Lotus Elan

Any badly running plus 2, try this first!

PostPost by: GP Surf » Thu Dec 16, 2010 9:48 am

I posted this in answer but on refelction it's worth making it more conspicuous.

Having spent years with a suffering elan plus 2 (1969), poor starting, spittiing back throught the webers, uneven idle etc mine eventually wouldn't work.

Initially I thought, dirt, so drainined the tank, new fuel lines, new facet electronic pump, with pressure regulator, high flow filter, stripped and rebuilt carbs. Had an experienced mechanic set them up for me (float levels etc).

Still not sorted, so ignition, added Aldon ignitor ignition, new coil (removed balast). Checked cam timing, reset ingition timing. New distributer cap and rotor arm (old one only 1000 miles old). Fitted alternator (Dave Bean) cleaned every electrical cable and connection in sight. New Plugs and leads. Ran a new positive cable lead to solenoid (extra thick). Pressure tested cylinders. Beteer but still not sorted.

As you can imagine after all that you would expect it to run beautifully, but no. Put a multi meter on the ignition coil and voltage was dropping to 6v on turn over. One possiblility was the starter was tired, but that was only a few thousand miles old.

Eventually I had a eurika moment. When I'd cleaned the earth bolt in the boot (until it shone bright) I hadn't checked the other end.

So here you go, my advice for any plus 2 that starts to run badly, or won't start easily.

1. Open boot, and remove floor pannels.
2. Undo nut that hold the earth to the bolt. Remove locking nut off the same bolt.
3. Get under the car and remove the bolt.
4. Wire brush the bolt until shinny.
5. Get back under car and with a wire brush polish the area where the bolt head touches the chassis and put the bolt back in. Torque to the correct touque. Cover with a layer of Vasoline.
6. Back in the boot, clean the mating surfaces of the nuts until shiny then attach lock nut and tighten
7. Clean earth strap connection and any other earths you have there too.
8. Clamp tightly and add a layer of Vasoline.

Return to drivers seat and start the car. (You may need to run the car to clean out the debris of all the bad running but a few miles should sort it). Sit back and smile in satisfaction, that repair cost nothing, only took 30 minutes and probably made all the difference.

If this doesn't fix it, then check the earth strap between engine and chassis (on one of the engine mounts).

Please learn from my lessons, check the earths (properly) before spending any money.

If the above doesn't fix it, then get ready to start spending money!

My Plus 2 now starts easily runs beautifully and revs like nothing on this earth. Also more power than I've ever experienced in this car. After nearly 10 years of woe, and many thousands spent on bits I have eventually got a car that Chapman intended I'd have.

Happy to answer any questions as I've no doubt encountered most problems.
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PostPost by: worzel » Fri Dec 17, 2010 12:27 pm


I love cheap fixes!

On my 2 seater I've re-routed the battery earth- it now feeds into the top of the rear tower away from any moisture. Has been like that for around 28 years without problems. In the case of the engine earth I've run a short cable from the tapped hole under the head adjacent to the timing cover, this attaches to the front tower via the body to chassis mounting bolt.

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PostPost by: alexblack13 » Fri Dec 17, 2010 10:45 pm

I agree with John. The standard position for the main earth is without doubt about the worst place they could have chosen for it. Moving it is the only answer.

I also took a link over to the other rear suspension turret, and used the metal plate between the two as an earth 'Bus bar'...


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PostPost by: reb53 » Mon Dec 20, 2010 5:14 am

The main problem with the bolt through the chassis system is that the bobbin it screws into is threaded.
This means the bolt head could be proud of the chassis whilst you are busy tightening away in the boot but never making a good connection.
The answer is to do what I did many years ago, drill the bobbin out so the bolt goes through it.

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