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slewthy

Still struggling with starting

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I have a fairly well defined set of symptoms so I hope these will ring true with someone on here.

Starting cold is difficult.

its almost as if the battery does not have enough power (that could be it btw)

I have a CTEK trickle charger attached that says its OK  - as far as it can.

Starting from cold leads to lots of strained turn overs with no firing occuring. If I continue like that, it just leads to a flat battery.

If I attach a boost charger, it will start. Even if I leave the trickle attached, it will usually start easier.

However, if I just try and start, with poor turn over but then stop, wait a couple of seconds, and then try again, it will usually fire.

The moment it has fired, there is no longer a problem - no resistance, fires on first turn over. Thats the odd thing. Just 2 revolutions seems to change the whole issue. Always has done too. Starts on a dime, once first started!

New coil btw.

 

Ideas?

 

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Mine is similar if left for a few weeks but always starts instantly if used regularly. Is yours like this if you start it on consecutive days?

Have you been able to confirm sparks? I used a timing light to check this through the rear cabin window before now.

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Slow to turn over might be a bad earth. Assuming the battery is good (all batteries give lower power when cold, like now) then you could try clipping a black jump lead to a good chassis ground directly to the battery negative terminal. This should create an additional 'bridge' earth and helping any poor earthing. If this helps, re-make the battery to chassis ground connection - take apart,clean up on the chassis with a file and reassemble. Just a thought ..

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Wilf,

Yes, slightly better if not left, but not much. Sparks, yes.

 

Jon, good idea - I have a replacement chassis that I painted. Could be a weak area - I'll try a good earth!

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Check the amps on your battery. Whilst your trickle charger is saying ok, it's usually the volts not the cranking amps it's reading. It needs to be several hundred amps for battery to be good (650). When a battery is knackere, it can still read 12-13V but only pumping out less than 100 amps.

If you have breakdown home assistance then they can determine the condition of your battery.

Regards

David

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1) When did you buy your battery?

2) Which oil are you using?

 

Buddsy

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The other thing I always advise checking in these cases is the centrifugal advance/retard mechanism in the distributor. Springs weaken, and it may be that the mechanism isn't retarding the ignition enough...this means the beast tries to fire when the piston is still going up, and that tries to drive the engine backwards against the starter, giving slow cranking. It certainly won't start like that...a few more volts from the boost charger could well be enough to crank fast enough to get the mechanism to reset, overcoming stiction.

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I had a very similar situation, would churn and churn, but not fire. Put the booster on, would start  all day. Get home, leave for a couple of days, same occurred.

 

I had run my battery right down by leaving the alarm on when I went on holiday, and not turning it off again. Recharged the battery, but the failure to start without the boost started.

 

After a couple of months of this, replaced the battery, and all has been well since. Original battery was less than a year old when I went on holiday.

 

Chris

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I'd check out the starter motor and/or the connectors

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Similar issue few years ago on my S3 which was under restoration and it was the counter ballance in the distributor and an an issue witht he earth to the chassis as I had just painted it as well.

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I've got the same problem this weekend with my 87 S3 N/A, engine turns over but will not fire up despite lots of trying. Left it overnight in case carbs over flooded but still no joy. I also attached a fully charged battery pack to the car battery for additional boost.

 

Recently been serviced by dealer and all seemed fine then, true I haven't used it for a few weeks but still strange won't fire.

 

Gggrrr

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Great responses guys - much appreciated.

Several suggestions.

 

I replaced the battery during the restoration so its 3 years old I guess.

Oil is Mobil 1 Sport, as recommended. Did wonder if it was a little too viscous though.

 

I did paint chassis so I will run a separate earth and see if that changes anything.

The centrifugal retard did look mightly clumsy when I had it apart (and it has been apart of course...) and the springs were not the same size. I remember thinking how could something so agricultural looking actually work!

Starter is new, all connections checked.

 

So, work order seems to be

Check for bad earth

Check/just replace the battery

Consider dizzy replacement - Can of worms so if I get that far, there will be questions...

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First off and simple, connect earth lead from your battery to one on the mounting bolts on the starter, with your battery charged and see what result you get, if this changes things then go down the clean earth point route first. Simple 5 min check.

 

Good luck.

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Moving forwards...

Attached jump cable from battery earth to engine block. Started much much better. There seemed to be more energy and 'willingness' to start.

I need to investigate my engine earthing strap. Perhaps there is a bad connection there.

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When I got mine the engine earth was from one of the 3  top engine mount to block bolts  to a bolt on the rubber engine mount itself.  I replaced it with  a stainless bolt fitted in the already   threaded hole in the block ( see pic)  just to the left of where the block and leg meet. This was then fitted direct to the studding chassis earth on the top side chassis rail that in turn  goes direct to the battery. Let me know if you want  any more pics.

post-1261-0-90016600-1422776262.jpg

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My engine earth goes from the bolt holding the starter motor to the bellhousing, direct to the battery negative, iirc. Too cold to go and look...(!)

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My engine earth goes from the bolt holding the starter motor to the bellhousing, direct to the battery negative, iirc. Too cold to go and look...(!)

This is where I was considering adding another earth. 

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You should have an earth strap going from the block to the engine mounting.

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Hello All

Reading through this thread, trying to decide if my problem is related....

Car hadn't been started for about 6 months (finally got round to replacing the handbrake cables and hoping for an MOT pass!!). To my slight surprise, it started up pretty much first time and ran OK for a couple of minutes. I got out of the car and went round the back to monitor the engine bay - all seemed fine. But after a couple of blips by hand on the throttle, the engine died and I have had not luck getting it restarted. I had a number of tries and eventually decided the battery was probably knackered, which turned out to be true. So brand new battery and now seems to turn over at reasonable speed, but no firing. Pulled a plug out to check for spark - seems OK. Just tried the advice above about grounding by connecting a jump lead from the battery -ve directly to the block. Noticed there were a few sparks as I attached the lead to the starter bolt - is that normal? But, still the same. Can't imagine there's a distributor problem as why would it have started originally?

Any ideas?

Thanks,

Richard.

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Is your fuel pump ticking? Should tick a few times when you turn the ignition on then stop

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Hello Charles

Yes, plenty of ticks from the fuel pump. Don't think there's an issue with fuelling.

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Noticed there were a few sparks as I attached the lead to the starter bolt - is that normal? 

 

No, since all you are doing is paralleling up an existing earth, there should be no current flowing through the jumper cable. To confirm though - you were putting the jump lead from the battery -ve terminal to a chassis point, not to a starter terminal yes ?

 

If so, this suggests that your -ve battery terminal to chassis earth is poor. Find it and re-make the end connections. Not clear if that is the root of your problem though, but any bad earths cause problems elsewhere as well as making it difficult for the starter to get enough grunt to turn the engine.

 

When you pulled a plug, did it smell of petrol ? If not, you have a fuel supply problem.

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You need a multimeter,

If, or once you have one, disconnect the negative from the battery and take a current reading between the neg batt terminal and the disconnected lead (set it to 1- 10 Amps or near). That tells you if you have a current drain or, parasitic draw. 

Make sure your door is shut and all ancillaries off. You should only read a tiny current from the clock and perhaps the radio clock.

If you have a large draw, say above 1 amp, you have a bad connection somewhere. Then trace it by disconnecting things(fuses) sequentially.

 

I did this and I know I have a short somewhere in the main loom. Great! Likely places are where it passes through tight places or corners etc. I am also going to supplement the neg to chassis connection with a separate lead.

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Hello Charles

Yes, plenty of ticks from the fuel pump. Don't think there's an issue with fuelling.

 

The ticking should slow down and stop when the fuel pressure is correct. Should take 3-4 seconds if I remember?

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Installed my 'additional' chassis to engine earth yesterday.

Car started immediately on turning over. Having poked around, I cant seem to locate where I earthed the engine originally.

Makes me wonder - did I even do it?? Obviously, the engine has earth but perhaps only via incidental connections etc.

Anyway, I have been here before - sorting something and apparently solving a problem only to be mistaken but, fingers crossed!

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