Lotus Elan

Elan S3 headlight question

PostPost by: lotustastic » Mon May 10, 2021 11:42 am

Hello all,

Ive been enjoying driving my 67 S3 DHC elan immensely which I acquired months ago on BAT. These cars are an absolute riot!! Anyway, one electrical mystery that is keeping me from confidently driving at night extensively is the headlight system. When I first start it up, raise headlights and turn switch on, everything is perfect and powers on (headlights/running lights). If at any point, I turn the headlights/running lights off (Toggle switch to middle position on dash), then try to turn them back on, the running lights come on but the headlights dont. So, its almost like once they are off, something has to cool down or take a break (relay?) before they will ever come back on (maybe few minutes?). I can hear an audible click when the main beams do come on. Has anyone experienced this issue? If the car is turned off and sits for maybe a few minutes (havent verified length of time), everything switches on normally again. My concern is if there was some sort of headlight interruption while driving (not purposeful of course), I couldnt get the headlights back on immediately to find my way. Ive trued lowering them and raising them again to no avail. BTW, This car uses the generator.

Thanks for any input as I couldn’t find any post directly related to this electrical gremlin.

Kind regards,

David Diefenthal
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PostPost by: nmauduit » Mon May 10, 2021 11:56 am

first thing I would try is whether this happen right away or only after some time : the former would encline to search for a specific connection gremlin (self powered/activation relay of sort only upon the 1st use - could be on the ground connection of course - also safety switches wiring to be checked, in the pods area), the latter may advocate a heating up effect, which is always something to be cautious about and not let drag.
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PostPost by: TrevorJones » Mon May 10, 2021 8:01 pm

Hi
The S3 original setup would flash the head lights when raised (vac pull switch) with the toggle switch off or in first position (side lights), this was facilitated via a separate micro switch, relay and a flasher unit. If yours does not then you may have issues with the way this system has been bypassed, failed components etc.

The WSM wiring diagram for the S3 shows the relay "F" and how it links with the main relays "M" & "D". unfortunately you will need to get the bonnet off and find the relays in the passenger side nose, in front of the radiator. You should find three relays, a flasher unit and 2 micro switches, the wiring in this area can easily get wired up incorrectly and also suffer from corrosion in the bullet connectors especially the 4 way connectors for the head lights and the earth connectors. I would advise comparing your wiring with the WSM - good luck

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PostPost by: lotustastic » Mon May 10, 2021 10:59 pm

Thank you for the tips. I will delve in and report back on progress.

Cheers!

David D
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PostPost by: lotustastic » Wed May 12, 2021 8:45 pm

So it seems to be solved! I cleaned and lubricated the pins on the microswitches which when pulled by the spring activate the headlights. Everything is working great and reenergizing many times over after flicking switch on/off/on etc even after a long drive. I suspect one or both of the pins were sticking a bit and for whatever reason took some time to unstick or return and energize again without some cleaning and lubrication.

Thanks for the suggestions.


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