Lotus Elan

Engine Doesn’t Start

PostPost by: Tmac897 » Sun May 19, 2024 4:55 pm

Trying to fire up my rebuilt engine, but I haven’t gotten it to start. I know the whole spark / fuel routine, so that’s not my question.

I’ve got a new, fully charged battery, but the engine turns somewhat slowly. I only cranked it a few times, and only for a few seconds each try. Battery cables are noticeably warm, as is the solenoid and the starter itself. I disconnected the battery and went no further, as my automotive electric knowledge is rather thin, and I didn’t want to make a worse problem. Any guidance?

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PostPost by: HCA » Mon May 20, 2024 12:40 am

Yes, you have a huge resistance. Maybe/probably in the starter itself, poor engine grounding or poor live connections along the route.
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PostPost by: Craven » Mon May 20, 2024 11:30 am

Not necessarily anything wrong, a standard starter motor even with the correct 9 tooth pinion and a high cranking capability battery will struggle with a freshly ( tight ) engine. Remove spark plugs the engine should then spin over at good speed.
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PostPost by: Tmac897 » Thu May 23, 2024 7:44 pm

Craven wrote:Not necessarily anything wrong, a standard starter motor even with the correct 9 tooth pinion and a high cranking capability battery will struggle with a freshly ( tight ) engine. Remove spark plugs the engine should then spin over at good speed.


Took the plugs out and it spins quite nicely. Got everything back together but still no go.

I decided to replace the coil. Even though the old one passed the resistance test, it’s almost as old as I am. So I decided to replace.

Used some starter fluid and got it to fire a few times, but not start. On to the fuel system.
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PostPost by: ill_will » Fri May 24, 2024 4:55 am

Hi Tony,

Have you confirmed the cam timing with a DTI or similar? And the ignition timing with a strobe (You mentioned it had been rebuilt.)

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PostPost by: h20hamelan » Fri May 24, 2024 5:50 am

Before you began your restoration in 2019, was it running.

Seems to me, you might have a CCA issue?
Cold Cranking Amps is what the higher compression twink requires.
A 300 wont turn a worn engine, 500 might, 660CCA is good.
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PostPost by: Tmac897 » Fri May 24, 2024 11:30 am

h20hamelan wrote:Before you began your restoration in 2019, was it running.

Seems to me, you might have a CCA issue?
Cold Cranking Amps is what the higher compression twink requires.
A 300 wont turn a worn engine, 500 might, 660CCA is good.


I technically began my restoration in 1985 with the deconstruction, then life happened. So by 2019 I guess I would have to say no, it wasn’t running. This is actually the second engine rebuild since 1985, with the initially rebuilt engine finding its way into a chicken coop in Manchester, NJ. So I guess I’d have to answer no, it was not running before this latest effort.

I have a brand new battery with 500-550 CCA, following the advice of one of the old posts on the subject. I have a 1/2 ton pickup with an 850 CCA battery, so I might try that one. I could probably stand to renew the negative battery cable. I have a new positive, but the ground connections might need some cleaning up as well. So my current predicament might be a case of a few less than optimum circumstances.
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PostPost by: Tmac897 » Fri May 24, 2024 6:47 pm

Looks like the electrical side of the equation is resolved. Starter is turning the engine normally, good spark, and the engine fires, but doesn't turn over.

So must be something in the fuel system. New fuel tank and fuel line, new fuel pump (mechanical), but it doesn’t have a bowl to see if it’s full. Weber setup for idle mixture and idle throttle are set according to spec.

Carbs are black magic to me. Anything I should be checking or looking for?
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PostPost by: 2cams70 » Sat May 25, 2024 12:37 am

Did you do what ill-will said? Usually these problems on initial startup are due to a timing issue somewhere. Typically ignition but can be valve also.
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PostPost by: Tmac897 » Sat May 25, 2024 9:17 am

2cams70 wrote:Did you do what ill-will said? Usually these problems on initial startup are due to a timing issue somewhere. Typically ignition but can be valve also.


Can timing was done with a dial indicator and a timing wheel. Static timing was done with a test light at 10 degrees BTDC for flat top pistons. I don’t have a strobe, but it should be close enough to start. I’ll check the firing order again.
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PostPost by: rgh0 » Sat May 25, 2024 10:29 am

I would try some starter spray. If it fires and runs for a second then its probably a fuel issue

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PostPost by: Tmac897 » Sat May 25, 2024 10:46 am

rgh0 wrote:I would try some starter spray. If it fires and runs for a second then its probably a fuel issue

cheers
Rohan,,


Thanks, Rohan. That’s about where I am. It fires with the starter fluid, then shuts down.
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PostPost by: h20hamelan » Sat May 25, 2024 5:46 pm

Born, and brought home from the hospital (no seat belt (wtf)) in a baby!
Find out where the limits are, and start from there
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