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R4 fuel filter ticking issue?

bartoni79

Enthusiast
Messages
17
Location
Slough
#1
Hi All,

I've finally got my hands on my imported R4, however after going through the MOT and a service, and driving it for 60 miles it suddenly died at traffic lights. The odd thing is when the keys are in the ignition, the fuel filter keeps ticking and the car wont start. This ticking hasn't happened before. It looks like an electronic fuel filter. Has anyone any ideas on what this may be and how to fix it?

Any help would be greatly appreciated
 

mojobaby

Enthusiast
Messages
1,228
#2
Hello Bartoni, most running problems are easily fixed on an R4, you just have to know where to look. You also have to give as much info as you can and through a process of elimination your problem will be solved.

Firstly there are only 3 fuel filters, one in the carb, one in the fuel pump and one in the fuel tank. None of them are electronic.
When you turn the key, does the engine turn over? If it does, that should rule out the starter motor.

The fuel pipe leads from the fuel pump over the top of the engine and enters the top of the carb. Remove the air filter and then disconnect the fuel pipe. Try to start the engine and fuel should shoot out the pipe. Have a container handy so you don't spill. That rules out a problem with the fuel pump and filter.

The next thing is to determine if you have a spark, but before we go into that, give some more information on your car and maybe take a photo of whatever it is that is ticking.
 
Messages
336
#3
Hi, Bartoni,

The following might (might!) help.... The ticking noise you can hear when the ignition is on, even when the engine is not running sounds like an electric fuel pump. Although the pump works constantly when the ignition is on, it will seem noisier when the engine is stopped but the ignition is still on. Fuel pumps are also noisier when the fuel tank is almost empty as the pump sucks a proportion of air. I know this sounds silly, but is there fuel in the tank? I'd put 5 litres in anyway and see if it sorts things out.

The car suddenly dying suggests some specific incident, not something like a blocked filter, as that would tend to cause the car to become progressively slower and more sluggish, before eventually coming to a halt. Your symptoms suggest another more sudden event.

As Mojobaby says, let's see where the ticking is coming from first.........
 

bartoni79

Enthusiast
Messages
17
Location
Slough
#6
Many thanks for your replies! very helpful.
I must apologise I meant to type fuel pump! I had filter stuck in my head for some reason. Yes i believe its an electronic fuel pump, however I've not heard it tick before which made me first think its the pump. I've attached 2 photos of the offending piece of equipment. Ill check the fuel. I think its ok but I guess if the gauge istn working there's a danger I could be running low or out. I didnt seem to stutter, it just conked out at traffic lights when I was stationary and moved the gear into neutral. Fuel Pump 2.JPG Fuel Pump.JPG
 

bartoni79

Enthusiast
Messages
17
Location
Slough
#7
I've had a chat to my dad who thinks that the pump has always ticked quite loudly. I've just checked fuel and its at half a tank. It had £20 put in just before it went 60 miles so it should have plenty in the tank...
 
Messages
336
#8
The first stage is to disconnect the pipe running from the pump to the carburettor at the carburettor end. place the end in a container and switch on the ignition. You should have a good, healthy supply of petrol coming through the pipe into the container. The container is to prevent the engine form being soaked in petrol-rather dangerous!

If there IS a good supply of petrol then we need to move onto stage 2.....
 

bartoni79

Enthusiast
Messages
17
Location
Slough
#9
Hi, I’ve have attempted stage 1 and a good flow of petrol comes from the pipe at the carburettor end.. I think I may need to move to Stage 2...
 
Messages
336
#11
Which I'm guessing will be the electrical, and with Andrew, you're in very good hands!
Thanks for the compliment-I only hope I can live up to it! Boxing Day morning, a decent coffee and a mince pie-here goes.....

I've no idea as to how much mechanical knowledge you have, so I'll start at the beginning and you can skip the parts you know already! I'm assuming the starter motor can turn the engine over satisfactorily, as we'll need that later!

For the engine to work you need 3 things: fuel, oxygen and a spark. We've ascertained we have fuel, and it's unlikely the air supply has gone wrong, so let's investigate the sparking side of things.....We need to confirm there is a spark at the plug first, and this is easiest done by removing a sparking plug from the engine & looking for it! Remove the H.T. lead from a plug & unscrew it from the engine block. What colour is the plug? Grey and clean is good, black and sooty is bad, suggesting a weak or non-existent spark. If the plug needs cleaning clean it up or use a new plug for the next part. Reconnect the H.T. lead to the spark plug but DON'T screw it back into the engine block. Instead, rest the plug on the engine block, ensuring there is good metallic contact between the plug and the engine block. You might need an assistant for the next bit.... Ask the assistant to start the car while you look at the spark plug on the engine block for a blue spark. You SHOULD see a blue flash between the electrode and the tip of the plug every time the plug sparks. If you don't, switch off and make SURE the plug is earthing out on the engine block. If you're sure it is, and you're STILL not able to see a blue spark or flash, H.T. current isn't reaching the plug, so it's time for stage 3....

If you're unsure about this or not confident to do any or some of these things, don't try it! It's better to leave things as they are than to have to remember what you unscrewed, adjusted, unbolted and changed after you've done it & you're confused!

Barnet to Slough.... Not the end of the world for a "road trip"....
 

Kermit4

Enthusiast
Messages
45
Location
Algarve,Portugal
#12
Hi Andrew,
What a brilliant answer. You have set yourself up if I have a problem in the future as the fount of all knowledge!!!
 

bartoni79

Enthusiast
Messages
17
Location
Slough
#14
Hi,
I’ve checked the spark plugs and no spark is present. I’ve attached the picture of one of the plugs (it’s the same plug at different angles) which are a couple of months old. Does this suggest the coil isn’t functioning?
What would you suggest as the next steps?
Thanks! 6615776B-0386-47E5-AAD4-F40FD1672FC7.jpeg E47784FF-E9EB-4423-9F7D-2BA6D5FAD48B.jpeg
 

bartoni79

Enthusiast
Messages
17
Location
Slough
#15
I forgot to mention.. the following have been replaced in the last couple of months
- HT leads (5) including one from coil to distributor
- points,
- spark plugs,
- rotor arm,
- condenser
 

harbourseal

Renault R4 Lunatic
Messages
851
Location
Breda The Netherlands
#16
Looks like you have no spark. Next step is looking for a spark.
You can also put a screwdriver in one of the leads and hold it against something that is bare metal on the car. And have someone turn the key to start. Then a spark must jump from the screwdriver to the bare metal.

I usually take the number 4 lead of the spark plug and hold the screwdriver against the latch that holds the hood.

If you have a spark It might be to weak or the timing is off.
 

AdamWilkes

Enthusiast
Messages
260
Location
Poole
#17
Many thanks for your replies! very helpful.
I must apologise I meant to type fuel pump! I had filter stuck in my head for some reason. Yes i believe its an electronic fuel pump, however I've not heard it tick before which made me first think its the pump. I've attached 2 photos of the offending piece of equipment. Ill check the fuel. I think its ok but I guess if the gauge istn working there's a danger I could be running low or out. I didnt seem to stutter, it just conked out at traffic lights when I was stationary and moved the gear into neutral. View attachment 24978 View attachment 24979
Nice looking fuel pump!
 
Messages
336
#18
Those plugs look far too sooty to be healthy, so I suspect either no or a very weak spark. I doubt the coil is the culprit, although it could be.... I'd be tempted to start with things that are easier to check first:
1/ Do ALL the plugs look like the one in the picture? If so, you have a common fault to the entire H.T. system. If the other plugs are O.K. then the problems are specific to that plug and lead. I expect all the plugs will look similar, though, so, moving forward.....
2/ Check the points are correctly set. As a rough guide, use set of feeler gauges to set them. If you want, I can explain how to set them more accurately, using the dwell angle, but a feeler gauge is a good approximation. If they were set incorrectly, re-set them and see if the engine runs. If not.....
3/ Check the timing. You should have to adjust this if you've adjusted the points anyway. Are you familiar with how to do this? If not, the Haynes book explains how to do it, but basically you need to remove all the plugs and, using the fan belt, rotate the engine until the timing marks on the pulley and crank-case are lines up. It helps to mark them with Tippex first. With these lined up, you need to check that the points are just opening at this point. Using a light bulb and 2 crocodile leads this is fairly easy, but if this is getting a little complex, just say!
 
Messages
336
#20
A bit of extra advice: when you remove all the sparking plugs mark the H.T. leads in some way to indicate which cylinder they connect to. Old luggage labels are one method although Tippex dots (one dot for the 1st cylinder, two dots for the 2nd one etc.) is an oft favoured method. Once you have marked the leads you can remove the distributor cap, if you need to, without worrying about how everything goes back! If you don't, there are 24 different combinations.... quite a pain to sort out!
 
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