Lotus Elan

Fall/Winter/Spring Projects for 0248k

PostPost by: steve lyle » Thu Apr 11, 2024 6:57 am

Well, it's been a bit of a journey, but I started up the newly rebuilt engine today and it purred nicely.

It certainly took longer than I expected. Mostly life got in the way. But there were some project specific gotchas.

Probably the biggest was getting the head correct. When I checked the valve gaps, I found one that one had 0 gap. To get it anywhere near spec, I needed a very thin follower, and a very thick shim. That took several attempts working with Barry Sale who did the head, and Ken @ DBE. Finding a follower that was thin enough, and fit, was the biggest challenge.

While trying to figure out why this valve was so different, I removed a couple of them. Barry had installed seals on the intakes, and I found one of the seals torn. So that took some time - the first seals I ordered didn't fit. Finally Barry sold me another set and an installer tool. So more time.

Then when I got the engine in, my fuel pump, wasn't pumping. So a new fuel pump got ordered. And it didn't pump either. Finally I figured out that the compression fitting for the supply was leaking air. Luckily I had gotten new fittings, which solved the problem. The original fuel pump went back in. The new one came from RDE, and I got the one with the priming lever. But the lever made it difficult, well, for me impossible, to get a socket on the attachment bolts. Hence just sticking with the old one.

So the engine is in. And should run fine this season. But I'll have to pull it back out in the fall/winter (does this ever end?). Why? Because the head had a spark plug thread insert in #2, and it came off on the plug. Barry says he didn't put it in, and he can't identify the type of insert. So I'll run this season with the old #2 plug with it's stuck on thread insert, and pull the head and send it to Barry for a permanent repair this winter.

And probably pull the whole engine, because my new water pump is leaking. Not a lot, maybe 3-4 drops in 24 hours, I can't figure out why - I didn't think there were any issues or oddities when I was installing it. I'd ask Ken what I must have done wrong, but DBE is closed until later in April. So I'll just put a gallon of coolant in the trunk and hope the leak doesn't get worse.

Compression is 145, 150, 150 for 1,3, and 4.. I'll check them again after they've had some miles to get seated.

My body mod to enable me to replace the heater valve without messing with the engine mounts turned out nicely, I'm very happy with that. And of course with having an Elan to drive this spring/summer/fall.

IMG_1238.jpg and
Body mod to simplify heater valve replacement.


IMG_1237.JPG and
Can anybody identify this thread insert?
Steve Lyle
1972 Elan Sprint 0248k @ https://www.mgexp.com/registry/1972-Lot ... 48K.30245/
1972 MGB Roadster @ https://www.mgexp.com/registry/1972-MG- ... 842G.4498/
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PostPost by: TWebb » Thu Apr 11, 2024 12:42 pm

Congratulations! Looking forward to seeing you and this car this spring.

I may be working on the race Elan this weekend.

Tim
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PostPost by: 512BB » Fri Apr 12, 2024 8:45 am

'Compression is 145, 150, 150 for 1,3, and 4.. I'll check them again after they've had some miles to get seated'

For a rebuilt engine, those values are way down on where I would expect them to be. They should be in the order of 200 lbs + and I would carry out several tests before removing the head to try to determine why the values are so low and where pressure is being lost.

Leslie
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PostPost by: steve lyle » Mon Apr 15, 2024 12:10 am

512BB wrote:'Compression is 145, 150, 150 for 1,3, and 4.. I'll check them again after they've had some miles to get seated'

For a rebuilt engine, those values are way down on where I would expect them to be. They should be in the order of 200 lbs + and I would carry out several tests before removing the head to try to determine why the values are so low and where pressure is being lost.

Leslie


After 45 miles, values are 165, ?, 170, 170. Almost exactly what the shop that did the head and Ken @ DBE were predicting. Let's see where they are after 500 miles.

In any event, I've got bigger problems at this point. Engine is not running smoothly at all. Idles ok, when I pull each lead at idle revs drop, so all cylinders are firing. But I recall acceleration with the Strombergs as almost turbine-like smoothness, and this isn't that at all. I've got a post into the sidedraft carburetor group to see if they have any ideas.

I've also got a mystery oil leak - I'll make a separate post on that.
Steve Lyle
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1972 MGB Roadster @ https://www.mgexp.com/registry/1972-MG- ... 842G.4498/
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PostPost by: steve lyle » Tue Apr 30, 2024 4:55 am

I've been working with Keith Frank on the rough running. The assumption is that since the engine starts easily and idles nicely, it's not an ignition problem.

I bought a set of Keith's "VP" emulsion tubes. They arrived today and after a short call with Keith I had them installed. They mad a big difference. I took the car on a short 6 mi test run, and the rough running seemed to be gone by mile 2 or so - perhaps the first mi or so the engine wasn't sufficiently warmed up. In any event, that's a very early assessment, we'll see how it is after some more miles.

Meanwhile, as previously reported, the mystery oil leak has been solved by some duct tape wrapped around the dip stick at the stopper lug. It seals pretty well against the tube. What I don't understand is why I'm getting so much vapor out of the dip stick tube with new rings, compared to previously with all my broken rings. I would have through there would be lower crankcase pressure with fresh rings. What am I missing?

Back to the carbs. While on the phone with Keith, he asked what air correctors I was running. They're 200's. The main jets are 120's. He thinks the air correctors should match. So I ordered a few smaller sizes, we'll see if they make any difference. He also recommended that I run with a hotter plugs, so I'm trying out some Autolite 64's to replace the 63's I was running, that are said to be the equivalent of NGK BP6ES's.

So, still playing with things, but the car is running much nicer now. We went on a long weekend getaway last weekend, about 600 miles total driving, and took the B since the Elan just wasn't right. If it had been running as well as it did on my 6 mi test, we would have taken the Elan instead. So clear progress.

I'm considering getting a wideband 02 sensor - on intended for in-dash install, and set it up to be portable so I can use it to fine tune the carbs on both the Elan and the B. The B exhaust already has a sensor bung, I know I would have to add that to the Elan's pipe. But otherwise I'd set it up to be mobile from one car to another. I'm thinking that's the only way to know that I've got the carbs dialed in right. Make sense?

I talked to Ken Gray at DBE today. They'd been closed for the last 3 weeks or so. I asked about that, and Ken said that he'd had a death in the family, so keep him in your thoughts. He does great work for us Elan drivers.

The reason I called was to get a head gasket set. I'm going to have to pull the head at some point to deal with the failed spark plug thread insert. I mentioned the compression #'s I was getting, and in fact Ken thought they were a little low. He'd sold me a thicker gasket to go with the JE pistons he provided for the rebuild, and now he's thinking that I can go to a thinner gasket. So stay tuned for higher compression when I get around to dealing with the thread insert.
Steve Lyle
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1972 MGB Roadster @ https://www.mgexp.com/registry/1972-MG- ... 842G.4498/
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PostPost by: ill_will » Tue Apr 30, 2024 6:22 pm

Hi Steve,

A few diagnostic questions:

How did you hone the bores?
What were the ring end gaps? And did the rings move freely in their grooves?
What process did you use for bedding in the rings?

Good luck getting it sorted.

Cheers,

Will
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PostPost by: steve lyle » Tue Apr 30, 2024 7:23 pm

ill_will wrote:Hi Steve,

A few diagnostic questions:

How did you hone the bores?
What were the ring end gaps? And did the rings move freely in their grooves?
What process did you use for bedding in the rings?

Good luck getting it sorted.

Cheers,

Will


- The machine shop honed the bores, after boring to fit the new pistons.
- I didn't note them, other than the gaps were within spec. Yes, they moved freely in the grooves.
- Good question. I saw lots of different schools of thought on this. Ken's advice was just to drive the car, limit idling, stay well below redline, and vary speed. Supposedly the JE rings use tech from motorcycles, and I saw some test results that basically indicated that it didn't matter what you did - driving hard, driving easy, idling or not, the compression results after 500 miles were identical. In any event, I followed Ken's advice. On initial start up I tried to limit idling, although I did have to dial in the carbs. Then to the road, keeping the revs between 2500 and 3500 generally, with maybe a few times hitting 5000.
Steve Lyle
1972 Elan Sprint 0248k @ https://www.mgexp.com/registry/1972-Lot ... 48K.30245/
1972 MGB Roadster @ https://www.mgexp.com/registry/1972-MG- ... 842G.4498/
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PostPost by: steve lyle » Fri May 03, 2024 1:59 am

I went to Amazon and got a new compression testing kit - this one has some rubber tips at the end of pipe sections that will let me test the compression of #2 - the one where the thread insert came off on the plug.

Also, this time, I made sure to warm the engine up to regular running temp. This test is also another 50 miles into the rebuilt short block.

The #'s now are: 192, 189, 195, 195. Pretty impressive to me, since with the broken rings I was at 110.

So I don't think compression explains my rough running.

I've goto an AFR gauge coming, should be here tomorrow. Until then, here's the plugs after this additional 50 miles. 1,3 and 4 are Automate 64's, brand new prior to the last 50 mile run, #2 is NKG BP6ES that's been in the car for about 650 miles, cleaned off with a MAP torch before the 50 mile run. 1-4 are left to right.

IMG_1276.jpg and


1 and 3 look, if anything, lean to me. #2 maybe a tad rich. #4 was sooty - is this the impact of the crankcase ventilation system, pouring oil vapor into the #4 throat?

Any idea why 1 and 2 aren't identical? All throats have the same jets, air correctors, and emulsion tubes.

I'm still trying to understand why my crankcase pressure seems to be so much higher, based on the oil droplets on the right side of the engine bay, compared to the engine when the rings were broken. Any ideas?
Steve Lyle
1972 Elan Sprint 0248k @ https://www.mgexp.com/registry/1972-Lot ... 48K.30245/
1972 MGB Roadster @ https://www.mgexp.com/registry/1972-MG- ... 842G.4498/
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PostPost by: alan.barker » Fri May 03, 2024 6:13 am

Steve,
When you fit the WireThread Insert screw it in so it's 1/4 turn before popping out at bottom. Check at top it is also 1/4 turn inside. If too long keep turning untill Insert falls out. Trim excess length with good quality wire cutters. Check for burrs. Reinsert again 1/4 turn in from each end.
Take Tang removal tool/drift and give it a sharp tap to break off Tang.
Check to see if last Thread of Insert has not jumped, if so spring into place with Scrber or steel Pin.
Don't use Loctite on Wire Thread Insert.
Have fun
Alan
Alan.b Brittany 1972 elan sprint fhc Lagoon Blue 0460E
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PostPost by: mbell » Fri May 03, 2024 12:16 pm

steve lyle wrote:The #'s now are: 192, 189, 195, 195


Those seem good.

steve lyle wrote:#4 was sooty - is this the impact of the crankcase ventilation system, pouring oil vapor into the #4 throat?


Probably. Could take the air box cover off and look for evidence of oil in the air box.

steve lyle wrote:Any idea why 1 and 2 aren't identical?


Different plugs that will have slightly different self cleaning properties etc.

steve lyle wrote: Any ideas?


Whats you oil level like? Higher it is more likely to push oil out of the dip stick.

Have you checked the mesh of the breather pipe is clear?
'73 +2 130/5 RHD, now on the road and very slowly rolling though a "restoration"
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PostPost by: steve lyle » Fri May 03, 2024 7:00 pm

mbell wrote:
steve lyle wrote:#4 was sooty - is this the impact of the crankcase ventilation system, pouring oil vapor into the #4 throat?


Probably. Could take the air box cover off and look for evidence of oil in the air box.

steve lyle wrote:Any idea why 1 and 2 aren't identical?


Different plugs that will have slightly different self cleaning properties etc.

steve lyle wrote: Any ideas?


Whats you oil level like? Higher it is more likely to push oil out of the dip stick.

Have you checked the mesh of the breather pipe is clear?


Makes sense - the #1 plug is a hotter plug than #2.
Plenty of oily film on top of the passenger footwell, coming from the airbox.
Next test will be to run with the crankcase vent directed at the ground, and see what #4 looks like then.
Oil level is right on the full mark.
No mesh in the breather tube.
Steve Lyle
1972 Elan Sprint 0248k @ https://www.mgexp.com/registry/1972-Lot ... 48K.30245/
1972 MGB Roadster @ https://www.mgexp.com/registry/1972-MG- ... 842G.4498/
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PostPost by: mbell » Fri May 03, 2024 8:08 pm

steve lyle wrote:No mesh in the breather tube.


That will increase flow but likely allow more oil to escape into the air box. The flame mesh also traps oil vapours.

It's also important for preventing back fires igniting vapours in the engine. I've experienced that and was lucky to escape with a big surprise and oil cap being blown off the engine!
'73 +2 130/5 RHD, now on the road and very slowly rolling though a "restoration"
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PostPost by: steve lyle » Fri May 03, 2024 8:35 pm

mbell wrote:
steve lyle wrote:No mesh in the breather tube.


That will increase flow but likely allow more oil to escape into the air box. The flame mesh also traps oil vapours.

It's also important for preventing back fires igniting vapours in the engine. I've experienced that and was lucky to escape with a big surprise and oil cap being blown off the engine!


I didn't THINK it had a mesh, but I just pulled it out when I went to install a length of hose for the "don't route the vent to the airbox" test, and sure enough, there was a mesh in the tube.
Steve Lyle
1972 Elan Sprint 0248k @ https://www.mgexp.com/registry/1972-Lot ... 48K.30245/
1972 MGB Roadster @ https://www.mgexp.com/registry/1972-MG- ... 842G.4498/
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