Lotus Elan

+2 hard to startup!!

PostPost by: Bozzie » Mon Apr 08, 2019 9:57 am

I’m having problems everytime I come to start my car (‘68 +2) I only get chance to run her every couple of wheels which I know is not ideal but that’s how it is. Need too much coaxing to get her going - more than a full charged battery can handle so I have to use jump leads. She’s perfect once started. Seems like I’m having to suck fuel from the centre of the earth!! What stops the fuel draining away from the carbs? (Twin Dels) I have a new (upgraded) starter motor due to be fitted but forum words of wisdom are always appreciated!
Last edited by Bozzie on Mon Apr 08, 2019 4:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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PostPost by: kneedham » Mon Apr 08, 2019 10:28 am

Hi, I had the same problem. I cured it by fitting an electric fuel pump. Instead of having to turn the engine over many times for the mechanical pump to fill he carbs, the electric pump pumps as soon as th ignition is on, wait a few seconds whilst the pump fills the carbs then try to turn starter.
I fitted the pump near the diff where there is an easy point to break into the fuel feed from the tank and a bypass around the mechanical pump. I actually removed the mechanical pump and replaced it with a blanking plate.
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PostPost by: rgh0 » Mon Apr 08, 2019 11:27 am

In a plus 2 the fuel does not drain from the carbs as the fuel tank if half full is above the carb float level. The fuel evaporates in the carb bowls as the car sits and needs to be refilled before the car will start by cranking the engine if you have the mechanical pump.

Plus 2's generally start better than Elans if sitting for a time as the fuel will leak past the mechanical pump valves when the level drops in the carb bowls and the float valves open especially of the tank is full and there is some head pressure from the tank to the carbs

The answer is an electric fuel pump or drive the car regularly or have some sort of priming pump either manual or electric all of which have been done successfully depending on peoples preferences.

One area to be aware of is the fuel vapour pressure formulation change that takes place between winter and summer fuels especially in places like Europe and USA where there is a significant difference in average summer and winter temperatures. Winter fuel is formulated to evaporate more easily to aid cold winter starting and less easily in summer to avoid vapour lock in fuel system. if you dont drive your car a lot you can end up with a tank fuel of winter fuel in summer and suffer from hard starting as it all will evaporate more quickly from the carb bowls.

cheers
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PostPost by: vincereynard » Mon Apr 08, 2019 12:18 pm

+1 on an electric pump, which also allows you to easily drain the old fuel.

Then give it a squirt of Easy Start (or equivalent), much cheaper than a new starter ring! I just take the hose off and squirt into the air box.

rgh0 wrote:One area to be aware of is the fuel vapour pressure formulation change that takes place between winter and summer fuels especially in places like Europe and USA where there is a significant difference in average summer and winter temperatures. Winter fuel is formulated to evaporate more easily to aid cold winter starting and less easily in summer to avoid vapour lock in fuel system.
cheers
Rohan


Winter fuel? I've never considered that. Cheers Rohan!
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PostPost by: john.p.clegg » Mon Apr 08, 2019 12:31 pm

Fit some new NGK sparkplugs..

P.S. do you have a 6 or 12 volt coil ( and associated wiring ) ?

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PostPost by: Bozzie » Mon Apr 08, 2019 4:40 pm

john.p.clegg wrote:Fit some new NGK sparkplugs..

P.S. do you have a 6 or 12 volt coil ( and associated wiring ) ?

John :wink:

Not absolutely sure John. I always presumed it was 12v !!!
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PostPost by: john.p.clegg » Mon Apr 08, 2019 4:46 pm

Sometimes a 6volt coil is fitted and has 12v across it for starting,the running voltage will be 6 volts , having a ballast resistor in-line.

If that's the case and you have a 12v coil fitted, you won't be getting a good spark while cranking.

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PostPost by: Classic-BSC » Mon Apr 08, 2019 8:19 pm

Don't overlook the Spark Plugs!

I had/have this same problem with my +2S 130.

I changed the Carbs for a reconditioned Set.
I added Electronic Ignition.
New Plugs.
New Plugs Leads.

But still, she doesn't start particularly well.

With New Plugs, she starts Ok.

After a lot of research on Bad starting, I found a Guy in the US who stated categorically, that
Modern Plugs are simply no longer designed to run on older Engines.

Apparently new Plugs no longer have a coating on their insulators, and he states
if the Engine Floods for any reason the Plugs are irreparably damaged and will cause bad starting.

Modern Engines rarely if ever Flood or have bad Mixture due to their computer controlled ignition systems. So Modern Plugs no longer need the old style protection of special coatings.

No idea if he is correct or not, but what he says fits in exactly with what I have found on my own Car.

With New slightly used Plugs, She simply won't start if the Engine has been previously flooded or badly started.
New Plugs, she Starts without problem.



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PostPost by: Mick6186 » Tue Apr 09, 2019 8:21 am

I have just finished a 'recommision' of my 1973 130/5. It is fitted with dellortos.The car was difficult to start but I purchased a Gunsons carb balancer which made the task of balancing the carbs a simple task. I now pump the throttle 6 times then use a very small throttle opening to fire the engine. It fires immediately. It is then necessary to play with the throttle to keep the revs up for a few seconds otherwise it dies. No choke at any time. I have fitted a facet electric pump in line with the mechanical pump but the electric pump is operated by a switch and only used if the car has been left standing for a long period, and then only to fill the float chambers.
Once the engine is warm it starts immediately with no pumps on the throttle.
I use ngk plugs with solid copper leads & resistance ngk plug caps.
Aldon igniter ignition with no ballast resistor.
If the car is left ticking over the plugs get very sooty and the spark can go straight to earth and cause starting problems. I always hold the revs at 4000 and switch of without closing the throttle to try to burn off some of the carbon build up.
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PostPost by: vincereynard » Tue Apr 09, 2019 8:44 am

Or get a set of original Champion plugs - https://www.ebay.co.uk/p/28016748953

Another advantage of the electric only pump is that it can be switched off to allow the engine to drain the float bowls. It takes a surprisingly long time. Plenty time enough to get out, open the garage doors and drive the car in. It might even clean the plugs!
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PostPost by: john.p.clegg » Tue Apr 09, 2019 10:28 am

Mick

"If the car is left ticking over the plugs get very sooty " ,

Maybe you should get a Gunson Colortune as well ?

John :wink:
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PostPost by: Rich135 » Tue Apr 09, 2019 11:21 am

Here here on the new plugs. Sometimes after being left a few weeks mine hasn't fired, just turns over and over. I try cleaning the old plugs, no difference.

New set of plugs in, and fires instantly. I will always keep a spare set now! NGKs.

Rich
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PostPost by: denicholls2 » Wed Apr 10, 2019 2:15 pm

Mick6186 wrote:Another advantage of the electric only pump is that it can be switched off to allow the engine to drain the float bowls. It takes a surprisingly long time. Plenty time enough to get out, open the garage doors and drive the car in. It might even clean the plugs!


I've not thought of using this for cars, but it's a necessary practice with "modern" fuel in the U.S. for small engines nowadays. If you don't drain the bowls and let the machine sit, the volatility will result in tar buildup on the floats and in the tiny passages that will cause fuel starvation. I've seen amazing amounts of buildup on mower and snowblower floats and started shutting off the fuel supply a couple of minutes before parking.

And a word about summer vs. winter fuels: In the U.S., the mixtures are different enough that my "other" car, a Prius V, drops from fuel economy in the mid 50's on summer fuel to as low as high 30's on winter fuel. Yes, the cold does lower efficiency a bit, but on the rare occasions I acquire a tank of summer fuel in winter, economy pops right back above 50mpg, so the formulation is the culprit. If you think about it, that's a pretty high price to pay for close to 6 months out of the year when the higher volatility either isn't really needed with modern ignitions, or if needed can be supplied the good old-fashioned way, by adding drygas. The cynic in me believes the formulation change isn't so much because it's needed as it is to give a boost to fuel sales during the months people drive fewer miles. Certainly the ecological impact of the drop in fuel economy can't be positive.
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PostPost by: wotsisname » Wed Apr 10, 2019 4:19 pm

IF I were to use a similar approach to drain the carbs with a standard pump and fuel cut off (next to the tank) would this cause any damage to the mechanical pump diaphragm or valves ? (obviously the empty pump - starting problem would rear it's ugly mug).
1968 Elan plus 2 - project
2007 Elise S2 [modified with a Hethel 70th sticker (yellow)]
2000 Elise S1 - Sold
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PostPost by: The Veg » Thu Apr 11, 2019 6:25 pm

denicholls2 wrote:And a word about summer vs. winter fuels: In the U.S., the mixtures are different enough that my "other" car, a Prius V, drops from fuel economy in the mid 50's on summer fuel to as low as high 30's on winter fuel. Yes, the cold does lower efficiency a bit, but on the rare occasions I acquire a tank of summer fuel in winter, economy pops right back above 50mpg, so the formulation is the culprit. If you think about it, that's a pretty high price to pay for close to 6 months out of the year when the higher volatility either isn't really needed with modern ignitions, or if needed can be supplied the good old-fashioned way, by adding drygas. The cynic in me believes the formulation change isn't so much because it's needed as it is to give a boost to fuel sales during the months people drive fewer miles. Certainly the ecological impact of the drop in fuel economy can't be positive.


Might this be regional? I live down south and never noticed this happening. If anything, aircon-use will cause the opposite effect!
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