Lotus Elan

post restoration shakedown and ignominy

PostPost by: jimj » Sun Jun 22, 2014 5:04 pm

Just been on the classiccarjourneys uk classic weekend but that`s another story... coming soon ! We were eager to shakedown our newly purchased Sprint with only 100 miles covered since the rebuild. We added 200+ miles noting the carburation and/or ignition issues; It`s embarrassingly difficult to start requiring a quarter choke and don`t touch the accelerator. As far as I know, which is not very far, this is the opposite of normal. Plus at light, steady speeds it`s a bit sort of not quite misfiring but clears with a cough and pulls really strongly. Another issue is the brakes are just, only just, sticking on but squealing annoyingly almost all the time. As they were, supposedly, just completely recommisioned this is more annoying. But, and I`m coming to the ignominy, being towed the last mile home, there was no squealing which points to the servo????
So, a mile from home we seemed to run out of petrol, a pal arrived with a can in 5 minutes and it wasn`t that. The engine would cough as it tried to start, so there must be a spark, and petrol was pumping through, but no go. Investigation at home showed a blue wire really hot connected to that thingy in the pic. attached to the coil, with the black wire attached to the other terminal. There is, now disconnected, a blue wire connected to the starter solenoid. Removing both wires and attaching the black straight to the coil and all is well.
So, what is the thingy? what is the blue wire? why was it melting?shorting? and what`s wrong with the servo?
Jim
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PostPost by: john.p.clegg » Sun Jun 22, 2014 6:14 pm

Could the servo need the spring mod?

John :wink:
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PostPost by: nebogipfel » Sun Jun 22, 2014 6:43 pm

john.p.clegg wrote:Could the servo need the spring mod?

John :wink:



I gave my servo the throw it away mod and I have an Elan with an excellent full brake pedal and superb brakes. It will really stop if I need it to and I can actually feel what the brakes are doing :wink:

Which is no help to you I'm afraid .........

Needing choke in winter on some Elans seems to be normal. (wait for the comments ..... :lol: ) but it sounds like your car is running very weak. I would immediately suspect an air leak via the carb "O" rings or a leak in the vacuum plumbing to the headlights.
John

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PostPost by: jimj » Sun Jun 22, 2014 8:15 pm

I`d agree that the servo is something I`d rather be without but I`m very keen to keep the car absolutely standard, even to the point of not adding that servo modification, never mind bypassing it. I know nothing about carburation but as it won`t start at all with anything more than a little choke leads me to believe (think?) that...I don`t know what.
Thanks as ever,
Jim
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PostPost by: john.p.clegg » Sun Jun 22, 2014 8:52 pm

Jim
It's not so much a mod as it's shown between parts 60 and 61 in the diagram...

servo.jpg and


John :wink:
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PostPost by: Chancer » Sun Jun 22, 2014 9:02 pm

The thingy is a ballast resistor and would normally get hot in use, assuming that it is correctly matched to the coil your problem is that it is no longer being bypassed when the starter is engaged (read up for a full description) making starting difficult or impossible. By shorting it out as you have the engine will start but the coil will soon overheat as it is passing too much current and is not rated for the full battery voltage, continued use will burn it out.

Reconnect it as it was, check the circuit from the solenoid terminal direct to the coil terminal, if necessary bump start the car but dont leave it running as it is.
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PostPost by: Elanintheforest » Sun Jun 22, 2014 9:51 pm

Jim, see my response to John in the topic below, and change the coil, condenser and rotor arm. Get quality items and you'll have a known starting point. My car has been transformed, and now starts hot by just turning the key (no throttle), with no misfiring and revs cleanly. It used to be a pig to start, hot or cold, and would readily misfire on a light throttle.

lotus-twincam-f39/sooty-plug-sorted-t31606.html

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PostPost by: jimj » Mon Jun 23, 2014 7:54 am

Chancer, are you saying the ballast resistor was faulty? It was so hot it melted the insulation on the blue wire and you can see on the pic. that the plastic cover on the black wire spade connector has melted.
Jim
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PostPost by: jimj » Mon Jun 23, 2014 7:58 am

John Clegg, you say
The intermittent sticking servo can be cured quite easily by the fitment of a light spring in the air valve,a ten minute job...

John :wink:
Could you be more specific? where did you get the spring?
Jim
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PostPost by: john.p.clegg » Mon Jun 23, 2014 8:10 am

I picked up the length of spring from an auto-jumble years ago and cut it down to the required length....unfortunately they've all been handed out now but you might give Classicar Automotive a ring?

John :wink:
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PostPost by: Spyder fan » Mon Jun 23, 2014 9:37 am

Ballast resistor coils explained: this quoted extract from Burton Power website. ( http://www.burtonpower.com/tuning-guides/tuning-guide-pages/ignition-systems.html )

Ignition Coils


Ballast and Non-Ballast Ignition Systems

Contact breaker (points) type ignition systems, as fitted to most Ford models up to around 1980 (although it lasted up to 1987 for the Capri), can have either a ballast fitted in the wiring loom or not.


What is a ballast?

Quite simply, it is a resistor that has the purpose of reducing the voltage to the coil.


Why do some ignition systems have a ballast fitted where others do not?

Originally, all ignition systems did not have a ballast fitted which meant that the ignition system used a 12v coil with a 12v feed from the battery via the ignition switch. Such a system works fine when an engine is running, but problems can occur when starting the engine. The starter motor draws a huge current from the battery leaving less energy to create a spark across the spark plugs. The result is a weaker than normal spark which is not ideal for starting an engine. This problem is worsened by colder temperatures and/or a worn starter motor which will draw even more energy for starting and leave even less energy for sparking. To overcome such a problem, ignition systems were changed to run a lower voltage coil (usually 9v), and these coils could still give the same output as the original 12v coils. In order to run such a coil, the 12v ignition feed runs through a ballast, reducing it to 9v at the coil. To assist starting, a 12v feed (usually from the starter) bypasses the 9v ignition feed, giving the 9v coil a 12v feed. The result is a better than normal spark which is ideal for starting, particularly on cold damp mornings. As soon as the engine has started, the 12v feed is cut and the coil will run on the 9v ignition feed.


How do I know which ignition system is fitted?

Ballast ignition systems were introduced in around 1970. Virtually all Ford models from this date should have a ballast fitted. To find out for sure, use a multimeter to check the voltage on the positive wire of the coil with the ignition on. Around 9v means you have a ballast, around 12v means you don?t.


Which coil should I use with a ballast ignition system?

Without modifying your ignition system, you can use any standard ballast coil or we offer performance ballast coils from Bosch (red coil 0221119030) or Intermotor (gold coil DLB110). Using a non-ballasted coil would mean that you are running a 12v coil on a 9v feed, resulting in a weak spark. You can however use such coils provided you remove the ballast resister.



I would certainly change all the items Mark mentions in his reply, you then have the choice of sticking with a ballasted system or changing to a 12v coil (remove the ballast resistor). At least 90% of all running problems are electrical in my experience.
Kindest regards

Alan Thomas
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PostPost by: theelanman » Mon Jun 23, 2014 9:59 am

jimj wrote:John Clegg, you say
The intermittent sticking servo can be cured quite easily by the fitment of a light spring in the air valve,a ten minute job...

John :wink:
Could you be more specific? where did you get the spring?
Jim



Jim
Ive got some spring.......Tim fitted it for me when he did the brake service......
Im seeing him on Friday.....I can leave the bit with him so he can stick it on yours....
cheers
G
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PostPost by: adigra » Mon Jun 23, 2014 11:06 am

I can understand wanting to keep a car original, but removing the servo from mine is one of the best things I've done on the car. It was much better immediately, but fitting softer pads and a smaller bore/longer travel master cylinder has created brakes that feel so good I could never imagine going back to a servo. Besides, it's all easily reversible.

As for the coil, instead of fishing for the answer, get a competent electrician to give the system a once over and check everything is as it should be. Spending money replacing stuff without knowing the problem or the cause is not the way to go (I'd know as I've done it many times...).
1967 Elan S3 S/E FHC
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PostPost by: ken ob » Mon Jun 23, 2014 11:27 am

Jim, you could just disconnect and / or bypass the servo but leave it in situ.
Few people would know what had been done.

Ken
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PostPost by: richardcox_lotus » Mon Jun 23, 2014 1:14 pm

If you speak to the guys at classical they can also supply you with a bypass pipe - saves making up your own.

Re electrical crap - having spent 1 hour plus trying to get to the points in the dizzy, and then finding out the screw holding them in just will not shift, I'm less than happy too......
Richard
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