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Wont start, no spark, new battery, new spark plugs... - Engine/Ancilliaries - The Lotus Forums Jump to content
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benjamincalleja

Wont start, no spark, new battery, new spark plugs...

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Hi guys.  Been working on the esprit past two days.  removed all rusty items from boot, refitted all boot trim with new stainless steel parts.  main job was the boot floor, the old ones were seized so it took a long time to cut the heads off etc etc...
anyway, i came to start the car today and it wont start.  been through the forums for answers but its a bit of a mess to sort through.  so here it goes. 

i dont have spark

strong fuel smell from exhaust when cranking so fuel pressure seems good.  same when i crank minus the spark plugs.  fuel smell, strong.

brand new spark plugs

starter motor cranks the engine strongly

battery is new

 

so that leave me with what...coil, distributor problem??    no?  could i have knocked something yesterday?  i retraced my steps but everything seems attached....  four days ago it was running like a dream.  so seems odd for distributor or coil to instantly stop

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My first thought was inertia switch too. But if there's fuel smell present, possibly not the issue. Maybe pull a plug and crank the engine to see if spark is present at the plug. That will determine fuel or spark issue. I'd say you've knocked an earth lead off somewhere. Maybe around the coil pack.

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Inertia switch - in to reset

 

Check around coil pack & distributor to ensure all leads are connected correctly.

Check coil to dizzy lead by removing & reconnect.

If you were mucking around in the boot, have you dislodged a wire at the connectors in the boot space?

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I'll check, I had removed the panel covering the coil and low coolant sensor etc in the boot and when working on the boot floor I didn't fully remove it I flipped its on its back over the top of the engine. Didn't remove any leads but flipping in over might have strained some of the wires to the connectors in the boot area? What's in their that could stop spark other than the Lucas coil?

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I'm surprised you were able to flip it over!  A huge amount of electrical harness is routed through that small hole on the right, and that'd be where to concentrate your attention.  Have you checked for voltage on the coil LT circuit?

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I didn't flip it over a full 180 degrees, the end of the boot floor nearly touching the rear lights ended up pointing directly skyward and was stopped falling forward with a block a wood. But I didn't disconnect anything so perhaps the manoeuvre dislodged something. I'll test the voltage on the coil, I have a volt meter but how do I do it, there is a big central rubber thing going into the coil but then four electrical leads coming out of the coil also? Which ones do I test?

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With ignition on, you need to check the small terminals on the coil.  Test both and let us know what you get.

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Do you have spark at the coil ?

Also there is a braided  earth terminal you will likely have had to remove to take the floor out, check you re-attached it.

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Ok this is embarrassing but maybe I'm testing the wrong thing...the coil is the cylinder thing in the boot right? In the closed compartment? It has a lead going to the distributor? Four wires coming off two points either side of the distributor lead? If it is indeed the coil, when I hold the voltmeter (set at 0-99 volt range) I get 0.

Braided earth terminal in the floor? I never saw one. Why would they attach one to the boot floor too, it's fibrrglass? I had a good look just now and can't see anything. Can't see any braided earth terminal in the diagrams on the parts manual either, where should I be looking? And how would I test for spark at the coil, same as at the spark plug end, using the lead which goes to the distributor?

**** wait did I misunderstand you sparky, I just turned the electrics on and tested, did you mean get someone to start cranking whilst I am testing?

UPDATE: I read the manual and can see the page on testing the Lucas coil. So yes I know I am testing be right thing. I get a reading of 12 volts but only if I touch the SIDE of the metal coil with one probe and touch the other probe to the distributor side. If I touch one probe to ignition wire and one probe to the distributor wire I get a reading of 0. ?!

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Yep , that sounds right. The coil (low tension side) is measured relative to ground, so +12v is good. If you take the high tension (spark/ high voltage cable) from the coil and plug a spark plug directly in the other end of it that would go to the distributor  and ground the body of the spark plug, do you then get a spark when cranking the engine. If you do get a spark you have a similar issue to my red Excel recently (mine was faulty rotor arm but could also have been dissy cap giving the symptoms). If there's no spark out of the coil then it's more likely the coil or the amplifier.

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Benjamin,

 

Sounds like you have the same as issue that I had on my car. same model as yours.

 

Mine was not sparking after I did the timing. Turned out to be the distributer cap was way past its best (all broken ) and the central lead was not plugging onto it correctly. this is what feeds from the coil. I'd check that is plugged in tight. If your getting spark at the coil. The problem must be at the next link i.e the dizzy.

 

On mine I replaced the dizzy cap with a new one and also put on new HT leads. Be carefull when doing the timing, if the dizzy comes out it is a real pain to get it locked back in correctly (2days!!)

 

Hope this helps

Chris

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Well this is stupendously embarrassing. I re read everyone's comments and acted on them in order of what's easiest. When I got to Rodger/Chris comment about connecting and reconnecting coil to dizzy cap lead I nearly skipped it. But that was it!!!! It looked like it was attached but I had partially pulled it off when I flipped the floor over!!! She starts and runs perfectly just as she has all the time I've had it. That said Roger I'm paranoid and disconnecting an earth wire, still can't find that if I did disconnect one!

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Simon F's TE had a spark issue when we were trying to get it running after the rebuild, but it was intermittent  Eventually we found the rotor arm was an issue but what didn't help was the fact the lead from the coil had obviously not been plugged in correctly when it was running, the plastic surround for the end of the coil had been burned away and the rubber boot had been melted, the electrode eroded all because there was a massive air-gap for the spark to jump in order to get to the dissy and plug.

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Good to hear you got it fixed, mine looked like it was in place, but was in fact all charred and cracked as Andy has said.

 

Great to hear you have it up and running.

 

Chris

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Guys can anyone tell me what type of a new Distributor cap,rotor arm ,points for 1992 S2  2300cc ?would there be a number on the Distributor shaft or where would i look ? Also is there a Haynes works manual for sale or similar ? thanks guys

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I'm going to assume you mean 1993 SE as stated in your profile, in which case the answer is none of the above.  It all runs off a solid state coil pack.

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i have same issue o my S3 none turbo but my car was running on a short drive, she backfired once then died, everything is new and the timing hasnt sliped so I am completely stumped, however I did notice that the small wire on the starter solenoid was touching the live lead to the alternator, could this have caused some damage somewhere, short maybe, I have checked the fuses and all seems ok but now no spark although she spins over ok and is getting fuel

Edited by johnpwalsh

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John, check that you have +12v to the coil, if not then disconnect the amplifier and re-check. It's possible a wire has burned through if it shorted out.

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