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Wiring Woes

PostPosted: Thu Dec 29, 2005 7:47 pm
by Matt7c
Season's Greetings to all!

Having recently moved house, I haven't paid the Elan too mutch attention for a while. So I took her for a spin yesterday, and after a very slow crank, she started well and off I went to the petrol station. Got about 1mile before I noted that the ignition light was still on, so returned home immediately.

Turned out that the wires to the dynamo were shot - the main line to the D post appeared to be functioning, but the insulation had split in several places where it was now full of oil and crap, and it was inflexible. The field line to the F post was completely severed, presumably by old age and rigidity. Have replaced the 2 wires in question, but on the subsequent test drive the headlights didn't work. That problem too is now fixed, also down to broken wires.. (Charged the battery, and the engine started well with a swift crank.)

However, the question arises: is this rigid wire issues brought on by the current very cold weather, or do the wires just get inflexible with age and break. It is the original 1964 loom. Do I need a new loom? If so, can I do it in stages, or is it all or nothing? What is the collective wisdom of the forum? Am I in danger of a fireball if I don't renew the loom?

Re: Wiring Woes

PostPosted: Thu Dec 29, 2005 8:21 pm
by nebogipfel

Unfortunately the plastic sleeving on wires becomes very hard with age particularly where heat is involved.

By now all the wires on your '64 Elan will be very stiff and brittle. This is particularly a concern where you cannot see them and where they are all bunched together like behind the dash!

My own '69 car wiring was in very poor condition for this reason and new looms were the only safe answer.

The other thing worth mentioning is that quite a few of the connections in my loom were corroded and probably creating a high resistance and some wires (particularly earths) were no longer copper coloured but were black! (I presume this is because at some time they had carried too much current and this was the result - but I stand to be corrected) I did add extra earth wires in addition to the new looms during the rewire.

Not sure about the early looms but the later (S3-4) looms consist of underbonnet, dashboard, and front to rear. You certainly could do it one section at a time but I'm not sure it would be worth it. My main concern is that you would be making life difficult for youself because you would have to spend time cleaning all the old connections before joining to the new loom sections.

Re: Wiring Woes

PostPosted: Thu Dec 29, 2005 9:02 pm
by M100
Matt7c wrote:Am I in danger of a fireball if I don't renew the loom?

In a word, yes!

Forget attempting to bodge the original loom or just replacing bits as chances are the rest of the wiring out of sight behind the dash or elsewhere is on its last legs.

Unless you fancy the challenge of building a new loom to modern standards from scratch which takes some considerable time just buy a complete new one from one of the usual suspects and fit it while its too bloody cold and slippy to drive the car safely!

I'm sure some will recommend a comprehensive from scratch rewire to rationalise the rats nest wiring and go through a separation/re-fusing exercise though - the original power structure is appalling!

Re: Wiring Woes

PostPosted: Thu Dec 29, 2005 9:21 pm
by curly type 26
Hi if your car is S1/S2 Elan engine bay and behind dash all one unit also loom continues into boot to connect tank sender and earths wheron a short separate loom connects to lights i bought new one for mine a couple of years ago had it converted to alternator for around ?120. looks much nicer and one less worry (go on you know you want one) Colin :D

Re: Wiring Woes

PostPosted: Fri Dec 30, 2005 1:52 am
by archigator

I just replaced the rear loom on my Sprint, and found a set of extra wires and a hidden switch from the previous owner that turned off the license plate lights at will. You never know what kind of a bogged situation you may have inherited from an earlier owner, one that doesn't appear on the wiring chart.

I have the loom for the engine compartment to tackle next, but in advance of that, I just switched-out the old Lucas headlamp wiring relays, and in the words of author Jonathan Safran Fower, "Everything is Illuminated!" :shock: Changing out those tired old Lucas 15amp relays for modern 40amp relays really seems to make all of the lights brighter, for a very minimal cost. Not to mention, it facilitates the swapping out to more powerful halogen headlamps. I'm no electrical expert, but I believe it also saves wear and tear on those vintage dash switches that can't be found any more.

'71 Elan Sprint
Miami, FL

Re: Wiring Woes

PostPosted: Fri Dec 30, 2005 7:07 pm
by Matt7c
So a new wiring loom is on the 'to do' list. Should probably move it nearer to the top, as it will eliminate further electrical faffs. Although now that I am skint, having just moved house, the whole Elan project has moved down the priority list for a while.

The wife says I should sell it (nothing new there!) but I am considering selling the Jaguar and having the Elan as my everyday car. Does anybody else do that over winter in the UK? (May need to do the loom first, though, especially as the heater fan doesn't work!)

Re: Wiring Woes

PostPosted: Fri Dec 30, 2005 8:14 pm
by Elanintheforest
Matt...I think you should swap the Elan for my nice Jag that overwinters very welll...perfect wireing, and a very economical XJR-s 6.0 know it makes sense. And the heater works!
Jaguars should allways be kept in pairs, as should Elans of course. My S3 would welcome the company.

Re: Wiring Woes

PostPosted: Fri Dec 30, 2005 8:45 pm
by berni29
Hi Matt

I ran a plus 2 over a few hard winters, but I had a petrol powered water pre heater, and also I replaced the matrix in the heater with a modern one. And the fan worked! Use a good demister on the front screen (Rainx do one). If the heater fan is not going to work, then consider wiring in a couple of electric fan heaters. Woolworths have then half price (?7.99) at the moment, and they output about the same heat as a lower vent on an average +2 heater, and more than the screen vent. Although the heater works on my current +2 I am not ready to upgrade it yet so I have a couple of these fans and will be doing just as I have suggested. One advantage is that they provide instant heat. One last thing, the heat behind the dashboard of my old +2 was really incredible, to the point that you could not touch the chrome window buttons for more than a couple of seconds. It lacked the shroud that went round the bottom of the heater and directs the airflow out to the sides. I was a bit of a Lotus virgin and did not know about that when I rebuilt it.

Good luck!!


Re: Wiring Woes

PostPosted: Sat Dec 31, 2005 6:24 pm
by Matt7c
Thanks for the tips Berni, I'll take a look at the heater option - never considered that before. The best improvement, though, would be to get a hood that was actually weather proof and airtight! On the S2 there is no seal around the windows, and by masterful design (thank you Colin!) the icy cold wind entering through the gap does so heading forwards, blowing straight onto the neck! Chapman evidently only drove his Elan in summer!

Mark, thank you so much for the offer of another Jag, my wife will be over the moon! I am attracted to the idea of the 6litre engine (is that the V12?) but in reality my wallet couldn't bear the pain. Anyway, I should have though that your selection of +2 projects are keeping the S3 in good company! I think it better to keep together all those cars with girlie roofs, or they'll all get jealous come the sunshine!

Happy New Year to all!


Re: Wiring Woes

PostPosted: Sat Dec 31, 2005 6:38 pm
by Elanintheforest
Girlie Roofs? :shock:
The S3 would be enjoying the company of the Plus 2s if it wasn't surrounded by Jags...and a Mini Moke that has no girlie doors 8)

Re: Wiring Woes

PostPosted: Sat Dec 31, 2005 7:34 pm
by Matt7c

Respect for the Moke - haven't seen one in the UK for many a year, although I saw a few in Ayanappa a few months ago (I had to go there with work, shame!) :wink: