Lotus Elan

No spark with new electronic ignition. What am I missing?

PostPost by: bob_rich » Tue Jan 10, 2017 9:12 am

Hi Rich

I suppose it couldn't be fuel could it ? Once had a mechanical fuel pump with a leaky diaphram. OK cold but once engine warm the leakage got worse and the engine spluttered along then died.

I have always wondered about electronic ignitions that put the module inside the distributor. Apart from the possible cooling issue should the spark break down to the surface of the module it could damage the internal electronics. But with no info on what is inside the modules cannot really make any meaningful assessment of that risk.
That may be a possibility if the module is now permantantly damaged though.

Also I assume that apart from the module in the distributor there must also be a revolving magnet to trigger it. could the location and or spacing of this change as the engine warms up?

A lot of people have these so I guess these two risks are low but not impossible

Guess it will be fixed eventually so be interesting to know what it turns out to be.

hope this helps best of luck

Bob
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PostPost by: RichC » Tue Jan 10, 2017 10:54 am

Thanks to Simon (powerspark) I've gone back and double checked and found that I do indeed have a ballasted system!
I did not know that. The motor has been running on an unballasted coil for the last 7 years no probs. Despite having the loom out to be checked and re wrapped this fact was missed!
Just need to buy a ballasted coil I hope.....
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PostPost by: RichC » Tue Jan 10, 2017 11:34 am

I just searched the forum for comments on ballasted systems and there are many and varied !
there has never been an obvious visual sign of a ballast resistor and so i wonder for my 1968 +2 model where it would be found?
I imagine if its just a thickened piece of wire it will be wrapped up in the main loom behind the dash ? or is it more accessible?
I presume it'll be okay to keep to ballasted system with powerspark
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PostPost by: RichC » Tue Jan 10, 2017 11:40 am

from simon .........

Simon Lucas (Powerspark)
Jan 10, 11:05 WET

Hi Richard,

It sounds like we might have cracked it.

I'll give you a little background, if I haven't already... Our electronic kits and distributors are designed to work with a maximum of 3 Ohms in the ignition system. The 3 Ohm coil that is on the Lotus and the ballast resistor, which is a further 1.5 Ohms mean that the vehicle has a total of 4.5 Ohms in the ignition system and that's why you've been having problems.
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PostPost by: Orsom Weels » Tue Jan 10, 2017 12:16 pm

Hi Rich This was my ballast resistor, & as you can hopefully see, it ties up with what is shown in the workshop manual, so I would assume it's original.

wp_20170110_11_52_29_pro.jpg and


wp_20170110_11_50_25_pro.jpg and


As You can see, it simply attaches to the coil so should be easily seen.

I have one of Simon's kits fitted, so have dispensed with the resistor, I actually bought the kit complete with coil & fitted the two together. It's been on for about 4 years now & has been no trouble whatsoever.
I was determined to stick with points, but got tired of continuous condenser failures. It happened so often, I carried a spare distributor all set up with new points & condenser & had so much practice, I could swap it on the side of the road in about10 minutes :evil:

Regards, Tim
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PostPost by: RichC » Tue Jan 10, 2017 5:09 pm

Nothing like that on mineTim.
Bit of a mystery but I guess someone with a +2 around my number (734) might know...
I presume my ballast is a modified wire in the main loom.....
Anyhow, I've taken her for a spin and very happy to report my new Ballasted coil has solved the problem.....i was gone so long the Mrs thought I'd broken down again.
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PostPost by: bob_rich » Tue Jan 10, 2017 5:30 pm

Hi Rich

Nice to see it was an easy fix. According to the +2 manual ( Section M36 pages 114 to 117) the ballasted coil was available as a after sale mod for improved cold starting. So it will be interesting to find where the resistor is actually fitted. The use of a resistance wire was introduced I believe on some cars in the mid 1980's sometime after the +2 ceased production but perhaps a PO made a mod to the loom on your car.

looks like your set for when the good weather arrives

Bob
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PostPost by: Hawksfield » Tue Jan 10, 2017 5:54 pm

Hi rich

My first +2 was a 1973 model and it had the resistor attached to the coil and the resistors are still available,
I have never heard of a +2 with a harness resistor but it may be the case
Don't recognise your number 734, what year is it?
Regards

John

+2s130 1971
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PostPost by: rgh0 » Fri Jan 13, 2017 10:11 am

My 78 Esprit has a resistance wire for its ballast coil so they were introduced some time during the 70's. My 73 Plus 2 has just a standard 12 volt coil and no sign of a ballast wire or coil mounted resistor ever in the ignition system wiring.

cheers
Rohan
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PostPost by: Orsom Weels » Fri Jan 13, 2017 12:36 pm

First things I remember with a ballast wire in the loom were MK2 Escorts. I encountered a few that would run while the key was in the crank position, but would die immediately you released the key to the run position. Took me about an hour to suss the first one out, the next ones were solved in a couple of minutes :D Used to run a new wire to by-pass the resistor & stick a 12 volt coil on, never made them any better or worse at starting :?

Tim
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