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Discussion Starter #1
2005 Lotus Elise

Ok so I will try to be very descriptive here, I am at a complete loss. So a friend of mine replaced my old battery with an AGM while I was deployed, when I took a turn the battery fell out of the harness (I should have checked it) and slid across the trunk pretty violently. I secured the battery and never had the problem again.

2 years later now, I started having an issue where the solenoid would engage once, all power would die to the vehicle, and I would have to get out and jiggle the wire a bit and it would start. Now the battery is NOT charging while running (at least not topping off and it seems to drop below 75% relatively quickly), there is NO solenoid engagement, the fuel pump DOES prime, the car CAN be push started, everything inside is operable full force, no fuses are blown (I switched all starter fuses in front and back), the battery checked good at Auto Zone but the charge was below 20%, and the alternator runs the vehicle flawlessly for 3+ hours.

I thought at first it was a bad solenoid but after push starting the car or jumping the battery on a charger it would engage and start even after it was shut down which made me think the solenoid was locked into the starter but I can rock it in 6th and turn the motor just fine. If the car sat for a while, it would not start again. I charged the battery over night on 2A and it started up like a champ and ran for a whole day, but now even charging the battery will not engage the solenoid, nor will the 50A jumper on the battery charger.

I cut off a bit of the ground wire because of corrosion and realized it was pretty green even after the 8 inches I cut off, and also at the chassis but the exposed wire running to the engine block is fine. I can't get to the starter, honsetly can't even find it from below or above so maybe it is a connection at the starter, but man it is hidden.

I am trying not to replace the MFRU and ECU just to find out it was a cable connection, so I would really appreciate your help with this one. I searched the forum and found only one post that was close and there was never any response from the OP.

I had this problem happen today and after turning the key about 5 times the immobilizer light started flashing and the vehicle started...I read from SirLotus that this indicated a bad connection. I cleaned all terminals and put in new clamps on the battery..Any help you guys can offer will be greatly appreciated. I am great with old cars, but all this electrical stuff is far beyond me....Thanks guys.

Brad
 

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Ran the charger on 2A for about 4 hours and it said the battery was topped off again, yet it only ready 12.6v with the vehicle not running, and this was right after disconnecting the battery from the charger. I know that there is a charge that floats on top after a start or charge so I am thinking the battery may be bad? A friend is spotting me one of his agms to try it out, but now the problem is: Why have I killed 2 AGM red tops in the last 4 years? I will let you know what the outcome is, but the vehicle still would not turn over with the 12.6. It also showed some signs of low voltage for the first time since the problem started; dimming lights and failing relays.

Any idea what could cause this? Still not sure the car will start with the new battery, I will post in about 5m to let you know. Thanks again, you are the man.
 

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Brad,
Follow the battery and alternator testing here and see what you get;
http://www.lotustalk.com/forums/f321/battery-choices-information-64071/
Michael
Ok I ran everything. The battery not started is at 12.6 off the charger, with the car running it is fluctuating between 14.06 and 14.07, but I had to push start it, still not even a hint of a solenoid activation. Could it be a short at the solenoid? If so is there a way to get to the starter without removing the back clam? Thanks again man, you really are my hero right now.
 

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What battery voltage do you get while trying to start the engine (while pressing the "start" button)? If it drops drastically, you may have a short in the starter.
 

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Thanks again for responding guys. There is no draw on the battery voltage at all when pressing the starter button but this morning, (with key turned to acc) the battery volt was around 12.05....Could something be causing parasitic draw? Everything is off in the vehicle, even the blower at this point.

Also, I changed the battery out last night with another, still nothing, even with the 50A jumper on the other battery it would not start.
 

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Turn the ignition key on. Check to make sure you have 12 volts on the large wire going to the starter solenoid.

Then unplug the small wire that goes to the starter solenoid and see if it gets 12 volts when you engage the starter button.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Turn the ignition key on. Check to make sure you have 12 volts on the large wire going to the starter solenoid.

Then unplug the small wire that goes to the starter solenoid and see if it gets 12 volts when you engage the starter button.
This is the embarrassing part, but I can't get to the starter. I assume it is on the left side of the motor as viewed from the tail but I can't see it from below the car or above! Any tricks you would recommend?
 

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You mentioned that the security light was flashing which can indicate that the immobilizer is functioning. This would inhibit power to the start relay in the MFRU. You can test this by seeing if you have 12V at the black wire at the MFRU.
Michael
 

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Discussion Starter #12
It is on the firewall side of the motor. It fits here:
.

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You gain access to it from below...



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Thanks a ton man, I finally got to it, but all I have is a hydro jack and 2 stands which makes this a pretty tough situation with so little space. I am getting 12.1 at the solenoid using the block as a ground, is that ok? Also you said remove the little wire, but the only little wire I see is a clip near the main hot to the solenoid, is that the one you are talking about? If so this may become quite a project, there is not nearly enough space with my setup to get that clip figured out and pulled apart. I tried for a bit but no luck.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
You mentioned that the security light was flashing which can indicate that the immobilizer is functioning. This would inhibit power to the start relay in the MFRU. You can test this by seeing if you have 12V at the black wire at the MFRU.
Michael
It was not flashing until I turned the key maybe 5 or 6 times and after it started flashing the vehicle started. It flashed for about maybe 30sec after ignition and extinguished. Having a bit of trouble getting to all the wires under this car at the moment, quite an exercise in patience..
 

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Gunner,
Move away from the starter connection for now. At this point I think you have two problems. Problem number one is your battery is on the way out (Optima Batteries Suck). Problem number two is your starting issue which I don't think has anything to do with your weak battery.
There are a couple of things that could cause what you are seeing,
- a faulty push button switch in the dash
- a faulty immobilizer unit
- a faulty multi-function relay
- a faulty ECU
- a faulty starter solenoid

Given that your fuel pump runs and you can pop start the car I think you can rule out the immobilizer. A faulty ECU is also highly unlikely, the starter solenoid and push button switch are also long shots. I'm going to put my money on the multi-function relay.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Gunner,
Move away from the starter connection for now. At this point I think you have two problems. Problem number one is your battery is on the way out (Optima Batteries Suck). Problem number two is your starting issue which I don't think has anything to do with your weak battery.
There are a couple of things that could cause what you are seeing,
- a faulty push button switch in the dash
- a faulty immobilizer unit
- a faulty multi-function relay
- a faulty ECU
- a faulty starter solenoid

Given that your fuel pump runs and you can pop start the car I think you can rule out the immobilizer. A faulty ECU is also highly unlikely, the starter solenoid and push button switch are also long shots. I'm going to put my money on the multi-function relay.
Well that sounds like bad news. I have had my hands on the MFRU so I can see that with a little work I could probably replace that easily. Is there any way to test out the part to make sure that is the culprit? Thanks again you guys for helping me out with this one.
 

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Best way is to swap with a known good relay (got any buddies local with an Elise?), only other way is to pull it and bench test it with a voltage supply/meter and the circuit schematic.
 

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I wanted to make sure I reiterated something from earlier that may have been missed (maybe I forgot to type it) My ground coming from the batt terminal to the (chassis?) is coated in green corrosion all the way through the sleeve from terminal to chassis. Could this cause the issue?
 

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Hi Gunner...
Not much to add here... but with your description of a "traveling" battery, I was initially thinking something to do with the cabling... Of course, I'm no Lotus mechanic, but I have to go with Smddany's recommendation. Good Luck!

Unrelated Comment: Your login credential (Gunner53) is interesting...
I was a SPECTRE Gunner and was born in '53. Please tell me it doesn't "define" you! Otherwise, you be OLD! Ha...ha.
 
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