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It's a Malpassi Filter King, and is primarily a pressure regulator and also has a fuel filter. The pressure of the fuel flow is adjustable via the screw on the top, you have to undo the lock nut first, and obviously connect a pressure gauge into the fuel line between the Filter King, and the carbs, preferably at carb height. Pressure should be between 2.5, and 3.5 psi for sidedraught carbs.
 

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Yes that is your fuel filter ( worth changing the filter element if it doesn’t look newish)
And your fuel pressure regulator Which has that adjustment screw on top
Webers require 3-3,5 psi pressure.
 

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Well, as spiderserie4 says, it is unlikely both carbs would suddenly get blocked, the balance of probability is on the ignition fault. we know we have a spark, so it must be a spark timing issue. Plus the backfiring with the start spray suggests you are getting a spark while the intake valve is still open, so you are running too advanced during cranking. I think it might be time now to carefully mark the distributor position, and try to see if you can start the car with the timing retarded a bit. Up to you of course. we can take it from there.

There is one more thing you can measure to be sure the distributor timing is off. If you put a dial gauge down #1 cyclinder with the spark plug out and raise it to TDC, the sensor coil in the distributor should be exactly lined up one of the trigger teeth, at almost zero advance. Mechanical and vacuum advance could total as much as 30 degrees if the mechanism is stuck.
 

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Discussion Starter #84
I've not had time to go near the Spider for a couple of weeks, but hopefully will have a few hours to investigate over the coming week.

I have ordered a new fuel filter element and fuel pipes which I'll change to eliminate the possibility that either are clogged and limiting the fuel supply.

I've also been thinking about the spark timing you mentioned alfahaze. Can you explain step by step how I find TDC - there are no obvious timing marks on the flywheel? What tyoe of dial guage do you recommend?
 

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I just can't see the timing going off between driving the car one day and it not starting the next morning....unless your whole distributor has come loose and is turning on its own.

If you grab your distributor with your hand, does it turn? (It shouldn't!)

imo: that vacuum advance on the distributor will be disconnected when they converted to the electronics.
 

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I've not had time to go near the Spider for a couple of weeks, but hopefully will have a few hours to investigate over the coming week.

I have ordered a new fuel filter element and fuel pipes which I'll change to eliminate the possibility that either are clogged and limiting the fuel supply.

I've also been thinking about the spark timing you mentioned alfahaze. Can you explain step by step how I find TDC - there are no obvious timing marks on the flywheel? What tyoe of dial guage do you recommend?
Hi, There should be a pin in the water pump that points to the crank. The crank should have two marks on it (three if it is spica US version) The marks on the crank are difficult to see when they are clean, and almost impossible when dirty. To get a rough Idea I usually remove spark plug 1 and put a long screwdriver in, and slowly turn the engine by hand until the screw driver moves up. When it gets to the highest spot stop there, and start cleaning the crank to find the mark. Maybe some white paint or tip-exx when you find the grooves. You are either TDC or BTC now, so the distributor will be either pointing to 1 for TDC or another for BDC. You don't really need the dial gauge, unless you suspect the pin is broken or missing. I have an adaptor that screws into the spark plug hole, has a rod and then you mount a 0-5mm dial dauge in the end, but you still need to do the screwdriver thing before using this as it only has a 5mm travel and is tricky to set-up the first time you use it.

My 1800 Nord distributor locked on full advance after one drive, would not start a week later. I reset the timing but it didn't run properly. I ended up taking the distrubutor apart in desparation, where I discovered the advance mechanism inside was all rusted up. Of course it is unlikely we both have the same broblem, but you never know...
 

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Discussion Starter #87
Ok, spent 90 mins with this problem this morning. Using a screwdriver in place of spark plu 1 I turned the engine to find the highest point. There are no obvious marks on the crank wheel around the area the water pump pin is pointing, although there is something which looks like a very old blob of faded paint perhaps. I took a photo below, but it doesn't show the mark up as it's so faint.

Anyway, having got what might be TDC, I then checked the distributor rotor arm, and found it was pointing to spark plug #3 point, not #1. I took it off and realigned with #1, replaced the cap, and thought I'd give the engine a go. For a moment the engine started...then stopped, reverting to how it's been so far - turning over but no start.

I repeated the process - located TDC, checked under the distributor cap, and the rotor arm was pointing at #3 again. This time, when I replaced it pinting to #1, it didn't start.

Third time, I took the protective cap off to reveal the "points", and took a picture of how they are lined up. Does this look right if plug#1 is at TDC?

I haven't done anything with the fuel filter/pipes yet, so all's as it was.

939673


939674
 

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First thing to note is this is a four stroke engine. So each piston will be at the top in its cylinder for the firing stroke and again at the top for the exhaust stroke. When piston #1 is at TDC on its exhaust stroke piston #3 will be at TDC for its firing stroke. So you need to swap those leads back to how they were I think. Looking at your distributor picture my protractor reads the pins as advanced by 15 degress cam, (assuming the star bit rotates clockwise ? ) which is 30 degress crank angle, so it does look like you are suffering from the same issue I had.The car will not start like this, unless you have fuel that burns super fast, like nitromethane or sure-start aerosol. The chances that both you and I had this same issue must be tiny!. Anyway I think static advance is like 5 degrees crank, so at TDC the central star in your picture should be 2.5 degrees advanced (this assumes the plug fires with the star leg exactly lined up with the sensor prong, which I thing is right). Going by your image the star spokes need to go anti-clockwise by the gap and another half . That would be like the arms of each star are about halfway past the sense prongs. Hope that makes sence. Of course you need to find the TDC mark on the pulley, maybe some fine sandpaper and some WD-40 it is hard to reveal. Of course there is another mark on the pulley, the |M| mark which is at 30 ish degress for max advance. I feel like you are nearly there in the diagnosis.
 

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you have to get TDC and get those leads back where they belong.
Either get some wirewool on that crank pulley and find the mark/s

or another way you could try:

when you turn the crank and the screwdriver just starts to rise, remove the screwdriver and put your finger firmly on the hole, now turn the crank pulley some more....is the air pushing your finger away?
Yes? then that is your compression stroke...so let the screwdriver come up as far as it will go. (IF you don't feel air pushing your finger off? then keep turning till it does...)
that should be TDC on compression stroke for cylinder #1
(you can verify by looking down the hole on cyl #1 with a small flashlight...you should not see the edges of the valves. If, however you look down cylinder #4, you should see the edges of each valve)

Your pointer on the water pump will (well, should be!) now point to the timing mark on the pulley....wire wool it there, it can't be far off!

Now, where is the rotor pointing? ...............................(forget the star gadget for now)
If it is pointing forward, that is cyl #1
Bosch dizzys have a little mark, which is cyl #1.
dizzy no 1.jpg

if the rotor is pointing towards the rear of the car, someone has put the drive cog 180° out when they were last inside the engine (silly move, but no big deal as the car will work fine if you simply move the leads around)

Wherever the rotor is pointing on proper TDC, is where you stick the plug wire from cylinder no #1 into the distributor cap...then follow thru clockwise....

(Remember: the firing order is 1-3-4-2 and the cylinder numbers themselves are 1-2-3-4 front to rear)
 

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Ooops, silly me yes the firing order is 1-3-4-2, so what I said about about cylinder 3 should be re-read as cylinder 4! - I'll get my coat - Taxi!
So you say when you put the plug wire for 1 into 3 it ran for a bit? I am surprised by that. Do you mean you just realigned the cap ir re-wired the cap? there should be a notch in the cap that fits the distributor, once engaged it should not move about much - is that what you mean ?
 

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Discussion Starter #91
Big thanks for sticking with me on this, it's much appreciated!

If I'm following you both, the problem could potentially be 1 of 2 things -

1. the ht leads are located in the wrong places in the distributor cap - so first finding TDC then relocating these using the rotor arm as a guide to fix lead #1, then follow clockwise using the 1-3-4-2 sequence around.
2. the distributor isn't aligned correctly (star gadget and pins) meaning it's too advanced? I'm not clear on exactly how to fix this - is it as simple as turning the star gadget to the correct angle, and what should this angle be from TDC in relation to the pins?
 

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yes
Find 'proper' TDC first then attach leads.......(and let us know if the rotor - when you have found TDC - is pointing to the front or to the rear of the car)

as for the cap moving it will not. It fits into a notch on the dizzy.
 

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Discussion Starter #93
Only had a few minutes to do something with this today, so resolved to clean up the crank wheel to see what emerged. I have found some marks, but still can't see the details clearly. I jammed my phone as close up as possible to try and het a clear picture - this is the clearest I can get. It looks like a line past the pin, with maybe a letter etched next to it, with a line further back close to the pin. I thought there might be 3 lines to look out for - will one be further back?

I haven't been able to check whether this is the true TDC yet (i.e confirm whether or not it's 180 degrees out.)
939739
 

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Progress! IIRC there should be two marks close to each other labelled P and F, then another a little further clockwise round marked 'M' . P is TDC, F is Fixed or static timing, and M is the maximum advance. The ''F' mark is what the distributor should be timed up to. Don't be tempted to turn the engine backwards to see the 'M' mark.
 

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Here's a picture I found on t'interweb showing the P, F and M marks. The right hand picture shows the engine at TDC, with the white dot on 'M'.
939740
 

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„ with a line further back close to the pin“

That could be the P
Now check if piston #1 is up top (screwdriver test) and where rotor is pointing to
 

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Discussion Starter #97
Major celebrations here!!!!!!

Rotor was pointing to the back of the car, so switched the leads to match, and hey presto, started first time :D

Can't thank you all enough for your patience and wisdom, and a sunny day forecast here tomorrow, perfect for a test drive!!

Thanks again
 

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Phew!
:)

still unsure what it all was due to.......you come home from a drive and next morning it doesn't start.

so,this is my theory:
when you came home the king lead somehow got slightly whacked by the fan.....that didn't actually cut through it but probably just slightly pulled it out the coil, so contact was lost.

When you replaced the leads, you were unaware that a previous owner has been inside the engine and put the oil pump/distributor back so the cog was 180° out...so you stuck the leads roughly where they would be on a normal alfa...no. 1 facing forward.....yes, you get spark (as you did) but it just happens at the wrong time, so it won't start.

Lastly you chased TDC, then you put no. 1 lead where the rotor was facing (backwards in this case) and it started fine.

well, that's my theory, I can't think of anything else!

at least now you have new leads, have tied the king lead out of the way of the fan and have a new fuel filter.

last thing to do is enjoy the drive...:)
 

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Your quite right SS4, On one occasion I was shimming the tappets I put the cams back 180deg out, set to top of compression stroke on #4 not #1. Not the job for the OP perhaps but to make #1 the first in the cycle again simply realigning the cams would put things right, sounds simple doesnt it!
 

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Well done! I remember once replacing the leads on I think an old ford v8, and I assumed they went clockwise round the distributor. Of course the car would not start and backfired as that dizzy went the other way! Then there was the time I'd rebuilt a Busso V6 and left the rear gallery plugs out. the car started first time but promptly dumped all the engine oil on the garage floor, requiring two large bags of kitty litter to clean up the mess.
 
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