Lotus Elan

Catastrophe on Elan ownership day one!

PostPost by: Gray » Wed Jul 28, 2010 4:22 pm

Hi

A good way of checking if timing is roughly right is to remove the plugs, connect one to a lead and hold/connect to earth, spin the engine on the starter with the ignition on, with a finger over the associated plug hole, or a compression test gauge. You may need three hands or an assistant! Take care not to get a shock or anything tangled as the engine turns over. If you get compression and the plug is sparking at the same time the ignition is roughly right. Normally just checks on number 1 cylinder are required unless the leads are wrongly connected.

Changing leads around works, but can be very confusing later on if you don't correct.

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PostPost by: Steve G » Wed Jul 28, 2010 10:36 pm

Almost got her started, it ran on all four cylinders for a moment but it has developed an electrical fault now where it isn't turning the starter enough, like it has a flat battery but it was connected to a good battery on the booster car. Checked all the connections and can't find it, the solenoid on the starter (it's a wosp one so has it's own solenoid) just clicks away and turns very slowly. Getting frustrated now, almost got it going when this happened.
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PostPost by: Galwaylotus » Thu Jul 29, 2010 7:45 am

Bad connections, corrosion? If not then it seems the starter may be faulty.
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PostPost by: Steve G » Thu Jul 29, 2010 8:03 am

Galwaylotus wrote:Bad connections, corrosion? If not then it seems the starter may be faulty.


Almost certain it's a bad connection because sometimes it was going and then not, There is a big black lead the original solenoid to the starter and a smaller red one on a spade connector, I cleaned both of these at both ends.

One thing that does worry me is I have another thick black lead, about a 18 inches long, that hasn't gone back on the car. I've got no idea where it went.
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PostPost by: paddy » Thu Jul 29, 2010 8:19 am

Steve G wrote:One thing that does worry me is I have another thick black lead, about a 18 inches long, that hasn't gone back on the car. I've got no idea where it went.


If your new starter has the integrated solenoid, then it will be the lead that originally went from the bulkhead solenoid to the starter.

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PostPost by: types26/36 » Thu Jul 29, 2010 8:57 am

Did you fit the Earth strap on the left side engine mounting? the engine is insulated by the rubber mountings and needs a good engine to chassis connection.
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PostPost by: Steve G » Thu Jul 29, 2010 9:43 am

Yes, I fitted it exactly as your picture, shorted braided copper earth strap. The cable I have left over is a thick black high amperage cable with a gold (brass?) ring connector on each end.
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PostPost by: billwill » Thu Jul 29, 2010 3:21 pm

It may just be a spare that was bought to use as an extra earth strap, or as a new earth lead for the battery.

Check & clean the earth lead at the battery terminal and (if you can reach/find it), the connection between that lead and the chassis. If you can undo that, do so and clean it up vigorously with a wire brush and put a dab of vaseline to stop it rusting between the connecting surfaces.

If you can't get at the earth lead, try using that spare cable of yours as a diagnostic tool: make a temporary earth lead for the battery to a convenient accessible bolt on the chassis (be very sure to connect to the correct terminal or you will be providing a very low resistance dead-short across the battery and even though it is thick the wire may reach red-heat!!! ) and then try starting the car.

You could instead make such a temporary earth connection with a jump lead from an emergency jump lead set.
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PostPost by: Steve G » Thu Jul 29, 2010 4:43 pm

Thanks for all your replies, we've had a thought that it could be a bad earth on the engine as it was freshly painted. I have also deduced (Well, Paddy has!) that the lead was probably an 'extra' earth applied to the starter. This did ring a bell as I seem to remember it being with the starter in my box of engine ancillaries. Because I don't need this earth to the starter I'm going to use it as an extra earth for the engine and fix it across the engine mount on the other side.

Anyway, borrowing the multimeter tonight and I'm going to check as many circuits as possible. Hopefully find the fault.
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PostPost by: Steve G » Mon Aug 02, 2010 3:52 pm

Found the fault on Saturday, it was a short caused by a hole in the insulation around the two inch cable connecting the starter's solenoid to the motor. My engine guy, Trevor, was under the car with a voltmeter and saw the spark arc between the cable and the sump!

We fixed that, fitted a new power cable and new earth and retimed the whole thing, some idiot thought the distributor span clockwise :oops: so had connected the HT leads 1,2,4,3 instead of 1,3,4,2. When I switched the ignition it caught instantly and ran a slightly lumpy, mistimed idle but still sounded great. The STP smoke coming out of the exhaust made me a bit nervous but Trevor said it was perfectly normal and preferable to the engine seizing on the first crank!

The ignition needs fine tuning and the carb idle adjusted, which I'm going to start tonight.

So anyway, it's running (I swore to myself I would have it running before August and it was 31st July!) and I wouldn't have got here without the help of you guys so thank you to everyone who has given their invaluable knowledge and time to help me since February!
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PostPost by: Ross Robbins » Mon Aug 02, 2010 10:19 pm

Steve,
I have been following your saga from the beginning and am so pleased that you have succeeded. Having a disaster as you did upon first owning the Elan, it would not have been surprising for you to throw in the towel on Lotus ownership. Nor would I have blamed you. You have never quit on the project despite immensely frustrating twists and turns of circumstance. You have acted with equanimity in the face of repeated setbacks and questions and have prevailed. Congratulations on getting it sorted.

:D You are a benchmark for the rest of us. Now I hope you have years of enjoyment from your Elan. You deserve that. :D :D
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PostPost by: Steve G » Tue Aug 03, 2010 10:02 am

Thanks Ross for your very kind words, never thought I would be a benchmark for anything! You might take that back when I tell you that I'm 90% sure I've put the engine mounts on the wrong way round! The cam cover is touching the inside of the bonnet and it wasn't before. I'm really annoyed because I thought I was very careful to get them right, I even looked at the 'before' photo to make sure. As the engine and the chassis haven't changed it's the only explanation. I also read on here that you can change the engine mounts around to give extra room for an alternator but that might cause the cam cover to touch the bonnet! Anyway, I'm not going to let it get me down, I'm going to buy new engine mounts (they look a little tired anyway) and replace them one at a time using a strap from above and a jack underneath for support. The carbs will have to come off but no real bother.

Does anyone know where I can buy new engine mounts from?

Anyway, more importantly, here's a video of the first time the car has moved under power since the first day of ownership!

http://lotsoftroubleusuallyserious.blog ... drive.html

You can understand now why I needed to remove the roll cage. My friend said it looks like I'm driving a kid's pedal car! I had a bit of trouble finding first, the gearbox was, erm, a bit cold. :oops:
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PostPost by: alaric » Tue Aug 03, 2010 9:31 pm

Hi Steve. Good to hear you've got the car on the road again. Just watched the vid. I did wonder whether you'd checked the carpet to make sure the throttle wasn't sticking before heading off... :)

Hope you have lots of fun with the car.

Sean.
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PostPost by: Elanintheforest » Thu Aug 05, 2010 11:52 am

Good stuff, Steve. As a fellow 6ft 5 incher I know the challenges of driving the Elan, and finding the right pedel...or just one at a time!

After reversing try putting the car in second before selecting first...seems to sort things out.

And looking at the vid, you need more revs. Give it stick...what could possibly go wrong? :roll:

Have fun!

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PostPost by: Steve G » Thu Aug 05, 2010 3:57 pm

Thanks, would have loved to give it more stick but had; no vacuum resevoir for brakes, brake fluid leaking out of servo, accelerator pedal still fouling footwell bar, no seatbelts and it was the first time the newly rebuilt engine had moved under power so I was slightly on the cautious side!
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