Lotus Elan

Dizzy cap damage to electrodes?

PostPost by: GHill » Fri Oct 23, 2015 4:33 pm

Hi All

Over the last couple of weeks the plus 2 has been getting progressively harder to start (used to start straight away using the 4 pumps of accelerator, no choke, turn the key method).

I'm just starting to check for the issue and have come across the first thing that I need the mighty forum members to assist with! The dizzy cap electrodes look 'newly' badly worn. Picture below. I'm running the red rotor arm which has been in for about 10 months. I'm guessing that this could be the reason eg not a good enough connection to send the electricity to the plugs. I do have another dizzy cap but am a tad skeptical about replacing because of the potential 'damage' caused by the rotor arm!

image.jpg and
Dizzy electrode damage?


Your thoughts are appreciated!

Cheers
Gareth
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PostPost by: billwill » Fri Oct 23, 2015 5:19 pm

I don't think the rotor is supposed to touch the electrodes. I always thought there would be a small gap that the electricity would have no trouble jumping over.
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PostPost by: persiflage » Fri Oct 23, 2015 5:38 pm

Gareth,
Are you saying that there is physical damage. The rotor should not touch the cap "contacts"
You've not shown us the state of the rotor.
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PostPost by: elangtv2000 » Fri Oct 23, 2015 6:21 pm

I've seen that damage with distributors with worn bushings. This causes excessive eccentric play of the shaft.
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PostPost by: nmauduit » Fri Oct 23, 2015 6:51 pm

could also happen if the cap is not set just right, a little offset would still click the springs and allow acceptable ignition but would bring it further away from some fingers and too close to the others (has happened to me with a non lucas cap to be used with 123 dizzy)
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PostPost by: Europatc » Fri Oct 23, 2015 8:00 pm

Gareth just recently had a similar well almost identical problem with my Europa. Ended up fitting a new distributor problem solved. I had tried new cap, new arm. Problem came on really quickly but mine was only hitting one terminal.
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PostPost by: GHill » Fri Oct 23, 2015 8:59 pm

Cheers All

A new distributor eh! A potential winter job looming on the horizon!

So I spent a bit more time with the car tonight, I...

- checked the battery had enough charge
- checked that there was enough volts getting to the starter solenoid
- checked the gap on the points was a little out so adjusted per the workshop manual
- checked the gap on the plugs (see photos) and regapped only number 1 was out
- checked I had petrol (gauge said a quarter of a tank and there was fuel in the pump bowl) and put a bit in for good measure

And....

Still no start, put some easy start spray down the trumpets and voila purred into life and runs fine -all very strange! Is this still consistent with a failing distributor?

Photos....

image.jpg and
Rotor arm no obvious damage


image.jpg and
Checked rotor arm and looks like a sensible gap to all 4


image.jpg and
Plug 4 looks okay to me?


image.jpg and
Plug 3 also looks okay?


image.jpg and
Plug 2 looks like I'm running rich here


image.jpg and
Plug 1 also too rich?


Cheers all

Gareth
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PostPost by: mbell » Fri Oct 23, 2015 11:18 pm

GHill wrote:Still no start, put some easy start spray down the trumpets and voila purred into life and runs fine -all very strange! Is this still consistent with a failing


I'd want to rule the carbs out if it runs on easy start. I'd check the fuel level in the bowls and also that the pump jets aren't blocked. My experience is the pump jets gunk up easily and make it hard to start.

Did it stay running or cut out once it had burnt the easy start?
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PostPost by: Europatc » Sat Oct 24, 2015 1:07 am

but if your rotor is catching the copper pick ups in the cap then I can not see how the point, spark plug gaps would prevent that or how the fuel mixture or level would either. If the rotor arm is striking the brass electrodes in the cap and the cap is on square then I would have thought the fault was in the distributor imho
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PostPost by: Europatc » Sat Oct 24, 2015 1:11 am

in the top image ( 2 of 7) is the carbon sitting in the middle of the rotor? it looks like something is running out by the photograph
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PostPost by: Europatc » Sat Oct 24, 2015 1:22 am

Goathland 077.jpg and
This is what you need, fitted in no time at all
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PostPost by: mbell » Sat Oct 24, 2015 2:28 am

Europatc wrote:but if your rotor is catching the copper pick ups in the cap then I can not see how the point, spark plug gaps would prevent that or how the fuel mixture or level would either. If the rotor arm is striking the brass electrodes in the cap and the cap is on square then I would have thought the fault was in the distributor imho


My thinking is that you need compression, spark and fuel for the engine to run. If you add fuel (easy start) and it runs I would want to make sure the none running wasn't been caused by lack of fuel delivery before spending time on the spark.

So checking the fuel level in the carbs to ensure they are getting fuel and can deliver it to the engine. Then the pump jets to ensure pumping the throttle on start is actually delivering fuel would be things I would invest a little time checking before spending lots of time & money on the ignition system.
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PostPost by: alan.barker » Sat Oct 24, 2015 5:49 am

Gareth,
i have fitted a Hall effect senser to replace the points in my Elan Sprint no problem.
BUT the red rotor arm that came in the kit is crap, does not locate correctly, so i have used the original rotor arm.
The original rotor arm just needed reducing in height(bottom) with a file, the same amount as the thickness of the center of the part that slides over the distributer lobes.
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PostPost by: GHill » Sat Oct 24, 2015 7:19 am

Cheers Guys

I'm going to sound like a Luddite but I just prefer the points over electronic ignition - not that I'm against them totally just always been a mechanics over electrics kind of guy (Russian Mig jets over US F15's anyday :lol: ).

To summarise the advice I will check the carbs (does anyone already know of a good forum post going through the details of this with pictures) I will also check the spark.

To clarify the first time I put the easy start in with no pressure on the gas pedal it started and stopped pretty much straight away. The second time with some more spray and a smidgen on pressure on the gas pedal and it started fine and idled after warm up at 1000 revs no problems.

Thanks again
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PostPost by: alan.barker » Sat Oct 24, 2015 7:36 am

i tried to resist and stay with points BUT after breaking down at the side of the road 4 TIMES because of crap Chinese Condensers(last one was good for only 50 miles), i fitted the Hall effect. This is hidden Inside Dizzy and does not effect the rev counter. The only difference is no points and no break downs :mrgreen: :mrgreen:
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