Lotus Elan

Elan does not want to come out of hibernation

PostPost by: robb4100 » Mon Mar 20, 2006 3:25 am

Hi all,

I have a S1/S2 elan with Weber carbs.

Went to start it after 3 months in storage and it will not start. Checked the carbs and there is gas. Pulled the plugs and they were wet. Engine just turns over without any sign of firing up.

My guess is that I may have flooded it but left it for a couple hours with the plugs out and tried again with the same result. I know I have fuel, How do I confirm that I have power to the plugs?

Any suggestions as to what to do?

Robb
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PostPost by: 1964 S1 » Mon Mar 20, 2006 3:49 am

1. Possibly stale fuel ? Do you pump the pedal while cranking? Replace or clean all "black firing area" spark plugs
2. Try squirting starter fluid into the carbs after cranking it enough to get the oil pressure up a bit.
3. Lay a spark plug on top of the engine hooked up to the wire and crank 'er over to see if you're getting spark.
4. Do you use the choke while starting?
5. Please report back here with results.
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PostPost by: gino1 » Mon Mar 20, 2006 2:33 pm

Hi Robb,
Happenned to me once as inadvertentely the little wire that connects on the side of the distributor had come off.
Could be this or the points have stuck together.
Just a couple of things that happened to me.
Gino
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PostPost by: kayenney » Mon Mar 20, 2006 9:00 pm

Be very careful when using starter fluid. It does a great job, but is very very flammable. Be sure to have the air box off and have a fire extinguisher at the ready - make that two!
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PostPost by: robb4100 » Tue Mar 21, 2006 3:06 am

hi guys,

thanks for the advice- When I first tried to start it yesterday I did not notice that the plug wires were not connected ( about a minute or so).

Hooked up the plugs and tried to start- sounded exactly the same as without the wires. Tried holding the pedal to the floor as I cranked it.

At this point pulled the plugs (they were wet), cleaned and dried them and let the cylanders sit for an hour with the plugs out. Replace the plugs without any change. Pulled the top off the carbs and they had fuel. Kept trying to crank the engine and after several tries all I got was a loud click and the motor would not crank. Let it sit for a while and the it would crank several times then just the loud click (seems to come from just in front of the firewall on the right side). Let it sit and again it would crank. At this point I gave up and posted the initial question.

Today I was unable to get anything but the loud click - the motor would not even start to crank. Checked the battery and it is charged.

Yes the fuel is somewhat stale (end of November).

I have no manual choke and the PO equipped with electronic ignition so points etc are applicable here.

Hope this helps give an Idea of what I am seeing.

Robb
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PostPost by: robb4100 » Tue Mar 21, 2006 4:44 am

A little more info.

very cold here 40 degrees F in the garage- 20W50 synthetic oil. I pulled the plugs and tried to crank motor with no compression and it did not turn over. put it in gear and pushed a couple of yards(no compression) , back to neutral and was able to turn over the motor (no compression).

Replaced plugs and again the motor did not turn over.
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PostPost by: rgh0 » Tue Mar 21, 2006 8:38 am

Recharge your battery - the clicking is the solenoid on the fire wall closing but there is not enough battery charge to actually crank the motor.

Once you have a good battery you can then start to trouble shoot why the motor does not start if it still does not with a fully charged battery.

Rohan
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PostPost by: Otto » Tue Mar 21, 2006 9:59 am

Maby a dumb question, but have you visually seen spark from the plugs when you cranked the engine with them out of there holes?
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PostPost by: storrar54 » Tue Mar 21, 2006 10:30 pm

This has happened to me as well in the past. Assuming you have a decent spark and battery its the stale fuel story. I had to drain the fuel in the carbs and put in fresh fuel it then started without a problem. I was told that in UK fuel is changed in autumn and spring and is more volatile in winter. because of this even a few weeks standing will allow the volatile components to evaporate. Its probably another good reason to go down the efi route.
Richard
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PostPost by: M100 » Wed Mar 22, 2006 10:56 am

The fuel will go off after a few months hence why I always run tanks dry before storage (and squirt in a rust preventative)

Jump leads onto the battery and connected to a running vehicle should give you enough cranking speed and spark to get things going, a slow starting engine drops the spark energy at the plugs considerably, with stale fuel you need as good a spark as you can get.

Either replace with dry plugs or burn off the old ones with a hot air gun.

Three slow pumps on the pedal, no choke. Don't repeatedly pump the throttle pedal! Give it about 20 seconds cranking max slowly opening up the throttle slightly up to 25% max.
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PostPost by: robb4100 » Wed Mar 22, 2006 1:43 pm

I love this site. Everyone is always helpful and has useful suggestions.

I have charged the battery overnight , I will check for spark, will add fresh gas to the carb and then try to jump start the engine tonight.

Just for clarification I was told to start the engine with throttle fully depressed. I know that is different than for modern engines so want ot confirm.

I will keep you all posted.

Again thanks to all.

Robb
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PostPost by: rgh0 » Thu Mar 23, 2006 9:44 am

Robb

I normally start from cold with 3 pumps and hold the accelerator fractionaly open while crnaking. If it does not fire and run then a couple more pumps and then crank while very slowly increasing the accelerator.

Exact technique depends on the exact setup of your engine and carbs and its worth experimenting with what works best on your engine as no best tecnique for every engine.

Rohan
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PostPost by: robb4100 » Thu Mar 23, 2006 2:27 pm

Here is what is happening

Charged battery overnight- 13.4 volts measured across the poles.
Hooked up the battery, plugs out (no compression) and got only the click of the solenoid.
Jumped the battery (in case there were not enough amps) using my jeep and same result only the solenoid click. Odd but when I jumped the battery I did not see any spark upon grounding the cable on the Jeep motor. I have never seen this before when I have jumped a battery. I even tried grounding on the jeep battery (I know a no no) and still no spark. I disconnected the cables from the Jeep (still attached to the elan battery) and was able to short out the free cable ends so the jumper cables are telling me the same thing my meter does: I have juice and the cables are not fried.

Bottom line no cranking at all.

I put the elan in 4th and was able easily push it around so I know the engine is not siezed

So I think this means that the battery is not the cause. The motor will turn, does this mean that the problem is either the solenoid or the starter? Is there a way to check it out or does one replace the solenoid and the move to the starter motor. Could I have burned out either in my initial attempts to start the engine.

With regard to the original questions, without being able to crank the motor I cannot check for spark at the plugs
Does this rule out the battery?

Thanks again for all the help
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PostPost by: alaric » Thu Mar 23, 2006 3:55 pm

Hi

I burnt out my standard starter motor last summer. The connection to the starter was poor, so there was resistance in the circuit. The loss of power meant the starter stalled when I put the spark plugs in, and the stall current burnt out the windings.

I replaced mine with a pre-engaged starter from Paul Mattys. It's great. I also sorted out the wiring before trying that one.

If it was cranking ok then you probably flattened the battery until it stalled. Unless the starter circuit was just there, then went completely open circuit. Interestingly this might affect your ignition circuit also, if it was the earth strap on the engine that was at fault, the volts seen across the distributor could have been lowered while cranking the engine, leading to no spark - maybe.

You should check the resistance of the circuit if possible. Check the resistance in the wiring to the starter motor from the battery - or at least undo it, clean the joints, and also check and clean the earth strap on the engine, then try again.

Sure the engine's fine though.

If it's stalling on a healthy fully charged battery, it's probably resistance in the circuit.

Once you've managed to get it cranking again, maybe by putting in a new starter motor, put one of the sparkers onto the end of a lead, place the screw thread of the spark plug in contact with the metal on the top of the engine, and crank. If there's no spark, then there's probably nothing wrong with the carbs, and you need to check out the ignition. If there is, then I'd pop the sparkers in and see if it fires up.

Could it be damp in the distributor?

Have fun.

Sean.
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PostPost by: M100 » Thu Mar 23, 2006 5:28 pm

Use a Lotus No. 1 adjusting tool on the starter motor - give it a good bash with a copper hammer and try again. If no luck then see if you can turn the armature in the starter with a spanner on the square end sticking through the end housing.

If it still won't turn over extend the negative lead of the meter right back to the battery and check the voltage at the large solenoid terminals during a crank attempt - both should be around battery volts.

Check again at the big terminal on the starter - during a crank attempt it should be around battery volts

And then check again on the starter outer casing during a crank attempt - it should be close to zero.

Any deviation from these readings and you can localise the problem to the solenoid, cable, starter or earthing
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