Lotus Elan

Starter Problems ...

PostPost by: Galwaylotus » Thu Apr 13, 2017 1:09 pm

After getting the carburation, ignition and exhaust sorted, I now have a sweet running Elan. Today I drove to my daughter and son-in-law's place about ten miles from home and really enjoyed having the Lotus on the road again. When I left to return home, however, I couldn't start the engine! Turning the key to ON gave the expected red ignition warning light but turning the switch further to START gave me nothing and even the ignition warning lamp went out. I tried pushing the car and jumping in to pop the clutch but couldn't get enough speed. I enlisted the help of a very accommodating passing postman and was then able to bump start it and drove home without further incident. It seems I'll have to start chasing circuits again. :(
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PostPost by: ericbushby » Thu Apr 13, 2017 1:23 pm

Hi,
The fact that the ignition light went out suggests a loss of battery voltage when loaded.
First try it with some other lights on, even headlights. If they go out when trying a start this would confirm it.
First places to look would be dirty battery connections or loose earth connection in the boot.
Try bypassing suspect connections with a jump lead.
best of luck
Eric in Burnley,
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PostPost by: alan.barker » Thu Apr 13, 2017 1:51 pm

I have had this problem on different Elans that when you turn the key the Solenoid does not function.
Each time it has been a problem with the black earth wire on the Solenoid.
Try adding an earth wire from the Solenoid body to one of the Camcover securing nuts.
Alan
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PostPost by: William2 » Thu Apr 13, 2017 4:01 pm

It could also be the starter solenoid itself. Regarding earthing, even though I rewired my Elan with new looms I still added a few additional earth wires for extra reliability and I always cover the earth points in Waxoyl to prevent any long term corrosion.
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PostPost by: bob_rich » Fri Apr 14, 2017 8:13 am

Hi

All the previous ideas sound good and I hope it turns out to be one of those.
I had a similar problem once and after checks as described by others proved unsuccessful
I discovered that the main 12 feed to the starter motor passes through a small insulator and this had melted
and so on operating the ignition key to start the solenoid clicked and the result was a short to earth that dimmed all the lights ands virtually killed the 12 feed to the car. I had to strip the starter down and rebuild the 12V input terminal. I used a small piece of glass reinforced printed circuit board material on both the inside and outside of the terminal. as well as a small piece of plastic lining material. this allowed the terminal to be tightened fully without the plastic bush yielding.

As an aside to this the solenoid tended to stick on, probably the solenoid contacts welded by the short circuit current. I was able to remove the solenoid drill out the rivets and repair it and replace the 4 rivets with M3 screw and nut sets and the solenoid has been OK ever since.

Hope it turns out to be one of the simpler faults

best of luck

Bob
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PostPost by: Galwaylotus » Fri Apr 14, 2017 9:16 am

I haven't had a chance yet to check the various possible faults; however, I should mention that my car has been fitted with a high torque starter and has a built-in solenoid. The car's original external solenoid was removed. I'll have to push it up onto my homemade ramps and get my meter to start the checks. Happy hunting! Thanks to all for your suggestions. I'll post the resolution when I find it.
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PostPost by: alan.barker » Fri Apr 14, 2017 9:58 am

Easy 5 minutes check is to run a test cable from Ignition outlet "White with Red tracer" direct to built in Solenoid spade on high torque Starter.
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PostPost by: EPA » Fri Apr 14, 2017 11:35 am

[quote="Galwaylotus"]I haven't had a chance yet to check the various possible faults; however, I should mention that my car has been fitted with a high torque starter and has a built-in solenoid. The car's original external solenoid was removed. I'll have to push it up onto my homemade ramps and get my meter to start the checks. Happy hunting! Thanks to all for your suggestions. I'll post the resolution when I find it.[/quote

I touched on this with your previous problem but the original solenoid was a completely different proposition to the solenoid on the new starter . The solenoid on the high torque start is engaging the motor gear before making a connection to the motor itself and will therefore will draw a significantly higher current. I would not rely on the starter switch to cope with this increased load as it is probably not up to it ( I am assuming that the original solenoid has not been replaced by a suitable relay to take the load).
It would be simple to bypass the starter switch to check if this is the problem but I would change the wiring anyway if the starter switch is directly driving the solenoid.
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PostPost by: alan.barker » Fri Apr 14, 2017 11:57 am

Yes, you have a good point.
The supply to the high torque starter solenoid would be better with a relay
Alan
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PostPost by: bob_rich » Fri Apr 14, 2017 2:14 pm

Hi Again

from measurements I have taken with a pre-engaged type starter the current with a 12V battery is 35 to 40A for the internal pull in solenoid. The ignition switch would not normally cope with this ( not for long anyway) . The best idea would be to use the original starter solenoid to operate the internal pull in solenoid on the pre-engager and then the main feed from the battery could go direct the the motor on the pre-engager starter. this would remove one contact set from the current path to the starter motor.

Hope this helps best of luck

Bob
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PostPost by: alan.barker » Fri Apr 14, 2017 2:56 pm

Hi bob,
the way i see it the internal solenoid on my Edge starter only takes current from ignition to make contact across the main power terminals inside. The power to turn the starter is from starter big terminal direct to battery. No big power through ignition switch.
There is no reason to keep the old solenoid on the bulkhead except as terminal with the starter heavy cable and the battery heavy cable together on same terminal.
I can't see the reason to power both the bulkhead solenoid and also the internal solenoid on an Edge starter.
10 amps bulkhead solenoid + 10 amps internal solenoid =20 amps. Which could be 10 amps internal solenoid only through ignition switch.
Maybe i'm missing something somewhere
Alan
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PostPost by: prezoom » Fri Apr 14, 2017 4:07 pm

I think it was billwill who had a good suggestion on powering a pre-engaged starter replacing the old Lucas unit. Leave the original solenoid in place, and at the new starter, connect a jumper from the large power lead to the solenoid terminal. When you engage the original solenoid, it sends power down to the starter. When that cable in energized, it will operate the solenoid on the new starter. With such a short lead, and the main battery source providing the feed, I don't believe it is possible to overload the circuit. No worries about over loading the lead from the ignition key, as it has been powering up the original solenoid since the car was built. I thought it was rather a brilliant idea.
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PostPost by: bob_rich » Fri Apr 14, 2017 4:11 pm

Hi Alan

I think we are saying the same thing I perhaps didn't explain it clearly. The attached drawing shows what I ( think !) suggested. I would keep the original solenoid and use it to energise the solenoid in the pre-engager starter motor.
The main current for the motor would indeed come directly from the battery. The original starter solenoid will easily handle the current for the pre-engager solenoid. The original solenoid coil has a resistance of around 2.5 ohms so the current switched by the ignition switch is only around 4 to 5A no problem.

The solenoid in the pre-engager is a much heftier thing. It has to drive the pinion into the flywheel ring gear then at the end of it travel it connects the main battery feed to the motor. The solenoids on a couple of pre-engagers I have tested (Wosp and Ford Pinto) took around 35 to 40A at 12V . If the edge unit only takes around 10A on it solenoid then the ignition switch may be OK.

My instinct is to relay switch ( using old solenoid as the relay) the drive to the pre-engager solenoid

hope this helps best of luck

Bob
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PostPost by: ericbushby » Fri Apr 14, 2017 4:15 pm

Hi Bob and Alan.
Being a doubting and pessimistic sort of bloke, I just measured mine.
The bulkhead solenoid takes 2.5 amps. It is the non push button type.
The Powerlite high torque starter solenoid takes 6 Amps.
This is hardly enough to frighten a dashboard switch, although as I have left the bulkhead solenoid in circuit, my ignition switch only has to handle the 2.5 Amps.
The starter motor itself takes 160 Amps when cranking.
Cheers
Eric in Burnley
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PostPost by: alan.barker » Fri Apr 14, 2017 4:48 pm

ericbushby wrote:Hi Bob and Alan.
Being a doubting and pessimistic sort of bloke, I just measured mine.
The bulkhead solenoid takes 2.5 amps. It is the non push button type.
The Powerlite high torque starter solenoid takes 6 Amps.
This is hardly enough to frighten a dashboard switch, although as I have left the bulkhead solenoid in circuit, my ignition switch only has to handle the 2.5 Amps.
The starter motor itself takes 160 Amps when cranking.
Cheers
Eric in Burnley

To be honest i haven't measured the amps for the original solenoid or the Edge starter solenoid. But i find it strange that the high torque solenoid takes more power than the original solenoid.
Does that mean the old Lucas parts are not so bad after all :mrgreen:
I will be fitting a fused relay to supply the Edge starter.
When starting from hot almost all the power was going to the starter and very little left for the Coil and very weak spark at plugs.
Alan
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