Lotus Elan

Elan Issues

PostPost by: tvacc » Wed Mar 14, 2012 4:09 am

Hello all,

Trying to diagnose some Elan issues. 1969 S4. Weber head. Car was rebuilt and
restored in 1999. Just picked up car. Car has been sitting since 1999. Only
started once about 5 years ago and the owner said smoke was coming from the tail
pipe (color of smoke unknown).

My job is to tell him what is wrong and possible sell the car for him or buy it
myself.

This is what I have done.
Picked up the car with my trailer.
I pulled the plugs and put a few tablespoons of CRC down the plug holes.
Let it sit for two days.
I then turned the crank by had. It moved.
I then packed vasoline into the oil pump after removing the face plate. Put the
plate back on.
I cranked the motor till I got oil pressure. It was cranking slower than I
expected. Oil pressure gauge moved.
Put the plugs back in. Trying to crank the motor with the starter. The motor
only turned a few degrees.
I then pulled the heavy duty starter from my Elan and pulled the starter on this
Elan. The starter was making a thump, thump sound when turning it by hand.
I replaced the starter with my known good starter.
Tryed to start it again, including putting a Ford Van on as a jump vehicle.
Only a few short cranks, no full cranks.

I then pulled the plugs and tested the compression. 60,100,100,80

Ideas?

1st suggestion was clean the ground in the boot. Done...no difference.
Tony Vaccaro
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PostPost by: Henry VIIII » Wed Mar 14, 2012 1:00 pm

Too little or too much oil in the sump perhaps.

I've no idea what the symptom of far too much oil in the sump would be, never heard of anyone doing that.

Try spinning it on the starter motor for a longer time with all the plugs out. Hopefully that will get the oil into all the right places.
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PostPost by: gjz30075 » Wed Mar 14, 2012 2:04 pm

tvacc wrote:I then turned the crank by had. It moved.


Tony, did you hand crank it a full revolution, or two? If not, then maybe the motor only moving a few degrees is the problem all along.

When you did the compression test, were all plugs out and cranking was fast?
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PostPost by: tvacc » Wed Mar 14, 2012 2:17 pm

When I cranked the motor with the plugs out, it did not crank like my other Elan cranks. It was slower. When I did the compression test, it cranked over easier on the two cylinders with the lower compression than on the 2 with 100 pounds. I can barely get it to turn over more than a few turns with all the plugs out and just the compression gauge on cylinder 2 or 3.

I have checked the oil. Seems to be fine. I do get the oil pressure gauge to move when I crank it without plugs.
But it is not cranking as fast as my other car does without plugs.
When I first hand cranked it, I only move it about 15 degrees. Just enough to move the pistons.

This one has me really scratching my head.
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PostPost by: RogerFrench » Wed Mar 14, 2012 2:51 pm

Low compression - rings stuck or valve(s) stuck open. I'd take off cambox and poke cam followers to see if they're free. If so. watch while cranking with plugs out. I think you need to know why it's hard to crank - resuscitating engines that have been stationary for years can cause a lot of grief if you're not careful, particularly if they've been stored without bungs in the air intakes and / or in a humid environment. I had one with rusty camshafts, for example - not nice.

As an aside, I knew of a car (not a Lotus), stored carefully, on axle jacks, tyres over-inflated, everything oiled / greased, battery disconnected, fuel tank & radiator drained, oily rag stuffed into carburetter, etc. etc. Several years later, new battery, fuel, coolant, dropped off axle stands, and decision to tow-start. No joy, but the oily rag was well and truly ingested by the engine!
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PostPost by: memini55 » Wed Mar 14, 2012 2:54 pm

Tony,

A few questions and comments:
What do you know of the rebuild? You said it was rebuilt and put away, was the motor totally rebuilt and if so had it been run and broken in? If it was a fresh rebuild and everything built tight it may not spin fast as your other running car.

I would suggest you pull all the plugs and load the cylinders with your favorite penetrating oil. Not too much and then crank to motor over with a ratcheting wrench on the crank bolt and you should be able to feel the load on the wrench.
If you run it through a few cycles and feels OK, no bumps in the road, then I would leaves the plugs out and crank it with a battery. You may want to connect a known good battery directly to the starter and by lifting the ground cable off and on the battery act as the switch. Ned to take the ground cable to the motor block at say a motor mount. This is of course on a negative ground system, if positive switch it around. By doing this everything is removed from the electrical path. I would spin the motor until it moves freely. May take a few loads of penetrating oil to get it free and yes it will make a mess with oil coming out the plug holes. As this spins you will see full oil presure come up on the guage, or you should.

I would not pay to much attention to your early compression readings until you get it back too life. You may have rings stuck from rust and sitting. They may come free with a few runs on the motor. Once you have it running and heated a few times then check the compression again.

Any idea on how it was stored, inside, outside, heated garage? Al will make a big difference on how the motor ages from sitting. If you don't get it to spin free I would think it will need to come apart or you will cause some damage. In my younger years I would toss a rope around the frame tub and give a good pull around the block till she started.

Good luck!
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PostPost by: tvacc » Wed Mar 14, 2012 3:25 pm

Reply to both at same time.

According to the previous owner, he only drove it 2 miles before putting it away. Maybe just a tight motor....never gave that a thought.
I will take off the cam ccover and see if I see anything unusual.

KNow nothing of the rebuild. I will load the cyliners up with pentrating oil and see what happans. Good thought. Car was stored in a garage, unheated. Kept their other car in there I suspect so it was open to the air and then closed the door, so many times it probably got moisture into the motor.

Back in 1993, my friend Will Burnham passed away right in the middle of the rebuild on his Elan. Before he passed, he asked me to finish the car for his wife. Not much you can say to that, but OK. I spent a few months putting the car back together. It was in a barn, out in farmland south of Rochester NY. Leroy NY, (in fact the chemical spill they are now blaming on the turet symptoms for the young girls in Leroy NY, all over the news these days, is the same spill that killed Will with Luekemia). anyways...I had the car back together and started it. Ran fine for a few seconds and blew the head gasket. We pulled the head with the carbs and air box attached and replaced the gasket. 3 Gaskets later all the LOONYs were scratching their heads on this one. It was only after I took off the air box that I found a mouse next packed into the 2 front trumpets.. So tight that I had to use a needle nosed pliers to pull out the nest.

As I sit writing this, I have had new motors. One crossflow for my Seven built by Jay Ivey. That motor came in tight. So tight the for the first few tanks of gas, I was getting like 5 miles to the gallon. But I was able to turn that on the stater. This one i cannot. Maybe the oil down the cylinders will work.





Posted by Roger.
Low compression - rings stuck or valve(s) stuck open. I'd take off cambox and poke cam followers to see if they're free. If so. watch while cranking with plugs out. I think you need to know why it's hard to crank - resuscitating engines that have been stationary for years can cause a lot of grief if you're not careful, particularly if they've been stored without bungs in the air intakes and / or in a humid environment. I had one with rusty camshafts, for example - not nice.

As an aside, I knew of a car (not a Lotus), stored carefully, on axle jacks, tyres over-inflated, everything oiled / greased, battery disconnected, fuel tank & radiator drained, oily rag stuffed into carburetter, etc. etc. Several years later, new battery, fuel, coolant, dropped off axle stands, and decision to tow-start. No joy, but the oily rag was well and truly ingested by the engine!




memini55 wrote:Tony,

A few questions and comments:
What do you know of the rebuild? You said it was rebuilt and put away, was the motor totally rebuilt and if so had it been run and broken in? If it was a fresh rebuild and everything built tight it may not spin fast as your other running car.

I would suggest you pull all the plugs and load the cylinders with your favorite penetrating oil. Not too much and then crank to motor over with a ratcheting wrench on the crank bolt and you should be able to feel the load on the wrench.
If you run it through a few cycles and feels OK, no bumps in the road, then I would leaves the plugs out and crank it with a battery. You may want to connect a known good battery directly to the starter and by lifting the ground cable off and on the battery act as the switch. Ned to take the ground cable to the motor block at say a motor mount. This is of course on a negative ground system, if positive switch it around. By doing this everything is removed from the electrical path. I would spin the motor until it moves freely. May take a few loads of penetrating oil to get it free and yes it will make a mess with oil coming out the plug holes. As this spins you will see full oil presure come up on the guage, or you should.

I would not pay to much attention to your early compression readings until you get it back too life. You may have rings stuck from rust and sitting. They may come free with a few runs on the motor. Once you have it running and heated a few times then check the compression again.

Any idea on how it was stored, inside, outside, heated garage? Al will make a big difference on how the motor ages from sitting. If you don't get it to spin free I would think it will need to come apart or you will cause some damage. In my younger years I would toss a rope around the frame tub and give a good pull around the block till she started.

Good luck!
Tony Vaccaro
http://www.lotusowners.com
LOONY (Lotus Owners of New York)
Drive Fast Take Chances
71 Spyder Elan, ElanGTS, 93 Caterham, 05 Elise,
99 Elise190, 91 M100 Elan, 74 Europa, 72 Europa JPS #15, 68 Elan Coupe RHD
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PostPost by: Elanintheforest » Wed Mar 14, 2012 6:24 pm

Tony...have a look at the engine and battery earth points. Take them off and give them a good clean. I had a similar problem with an Elan that would only turnover slowly even with a big SUV battery connected. The earth points were corroded, not too badly, but cleaning them made all the difference.

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PostPost by: ianf » Wed Mar 14, 2012 6:55 pm

Don't forget to have throttle fully open for compression test - I did!!
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PostPost by: tvacc » Wed Mar 14, 2012 7:36 pm

I will give that a go. Will do so tonight.



Elanintheforest wrote:Tony...have a look at the engine and battery earth points. Take them off and give them a good clean. I had a similar problem with an Elan that would only turnover slowly even with a big SUV battery connected. The earth points were corroded, not too badly, but cleaning them made all the difference.

Mark
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99 Elise190, 91 M100 Elan, 74 Europa, 72 Europa JPS #15, 68 Elan Coupe RHD
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PostPost by: oldelanman » Wed Mar 14, 2012 7:43 pm

tvacc wrote:I do get the oil pressure gauge to move when I crank it without plugs.
But it is not cranking as fast as my other car does without plugs.


When you do get it cranking faster check the oil pressure reading again before you fire it up - you might find the relief valve in the oil pump has siezed and you will then get too much pressure when the engine is running. It happened to me and damaged my newly refurbished oil pressure gauge.
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PostPost by: PanoGuy » Sun Mar 18, 2012 2:31 am

Tony,
Keep us posted on how this goes. My white Elan Sprint still is not running right, these things seem pretty complicated.
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PostPost by: Henry VIIII » Sun Mar 18, 2012 1:33 pm

With your symptoms I would also be inclined to take off ONE cam bearing cover & see if it was oily in there. And if not take off each cam bearing cap one at a time and squirt some oil on the bearing and replace the cap.
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PostPost by: tvacc » Mon Mar 19, 2012 2:30 am

BINGO......

To be honest, I have not checked the site since this was posted....but you get a cigar. Top of the motor is getting no oil.
I just pulled the cam cover and what do I see, or what do I do not see....oil.

Bad oil pump? Open to ideas....
Will pull the caps off tomorrow and see how the cam bearings look.

Henry VIIII wrote:With your symptoms I would also be inclined to take off ONE cam bearing cover & see if it was oily in there. And if not take off each cam bearing cap one at a time and squirt some oil on the bearing and replace the cap.
Tony Vaccaro
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Drive Fast Take Chances
71 Spyder Elan, ElanGTS, 93 Caterham, 05 Elise,
99 Elise190, 91 M100 Elan, 74 Europa, 72 Europa JPS #15, 68 Elan Coupe RHD
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PostPost by: tvacc » Mon Mar 19, 2012 2:36 am

nah....I wish you lived closer, we could get both of them running right. Your red car is still not running.....wife wants to junk it!!!!

PanoGuy wrote:Tony,
Keep us posted on how this goes. My white Elan Sprint still is not running right, these things seem pretty complicated.
Doug C
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99 Elise190, 91 M100 Elan, 74 Europa, 72 Europa JPS #15, 68 Elan Coupe RHD
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