Lotus Elan

Back on the Road - Hooray!

PostPost by: jbeach » Mon May 07, 2018 5:21 pm

"How do you eat and elephant? One bite at a time!"
Motivational advice from Gregg Z to John Beach at the beginning of this project.

Thank you Gregg! I reminded myself of your sage words often over the past year and a half.

This past weekend, after being up on a rack for appx. 18 months [http://ezcarlift.com Excellent! Review to follow], I FINALLY took my Elan out for a drive. Maybe this wasn't that smart, but I drove all around Columbia SC, including a short stint on the local Interstate at up to 80 mph and a few exit ramps as speeds and side-loadings that were thrilling, even by current-performance vehicle standards.

Everything went perfectly. While my shade-tree toe-in adjustment is not exactly correct (just a little darty - so I'm assuming I need a tick more toe), the car handled sublimely.

My Elan on Saturday afternoon:

img_4454.jpg and

A bit of background: Over the past 18 months, I've completely refurbished:

Front suspension, including new "fast road" front coilovers (TTR, via Ray at Rdent), all new front bushes, including metalastic for wishbones, poly for sway bar and drop down links, poly for trunions), new steering rod links, ball joints, front hub bearings, etc.

Rebuilt brakes all around.

Rear suspension, including diff output bearings, seals, inboard output shafts and outboard shafts/axles [TTR uprated - superb - review to follow]; Elantrikbits CV conversion [wonderful, detailed review to follow], TTR-supplied shorter-travel Konis, TTR adjustable spring perches for standard 3" springs [Yep, detailed review to follow], Lotocones, diff mounting rubbers, Sprint diff stiffening bracket, whew!

Before I began my refurb, my Elan's temp gauge had been creeping up at idle, so I installed a CoolEx aluminum radiator, with Clivey Boy dual electric puller fans and Clivey Boy bespoke thermostat and electric fan switch housing. Detailed review to follow, but I could not be happier with this arrangement. My Elan now idles seemingly indefinitely on a sunny, 88 degree South Carolina day at a solid 175 degrees Fahrenheit, with the fans silently switching on and off, as needed. Don't judge me on this engine compartment, which I still need to work on cosmetically, but here's my setup:

img_4459.jpg and

In short, the driving experience is absolutely superb. Suspension is set at 5 3/4" at the front sill and 6" at rear sill. I'm riding on new H-rated Vredestein Sprint+ tires, 155-78 x 13. Everything, steering, suspension, brakes, all work as Colin Chapman originally designed (do I dare say, better?). I love the linear connection between my right foot and the rear wheels resulting from the CV conversion. I am so pleased with the strategically planned combination of metalastic and poly in the suspension. I cannot wait to drive the Elan to the N.C. mountains - Tail of the Dragon is definitely on my destination list during the next 6 weeks.

There is much work left to go, but having a solid, mechanically reliable car that handles beautifully and brakes reliably is a huge, huge step. I owe all of it to the great advice and guidance I've received from this forum - both in responses to my questions and through my research of existing content. Thanks Jeff - I'll be sending you a donation shortly.

I also received amazing, timely support from Ray at RD, Ken at Dave Bean, Tony Thompson at TTR, Col Croucher at Elantrikbits, Clive Baker at Clivey Boy, the folks at Coolex Heat Transfer, and Boytcho Manev at EZcarlift. These folks are all dedicated entrepreneurs who design, fabricate, and supply products that make our restorations of these amazing vehicles possible. They all deserve our thanks and support.

Thank you and cheers!

-John
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PostPost by: pharriso » Mon May 07, 2018 6:42 pm

Congratulations! She looks lovely!!
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PostPost by: jbeach » Mon May 07, 2018 10:58 pm

Thanks, Phil. Its been an incredible process so far - not without it's share of challenges and head-scratching, but, so far, every problem has had a solution. Miles to go before I sleep!
-John
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PostPost by: gjz30075 » Mon May 07, 2018 11:15 pm

Great job, John! Looks great! You can now make this Norcross, GA show
http://atlanta.carpediem.cd/events/6375 ... -norcross/

Hook up with Mike from Evans, GA ( whose i.d. on this forum is forgotten by me :-( ) . and
caravan to this show. Last year, he came in his Elite.
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PostPost by: jbeach » Tue May 08, 2018 2:07 am

Cool show, Gregg! It’s on the calendar!!

Now, if I can just tackle those doors . . .
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PostPost by: Certified Lotus » Tue May 08, 2018 10:44 am

Congratulations John! Major accomplishment and you should be very proud. You have a couple of months to get everything sorted out, how about bringing it to LOG 38 in Cleveland this summer..... You will have an audience that wants to hear every aspect of your rebuild :D
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PostPost by: rgh0 » Tue May 08, 2018 10:50 am

Looks like a nice job
Just get out there and drive it as it was intended. Dont worry about the doors I keep mine original. They dont affect the handling :lol:

cheers
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PostPost by: jbeach » Tue May 08, 2018 6:15 pm

Glenn,

Log 38 sounds like a worth goal. About 650 miles - so, call it two five-hour driving days. That could be fun! The whole purpose of my build has been to end up with a reliable driver. I'll look into it!

Rohan,

Thanks for the words of encouragement. You have been a big part of my decisions so far (both directly and through my research of your past posts), so, thank you!

The problems with the doors are 1) when I go over a bump, they rattle like a bucket of bolts. I need to firm that up, or it will drive me crazy; 2. my window lifts have almost ceased functioning. I'm not sure how many more times I can coax them up or down - probably not many. Plus, I need to somehow get a wrench into my driver door to remove my current exterior mirror (which actually has no mirror and just hangs there):
beach-elan-mirror.jpg and

and replace it with a chrome bullet-shaped mirror I've purchased (and install it's match on the passenger door).
So far I haven't figured out how to wedge a wrench down into the door cavity to remove the mirror. I don't look forward to any of this, but it needs to be done, so . . .

On a final note, I need to install modern(ish) retractable shoulder harnesses. I'll be researching that (and soliciting advice) very soon.

Best regards,

-John
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PostPost by: The Veg » Tue May 08, 2018 6:57 pm

Wow John, your looks great and sounds like a real cracker to drive!

I'm working toward having my Plus 2 at the Car Fayre that Greg linked, so maybe we can have an impressive showing. 'Drinkman' Dan, who doesn't post here bery much, will most likely bring his Elan as well.
Last edited by The Veg on Wed May 09, 2018 1:40 am, edited 1 time in total.
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PostPost by: velo5338 » Wed May 09, 2018 1:31 am

Hi John,

Well done!

I'm the Mike in Evans GA that Greg referred to, if you're in or near Columbia SC, then I'm just an hour West down the I-20 from you. Be a nice little Sunday afternoon drive for to to come visit and take a look at my Lotus collection.

We plan to have a family day at Norcross this year, I'll be in my '60 S1 Elite, my wife in my '70 Elan +2 and my son in the 7. Sounds like we should have a good Lotus turn out this time.

Cheers,

Mike
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PostPost by: rgh0 » Wed May 09, 2018 12:28 pm

Hi John

You can get a wrench into access the mirror mount nuts but you need to cut and bend a suitable standard wrench and come up from the inside having removed the trim and having the window fully up. Have small hands and double jointed wrists and lots of patience also helps... at least that was the case when I did a similar job.

If the doors don't fit flush you should still be able to stop the rattles but it depends on whats rattling as what you need to do. The windows rattle in the frames, the frames and components rattle inside the doors and the doors rattle in the body. Just need to systematically work through all of this to find and stop it.

Your in the rolling improvement stage of your rebuild so enjoy the driving while tacking the small annoying issues :D

cheers
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PostPost by: SENC » Thu May 10, 2018 4:56 am

Well done, John!
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