Lotus Elan

+2S with A/C

PostPost by: JGeezer » Thu Jan 26, 2017 9:38 pm

This '72 +2S project car:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/292010098331?ul_noapp=true

is listed as having "original optional equipment Air Conditioning", with pictures of a Koolaire control mounted on the console. Hard to see in the one engine pic, but there appears to be a high mounted alternator so I suppose there could be a compressor down below it (I do like the Euro balance tube between the Stombergs)..

I thought this was nutty, but searched and found this thread here:

http://www.lotuselan.net/forums/lotuselan-plus2-f51/air-conditioning-t30738.html

that talks about these conversions possibly being done by a dealer in New Jersey (where this car happens to be) or the main Lotus importer/distributor in Millerton, New York.

Almost makes me wish I was ready for the next project!
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PostPost by: Spyder fan » Fri Jan 27, 2017 11:19 am

Thanks for posting the link, I'm always interested in period upgrades or modifications. They seem to have tried quite hard to integrate the controls into the centre console. Any idea how the system worked? There's no good picture of the engine bay showing a compressor or other gubbings.

I think I have posted the picture below before on here, it was taken early last year at Spyder and shows a compressor unit piggybacking off the alternator. Obviously it's a Zetec rather than a LTC but the principle would be the same. Apparently the system worked well.

air-con.jpg and
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PostPost by: crannyr » Fri Jan 27, 2017 1:35 pm

I have taken care of a friends +2 for years. This car was purchased new by him with dealer installed A/C which worked reasonably well for several years. When we went thru a major rebuilt some 10 years ago to install Spyder frame and 1850 cc injected motor, the system was removed due to reliability and engine bay space issues. We still have all the components so if someone has a masochistic need for a new project drop me a note.
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PostPost by: CBUEB1771 » Fri Jan 27, 2017 6:17 pm

The photos of 0185N throw me back to 1977 when I acquired 0170N with the same Lotus East airconditioning system. Mine did not work and I did not bother to try repairing it. I was having engine temperature problems and with the AC condenser largely obscuring the water radiator I took the whole AC system out and put it in the trash. That and restoration of the blanking panels below and on the sides of the water radiator resolved my engine temperature problems. I was probably foolish to have thrown the AC system out, but as Rick suggests a bit of masochism would be needed to reinstall one now. It is interesting that some previous owner of 0185N took the trouble to source non-Federal inlet adapters with the high balance tube. I noticed the original parts in the boot photo. It is also interesting to note that the dust shields for the front brakes were removed. In at least one place an odd coarse thread bolt was picked up off the garage floor to reattach the steering arm to the upright on the driver side.
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PostPost by: tedtaylor » Fri Jan 27, 2017 7:11 pm

it's nice to know that my pictures are being studied so closely ! :lol:
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PostPost by: Spyder fan » Fri Jan 27, 2017 7:36 pm

tedtaylor wrote:it's nice to know that my pictures are being studied so closely ! :lol:


terrible angles, lens flare, poor composition.

my name is Pete Taylor... sue me!
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PostPost by: Gordon Sauer » Fri Jan 27, 2017 10:50 pm

I have one of those cars fitted with a Coolaire air conditioning unit by the Millerton New York northeastern distributor also known as Duchess auto I believe, and I used the original bracketry for the compressor merely getting a platform piece to adapt the York mounted piston unit to a Sanden "rotary" unit. Then I put in a matching condenser so that I could use R 130 4A and a combined evaporator/heater unit available from vintage air in San Antonio Texas. The combined unit fit beautifully behind the dash and allowed use of the original ducting so the only way that you can tell it's an air-conditioned car from the interior is that there are controls for the fan and mode ( AC/defrosr/heat) in the bolster below the ignition just to the right of the drivers knee. Behind the Dash I did cut out the fiberglass Plenum piece that goes up to the vents in front of the window and fiberglassed those off. Actually in the original Coolaire kit they provided sliding blanking plates for those vents and then solid blanking plates for the vents in the side roof that are behind the window. The unit works great for driving in Texas weather and I haven't had any heating problems whichmay be helped by the fact that in the original radiator I did put in a triple core and I put 2, 10 inch electric fans on the front of the condenser/radiator unit rather than just that one. And then I remounted the second servo in the nose as required and retained the original Motorola higher amp alternator that they also put on these air-conditioned cars. Gordon Sauer
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PostPost by: tedtaylor » Sat Jan 28, 2017 1:57 am

i got to hand it to you for keeping EVERYTHING under that hood original equipment. Notice the charcoal canister, the crossover pipes, the emissions equipment, etc. Very nice!
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PostPost by: drtarkir » Mon Jan 30, 2017 3:01 am

I also have a Federal +2S with original AC. A friend of mine bought the car about 74 and I can state that the AC worked great as originally installed. The car was taken off the road in the early 80s due to an engine/electrical fire. I bought the car a while back and am restoring it.

I am also installing a Vintage Air unit to replace the original. I removed the fresh air intake plenum to get the room I needed. Instead of just blocking off the intake vents I glassed them over. I did not want to create trap for crap to collect and I like the cleaner look

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PostPost by: tedtaylor » Mon Jan 30, 2017 2:23 pm

I follow your idea, but you could have blocked it off WHILE keeping the vent grill pieces in place to make it look original. Just my 2 cents.
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PostPost by: Sea Ranch » Tue Jan 31, 2017 4:56 am

Ted, he's saying that retention of the intake vent grilles would of necessity mean retention of "crap", as the vents have holes. :)

To all those with A/C in their Plus 2s, I admire your patience and ingenuity. I gave up on this as an unrealistic (for me) pipe dream. :(

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PostPost by: gus » Tue Jan 31, 2017 12:47 pm

I just covered over the fan hole. I was going to make a slide to be able to open it for fresh air but I decided it would be to complex, plus you can just open the window
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PostPost by: tedtaylor » Tue Jan 31, 2017 4:35 pm

tedtaylor wrote:I follow your idea, but you could have blocked it off WHILE keeping the vent grill pieces in place to make it look original. Just my 2 cents.


Meaning, glass it over just under the vent grills, so the plenum is gone underneath to suit his purposes, but externally it looks original. You could even paint under the grill black. I'm suggesting just a "surface" mount of the grill for appearance sake, that's all.
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PostPost by: drtarkir » Tue Jan 31, 2017 7:35 pm

Personally, I think it looks cleaner without the vents. For fresh air I can open a window and I am thinking about running a fresh air intake from behind the grill to the ac unit to mix the air.

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PostPost by: Chrispy » Fri Jun 08, 2018 7:15 am

Gordon Sauer wrote:I have one of those cars fitted with a Coolaire air conditioning unit by the Millerton New York northeastern distributor also known as Duchess auto I believe, and I used the original bracketry for the compressor merely getting a platform piece to adapt the York mounted piston unit to a Sanden "rotary" unit.


Gordon, do you have any closer photos of the compressor and alternator bracketry? We have similar weather to you over here to you and makes driving the +2 nearly unbearable in Summer :( Very interested to see how they came up with their solution. Single belt for the compressor and water pump? For a normal V-belt arrangement for the compressor I've only seen them with a dual belt. Any other information would be very appreciated :D
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