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S1 won’t start - it was going so well


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Took my S1 out today for a long drive in the good weather (about 50 miles). It was all going so well until I turned onto the main road close to home car cut out and would not restart. Fortunately I was close to home so pushed it back!!

Car cranks and turns over well so i pulled the main coil lead to see If there was a spark but nothing. Connections to the coil look ok so I’m guessing it’s the coil that’s at fault. Any suggestions for troubleshooting as the coil is quite new as the car has recently been restored.

thanks

paul

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Does it have points or an electronic ignition unit?

It's a good point - from my research there seems to be a variety of answers of 6V and 9V once ignition is on. I'm assuming that in my case 9V is correct on the basis that it's the parts from SJ S

Electronic ignition. Today the car would start so the problem appears to be when the car is driven for some extended time that the coil gets hot and then fails. Once the car cools down then it will start again.

Previous owner had the same problem and replaced the coil and electronic ignition but problem has re-occurred :(

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10 hours ago, Bob Silk said:

Try replacing the rotor arm in the distributor.

Bob

Absolutely! I was broken down and stranded for days when something very similar struck my Elan. Turned out the rotor dielectric failed permitting most spark energy to bleed through to earth via the distributor shaft. Were I to run a distributor equipped car again I'd be certain to keep spare rotor and cap onboard at all times.

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If changing the rotor arm doesn't fix it, try tracing the ignition wiring to see if a PO has rewired the ignition circuit as non ballast resisted.

I don't know why anyone would do that but PO's often do strange things.

Running a ballast resisted coil on a non ballast resisted ignition ignition circuit will often give the symptoms you describe, the coil eventually failing completely.

Long shot but if nothing else is obvious worth a look.

  

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17 hours ago, ripley5000 said:

the problem appears to be when the car is driven for some extended time that the coil gets hot and then fails. Once the car cools down then it will start again.

In my experience symptoms of a failing coil are misfiring rather than total failure.

Is it a 6 volt coil supplied via a ballast resistor?

Next time it happens put your hand on the coil, it should not be too hot to hold. 😀

Cheers,

John W

http://jonwatkins.co.uk

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Thanks everyone - the car had a reconditioned distributor fitted with electronic ignition last month when it was in at SJ. I've ordered a new coil (from SJ) to see if this fixes the problem. The current coil was very hot when the problem occurred.

The PO kept the original wiring loom and it looks like it has the pink resistor wire. I'm thinking that by trying both coil and distributor from SJ with the original wiring then in theory this should be the correct configuration and hopefully solves the problem.

 

 

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New coil fitted from SJ today and so far all is good, on the SJ coil it states it’s a ballast coil so I checked the voltage to the coil to verify that the car was using the resistor wire and confirmed that 12v with ignition on and 9v when running. So in theory the car is as Lotus intended it but with electronic ignition rather than points.

After fitting e coil the first thing I noticed was he car starts  better. From cold it previous took 4 or 5 attempts for the car to start, now it starts first time :)

I let the car warm up then took it for a short drive of about 6 miles (worried it was going to break down ), but all was good and the coil did not get hot like  before - however as my test drive was very short I’m not yet convinced that the problem is solved as it took the car about 50-60 miles on the old coil before it broke down. Will wait for good weather and have a support car behind before taking it for a longer drive 😊

it was actually very sensible to take it for such a short drive and when I got back home I noticed one of the carbs had a significant petrol leak 😳. The joys of owning an old Lotus

 

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18 minutes ago, ripley5000 said:

the car was using the resistor wire and confirmed that 12v with ignition on  

Shouldn't that be 6 Volts with the ignition on, 12 Volts only when cranking 🙄

Cheers,

John W

http://jonwatkins.co.uk

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1 hour ago, jonwat said:

Shouldn't that be 6 Volts with the ignition on, 12 Volts only when cranking 🙄

It's a good point - from my research there seems to be a variety of answers of 6V and 9V once ignition is on.

I'm assuming that in my case 9V is correct on the basis that it's the parts from SJ Sportscars and hence I'd expect these to be the correct ones. I think the old coil, whilst it worked, was not actually the correct coil for the car as looking at the invoice it was supplied and fitted by a general autoshop so I guess they may not have done too much research into the correct part.

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