Lotus Elan

Starter dead

PostPost by: AHM » Sun Aug 25, 2013 10:41 pm

Steve,

Did you connect the bulb? and operate your normal start sequence? What happened?

We don't know how your system is wired - when you put the wire between the 2 terminals... Which terminals? - why no spark this time? was the ignition on? had you disconnected the terminal ignition terminal?

What was getting hot?
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PostPost by: PeterK » Mon Aug 26, 2013 7:50 am

No insult intended, but you did state that you're possibly not the world's best auto-electrician :-)

I'm a lot more comfortable talking someone through electrical fault tracing when they're actually on the phone rather than sending ideas in print. What I meant, what I actually wrote, what they read, what they thought they'd read and finally what they actually did can all be frighteningly different. Playing with electrics on a fiberglass car could become expensive very quickly (heat, spark, flames, etc.) if you're not sure of what you're doing. Mis-understanding a simple check could lead you to looking for more complex issues unnecessarily.

Where are you located LoTex ?, is there anyone near to you that could give a hand, or at least talk you through the basic testing listed by others previously ?
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PostPost by: Pistacchio sprint 72 » Mon Aug 26, 2013 8:48 am

[quote="billwillNo you do it from underneath the car. Put the front wheels on ramps or the front on axle stands.

Don't undo the outer easy to get at motor securing bolt until you have taken out the top one, because otherwise the motor will drop on you. {been there, done that, it hurts}. On the outer (bottom one) it is relatively easy to support the starter motor while taking the bolt out.[/quote]

Thanks...! :mrgreen:
I will try that.
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PostPost by: Quart Meg Miles » Mon Aug 26, 2013 8:01 pm

billwill wrote:If it was not the switch getting hot it might imply that the solenoid is working and conducting power to the starter motor, but the motor cog has jammed in the starter ring on the flywheel. That is a common fault on Lotus Elans.

You can sometimes free such a jammed starter motor, by putting it in bottom gear with ignition OFF and rocking the car to and fro. Sometimes it clicks when it comes unjammed. Next attempt to start then usually spins the starter motor OK.

I often get a jammed starter, and don't always hear anything when it goes into the jammed state, but I put it into TOP gear to increase the torque trying to release it.
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PostPost by: ericbushby » Mon Aug 26, 2013 11:01 pm

Hello,
The battery terminal getting hot suggests a poor connection to the terminal.
Take it off and clean it, light smear of vaseline and reconnect. it may just be that, but if it is I would expect you to report lamps dimming when attempting to start.
Just another idea which costs nothing and may be due for doing anyway.
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PostPost by: billwill » Tue Aug 27, 2013 12:25 am

Quart Meg Miles wrote:
billwill wrote:If it was not the switch getting hot it might imply that the solenoid is working and conducting power to the starter motor, but the motor cog has jammed in the starter ring on the flywheel. That is a common fault on Lotus Elans.

You can sometimes free such a jammed starter motor, by putting it in bottom gear with ignition OFF and rocking the car to and fro. Sometimes it clicks when it comes unjammed. Next attempt to start then usually spins the starter motor OK.

I often get a jammed starter, and don't always hear anything when it goes into the jammed state, but I put it into TOP gear to increase the torque trying to release it.


I can never remember whether it is best to use top gear or bottom gear. I tried to work it out when I wrote that message, but I usually end up trying both gears if the first try doesn't unjam it.
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PostPost by: Pistacchio sprint 72 » Sat Aug 31, 2013 9:27 am

Another question sorry. Now i know and either i will try to do it myself in the end or repeat the "how to do it" to a mechanician.

My pre engaged starter has a captive bolt. When seen from the rear you ca?t use a socket as its head is sandwiched and hidden. You can only tighten it with a spanner from the side.

So... Is that captive bolt is the bottom one?

Because if it is the top one we re doomed!
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PostPost by: billwill » Sat Aug 31, 2013 2:39 pm

Very sexy, very tricky. I regret I do not know the answer.

If no one here knows, I guess you will just have to take out the standard starter (about a half-hour job) and try your new starter motor in both positions. However I suspect that with that big bulge on the side, there is no chance that it will fit in at all with the captive bolt at the top.
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PostPost by: Pistacchio sprint 72 » Sat Aug 31, 2013 5:54 pm

I really hope the captive bolt will be at the bottom because there is no access from the top of the engine bay for a spanner
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PostPost by: LoTex » Sun Sep 01, 2013 6:24 pm

Bill, AHM, Peter-

Thanks again for all the suggestions. I was away all last week on a trip so didn't have a chance to follow-up with you all until today. There was no response when I took off the leads as suggested and made the connection between the solenoid circuit and the brown terminal. I did this with both the black battery feed wire on and off. I'm pretty sure the problem is with the solenoid.

The ignition and the positive battery terminal start getting hot to the touch when I leave the ignition in the on position for a few minutes. My guess is that as the solenoid is interrupting the circuit all the power is backing up to the ignition so it's getting overloaded, does that makes sense?

I've ordered a new solenoid from Dave Bean. It's not an expensive part at $50 and is probably the easiest fix for a guy like me with limited skills so let's hope that is the problem!


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PostPost by: ericbushby » Sun Sep 01, 2013 6:42 pm

Please clean the battery terminals. They both carry the same current so if one is hotter than the other, that suggests that there is a high resistance joint on the hot one.
Or it could be a fault inside the battery just under the terminal or perhaps a faulty connection between the terminal and the cable but whatever it is, both terminals should be at the same temperature, so this must be telling us something is wrong there.
Best of luck.
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PostPost by: LoTex » Sun Sep 01, 2013 7:25 pm

Eric,

Did as you said, gave a good cleaning to the terminals (the battery is brand new so nothing wrong there) and added a coat of Vaseline. Both the ignition switch and the positive battery connection terminal continue to heat up but not the negative terminal connector. It's a positive earth system.


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PostPost by: ericbushby » Sun Sep 01, 2013 7:48 pm

OK Steve, thankyou for the update.
Please tell us what happens when you try a suggestion so that we can have a rethink.
The current out of one battery terminal has to go back in through the other one. The battery is the source of the current and it has to be returned for anything to happen. It is the same current. I still say one terminal should not be hotter than the other.
But the ignition switch overheating at the moment has me puzzled as this does not carry starter current, only much smaller current to the solenoid and even then only during the time it is in start position.
Put some lights on and try again. During starting they should dim a little but not go out.
Keep going, you will get there.
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PostPost by: billwill » Sun Sep 01, 2013 7:54 pm

If the starter switch heats up, there is a possibility that your ignition coil has burned out and is shorting inside. Try a hand on that too to see if it get hot.

Failing that you possibly have a short circuit behind the dashboard.
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PostPost by: LoTex » Sun Sep 01, 2013 8:07 pm

Eric,

I can't start it, so I can't see if the headlights dim! Also makes it difficult to see the lights as of course they don't pop up until you start the car. I did prop one open and go through the motions of starting the car but the lights didn't dim, although I don't know that proved anything as it is even turning over.

Bill,

The ignition coil is not getting hot.


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