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Discussion Starter #1
Ok so it's a 1988 series 3 two litre left hooker. Have spent good money improving it over the 17 odd years we've bee together.
Over the last 4-5 years it's been getting harder to start, especially as it doesn't get regular use (but it never did BTW).

The compression is down a bit, but otherwise coil, sparks, & Solex carbs ok, or so they tell me.

So with my meccano tool set I replaced the mechanical pump and then there was no petrol getting to the carbs. So I cleaned out the Fuel King filter regulator which was full of grey jelly stuff and got fuel into the carb fuel lines. But it would still only start with quick start spray. Once fired up it was OK. So I replaced the Fuel King today and low and behold looks like no fuel in the filter bowl even. And even if there is, the pipes to the carbs are bone dry.

I have been recommended getting an electric fuel pump fitted (£££) ' because all old cars get bad at pushing/pulling fuel around'.

So, what the chuffing hell do I do now ??

I'd really appreciate some ideas....

yours in frustration

Alfaspider53
.
 

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Well first, welcome to the forum, you've found us after 17 years!

I had this problem with mine. Two things you need to check. All that gunge, or at least some of it may have found its way to the carbs. Even if the problem is caused by #2, you still need to get rid of that before you find you have blocked jets.

The most likely cause, if as you say you have a new pump is old petrol pipes, the flexible ones. The pump will draw air rather than petrol and if there is even a small hole in the flexible pipe between the tank and metal fuel line, or from the fuel line to the pump that is where you should look.
 

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I've changed everything on mine trying to sort this but it's still a terrible starter, I know it will always start in the end so I've just gotten used to it.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Well first, welcome to the forum, you've found us after 17 years!

I had this problem with mine. Two things you need to check. All that gunge, or at least some of it may have found its way to the carbs. Even if the problem is caused by #2, you still need to get rid of that before you find you have blocked jets.

The most likely cause, if as you say you have a new pump is old petrol pipes, the flexible ones. The pump will draw air rather than petrol and if there is even a small hole in the flexible pipe between the tank and metal fuel line, or from the fuel line to the pump that is where you should look.
Many thanks TD for the suggestion. I've been hoping that someone would say that, as it seems logical too. I have had the carbs checked & blown out BTW !
But where do the fuel lines go ? I have seen a flexible pipe going to the fuel pump, but where it goes backwards towards to fuel tank is beyond me. Are there just flexible hoses at each end of the fuel line (eg boot & engine bay) only, with metal in between, or are there some nice awkward tricky flexi bits in the bodywork to find & fix to further test my patience ?!
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I've changed everything on mine trying to sort this but it's still a terrible starter, I know it will always start in the end so I've just gotten used to it.
I don't mind a poor starter, but when it goes on and on and on without even catching it's frankly embarrassing, and surely shouldn't happen.
 

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There is only flexible (rubber) pipes at each end:

"the flexible pipe between the tank and metal fuel line, or from the fuel line to the pump that is where you should look."
 

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Discussion Starter #7
There is only flexible (rubber) pipes at each end:

"the flexible pipe between the tank and metal fuel line, or from the fuel line to the pump that is where you should look."
Thanks for the repeated info ! Frustration interfered with my reading skills.....
I'll get to work.
 

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I wonder if when changing the pump you got air in the fuel hose and it is not primed? The pump won't suck air.

you could try removing the fuel hose at the pump then blowing into the filler....then quickly shove it back on when fuel comes out?
;)
 

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I wonder if when changing the pump you got air in the fuel hose and it is not primed? The pump won't suck air.

you could try removing the fuel hose at the pump then blowing into the filler....then quickly shove it back on when fuel comes out?
;)
Might even show where the hose is leaking, it did on mine.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I wonder if when changing the pump you got air in the fuel hose and it is not primed? The pump won't suck air.

you could try removing the fuel hose at the pump then blowing into the filler....then quickly shove it back on when fuel comes out?
;)
Interesting idea, but I have had the engine start & fuel getting to the carbs since fitting the new mechanical pump. It's since I fitted the Fuel King job on Saturday that there doesn't seem to be any fuel anywhere. I'll remove the hose between Fuel King and mechanical pump and see if anything comes out !

Interestingly the new Fuel King's adjustable screw (on top) is fully out, whereas on the old one the screw was screwed right down (like I just feel now!). Any tips on where the screw should be to get decent pressure to the carbs once I've checked / replaced the remaining flexible fuel hoses?

Finally - sorry about all this - is there a good way to get a clean cut through the mesh-covered fuel hoses ? When I do it there are lots of sharp straggley bits of mesh on the end.

Your help is much appreciated
 

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by fuel king I presume you mean filter king regulator....you sure you got the hoses the right way around ('in' from pump and 'out' to carbs)?

you could also just pull the outlet hose on the pump and stick it in a bottle.....it should fill it fairly quickly.
(one guy here with an S2 (1981) running solexes, filled a wine bottle in about 5 seconds, to give you some idea)
That means the pump has adequate output volume (presuming you haven't an air lock;))

as for the filter king adjustment screw, that needs to be checked with a fuel pressure gauge (don't remember if clockwise or anti clockwise makes pressure go up, down)
 

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Discussion Starter #12
by fuel king I presume you mean filter king regulator....you sure you got the hoses the right way around ('in' from pump and 'out' to carbs)?

you could also just pull the outlet hose on the pump and stick it in a bottle.....it should fill it fairly quickly.
(one guy here with an S2 (1981) running solexes, filled a wine bottle in about 5 seconds, to give you some idea)
That means the pump has adequate output volume (presuming you haven't an air lock;))

as for the filter king adjustment screw, that needs to be checked with a fuel pressure gauge (don't remember if clockwise or anti clockwise makes pressure go up, down)
Yes its a Filter King. I'll do that to check the pump. I thought the pressure might need a gauge to check it. Thanks. I'll double check the hoses are right way around too. The Filter King is like the previous one, horizontal input, vertical output nozzles (I hope).
 

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When my Spider 1750 1970 was about 10+ years past it restoration it Would not start after standing still for approx. 5 months. The rubber hoses had internally collapsed. After new petrol hoses fitted it was all right.
When going I soon discovered that the situation of the braked hoses was the same, internally collapsed. So new brake hoses and cleaning of callipers all was good again.
So to me it seems thar rubber hoses last aprox. 10 years.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
When my Spider 1750 1970 was about 10+ years past it restoration it Would not start after standing still for approx. 5 months. The rubber hoses had internally collapsed. After new petrol hoses fitted it was all right.
When going I soon discovered that the situation of the braked hoses was the same, internally collapsed. So new brake hoses and cleaning of callipers all was good again.
So to me it seems thar rubber hoses last aprox. 10 years.
That's interesting. Hope my brakes are OK....

Here's the update: removed the pipe to the Filter King from the mechanical pump. Turned the engine - about 10 secs in all, and got about a third of a teacup of petrol ! Whipped off (ha ha) the air filter bits and found where the flexible fuel hose joins the metal fuel pipe the joint was a bit loose. So whipped it off and replace with new hose. Turned the engine for 15 secs and got about half a small teacup, if that, of fuel from the disconnected pump to filter hose. That's not right, surely ?
So if the problem is for example somewhere between top of the fuel tank and metal fuel pipe, where do I find the connection between flexi hose and metal pipe after the flexihose disappears through the bulkhead ?
(Reason I'm asking is that I'm not as young as I used to be, so jacking up car in tight space and prodding around on my back (ooh er missus) is not as easy as it was !!)
I don't suppose I could have fitted the mechanical fuel pump on the engine incorrectly ? - I just unbolted the old one and bolted on the new one with spaces/gasket.
 

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I don't suppose I could have fitted the mechanical fuel pump on the engine incorrectly ? - I just unbolted the old one and bolted on the new one with spaces/gasket.
well, a few little things could have gone wrong, certainly:
did you take note of the pushrod in the engine (that runs the pump)....

did you check the pushrod moved freely, wasn't sticking in the bore?
Did new pump come with a new pushrod? if so did you check they were the same length?
Did it come with new plastic spacer? was that the same thickness?
did you compare pumps prior to fitting....was the cam part, the bit you can see in the pump where it attaches to engine the same?

did you get the pump from an alfa dealer (ie. it is the right pump, right?)

http://www.alfaowner.com/Forum/the-classic-alfa-romeos/273360-pushrod-on-mechanical-fuel-pump.html
 

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Discussion Starter #16
well, a few little things could have gone wrong, certainly:
did you take note of the pushrod in the engine (that runs the pump)....

did you check the pushrod moved freely, wasn't sticking in the bore?
Did new pump come with a new pushrod? if so did you check they were the same length?
Did it come with new plastic spacer? was that the same thickness?
did you compare pumps prior to fitting....was the cam part, the bit you can see in the pump where it attaches to engine the same?

did you get the pump from an alfa dealer (ie. it is the right pump, right?)

http://www.alfaowner.com/Forum/the-classic-alfa-romeos/273360-pushrod-on-mechanical-fuel-pump.html
Blimey. Now I'm worried...
But I replaced the pump before Christmas, and well after the starting got really bad. And the engine has been going ok once started over the last 6 months or so, so I guess it's not the pump ? It has started ok once warm. Although now not getting fuel into the system looks bad, I'm hoping the problem is elsewhere.
I got the pump from EB Spares, and seem to remember putting everything back in order (spacer etc) using the new pump which is different from the Italian FISPA which I took off. The pushrod just fell out when I unbolted the FISPA pump so I shoved it back in ! I'm not sure the cam part was the same as the old one. It may not have been.
 

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Blimey. Now I'm worried...
But I replaced the pump before Christmas, and well after the starting got really bad. And the engine has been going ok once started over the last 6 months or so, so I guess it's not the pump ?
the pump is likely correctly fitted if the car ran well over the last 6 months.....I thought it was just recently replaced and then the problem started.
 

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When has the condenser and points been changed?
At some point my Spider was running poorly and fitting new distributor parts*) it all run fine again.
Instead of points etc. I fitted a Ingnitor kit (no points and condenser - small ring with a mini magnet and a pick up) and new sports coil.
The engine ran fine for years after that.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
When has the condenser and points been changed?
At some point my Spider was running poorly and fitting new distributor parts*) it all run fine again.
Instead of points etc. I fitted a Ingnitor kit (no points and condenser - small ring with a mini magnet and a pick up) and new sports coil.
The engine ran fine for years after that.
Good call. I think it's an electronic distributor - no points. But the condenser is probably V. Old (ie more that 16 yrs). However there ain't no fuel to ignite at the moment !
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Latest update: disconnected fuel line at fuel tank and before fuel pump on engine. A bit of juice came out at the pump end. Blew compressed air (tyre inflator) through the pipes, then blew through myself which seemed to pass through the system. Then contacted the professionals (no disrespect to you who have helped on this thread) and they both, independently, said get an electric pump ! Looks like I'll have to raid the piggy bank as fitting an electric pump is way above my CSE level of knowledge of cars....
In the meantime I've reconnected all the pipes and put the air filter back. So I'll just try again & see if I can get anywhere. Meantime there's a lovely smell of petrol in the garage......
 
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