Lotus Elan

Starter motor.

PostPost by: MikeBee » Fri Dec 04, 2015 2:29 pm

Hi,
my Plus 2 started well enough in August, although I did have to replace the starter solenoid..

A couple of weeks ago I went back to it and tried to start. Without the plugs in, it turned over and established oil pressure. As soon as I put in even one plug the starter acted as if the battery was flat and wouldn't turn over.
I replaced the earth lead from the battery and added an earth strap to the left hand engine mount. charged battery (although it seemed OK).
Tried again. Same result.
Any suggestions as to what I can try next?. I tried the search facility but none of the responses seemed to fit.
I have acquired a hi torque starter motor but hadn't planned on fitting it yet.

Mike
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PostPost by: ericbushby » Fri Dec 04, 2015 5:44 pm

Mike,
I think the first question is how old is the battery and what happens when you connect a
known good battery with jump leads? The battery capacity may have reduced with time and lack of use . Even though it is fully charged it may by now be, in effect, a very small battery.
Let us know.
Eric in Burnley
1967 S3SE DHC (It`s looking good for a run to the Club Lotus meeting tomorrow)
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PostPost by: bob_rich » Fri Dec 04, 2015 5:53 pm

Hi Mike

If you have access to a voltmeter you could try checking the voltage at the battery terminals and then a further check to see what the voltage is at the motor terminal. If it is well down then it could be the battery terminals, drop across the solenoid terminals,or in the lead from the solenoid to the motor or the earth lead itself. The leads battery to rear frame and engine to front body are well known problems. All connections, and the battery, need to be in good order to get the 200A plus to the motor.

An analogue meter is better as these record the voltage change is a more readily readable way. Digital meters are more common nowadays but you may get some idea of the voltage drop. I have known high resistance problems in the motor lead and the starter solenoid itself.

you can buy a simple voltmeter for as little as ?4 and this will help sort out where volts drops are occurring

Hope this helps best of luck

Bob
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PostPost by: William2 » Sat Dec 05, 2015 11:37 am

Mike, if the battery is in good condition it should read at least 12.65 volts fully charged and not drop below that level if checked the next day. I have had lots of starter motor issues recently and decided to fit a Wosp high torque motor from Sue Miller. Just fitted it and it works a treat. In my opinion the old Lucas motors are marginal in their ability to crank the engine over properly and they are very inefficient compared to modern HT ones. Also, I don't believe the recon ones are much cop either. I also intend to fit a larger amp hour battery.
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PostPost by: RogerFrench » Sat Dec 05, 2015 1:36 pm

After 40 to 50 years of neglect Lucas starters may be marginal, but it's amazing what a good clean-up, particularly of the commutator, maybe a new bush or two and possibly new brushes, can accomplish for not much money. There's a good deal of satisfaction to be gained from such an overhaul too.
A Lucas starter in good condition is well up to the task. Agreed, modern ones are better, but most modern components are better than Elan originals.
I'm not a great believer in resolving issues by chucking money at them!
1967 Elan S3
1972 Europa Twin Cam
2005 Elise
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PostPost by: MikeBee » Mon Dec 21, 2015 10:51 am

Thanks for all of your comments. I'm at the car now and will have a chance to try some of these. I have acquired an Odessey battery as well as a high torque starter motor, neither fitted yet.

Regards
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PostPost by: nomad » Mon Dec 21, 2015 10:09 pm

If the battery checks out OK you can bypass the problematic ground with a jumper cable as well to see if that's the problem. I've always used the "spit and grip" test on suspicious automotive connections. If spit on it doesn't sizzle then its safe to touch a connection and see if its hot after attempting to crank the engine over. First test for a poor connection for me! :D

Kurt.
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PostPost by: MikeBee » Tue Dec 22, 2015 9:56 am

Funny you should mention about hot cables etc as yesterday I tried to start with the Odyssey battery and it was better but didn't start. I went through the cables and the one from the solenoid to the starter motor was very hot.
I've replaced it and will try again today.
If that doesn't work then I'll replace the starter motor.
Thanks for the help.

Mike
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PostPost by: MikeBee » Mon Jan 04, 2016 7:50 pm

Update. After replacing the cable from the solenoid to the starter, it started, but ran roughly -as usual.
A knowledgeable neighbour then fiddled ( in a technical way) with the distributor and then passed his hands over the carbs and it ran much, much better.
Thanks for all of the advice..

On to the next job now!
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