Lotus Elan

Elan S2 - Electronic Ignition

PostPost by: Matt7c » Tue Dec 28, 2004 6:51 pm

I have just started a restoration on a 1964 Elan S2 which is intact and in reasonable condition, except that it hadn't moved for 13 years. Currently working on the brakes, but looking ahead to the engine I have a question about the after-market electronic ignition that a previous owner installed.

It is a SureFire ES1000 and is a black box with LT wires running between it, the distributor and coil. I think I understand the basic principles of this early system which still uses the distributor, but uses the LT contacts only for timing. However, I can't find out any information about this particular system.

Has anybody else heard of it or similar systems? Are they worth bothering with?

Matt
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PostPost by: gjz30075 » Wed Dec 29, 2004 7:18 pm

Haven't heard of it, but if you're looking to just get it running, ditch it and put in points for now. Once its all sorted, then upgrade.
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PostPost by: Matt7c » Thu Dec 30, 2004 8:09 am

Yeah, if she won't start I may have to do that, just to eliminate it as part of the problem. Its complicated enough without the unknown factor of an electronic ignition system about which I can find out nothing.
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PostPost by: type26owner » Wed Jan 05, 2005 4:29 pm

Matt,
Best guess is that unit is a capacitive discharge module to aid the coil to saturate at high rpms. They are only really needed at above 8000 rpms applications mainly on racing engines. Suggest you consider using a Pertronix/Aldon Ignitor to eliminate the points in the dizzy and remove the other unit entirely. They are available in both positive and negative earthed versions.

What Pertronix neglects to tell you in their instructions is how to actually do the intial static timing safely. lt's done with the ignition on and you watch for the spark from #1 wire so there is one best practice procedure to know and follow or someone can get harmed.

-Unplug ALL the spark plug wires while doing the intial timing procedure. The Ignitor works at nearly ZERO rpm so if you are on the wrong cylinder it could start the engine when the dizzy housing is merely rotated. Also if the engine is turned over by rolling the car in gear to confirm the timing mask setting, make sure the plug wires are disconnected to the spark plugs. Ergo, don't accidently run over the wife, the kiddies or your own foot. Having an Elan or worse yet a racecar in the paddock parked on your foot is painful and awfully embarrassing. I've seen this happen.

Here's some other tips.

-The Lucas dizzy is right-handed when running (counter clock-wise). Search on 'right-hand rule rotation' for an explanation.

-When rotating the dizzy to change the timing it helps to remember it does so at half the speed of the crankshaft where the timing angles are measured. A good way to get the feel of how much to rotate it is to envision the dizzy rotor sweeping out crankshaft degrees instead. Since each revolution of the rotor actually represents 720 degrees of the crankshaft.
-Keith
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PostPost by: Matt7c » Wed Jan 05, 2005 9:23 pm

Keith, thank you for the tips. I'll certianly refer back to this thread when I get on to starting the engine in the next few weeks. Each time I pass the engine bay and look in on the untidy jumble of wires around the "SureFire" I re-affirm my intention to ditch it! Having now checked out the Aldon system, it appears to be a much tidier prospect.

The way I'll proceed is that if she starts, the SureFire gets a reprieve so I can do higher priority stuff before ditching it at a time of my choosing. If she won't start, the SureFire gets the chop immediately and I'll try and get the TC running with the standard dizzy.

Looking forward to making some noise. I'm getting bored with the brakes...

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