Lotus Elan

Lucas 23D distributor

PostPost by: MyLotus » Tue Aug 30, 2011 12:24 am

I just purchased a 1970 Elan SE and am looking to fix a "no advance" condition. Took out and dismantled the Lucas 23D4 distributor. The advance weights are not moving smoothly which could be the cause of the problem. I would like to replace the Lucas dist. with either a similar unit and replace the points with an electronic pick-up OR abandon Lucas for something else. Any recommandations? Cheers
Alain Raymond
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PostPost by: ardee_selby » Tue Aug 30, 2011 8:37 am

Please see most recent thread on the subject:


However, if you do an archive search... e.g.

http://www.lotuselan.net/cgi-bin/search ... oom_sort=0

You'll have quite a bit to read...A search is a good starting point for any other issues you might want to sort...

FWIW, I have Lumenition but please note potential impact on "bouncing" tacho operation...

EDIT: One more thread in case you have been considering the ebay offering:

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PostPost by: oldelanman » Tue Aug 30, 2011 1:24 pm

Hi "MyLotus",
Welcome to the forum.
Don't be in too much of a hurry to replace the distributor, if it's just the advance mechanism not working it's likely to be a simple job to fix it. It's not usually the advance weights themselves which bind up it's more likely to be the advance cam plate sticking on the shaft. It is supposed to be lubricated regularly but gets overlooked, particularly on the twincam because the distributer is not that easy to get at. If you have not already done so I would remove the cam plate and carefully clean up the shaft - use wet and dry if it's rusty - lubricate with engine oil and check it moves freely before reassembling the advance weights and springs.

Not compulsory but you might like to let us know whereabouts in the world you are located - can help people give appropriate advice, particularly if you need parts or services in the future.

Good luck.
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PostPost by: collins_dan » Tue Aug 30, 2011 1:27 pm

My Lotus, Not sure where you are locating, but in the US RD Enterprises has a nice Petronix replacement including distributor with electronic ignition, coil and ignition wires.

New Pertronix Distributor for TwinCam

This brand new distributor has the Ignitor II electronic ignition with adaptive dwell control for optimum spark. The side-entry distributor cap attaches with clips (not screws) for easier installation and maintenance. All mechanical advance with optimized advance curve for performance and drivability. The distributor comes complete with gear and clamping plate (clamping plate is not shown in these photos).
The Ignitor II ignition requires a low resistance coil - do not use your original coil.

Ref. 26M0009-PER Distributor $295.00
Ref. IGN-45111 45,000 volt coil $54.00
Ref. IGN-10001 Coil Bracket $4.00
Ref. 26E0740-43BL Ignition Wire Set $29.00

Total of above parts $382.00

Special Offer - 10% discount when you purchase a complete distributor kit
Special Offer Price $343.80

I have not used the distributor, but have used the electronic ignition, coil and wires and had no issues with bouncing tach (although I did run a separate power source to it, instead of sharing with tach). I have also used the Petronix rev limiter.

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PostPost by: MyLotus » Wed Aug 31, 2011 1:30 am

Many thanks for the answers received. Great forum! I am located in Quebec (Canada). The car I just purchased was extensively restored (chassis and all) in the late 90s but stored since then. I have just removed and dismantled the Webers to clean off the accumulated varnish. Also have drained the old gasoline... The distributor is one of the rare parts that was not replaced during restoration. I have taken it apart and cleaned and lubricated but there is still some sticking somewhere. So a new Pertronix has just been ordered. Besides, adjusting points is near impossible with Webers in place. But I guess I'm used to "strange" contraptions since I also own 2 Abarths, one being a vintage racer (1964 1000TC). You can see it on YouTube at abarth64. Coming back to the Elan, interior restoration has also to be completed and I already have all necessary items (new door panels, etc). Cheers for now and MERCI again for your kind assistance.
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PostPost by: stugilmour » Wed Aug 31, 2011 2:26 am

Welcome from Calgary Alain. Sounds like a nice car.

I have the RD Pertronix kit installed and it is working well. Like Dan, no problem with the tach and I powered the unit by a separate new wire rather than with the coil +ve. The electronic Pertronix rev limiter I bought locally is presently disconnected as it was seeming to cause a miss-fire and then a no-start condition.
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PostPost by: wgrainge » Wed Aug 31, 2011 1:48 pm

You can send your distributor to Robert Sarama and he'll make it better than new for not a lot of money. New bushings, custom advance curve, the whole bit. Nice guy. Highly recommend him.

Bob Sarama
136 Shingleoak Drive
Loveland, Ohio 45140
[email protected]

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PostPost by: Lotus14S2 » Wed Aug 31, 2011 7:32 pm

You might also study switching to the Bosch or Autolite distributor for the 1600 Kent. That?s what I did.
Back in the day, it was common to swap out the Lucas for Bosch or Autolite in Formula Ford. I bought a brand new Titian Mk.6a and the dealer had already switched the distributor to Bosch.
Unfortunately, now, they are over the top expensive; they were something like $50 back then. But, you might be able to find one used. Eventually the Petronix ignition was allowed, and that was a good change.
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