Lotus Elan

1969 Elan s4 timing/starting issues

PostPost by: stebbs » Tue May 26, 2020 8:29 pm

I am trying to get my project car running. Originally I had issues generating spark and found that hardwiring a cable from the solenoid to the coil + terminal got is started but very rough. I then removed and cleaned out the Stromberg carbs. I was then able to start the car first time but heard a lot of noise. At some point I tried to modify the timing chain tensioner in case it was the loose chain I was hearing. Since then I have not been able to start it. It's getting spark and seems to be getting gas. When I occasionally get a firing, it stops the engine as though the timing is way out. I can't see that I have made any obvious changes too cause this. The tensioner is now about what it was set at previously. Any ideas would be welcome.
I am not an experienced mechanic and am willing to see one that can help so my combined second question is whether there is an experienced mechanic I can contact in the Ventura County area that someone can recommend. I would appreciate any suggestions.
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PostPost by: StressCraxx » Wed May 27, 2020 1:05 am

May I suggest Tony Ingram,

I believe he is just up the road from you in Santa Maria. His email is in the link. My son has had engine work done by him and was very pleased.

https://lotus7.com/Home.html
There is no cure for Lotus, only treatment.
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PostPost by: stebbs » Wed May 27, 2020 2:11 am

Thanks. Sounds like he's the guy. I hope he makes house calls.
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PostPost by: mbell » Wed May 27, 2020 2:50 am

I'd check the static timing on it as a start, If timing is very wrong it could stop it firing up. Just needs a test lamp or multi meter if on points it some electronic ignitions.

Disconnect the ground wire from dizzy to coil. For test lamp connect lamp ground lead to dizzy grind wire and then the 12v power in on lamp to 12v source, e.g. solenoid. Turn the engine with a spanner (5/8") or wrench if you prefer... The lamp should come on and off as the engine turns. Then watch the timing mark on the crank case and crank pulley, you want there light to come on when the timing mark on the pulley is around the 10 degree mark. Doesn't need to be very accurate, just some around there, as should be finely adjusted with engine running using a timing light.

Can be adjusted by rotating the dizzy, after listening the clamp.
'73 +2 130/5 RHD, now on the road and very slowly rolling though a "restoration"
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PostPost by: alan.barker » Wed May 27, 2020 8:56 am

For the price of a Cam Cover Gasket remove the Cam Cover.
Check that Exhaust Sprocket is on exhaust side. Check Cam Timing is correct and Timing Chain tension.
Set Engine to 10 btdc and points just starting to open.
The only way is to go back to basics.
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PostPost by: oldelanman » Wed May 27, 2020 9:14 am

Check the firing order .. you may have got the plug leads mixed up.
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PostPost by: stebbs » Sat May 30, 2020 2:17 am

Still trying to troubleshoot this. checked the timing chain and all seemed well. Followed instructions for the static timing and that seems correct. I can see the gas pump is delivering gas. I can't definitively say gas is getting to the cylinders. I have a spark tester and seems to be sparking as I crank the engine. Still nothing. I have the air filter off and it almost seems like it's blowing back out of the carbs. There's really nothing obvious I did to cause this. When it ran last it was noisy (I though timing chain or something clanking) and suddenly stopped. Hasn't run since. Eventually I will get the car to a mechanic but that may be a while. I would like to at least see signs of life again but not sure of the next step. Even though the timing is correct (or close) is it possible that something could have changed to cause valves to open when they should be closing?
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PostPost by: stebbs » Sat May 30, 2020 2:40 am

By the way, I have numbered the spark plug leads so I can't mix them up. They are the same as when the car was running. But thanks for the suggestion
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PostPost by: mbell » Sat May 30, 2020 2:42 am

Maybe the engine timing jumped when you were adjusting the tensioner. I'd pull the cam cover and check the cam timing.

With engine rotated so the timing mark on crank pulley is on the tdc mark on timing cover, the timing marks in the cams should be very close to pointing at each other.

Appart from that maybe it's got 180 degrees out on the ignition timing. Should be able to swap 1 and 4 plug leads, then 2 and 3 to test. (Make sure to put them back if it doesn't work)

If you have access to a compression tester I'd try that too.
'73 +2 130/5 RHD, now on the road and very slowly rolling though a "restoration"
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PostPost by: alan.barker » Sat May 30, 2020 6:02 am

If you have checked like i said above maybe you are 180` out.
When you put at TDC it was for n`4 and not n` 1.
Be careful with rotation of Dissy and firing order 1.3.4.2.
Alan
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PostPost by: stebbs » Sun May 31, 2020 8:04 pm

Bad news for me. I took the cam cover off to look at the timing and found that the exhaust cam had completely sheared and was not turning. That would explain a lot.
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PostPost by: mbell » Sun May 31, 2020 9:18 pm

Sorry to hear that!
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PostPost by: The Veg » Mon Jun 01, 2020 1:32 am

I've got fingers crossed for any associated damage to be minimal! I suppose you could do far worse than a broken cam.
1969/70 Elan Plus 2 (not S) 50/2036
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PostPost by: rgh0 » Mon Jun 01, 2020 1:57 am

Unfortunately most of the valves will be bent and also pistons , rods and crank damage possible. Looks like you will need to services of someone like Tony Ingram to assist in a full dismantle, inspect and rebuild.

Removing and Dismantling the engine is a relatively simple task that even an inexperienced mechanic can do, inspection and reassembly needs some more experience, specialist tools and skills so you may need help with this.

Doing most of it yourself is entirely possible If you have basic skills and follow the steps in the workshop manual or in the Wilkins Lotus Twin Cam book and are prepared to spend a bit of money on some of the key tools needed if you dont have them such as a suitable deep throat valve spring compressor and torque wrench.

cheers
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PostPost by: stebbs » Fri Jun 12, 2020 8:10 pm

I took the head off and there's no obvious damage. Waiting for a spring compressor to remove and insect the valves.
Maybe it makes more sense to start another thread but I need to buy a new camshaft for the broken exhaust one. It's hard to find where to do this. There are plenty of discussions around different cams and upgrading but I just want a replacement for what I have. If it helps I see some sort of part number on them: MC23929 and B26E351.
Doesn't anyone have a suggestion where I can buy this replacement?
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