Lotus Elan

Electronic Ignition

PostPost by: PeterG » Fri Aug 19, 2016 6:18 pm

Hi, firstly, what's the preferred Electronic Ignition Elan owners are using?
Secondly. how do I know what distributor I've got on my 1971 Elan Sprint.
Thirdly, do you also upgrade the plug leads?
Any info would be great chaps and chapesses..
Regards Pete.
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PostPost by: Grizzly » Fri Aug 19, 2016 6:39 pm

The model of your distributor should be stamped on the alloy body (Note this one is a 23D4)
distributor_8.sized.jpg and


As for Electronic Ignition, personally i've had a few different types over the years but the one i prefer is the Lumenition Magnetronic system with the MS4 ballast coil (running a cold start hot wire from the starter solenoid) as i have fitted to my Sprint.

I have a Lumenition Optronic on my +2 but you need to fit a big control box which is unsightly and frankly an un-necessary pain, i've also had a Pertronix and a few AccuSpark's (cheap Chinese Aldon copies) but they didn't work out (Pertronic fail was my fault as i managed to ground the + when it was running by accident which blew the ignition, but the Accuspark just failed one after another).

As for plug leads etc there are a few options here, some prefer the more original Copper type leads but i went with 8mm Magnecor leads on the Sprint, mainly because they did a kit for Lotus Elans that routed through the hole in the back of the head rather than between the carbs and i preferred that look.

I actually still have the 8mm Accuspark leads fitted to my +2, they work fine and cost me about ?10 for 5x universal long leads. So i just ran an 8mm drill down the dizzy cap so they fit. The only problem with the cheap leads is the Silicone is a bit soft so i keep nicking them.

The one thing you need to read up on is the Rev Counter, some rev counters need an Rvi-Rvc conversion when swapping to Electronic ignition and some still work (seems to be a bit of a Roulette), but if you find your Rev counter stops working look into one of these https://www.spiyda.com/magento/index.ph ... board.html
Last edited by Grizzly on Fri Aug 19, 2016 7:01 pm, edited 4 times in total.
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PostPost by: PeterG » Fri Aug 19, 2016 6:52 pm

Thanks so much for the info, I'll get on with it in the morning weather permitting.
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PostPost by: William2 » Sat Aug 20, 2016 8:48 am

I use a Powerspark electronic ignition module. Available on Ebay for about ?30. Good value and I have had no problems with it yet. Also the rev counter works fine with this set up. I have gone for copper core ht leads with resistor style NGK plug covers and an Accuspark high power coil. You don't really need a ballasted coil on Elans.
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PostPost by: l10tus » Sat Aug 20, 2016 9:02 am

IMHO, Electronic is the way to go, absolutely no maintenance.

I've used both Aldon and AccuSpark systems, currently with an un ballasted Lucas Sports Coil

Both give a great spark, better starting, etc.

Like Grizzly, I've also fried an Aldon unit, with reversed connections to the coil - watch out for this, as its "instant death" for the trigger unit !!

The Aldon unit is the same as the Petronix I believe, both are around ?70 each and are produced with reference numbers/ type to suit our Twincam ( although I would think any 4 cylinder Negative Earth unit would suffice?)

I'm currently running my first AccuSpark unit (seems identical performance to the Aldon unit?)and recently suffered a short spell of mis-firing, but it cleared and has since been ok......

Just wondering if that's a sign that it's going to fail (Grizzly)? - may have been a fuel problem - as I'd run out the last time out prior to!

I too had to have the conversion done to the RVI Rev counter ( it still waves about pretty inaccurately!)

Silicon leads are working well for me.

I carry a spare AccuSpark unit in the boot (?20?) - rather than being recovered, if needs be!

Best of luck, I'm sure you won't regret it.

Regards,

Phil.
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Sometimes my Lotus makes me cry.
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PostPost by: patrics » Sat Aug 20, 2016 9:19 am

Hi,
If your running a road car you will probably get away with an amplifier in side the distributor but on a competition car it's better if its remote.
I use a Sierra Cosworth group A coil and remote amplifier - makes a big difference and is probably as far as you can go with a distributor cap.
Ring H&H Ignition Solutions - there in the Black Country - 01384 261500 - I found them to be very good

Regards
Steve
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PostPost by: Grizzly » Sat Aug 20, 2016 9:51 am

l10tus wrote:Just wondering if that's a sign that it's going to fail (Grizzly)? - may have been a fuel problem - as I'd run out the last time out prior to!

The only warning i got was the timing went out of wack for about 5 seconds before the last one failed, but usually what would happen is it would be running and just stop (No spark) If your still running i'd guess it just picked up some dirt.

Don't get me wrong my car ran quite well on the Accuspark and it was the cheapest set up i've ever use but even before my car was on the road i had killed three just idling in the garage, the thing that made me change to Magnetronic was the guy i dealt with at Accuspark didn't seem surprised it had failed and kept replacing them one after another (all failed...) Swapped to the Luminition (which was about ?70 for the kit) and the car runs more or less the same but hasn't failed (Yet, 2 years on)
Last edited by Grizzly on Sat Aug 20, 2016 10:08 am, edited 2 times in total.
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PostPost by: Grizzly » Sat Aug 20, 2016 9:57 am

William2 wrote:You don't really need a ballasted coil on Elans.


I thought that too but i went with it for two reasons, first my Rev counter doesn't play up (it used to just randomly bounce every so often when driving about) it may have been a faulty coil i grant you but still.... Secondly 12v through a 6v coil gives a monster spark on cold start, my cold start is dramatically improved even over a Lucas 12v Sports coil and i only noticed the difference because i was trying to fix the rev counter, at the time i could only find a Ballast 6V coil i could use. Once running the spark on the 6v is exactly the same as the 12v but you get quite a bonus starting especially from cold.

Genuinely if your buying new coils etc and you have the later Square Starter solenoid with the Hot wire output defiantly use a Ballast 6v with said Hot wire, not sure how long the coil will last getting twice the power it needs when cranking but it works for me.
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PostPost by: racy7 » Sun Aug 21, 2016 8:11 am

Lumenition Magnetronic is the way to go. Massive improvement to start up and runs faultlessly. I changed the leads at the same time just because the old ones were exactly that ....old!

My rev counter needed to be adjusted so I have taken the opportunity to have it cleaned and serviced by speedy cables waiting for it to come back right now

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PostPost by: holywood3645 » Mon Aug 22, 2016 2:12 am

I fitted a Lucas CE (constant Energy) system from a BDA. Plug and Play set timing converted Tacho and never looked back.
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PostPost by: Grizzly » Mon Aug 22, 2016 10:35 am

patrics wrote:Hi,
If your running a road car you will probably get away with an amplifier in side the distributor but on a competition car it's better if its remote.
I use a Sierra Cosworth group A coil and remote amplifier - makes a big difference and is probably as far as you can go with a distributor cap.
Ring H&H Ignition Solutions - there in the Black Country - 01384 261500 - I found them to be very good

Regards
Steve

Is this the coil you were referring too?
httpi1198photobucketcomalbumsaa446subylumypartsimg_0186_zps967de689jpg.jpg and
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PostPost by: patrics » Mon Aug 22, 2016 6:15 pm

Hi,
Yes definitely that type - here is a picture - the amplifier is in the back ground and picture in side dizzy

Cheers
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PostPost by: Grizzly » Sat Aug 27, 2016 11:10 am

Bit of an Update.....

I had a bit of a play with my +2, even though i really like the way the Group A coil and Amp run (seemed smoother and i got less smoke) it interfered with my Rev counter even more than the 12v Sports coil, i still think the Ballast set up starts the car from cold easier but the ballast set up is the only one i don't get any Rev counter issues (even with a RVI-RVC conversion fitted and the Electric Ignition doesn't take it's power from the Coil)

Might be different for others but that's what i found.
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PostPost by: patrics » Sun Aug 28, 2016 10:14 am

Hi,
I don't have the standard rev counter so can't comment but it does work properly with the one in photo.
The engine runs a lot better with this coil compared to previous which had amplifier in dizzy. Starting up has always been good but compared to before it will pretty much idle from start up whereas before I had to use a
bit throttle to keep it going.
With the previous set up the amplifier used to start to break down when it was hot and being pushed hard - something we found on the rolling road so we could actually see what was going wrong. The amplifier in the dizzy relies on heat sink paste to cope with the heat and even the latest set up with remote amp is bolted to a 6mm thick bit of alloy plate with heat sink paste.

Regards
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