Lotus Elan

+2 Chassis/Subframe identification

PostPost by: alanr » Thu Nov 08, 2018 2:11 pm

Now I have got my recently acquired +2S130 running reasonably well my attention has turned to the underside of the car.
I was dreading looking really. However I am over the moon to discover that apart from needing shock absorbers and a few bushes the actual chassis itself appears very sound. It is thick in gunge and has obviously been waxoiled many times in its life but is very solid and looks very good if it is the original. Amazingly so after 47years.
My question is though:-
I can't though find any identification numbers anywhere and would be interested to ascertain if this chassis is original. I have looked on the top of the chassis around the engine mounts and cannot find any numbers at all. It is definitely a Lotus chassis not Spyder and the paint underneath the muck/waxoil on the chassis is red.
Were original Lotus +2 chassis painted red?
Where else should I be looking for a number or how else can I verify if it is original or a replacement?
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PostPost by: Grizzly » Thu Nov 08, 2018 3:29 pm

It should be on the top rail on the Passenger side (assuming you have RHD) i thought mine was behind the engine mount but i've just had a look at another +2 here (a LR Replacement) and thats on the passenger side top rail half way between the rad and the engine mount (in front of the engine mount).

Yes i believe the original colour of the chassis was a kinda of red Oxide.

Lotus has a unique method of rust prevention, some one obviously told them the best preventative measure for Rust was engine oil!! :lol: the main place you want to have a good look for corrosion is in the front uprights, best way of checking is either take out the struts (only a five min job) and use a mirror or buy a cheap Endoscope off Ebay...... or poke a screw driver through the drain hole in the bottom of the upright.... if you feel loads of gravel then you get water thats standard, if you feel gravel and no water comes out that usually means corrosion :cry: but if you don't feel any resistance (no gravel) and it's also dry it's possible you have dodged a bullet!! If it's been well wax oiled the previous owner may well have cleared the gravel out regularly.
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PostPost by: alanr » Thu Nov 08, 2018 6:07 pm

Thanks for the info.
Yes the turrets are amazingly good, as I said thick in waxoil/gunge which scrapes off nicely to reveal the red paint. The drainholes are nice and clear. I am just so pleasingly surprised how good which makes me curiously question if the chassis has been changed at some point.
I have again looked for a number where you suggest and I can't see one.
Question is was/is it only LR ( Lotus Replacement) chassis that have the number in this place or were all, even factory original chassis numbers in this place?
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PostPost by: RichardHawkins » Thu Nov 08, 2018 8:56 pm

Alan,

My car, a 1968 Elan S4, was 11 years led when I bought it and the chassis was completely rotten, it had patches welded to the front turrets, that were also rotten. The car had an MOT that was still valid, but the vehicle was definitely not safe. You are really fortunate to have a sound chassis in the wet and salty UK.

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PostPost by: Grizzly » Thu Nov 08, 2018 10:58 pm

I had a look at my +2s, still on it's original chassis and the number is stamped just behind the engine mount (the stamp is quite shallow), it also has a number stamped inside the wheel arch (see picture)
2_zps4385c830.jpg and



On the Lotus replacement chassis the number is etched in front of the engine mount.
2s_zps4385c830.jpg and



The picture is of my 2 seater chassis (also original) the proportions are a bit different to the +2 but you get the idea.
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PostPost by: alanr » Fri Nov 09, 2018 4:06 am

RichardHawkins wrote:Alan,

My car, a 1968 Elan S4, was 11 years led when I bought it and the chassis was completely rotten, it had patches welded to the front turrets, that were also rotten. The car had an MOT that was still valid, but the vehicle was definitely not safe. You are really fortunate to have a sound chassis in the wet and salty UK.

Richard Hawkins


Richard

That is why I can't quite believe that it is original. If all others have rotted out even though this one has been heavily waxoiled I would have thought it would have sucumbed to the tin worm long ago!
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PostPost by: alanr » Fri Nov 09, 2018 4:16 am

Chris,
Thanks for the pics...that is brilliant :D
Gives me a better idea of where I should be looking for that elusive number. Perhaps I need to look further forward and nearer to the radiator. I will look yet again!
The number, if/when I find it, should it correspond to the Vin number on the engine bay plate if it is an original?....Or is it just a meaningless ( to us) number?
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PostPost by: RichC » Fri Nov 09, 2018 7:59 am

meaningless.. the number on VIN plate corresponds to the fibreglass shell . panels have this number chalked / crayoned on the reverse. If it hasn't already been mentioned in this stream , there should be a number which was printed on some dynotape and stuck to the shell in the engine bay on the rear bulkhead before painting . look above the RHS bonnet catch close to the edge in the gloss painted part to see if there is a slightly bumpy bit!
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PostPost by: Orsom Weels » Fri Nov 09, 2018 8:36 am

My +2 is still on it's original chassis with no rust, there's still a few around :)
As for chassis numbers, on both my +2 & my pal's series 3, the number on the VIN plate corresponds to the number on the chassis, not the body number ?

Regards, Tim
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PostPost by: Elanintheforest » Fri Nov 09, 2018 8:57 am

I agree Tim, the chassis number is stamped on the chassis (!) and that is the same number as on the plate. For later cars, just the last 5 digits are stamped, leaving off the year / month info.

Here the number on my old mid 1973 JPS, on the left side quite near the bulkhead, so easy to see if it's not covered with paint as mine was!
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PostPost by: Peter +2 » Fri Nov 09, 2018 9:57 am

Rich,

It’s quite common for the body number either chalked on panels and dynotaped to the body to be out of sync with the chasis number stamped on the “chassis” plate, as Tim and Mark imply.

Best

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PostPost by: alanr » Fri Nov 09, 2018 3:44 pm

Yippee!..Found it, found it at last! :D
It is in the same the same place as Elanintheforests photo which is further back than I have previously been looking.

Also the extra good news is that it matches the Vin plate 0446L so it seems it must be an original chassis in perfectly good condition thanks to lots of waxoil or similar which must have being regularly applied over the years.

With the engine numbers also matching the Vin plate this all has to be worth a Friday night glass or two! :D :D

Thanks for all the help folks!...much appreciated. :D
Last edited by alanr on Fri Nov 09, 2018 5:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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PostPost by: RichC » Fri Nov 09, 2018 4:28 pm

Doh! stand corrected... of course you're right!
... my vin number of 734 is lower than the body chalk number of 768 .
the presumption is that some of the bodies did not meet quality control standards probably around 5% going by the difference ?
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PostPost by: Grizzly » Fri Nov 09, 2018 5:43 pm

Good news !! Sorry of course it's level with the gearbox bell housing, thats me checking in the dark.

I'm surprised there hasn't been more people telling you having the original chassis is bad :lol: there are some about on original chassis but not as many as maybe there should be, thats thanks to a buyers guide done way back when (people thinking chassis's are a consumable item) combined with poor maintenance.

Makes me laugh when you read a cars original with new chassis..... so only 1/3 of it's major components has been replaced. :lol:
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PostPost by: gus » Sun Nov 11, 2018 12:44 pm

Grizzly wrote:Good news !! Sorry of course it's level with the gearbox bell housing, thats me checking in the dark.

I'm surprised there hasn't been more people telling you having the original chassis is bad :lol: there are some about on original chassis but not as many as maybe there should be, thats thanks to a buyers guide done way back when (people thinking chassis's are a consumable item) combined with poor maintenance.

Makes me laugh when you read a cars original with new chassis..... so only 1/3 of it's major components has been replaced. :lol:


Because the rotted out quickly, this is no myth, and there is virtually no way to tell if the the chassis is still solid without cutting it apart. 'Poor maintenance' is not cleaning the tower drains out that you didn't know needed cleaning

My car had had many attempts at repair before it was ten years old

I think exposure to salted roads when new is a big factor. Once the cars got old enough that they were no longer driven like regular cars, the problem diminished.

Pretending the problem doesn't exist is foolishness
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