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S3mon

running out of fuel - or not it seems FIXED!

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I wasn't paying attention yesterday and managed to run out of fuel in my 83 NA S3.

Fortunately i ran out as I drove into my carpark, so i just coasted into my space and walked over to my other car :rofl:

I went and filled up a petrol can (5ltrs) and put this in the pax tank, but no matter how much i get the fuel pump going, it wont start.

Its peeing down (again) so I haven't been out this morning to try much other than another failed start (and made sure I packed the jump leads as I am bound to flatten the battery trying) but after lunch i will get another can of fuel and put this in the driver side tank.

Car is on level ground

anyone experienced this?

cheers

Simon

Edited by S3mon

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Are you sure it ran out of fuel? - did the car do the normal 1. fuel pump turned into a machine gun, 2. car started to splutter 30 secs later and 3. car engine died with fuel pump hamering away.

If not - maybe it was electrical.....

I have ran out of fuel, and when I added 5 ltrs, the pump hammered for about 10 secs, then obviously primed and pressure up to the carbies, stopping the tick tick tick. Car started straight away.

Sorry if I have have missed your car model's fuel system.

Iain

Edited by iainskea

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hmm you have me worried now - electrical problems scare me, dont recall hearing the fuelpump going mad when it died

when i try and start. I can hear the fuel pump tick normally (ie fast for about 10 seconds, then slow), engine turns over but doesn't start. I guess I should start checking the electrics....

Edited by S3mon

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When its got no fuel to pump it sounds like a machine gun as Iain says. Its LOUD.... Then when its primes itself, it quietens down to that 'Ticka-Ticka-Ticka' noise that you hear when the ignition gets switched on. So if you never heard it clattering like a machine gun - you probably never ran out of fuel. So, as Iain surmises, you have an electrical problem. As it cut out totally and comprehensively, its probably not plugs, but check to see if you are getting a spark to the plugs anyway. Then you should check from the distributor back - the wire that runs from the distributor to the coil would be the first one to check - it may have just worked loose. Reseat it. If that doesn't work, check the other connections to the coil. Check that the wires to the battery are all intact. Also check that the wire that none of the wires that run between the engine and the amplifier (the silver lucas box in the coil housing) are damaged.

After that, well...you're in the murky world of getting the coil checked, or the ignition amplifier changed or something.

A thought just occurred to me. Was it wet when you were driving it, and do you have an immobiliser? It could be that you went through a puddle, splashed and short-circuited one of the immobiliser controlled circuits and the immobiliser has gone kaput. This happened to me (although I was pressure washing the engine bay at the time) and it took me ages to work out. Just a few thoughts for you to work through - you never know.

Edited by USAndretti42
Removed quote

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If you're fuel pump is still ticking and priming then I've got to say it sounds more spark related than fuel related.


Regards

Mat

post-1-0302470001278592957.jpg

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I am starting to think you are right.

It does tick and prime as I would expect normally, so I tried to have a look at the plugs - who's idea was it to put them in such a stupid place? :rofl:

I am only 5'6" and its no fun leaning against a soaking car in the rain during your lunchbreak at work, trying to see the plugs....

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Some of the best Lotus mechanics known to the modern world are on the short side and S3 N/A owners :rofl: .

I share your pain. A milk crate might help matters? But wait until you see where the distributor is...

Are you a member of the AA or RAC? They aren't fazed at electrical problems on the esprit in my experience.

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Are you a member of the AA or RAC? They aren't fazed at electrical problems on the esprit in my experience.

In my experience, they condesend to you, and make you feel like an idiot.

When i was having electrical problems with mine, and had tried everything i could possibly think of.... the RAC guy turned up and pronounced before he even looked at it, that he knew what was wrong! the battery was flat :rofl: needless to say, that wasn't the problem at all..... idiot

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ok, so I just had a quick look, and the plugs to the distributer look ok to me, BUT (and I may be showing my ignorance here) but the sparkplug leads are covered in clean engine oil. I cant see the state of the plugs themselves because of their location and the fact i dont have a sparkplug remover tool here.

Is it normal for the ends of the leads to have oil on/in them? that can't aid the spark shirley?

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Because of the design of the engine you can get oil collect there, ond if yours has the rounded cam covers (black if not changed colour) then those gaskets are notorius for leaking slightly. That can be fixed, use a cork gasket (get one or get some cork sheet form me when you're in Norfolk (making a couple of assumptions). Glue one side to the cam covers using impact adhesive, then use a non-setting gasket sealant on the other side (blue hylomar etc). No more oil leaks there.

Thankfully I've not found oil on plug leads to give a real problem, think about wd40 etc when theyre wet and giving issues, you spray light oil on the leads etc to dispace the water and get things working again.

Rather than pull a plug out to check for spark, use another plug, secure it to an earth point on the engine etc ( put something heavy on it) and then turn the engine over, you should be able to see the spark like that.

Andy

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If the above test shows you have no big-blue spark, then electrical it is.... good hunting.

If you do have spark - the next consideration has to be fuel related.

Again, similar to the comment regarding the rain you have had, maybe you have water-contaminated fuel. If the RAC fella showed up, one thing he would do after checking the battery and spark, is pull the fuel line off at the carby and pump a small qty into a clear jar and have a look at the fuel. If it has water in it it will be look like dirty droplets contained in the fuel, of even sepeated after a minute or two.

If you have contaminated fuel, you just have to pump it all out (as described above) and refill with clean fuel. The amount in the carby should expel, but may need draining too (little drain screws underneath) - watch out for dripping on the dizzy! (use a rag)

Iain

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Whats probably happened here is you flooded it trying to get it re-started.

Dry it all out, pull the plugs and spin it over (to chuck out all the fuel) , clean and dry the plugs and have another go at starting it.

Oil present around the plugs indicates a leak around the valve covers , brass plugs or cam towers and needs to be attended too.

I think the position of the sparkplugs was dictated by Tony Rudd. :rant:

Edited by WayneB

SUNP0003-1.jpg

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Guest Troy Halliday

At 5' 6" you should just have got in the boot simple and......... your out of the rain :rant:

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Thanks guys. I have isolated the problem to the dizzy. I get a good spark from the main coil-> diz lead, but not out from the diz to the plugs. Today I turned up for work armed with a bag of old clothes, so I shall have another attempt later on.

Scratch my previous comment about sparkplug location, i have just seen the diz cap!!!! (and noticed it's held on with a cable tie)

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I wasn't paying attention yesterday and managed to run out of fuel in my 83 NA S3.

Fortunately i ran out as I drove into my carpark, so i just coasted into my space and walked over to my other car :rant:

I went and filled up a petrol can (5ltrs) and put this in the pax tank, but no matter how much i get the fuel pump going, it wont start.

Its peeing down (again) so I haven't been out this morning to try much other than another failed start (and made sure I packed the jump leads as I am bound to flatten the battery trying) but after lunch i will get another can of fuel and put this in the driver side tank.

Car is on level ground

anyone experienced this?

cheers

Simon

Simon.

I had a similar problem last year. I was running low on fuel on my way home and she cut out. I walked to a garage got some fuel topped her up but she still would'nt start. The pump was priming, there was fuel in the filter. I thought maybe a bid piece of crap from the bottom of the tank may have blocked the fuel line up. I did manage to get her going but she run like shite for a few hundred yards then cut out again. I had to get the RAC out as it was getting late and dark. Later i discovered it was a loose connection on the condensor earth thats screwed to the distributor base causing the problem! I bought a new condensor to make sure it was ok and put a self tapper in there so it would'nt happen again. I guess there must have been a loose connection there and the jerking from the car as she run dry caused it to fail. It's been perfectly fine since and i allways make sure she's got fuel in her now!!

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If you haven't solved the problem, fuel cut off switch maybe?

The one on mine is particularly sensitive and a few bumps in the road caused me a bit of head scratching once...

Just a thought anyway :rant: - Mark

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all fixed :blush:

Thanks for the help/comments.

I replaced the rotor arm, and the diz cap - started almost straight away - VERY happy. Cost me 18 euro for a new cap, arm and the 2 little clips to hold the cap on - bargain. Thanks to Peter at Vansten engineering (vansten.nl) for saving me

Now I can continue my trip.

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wow, who would have suspected Lucas electrics on a wet day? - I am shocked! :)

Great to see your motor fixed simon - another Lotus lives! :)

Iain

in actual fact, the weather had nothing to do with the problem as it turned out. Because (one of) the previous owners(s) had lost the bottom clip for the dis cap and just used one with a cable tie to clamp it on - the cap moved around (up and down) whenever the engine moved. This meant the rotor arm both wore away the contact points as it brushed past them, and had burning where the centre spark from the coil wasn't touching the metal contact at certain points.

i think there should be a seal inbetween the cap and the dist, because there is a tiny amount of play even now, so i will need to do that today. But pleased its running again (as was the small crowd of collegues who started clapping when it finally fired up :) )

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all fixed :wallbash:

Thanks for the help/comments.

I replaced the rotor arm, and the diz cap - started almost straight away - VERY happy. Cost me 18 euro for a new cap, arm and the 2 little clips to hold the cap on - bargain. Thanks to Peter at Vansten engineering (vansten.nl) for saving me

Now I can continue my trip.

I can tell your car is not the turbo - i have just had distributor issues also (as per my thread) and my scarred hands still haven't healed :realmad: The plenum that covers the carb trumpets is made from lots and lots of razor blades all welded together!

Glad to hear your car is fixed - mine is still spluttering before the turbo kicks in!

Simonf


REHABS FOR QUITTERS!!

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