Lotus Elan

I hate my +2 - please help !!

PostPost by: sparkey » Fri Feb 23, 2007 5:54 pm

I have had an intermittent problem with my +2 that I've "fixed" numerous times in numerous ways, but it always comes back. It's been ongoing for over a year now and although I've had a few good outings, including a trackday at Donnington in October when it performed fantastically I now have no confidence in the car and if it doesn't get fixed this weekend I will be seriously considering getting rid of this car !! Which I would regret as I have had many happy years with it including several Le Mans trips.

The problem is as follows:

If I go to the garage tomorrow where the car has been sitting for a week or two without running it will start immediately. If I then take a drive up my nearest fun twisty road (15 minute run up to Buxton) it will perform faultlessly. If I then park up and go away from the car for any length of time (1 minute or three hours - it doesn't matter) I will then be unable to start it. It will turn over very quickley but will not catch. Eventually after up to an hour of fannying about and generally shouting at it it may just start and run like a dog on 2 or 3 cylinders long enough to get me home. When I get home it'll start fine and fool me into thinking it's fixed itself and the whole infuriating pattern will start again.

When it's running it's running really well, revs cleanly and pulls strongly.

Before I divulge the various fixes so far has anyone an obvious fix that comes to mind.

The car runs webbers and Lumenition electronic ignition.


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PostPost by: Jens » Fri Feb 23, 2007 6:00 pm

I think it just needs love and understanding. Try waxing it...
It's not a German car you see, it is a car with a soul... :lol:

"Make the suspension adjustable and they will adjust it wrong - look at what they can do to a Weber carburetor in just a few moments of stupidity with a screwdriver..." (CABC)

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PostPost by: elans3 » Fri Feb 23, 2007 6:46 pm

Hi, first thing I would do is ditch the Lumenition. I've bought various cars over the last 25 years which have had it, and it's ALWAYS given trouble. Get rid of it and fit an Aldon Ignitor, much simpler, fit and forget in my experience.
I must point out this is a personal view, I presume not everyone has shared my bad luck...
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PostPost by: Elanintheforest » Fri Feb 23, 2007 6:53 pm

I agree ...ditch the aftermarket stuff and put it back to standard with new coil and condensor. Clean up all earth points. If it still has problems, check for muck in the carb...rust flakes from the tank etc. If no muck, check out the carbs.
That's just about all it can be.
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PostPost by: zeteclotus » Fri Feb 23, 2007 8:25 pm

I had the same problem with a 130 +2 running dellorto's I could always make it start eventually by fully opening the throttle when starting.
The final cure was to fit a fuel cut off solinoid (electric) and lower the float level by 0.6mm and raise the temperature of the plugs by 1 (NGK) This stopped piston 1 spark plug fouling up in slow traffic and after 8K miles has not caused any problems.

I run correctly set points (now) and find these more reliable than bolt on electronic ignition.
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PostPost by: bcmc33 » Fri Feb 23, 2007 8:30 pm


My first thoght when I read your spiel - GO BACK TO THE ORIGINAL IGNITION.

Your experience describes perfectly the problem I had with my wife's RS Escort many years ago. Put the original ignition back and it ran like a dream from then on. I never had the balls to tell my wife how I cured the problem.

Keep us informed

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(1972 Sprint)
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PostPost by: curly type 26 » Fri Feb 23, 2007 8:45 pm

When you say it turns over very quickly does it feel like low comp? ie valves open when hot? what fault finding have you done. :?: Colin
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PostPost by: oldokie » Fri Feb 23, 2007 9:11 pm

I think Brian Clarke is spot on! My +2 did the same thing (turned over very quickly but wouldn't light), I put an old lucas distributor in just to get home. Ailment cured!
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PostPost by: nebogipfel » Fri Feb 23, 2007 9:12 pm

Yep, standard ignition (if you know where to buy reliable condensers!!)

Otherwise and probably better, an Aldon Ignitor and standard 12v coil :)

Give the Lumenition flying lessons :lol: :wink:

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PostPost by: chrishewett » Fri Feb 23, 2007 9:15 pm

More knowledgeable contributors than me will be able to help so I won't attempt to advise. My only input is please don't hate it. Be dissapointed, God knows I know what that feels like, but don't hate it. You will sort out the problem and then you will love it again!
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PostPost by: Vanden Perre » Fri Feb 23, 2007 9:20 pm

Hello Steve,

I had a similar problem for several months last years. The engine started perfectely running without problems until I stopped. Then almost impossible to start it and if it started would run on 3 cylinders.
It was solved when I had someone repairing the distributor. I do not know exactely what the problem was as to be honest I do not know how the distributor works but I was told the rotor was (or had been) touching some fixed parts. This had made some thin copper powder which was short circuiting the system.
I would recomend to open the distributor and check it.
Hope it will help.

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PostPost by: sparkey » Sat Feb 24, 2007 9:04 am

Ok thanks guys.

That pretty much confirms what i had expected (or feared), I just needed some backup before I forked out for now ignition. I think the dissy is a bit worn, but I replaced the coil, dissy cap, plugs leads etc. The only thing I haven't yet ditched is the lumenition - so I'll ditch that before I ditch the car !

I'm reluctant to revert to standard as the dissy is so hard to get at for setting points so I think I'll try the Alden Igniter route and see how that goes, but I may try sticking the points back in this weekend just to tst the theory.

Thanks for your help - I'll let you know how I get on.

Steve :D
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PostPost by: Sarah Ryan » Sat Feb 24, 2007 10:10 am

Hi ther just wanted to add my two cents worth. I have run Luminition in my Sprint for over 10 years with no problems at all except on one occasion when cleaning the area I disturbed the the conector from the distributor & one wire (the black) just moved out of the socket & gave the symptions you described. I cleaned the wires with turps & pushed them back along with a drop of silastic to stop them vibrating out & it has been running fine ever since. Properly installed the Lumination system works fine! Before you throw out the system eliminate all other possibilities.
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PostPost by: JJDraper » Sat Feb 24, 2007 10:33 am

I may as well stick in my two cents worth... As Chris said, don't hate it, sort it. It could be ignition, but nobody has mentioned fuel pump yet. I had an Imp (Hillman that is) that displayed the exact symptoms. Finally tracked down to a faulty fuel pump diaphragm. Worked OK cold, but vapour locked when hot. Worth checking float heights as well.

The standard versus electronic ignition debate will go on forever, and I suppose is relatively easy to check if you still have the original bits (never throw them away). But fundamentally an electronic system will give better results. I suspect the prejudice against them is that they tend to be a sealed box that you can't fiddle with. I wonder how many problems with electronic gremlins appear to be miraculously solved by removing the electronic gubbins because you have inadvertantly made good a dodgy connection elswhere in the system.

As far as hating your +2, I guess we all go through that from time to time. I am getting that way because the bodywork is now shabby, the exhaust manifold is blowing (again), the clutch is making funny noises, the transmission is clunking and vibrating, the CV joints have worn out, the carpets are damp, the trunnions need oiling, the doors are sagging. But like your nearest and dearest, you can't bear the thought of being without them.

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PostPost by: john.p.clegg » Sat Feb 24, 2007 10:41 am

Don't ditch the Luminition,it's one of the best mods you can get for your twinc but do check the three pin connector in line from the dissy to the module,mine was inter-loose and caused me untold heartache but when sorted its the bees knees...
If I was you I'd check the colour of the plugs first....

If you need any assistance I can't be far away....

John :wink:
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