Lotus Elan

Re-starting The Tc

PostPost by: Matt7c » Sun Jan 30, 2005 1:55 pm

I have been trying to re-start the TC in my old Elan S2 that has stood still for 13 years. Its been thoroughly soaked in WD40 and and turns over nicely but I have had no joy firing her up. I did attain combustion a few times, but mostly a backfire through one of the inlets. Except when it seemed to run for about a second entirely on backfires through all 4 inlets! Probably a lot of petrol sitting there to be burned after so many attempts.

Anyway, here's is what I have done:

- Set static timing using 10degree mark on casing and checking the No1 cylinder was on combustion with my thumb over the plug hole (I am taking No1 as nearest the radiator).

- Dropped in Lucas-based Aldon Ignitor 103TC dizzy and checked that rotor aligned with No1 lead afterwards - it did. Rotor arm turns anti-clockwise, so marked up dizzy cap with firing order 1342 and connected HT leads to plugs in that order.

- Coil and dizzy connected like so: coil connected to +ve line from starter switch (through fuse box), Ignitor red and black wires to coil +ve and -ve sides respectively, HT lead from coil to centre hole on dizzy. I have a timing light to check that I am getting an HT circuit, so I think the electrics are fine.

- I have checked the plugs, all of which are new but smell of petrol so the carbs are definately putting petrol into the cylinders.

- On turnover, every now and then it will fire one cylinder, but no more.

I feel that I am quite close, but can't think of anything more to check (everything above has been checked many times already!). Of-course, I realise that I am assuming the carbs work, but I am trying to ignore that as a variable at the moment just to make sure that I have the ignition stuff sorted!

Any tips of things to check, or any errors in my set up above would be gratefully received...

Matt
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PostPost by: type26owner » Sun Jan 30, 2005 3:37 pm

Matt,
Setting the static timing on the Ignitor is done differently from doing it with points. Put a spark plug into the #1 HT lead and lay it on the valve cover so you can see a spark jump the gap. Position the crankshaft at 10 degrees BTDC firing on #1. DISCONNECT all the other leads to the spark plugs. Turn on the ignition and rotate the the dizzy body in the OPPOSITE (clockwise) direction the rotor turns to phase the magnet to the hall effect switch from the correct side. Stop when the spark jumps the spark plug gap and tighten the clamp. It's statically timed. Don't forget and leave the ignition on because that can burn the coil up in few minutes. The next generation of hall effect switches coming out have a micro-processor which senses this and shuts off the power to the coil automatically.

You can squirt fuel into the carbs and keep it running so don't worry about the carbs just yet. Make sure all is well with the ignition first. That's the best practice way that a professional does the diagnostics.

Did you work on the cam timing at anytime since it's last run? Are the electrics positive or negative earthed?
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PostPost by: twincamman » Sun Jan 30, 2005 4:15 pm

1-3-4-2 fire order ---- sounds like you have to re think the relation ship of the distributor timing to the firing order at the plugs ----- counterclockwise in the distributor ---- or you may have fouled the plugs--- ed law
dont close your eyes --you will miss the crash

Editor: On June 12, 2020, Edward Law, AKA TwinCamMan, passed away; his obituary can be read at https://www.friscolanti.com/obituary/edward-law. He will be missed.
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PostPost by: berni29 » Sun Jan 30, 2005 4:46 pm

Hi There

I just started up a TC that had been sitting for 5 years. As long as the petrol is fresh and the carbs are not gummed up with stale petrol varnish (I put a different set on rather than clean the old ones up) then a squirt of some stuff called "cold start" into the airbox will help. Do not squirt it directly down the chokes. Put the airbox on and squirt into the mouth of that (with the trunking disconnected and pushed to one side. I found that it is too easy to flood the engine otherwise.

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Zetec+ 2 under const, also 130S. And another 130S for complete restoration. Previously Racing green +2s with green tints. Yellow +2 and a couple of others, all missed. Great to be back 04/11/2021 although its all starting to get a bit out of control.
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PostPost by: type26owner » Sun Jan 30, 2005 5:37 pm

then a squirt of some stuff called "cold start" into the airbox will help.

I would use some extreme caution doing something like that. Seems like a good way to blow up the airbox if the entire mixture detonates in the box. Pretty good chance of that happening if the timing of some sort is wrong.
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PostPost by: berni29 » Sun Jan 30, 2005 6:00 pm

Hi

That is a good point. It does not surprise me that I did not think of it. If I had been watching someone else I would have said "I do not think that you want to do that", but when I am at it I'm a bit gung ho.

On most cars I think that you would be OK. On a Lotus with bad timing you are quite literally playing with fire. Possibly a big one.

Berni
Zetec+ 2 under const, also 130S. And another 130S for complete restoration. Previously Racing green +2s with green tints. Yellow +2 and a couple of others, all missed. Great to be back 04/11/2021 although its all starting to get a bit out of control.
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PostPost by: Matt7c » Sun Jan 30, 2005 6:33 pm

She lives!

Type26, you're the boy! I followed your instructions after realising that I had been following the standard instructions in the workshop manual. The reason I wasn't following the instructions from Aldon was simply that they were aimed at the customer who had bought only the ignitor and was dropping them into a dizzy already installed. I now realise that there is a certain point were the instructions supplied started to make sense and should have been followed.

Anyway, got the static timing sorted and she started. She ran for about 10 seconds 3 times, but I couldn't keep her going. This was probably due to the fact that as I don't yet have a way of attaching the choke cable to the starting devices on the carbs, I was using both hands to hold open the starting devices, pull on the throttle and press the solenoid all at once. Probably either flooded her or starved her, or both.

I would have kept going with trying to get her running, but after a while I noticed that the left carb was pee-ing fuel everywhere, and the oil filter was leaking oil...problems for another day. But I think the timing is now sorted! Thanks again.

The carbs were leaking fuel from the top cover, and also through the hole into the air box above the left trumpet. I assume that both leaks would be solved with a new gasket? Is there ever an end to the amount of spares needed???

Matt :)
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PostPost by: Matt7c » Sun Jan 30, 2005 6:36 pm

Ooooooh! I now have a 1st gear picture!
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PostPost by: berni29 » Sun Jan 30, 2005 6:43 pm

Hi Matt

You probably do not want to hear from me after the cold start idea, but my money is on flooding. I have never used the choke on my TC even in deepest winter, and the one I started (after a 5 year lay up) recently on a cold day did not need it either. The other thing is that when I tried to start it with the old carbs on fuel came out of the hole on the left hand side of the carb in the same way that you describe. I guessed that my carbs were gummed up with old petrol and rubbish and that was causing the overflow. I put another set on and it all worked fine. I have not stripped the original set down yet. I think that yours are obstructed in some way.

Berni
Zetec+ 2 under const, also 130S. And another 130S for complete restoration. Previously Racing green +2s with green tints. Yellow +2 and a couple of others, all missed. Great to be back 04/11/2021 although its all starting to get a bit out of control.
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PostPost by: Matt7c » Sun Jan 30, 2005 6:55 pm

Bernie, thanks for the tip about not using the choke, just what I need to know for next time.

A blockage in the carbs is certainly possible, even likely. I am trying to avoid doing overhauls that might not need doing as I want to postpone the full rebuild so I can enjoy actually driving her first! Although my S2 hadn't moved for 13 years, she is actually is very good order, so I'm just fixing what needs it as I go along. That said, I did remove the carbs, clean them and soak them in cleaner - but I didn't alter the set-up at all. However, it would be useful to know what that hole is for - is it an overflow that will be unaffected by a new gasket?

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PostPost by: lotusanglia1965 » Sun Jan 30, 2005 6:59 pm

Hi All!
I too never use the choke,three pumps of the throttle normally works fine when cold.Most of the webers i've seen have the cold start device seized through lack of use or not even being connected! their function/benefit is dubious anyway.Fuel leaks from the top gasket are normally due to stuck float needle valve,fuel level is normally below gasket.take care,elan+fuel or wiring fault =heap big trouble. I had mine catch fire whilst driving at night,deep joy :)
Martin
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PostPost by: Matt7c » Sun Jan 30, 2005 7:15 pm

Thanks Martin, I'll check out the float needle vavle tomorrow night.
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PostPost by: twincamman » Sun Jan 30, 2005 10:32 pm

if you use ether[quick start ] dont close your eyes---you'll want to see the explosion -- ed law
dont close your eyes --you will miss the crash

Editor: On June 12, 2020, Edward Law, AKA TwinCamMan, passed away; his obituary can be read at https://www.friscolanti.com/obituary/edward-law. He will be missed.
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PostPost by: type26owner » Mon Jan 31, 2005 2:50 pm

Hey Matt,
If you do an archive search here on my postings on the Weber carbies you'll find lots of info that is good to know which is not mentioned in any of the books. For instance, the cold-start chokes work just fine if they are tuned correctly which Lotus did not do.
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PostPost by: Matt7c » Tue Feb 01, 2005 11:14 pm

Martin, you were right about the carby overflow. A quick squirt of WD40 on the inlet-float-valve-thingy and all my petrol now stays inside the carb. Thanks.
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