Lotus Elan

Starter Problems ...

PostPost by: powellsmail » Mon Mar 30, 2020 9:03 pm

Thank you John, but can it be freed off without having to pull the starter motor? Any old school tricks?
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PostPost by: john.p.clegg » Tue Mar 31, 2020 6:58 am

If it's stuck engaged, a gentle hammering,or rocking the car fore and aft ( in gear ) usually helps , but yours sounds stuck un-engaged...

It's only two/three bolts , although not easy to get at ...well it is a Lotus.

John ;-)
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PostPost by: RogerFrench » Tue Mar 31, 2020 8:18 am

What he said ^^^^
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PostPost by: HCA » Tue Mar 31, 2020 8:42 am

powellsmail wrote:Battery back on charge. What to try next?


An expensive fix, but if you intend to use the car a lot and/or want peace of mind at each start, fit a pre-engaged starter...

Those inertia starters are the pits! A sound burnt in my memory from back in the day when they were the norm - the bang when they engage and the whrrr when the engine tries to start and releases the bendix! - the days when carrying a hammer was obligatory in the on-board tool kit :D
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PostPost by: oldelanman » Tue Mar 31, 2020 9:15 am

Before you resort to taking the starter off I would check/clean the battery earth connection in the boot and the engine earth strap.
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PostPost by: 2cams70 » Tue Mar 31, 2020 11:53 am

Can't you just lever off the metal inspection cap that's on the bellhousing on the other side of the starter? Lever it off and have a look at the starter Bendix. It may be gummed up with oil so clean it with some brake cleaner and ensure that it freely rotates inward and springs back by itself when turned.
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PostPost by: alan.barker » Tue Mar 31, 2020 12:11 pm

[quote="oldelanman"]Before you resort to taking the starter off I would check/clean the battery earth connection in the boot and the engine earth strap.[/quote
To clean the battery earth remember ro remove completely the screw through the bobbin. So you can clean the surface under the screw head on the chassis. Also try to clean between chassis and bobbin.
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PostPost by: powellsmail » Tue Mar 31, 2020 10:22 pm

Thank you all. First task is to get the battery fully charged. And then to start working through the list.
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PostPost by: 2cams70 » Tue Mar 31, 2020 10:42 pm

powellsmail wrote:First task is to get the battery fully charged.


If the starter spins without turning the engine over you have a mechanical problem not an electrical one. Either the bendix gear on the starter (most likely) or the gear teeth on the ring gear. That's if you still have the original Lucas starter fitted.
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PostPost by: rgh0 » Wed Apr 01, 2020 12:07 am

2cams70 wrote:
powellsmail wrote:First task is to get the battery fully charged.


If the starter spins without turning the engine over you have a mechanical problem not an electrical one. Either the bendix gear on the starter (most likely) or the gear teeth on the ring gear. That's if you still have the original Lucas starter fitted.



Can still be an electrical problem if the starter acceleration is not sufficient to spin the bendix gear into engagement due to a, flat battery, bad supply or earth connection , worn brushes, shorted starter windings etc. Though more likely to be a gummed up bendix inertia system itself on the starter

cheers
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PostPost by: 2cams70 » Wed Apr 01, 2020 12:17 am

Very unlikely in my experience. If it rotates enough to be heard that should be enough to engage the Bendix. Very common for them to stick either due to grit and dirt or a raised burr on the screw thread.
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PostPost by: alan.barker » Wed Apr 01, 2020 7:24 am

Or Bendix broken internaly which i have seen many times
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PostPost by: 512BB » Wed Apr 01, 2020 8:49 am

If I am starting a Lotus that has not run in a while, with the fuel bowls empty, I always jump it off another running car or a spare battery, even if the battery on the Lotus is good. There is no point in running down the battery on the Lotus that I am trying to start, as that invariably leads to crashing the bendix and mashing the ring gear, if the bendix is not moving fast enough. So easy to just give it a helping hand with a jumper and keep the gears in good order.

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PostPost by: l10tus » Wed Apr 01, 2020 4:23 pm

Another point to consider is the fact that the latest gear reduction starters bendix's enter the flywheel ring gear from the opposite side to that of the older OEM inertia type.

Whereas most original engine ring gears have a chamfer/lead to assist with engagement of the OEM type bendix, only on their 'front' face, not always on the 'back' face.

So very often, the newer type geared starters struggle to engage correctly, by not travelling the requisit amount, stopping the internal copper contacts from making contact correctly, to start the spinning action.

I noticed that depending on where the engine stopped, the geared starter would sometimes engage ok, but other times would not, presumably, not engaging fully or enough, to close the internal copper contacts.

From experience, it is possible to increase the chamfer on the gear reduction 'bendix' and slightly reposition / slacken the starter mounting bolts, to achieve a better mesh.

But to be honest.I think it's an 'engine out' job, to install a new ring gear with both sides chamfered, or to turn a single sided one, to best suit the gear reduction type's direction of engagement travel.

Worth checking your ring gear type and mesh, before spending time looking for other answer's maybe?
Philip.

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PostPost by: richardcox_lotus » Wed Apr 01, 2020 5:47 pm

I had this last year. I was using a recently renovated starter from Paul Matty.

It was spinning but not engaging. Tapping doesn’t really help as the bendix wasnt stuck on the ring gear. Only fix was removal - the bendix shaft has been imperfectly prepared with some minor scuffing which promotes sticking. Have cleaned it back up but really needs to be put on a lathe to clean the pole.

Now using my original starter !

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