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Hello All

I am brand new to the forum. I have been following for a few discussions for a couple weeks now and decided it would be wise to join and share my experiences here. I bought a '74 Spider in pretty rough shape before Christmas and have been working to bring it back to life since. I really have no idea what I'm doing but I'll be documenting the project in a four part Youtube series (please subscribe!):


I reach out today because I have run into my first real problem. The car is no longer starting. Heres the back story...

-The car started fine at purchase and several more times the days following. I only drove it a few miles but everything seemed fine.
-After sitting for roughly 10 days while I worked on the rust, the car would not come to an idle. Occasionally the car would sputter but it was not until the battery began to struggle and I jumped the car did it actually begin to idle again.
-After letting the car idle for several minutes, I backed it down my steep driveway, which ends with a small uphill climb. The car did not have enough power to back up the 3 foot climb or drive forward back up the driveway. I positioned so it was out of the way and now it will not stat at all, stuck at the bottom of the driveway.
-The fuel pressure light is not on (oil pressure is, change coming soon).
-It is only about 30 degrees in Michigan right now. Could this be a temp issue? Is it possible I simply flooded the engine? Should I be looking at the Spica system?

There is a lot of helpful forums here with similar problems but I was hoping someone could help me narrow things down before I head in the wrong direction. I did buy a multi-meter (which I need to learn how to use) and will be checking the plugs in the morning.

I could write a lot more but I'll leave it here for now. Thanks in advance for any help that may be out there!
 

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Assuming the car was a USA model and still has the SPICA Fuel Injection system and was exposed to ambient Michigan winter temperatures, there is a Cold weather setting on the injection pump that could be part of the problem. See attached excerpt from a book I have on the system. I doubt this is the only problem, but it might get you back up the hill. You will have to remove the air cleaner to get at the lever.
 

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This is very helpful. Thank you.

Shifting the lever is simple once air filter is removed?

I'll update tomorrow or the next depending on weather and what I get done.
 

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Okay so I have an update...

It was only about 20 degrees yesterday so I decided to just leave it alone. Today when it finally got back up to around 40 degrees outside I switched the Spica temp lever to the C position and eventually I was able to get the car started. It was running very poorly and I was still not able to climb back up the driveway.

So I pulled the spark plugs and 3/4 looked pretty fouled (not sure if it was carbon or oil but they were black).

I swapped in new plugs and it seemed to run great, straight up the driveway. It's dark and raining now so I'm going to go over fluids tomorrow and hopefully that will also help. I'll take it on a real spin afterwards weather permitting.

 

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You lost me when you decided to use bondo and JB Weld instead of fixing the rust properly.

Do yourself a favor, buy a little MIG welder and teach yourself to use it. You'll have a better repair and more pride in your work.


 

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Bravo Mike! It's heartwarming to see a young man with the passion and energy to revive an old Spider in need of some overdue love. Your videos bring back the days of my youth when, lacking a proper garage, I crawled around on the ground in the middle of winter wrenching one of my early machines, and dragging a bunch of dirty old car parts through my batchelor pad to scrub. Ah. The golden days of youth! Thank you for sharing your energy. Keep up the good work.
 

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Mike .. congratulations on your production and your progress. I love your approach.. outside in the RAW elements and the progress is pretty amazing. As for technique.. bravo!!! The stuff you are doing in "clay" is usually some deep dark secret.. I think it is hilariously refreshing to make due with the resources you have. I hope the car works for you . BTW repairing this the "proper way" would easily cost 3 to4 times what the silly car is worth when it is finished.. I wouldn't recommend it on a car of investment quality but hey. these cars are parted out at this level...why not!
 

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This is the problem with YouTube, actually all modern social media, anybody can post. The reader then is supposed to determine if they should follow the videos recommendations or not.

Listen to Ossodiseppia, if this car has rust holes in the outer panels it might have rust in the more structural panels too.

And I have to agree with Steve, this is not the proper way to fix rust, in fact you're not, and somebody will have to redo all this work very soon.

Also these cars do not have a chassis, they are unitary construction which means every piece of metal welded or bolted to the shell takes varying amounts of structural load. This is why repairing rust needs to be done with metal and welding, not bondo. Bondo is for surface imperfections only, not holes.

Best
Pete
 

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Mike .. congratulations on your production and your progress. I love your approach.. outside in the RAW elements and the progress is pretty amazing. As for technique.. bravo!!! The stuff you are doing in "clay" is usually some deep dark secret.. I think it is hilariously refreshing to make due with the resources you have. I hope the car works for you . BTW repairing this the "proper way" would easily cost 3 to4 times what the silly car is worth when it is finished.. I wouldn't recommend it on a car of investment quality but hey. these cars are parted out at this level...why not!
I don't necessarily agree. If you repair it with welded in patches it will cost more, but the car will be worth more. Doing it wrong will still cost money, but it will be money wasted.

It's cheaper still to just buy a nice original or restored car than to fix up a project car. But its satisfying to bring one back from the dead, and you'll have developed some useful skills in the process.
 

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At least two of us aren't yelling at Ralphy that he will "shoot his eyes out,kid!!!'' .. Does everything in this world have to be absolutely CORRECT or his effort is foolhardy? Cut him some slack. He's as happy as a pig in shchitt... A firehose might be called for but it would ruin his happiness.
 

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Mike, with as much rust that is on that car, I encourage you to carefully inspect the frame rails that run between the wheel wells. If they are compromised, the car can be quite dangerous to drive.
[/QUOTE

Fortunately it seems the rust has not made its way past the rockers. I did a pretty thorough inspection underneath and took a chance on the car when I realized the frame and entire undercarriage car has been taken care of (odd considering the degree to which the exterior was hit). I'll coat it before I start driving the car and include that process in my videos for sure.
 

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Mike .. congratulations on your production and your progress. I love your approach.. outside in the RAW elements and the progress is pretty amazing. As for technique.. bravo!!! The stuff you are doing in "clay" is usually some deep dark secret.. I think it is hilariously refreshing to make due with the resources you have. I hope the car works for you . BTW repairing this the "proper way" would easily cost 3 to4 times what the silly car is worth when it is finished.. I wouldn't recommend it on a car of investment quality but hey. these cars are parted out at this level...why not!
Thanks for understanding. I'd love to be able to invest into top notch repairs but as you mentioned I am trying to make the best of my current situation. I am glad I am not offending too many enthusiasts!
 

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Thanks for understanding. I'd love to be able to invest into top notch repairs but as you mentioned I am trying to make the best of my current situation. I am glad I am not offending too many enthusiasts!
As long as you check the structural integrity of your car, keep having fun.

And yes I understand making the best of current situations, we're just looking out for your safety.
Pete
 

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... If he has the passion for Alfas, he could end up working with @gprocket...
LOL, that's one way to cure the Alfa disease!

I'm with the majority here. Enjoy the process. Don't let perfection be the enemy of good. On the other hand, do make sure you are being safe. The inner and middle rockers are the main structural elements of these cars. I've had spiders that literally folded in half when both doors opened. Be sure to check the area around the front jack points in particular.

Regarding the no start, I'd check the fuel filters. There are two: one coming off the tank and one inside the engine bay on the passenger side near the firewall. I had a similar problem with my first Alfa (years ago) SPICA. The plugs would foul and the motor would die. I could run about 5 miles then pull off the side of the road and swap clean plugs. Less than ideal... Turned out the filters were plugged.
And make sure whatever shortcuts you do that you document them and disclose for the next owner.

If you are near Detroit, you are welcome to stop by and see Alfas in various stages of restoration...
 

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LOL, that's one way to cure the Alfa disease!

I'm with the majority here. Enjoy the process. Don't let perfection be the enemy of good. On the other hand, do make sure you are being safe. The inner and middle rockers are the main structural elements of these cars. I've had spiders that literally folded in half when both doors opened. Be sure to check the area around the front jack points in particular.

Regarding the no start, I'd check the fuel filters. There are two: one coming off the tank and one inside the engine bay on the passenger side near the firewall. I had a similar problem with my first Alfa (years ago) SPICA. The plugs would foul and the motor would die. I could run about 5 miles then pull off the side of the road and swap clean plugs. Less than ideal... Turned out the filters were plugged.
And make sure whatever shortcuts you do that you document them and disclose for the next owner.

If you are near Detroit, you are welcome to stop by and see Alfas in various stages of restoration...
I am definitely enjoying the process. I hope to keep the car for awhile but if I ever sell, the Youtube videos will accompany a detailed explanation in the listing.

The car was filled with bondo at least once before I got it so these many warnings about the structure are mounting some worries. Although what I believed to be the frame of the car seems to be in solid condition, the rockers are basically toast. However, the jack points seemed strong and I actually used them this week. After I finish with the paint I'll take a better look underneath and document what I see.

I was able to solve the starting issue and it sounds like you may be exactly right (I hope). After changing the temp lever and swapping plugs the car fired up and sounded great, I've only gone around the block and up/down the driveway since and it seems to be getter harder to start again already. I actually pulled the filter coming off the tank before swapping the plugs after reading a thread here. Fuel freely flowed through it (messy) so I assumed I was in the clear with that one? Good way to inspect them?

I am about 100 miles west of Detroit. Maybe I'll be able to take you up on that in the future!

Here's an update on where I am now. Maybe you can comment on if the car sounds good when running most recently? Thanks!

**WARNING"" More budget decisions made:

 
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