Lotus Elan

Dellorto barrel imbalance

PostPost by: alaric » Mon Oct 03, 2022 12:53 am

Hi all.

I've just re-fitted my Dellorto DHLA40, after a full strip down with new throttle shafts, have set up the mixture with my colourtune, set the ignition timing, and the carb to carb balance with my carbtune 4 column manometer.

I have a significant difference in the vacuum between the barrels in each carburettor. Barrel 1 is much bigger than barrel 2, and barrel 4 is much bigger than barrel 3 - so 1 and 4 are about the same, and 2 and 3 are about the same. The difference in vacuum between the barrels is about 2:1, so not slight.

Has anyone seen this before? I can try swapping the carbs over to see if the pattern changes but I don't think it will, as I think the difference must be due to something in the cylinder head. If someone could help me diagnose this that would be great.

Regards.

Sean.
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PostPost by: promotor » Mon Oct 03, 2022 8:03 am

If you are worried that there is something wrong with the head (ie valves not sealing etc etc) then a good way to check would be to do a compression check - this should be carried out with the carb butterflies fully open to negate the effect of the plates. The engine should be warm ideally to do this. If the compressions are low and you see a pattern relative to your checks, then it's likely the head and not carbs.
If no problem is evident on the compression test, it would suggest carb issues.
Check throttle spindle twist - make sure plates are opening the same amount at idle - check progression hole covers to see where the plates are in relation to the progression holes. They all need to be uncovering at the same point relative to throttle input. Then you need to see if all other screw adjustments are similar, or if not, are they compensating for a possible issue like bent throttle shaft etc.
Last edited by promotor on Mon Oct 03, 2022 5:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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PostPost by: George S L » Mon Oct 03, 2022 8:27 am

This might help
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PostPost by: Andy8421 » Mon Oct 03, 2022 12:31 pm

Dellortos have balance screws that allow the airflow at idle to be balanced between the two barrels in the same carburettor (which I believe is your problem). The doc included above describes how to adjust the balance between two carburettors, which isn't the same thing.

Have a look here:

https://www.theapplebyclan.com/Richard/Tiger%20Super6/Useful%20info/Dellorto/
68 Elan S3 HSCC Roadsports spec
71 Elan Sprint (being restored)
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PostPost by: alan.barker » Mon Oct 03, 2022 3:27 pm

Not all Dellortos have the balance.
Only the 151 model
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PostPost by: types26/36 » Mon Oct 03, 2022 3:42 pm

alan.barker wrote:Not all Dellortos have the balance.
Only the 151 model
Alan

That is not correct, The 151 are weber carbs (which do have the bypass air screws) but its the Dellorto DHLA 40E that have the bypass air screws.
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PostPost by: alan.barker » Mon Oct 03, 2022 4:01 pm

on my 1972 Lotus Elan Sprint fhc dhla40 i've never found an air balance.
The only ones i have seen on Big Valves with a balance have been replacement new Carbs ref Weber 151.
Maybe i need to have a close look i've never seen them in 23 years.
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PostPost by: types26/36 » Mon Oct 03, 2022 4:05 pm

No, My 72 Sprint also does not have the bypass screws, that is because they are DHLA 40 and not the DHLA 40E.
Look closely at the end of the model number, some have letters .......some are emission and some non emission, DHLA 40E are non emission with the bypass screws.
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PostPost by: types26/36 » Mon Oct 03, 2022 4:16 pm

40/40C/40E are non emission with the “E” carbs having the screws all been good for TC engines.
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PostPost by: types26/36 » Mon Oct 03, 2022 4:32 pm

picture of a DHLA 40E showing letter and bypass screws BTW ....they have 5 progression holes.
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PostPost by: RichardHawkins » Mon Oct 03, 2022 6:38 pm

Sean,

If you have fitted new throttle shafts, you may find that you have not centralised the throttle discs correctly. I have found this a really fiddly and difficult job to get correct.

Hope this helps,

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PostPost by: alaric » Mon Oct 03, 2022 9:51 pm

Hi all.

Thankyou very much for all the replies.

My carbs are the non emission type with no letter after the dhla, and have blanked off holes where the idle bypass screws could have been.

I spent a long time centralising the butterfly plates, and am sure that's not the issue that I have; there was no light coming through the edges around them when closed once I had them screwed in. The pattern I'm seeing is actually the same as before I took the carbs off, and one of the reasons I stripped them. The manometer is measuring the pressure on the engine side of the butterfly plate, and it's the two outside cylinders (1 & 4) that are giving the higher vacuum. That suggests to me that the barrels are flowing less air or that the demand for air, for the same throttle opening across all barrels, is greater than the two centre cylinders (2 & 3).

If it's the engine then I can think of the following reasons for it:

1) The exhaust manifold is not symmetrical, and the outside cylinders are venting more efficiently than the inside two - but at idle I'd be surprised.
2) the valve clearances may be less on the outside two cylinders, so have wider open duration. If it were the shims, might that explain the flat spot that I had on starting to accelerate when the engine is hot?
3) the camshafts are worn more on the inside cylinders
4) Low compression on the centre cylinders.

So, actually, the compression test may give me a quick indication of the answer: the rate at which the pressure builds should be different if there's a difference between the cylinders, although that may be hidden by differences in maximum compression.

Am I being completely barking for thinking it might be the engine? If so I'll swap the carbs and see whether that changes the pressure pattern.

Alternatively I can ignore the barrel imbalance and drive the bl**dy car, and see if it's ok haha.

All the best.

Sean.
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PostPost by: richardcox_lotus » Tue Oct 04, 2022 6:41 am

One thought, is your car a Plus 2? That has a vacuum take off at each end of the manifold, unlike the Elan, would that impact what your seeing ?

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PostPost by: RichardHawkins » Tue Oct 04, 2022 4:44 pm

After a compression test, I think swapping the carburettors would be instructive. You mention that the carburettors have a casting that could be drilled for idle bypass, this might be worth considering.

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PostPost by: RichardHawkins » Tue Oct 04, 2022 5:15 pm

Sean,

I have just remembered something I did having reassemble my Webber Carburettors. I made a plug that connected my garage vacuum cleaner to the engine side of the carburettors. My reasoning was that the vacuum cleaner is a simple device that should be able to apply the same vacuum to each carburettor throat, thereby reducing my doubts that any variation in vacuum could be due to the engine.

Hope this helps,

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