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1979 Yellow Lotus Eclat: My project thread - Page 3 - Projects & Restorations - The Lotus Forums Jump to content
soldave

1979 Yellow Lotus Eclat: My project thread

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One thing I forgot to mention was the smoke coming from the exhaust manifold area as the engine is warming up.  It's either a gasket that needs replacing (which I did know about, and I have the replacement gasket between manifold and downpipe), or a crack in the manifold.  Was quite a bit of smoke just warming up on idle but when the car's running there's just a little smoke and then the heat generated when driving must make everything expand and seal up.

had a look with a flashlight from above, but couldn't source where it was coming from exactly.

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Sounds very much like that old Lotus favourite - leaking cam covers. Because of the angle of the engine the bottom one has a nasty habit of spilling oil straight out onto the exhaust manifold, whilst the top one just fills the spark plug trench with oil. I had exactly the same problem until I redid mine with new gaskets and black silicon - from SJs, who also gave a very handy tip on their website about positioning the gasket with super glue. Since then - no clouds of smoke.


Regular restorer. Rather less reliable forum poster!

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Ah yes. That reminds me the previous owner told me about it and I think I have a spare one. Might try to throw that on this weekend.

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Hi Dave, just as a memory jogger, I fitted a new silicone gasket just before she went so make double sure its the gasket and not power steering fluid dripping onto the mannifold. The mannifold has no cracks as it was replaced with a new one not that long ago and ther should be a spare gasket in the box of parts that went with the car. When you come to do the exhaust I always found it easier to remove the rubber hangers from the rear as it gives a bit of movement andd makes it a little bit easier and a 1/4 drive socket extension up between the two pipes lets yooou get at the awkward back bolt. I also fitted new rubber washer to the cambox bolts when the gasket was done so all should be ok, oh one further thing, if you do decide it's the gasket and you fit the spare I gave you, when undoing the bolts both the bottom right and bottom left have to be left in the cover as there is not enough clearance to get them out, handy to remember when refitting, you will also find it a bit easier if you remove the clamp from the pipe fixed tot he bulkhead, this allows for a bit of movement with the pipe so that you can access the bottom right hand bolt.

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I find that the new rubber cam cover gaskets sometimes need a light tightening-up after a few heat cycles.  

Run a rag under the edge of the cam cover to establish that is where the oil is coming from.  Then use a small ring spanner to tighten, as it reduces the temptation to go too far.

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Hi Dave, just as a memory jogger, I fitted a new silicone gasket just before she went so make double sure its the gasket and not power steering fluid dripping onto the mannifold. The mannifold has no cracks as it was replaced with a new one not that long ago and ther should be a spare gasket in the box of parts that went with the car. When you come to do the exhaust I always found it easier to remove the rubber hangers from the rear as it gives a bit of movement andd makes it a little bit easier and a 1/4 drive socket extension up between the two pipes lets yooou get at the awkward back bolt. I also fitted new rubber washer to the cambox bolts when the gasket was done so all should be ok, oh one further thing, if you do decide it's the gasket and you fit the spare I gave you, when undoing the bolts both the bottom right and bottom left have to be left in the cover as there is not enough clearance to get them out, handy to remember when refitting, you will also find it a bit easier if you remove the clamp from the pipe fixed tot he bulkhead, this allows for a bit of movement with the pipe so that you can access the bottom right hand bolt.

I do remember you saying that John.  Was it the upper or lower cam gasket that you replaced?

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Both were replaced but the lwoer one had the newer silicone gasket fitted and as the upper one was OK it wasnt done, hence you have a spare and in the box I am sure I threw in the extra washers for the top one as they obviously werent used either. Have you checked to see that it's not a drip from the power steering again going onto the exhaust, if not give the cambox bolts a wee nip up as previously suggested as she will have done a few miles now, probably best to do that when she is cold to alow for expansion etc.

John.

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Yup, we were all right. Green write connector must have been grounding out on the case. Switched it the right way and it's fine now. Would have liked to have changed the points but would need an impact driver to get that off without stripping the head off the screw.

Car starts again and timing is set. Will change the coil once I've got some stud connectors. The replacement coil I have uses studs and the one that's in is all spade connectors.

Please tell me you are joking when you mention using an impact driver on that screw!

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Only partially. As you can maybe or maybe not see, the head of that screw is partially rounded off already, making it very difficult to get any leverage from the head of a screwdriver. Can you recommend a way of removing a screw like that?

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It is common for this screw to be overtightened and strip the thread. It may have had Loctite applied. this would not surprise me.

In my view when a new complete distributor with electronic ignition can be purchased for about £60 I would replace it without a second thought.

However, to remove the screw I think you will have to remove the dissy from the car and work on the bench. You may find it easier to remove the baseplate to save distrurbing the timing leaving the dissy in place. I have successfully replaced the screw on a stripped thread in the past. I gently tapped the base plate with a ball pean hammer around the hole. A very short self tapping screw then recut it's own thread. Take note of the very short length if the screw. Too long and it will foul the bob weights.

Failing this you could replace the baseplate with another.

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The screw has been fixed with loctite as a po had overtightened it in the long distant past, each time I changed the points I took the distributor out and did it on the bench and it was never an issue. Simply set the timing at TDC, mark the position on the distributor body and block, remove distributor, change the points then refit, make sure you push the distributor all they way back in as it can spring out if you are not carefull. It's always easier to change the points on the bench anyway and it gives you the option of checking  the spring balance weights etc while it is out.

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She rides once again!  Put air box back on, bonnet back on etc, turned the key and... it didn't start up again! Took it back apart and found that the distributor had popped out of the engine a little since last time.  Guess I hadn't clamped it in tight enough. Went to disconnect the wire going to the distributor and the connector on the wiring loom side just came off in my hand! Got to love late 70s English automotive electrical wiring.

So a bus trip into town and trip to Halfords later and it was all connected up and started first time. I even switched out to the new coil.  Only driven around the block but already the brand new, still-to-bed-in brakes feel better than the old ones did.  Will be going for a long drive at first light tomorrow to make sure it's running right.  If I do have any issues with the ignition again, I'd rather there was hardly anything on the road, rather than being stuck in traffic.
 
Have to say I'm also very impressed with my (I believe original) Pioneer sound system. Combined with my 99p, made in China tape adapter it was pumping out the tunes from my phone. On that front I just need to get the cigarette lighter going and I'll be good to go.
 
And another plus is that I got an oil + grease gun today in the mail.  So next week I'm hopefully going to be able to get round to lubricating everything under the car.

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Good luck with the test drive ;)

I would also recommend fitting an electronic kit to replace the points and condenser, trouble with keeping the points is parts are in such low demand these days when you buy a new set they are either of low quality or have been sat in a damp corner of a store room for years and wont last long in the car, points sets BITD when these cars were new could be expected to last 3000 miles (between services) but times have changed, the 907 dizzy is such a pain to get at too.

I used an Accuspark kit in my Elite bought from E-bay for £30, has been no trouble since apart from the fuel pump issues i had.

Also regarding the oil smoke from the exhaust manifold, i have the same issue (as mentioned it's common on these engines), changed the gaskets but it still leaks, but i find if the car is used regular, every day or every other day then the oil does'nt get a chance to build up on the exhaust so no smoke.

I'll be fitting the better synthetic/rubber gaskets eventually but it's not a priority.

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Well done Dave, another bit off the tick list. As far as I am aware that is the original stereo. I managed to find a replacement ariel on ebay which was only about £15 it was a universal unit but was the correct size, they are still advertised.

Well done bud.

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For people who've recommended the electronic distributor, it is on my shopping list, but funds are stretched right now and will have to wait.  I've been a good boy though this year if anyone is thinking of a present from Santa for me :)

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Stop putting it off Dave. 

I find it so frustrating when all and sundry are recommnding electronic ignition to you and you are ignoring the advice.

A kit is only £25 or a complete distributor for £60.

They are fit and forget.

Get one ordered and let me sleep at night.

Regards,

Adrian

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I am looking at the Powerspark unit, and it has a vacuum advance on it, which my car doesn't have, so is it best to block off or add a vacuum hose. I imagine the centrifugal advance is slightly different in the Powerspark to standard dizzy without vacuum? I am guessing that having vacuum would only help performance?

thanks, Clive

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On 23 November 2014 at 19:59, dixi4uk said:

Stop putting it off Dave. 

I find it so frustrating when all and sundry are recommnding electronic ignition to you and you are ignoring the advice.

A kit is only £25 or a complete distributor for £60.

They are fit and forget.

Get one ordered and let me sleep at night.

Regards,

Adrian

I'm very happy to message you with my address so you can order me one for Christmas and send it over ;)  If that's the only thing keeping you awake at night, then I seriously envy you right now.  An electronic ignition to replace my working points system is waaaay down on my list of priorities.

Car went on 2 decent length journeys today and came through with firing colours.  Has the usual tiny hesitation at low rpm but that can be tuned out with my Colortune (another present incoming from Santa), but very happy so far :)

On 23 November 2014 at 10:43, Clive59 said:

I am looking at the Powerspark unit, and it has a vacuum advance on it, which my car doesn't have, so is it best to block off or add a vacuum hose. I imagine the centrifugal advance is slightly different in the Powerspark to standard dizzy without vacuum? I am guessing that having vacuum would only help performance?

thanks, Clive

Can really add much to that in way of an answer, other than to say my distributor has the vacuum advance on it, and it's currently connected to nothing!

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On 24 November 2014 at 11:03, soldave said:

I'm very happy to message you with my address so you can order me one for Christmas and send it over ;)  If that's the only thing keeping you awake at night, then I seriously envy you right now.  An electronic ignition to replace my working points system is waaaay down on my list of priorities.

Car went on 2 decent length journeys today and came through with firing colours.  Has the usual tiny hesitation at low rpm but that can be tuned out with my Colortune (another present incoming from Santa), but very happy so far :)

Can really add much to that in way of an answer, other than to say my distributor has the vacuum advance on it, and it's currently connected to nothing!

Hi Dave,

I don't need your address Santa knows where everyone lives. If I was feelling flush with the cash I would send a kit to Santa for you so you could see how good they are.

Anyway fun over, I will chuckle everytime you report an ignition fault in the weeks to come when you have been stranded on the A1 (M).

This thread is interesting as Clives' post raises another point regarding vacuum advance or not.

As I understand it the 907 engine used a vacuum advance as standard.

Going way back to the Lotus Ford Twin Cam fitted to the Elan, development engineers deemed that they ran better without a vacuum advance. They also fitted those O ring carriers between maniold and cylinder head to prevent fuel frothing on the Weber carbs. These were troublesome to set up with eight Thackery washers to set at 40 thou between the double coils.

Our 907 engines are far more advanced and use the far superior Dellorto carbs. Neither the lack of vacuum advance or the O ring set up is needed.

I can explain away your flat spot on two fronts. If there is no pipe fitted to a vacuum unit distributor you will not be getting the full advance. Secondly if the pipe connection on the engine is not blanked off it will be allowing too much air and weakening the mixture just when you need it. Remedy fit the pipe it should erradicate the flat spot.

Colortune: I bought one 40 years ago and have used it rarely. Great on variable jet carbs like SU and Stromberg but a waste of money for fixed jet Dellortos. Gunson do a Gastester which is surprisingly accurate compared to a MOT station unit.

Regards,

Santas Little Helper

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There are two different distributors on the domestic specification eclat: The one with points is fitted with a Vacuum capsule which I think retards the timing rather than advances it.

The correct distributor for lumentition electronic ignition has not got any vacuum capsule as it doesn't need it:

Clive's car was originally a federal spec car, so it might have an altogether different engine as it is unlikely to be a domestic spec 5 engine.

www.theymightberacing.com%2FProjects%2FFrameOff%2FJH74G%2FDocs%2FTDA_-_Naturally_Aspirated_-_907_911_912.pdf&ei=ud1yVIeqKoz1aoSsgCg&usg=AFQjCNF7hOCd77WcxsYBqlASzZ4ANYejnA&bvm=bv.80185997,d.d2s

(the info on distributor advance and retard is on Page 14)

My first eclat S1 (a 521) ran perfectly happily on points for the short time I had it.

My red car has been converted to a later lumenition unit, and has also swapped the distributor to the correct later version with no vacuum capsule.

I'd be a bit careful of just whacking an electronic ignition unit into a normal points spec distributor, given lotus swapped the distributor when they went to lumentition. I suppose it depends on if the electronic unit has any advance/retard slopes built in, or if it just relies upon the distributor mechanical advance and vacuum unit.

megajolt or 123 tune would be the best solution, as you can plug it in and play with the advance, but both cost a lot more than 29.99.

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megajolt or 123 tune would be the best solution, as you can plug it in and play with the advance, but both cost a lot more than 29.99.

Appreciate the thoughts. Megajolt... is that similar to an MSD? Looked a little on the specs page and like the look of the tunable interface. That's definitely an area where I'm conformable in tinkering. Probably part of a longer term plan :-)

From what your said I'm wondering if my distributor doesn't need the vacuum retard/advance it has. Also can't see where a vacuum line would connect to, but may be in looking in the wrong area.

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Dunc has superior knowledge and his post is enlightening.

When Lotus upgraded to Luminition they also upgraded to a 45D distributor which was logical, latest spec etc..

The £25-£30 kit I and others have mentioned is basically a points and condenser replacement which does not alter the rest of the distributor attributes. So I do not see why fitting one would be an issue.

If your distributor has a vacuum advance then it should be connected up somewhere on the intake.

I will have a look where mine is connected and let you know, it may help.

Running a vacuum type distributor unconnected is not the same as running a vacuumless distributor. Vacuumless distributors have different bob weights to compensate.

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If your distributor has a vacuum advance then it should be connected up somewhere on the intake.

I will have a look where mine is connected and let you know, it may help.

Appreciate it :)

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Mega jolt is the ignition side of mega squirt. It's hugely popular with online enthusiasts, and has been done on a lotus 907 with I believe good results (in a Jensen Heaney). It is infinitely adjustable.

MSD is a commercial product, whereas megajolt is open architecture - you can build a pcb yourself, or buy one ready made that someone else has built up.

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