Lotus earthing problems and the importance of using the right type of fastener

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One of the irritating issues with fibreglass cars is the complicated earthing, something which rarely seems to be a problem for steel bodied cars.  As the earth strap from the battery is strapped to the chassis, rather than the car steel body, this means every electrical item on the car must be separately earthed from the chassis.  I guess that means that all TVR, Lotus and other glass fibre, shell chassis cars owners are well versed in electrical problem solving.  The key here is to ensure every earth uses a double sided shakeproof washer (or something similar) to ensure the earthing works constantly, although often you will find simple spring washers in place, which don’t provide sufficient “bite”.  Make sure that the washer has teeth both sides, as “common” shakeproof washers are single sided only.

My Elan, having never had a starting problem suddenly started to “click” at the solenoid, rather than starting the car.  I went through and checked all the individual earths, which all appeared OK.  So, it must be starter or solenoid, right?  Solenoid is straightforward but the starter motor sits underneath the twin, twin choke Weber’s, giving very little access.  I checked out Elan sites which showed how difficult gaining access to the bolts really was.  One blog said that once the starter motor was removed, replace the top bolt with a stud.  Getting it off wasn’t easy, but rather than adding a stud I replaced the bolts with correct length new fasteners, with high quality spring washers, not using the existing fasteners!

The problem remained, so I then went through every earth, replacing the bolts and adding shakeproof washers, which bite into the steel, creating a better earth.  After spending a good 4 hours I’ve now solved the problem.  Here at Leyton Classics we stock all sizes of shakeproof washers.