free hit
counters
Just won't start! - Engine & Ancilliaries/Gearbox - The Lotus Forums - Lotus Community Partner #ForTheOwners Jump to content


IGNORED

Just won't start!


Recommended Posts

So...I've got petrol in the carbs, a spark at the plugs, a fresh battery, the static timing set, plugs gapped, and half an hour of daylight left! But my S2 Eclat just won't start. Every so often it sounds like it's almost going to catch, but it just bloody doesn't.

What am I missing?!

Regular restorer. Rather less reliable forum poster!

Link to comment
Share on other sites


Upgrade today to remove Google ads and support TLF.

I had a similar issue with my Esprit, would turn over really well, but just would not start. sent it to Gerald, who seems to have cured it - cleaned the leads (or similar)

 

However, the car would start with a battery charger on "Start Engine" mode.

 

Chris

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Try it with easystart sprayed through the carbs, if it starts its probably a fueling issue, if it doesn't most likely ignition problem, I've had it with an engine that has stood for a long time that would not start, started on easystart and the gave no problems after, I think the carbs were possibly gummed up a bit and the initial running on easystart sucked the fuel through ungumming the carbs.

Easystart a great diagnostic tool

Regards Dan

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I will try Easystart, just to get it going. It has stood for a bit, although I've just rebuilt the carbs after an ultrasonic clean so hopefully they're not too gummy! Another question, both the starter and coil are getting pretty warm. Is that just to be expected from repeated attempts to start it up?

Regular restorer. Rather less reliable forum poster!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi, I would say the carbs need adjusting since they were just maintained - it's the theory of 'have you touched anything recently?' Hate to say, but gets me every time.

Easiest things first though is check your spark with an old (working) plug - widen the spark gap to 3-4 mm and turn over the engine to see a big blue spark on each lead. This check confirms your ignition and leads.

Then check timing with a strobe light.

Then check float heights in the carbs.

Iain :)

Also, what is your fuel delivery system, an SU fuel pump? If so - it should be ticking away.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Dan, 

 

Bad contacts are one cause of excessive heat in the ignition circuit.  If you haven't already, it's  worth cleaning all electrical connections, especially the big knot of them on the starter, and cleaning up the earth points.  

 

A problem with a bad contact in the starter pull-switch of my wife's Frog-eye caused years of  starting problems, and it wasn't until a grommet caught fire that we realised the problem.  Changing the switch had miraculous results.

 

Worth checking it has the correct coil (6v if ballast resistor fitted I believe?) and test it is showing the correct resistance.  Lots of articles on the web giving instruction on this. I'd be inclined to put a new coil on anyway.

 

Good luck!

Herc

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks gents! Iain, I've done a basic carb set-up as per Des Hamill - 3 1/2 turns of the idle screws and a quarter turn of the throttle adjuster. There's a spark at all plugs, but it looks quite weak (not scientific I know but this is using my gut!). And when I connected a strobe to the HT leads the flash was intermittent off all the leads, with no apparent pattern to the flashing. Which points perhaps to the coil...

And Herc, I have tried to start sorting out the jumble of wiring but the PO has conveniently replaced a lot of the original wires - and used all the same colour for everything! So comparing it to the wiring diagram requires a little imagination. I think I might treat myself to a new coil and ballast resistor, and perhaps a new optical sensor in the dizzy and see if that makes any difference. There might even be some wisdom in replacing the yards of new yellow cables with the original colours but that's quite an investment in wire and I guess ultimately just cosmetic. Don't suppose anyone knows of a variety pack of auto wiring that's available?!

Regular restorer. Rather less reliable forum poster!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It does look like a suspect coil.

A question on fuel - are the plugs showing signs of fuel getting to each cylinder? A little wet etc?

If so, then it should fire (even roughly), so a coil is possible. That said, I have a couple of spare coils on the shelf now after buying a new one only to find a bad wire termination eventually (like Herc says). Good old electrics!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Float chambers are full, and it'll pump happily into a bucket when disconnected so the pump is obviously fine. And the plugs are certainly wet so it appears to be getting to the cylinders. And on a number of briefly exciting occasions it sound oh so like it was about to fire, but didn't. It did backfire both lit and unlit through the no. 3 carb but only once so I think that was just the sheer amount of unburnt petrol backing up. I think I face the fun of cleaning up and rewiring the ignition circuit. And yes, I also have a shiny new 12v coil sitting on the shelf from a similar problem with my MGB. Still, a new coil will look lovely in the engine bay!

Regular restorer. Rather less reliable forum poster!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If it has the original luminition setup it should have a 6v coil with resistive wire from the ignition switch to coil, if you are trying to use this setup with a 12v coil, it will attempt to fire as the 6v coil receives 12v for the duration of the starter motor turning over but dropping back to 6v when you release the key back to the running position rather than the starting position.I have also had my engine attempting to start but spitting back and popping, this was caused by having the leads connected on the distributor in the wrong place, a quick change around and it fired up easily

Edited by eclat22
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I was going to suggest distributor to look at as well

All we know is that when they stop making this, we will be properly, properly sad.Jeremy Clarkson on the Esprit.

Opinions are like armpits. Everyone has them, some just stink more than others.

For forum issues, please contact one of us Moderators.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It's running the original coil with ballast resistor set-up, but like I say the PO has replaced everything with yellow wire so working out what's what will take some time. And I too have had the wrong leads connected up in the past so this was one of the 'd'oh' checks I tried early on. I will double check this again when I go back and have another crack at it!

Incidentally if I were to reinstate the original wiring colours does anyone know what gauge the ignition circuit should use?

Regular restorer. Rather less reliable forum poster!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well here's the thing, the wire will be rated in Amps, not so much gauge or mm. And to complicate things automotive wire has changed over the last 30 years. For example 'Kapton wiring' - wasn't that a hoot!

Bottom line is the wire will have to cope with the current the load is drawing. One way is to check the fuse rating and go 1.5 times more than the fuse, or measure the amps in the wire under load and same calculation. Also, you could calculate the amp by the wattage of the load, P=VI.

Not sure if circuit diagrams give wire rating, I know the esprit s2 one does not.

Sorry for the not-simple answer, I am sure someone can just say "2 mm". Lol.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ignition coils have two coils in them and should have low resistance on the primary coil and high resistance on the secondary coil.

 

To check the primary resistance on a coil, measure between the two LT wires attached to the top. Disconnect the + and - wires and measure the resistance with a multitester.  The reading should be in the 1 ~ 3.5 OHM range, (I don't specifically remember on these cars) if it is shorted, you would get something lower like .2 resulting in a weak spark or it would measure infinity resulting in no spark.  

 

For the secondary resistance check between the + LT terminal and the HT terminal.  You will get a higher resistance reading like 10k, but it will be a lot higher maybe 7 ~ 12k would be the range.

 

It only takes a minute to do the test and then you know the coil is good (at least you know it is good when it is cold)

 

Also, you mentioned that the PO was in there mucking about and using the same wire color for everything and such things so I would check that the coil is not hooked up backwards.  Disconnect the LT wires and turn on the ignition.  Check which one has 12v and that it was attached to the the + terminal on the coil.  Hooking it up backwards results in a weaker spark.  

 

The condesner could be bad. While it is often mistaken for a weak coil, it has a vital role in the ignition and when failing or failed causes a weak spark. 

 

Good Luck

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I had exactly this problem with a scimitar GTE I had - it seemed as though it wanted to catch but just wouldn't, had a spark at each plug but was weak - this was particularly bad in hot weather or when the car was hot.  after many trips back home on the back of a tow truck a £1.50 balast resistor sorted it out since the old one had deteriorated over the years!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Also there should be two wires on the + terminal of the coil.

 

One should come from the run terminal on the ignition switch through a resistor wire or ballast resistor.  The other should be connected to the start terminal on the ignition (or from the wire to the starter solenoid which is effectively the same wire)

 

That way you don't use the ballast resistor on start giving you whatever voltage is available and when you stop cranking the power to the coil comes from the run position of the ignition switch which is limited by the resistance of the resistor wire or the ballast wire.

 

More luck.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Haven't had a chance to get out to the garage today - sadly I'm not blessed with one attached to the house and have to keep the Riviera in a lock-up. And with the in-laws coming for lunch I wasn't going to be allowed to slip away today!

But thank you for all your advice, and please keep it coming. I have ordered a new coil and ballast resistor and next weekend I'm going to install those, clean up or replace for new all the connections and with a circuit diagram at hand make sure everything is going where it's supposed to be going. And hopefully that'll do it. The ballast resistor does look pretty beaten up, I know that's not a particularly scientific diagnosis but for the few quid for a new one it certainly can't hurt. And when do any of us pass up the opportunity to spend yet more on our beautiful cars?!

I'll keep you posted!

Regular restorer. Rather less reliable forum poster!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

New coil, new ballast resistor and some interesting new swear words. But he's running! Very rough idle, but I'm confident that balancing the carbs and double checking the timing will soon smith that out. And he's running! So I'm delighted. Set the static at 9 degrees BTDC. Any thoughts as to what sort of advance I should be looking for at fast idle?

Many thanks to all for your help and advice!

  • Like 1

Regular restorer. Rather less reliable forum poster!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Really quite different yes - although still a ceramic rectangle, the new one is considerably bigger than the old. And instead of having a spade connector at each end it only has one to connect to the starter solenoid. The other connection was a ready fitted wire to attach to the coil.

Regular restorer. Rather less reliable forum poster!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 weeks later...

Hi Dan

 

You might have seen, I seem to having a similar problem with my 2.2 now (misfire, cutting out when hot)...may well be the original ballast resistor giving up...what new ballast resistor did you use, what resistence (3 ohms correct ?)   and  is it with a 6v or 12v coil ?

 

Thanks

Dan

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Dan I had similar starting issues when my battery was about to give up the ghost.

The engine would turn over quickly enough, but would only try to fire as you backed off the key.

As your battery is new have you double checked all connections- especially earth to chassis?

Good luck

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

×
×
  • Create New...