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Problem starting vitesse


iana
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Its time to start to use the vitesse again, its been stood since lockdown last year, started very ocassionally but battery on trickle charge. Over the last few weeks Ive been tinkering but the car is an absolute pig to start. Once started it runs fine at tickover, but if left for a few hours it doesnt want to start.

The starter spins quite slowly (checked its not a bad earth or the like with a jump lead to the earth post on battery) the fuel is getting to the carbs (after a few turns) the plugs are relatively new (from club shop). Once engine initially started the starter spins the engine and it starts fine.

Im at a loss where to start - ideas and pointers please. (I have a feeling the valve timing maybe incorrect as it is set to 10 thou and in the box of invoices there is a receipt for a piper cam that states inlet 12 outlet 14 (Piper Cam)) I have been trying to find out what the symptoms of incorrectly set valves woud be.

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A test with some KwikStart spray, aka 'Start ya Barstard' could show if fuelling is a problem.   https://www.google.com/search?q=start+ya+bastard+video&oq=start+ya+v&aqs=chrome.2.69i57j0i10i22i30j0i22i30l2.6462j0j7&client=ms-android-vf-gb-revc&sourceid=chrome-mobile&ie=UTF-8#fpstate=ive&vld=cid:c4a1cdbc,vid:PGMUGjlV5HU,st:0 

Many cars drain back the fuel on standing, and take some time for the mechanical pump to bring it back to the carbs.    If you get even a quick firing with spray, that conforms that fuel is taking time to get to the carbs.

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1 hour ago, iana said:

 if left for a few hours it doesnt want to start.

The starter spins quite slowly

That sort of thing always points me to a fuel pump that's allowing fuel to drain back. If there's a priming lever under the pump try that for a good few pumps before cranking the starter; dont forget the starter has to do this by itself when cranking the engine so if the battery is in any way weak, as Gav says, it's not getting the fuel up to the carbs. Charge the battery or try a new one.

LOL John just beat me to it!

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Assume nothing! Sluggish starter, check battery voltage off charge, then an hour after, a dropping voltage could indicate a poor battery. Full lights on, then try and start, if worse then battery. 

Edited by Mathew
I am now a believer in evaporation and not drain back as previously though.
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If budget allows upgrade to a Hi Torque Starter . Worked for me for my Vitesse and the difference was very noticeable and never looked back . Available from the Club Shop 

Paul 

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Thanks a few things to work on over the next few days, can i fit a non return valve just after the fuel pump to stop the drain back?

Ill get the battery tested, its a bosch and about 3 years old (fitted by previous owner). if its a bit suspect Ill source a new battery.

Whats the downside to the hi torque starter apart from cost

 

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7 minutes ago, iana said:

Thanks a few things to work on over the next few days, can i fit a non return valve just after the fuel pump to stop the drain back?

Ill get the battery tested, its a bosch and about 3 years old (fitted by previous owner). if its a bit suspect Ill source a new battery.

Whats the downside to the hi torque starter apart from cost

 

I don’t know any downsides apart from originality . Upgrades which improve reliability are ok in my book . I still have the bendix starter and will keep it . 
Paul 

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4 hours ago, Mathew said:

Fuel does drain back, usually over days.

How? It can’t flow uphill and it can’t siphon out of a vented float chamber? Also, with a Vitesse (or Spitty or big saloon), the tank position means that even with even half a tank, the fuel level in the tank isn’t much below the carbs anyway.... The fuel in the float chamber may go stale/evaporate in days/weeks, but I don’t believe it drains back.

My money on a duff starter or weak battery pulling the voltage at the coil down and causing a weak spark.

Nick

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I dont believe in drain back  whilst the vitesse fuel feed does come from the top of the tank so the dip tube could start some syphon , it has to overcome the pump valves to do that ,and if floats are full when you stop the float needle seals any air ingress from the float side , 

evaporation is the key  and if youre worried about fueling then with luck you have a pump you can hand prime a couple of strokes to refill the floats

but do get the cam on its back or the hand prime wont do much as the cam holds the diaphragm fully down.

Hi Torque ...you get the feeling it would whiz over on a torch battery   the crank speed and lower current is the best you can get 

if you have a tubular exhaust manifold it can get a bit tight and hot on a 6 cyl.

a cheaper option for better is a pre engaged motor as the pinion is supported and only fires up when engaged 

they use  pretty similar  current as the bendix   but more efficient as less gnashing of teeth 

Pete

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I converted my Mk2 Vitesse using the Teglerizer (Isuzu Trooper) method with an Oz Isuzu Rodeo HT Starter picked up new for under $150 vs over $400 for a bespoke Vitesse supplied one. Haven't done the daughters Spitfire as I think things might be a little tighter ie passengers side starter has to be mounted through 180 degrees. The Vitesse location is easier and easily cleared the steering column, but I had to machine down the alloy spacer fortunately I have access to a machine shop (that's why I've got 7 stitch's in the back of my right hand at the moment, Blonde Moment!!) .

ISUZU High Torque Starter Pg1.jpg

ISUZU High Torque Starter Pg2.jpg

ISUZU High Torque Starter Pg3.jpg

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1 hour ago, Pete Lewis said:

I dont believe in drain back 

Obviously Triumph did or they wouldn't have included a priming lever on the pump... why would you need to prime fuel if it's always there? If you park a hot engine then the fuel will be warmed and will evaporate from the float chambers and even pipes, so call it evaporation or drain back through poor valves in the pump it still needs to be overcome before the carbs get fuel. In most of our cars the carb is higher than the tank so unless the fuel level is very full in the tank the both ends of the system will settle to a common level; usually prevented by pump valves but if they're weak then fuel does indeed drain back.

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I don't mind the fact that petrol evaporates/drains back as it allows the engine to spin over and pump oil before firing up, reducing the infamous 'death rattle'. Not using the choke initially so the engine doesn't fire up also helps eliminate the death rattle.

 

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 Fuel can`t drain back IF the lines are 100% airtight,which i doubt any 50 year old Triumph are,even with modernish rubber lines,mine degraded after a short time and let air in causing delays in firing up and loss of power.I found a 3 inch pipe under the car joining 2 copper lines was the problem.

Steve

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14 minutes ago, Steve P said:

I found a 3 inch pipe under the car joining 2 copper lines was the problem.

Yes, I had doubts about that, so as I had the body off. I ran the new copper pipe full length.

Pete

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biggest culprit on H and V is the short hose on the top of the tank,reserve lever /dip tube 

 hidden up in the boot it goes hard and sucks air , but being above fuel level 

rarely shows as any leak 

Pete

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Attach a well-charged battery via heavy duty cables to the positive terminal then earth the other lead to the starter motor casing; that will spin it. Be prepared for a lot of sparks but you'll know then if it's poor cables that are the problem. I tested two earlier in the week, both off the car, but they jumped about the floor under the force of the spin, so seem to be okay.

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well we had a heavy machine actually called Octopus  which by means of a disc brake . load cell and voltmeter/ ammeter  etc you could check the stalling load 

on a starter , just spinning it up loose is as Colin found a bit dangerous and dosent prove the ability to apply sufficient torque

as with any starter   problems its best to start with all the earths  and  battery posts, for clean contact

wont be the first to only use the choke and speedo cables  which can  get really hot 

most battery retailers can do a comprehensive test on the battery its not just a drop test these days ( but some may be programmed to always sell you one )

a bench test of a loose motor wont prove any more than you already know its does turn ..just not enough 

a  new starter is probably cheaper than a new battery ...trouble is both need to be up for the job 

Pete 

 

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Given the starting issues and this months club shop offer I have just ordered a hi torque starter. I’m hoping this fixes the issue and will report back once fitted.

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