Paper Clip Test - CEL on constantly but flickering

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Paper Clip Test - CEL on constantly but flickering

Postby ATCO99 » Sat 18.07.2020, 21:58

Hi,

Having issues with the paper clip test. Wondering if anyone can spot a simple oversight or a bigger issue?

Setup:
- Car cold in garage
- Gearbox neutral
- ALDL located, correctly aligned, Black and Black/White wires traced to A & B terminals
- Paperclip ends inserted in gaps just below A terminal and B terminal
- Ignition key turned until electrics came on

Results:
- 1st go = CEL on constantly but brightness flickered (if there was morse code, it was saying 2-2)
- 2nd go = CEL on, then off, pause, 1-2, pause 1-2, pause then CEL on constantly, brightness flickered
- 3rd go = CEL on constantly but brightness flickered

Any wisdom appreciated, thank you
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Re: Paper Clip Test - CEL on constantly but flickering

Postby Rambo » Sat 18.07.2020, 22:26

First a code 12 will be flashed by the light to indicate that the diagnostic mode is active. If no trouble codes are stored, code 12 will continue to be displayed in succession until the diagnostic terminal is ungrounded. If one or more codes are stored, code 12 will flash THREE times, after a short pause the first trouble code will be flashed THREE times, then the next code, and so on while further stored codes remain, finally code 12 is flashed again to complete the cycle.


Engine Fault Codes

12 None
13 O2 sensor (or circuit) malfunction -- see CommonParts replacement
14 High Coolant Temperature (relative to other measurements)
15 Low Coolant Temperature (relative to other measurements) -- see CTS write-up
21 Throttle Position Sensor (Signal Voltage High)
22 Throttle Position Sensor (Signal Voltage Low)
23 Manifold Air Temperature Low (relative)
24 Vehicle Speed Sensor
25 Manifold Air Temperature High (relative)
31 Manifold Absolute Pressure (Turbo Overboost)
33 Manifold Absolute Pressure Sensor (High voltage / Low vacuum)
34 Manifold Absolute Pressure Sensor (Low voltage / High vacuum)
35 IAC error IAC motor not controlling the engine to the desired speed
41 Cam Angle Sensor (Hall Effect Sensor) -- see CAS write-up
42 Electronic Spark Timing circuit
43 Electronic Spark Control (Knock Sensor Circuit)
44 Lean exhaust
45 Rich exhaust
51 ECU Fault
53 Over voltage (system voltage high)
54 CO-Potentiometer circuit
65 Fuel injector driver circuit (or output) problem
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Re: Paper Clip Test - CEL on constantly but flickering

Postby Rambo » Sat 18.07.2020, 22:37

1, 2 forever and a day means you have no error codes stored. Or you have disconnected the battery and lost any stored codes

Try it again and see what happens. Further info. on the Wiki
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Re: Paper Clip Test - CEL on constantly but flickering

Postby ATCO99 » Sun 19.07.2020, 14:43

Thanks Rambo,

I will try it again today. Thanks for the code list also, that and the other posts + the WikiHow have been helpful.

So 'no codes stored' doesn't mean 'no codes whatsoever' right? So I may still have things wrong ... which must be the case because the car is driving like a pig, engine sounds awful, coughs, kangaroos, backfires and stalls...although strangely, 3 days ago I just nudged it out of the garage and let it idle and it ran fine for 12 mins before stalling, some droplets of clear fluid just at the exhaust lip too, couldn't tell if water or unspent fuel.

Is it possible to drive the car with the ALDL out of its housing and paper clips still shorting A and B terminals? Or do you drive it a little with everything restored to normal and then pull over and perform the paper clip test to see the latest codes?

J
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Re: Paper Clip Test - CEL on constantly but flickering

Postby theelanman » Sun 19.07.2020, 16:00

what problems have you had that make you think you should have a code?

Other than the CEL light being on.......
How does the car drive?.. when did the light come on?
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Re: Paper Clip Test - CEL on constantly but flickering

Postby theelanman » Sun 19.07.2020, 16:04

If you drive it....what happens when you get to 4000rpm
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Re: Paper Clip Test - CEL on constantly but flickering

Postby ATCO99 » Mon 20.07.2020, 04:20

If I get on it and hit 4,000 rpm the engine retards, then surges, there is popping & backfiring, some power loss.
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Re: Paper Clip Test - CEL on constantly but flickering

Postby ATCO99 » Mon 20.07.2020, 04:29

theelanman wrote:what problems have you had that make you think you should have a code?

Other than the CEL light being on.......
How does the car drive?.. when did the light come on?


How does it drive? I collected data every time I drove for 3 months until 3 weeks ago when she gave up: 3 scenarios

(1) Turn on and idle while parked = Its fine for 10mins, then some intermittent rough running, rpm drop and at 12min stall
(2) Gentle drive, <30mph, <2,000rpm = care used to go 3-4 miles around neighborhood roads no issues, occasional mild engine retard (0.5 sec)
(3) Spirited drive = As I get on it engine retards and surges, occasionally at first, then increasing in frequency and severity until CEL flickers on and off and then flickers on and off more frequently, fluffy exhaust note, power loss, back firing and car is kangarooing, then CEL comes on permanently and engine stalls.
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Re: Paper Clip Test - CEL on constantly but flickering

Postby ATCO99 » Mon 20.07.2020, 04:43

I should add that when the CEL appears on a drive, if I turn off the car and leave it for a few hours and re-start it...the CEL is off...it only seems to come on during a drive. Its like it forgets. I do notice that my engine gets hot early on and stays hot so when i used to drive it before I would lift the bonnet/hood when I got back to let the heat dissipate. I once let it idle for quite a while on the driveway and the engine temp went up to 3/4 (after about 27 mins) at which point the fans kicked in, turning off as the temp fell back below 3/4. Under normal driving 40mph-60mph temp seems to hover between 1/4 - 1/2 just with airflow, even on hotter days such as 70F-80F.

Not sure if it is relevant but a friend suggested using a bottle of HEET at each fill up as it takes out moisture in the fuel tank so not sure if that is a factor.
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Re: Paper Clip Test - CEL on constantly but flickering

Postby Rambo » Mon 20.07.2020, 08:45

I think what you need is to hook up to Elanscan and some of our LEC experts can help to diagnose your problem

http://wikilec.com/view/ElanScan

You will need a suitable cable (they used to be available from Geoff Smith) and download the software. There are at least 3-4 people on LEC that are very handy at interpreting the data
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Re: Paper Clip Test - CEL on constantly but flickering

Postby theelanman » Mon 20.07.2020, 08:59

Can you upload the data that you have collected over the 3 months......
As this has happened before what error codes have you had previously
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Re: Paper Clip Test - CEL on constantly but flickering

Postby ATCO99 » Tue 21.07.2020, 03:52

theelanman wrote:Can you upload the data that you have collected over the 3 months......
As this has happened before what error codes have you had previously


Data collected was handwritten,I counted how many surges in the engine,number of times it backfired,stalled or CEL came on... approx rpm it happened, air temp, engine temp, speed, that sort of data, I do not have Elanscan yet... the last time I got codes it was just 1-2
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Re: Paper Clip Test - CEL on constantly but flickering

Postby Rambo » Tue 21.07.2020, 07:30

When was the last time the base timing was checked ? I would check that and adjust if necessary

Then I would take the car out and drive until your symptoms reappear. After you return try the paper clip test again. If you have a problem I would expect something like 12, 12, 12, 14, 14, 14, 12, 12, 12 or similar ie 41, 41, 41

If you get the symptoms again and no error codes I think you need a more thorough approach ie Elanscan

That would be my approach but, having said all that, I've never had an error code on any of my 3 M100's over a 16/17 year period and never interpreted Elanscan data so I'm certainly no expert. We have plenty of those on here, in no particular order Simon_P, GeoffSmith, Dapinky, JohnW et al.....

It sounds like your engine is getting very hot and the temperature data might well yield some meaningful results ie an Elanscan run from cold to when the fans kick in might point to a thermostat problem (cheap and easy fix) Geoff, in particular, loves this data number crunching and can remotely diagnose problems from his cottage garden in England or his poolside sunbed in sunny Spain :bowdown:
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Re: Paper Clip Test - CEL on constantly but flickering

Postby ATCO99 » Fri 24.07.2020, 20:29

Busy week - testing this weekend, will share results
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Re: Paper Clip Test - CEL on constantly but flickering

Postby Simon_P » Sat 25.07.2020, 14:15

ATCO99 wrote:If I get on it and hit 4,000 rpm the engine retards, then surges, there is popping & backfiring, some power loss.

When there is a fault that lights the CEL the engine goes into limp home mode. There will be a distinct lack of power and the revs are limited to 4000 rpm.
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Re: Paper Clip Test - CEL on constantly but flickering

Postby ATCO99 » Fri 31.07.2020, 06:02

Test drive results. Sorry they are late, ended up working the weekend and straight through until today. I performed 4 drives over 2 days on 7/25 & 7/26 and wrote down the results. I have not had time to dismantle CAS and check timing but re-watching Wheeler Dealers episode on Elan which had an 'engine stutter' and needed new CAS and Temp sensor I am wondering.

Drive 1
88F, humid, cold start, 1/2 mile drive, <20mph <2,000rpm, aldl unplugged
Symptoms 1
started on 2nd attempt, engine struggled a few seconds to get up to steady idle, choked a couple times in first 1/4 mile, CEl came on 3 times but didn't stay on, stalled twice with CEL on, so tuned back.
Paperclip Results 1
1-2, 1-2, 1-2, 1-2, 1-2, 1-2,

Drive 2
88F, humid, warm start, 4 mile drive, <40mph, <3,700rpm
Symptoms 2
None, it drove fine, engine didn't pull that well when I got on it a little and turbo only gave about 0.3, no chokes or surges, even chased after a Porsche 914 and caught up!
Paperclip results 2
1-2, 1-2, 1-2, 1-2, 1-2, 1-2,

Drive 3
84F, humid, cold start, 1 mile drive, <35mph, up to 4,000rpm
Symptoms 3
Immediately after cold engine start it revved up and down 4-5 times, gas pedal had no effect, life if its own, then settled to idle, in gentle driving engine choked and surged several times before and after pushing it to 4,000rpm (turbo gave 0.5) then loss of power and lumpy on return home. Intermittent CEL.
Paperclip results 3
1-2, 1-2, 1-2, 1-2, 1-2, 1-2

Drive 4
84F, humid, warm start, 6 mile drive, up to 55mph, up to 4,100rpm
Symptoms 4
Ok start, bit woolly, gentle 1st mile, then increasing the acceleration and load until I did several aggressive runs up to 4,100 rpm in 2nd and 4,100rpm in 3rd. It pulled hard and turbo gave 0.5 but then engine would choke/retard and then surge forward with CEL flickering on and off during those episodes
Paperclip results 4
1-2, 1-2, 1-2, 1-2, 1-2, 1-2.

Paperclip test description (In case I'm doing it wrong). I would drive with ALDL inserted into its housing, wait for the symptoms and intermittent CEL to occur, then pull over, turn off engine, remove ALDL from housing, insert paperclip into spaces just under terminals A and B, turn ignition to electrics and read the flashes of the CEL and write them down.
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