Lotus Elan

Electronic ignition problems

PostPost by: peterlotuselan » Fri Jun 03, 2016 9:03 pm

I have recently fitted an electronic ignition to replace the points and condenser on my 1970 Elan. I have so far blown two of these systems and now on the third, I fit the distributer, adjust the timing, then it runs for about 5-10 miles and breaks down, Both units I have returned to the manufacturer and they have confirmed both have stopped making a spark. Does anybody have any ideas before I go crazy please please please??????
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PostPost by: rgh0 » Sat Jun 04, 2016 5:40 am

What is the coil you are using. A low resistance coil may overload the electronics. The supplier should be able to tell you the type of coil required to match their system.

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PostPost by: UAB807F » Sat Jun 04, 2016 7:12 am

My pertronix is very clear that you must have a 3 ohm coil, anything less will give trouble.

I've made notes from previous topics about failure modes, and a couple of ones that stood out are;

1. Ensure the connector fit is clean and tight on the coil. Apparently a poor connection will cause the unit to fail prematurely.

2. If you have the early version of Pertronix they didn't like being left with the ignition on and the engine not running. Something about the position of the distributor trigger causing the unit to overheat. If it depends on where the shaft stops it's almost a bit like Russian Roulette - you may be all right, you may not.

3. Voltage to the unit is important but if you're wiring up exactly as per the instructions you should be ok. However the notes did say to use a volt meter to check the voltage into the coil with the key on and engine running. You want 12-14.5 volts, outside that range can apparently damage the unit.

From other forums I've read various comments about the quality of these units and how cheap clones are creeping in. That made me go for a long term player in the market, but even so none of the cheap clones seemed to fail so rapidly - typical life seemed to be 12-18 months on the Ebay cheapies - YMMV of course.

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PostPost by: peterlotuselan » Sat Jun 04, 2016 8:10 am

Many thanks guys for your suggestions. I shall be checking them all out today. The coil was supplied by the guys that built the distributer up for me (Ignition Car Parts in Basildon - who have a good reputation) but I shall double check it's rating. I was chatting to a friend yesterday evening and the idea that it could be an eating problem came up (that the unit is blowing because of poor earth) So I shall add some extra earths between the engine and chassis (can never hurt I guess).
Thanks again and if anybody has any more ideas please feel free to contribute.
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PostPost by: Panda » Sat Jun 04, 2016 12:01 pm

I managed to burn out the module in my new Pertronix 2 distributor when the coil ht lead fell out of the coil at high rpm. May be worth checking that you haven't got excessively high resistance in the ht wiring, or excessive rotor button gap, or excessive spark plug gap.
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PostPost by: tedtaylor » Sat Jun 04, 2016 1:07 pm

UAB807F wrote:My pertronix is very clear that you must have a 3 ohm coil, anything less will give trouble.

I've made notes from previous topics about failure modes, and a couple of ones that stood out are;

1. Ensure the connector fit is clean and tight on the coil. Apparently a poor connection will cause the unit to fail prematurely.

2. If you have the early version of Pertronix they didn't like being left with the ignition on and the engine not running. Something about the position of the distributor trigger causing the unit to overheat. If it depends on where the shaft stops it's almost a bit like Russian Roulette - you may be all right, you may not.

3. Voltage to the unit is important but if you're wiring up exactly as per the instructions you should be ok. However the notes did say to use a volt meter to check the voltage into the coil with the key on and engine running. You want 12-14.5 volts, outside that range can apparently damage the unit.

From other forums I've read various comments about the quality of these units and how cheap clones are creeping in. That made me go for a long term player in the market, but even so none of the cheap clones seemed to fail so rapidly - typical life seemed to be 12-18 months on the Ebay cheapies - YMMV of course.

Brian


WITWDPTTWAKWTTAWTUA?
translation:
Why In The World Do People Think That We All Know What They Think About When They Use Acronyms?
I had to look up what YMMV means. Not all of us are Millennials who text everything instead of spelling out the words in full!!! :D
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PostPost by: The Veg » Sat Jun 04, 2016 6:12 pm

In my experience as a Gen-X person (born 1968), the phrase 'your mileage may vary' was in common use when I was just a child, often heard in things like ads for petrol or oil or other things that were supposed to be good for a car (and its MPG during the oil 'crisis' of the early 1970s), stuff my dad was concerned with while driving was still years into my future.

Of course no generation enjoys typing the same phrase over and over again, so even the most codgerly of the old coots will start to abbreviate things. I first saw 'YMMV' used in fora about old BMW motorbikes by guys much older than me.
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PostPost by: tedtaylor » Sat Jun 04, 2016 6:57 pm

i'm the last of the original baby boomers (and showing my age!)
my kids bought me a handy little "Texting Dictionary of Acronyms" i have to refer to quite often these days to follow in the conversations. :D
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PostPost by: LI-599 » Sat Jun 04, 2016 11:18 pm

In 2012 I purchased a complete Pertronix 2 distributor,coil,leads and the module failed after about 10 minutes running. The replacement module lasted just over an hour, and my mechanic advised that they should not have used 1.5 ohm coil on the latest model. The early model used 3 ohm which limits the current. They were not cooperating at this stage so I sent it back and now run Accuspark for last 4 years.
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PostPost by: ceejay » Sun Jun 05, 2016 9:14 am

I have been running Pertronix igniter (1) on my elan, well, it must be forever.... for many many years anyway, and it's not missed a beat since fitting. The early units were not that fussy re the coil type or Ohms... or at least mine is not anyway. But it's funny after fitment of the igniter, I always carried a set of points... just in case... you know, like the old boy scout motto, be prepared and all that stuff, so far (Touch wood) I have not had to refit the old points.
Electronic Ign does make a huge difference to the running and starting.
But can understand the frustrations if Ign units continue to fail, there has got to be something amiss in the electrics to cause that.
I also run an Accu spark rev limiter which is just a little electronic black box, not much bigger than a matchbox, and that has been behaving itself also.
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PostPost by: gjz30075 » Sun Jun 05, 2016 9:17 am

[quote="peterlotuselan". Does anybody have any ideas before I go crazy please please please??????[/quote]

Yes. Install points. It's OEM and they work just fine. I'll bet you won't notice a difference when running.
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PostPost by: Galwaylotus » Sun Jun 05, 2016 5:12 pm

I had a failure perhaps because I didn't want to remove the points adjustment posts on the distributor baseplate. The module wasn't making ful contact with the baseplate. The photos show the modification I made with a Dremel tool to get around the issue (yep - a bodge!!).
Attachments
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dsc_1406.jpg and
dsc_1404.jpg and
dsc_1403.jpg and
dsc_1400.jpg and
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