Lotus Elan

Has Anyone tried one of these?

PostPost by: types26/36 » Sun Feb 27, 2011 10:40 am

aratchet wrote:Just fyi. The 23d with the vacuum unit that came with most Federal Twin Cams(Lucas #41125) was a vacuum retard unit. .

A little more on the vacuum (retard) unit
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PostPost by: tvacc » Mon Feb 28, 2011 12:57 am

Hi all,

I have owned a few Elans and own one now. I also have a Caterham with a crossflow. Am I correct in saying that my Caterham has a 43 and the Elan has a 23....and that the only difference is in the vaccuum advance?

You see I had the stock Electronic Lucas unit that came with the Caterham in 1993 and had no issues wth it other than I had to securely fasten the rotor two parts together, (a slotted disc and the plastic part that fits on the center), it never let me down once I figured that out and kept a spare rotor in the car. I sold the Caterham and then bought it back 4 years later. The owner I sold it to put in a Petronix. Stranded me twice. I put points back in and I would like to use something else.

Would this dist fit my Cateham and my Elan?
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PostPost by: Esprit2 » Mon Feb 28, 2011 7:09 pm

Hi Tony,

The 23 & 25 were early siblings, with the 23 being centrifugal only and the 25 adding vacuum advance. Those distributors were replaced by the 43 (centrifugal) and 45 (vacuum) sometime in the mid-late 1970's.

The mounting shank is dimensionally the same, so the 23/25 and 43/45 distributors can be interchanged in terms of fitting in the hole. However, the drives changed as required for the application. The drive could be an offset dog (907) or a gear (Twink), and the gear teeth size and number could vary as required to fit different engines. If your distributors all have the same drives, then they can be interchanged in terms of mechanical fit.

Even if they fit, they can still be functionally set-up differently. The amount of total advance provided, how fast the mechanical advance comes in, and whether the vacuum provides advance or retard are all settings that can be tuned per the application. Just because it fits in the engine doesn't mean it works the same.

The dispatch number engraved on the side of the distributor body (like, 41584 for a 907) identifies that particular unit's application... if you have the directory of dispatch numbers... I don't. If two distributor's dispatch numbers are different, then there's some detail difference between them, either major or minor.

Any good distributor shop can re-configure your distributor to any drive or advance curve you specify. Advance Distributors in Shakopee, MN will rebuild a Lucas distributor to like new condition and re-curve it as you wish for around UD$125. Jeff Schlemmer, [email protected]

The head & distributor cap are smaller on the 23/25 and larger on the 43/45. Tiny caps with closely spaced high-tension terminals can only handle so much coil voltage before they arc between the terminals. If you intend to use a high performance coil, then the slightly larger 43/45 distributors are a better choice. But neither Lucas distributor is truly large, so neither is really appropriate for killer-hot coils. Hit them with enough voltage and they will cross-talk between the terminals.

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PostPost by: Baggy2 » Tue Mar 15, 2011 2:00 am

An update in case you think I've nodded off!
The distributor arrived but had a problem :( - new part on the way - will post findings when I have the replacement part and the dizzy fitted.
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PostPost by: kstrutt11 » Tue Mar 15, 2011 8:49 pm

I bought what looks like a very similar electronic version of the 23D for my Landrover, I did have problem with a dodgy distributor cap but otherwise it has worked faultlessley.
The advance curve is not really an issue on the landie but it did seem to be pretty close to the original.

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PostPost by: mini64 » Sat Mar 19, 2011 10:44 pm

it looks a lot like the pertronix distributor sold over here in the states. I've bought two and been very happy with them. Its a bit tight getting the cap on and off under a pair of webers, but otherwise nice steady spark advance.
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PostPost by: Baggy2 » Thu Apr 21, 2011 9:18 pm

I'm afraid I have to report a lack of success with this distributor. I dont know what the problem was but I had two units both exhibiting the same fault/behavior - no sparks when you want them and continuous uncontrolled sparking when you dont. I'm an electronics engineer by profession and have wired up a number of cars from scratch so I dont think its me.
Simon - the guy selling was helpful and I think would have pursued the matter and we probably would have succeeded in the end - after all he sells loads of dizzies for all kinds of cars - but I just wanted something that worked so went back to my original set-up.
All the best
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