Strange noises - Printable Version

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Strange noises - Nick Malone - 08-04-2019

Good morning everyone,
I completed the excellent Sevens to the Sea event again yesterday. During the run, one of the road surfaces caused my Nippy to begin bouncing around a bit (nothing unusual there!). However, it then stopped dead and refused to start at all. Initially, there was no spark but a change of points sorted that out fine but still no starting. 
The carburettor was getting fuel and the jets seemed clear. I primed it up and the engine fired up fine and we duly arrived in Cleethorpes before setting off for home near Sheffield.
My dad (Paddy) made a comment that he thought it sounded "a bit noisy" but nothing too unusual there either. However, by the time I had got home, it sounded like a bag of marbles rattling around in the engine. This subsides somewhat when I push the clutch pedal down. I'm wondering if there's something loose in the clutch or possibly a loose flywheel? Does anyone have any thoughts to either confirm or deny this these thoughts? 
It's also very reluctant to start again - either hot or cold - but I guess this is probably just something simple.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Best wishes,

RE: Strange noises - Robert Leigh - 08-04-2019

A loose flywheel will be noisy, and so long as it's not very loose the noise will disappear when you press the clutch pedal. I wonder if it's something more serious like the front main lip broken up, allowing major end float on the crank. I don't have any thoughts on the starting problem, other than possibly deteriorating condenser or coil which can both be difficult to diagnose unless they fail completely; substitution by known good components is probably the best way of finding out.
Robert Leigh

RE: Strange noises - Chris KC - 08-04-2019

Stop using and investigate. It's a bit hard to advise with so little info - for example do you have a 2 or 3 bearing engine? Original crank or new? Splash or pressure feed? Is it noisy under load, at speed, on overrun, at idle?

I'd start with things which are easy to check ( e.g. general inspection, oil level, tappet clearances) and go deeper as necessary.

RE: Strange noises - Nick Malone - 08-04-2019

Thanks everyone for coming back so quickly. It's a "fast road" 2 bearing engine with Phoenix splash fed crank. The front lip was all done at the same time - admittedly 22 years and about 120,000 miles ago. It's noisy at tick over, under load and on the over run unless the clutch is down.
Once it starts, there's plenty of power and it cruises happily all day at 50 - 55 MPH giving about 38 MPG at the same time.
I'm not too worried about the starting issue as that will be just swapping bits around until it sorts itself out. I'm off to start having a look n a few minutes to see if anything is obviously amiss in the clutch / flywheel area and then see where we go from there...
Best wishes,

RE: Strange noises - James Anderson - 08-04-2019

Clutch issue = definite loose flywheel = good news = but quite a lot of hours later!

RE: Strange noises - Bob Culver - 08-04-2019

Hi Nick

That is a high annual mileage for any Seven today. Even when everyday transport many did considerably less. How do you use it to clock so many?

RE: Strange noises - Nick Malone - 08-04-2019

Good evening everyone,
The mystery seems to be solved!
On closer inspection, the lip around the distributor base plate had managed to break itself into many pieces with the result that the cap, whilst still attached via the spring clips, was free to move in any direction it chose. I suspect that this would cause it to have "variable timing|" (I know it's a feature of many modern sports cars!!) with the result that everything was a bit random to say the least!
Anyway, half an hour or so fiddling about fitting a "new" base plate - at least it had a lip on it! - and everything was back to normal. It starts first time hot or cold as usual and the mysterious bag of marbles has disappeared - presumably as a result of the intermittent over advance the engine was experiencing?
I don't know if that makes any sense at all but I've just done about 20 miles in the Nippy and everything appears to be back to normal.

In answer to the last post, I use the Nippy every week to commute to work so can easily clock 60 - 70 miles a week before I start. It's also done JOGLE and I often travel around visiting friends and family in the car and a few club events as and when I get the chance due to other commitments. Other than a broken crankshaft 22 1/2 years ago (hence the Phoenix crank) I've had very few issues running it regularly. It's first journey out from the engine rebuild was to drive from Sheffield to John o' Groats when I finished work before arriving in Lands End the following day and returning home to work the day after that. Roughly 2000 miles in 3 1/2 days with no problems other than the usual oil leaks which I've given up trying to sort in all honesty.

Hopefully we might meet up at some point on an event somewhere or other?
Best wishes,

RE: Strange noises - Chris KC - 08-04-2019

I understand what you're saying Nick and glad you've sorted it, more so that it was something simple.

I can't help wondering why that lip has failed though? I'd be inclined to pop the distributor out and have a good look at it, for example is there excessive play in the shaft? Some issue with the drive gear? etc.

RE: Strange noises - Nick Malone - 08-04-2019

Hi Chris,
Thanks for the suggestion. The shaft seems fine though so maybe the lip was on its way out (it's probably 80+ year old Bakelite after all) and simply got finished off by the shaking and bouncing the whole car got driving through the Lincolnshire Wolds yesterday afternoon when everything stopped working all at once.
At least it got me home and it looks like I've managed to sort it with very little effort. May be worth keeping this experience "in the locker" in case anyone else experiences something similar. At least it's something else to check up on before the engine comes out to tighten up a flywheel that is actually OK which was probably what I would have done if I'd not tried to see if I could get the car to start to see if the flywheel was actually loose!
Best wishes,