Need Help Cranking It

Hey guys, the L200 has been down and out for about a month now and I was hoping to see if someone could shed some light on what might be going on.

The engine stopped after going about 500m from starting it one morning. While in second, braking down a hill I heard a grinding sound - similar to when trying to start an already running engine - to which I quickly hit the clutch thinking it was the gearbox. Hit the clutch, and the engine shut off. Christmas lights for a dash.
From then, the Mira wouldn’t turn over again. It cranks strong, but doesn’t actually start.
Luckily, it died right outside a car park so I could push it in and flat tow it back home around the corner late at night.

My mechanic friend and I have spent hours going over the engine and here’s where we’re at.

  • When it first died, it cranked strong but wouldn’t turn over. Now that it’s been a while without power, it cranks really slow.
  • Having it jumped causes the cranking to be golden but still won’t turn over.
  • Current across the battery is good.
  • Timing belt is in good condition
  • Replaced spark plugs to see if there was any change - no change
  • The spark plugs are sparking, individually and in the right order so I don’t think it’s the distributor
  • Fuel pump is priming straight away.
  • Fuel is going through the filter in the engine bay - haven’t checked injectors but because it didn’t sputter and die, I’m not 100% it’s that
  • When the ignition coil is disconnected, the battery can crank the engine no problem. When the coil is connected, it cranks slowly.

I don’t know what is and isn’t worthwhile information, but I figured I would share all that we have looked at.
If anyone could shed some light on what might be going on, or even what to check next, that would be awesome - because we are both stumped.

Cheers guys

Coil has killed itself maybe?

my first guess is same as Mokeman, 2nd guess is to check if fuel is actually getting to the fuel rail. Also check the pluck on the back of the block. Its a coolant sensor underneath the intake on the passenger side of the block. They wont start if they are not plugged in.

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Thanks to both of you for the help. I’ll go through that this weekend.

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How’d you go with this?

New coil pack on the way. As far as I could tell the coolant sensor was all fine. I wish I had more time to check it is properly getting fuel, but I’ll properly allocate time if the coil isn’t the issue.

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Update that has been a long time coming.
I had a problem with the coil ordered - Tridon supplied what they called a Mira coil but the distributor side female connection point was dramatically different to the original coil. They indicated that the old Mira coil had been superseded by this new one.

So, frustratingly took their word and went to have a new lead made up that would work with the new coil and the old distributor. After a week of no response, I get a call saying that I in fact had a Charade coil in the Mira. I’m pretty hesitant to believe that, but the connection points are the same so in the engine it went.

The Mira still doesn’t start with the new coil but we’ve made progress. There is some sputtering, and smoke is coming out of the exhaust - no turn over yet but she wants to, bad.

The working plan now is to grab some starter fluid and try to turn the engine over. If I can get it to turn but not run, then the injectors are the next to look at properly.

Also does anyone have any information regarding the compatibility of Charade and Mira coil packs?
I feel like I was just supplied the wrong coil last time, with a bit of face saving.
Otherwise, a previous owner has done the work of swapping the coil and lead and I’m not convinced.

to check to see if you injectors are firing take out the dizz ans spin the bottom so the rotor inside spins. and listen to see if the injectors are clicking. If they are not then it maybe the sensor in the bottom of the dizzy but first check the 2 wires going to it are not broken as they can get a bit frail and snap.
Th coil in every mira Iv’e had looks like what you have in the picture.

I think what you have is probably right in coil.
The lead you have is a clip type. The coil is a push on type boot.
I have the same issue in starlets with same models bit different looms per year.
90-93 being the push on and 93 late to 95 being the clip type.
I’m thinking you have either an earlier model replacement or similar. No big deal really you just need a lead to push on to the coil and I’m guessing the lead on the dizzy is now a clip lead also. If this is the case you might need a lead made up with the two different ends on it.
If I can I’ll take pix of my l200s today and show you the difference.

Thats one I have at home in the street. I forgot to take pix today sorry. Lol. All of mine are ecu though so not sure if that makes a difference either.
My turbo one (pic lower) is also clip on.

No luck at all with the aerostart :frowning:
Looking at the new spark plugs, the tips are now black so there is spark/combustion happening but it isn’t turning over. If it is an issue with fuel delivery, shouldn’t it still start with the aerostart?

Thanks for the info on the coils, that’s really interesting. The dizzy wires look fine, and all the connection points seem right - still completely stumped but I’m wondering if the engine is struggling to know where it is in its cycle, causing it to not turn over.

Next thing i would do is check the timing?

Yep, the timing is indeed quite off - I can’t see any marks at all.
What could cause timing to be so off, while driving?

either the belt slipped a couple of cogs due to the tensioner coming loose or the distributor was loose and has moved. Sorry but not sure how to check on one of these apart from taking the timing cover off and making sure the timing marks are both in the right spot.

Problem source found:

That is a belt that has apparently done 30 000km, if the service sticker is to be believed - the V belt looks great though…

So yeah, that was the source of all the fun of having an engine not start. The belt had slipped sufficiently to take enough timing away that it wouldn’t run anymore. Prayers were certainly said that the valves were still in good condition, but the best way I could care to find out was to slap a new belt on and see what happens.

It took a couple tries to get everything buttoned up (next time I should check the water pump o-ring is properly seated before reassembling everything) but once the belt was replaced with a new pump, it started up almost immediately.

So there it is, the end of the narrative is a working Mira again. Absolutely stoked, the rip around the streets felt so relieving. I wish I had the time to solve this earlier, it would have caused less pain and far fewer jokes at my expense.

Cheers again for all the input.


Good to see it didn’t do damage to the valves etc :slight_smile: