How do you start your Viva?

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How do you start your Viva?

Postby vauxhallbitz » Sun Jun 09, 2019 12:07 am

I have used my Viva as an everyday car for 6 years, always garaged and never had a problem starting it.
This year the car is living outside and most mornings it refuses to start!
It turns over fast enough but will not fire, after a few turns it tries to fire but does not run. Sometimes if you hold the ignition key on past its normal position it will attempt to fire up but not always.
In the past I have always pumped the accelerator pedal a few times before turning the key and then it fired up.
Am I doing something wrong when starting it up?
The timing has been checked and is set correctly after I fitted electronic ignition.
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Re: How do you start your Viva?

Postby 1972nail » Sun Jun 09, 2019 10:07 am

You are having troubles.....

I suppose you have checked all the obvious things like cap, rotor coil etc and all working properly and in good condition. The problem is cold start outside, this brings to mind condensation and dampness. Make sure all the components are clean and free from any dirt that could trap moisture. If the cap and coil are not cracked or arcing then I would suspect the plug leads and their connections to the coil and cap.

Pumping the pedal on a Stromberg carb has no effect as it doesn't have an accelerator pump to artificially enrich the mixture.

Again, I'm sure you've checked the carb for a split diaphragm and proper adjustment of the choke cable.

On the electronic ignition installation, did you bypass the resistance wire and fit a non ballast 12V coil?
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Re: How do you start your Viva?

Postby thomas » Sun Jun 09, 2019 10:10 am

Some random thoughts on the subject, though I'm probably missing something obvious. We don't though have much info to go on. I'm not sure what you mean by "Sometimes if you hold the ignition key on past its normal position it will attempt to fire up but not always." Do you mean hold the starter motor in operation after it would seem to have started? One possibility stemming from that is that there is some deficiency in the supply to the coil for normal running resulting possibly from a poor or intermittent connection in the circuit made to the coil through the ignition switch itself.

Almost always it's Fuel Or Spark, or both, or something else entirely.

Fuel: possibly weak fuel-pump, blocked fuel filter? The only effect of pumping the throttle is to squirt in the small reserve held in the accelerator pump if a down-draft Solex/Zenith; if as I think is the case here, it's a Stromberg CD150 I'd guess the effect of pumping the throttle is exactly nil, there won't be enough vacuum at cranking speeds for the carb-piston and needle to lift to admit more air and more fuel, however much the throttle-flap downstream was waggled, it might help only to clear excess fuel as you might do by holding the throttle open wide if flooded. So I'd hesitate to claim pumping the throttle is having no effect, but whether good or bad, it's probably negligible.

On the electrical side check check that the electronic ignition wires inside the distributor body haven't chafed against any rotating parts such as the the trigger rotor or moving parts of the centrifugal or vacuum advance mechanisms. Check that the resistance bypass wire from from the solenoid to the coil is supplying the required higher voltage when cranking over than the voltage the resistance wire feed is providing, and that the coil is intended for use with ballasted ignition system if that is what you have. It might be that your battery (or starter motor) is sub-optimal and the system voltage drop that results is too great when the starter is operating for the coil or electronic ignition to work well.

On my HB (on which the ballast was an external resistor sat atop the coil) when fitting the electronic ignition kit some years ago I removed the ballast resistor, replaced the ballasted coil with a coil intended for continous 12V operation, leaving the solenoid to coil (the bypass) wire redundant and thus disconnected it too at the solenoid end.

On the coldest possible morning some winters ago after the car had sat for a few days under the snow, I went out at the crack of dawn to start it and expected no issues, but though it spun over lustily it wouldn't fire. In the interests of science, I disconnected the positive feed from the loom to the coil and connected a bike battery's live to the coil's live terminal and bike battery earth to the engine block, cranked it over and it fired immediately first go. Conclusion: insufficient coil voltage when cranking.

As the battery declines from near new, with the starter drawing a heavier current for whatever reason, and cooler temperatures, thick oil etc., the ballasted sytem makes sense. I've been thinking (when I get the car back from its present protracted bout of bodywork) of putting the ballast system (coil, resistor and bypass wire) back.

With the HB at least, with its external ballast resistor, it is possible to connect the electronic ignition unit to the full 12-14v always present at the coil, while still running the lower voltage type of coil through the ballast resistor for normal running, just by how live feed, bypass feed, coil and resistor wiring is arranged atop the coil, so retaining the electronic ignition (which always gets the voltage its manufacturer recommended i.e. full) and still having the enhanced cold weather starting, through the bypass wire, of running the lower-voltage coil at the highest voltage the system can provide when cranking.
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Re: How do you start your Viva?

Postby thomas » Sun Jun 09, 2019 10:19 am

What David said above too. There are a whole load of possibilities on the HT side. Damp being one, if the car is suitably parked and there's some sun then opening the bonnet to let the sun inside for a short time might be enough. I've seen what looked a quite perfect rotor arm for the Delco distributor inexplicably fail, it must have been arcing through or across the plastic to the rotor shaft below. Substitute parts swap back if no change results. Hope you figure it out!
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Re: How do you start your Viva?

Postby 1972nail » Sun Jun 09, 2019 10:24 am

Just thinking...... Your air filter will be the long rectangular type with a vacuum controlled hot air flap. You'll need to check all the vacuum pipes in that system for leaks and tight connections. Any air leak will cause a slightly weak mixture which will be hard to ignite.
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Re: How do you start your Viva?

Postby droopsnoot » Sun Jun 09, 2019 6:23 pm

Does it have a choke connected, and does that make any difference to how it starts?

Are you on the standard mechanical pump? If so, is it in good condition?

thomas wrote:Almost always it's Fuel Or Spark, or both, or something else entirely.


I'd agree with that.
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Re: How do you start your Viva?

Postby vauxhallbitz » Wed Jun 12, 2019 6:39 pm

Thanks to all for the information, I am totally confused now!

I have a new fuel pump fitted and the fuel filter appears to be full.

I have changed the white wire as per post on this forum, this was done years ago and the car has been starting fine when in the garage!! Mine has two white wires instead of one does that matter?

Electronic ignition is fitted with a Lucas gold coil (how do you tell if the coil is ballast or non ballast?)

New diaphragm fitted in carburettor.

I am going to get the battery properly checked tomorrow.

Could it be the starter motor drawing too much?

Any help much appreciated as I am running out of time.......
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Re: How do you start your Viva?

Postby 1972nail » Wed Jun 12, 2019 11:45 pm

The two wires are for OHV starters and it makes no difference to the modification. A Lucas Gold coil is a non ballast coil. Yes, the starter could be on it's way out as could the battery.

Your electronic module (Accuspark, Powerspark, Aldon, or Petronics) requires a very good earth between the module and the base plate in the distributor and then the base plate must be properly earthed too. There is an earth wire in the distributor which can fail, it might be worth checking all is well inside the distributor and all connections are clean, intact and good.
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Re: How do you start your Viva?

Postby HC Fairley » Thu Jun 13, 2019 8:45 am

1972nail wrote: There is an earth wire in the distributor which can fail, it might be worth checking all is well inside the distributor and all connections are clean, intact and good.


I second that, the little screw in mine worked loose and caused it to not start one morning no matter what I did.

If it is turning over quick enough I wouldn't expect the battery or starter to be at fault but then again I have squeezed an 096R battery into the tray as the 038 just didn't strike me as very effective for a 1256 in the cold when used daily.

Basic things can often cause problems like a bad HT lead, the distributor cap not on correctly or a bad wire going to the coil.
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Re: How do you start your Viva?

Postby vauxhallbitz » Thu Jun 13, 2019 5:04 pm

Thanks again, I should have said, the distributor is brand new as is the cap, the leads are brand new "Spitfire" leads. I will check for earthing problems inside.

Am I correct in saying that if I have moved the white wires as instructed then my system is non ballast therefore the coil is correct?

Battery has just been checked with an professional battery tester and is in excellent condition so I think the starter will have to come out!
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