Lotus Elan

Replacement sills

PostPost by: Cymru » Wed Sep 13, 2017 5:29 pm

Hi all,

Another nubee question here regarding replacement sills

Question - If I had the sills made locally. Would I still need to have the jacking points (pipes) welded in.

Or

Can I use a scissors jack under the sills?

Thanks,
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PostPost by: mbell » Wed Sep 13, 2017 6:51 pm

Personally I'd have the jacking points welded in.

The car floor level is lower than the sill members and there no way to position a jack under the sill members without them, so you can't jack via the sill members with out the holes. Which would leave you jacking via the fibre glass floors, which in my opinion is ok if a large spreader is used and placed in the right spot.

However that's not going to be easy to do at the side of the road, even you you kept the suitable spreader in the car. So much better to have the jack points there should you need them in a emergency.
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PostPost by: Bigbaldybloke » Wed Sep 13, 2017 7:44 pm

You don't have to jack under the sills, you can jack under the chassis with a suitable jack. A trolley jack is fine when working at home, but you wouldn't want to carry it around with you. Just check that whatever jack you have is low enough to get under the chassis when you have a flat tyre. Personally I wouldn't jack under the fibreglass floor panels even with a spreader plate. Probably not too much of a challenge for whoever makes your cill members to include the jacking point, if they can make the cill with seat belt mounting points. Have them made from stainless steel if you can then you can fit and forget them.
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PostPost by: Sea Ranch » Wed Sep 13, 2017 8:25 pm

Agree with all said (though most members don't flinch at jacking under the corners of the floor pan if there is a square foot of rigid support plate - this is how our cars are regularly put up on 2 post lifts).

I would definitely include the factory jacking pipes, as originally supplied. Keeps it looking stock and good for emergencies (though I plan never to be in that emergency situation, now that I've done 2 years worth of bodywork and paint :shock: ).

In the shop, I jack from the front crossmember (with hefty support beam underneath) and from the rear I use a fabricated-from-wood lift pad that straddles the exhaust pipe and lifts under the end of the center chassis.

However, I am making up small plates which will allow a scissor jack to lift the outer corners of the suspension. This is - IMHO - the best jacking pointing for removing/installing tire/wheels. And pretty much all you need to travel with. Two small plywood plates (one designed for front, one for rear) and a used scissor jack from the wreckers (find a Porsche aluminum one :mrgreen: ).

Just my thoughts, YMMV, etc.!!

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PostPost by: Bigbaldybloke » Wed Sep 13, 2017 9:16 pm

I should maybe have mentioned that the central exhaust section is not on my car at present, making it easy to put a wooden block in the central chassis section and have the 4x2 beam across the car. I too have a suitable wooden block that goes around the exhaust when it is fitted so I can jack up the rear on the central chassis section with my trolley jack.
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PostPost by: Sea Ranch » Thu Sep 14, 2017 12:04 am

Interesting how many challenges there are on these cars, just to get them in air, no? :shock:

That's how you know your car is a true exotic . . . :wink:

They are definitely not appliances to jump in, drive and put away "wet" :mrgreen:

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PostPost by: theelanman » Thu Sep 14, 2017 9:18 am

when I first got my first +2 I had heard about the sill story and sure enough my sills were just rust so for the first few months I used a large steel spreader plate........8" square.......1.5mm thk.......
I still have it and it lives in the boot.........I have used it with a scissor jack and a trolley jack..........
at least the plate stops the jack going through the floor....... :shock:
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PostPost by: prezoom » Thu Sep 14, 2017 3:30 pm

One thing you have to remember is, not all lifting of the car is routine maintenance. If you want to see if your jack will work, let the air out of a front or a rear tire to see what minimal clearance is needed to fit the jack you plan on using.

My Sabra GT failed that test. The factory jacking point in the front is on the flailing arm, and with a front tire down, it is impossible to open the bonnet, as it is front hinged with a long over hang, to access the jacking point. For that situation, the original jack is useless. I now carry a small low profile scissor jack along with the original.
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PostPost by: Cymru » Thu Sep 14, 2017 7:13 pm

hi all.

Thanks for the comments.

I did take a look to see if I could determine the size and length of the jacking tubes

BUT,,,,,, they were far gone for anything more then rough measurements.

Does anyone out there know what the inner / outer diameter and length of there tubes should be?


Many thanks,
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PostPost by: Sea Ranch » Thu Sep 14, 2017 7:16 pm

Good point, Rob. Don't want to discover on the road that my carefully planned system doesn't work without having my wife "pre-lift" the car!! :shock: :oops:
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PostPost by: Bud English » Thu Sep 14, 2017 8:47 pm

You could get scientific, measure the diameter of the jack pin, and machine a piece of 7/8" steel stock to slip fit over the jack pin, and 4-3/8" long or... Use a piece of 1/2" schedule 80 (extra heavy) black pipe, 4-3/8" long and go for it like I did. I'll admit that this gives a pretty sloppy fit of the jack pin and I may make a bushing for the pin at a later date. Wish I had a lathe and a mill, but I don't.

I'd wait until the rails were made and cut the tubes to a length that butts up against the inner top of the box section of the rail and protrudes about 3/16" below the hole in the bottom of the box section. I drilled 1/4" holes through the vertical side of the rail (inner), in line with the tube and plug welded the tube to the rail in three places. Likewise I drilled three 1/8" holes in the top of the box section where the tube butts against and plug welded the top of the tube to the folded sheet metal. I then welded the entire circumference of the tube to the bottom of the box section.

And, of course, I didn't get any pictures and the side rails are installed. :(
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PostPost by: Foxie » Thu Sep 14, 2017 8:54 pm

Cymru wrote:hi all.
I did take a look to see if I could determine the size and length of the jacking tubes

BUT,,,,,, they were far gone for anything more then rough measurements.

Does anyone out there know what the inner / outer diameter and length of there tubes should be?


The ID should take a 3/8" bolt. The ID is around 3/4" depending on what tube is available. Length depends on the design of the sill bars, but should just be visible and accessible from the fibreglass openings. :)
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PostPost by: Robbie693 » Thu Sep 14, 2017 11:22 pm

prezoom wrote:One thing you have to remember is, not all lifting of the car is routine maintenance. If you want to see if your jack will work, let the air out of a front or a rear tire to see what minimal clearance is needed to fit the jack you plan on using.

My Sabra GT failed that test. The factory jacking point in the front is on the flailing arm, and with a front tire down, it is impossible to open the bonnet, as it is front hinged with a long over hang, to access the jacking point. For that situation, the original jack is useless. I now carry a small low profile scissor jack along with the original.


Yep - first (and last, hopefully) time I had to use the original jack in anger, discovered I couldn't get the spigot in the cill tube because there wasn't quite enough clearance. Ended up jacking the rear up and relying on the stiction in the suspension bushes to give me time to swap the jack back to the front!

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