Lotus Elan

Catastrophe on Elan ownership day one!

PostPost by: billwill » Fri May 20, 2011 2:09 pm

It's most likely the diodes or the rest of the electronic pack in the alternator, but there is little point in fixing it yourself as an exchange alternator is not expensive.


Use your new meter in the OHMS position to check that the alternator is earthed and that the wires to the connectors in the alternator plug are intact from the fuse box or where ever the wiring diagram says they should go to.


If they are all OK, then it must be inside the alternator.
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PostPost by: paddy » Fri May 20, 2011 2:48 pm

Does the ignition light come on before you start the engine? Does it go out when you do?

If the ignition light isn't working as expected, then I would suspect the alternator wiring; if the ignition light works ok, then I would be blaming the alternator itself. As Bill says it is equally likely to be the electronics and regulator as the brushes.

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PostPost by: Steve G » Mon May 23, 2011 12:04 pm

The ignition light goes out as normal. I earth tested the alternator and engine, all read very close to 0 Ohms so no earthing problems. The fan belt was tight. Tested the voltage across the alternator again, 0.18V when running so I've bought a new alternator, only £53 inc. delivery. It should arrive tomorrow. I will repair the old one (Full repair kit for the 17 ACR on eBay for £15) and keep it as a spare, so I always have a back up alternator.
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PostPost by: Steve G » Wed May 25, 2011 10:59 am

New alternator went in, started her up, put the voltmeter across the battery and 13.1...13.2...13.3...13.8V! Whoohoo!

Then went for an awesome drive, God I love this car, the steering, the excellent combination of soft springs and firm dampers that allow it to float along the road, the way it gently slides around corners with no body roll, the induction noise, feeling the rubber doughnuts spool up and launch you down the road, the gearchange, the ease at which you can roll your ankle for a perfect rev matching downchange, the wind in your hair...15 months of distress, poverty, regret and uncertainty all blown away in the first 20 minutes of a proper drive. Easily the best car I have ever owned or driven (including the F430 on my wedding day).

Now, that's the romance out of the way, back to the reality of Lotus ownership. When I was driving back last week with the dead alternator and barely charged battery my headlight bulbs blew upon entering the garage. Does this happen if you have a dying battery or is it indicative of an electrical fault? Also does anyone know the part number for the main headlight bulbs? I need to get some from halfords today and I very much doubt they have the Elan in their book.

I think they might be these ones;
Sealed beam unit 7". 12V 60/45W. With pilot glass window.
E approved. Ref: 7014. £9.51 each
Bloody sealed beam units, won't be getting those from Halfords!
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PostPost by: billwill » Wed May 25, 2011 4:03 pm

I've never had headlight bulbs blow like that, so can't be sure what happened.

I suppose it's faintly possible that the uncontrolled alternator abruptly developed a high output, but it seems unlikely.


It doesn't take much excess voltage to blow an incandescent lamp bulb because (as far as I recall) the temperature of the filament rises as the 4th power of the voltage.

A case where you defintely don't want "The 4th to be with you". :P
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PostPost by: Steve G » Thu May 26, 2011 7:47 am

I took a headlamp off and it has normal (non sealed beam) bulbs fitted and they are not blown. I checked the four or five fuses that are on the bulkhead but they are all fine too. Don't know what's wrong now, sidelights work fine, just no dipped or main beam. Are there any other fuses lurking around?
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PostPost by: paddy » Thu May 26, 2011 7:53 am

I would be looking at the relays and pod microswitches.

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PostPost by: billwill » Thu May 26, 2011 12:14 pm

Yes, check the headlamp relay(s) They are on the left side wall of the engine compartment just in front of the radiator. You need to take the bonnet off completely to get adequate access.

If your wiring still has bullet connectors, they are prone to getting rusty and make poor connections. Take then off clean with emery paper, clean inside the 'bullet tube' by rolling up some emery paper and poke it into the tube and rotate to remove the rust. Put a small dab of vaseline on the connectors when re-connecting, to help stop them re-rusting. The best long term solution is to fit modern connectors, nice clean shiny zinced ones :lol: but if the old wires are not long enough or in bad condition that means a whole new wiring loom.

The pod microswitch(es) are obviously near each of the vacuum pod lifters. They too tend to get wet from rain coming through the front aperture & can get rusty etc. As a work around you can just connect the wires together so that it is always ON (I think) because the lighting switch in the dashboard will also turn the lights off. The function of the micro-switch is to force them off when the pods go down in case you forget to turn them off on the dashboard, mainly to stop you running the battery down while parked in the dark, but also because the headlights might get excessively hot if on for a long time while down.
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PostPost by: Steve G » Thu May 26, 2011 12:55 pm

Thanks Guys, I will check the relays and microswitches tonight. It was raining when it happened and the lights were on, maybe something got wet.

I took it on an extended drive last night on my favourite Sussex road, between Devil's Dyke Brighton and Upper Beeding via Fulking and Poynings, great fun, totally fell in love with the car.
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PostPost by: SJ Lambert » Thu Oct 12, 2017 6:28 am

image.jpg and
bcmc33 wrote:Steve,

Rohan's assessment of the failure seems correct to me. His advice on criss-crossing the tightening of the bolts should be standard practice - just like the cylinder head clamping. I've recently fixed my flywheel with ARP bolts and started at 25 lbs ft torque then 30, 40 & 45 in the same criss-cross pattern.

To understand fixings better download the ARP catalogue - it makes good reading.
http://www.arp-bolts.com/
.

The Burtons website says tighten ARP flywheel bolts to 55 lbs with loctite - the Burtons specs don't advise on their specific kits but their general torque recommendations for 3/8 fasteners and optimal preload with ARP lubricants are 50 lbs with 200 000 psi fastener tensile strength & 55 at 220 000. I think the 206-2802 bolts kits (that ARP nominate as BMC) pro series ARP bolts we use on Twinks are at a 200 000 rating - I think I did a trial fitting at 55 ft/lbs on my 4 bolt flywheel having followed Burtons directions - I'll see if I can track down my notes!
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