Lotus Elan

Just Acquired a '67 Lotus Elan Coupe

PostPost by: groucho » Sat Jun 09, 2018 2:45 am

Is it just me, or in the photo of the rear ground, are there two bullet connectors with no wire coming out of the far end?

Wiring is awfully simple, I'm no electrical engineer but 12v DC wiring is pretty basic especially in such a simple car. You could even rig up a simple tester with an old car battery or some other 12v source and connect it directly to the various lights and see if they work like they should. Then try putting the negative on where the ground is attached to see if they still work; that should tell you if there's a grounding problem.

All the original wiring should have a distinct color scheme; by that, you should be able to identify any rogue dodgy wiring that you find. Of course, the generic red/black stuff added over the years, that's a bit more of a mystery!
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PostPost by: Briggs1 » Sat Jun 09, 2018 9:30 am

I too am in Wilmington with two project Elans. I can offer some assistance if you wish. Do you have a shop manual?

The suggestion to Check out PALS and RD Enterprises are solid.

You may want to reach out to Don Butler at Union Jack Exotics as well, he is located in North Maryland, about 30 minutes south of us. He has an Elan and knows the cars inside and out.

http://www.unionjackexotics.com/

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PostPost by: MrBonus » Sat Jun 09, 2018 10:50 am

groucho wrote:Is it just me, or in the photo of the rear ground, are there two bullet connectors with no wire coming out of the far end?

Wiring is awfully simple, I'm no electrical engineer but 12v DC wiring is pretty basic especially in such a simple car. You could even rig up a simple tester with an old car battery or some other 12v source and connect it directly to the various lights and see if they work like they should. Then try putting the negative on where the ground is attached to see if they still work; that should tell you if there's a grounding problem.

All the original wiring should have a distinct color scheme; by that, you should be able to identify any rogue dodgy wiring that you find. Of course, the generic red/black stuff added over the years, that's a bit more of a mystery!


Jeff,

From what I can tell, wiring was added and subtracted over the years. There are a handful of “rogue wires” that come from seemingly nowhere.

I’m debating reaching out to someone to simply rewire the car (like Don Butler mentioned above) or at least tidy up some of the questionable work so I can start with a clean slate.

I’m going to pick up a multimeter this week. I also just checked the battery and it’s from 2011. The car sat for long periods of time so it would t surprise me if it were on its last legs. Going to replace it with an Optima or Odyssey AGM unit.
1967 Lotus Elan Coupe - Super Safety
1989 Porsche 911 Carrera
1971 VW Karmann Ghia
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PostPost by: MrBonus » Sat Jun 09, 2018 10:52 am

Briggs1 wrote:I too am in Wilmington with two project Elans. I can offer some assistance if you wish. Do you have a shop manual?

The suggestion to Check out PALS and RD Enterprises are solid.

You may want to reach out to Don Butler at Union Jack Exotics as well, he is located in North Maryland, about 30 minutes south of us. He has an Elan and knows the cars inside and out.

http://www.unionjackexotics.com/

Briggs


Briggs,

I do have the shop manual! And I’d appreciate any assistance I can get. I am the world’s worst mechanic.

I’ll PM you my cell.

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PostPost by: The Veg » Sun Jun 10, 2018 6:08 pm

Ian & Briggs,
I'm going to be in Wilmington soon on a biz-trip. If you guys would like to get together over a pint I'd be up for it.
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PostPost by: MrBonus » Mon Jun 11, 2018 11:44 am

The Veg wrote:Ian & Briggs,
I'm going to be in Wilmington soon on a biz-trip. If you guys would like to get together over a pint I'd be up for it.


Shoot me a PM when you’re in town.

Ian
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1989 Porsche 911 Carrera
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PostPost by: Briggs1 » Mon Jun 11, 2018 11:55 am

Same here

If I’m around we can get together

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PostPost by: denicholls2 » Mon Jun 11, 2018 9:04 pm

MrBonus wrote:Also, I'm getting the "ignition" light at idle and my idle is very, very low, bad enough that it will occasionally stall. I got my turn signals and windshield wipers working BUT they barely/sometimes don't work when the car is at that near-stall idle.


Period alternators were a vast improvement on generators, but weren't the kind of units we're used to in our Toyotas. I had a Fiat 124 that taught me why Italians always blip their throttles -- in the winter when it was dark going to and from work and the lights and heater had to be on all of the time, it did not create enough alternator output in city traffic to recharge the battery.

I suspect you can resolve your problem (and maybe a few others too) simply by getting back to a normal idle. Being in deficit isn't problematic periodically, but situations like mine above may require a higher idle or a modern replacement for the alternator.

The turn signals on these cars use a bimetallic switch. It "blinks" when the current flow through the bimetal heats the part sufficiently to bend it out of contact. It closes again when it cools. Not enough heat, no blinkie. Using LED bulbs reduces the current load on the bimetallic strip too, same symptom.

Wiper motors just like all of the power they can get, particularly if there's 50 years of contact resistance in their wiring. See dielectric grease (Vaseline) above.

High-resistance connections can be dangerous, because the resistance manifests itself in hotter wires. Chunky and Lucas added perhaps a bit too much lightness in the stock harness.
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PostPost by: MrBonus » Mon Jun 11, 2018 9:11 pm

denicholls2 wrote:
MrBonus wrote:Also, I'm getting the "ignition" light at idle and my idle is very, very low, bad enough that it will occasionally stall. I got my turn signals and windshield wipers working BUT they barely/sometimes don't work when the car is at that near-stall idle.


Period alternators were a vast improvement on generators, but weren't the kind of units we're used to in our Toyotas. I had a Fiat 124 that taught me why Italians always blip their throttles -- in the winter when it was dark going to and from work and the lights and heater had to be on all of the time, it did not create enough alternator output in city traffic to recharge the battery.

I suspect you can resolve your problem (and maybe a few others too) simply by getting back to a normal idle. Being in deficit isn't problematic periodically, but situations like mine above may require a higher idle or a modern replacement for the alternator.

The turn signals on these cars use a bimetallic switch. It "blinks" when the current flow through the bimetal heats the part sufficiently to bend it out of contact. It closes again when it cools. Not enough heat, no blinkie. Using LED bulbs reduces the current load on the bimetallic strip too, same symptom.

Wiper motors just like all of the power they can get, particularly if there's 50 years of contact resistance in their wiring. See dielectric grease (Vaseline) above.

High-resistance connections can be dangerous, because the resistance manifests itself in hotter wires. Chunky and Lucas added perhaps a bit too much lightness in the stock harness.


Thank you for this fantastic bit of info. My Lotus is my oldest car, so I’m somewhat unfamiliar with these issues. I found the idle adjustment screw and I think I’m going to bump it up a bit as I did have it stall once while idling. A quick search of the site says it could be a symptom of old plugs or unsynced Webers. I’m going to start with the simplest solution (idle then check plugs).

I also found out my old Walmart battery is 7 years old. I think I’m going to swap it for an Optima 25 AGM.
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1989 Porsche 911 Carrera
1971 VW Karmann Ghia
2019 Tesla Model 3 Performance
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