Lotus Elan

Difficult Cold Starting - Dellortos - 130/5

PostPost by: terryp » Sun Jan 13, 2008 5:09 pm

Hello
Firstly I've read alot of other posts but still can't get to the bottom of my problem. I've checked the float level and renewed all ignition components.
Basically the car has no problems starting either from hot or warm.

If I attempt to start from cold, it either does not fire at all or just starts on 2 or 3 cylinders. If I pull the choke out it sometimes helps and then runs on 4 then if I slowly push it in, its OK. After this initial problem the engine runs smooth with no problems. The carbs have also been balanced with a 4 port manermeter and the mixture adjusted with a CO2 emissions machine
I've tried different starting techniques, dipping the throttle once, 3 times, several times, choke, no choke,
The engine was overhauled a little while back and the plugs are never oiled up, so it can't be the valve guides. Obviously they get wet with flooding problems.
If I take out the plugs , clean then , leave for a bit , then try it starts - no problem
However it seems worst when there is alot of condensation around.
Does anyone have any ideas or is this just Twim Cam Ownership?

Thanks alot

Terry
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PostPost by: oldokie » Sun Jan 13, 2008 6:52 pm

Could the 'dizzy' be getting abit damp?
Gene
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PostPost by: terryp » Sun Jan 13, 2008 6:57 pm

Any ideas how I stop Dizzy getting damp (clean replys only)

Thanks

Terry
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PostPost by: oldokie » Sun Jan 13, 2008 7:12 pm

Does relocating to Arizona sound too extreme? Seems I've heard of an aerosol for this purpose, but have never used it.
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PostPost by: MintSprint » Sun Jan 13, 2008 11:26 pm

It's not something you should just have to live with - Dellorto'd Twin Cams should fire up just fine from flat cold, if everyth8ing is working correctly. My car lives outside these days and often doesn't run for a couple of weeks at a time, yet it fires easily on choke, even in cold, damp weather.

Damp in the ignition seems a likely possibility. Make sure all the low tension connections are clean and dry and give them a bit of a squirt with WD40. Make sure the inside of the distributor cap is clean and perfectly dry, with no signs of condensation when the car is cold. Personally, for the small cost involved, I'd be inclined to replace the dizzy cap and plug leads with new ones, to be on the safe side (plug leads degrade over time, anyway, so should be replaced fairly regularly for peak performance). Also, if you have flooded the plugs several times, I'd suggest you replace those too - they don't like it and never seem to fully recover, even if you dry them out in an oven.

When it fires on two or three cylinders, is it consistently a particular cylinder that fails to fire (which might indicate a dodgy plug lead, plug or fault on a particular carburettor), or random (which might indicate a damp dizzy cap or electrical problems further up the chain)? If you have a tubular exhaust manifold, it should be dramatically obvious which cylinder isn't firing cleanly just by holding your hand close to the manifold headers in the first few seconds of engine warm-up.
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PostPost by: twincamman » Mon Jan 14, 2008 1:53 am

on my sons mini I reverted to pulling a rubber glove over the dist held at the bottom with a tie on --or a good shot of wd40 may displace the moisture ed
Last edited by twincamman on Mon Jan 14, 2008 2:51 am, edited 2 times in total.
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: 1964 S1 » Mon Jan 14, 2008 2:24 am

Hello Terry, I agree with Mintsprint. Usually I'd go with fuel but your's sounds like an ignition/spark problem. I'd make sure you have strong spark on cold start up.
Also, what kind of driving do you do? In town can load up the plugs a bit, do you blow the car out Frequently with high revs and/or high speeds? Eric
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PostPost by: 1964 S1 » Mon Jan 14, 2008 2:33 am

I just re-read and see you are in France so my "in town" comment is probably irrelevant. I was trying to convey that the Elan twin cam loves to be driven at high revs, it helps keep clean and healthy plug tips. A strong spark is essential for cold starts in damp conditions.
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PostPost by: terryp » Mon Jan 14, 2008 7:42 am

Hello
The distributor cap and leads were new and the misfire appears on different cylinders.
The car haldly ever gets caught in traffic, only very occasionly
I'll try the WD40 before starting and see what happens.
Terry
PS there is a Club Lotus (UK) External Car Cover over the car. I'm begining to think this promotes condensation?
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PostPost by: 1964 S1 » Mon Jan 14, 2008 3:42 pm

The car cover may have something to do with it.
Crazy as it sounds, if I put a car cover over my Peugeot 505 when I don't drive it for a few weeks, the exhaust gets a lot of water in it, creating quite a steam show for the first four or five minutes of driving. Twice I was convinced I had a blown head gasket.... but now, three years later, I know it was the car cover ! ? ! ? !
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PostPost by: tdafforn » Mon Jan 14, 2008 3:52 pm

My Dellorto +2s130 starts with the choke out half way..
Then after about 2-3 minutes I can progressively push it in..
When I first had the car I pushed the accelerator 3 times, as I used to have triumph spitfire with DCOEs, and that was what it needed.
However I found that the choke system on the Dellortos works really well and pumping the gas just flooded the engine!
Cheers
Tim
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PostPost by: terryp » Mon Jan 14, 2008 4:01 pm

Tim
What happens if you pull the choke out fully, does that flood it also?
When yours starts , does it start on all 4 cylinders?

Regards
Terry
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PostPost by: elansprint » Mon Jan 14, 2008 6:05 pm

Terry my sprint always starts like this from cold especially with infrequent use even on a rebuilt engine i believe it to be oil draining down the valve guides causing the plugs to oil it fires on a couple to start with but with a bit of throttle it quickly clears its throat ( not too much on a cold engine ) as soon as all four plugs have cleared it ticks over like a sewing machine on no choke although car is on webbers
regards
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PostPost by: elansprint » Mon Jan 14, 2008 6:06 pm

Terry my sprint always starts like this from cold especially with infrequent use even on a rebuilt engine i believe it to be oil draining down the valve guides causing the plugs to oil it fires on a couple to start with but with a bit of throttle it quickly clears its throat ( not too much on a cold engine ) as soon as all four plugs have cleared it ticks over like a sewing machine on no choke although car is on webbers
regards
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PostPost by: tdafforn » Mon Jan 14, 2008 7:44 pm

I have never pulled out the choke fully so I am not sure what would happen.
I certainly used to start on 3 sometimes and then revert to 4 in a couple of minutes if it was left idling. If I drove it straight away I would get a bit of bogging for the first 100 yds and then would run fine.
Tim
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