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Ignition Problems

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I'd like to do an ignition check-over.

I have a car that hasn't run for years, that wont start.

Checking the plugs there doesn't seem to be a spark- which might not help!

The electronic ignition thingy is however just a lump I can only look at (it' a Lucas) as I dont know where to start.

Both terminals on the coil are showing 12V - beyond that I dont know where to start.

The car's a 1983 Turbo

There's leads in from the loom to a fibreglass box, in which there's the coil and an ignition amplifier.

Over by the battery there's another "thing" on the wheel arch

No idea what these things do

Sorry to be so clueless, I'd know where to start with a set of points


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I'd replace the whole thing witha pertronix Ignitor. Just be sure which distributor you have and chekc the local specialty shops. Pertronix has a web site as well. $79 to $120 (US) and it all fits in the Distributor. Two wires and go. This eliminates the hassle of trying to figure out which lump is bad in an older setup. (My opinion).

Short of that, you could check the following:

plugs - be sure they are set to the correct gap and not fouled

wires - good set of cracks or big slotches of oil

Coil - a cheap fix. Even and epoxy one is only $36 (US) - need to be sure you get the proper coil for the car.

carbs and choke - no fule blockages - seriously check the fuel flow...disco the line at the carbs and put the hose in a cup. Now turn on the ignition to run the fuel pump. see fuel? Any rust? You could also have a bad pump or rust in the tanks and thus the fuel lines. Be sure you have fuel flowing before eliminating this.

hope this helps


Dom Giangrasso

1977 S1 Esprit - Lagoon Blue

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Also worth cleaning the terminals on the ignition amplifier as corrosion on these can cause a loss of spark.

best of luck getting her started.


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Also check the brush in the middle of the inside of the distributor cap is still there. To eliminate the cap, rotor arm and leads, connect an ignition lead from the coil to a new spark plug resdtng on the cam cover so it's earthed. Crank the engine over and check for a spark. To help the battery (and oil pressure) you may want to remove the plugs from the engine while you do this.

S4 Elan, Elan +2S, Federal-spec, World Championship Edition S2 Esprit #42, S1 Elise, Excel SE


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Thing on wheel arch is rev limiter - the car will run without this plugged in.

You can check the resistance of the pickup in the distributor with a simple multimeter. (its simply a coil of wire energised by a magnetised rotor) For cars with a mechanical advance/retard on dizzy these are notorious for breaking the wires internally, this can be repaired by soldering a new pair of 'tails'.

The disassembled constant energy module contains an amplfier that is still available from Partco (or it was last year cos I bought one for

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