News

Lucas fuel injection

Discussion in 'Maserati' started by thecarnut, Jan 4, 2009.

  1. thecarnut

    thecarnut Formula 3

    Apr 22, 2006
    2,145
    Atlanta
    Full Name:
    The Car Nut
    #1 thecarnut, Jan 4, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 7, 2017
    In the 60's Maserati took the risk of offering its cars with a sophisticated Lucas fuel injection system which was a radical departure from the carburetors that were being offered by its competitors. It was installed on most 5000GT, 3500GTi, Sebring and Mistral. For many years eliminating this fuel injection system and installing Webers has been an acceptable practice. The purpose of this thread is to help stop this practice and to assist in keeping cars in their original configuration; and help those that are in the process of converting their cars back to fuel injection.

    The Lucas fuel injection system is not without its faults ... trust me, it has many! But it can be made to work and it sure looks cool in these cars!

    Please share your technical tips, parts/repair sources, tuning tips, horror stories, success stories, advice, photos, etc.

    Ivan
    Image Unavailable, Please Login
     
  2. thecarnut

    thecarnut Formula 3

    Apr 22, 2006
    2,145
    Atlanta
    Full Name:
    The Car Nut
    These are links to the Lucas fuel injection manuals and bulletins. Let me know if you have additional tecnical information and I will post it on my website.

    Lucas fuel injection workshop manual

    http://thecarnut.com/Manuals/Lucas_fuel_injection_workshop_manual.pdf

    Lucas fuel pump

    http://thecarnut.com/Manuals/Lucas_fuel_pump.pdf

    Lucas fuel injection bulletin

    http://thecarnut.com/Manuals/Lucas_Fuel_injection_bulletin.PDF

    Lucas fuel injection bulletin #2

    http://thecarnut.com/Manuals/Lucas_Fuel_injection_newsletter_2.PDF
     
  3. Portenos

    Portenos Formula 3
    Silver Subscribed

    Aug 20, 2004
    1,714
    Seattle
    Full Name:
    Carguytour
    I will be happy to offer the "point counter point" to this 48 year old question. Gurino Bertocchi himself often voiced objection to this new fangled induction system.
    He also was not a proponant of the Alfieri idea of rear engine cars.

    There is NO question that for the car to be totally original it should be equipped with the FI system. There is also NO question that the FI system can be made to work, and work very well. The question comes in when we use words like "reliable" and at what cost.
    It is also well known that there were several cars delivered from the factory with Webber's at the owners request. So in this sense as viewed from the prism of "originality" having Webber's installed it is kind of like having wire wheels on a car that was not delivered with them. This is a VERY important point, because only at Pebble Beach would they ask to see documents showing your car had been delivered with wires fitted at the factory.

    Ivan, this is a really great thread that will be very useful to those converting back to FI.
    The conversion should not be very difficult and should be accomplished in less than 20 hours provide all the parts (and special tools) are there and ready to go.
    If on the other hand the parts are not in useable/rebuildable condition, then the party begins.
    It is kind of like flying a plane, anybody can do it, the difficulty, arises when something goes wrong. So the first big step, and I do mean big is gathering all the parts.

    We are now confronted with the first collision with "originality." Did your car come with a wet or dry system? if it was wet, (not good) should you convert to dry, (good)?
    How do you tell if it was wet or dry?
    By converting to a dry system is your car now NOT "original"?

    What about these Bosch fuel pumps we keep hearing about? This is really great stuff.

    To be continued...
    Ciao,
    FGM
    PS Happy New Year to everyone.
     
  4. italiancars

    italiancars Formula 3

    Apr 18, 2004
    2,353
    Hershey, PA
    The battles between Bertocchi and Alfieri are notorious. Remember Bertocchi was with the company back to the Alfieri Maserati days and G. Alfieri was the new guy that came after the Orsi Family took over. It was G. Alfieri that backed the sale to Citroen and while Bertocchi backed DeTomaso instead. When Citroen won Bertocchi left Maserati and went to work for DeTomaso. Years later when DeTomaso took over Maserati one of the first things he did was fire G. Alfieri.

    You've never seen the judging done by AACA.

    Joe
     
  5. Portenos

    Portenos Formula 3
    Silver Subscribed

    Aug 20, 2004
    1,714
    Seattle
    Full Name:
    Carguytour
    You've never seen the judging done by AACA.

    Joe[/QUOTE]

    No, I haven't, so is it your point that the AACA is as tough or tougher than PB regarding originality?
    Ciao,
    FGM
     
  6. italiancars

    italiancars Formula 3

    Apr 18, 2004
    2,353
    Hershey, PA
    No, I haven't, so is it your point that the AACA is as tough or tougher than PB regarding originality?
    Ciao,
    FGM[/QUOTE]

    Tougher, Pebble is a fashion show. Here are the AACA Judging Guidelines if you want to read through the 105 pages of it.

    http://www.aaca.org/publications/2008_Judging_Guidelines.pdf

    Joe
     
  7. staatsof

    staatsof Five Time F1 World Champ
    Silver Subscribed BANNED

    Mar 13, 2005
    54,355
    Hiddin' in da garden
    Full Name:
    Boo
    Yes Joe but do Italian car collectors give a crap about AACA? How many are after an award from Hershey versus Pebble Beach?

    Bob S.
     
  8. Portenos

    Portenos Formula 3
    Silver Subscribed

    Aug 20, 2004
    1,714
    Seattle
    Full Name:
    Carguytour
    Tougher, Pebble is a fashion show. Here are the AACA Judging Guidelines if you want to read through the 105 pages of it.

    http://www.aaca.org/publications/2008_Judging_Guidelines.pdf

    Joe[/QUOTE]

    OK Joe, back to Lucas FI. What's your take on FI vs Webber's?

    Ivan, just to be clear, I understand you meant this thread to be about helping owners retrofit their FI. The best help could be the help they do not need.
    In other words, maybe, just maybe, the owner need not step into the dollar consuming dark to do something that is perhaps not necessary.
    There it is, I said it.

    On the flip side I have converted many cars to Webber's and at least a hand full the other way, not counting the dozens of cars that received major FI servicing while under my supervision.

    So if anyone has any specific questions I would be happy to throw in my 2 cents.
    Ciao,
    FGM
     
  9. italiancars

    italiancars Formula 3

    Apr 18, 2004
    2,353
    Hershey, PA
    #9 italiancars, Jan 5, 2009
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2009
    OK Joe, back to Lucas FI. What's your take on FI vs Webber's?

    [/QUOTE]

    My Mistral (#1216 - '67 NY Auto Show car) still has its FI. It will load up if you are puttering around town, but then again so did carb cars of the era. Guess it's just a case of "Carbon on the Valves"

    I'll probably stay with the FI, that is part of the charm of these cars, the little types of idiosyncrasies. I was never interested in trying to make the cars something they weren't from the start. If you want a perfect car buy a Toyota/Lexus, but that is like trying to fall in love with a microwave oven.

    As I've always said, "Unless it's Italian, it's just transportation!" ........................................

    Joe
     
  10. Enzo Who?

    Enzo Who? Rookie
    BANNED

    Dec 20, 2008
    17
    I am currently restoring a 1963 3500 GTIS and I will be rebuilding and keeping the ORIGINAL Lucas F.I. System. If maintained properly and used properly, with correct fuel and regular usages, there really isn't ANY reason not to. If the Lucas system hasn't been maintained or used often, there will be problems. The solution is to USE YOUR CAR!!!


    Thank you Ivan for the links, information and help!!

    My $ .02

    Cheers then!!
     
  11. thecarnut

    thecarnut Formula 3

    Apr 22, 2006
    2,145
    Atlanta
    Full Name:
    The Car Nut
    I feel the same about the Lucas fuel injection on the 6 cylinder Maserati as I do about the Citroen hydraulic system on later V8's. Was it the smartest design?... of course not. Are there easier ways to accomplish the same task? ... Yes. Is it easy to understand and troubleshoot? ... No. Is it cool and unique? ... You bet!

    It is not about Pebble Beach or AACA. Most of us will never enter our cars in that level of judging. It is about experiencing the car the way it was designed. Although it is probably true that a couple of Mistral were special ordered with Webers, the fact remains that the fuel injection was fitted in virtually every 6 cylinder Maserati from 1963 and later, and that it was a predominant feature in Maserati's advertising.

    When I purchased my Mistral spyder it was not running. The prior owner blamed the "darn fuel injection" and spent a lot of money finding an original intake manifold, 42 DCOE carbs, cam cover, air filter housing, linkages, etc. He was ready to rip the FI out but lost interest, and I bought the car. To make a long story short, the problem was not unrelated to the fuel system. I think too many times these cars get modified for no good reason. The purpose of this thread is to encourage owners to at least give the injection system a chance.
     
  12. italiancars

    italiancars Formula 3

    Apr 18, 2004
    2,353
    Hershey, PA
    The best line I ever heard was from former Maserati North America President George Garbutt when commenting on the problems with the Biturbo. "The Biggest Mistake We Made Was Not Welding The Hood Shut Before It Left The Factory!"

    Joe
     
  13. staatsof

    staatsof Five Time F1 World Champ
    Silver Subscribed BANNED

    Mar 13, 2005
    54,355
    Hiddin' in da garden
    Full Name:
    Boo
    Just a note here. Blake Stevens, a collector of some note for earlier GT Maserati's has had one of his Lucas FI models modified somewhat by an accomplished mechanic to use some modern technology combined with the original pieces and I believe he's had good luck with this. It's almost invisable too. Just one alternative.

    Bob S.
     
  14. Portenos

    Portenos Formula 3
    Silver Subscribed

    Aug 20, 2004
    1,714
    Seattle
    Full Name:
    Carguytour
    Ivan, I agree with your assessment that most of us will never enter our cars in PB and AACA Councours.
    However, I respectfully disagree with you on the "cool" factor. This is like paint color, a matter of personal taste. To me nothing looks "cooler" and/or sounds "cooler" than those 3 Webber's sucking volumes of air at 3000 RPM in 4th gear, while driving through a tunnel with the top down. Others may think otherwise.

    Just to be absolutely clear. Regarding your "probably true" comment. It is a "fact" - not probably - that cars were delivered with Webber's from the factory. I have a copy of a build sheet to prove it and of course Sig. Cozza has confirmed this many times.
    To the point of buying your Mistral Spider because the owner thought it had FI problems.
    Consider that you may not have been the beneficiary of such a fine car, if it had been properly running with Webber's as the owner may have actually enjoyed driving it.

    Which goes to my point regarding reliableility. Perhaps it is better to drive and use the car than to be hesitant about a long trip due to the uncertainties of FI problems.
    I fully agree with your "these cars get modified for no good reason" or said another way they go in with 2 problems and come out with 4.

    There is however something to be said about a well tuned inline six on Lucas FI. For example Colin Craig's 3500 is one of the best sounding injected 3500's I have ever heard.
    There is something very special about that car and the way it sounds. The FI produces a very primal wail that is intoxicating.

    Regarding "give the injection system a chance" I say its like having kids.
    Don't have any unless you can afford to put them through college.
    Ciao,
    FGM
     
  15. scottmar

    scottmar Karting

    Sep 11, 2006
    109
    Atlanta
    Full Name:
    Scottmar
    Ivan:
    My two cents. As you know I've had several 3500's and I'm in agreement that the FI should be left in and maintained. It's been awhile, but I remember taking apart one of the systems and while complicated, it was sophisticated and very cleverly designed. I never had any problems with mine except that the fuel pump had to pump 100psi, no less, or the system did not work properly.
    The big advantage to me has always been that you don't have to worry about starting the car every week like with a carb car.
    You don't have the jets to gum up with FI.
    And remember this was an early injection system, so there was going to be improvements as time went on, but it was pretty good for it's time.
    Scott Marshall
     
  16. thecarnut

    thecarnut Formula 3

    Apr 22, 2006
    2,145
    Atlanta
    Full Name:
    The Car Nut
    Hi Frank,

    Okay, you win... one Mistral left the factory with Webers ... the other 1500+ 3500GTi, Sebrings and Mistral were fuel injected :)

    The engineer in me probably is the one that finds the Lucas F.I. a "cool thing". I am sometimes amazed that this contraption actually works! Come to think of it, I have similar feelings about the hydraulic seat adjustment on the Bora. Don't you just love the Rube Goldberg solutions we find in our cars?

    As to the kids through college analogy, it is so true as I am also going through that experience right now!

    Ivan
     
  17. thecarnut

    thecarnut Formula 3

    Apr 22, 2006
    2,145
    Atlanta
    Full Name:
    The Car Nut
    Some of the injected cars left the factory with two of the Lucas electric fuel pumps. A switch was provided so that the driver could switch between the two pumps. Perhaps someone knows why some cars had two pumps while most only had one. My theory is that the factory knew that these electric pumps were prone to overheating and thus failure. If the pump does not deliver 110psi of fuel pressure to the fuel distributor, the car simply "fails to proceed".

    A friend has a Mistral with two Lucas pumps. Since my goal is to drive the car in long drives, I figured adding a second pump would add some degree of reliability. I considered a modern Bosch fuel pump for the second pump but felt a second Lucas "bomb" would be more in the spirit of the era. In other words, I'm sort of a masochist! Measurements were taken and the second pump added. Since then I've taken the Mistral on a trip that involved 15 hours of driving (in the middle of the summer!) and another trip of 13 hours of driving.

    Ivan
     
  18. thecarnut

    thecarnut Formula 3

    Apr 22, 2006
    2,145
    Atlanta
    Full Name:
    The Car Nut
    Yes, I recall reading about this on a 5000GT.

    Ivan
     
  19. Ferraripilot

    Ferraripilot F1 World Champ
    Project Master Owner

    May 10, 2006
    16,009
    Atlanta
    Full Name:
    It's man
    I know one 5000gt in particular that has most certainly had a few modern parts incorporated into the original design for improved performance and reliability. The car looks concours correct. No way to discern any other parts were used.
     
  20. emsiegel13

    emsiegel13 Formula Junior

    Oct 9, 2007
    284
    Grayslake, Illinis
    Full Name:
    Elliot M. Siegel
    So the fuel injection needs to be properly setup and the car used. Isn't that what we should do with a Maserati equipped with Webers? The Lucas system is quite nice when it is properly set up and makes for a wonderful driving car. I plan to keep mine when I do my restoration of my four liter Mistral. I've been informed that I can get new injectors for it and that is a major step forward to keeping the system. Also, has anyone considered the possibility that when the Bora was designed that using the Citroen hydraulics, particularly the brake system, permitted the Bora to have a nice big trunk compared to other mid engined cars of it's era. No booster or master cylinder to find a place for in front of the driver. If that was one of the major considerations, then the use of the hydraulics for the pedal assembly, driver's seat and headlights was a logical followup as you were already committed to the basic system just for the brakes. Once you made the initial commitment then why not add a few more goodies after that?. As for the problems with the Bosch hydraulic cylinders and switches, most of them have been solved over the years and the system is quite reliable. I've never minded the brakes and I find I can get good modulation with them for the type of driving I do. I never considered the Bora as a sports car but rather as a grand touring car and use it as such. I don't believe that any other car of it's era had the fade free braking power that the Bora has. Everyone who tested the car, even those who did like the feel of the Bora brakes, loved the fact that the brakes had tremeodous stopping power and exhibited no fade even after ten very hard stops from elevated speeds.

    Elliot Siegel
     
  21. Mexico074

    Mexico074 Formula Junior

    Aug 14, 2008
    980
    Harriman, TN USA
    Full Name:
    Michael Demyanovich
    Hello Elliot?

    In your post you indicated that Lucas Fuel injectors are available...

    If possible, please let us know the source...There are many of us
    interested in where these can be obtained....

    Thanks...

    Mike D.
     
  22. wildegroot

    wildegroot Formula 3
    Professional Ferrari Technician Silver Subscribed

    Nov 19, 2003
    1,460
    Frenchtown NJ
    Full Name:
    Wil de Groot
    The Bosch pumps are a good option. They're reliable and hidden from view anyway. The part that gives the most trouble, in my experience, is the barometric mixture regulator. It is just not linear enough. Every time the weather changes, the barometric mixture control attempts to compensate but is usually off target. The lack of some parts is a problem too. I usually wind up making the little wheels for the mixture control out of bronze. The original wheels are hardened steel but most of these cars don't accumulate too much mileage any more, so wear is not that big of a factor. If, while tuning the FI, I need a bigger or smaller wheel to change the mixture, I can whip up a new wheel with the lathe, in the size I want, in just a couple of minutes. The less "sophisticated" Lucas mechanical fuel injection used on a lot of racing engines from that era is actually much easier to live with and is quite reliable. It uses the same shuttle system for controlling fuel dose without the Rube Goldberg add-ons. Check for higher than normal oil level and smell the dip-stick often but I have personally never had the infamous shaft seal failure.
     
  23. thecarnut

    thecarnut Formula 3

    Apr 22, 2006
    2,145
    Atlanta
    Full Name:
    The Car Nut
    Hi Wil,

    I have not messed around with the barometric mixture control on my car. When you have a minute please post the steps to check the mixture and what to do to correct a too lean or too rich situation. How easy is it to replace this wheel?

    Ivan
     
  24. wildegroot

    wildegroot Formula 3
    Professional Ferrari Technician Silver Subscribed

    Nov 19, 2003
    1,460
    Frenchtown NJ
    Full Name:
    Wil de Groot
    #24 wildegroot, Jan 20, 2009
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2009
    Before attempting to change the fuel mixture you need to make sure all other bases are covered. Are the compression figures acceptable? Are the valve lash and cam timing set correctly? Is the ignition system working correctly and timed and does the advance curve match the factory specs? Do you have fresh fuel in the right quantity and pressure? Are you sure there are no vacuum leaks? Are the throttles set up correctly? Are the injectors atomizing the fuel correctly? Is the fuel distributor timed correctly?

    Fuel injection is daunting enough for most people to leave it alone but too often, any running problems are blamed on the fuel metering system without good cause. The biggest problem with Weber carburetors, for example, is that at the first sign of trouble with running quality it is assumed the Webers must be the problem and out comes the screw driver.

    The efficient way to check the air/fuel mixture is to buy or borrow a good quality AFR (Air Fuel Ratio) meter. I'm not talking about the cheap in-dash gauges but a good hand held test instrument. It will come with a long cable with a device on the end, containing an O2 (oxygen) sensor, that clamps into the end of the tail pipe. The AFR meter can be used in the driveway to set up the idle and you can also drive around with it connected but then it's better to have someone in the passenger seat monitor and record the AFR numbers under varying engine loads.

    The little wheels inside the Lucas mechanical fuel injection metering unit are held in place by their axle pins which can be driven out, with care, using a small drift punch and hammer. The arm that a particular wheel is attached to has to be removed from the metering unit to drive out the pin. It's a little complicated and the manual should be studied to learn exactly what does what before attempting to make changes. A good way to see what effect a wheel (roller) is having on air fuel mixture is to slide the thinnest feeler gauge blade (usually .002") between a particular wheel and the surface it's riding on. The negative or positive effect the increase in effective wheel diameter the blade makes can tell you whether to increase or decrease the wheel size. Remember that inserting a .002" feeler gauge is the same as a .004" larger wheel.

    Wil
     
  25. Erich

    Erich Formula 3

    Sep 9, 2003
    1,138
    Poway CA
    Full Name:
    Erich Coiner
    At the risk of taking this thread a bit off topic...

    Is the FI system in the Maseratis similar to the Lucas system that Triumph installed in the TR250 and TR6 (UK versions not the anemic US variants with side draft carbs)?
     

Share This Page