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78 Alfa Spider
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Discussion Starter #1
Been working on my 78 spider and noticed that the oil has a strong gas smell.

Anyone have any idea why?
 

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Take a sample and take a match to the oil. If there is any significant fuel it will light. Likely a worn SPICA at that point. Oil dilution will ruin a motor very quickly - don't mess around.

That said, a healthy SPICA does not dilute the oil and would require no more frequent changes than carbs.
 

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Push hard and live
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I never had that problem with my Spica Berlina, but a little gas in the oil won't ruin it. In fact, it is routine to add gasoline to oil for cold-weather operation of aircraft, such as Alaska in the winter. It thins the oil, and when the oil warms up the gasoline evaporates leaving just the oil behind.

Clearly, if the Spica is continuing to dump oil in, it won't evaporate quickly enough to stay ahead, and you'll ruin your engine.
 

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An old test for gas in the oil is to pull the dipstick and try to light the oil (quickly). If it lights you have a problem.
 

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If the engine is reaching full operating temp, no petrol should remain there for long. Lots of short trips can result in the oil never getting fully up to temp (ie when the pressure gauge drops, which can take 10min of driving for our big-sumped-105s).
 

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Worn Spica injection pumps can leak gasoline past the little plungers that inject the gasoline spray into the intake bore. Very common with old pumps. The cure is to overhaul the pump. See Ingram Enterprises, Inc.. He's the premier rebuilder of Spica injection pumps. Rebuilt pumps run $940 for the part only.

Go to http://www.alfabb.com/bb/forums/car...-purchase-inspection-spica-injected-alfa.html and read the thread carefully. It'll tell you how to check for gasoline in the logic section of the injection pump, which then drains into the main engine sump.
 

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If SPICA though, it can literally pump fuel directly into the sump.
There you go. This is the biggest reason why SPICA sucks. My project has the same problem. I have a carb conversion ready to go.
 

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Trained (ex)Professional, , 1953-2018 RIP
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Tis a shame that the Spica pump gets blamed for a whole host of problems that may have nothing to to do with the pump.
Blowby, mis-adjusted pump, a bad T/A can all result in fuel in the oil. It would be a shame if the pump was overhauled (or binned in favor of carbs) only to discover that a bad T/A was the root cause of the problem.

Diagnose first, then repair.
 

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There you go. This is the biggest reason why SPICA sucks. My project has the same problem. I have a carb conversion ready to go.
So it makes more sense to spend twice as much on a Carb conversion than to have your worn SPICA rebuilt (notwithstanding Papajam's admonishment to diagnose first)? Wes is in your backyard - you should at least give him a call.
 

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There you go. This is the biggest reason why SPICA sucks. My project has the same problem. I have a carb conversion ready to go.
I've had my Spica system for 12 years now and it doesn't leak fuel into the oil because the pump is not worn-out and it's maintained properly. It's also not had to be adjusted in that length of time.

Please don't toss your Spica parts in the trash bin. Someone else can make use of them.

As far as diagnosis goes, hence the need to check the logic section of the injection pump. If the mixture has been correct and not grossly rich, it's probable that it's the pump leaking. Just to be sure, I'd change the oil and filter, suck out and replace the oil in the logic section and drive it a while. See if the fuel returns to the oil sump. If so, you've almost certainly got a leaker.

As far as carbs go, if you want to convert your engine, go ahead. The reason Alfa changed over to the VERY expensive Spica system (vs. relatively cheap carbs) was because of US Emissions Regs. End of story. Hence why the European cars were still fitted with carbs.
 

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So it makes more sense to spend twice as much on a Carb conversion than to have your worn SPICA rebuilt (notwithstanding Papajam's admonishment to diagnose first)? Wes is in your backyard - you should at least give him a call.
Actually it doesn't. I just lucked into a complete carb conversion setup for $500. Or I might just get a rebuilt SPICA pump and put the carbs on Ebay. I haven't decided.
 

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Dont forget allso the Spica pump has its on filter , I think a lot of people foget to replace it , or just say why ,Because it can be hard to get sometimes.
 

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There you go. This is the biggest reason why SPICA sucks. My project has the same problem. I have a carb conversion ready to go.
Nonsense

Oil dilution can occur due to an overly rich mixture (mis-adjusted pump) It can happen with carburetors too. To say it is the "biggest" reason why SPICA sucks is to make a statement that is not backed up by any data or facts. I know the SPICA FAQ posted here says that a worn pump can leak fuel into the sump but go ahead and do a search - this is not a common failure, never has been.

My original SPICA went close to 300,000 miles and never failed in that manner. I've owned Alfas and have hung around Alfa owners, the vast majority of which were SPICA equipped, for over thirty years and have never personally known anyone who had this problem. So no, it's not the "biggest" reason and SPICA does not "suck". It was one of the things that made US spec Alfas stand out. Datsuns had carbs, Alfas had SPICA.
 

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Actually it doesn't. I just lucked into a complete carb conversion setup for $500. Or I might just get a rebuilt SPICA pump and put the carbs on Ebay. I haven't decided.
Seriously, you should give the SPICA a chance. With a little study and the help of this forum you may find that it's a heck of a cool system.
 

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Nonsense

Oil dilution can occur due to an overly rich mixture (mis-adjusted pump) It can happen with carburetors too. To say it is the "biggest" reason why SPICA sucks is to make a statement that is not backed up by any data or facts. I know the SPICA FAQ posted here says that a worn pump can leak fuel into the sump but go ahead and do a search - this is not a common failure, never has been.

My original SPICA went close to 300,000 miles and never failed in that manner. I've owned Alfas and have hung around Alfa owners, the vast majority of which were SPICA equipped, for over thirty years and have never personally known anyone who had this problem. So no, it's not the "biggest" reason and SPICA does not "suck". It was one of the things that made US spec Alfas stand out. Datsuns had carbs, Alfas had SPICA.
Actually my last Spider's SPICA pump did fail in this manner. I drove it daily for 9 years, and I checked the oil once a week. One day I checked it and the oil level on the dipstick was way above "full" and I know I didn't add any. It was super thin and reeked of gas too. This pump had about 80,000 miles on it.

Like I said, I haven't decided if I'll go through with the conversion; I have a bunch of other things to fix before I start on the fuel system. I still have Wes Ingram's SPICA manual; I'll try dialing it in first because I know it was running way rich.
 

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I'd guess that in both cases you do not have what you think you have. If a SPICA pump were so worn that it was passing fuel into the sump it's not something that would suddenly just start happening. It would begin slowly and get worse over time, the car would run like crap and you'd have horrible fuel mileage long before you begin to notice large amounts of fuel in the sump.

There was an article in the AROC magazine back in the mid 80's that was written to inform owners that the vast majority of SPICA pumps being turned in for replacement had absolutely nothing wrong with them. In the early years Alfa did not provide any technical data on the SPICA system as it was considered to be an emission control device but it was hardly tamper proof - you can make all sorts of adjustments to it. Each and every device on the logic section works in concert with the others to do one single thing - set the position of the rack that controls the fuel delivery amount for any given condition. So if you adjust one thing you alter the adjustments of all the others, it needs to be done in sequential order per the manual. The final step is the master mixture adjustment with the cut-off solenoid and that can be done by ear if your good but it's better to use something like a color-tune to get it set perfect.

These days we have the internet and tons of technical data so SPICA is no longer the mystery it once was. The one problem you'll have is that you can't take it to the corner mechanic and expect him to know anything about it, you'll be somewhat on your own. But it's really not that difficult and once it is properly adjusted you'll most likely not have to do anything with it for many years.

If you already have a carb conversion kit to install I have nothing against doing it. My point is that there is no good reason to rip out a perfectly good SPICA system and retrofit carbs based on old wive's tales and a lingering, misguided fear or distaste for the system. It's every bit as good as carbs and in many ways much better.

So think it over first.
 
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