Lotus Elan

Catastrophe on Elan ownership day one!

PostPost by: martinbrowning » Mon Mar 01, 2010 2:12 pm

Steve,

So very sorry to read about your tale of woe but,as they say-"we have the technology,we can rebuild it".

Miles W is definitely THE man to go to. Mind you,I shouldn't mention that the car didn't have a rev limiter arm unless wearing flak jacket and helmet. You'll know what I mean when you meet Miles.........

Good luck,

Martin B
Time flies like an arrow; fruit flies like a banana.
72 Europa Special, 72 Sprint, 72 Plus 2
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PostPost by: Steve G » Mon Mar 01, 2010 2:25 pm

Thanks Martin,

I have spoken to Miles on the phone and he seemed very nice but I know what you mean. He said that I would have to replace the timing chain and when I suggested that it looked OK he didn't take that very well, I don't think I earned his respect with that comment!

I don't know for sure if it doesn't have a rev limiter, it has had an optical distributor fitted so I would have thought it does have some sort of rev limiter but it didn't sound like it from the revs it climbed to and obviously didn't do it's job if there is one. The engine won't be started again until one is fitted that is for sure, one missed change, or a stuck accelerator and it's goodbye to your engine. It's seems crazy not to have one.

I read Tony Dron's article in this month's Octane and couldn't believe the coincidence, he said that only an idiot would not know what to do if the accelerator stuck and that killing drive at the expense of the engine is the only thing to do, I wish that I had got to the ignition in time but this did make me feel better. There were drunken pedestrians everywhere and the brakes weren't a match for the engine torque!
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PostPost by: paddy » Mon Mar 01, 2010 5:48 pm

On that note, does anyone care to recommend an electronic rev limiter (for those of use that no longer have the Lucas distributor)?

I thought this one looked easy enough to fit discreetly:

http://www.demon-tweeks.co.uk/products/ ... =AAE15RL01

The price seems a bit steep - priced on the basis of "think what it would cost if you blew up your engine", instead of any comparison with the actual cost of manufacture.

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PostPost by: collins_dan » Mon Mar 01, 2010 6:49 pm

I have had a Pertronix Igniter electronic ignition and flamethrower coil for a number of years, and just installed their rev limiter, but haven't truly put it to the test yet. I had a throttle cable jam and almost blow up the engine myself. If you still have an RVI tach, its best if you power the electronic ignition and rev limiter from the ignition connection to the fuse box, instead of off the coil. Less bouncing.

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PostPost by: kstrutt11 » Mon Mar 01, 2010 9:45 pm

To check the valves turn the head upside down and rotate the cams until both lobes on cyl 1 are opposite the valves then fill the combustion chamber with parafin, if it dribbles out of one of the ports you have found a leaking valve, then repeat for the other 3 cylinders.

In my experince they only have to be bent a tiny amount to loose the compression so you may be lucky and get away with a few valves.

Miles' point about the timing chain is a valid one, if the valves have hit the pistons it will have put a lot of strain on the chain and they are cheap enough that it's not worth risking another failure.

Personaly I would also check the big ends and flywheel to crank bolts.
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PostPost by: ppnelan » Mon Mar 01, 2010 11:06 pm

martinbrowning wrote:Miles W is definitely THE man to go to. Mind you,I shouldn't mention that the car didn't have a rev limiter arm unless wearing flak jacket and helmet. You'll know what I mean when you meet Miles.........
:lol:

:arrow: Matthew
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PostPost by: elj221c » Tue Mar 02, 2010 9:43 am

You may of sheared the flywheel bolts or crank when you tried the starter was the fan belt moving.

Sounds exactly what happened to mine when it was stollen a few years ago. All bolts sheared. Both the flywheel and it's register on the crank were damaged. The rest of the engine looked undamaged but I expect the crank would have fallen apart if I had reused it. The rods likewise. I didn't bother to get it or the rods checked. (they were crossflow ones in a crossflow block) I managed to source a 1500 701m block instead plus proper crank and rods.
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PostPost by: cabc26b » Tue Mar 02, 2010 1:54 pm

On that note, does anyone care to recommend an electronic rev limiter (for those of use that no longer have the Lucas distributor)?


Paddy

I have used the Micodynamics product in the past . Its easy to use and allows you to adjust your limits in the car - to any set-point - I found this useful when going out to the track with a fresh engine - lit to 7000 first day , 8000 second day etc....

George
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PostPost by: elansprint » Tue Mar 02, 2010 7:31 pm

Steve really sorry to hear of your problems really takes the shine off of your new toy. I think the workshop manual is available electronically to print bits off on either Dave Bean or R Dent website stateside some did post on here about it or google the names at least you dont cover a nice new manual in oil just print & throw away when finished.
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PostPost by: paddy » Tue Mar 02, 2010 9:20 pm

Thanks Dan and George for the input. I have RVI but also already have the ignitor so have addressed the issue with needing a separate +ve supply.

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PostPost by: collins_dan » Tue Mar 02, 2010 10:05 pm

On the rev limiter, through experimentation and input from other forum members, I've found that you only need to connect the red (to ignition switched power from fuse box), yellow (to coil negative) and black (to ground). Don't need white (to tach).

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PostPost by: Steve G » Wed Mar 03, 2010 12:32 pm

Just as an update, Had a pretty successful evening last night, in terms of diagnosis. Thanks to everyone for the instructions on the leak test and removing the starter.

We did the leak down test first by tipping the head over after removing all the camgear and installing the spark plugs and brimming each combustion chamber with diesel. The inlet valve on one starting leaking straight away, it took about three minutes to drain. The other seven seemed fine so I went for dinner and came back to it an hour later. One other inlet and three exhaust valves had a bit of diesel leaking out the ports, so 5 out of 8 valves must have just kissed the pistons and bent slightly. I'm going to replace all the valves as they're only ?12 each and if I've got to get the valve work done I might as well have all new valves rather than leave three that are older than the others.

Then we removed the starter motor and could see the flywheel, still in place and in one piece. I put my finger in and was able to turn it quite easily, and guess what? The pistons weren't moving! It was quite clear that it was no longer friends with the crankshaft! This explains exactly why the engine sounded like it did, it just sounded like the starter was spinning really fast with no resistance, it's funny how once you know the problem it seems bleeding obvious. I'm so glad we removed the head first though as if I'd just found the flywheel sheared first, I might not have opened up the engine and found the 5 damaged valves.

We're going to drop the gearbox and refit the flywheel on Thursday (if it can be salvaged) and then I've got to find someone to fit new valves to the head. I think we're going to go with a removable link timing chain so we don't have to take the engine out. The manual the previous owner supplied says that they're perfectly reliable. I know some of you will be horrified by this and say it's false economy but I don't have a hoist or currently the space to remove the engine. If I hear lots of horror stories about the removable link chain then I might reconsider, I know QED have stopped supplying them.

While the car's out of commission, I'm going to remove the old petrol pump and install a blanking plate, remove the old air filter housing in the nose of the car, repaint the cylinder head in the battleship grey, respray the cam cover in crackle black, fix the bonnet latches, fit a new choke cable, fit a centrifugal rev limiter in the distributor and give the engine bay a thorough clean. I've got to try and get it all done in the next two weeks but it should be fun and then there will be something to show for all my troubles. It's a shame I'm going to miss taking it to the pre-tax Goodwood Breakfast club but there will be others.

What a great forum this is, you all said it would be bent valves and/or sheared flywheel bolts and you were right on both counts!

Can anyone tell me whether the flywheel will be need replacing and how I check the integrity of it? I'm going to get hold of the online manual now (thanks elansprint) and find out as much as I can from that but I'm sure there will be more questions!
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PostPost by: elanmac » Wed Mar 03, 2010 1:11 pm

Before you remove the leaking valves, give each one a sharp tap either on the end of the stem or on the head of the valve with a brass drift. This will seat the valve, as removing the camshafts closes the valve very slowly so any small pieces of carbon etc. will not be crushed and will allow the liquid to leak out.
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PostPost by: neilsjuke » Wed Mar 03, 2010 1:16 pm

You need to take the engine out and strip it and check very carefully or if you dont it may well go bang in a big way.
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PostPost by: alaric » Wed Mar 03, 2010 1:37 pm

Crikey. I did wonder about the flywheel / crank breaking, but figured since the flywheel was still turning it'd be ok. What sort of torque is required to break the connection between flywheel and crank? If I were you, I'd follow the advice from the previous post and lift the engine now - easy with a mobile hydraulic lift. Just thinking it through, did the valves make contact, then stop the engine dead, leaving the flywheel to continue rotating? Sounds hard to believe but what else explains it? Miles's frustration will I presume be from years of people saying 'that'll be ok won't it' then complaining when the engine breaks later on.

All the best.

Sean.
Last edited by alaric on Wed Mar 03, 2010 7:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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