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More Ti starting woes

Posted: Fri Apr 05, 2019 7:35 pm
by PeteMac
It was all going so well.

Car has been starting on the button since replacing the crank angle sensor in October. Not much use over the Winter, though regularly started. Have been making more use of it in the last 2 weeks, using it for the commute to work 4 times, filling up with £20 worth of fuel on Monday. Due to the miserable weather this week, the last day I used it was Tuesday. It was a fairly lengthy rush-hour drive home with a fair bit of queuing traffic, but the car never missed a beat. The fan was on by the time I got home, which is the first time it's been on in a long time. (The engine temperature never seems to go too high - I suspect the thermostat may be stuck open - assuming there's one in there.) Parked the car in the garage on Tuesday evening.

Was planning on taking the car to work today, so went to get it out the garage last night. Didn't start. Turned no problem but didn't fire. Spent some time on it today and did the following:
- Checked wiring connectors
- Checked fuses
- Checked ignition relay below fuse box
- Checked for spark at the plugs - there was a spark, but the plugs were fairly wet. Not surprising given my multiple start attempts.
- Ran diagnostics - just the usual 23 and 31, and 23 cleared after depressing the throttle
- Checked the air flow meter - dry as a bone
- Tested the distributor by extracting and spinning it with ignition in 'on' position (with fuel pump audibly running). Injector clicks heard and king lead sparks seen 4 times on each revolution, as expected.

So the dizzy seems to be doing it's job. So what do I check next? I'm starting to think fuel - the plugs were fairly wet when I removed them, but there really hasn't been any smell of petrol during this whole process. What's the best way to check that fuel is getting through OK. Or could it be the injectors? Or any other suggestions?

And it's booked in for its MOT on Tuesday! (Arranged a week ago.) Good chance that'll be getting cancelled.

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Posted: Fri Apr 05, 2019 8:47 pm
by peter freeman
Are you sure its fuel on the plugs and not water lying at the bottom of the tank getting into the engine

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Posted: Fri Apr 05, 2019 8:49 pm
by philhoward
Weather turns bad, reports of Small Sports running badly/not at all. Experience says water getting through the fuel cap.

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Posted: Fri Apr 05, 2019 10:22 pm
by PeteMac
Hadn't thought of that, but it does sound likely. There was certainly heavy rain on Monday night and Tuesday, and the car was sitting out in it.

A case of emptying the tank? How's best to do it. Is syphoning best, or disconnect pipe at tank? And then the drain holes at fuel cap will also need checked/cleared, and perhaps fuel cap replaced.

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Posted: Sat Apr 06, 2019 6:31 am
by philhoward
Depends how much fuel is in the tank to be honest. If it’s 1/4 or a tank or less, you should be able to just pop the sender unit out (be very careful when removing hoses if it’s an original as they snap off if you look at them wrong). Water sinks so it’ll be on the bottom of the tank - sometimes clear, sometimes looks like there’s half a pint of milk in there (if it’s mixed with the ethanol in the fuel) - you can tell I’ve done this s lot. I have an old submersible injection pump I use to get the water/emulsion out (off the bottom) but any suction/transfer pump will do.

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Posted: Sat Apr 06, 2019 8:47 am
by PeteMac
Thanks Phil. So it shouldn’t be necessary to drain the tank completely? If I can pump the water out from the bottom of the tank, that should be enough?

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Posted: Sat Apr 06, 2019 9:07 am
by philhoward
That’s what I’ve done in the past but I’ve only hard partially full tanks to deal with.

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Posted: Sat Apr 06, 2019 7:39 pm
by PeteMac
I'll be having a go at this tomorrow. Is there a knack to removing the sender unit? Does it just turn then pull out?

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Posted: Sat Apr 06, 2019 8:18 pm
by philhoward
Rule 1 - unless it’s a new sender, cut the rubber lines off with a sharp Stanley knife. The fit Cohline replacements..

Rule 2 - the securing ring is a bayonet - turns about 30 degrees (then should come out) and will probably need carefully persuasion with a drift and hammer. Anti-clockwise to undo it.

Rule 3 - always read all the rules first

Rule 4 - be ready for the fuel level being a bit higher than you think and be prepared for spillage.

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Posted: Sat Apr 06, 2019 8:50 pm
by Old and Slow
I don't have a Small Sports, but I was just wondering...
IS it not possible to siphon fuel out via the filler with a long-enough flexible pipe (and a pump)?

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Posted: Sun Apr 07, 2019 3:33 pm
by PeteMac
IS it not possible to siphon fuel out via the filler with a long-enough flexible pipe (and a pump)?
I wondered the same, so I tried it yesterday. No joy - the internal structure of the tank must somehow prevent it. Pipe didn’t even get wet. Unless there’s a knack to it.

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Posted: Sun Apr 07, 2019 3:38 pm
by peter freeman
From the filler cap it does a 90deg turn to the inside of the car then another 90deg turn down at the tank and then you have the tank baffles to get past

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Posted: Sun Apr 07, 2019 3:46 pm
by PeteMac
Well, no joy. Extracted pretty much all of the contents of the tank through the sender hole. Refilled with good fuel. Same result. Turning but not firing. Not even a hint of a fire.

Still sparking ok. Timing is good. Fuel pump pumping. Still makes me think it’s a fuel problem, but no clue what. Or could the very good warm up it got on Tuesday have had an adverse effect?

The thought of another summer like last (with a non-starting car) is not one I want to consider.

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Posted: Tue Apr 09, 2019 1:35 am
by old bean
Check for fuel after engine bay fuel filter before it enters the fuel rail. Remove vac hose from fuel pressure regulator and suck on it, you should feel immediate resistance. If you can draw air through the vac line then regulator diaphram has gone.

Engine could be flooded.. Unplug fuel pump fuse and crank engine plenty to clear excess fuel, might even fire up as excess fuel purges, could even turn it over with plugs removed if you're feeling energetic. The replace plugs and fuse and try to start.

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Posted: Tue Apr 09, 2019 1:38 am
by old bean
Iffy coolant temp sensor could cause similar trouble and stop it firing up from cold.