistling sound could be your VSD. It is behind the passenger seat above the parcel shelf behind the side panel. You can cap off the hose to it in the engine compartment. Some just leave it capped off, they are only available used (when you can find one) but they do help with idle, no load cruising, and fuel mileage. If you search VSD you will find more info. I say just fire it up and drive it! ( with 32 psi in the tires)
 

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Discussion Starter #10
That air or whistling sound could be your VSD. It is behind the passenger seat above the parcel shelf behind the side panel. You can cap off the hose to it in the engine compartment. Some just leave it capped off, they are only available used (when you can find one) but they do help with idle, no load cruising, and fuel mileage. If you search VSD you will find more info. I say just fire it up and drive it! ( with 32 psi in the tires)
That sounds like it’s it. That’s the exact spot i hear it. I’ll search around the boards for more info. Ty!!


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If you need more detailed help just message me....
 

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Yeah, that's the vacuum sensor. It has a copper bellows inside that splits with age, creating a whistle. Impossible to find a new one, and a used one is risky, as they all seem to eventually break. I fixed mine, and it seems to work fine now. If you search the BB you'll find a link.
Let the car warm up a bit to be sure no fluids are purging from any of the various systems, and if all looks and smells good, enjoy your first ride!
 

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Oil level looks on the low side to me. Indicating near minimum.

I run my 156v6 around 1/2 full because it leaks a little and probably uses a little so instead of being stressed about it, as it only takes 1/2 a litre to go from max (6 litres!) to minimum, if it is around 1/2 way I'm happy, but your level is uncomfortably close to minimum for my OCD.
Pete
 

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Ya, I dunno, 32 was just a round number I pulled out of my backside. I run my cars at 40 all the time. Less than 25 I find the car gets mushy. Roads can be rough here and 40 gives me a bit more pothole protection from a sidewall pinch. I feel that if you have a leak and are setting at 25 then there isn’t much leeway between set and in trouble. Just my thoughts.
 

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what's that horrible screech noise when you first turn the key (like an angry hornet about to attack!)..?
Is that some annoying seatbelt reminder buzz...that'd send me crazy!

If it isn't a normal start noise, there is something wrong...

as you can see the tach needle move when you (try to) start, it means you are at least getting the tachymetric signal, so to me the hard start will likely be fuel related.
Is it easier to start straight after a drive (ie. with warm engine) ? if so, I'd suspect the CSI.

ps: you need a top up of oil, if that photo of the dipstick is showing the actual level.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Thank you all!

re: Tires. Ok - so I'm learning. I always thought the # on the car door (for my regular cars) or in the manual (for the alfa) were absolutes. Needed to be at that amount or it'd cause damage to the car or tire. Sounds more like a guideline :). I'll get them all filled to 32 as a start then check them more often to see if they lose pressure unevenly.

re: Oil. Also good to know. I thought it was okay to be at the bottom indicator since the car hasn't run for 6 months so it was all "in the pan". (My only other experience recently with an item like this was transmission fluid where when the car was off it should be at the bottom.) So... I need to get oil.
A few questions @spiderserie4 @PSk -
  • How much do you think it needs?
  • Thoughts on what kind of oil should add?
    • I don't know what's in there now (I'll see if my Dad left a receipt for the last time he had it done before I received it or if there's a sticker on it.).
    • I poked around the board (like here: Oil Type) and there seems to be a few opinions. Looks like there's concensus around 20x-50 (syntheic or not?) I remember trying to get 20w-50 at my local O'reilly's and they didn't stock it. We have an autozone and NAPAs too so I can check there.
re: sound - @spiderserie4 - I don't know what it is, but it does that every time so I'm guessing it's normally. Some kind of alert sound, maybe for seatbelt. Last summer I didn't do too many multiple trips (was usually a single outing at a time... I have a new to me home and elementary age kids so my time was often split). But I do remember it being easier to start after I'd already started on the few occasions I used it for a beer run. I'll watch for that behavior this summer as I try to address the issue.

re: VSD - Thanks @SkiBum @fledermaus - Appreciate it! once I get her going I'll check for those other threads and make a plan. (This does help indicate that that sound isn't linked to the fuel smell I had in the trunk all last summer as I don't think everyone would be saying "don't worry about it" if it was a critical fuel component).

Have a crew over fixing my roof so likely won't get the car out of the garage today - but DO hope I get to turn the key and see if it starts :).
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Sidenote: Wow there is a lot of posts about Oil. I think I even had one previously and I can't find it in the pile.

Anyway - Since I've had a few leaks (that I haven't confirmed is oil, but based on the low amount I'm guessing it is) and I have a mixture of old and new parts - I think I'm going to try 20w50 Castrol if I can find it. I think that's the appropriate one (if I've sipped properly from the oil firehose of information on this forum o_O)
 

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the oil on your dip stick looks almost new...

anyway autozone website looks to have
Castrol 20/50 GTX and Valvoline VR1 20/50 (VR1 is what I use)
get 2 quarts, that should be more than enough to bring the level up on the dip stick.
 

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If you dont know when the last time the oil was changed, this is a good time to do it with it being that low. Get a quality filter, take it out for a drive to get the oil warm and drain it. Remember it takes about 7 quarts to fill. I start there and then top off watching the dipstick. I know Dom suggests just topping it off which is fine but if I dont know what is in it already, I would start fresh.... Heck, it could be Crisco.....
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Thanks @spiderserie4 & @SkiBum!

I'm still looking for the receipt for timing/oil used (Dad, the PO, gave me a pile of paperwork with the car), but he said he just got it changed before he passed the car to me - so I'm thinking the oil is a year old and only a few hundred miles of use. He brought the car to a Alfa specialist near Richmond, VA so I'm 🤞that it's an appropriate oil.

I'll get some of the 20/50, top it off to drive it around for a bit, but to @SkiBum's suggestion - plan on doing a full oil change this season. It'll be my first OC ever... not just on this car, so want to make sure I know what I'm prepped. I know folks can perform an oil change in their sleep, but I'm not one of them yet :) .

I don't even have ramps/a jack/stands, etc.
 
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