Lotus Elan

Starter joy!

PostPost by: Bombay Racing Green » Sun Jul 03, 2016 11:59 am

Hi all,

Just thought I'd share my recent experience with my starter motor. Last week I took the opportunity of a warm sunny day to take the Elan for a drive down from Wicklow to Wexford (30mins) to get some strawberries. After buying the strawberries I got back in and started it up. No problems starting but there was a continuous buzzing noise. I didn't pay much attention as the temperature and pressure were all ok. It was when I got home and opened up the bonnet that I realised that after I stopped the engine, the starter motor was still turning. I disconnected the battery and it stopped. I assumed that the starter solenoid had stuck in the on position. After rummaging around the spares department I found an old solenoid and fitted it. A click but no whir! However, the interior light did dim so I knew that the starter armature was getting current. Thoughts now turned to a new starter motor. A few months ago I had taken the old starter out as the top mounting had sheared and I replaced it with a starter I had left over from my +2 (I had replaced it with a Luke sport high torque motor). The old one had a 9 tooth pinion and the replacement had 10. In it went and it fired up beautifully. But now this one was dead after the strawberry run.

I phoned a chap who lives down the road from me who has several modern classics in his collection to see if he had any thoughts. He directed me to a man who specialises in starters, generators and alternators on the way up to Dublin in a place called Killmacanog (ironically pronounced Kill mechanic!). 20 minutes later I was in his workshop and was chatting away to him. He said it was certainly something he could do but unfortunately he had just come out of an operation so it may take some time for him to get around to it. He did point out that the motor with the dead armature was a copy of the Lucas starter. I think the brand was Castle. We had an interesting chat about high torque starter motors and his view on them. Anyway I left him to it and said there was no rush.

The next morning I get a phone call saying it's ready! New mounting plate for the original Lucas motor and 10 tooth pinion fitted. In the meantime I found a brand new solenoid hidden deep in the spares department, fitted a manual switch for the radiator fan and changed the gearbox and differential oil. In all, the Elan was only down for three days!

I was hoping to go to the classic car show this afternoon at Terenure College in Dublin. However, time is getting tight and I'm working this afternoon/evening.

Pete
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PostPost by: john.p.clegg » Sun Jul 03, 2016 2:07 pm

Pete
What caused the initial problem,was it the starter solenoid stuck or the ignition switch...I have seen a switch give enough current to operate the solenoid ( start position ) and when in the run position through the internal verdigris ( sp) enough to hold it operated...

John :wink:
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PostPost by: gjz30075 » Sun Jul 03, 2016 9:02 pm

Bombay Racing Green wrote:Hi all,

We had an interesting chat about high torque starter motors and his view on them.

Pete


Pete, I'm curious; what was his view on these starters?
Greg Z
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PostPost by: AdrianSi » Sun Jul 03, 2016 10:10 pm

I fitted a WOSP hi-torque 9 tooth starter the other month.

No more listening to the starter wizz over as it kicks out at the first sign of decent compression with a bit of ignition advance.

The starter now turns over reliably and continuous. It sounds healthy.

The only downside, is it sounds healthy and modern so doesn't have that 'classic' noise. But in this case, function over originality 100%.
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PostPost by: Bombay Racing Green » Mon Jul 04, 2016 8:09 am

John,

The solnoid was relatively new by the look of it. On inspection the it was stuck fast in the closed condition. Noel, the chap who rebuilt the starter did suggest the same as you did. That will be the next job on the list when I get a chance. Then it's onto the duff fuel gauge and/or sender!

Hi Greg, I fitted a lukesport starter in the +2 and was very happy with it too. I must stress this was his opinion and I don't want to stir up a hornet's nest. He believed that the original pinion was of a slightly lower temper in relation to the ring gear so that it would strip before the ring gear. The idea being it's easier to change a starter pinion rather than the ring gear. The newer pinions are of a higher strength now and, as the name implies, they produce high levels of torque very quickly onto the relatively weaker ring gear thus increasing the likelihood of damaging the ring gear first. Having only seen two sets of ring gears and starters in my life I cannot comment of the veracity of his opinion.

I'm now running for cover!

Pete
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PostPost by: rgh0 » Sat Jul 09, 2016 6:39 am

AdrianSi wrote:I fitted a WOSP hi-torque 9 tooth starter the other month.




WOSP list a different starter for the Lotus Cortina than for the Elan does anyone know why that is the case ?
The Lotus Cortina one is 1.4 kw rating versus 1 kw rating for the Elan.

Is there something about the Elan installation that limits use of what looks like to be a larger body on the Lotus Cortina unit.

cheers
Rohan
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