Lotus Elan

The exorcist sprint

PostPost by: Oasis1 » Fri Jul 05, 2024 2:57 pm

So I am having a 72 elan sprint issue that is like an evil possession. The car starts right up and runs great then ....once hot and parked (usually at a shop or a car and coffee event) I turn the key to leave.....nothing. I mean nothing from the starter or the motor. Maybe a single click, faint at that if anything. The radio works but doesnt attempt to start or make a series of clicking noises...nothing ...dead. It literally seems to hate me and one thing I hate is getting stranded and having to get picked up and the sprint left somewhere.
Things I know are not the issue 1) new battery, brand new 2) fuel system...fuel is getting to the carbs. 3) I also rocked the car in gear to see if there was a dead spot in the alternator. Made no difference.
Here's the thing....if I wait a few hours and get a lift back to the car....turn the key...she fires right up. As to say "Got ya". Once it cools down it seems to fire right up. I get it home and it fires right up but seems to not like being parked anywhere but home. It strands me everywhere when turned off after driving it. Any ideas other than Holy water? Thx Jim
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PostPost by: Spyder fan » Fri Jul 05, 2024 3:19 pm

It's almost certainly the starter solenoid at fault. Maybe there is a wiring issue that keeps the circuit open whilst the car is running, hence the solenoid overheating and refusing to do it's job as you describe until it cools down.

A new solenoid is a cheap quick fix item, try that first and if the problem persists call Ghostbusters AKA your local Auto Electrican

https://kelvedonlotus.co.uk/product/sol ... old-start/

Good luck!

Alan
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PostPost by: Oasis1 » Fri Jul 05, 2024 3:51 pm

Thanks, I have already requested one. Fingers crossed ! Thx Alan
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PostPost by: Elanintheforest » Fri Jul 05, 2024 4:57 pm

Check out and clean the ground connections on the car, in particular the solenoid, battery lead at chassis and the engine ground to chassis at the engine mount. And every other black wire going to the chassis you can find!

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PostPost by: h20hamelan » Fri Jul 05, 2024 5:39 pm

Is the alternator overcharging?
Sometimes when batteries settle, they find themselves
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PostPost by: alan.barker » Fri Jul 05, 2024 7:56 pm

I suggest you add an earth wire from one of the fixing screws of the solenoid to the bulkhead to a camcover stud.
10 minute job why not.
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PostPost by: 2cams70 » Sat Jul 06, 2024 12:58 am

If it has its original Lucas inertia starter motor a likely cause is the starter pinion becoming jammed with the ring gear. Rotate the armature a bit using a spanner on the flats of where the armature shaft extends past the end plate and see if that clears it. It will still happen again however unless you attend to the root cause which is worn pinion gear, worn ring gear or sticking of the pinion gear on its shaft.

Another way to try and clear it is to put the car in gear and rock it back and forth a bit. This can rotate the ring gear just enough to free the jammed starter pinion

Actually - if it's temperature related it is more likely to be an electrical connection issue however the above is a very common problem with the Lucas starter.
Last edited by 2cams70 on Sat Jul 06, 2024 4:51 am, edited 2 times in total.
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PostPost by: vstibbard » Sat Jul 06, 2024 1:10 am

Clean and tighten all of the earth connections.
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PostPost by: reb53 » Sat Jul 06, 2024 6:51 am

vstibbard wrote:Clean and tighten all of the earth connections.


Especially the one in the boot, ( trunk ).
It tightens down onto a bolt that comes up through the floor and into a bobbin, ( in the fibreglass).
The head of that bolt should be tight up against the underside of the chassis, but that is not always the case.
I removed the threads from the bobbin, with a drill, to ensure it would be, and to enable a good connection to the battery earth.

Ralph.
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PostPost by: l10tus » Sun Jul 07, 2024 6:38 pm

My Sprint used to give the same issues, I just couldn't trust it to at least turn over each and every try.

I checked all the obvious but couldn't find the problem.

In the end I swapped the geared replacement starter for another one and the problem has gone away completely.

I haven't spent time inspecting the old geared starter yet, (or noticed any loose connections, so can't comment as to the reason, just know it's now all good.

For what it's worth, do you have a standby replacement starter you could try?

Hope this helps,
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PostPost by: Oasis1 » Mon Jul 08, 2024 3:36 pm

Thanks to everyone for the help. I should have a new solenoid this week and will try that first. I did rock the car in gear when dead and it didnt change the status. I am hoping its the solenoid or an earth wire but I will do these first. If it does it again I will replace the starter. Lets see if we can finally state "This car is clean".......
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PostPost by: Oasis1 » Wed Jul 10, 2024 1:11 am

UPDATE : I changed out the old solenoid with the new one. The car is dead dead. The battery is fully charged but the turn of the key and nothing. The radio comes on but not a sound from the engine, no clicking , nothing. I am assuming its the starter? Thoughts?
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PostPost by: 2cams70 » Wed Jul 10, 2024 5:15 am

Measure the voltage at the starter under “start” conditions and work backwards until you identify a problem otherwise if you have correct measurements at the starter it’s most likely something to do with the starter itself. You haven’t advised also whether the car is still fitted with it’s original Lucas starter or not.
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PostPost by: reb53 » Wed Jul 10, 2024 6:51 am

A quick way to find if the ignition switch, or its wiring to the solenoid, or the solenoid itself are faulty is to simply short out the terminals on top of the solenoid.
That'll send current directly to the starter motor.
A screwdriver works well for this job.
It'll spark so don't have any gas wafting about......

Also, my solenoid has a "button" on the bottom of it which, if pushed up, does the same thing.
Handy for starting the car without having to reach around for the key.


Ralph.
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PostPost by: RichardS » Wed Jul 10, 2024 8:01 am

Have you checked the connections on the back of the ignition switch? Particularly the white/red wire that goes to the solenoid. A multimeter or circuit tester is invaluable so that you can test you have power at the ignition switch going to the solenoid. And as Ralph says if you can turn the starter directly from the solenoid the issue must be on the ignition switch side of the solenoid circuit.
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