Lotus Elan

Catastrophe on Elan ownership day one!

PostPost by: Steve G » Tue Aug 31, 2010 10:31 am

I spent the whole day yesterday swapping the mounts over, I managed to do it with only removing the carbs and I even left them connected to the fuel lines, just moved them out of the way. The mount to engine bolts on the exhaust side were the hardest to get a spanner on as I didn't want to remove the exhaust headers. I have lots of scars on my knuckles now and the three year old next door knows a few more swear words. The engine is now sitting properly with more clearance between the carbs and the pedal box. The trouble is the bonnet is still touching the cam cover at the front. I really don't understand how this is possible, there's not that much new paint on it. The bonnet seems to be sitting at the right level but is just touching the engine, before you lock it down it is noticeably vibrating on the engine. I really can't see a way around this (other than modifying the mounts), it's not something I can leave either as it will eventually set fire to the bonnet.

Anyway, took the wife for her first spin in it and she loved it. Was so nice to drive it again, even if it was for just 5 minutes keeping it under 30. I want to get the car running and road legal for the Goodwood Revival in three weeks but there is so much to do.

Fix bonnet problem
Vacuum reservoir connection needs fixing
Fix leak or replace brake servo
Fix speedo
Source new horn push and wire up
Fix horn compressor and/or horns
Fix handbrake
Mount seatbelts so they pass MOT (mounted to spyder rollover bar points at present)

I think we should start an Elan rescue service, similar to Changing Rooms, where we all help out on one owner's car for a day. My area of expertise is removing an engine and refitting exactly as before so it sits 10mm higher (no new mounts needed). :lol:
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PostPost by: paddy » Tue Aug 31, 2010 11:28 am

Steve G wrote:The engine is now sitting properly with more clearance between the carbs and the pedal box. The trouble is the bonnet is still touching the cam cover at the front. I really don't understand how this is possible, there's not that much new paint on it. The bonnet seems to be sitting at the right level but is just touching the engine, before you lock it down it is noticeably vibrating on the engine. I really can't see a way around this (other than modifying the mounts), it's not something I can leave either as it will eventually set fire to the bonnet.


If they are the correct mounts, and fitted the right way up, then that's impossible :)

I think you'd also start to get crazing in the bonnet if you leave it that way, so important to sort it.

You can lower it by a couple of mm by using a thinner cometic gasket instead of the cork one.

I suppose also if the gearbox tail mount is too low then the front of the engine will be higher. Is all that reassembled correctly?

Was the engine previously lower because the old mounts were worn and sagging a lot?

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PostPost by: Steve G » Tue Aug 31, 2010 11:53 am

I have reused the old mounts, the gaskets are the same as before, copper on the head, cork on the cam cover, the gearbox wasn't removed, I left it in place. The mounts are definitely the right way up, the failsafe wouldn't work very well otherwise and the engine would be way too low if wrong. The mounts are also mounted behind the chassis mounting points, i.e. so the metal of the chassis is closer to the front of the car than the mounts, which I'm certain is how they were mounted before.

I have been very confused by the mounts during all of this, in Brian Buckland's manual it says that the Spyder chassis (Which I have albeit a very early one) does away with the Lotus specific right hand resilient mount and uses two Ford left hand ones. It shows a picture of a mount and from the label suggests this is a picture of the Ford left hand mount. Well I have this mount on the right hand side (carb side) now. I had it wrong before because I followed this manual and didn't look at my low-res phone camera 'before' picture closely enough. The engine is now canted over and higher on the right hand, carb side, which makes sense. I think the Brian Buckland manual may show a picture of the Lotus right hand mount and the label is wrong, or misleading.

For those without the manual, the picture is of the mount where the engine side of the mount is rounded around the top bolt holes and has straight sides. Is this the Ford left hand mount as stated in the manual?

Maybe I should now have two ford left hand mounts as with them the wrong way round, the carbs still cleared the pedal box (not sure that the air box would but I don't use it). This would lower the engine by a few mms. It still doesn't explain why the bonnet cleared the engine before though. I haven't fitted the spring yet, does that lift the bonnet slightly when it is closed?
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PostPost by: paddy » Tue Aug 31, 2010 12:00 pm

This thread has pictures:

elan-f14/engine-mounts-tilting-twink-t14152.html

The left hand (exhaust side) mount is the left hand one in the picture. You can clearly see that the other one would place the block mounting holes higher, if the chassis mounting holes were at the same level.

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PostPost by: rgh0 » Tue Aug 31, 2010 1:02 pm

Yes the photo in the buckland manual on page 348 is of the high lift right hand lotus special mount for the Elan not the standard ford mount used on the left hand side.

I presume your early spyder chassis has the mounts still on the engine and not relocated to the chassis with arms that go to the engine as shown on the other photo on page 348.

Hard to understand why the engine now hits the bonnet when it did not before, when you appear to have covered all the potential causes. I put the mount flange on the front side of the chassis flange as it is easier to install but that should not make much difference in engine height i think.

I would do the following

1. Confirm you have the right spacers under the gear box mount - you say you did not remove the gear box but you dont say if the spacers are present.

2. Slacken the mount to chassis bolts and let the engine drop as far as it will and retighten. if this does not give enough clearance then I would slot / enlarge the mount bolt holes to allow it to drop sufficiently versus the chassis. I routinely enlarge the mount bolt holes before installing as it makes aligning the mount with the chassis to insall the bolts much easier and quicker.

cheers
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PostPost by: billwill » Tue Aug 31, 2010 1:10 pm

I lowered the top of my footwell instead.

I cut away the fibreglass, made a thin aluminium plate which fitted lower fastened in with self-tap screws and then I fibreglassed over that.

Result is about 3/16 inch lower.
Bill Williams

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PostPost by: Steve G » Tue Aug 31, 2010 1:45 pm

rgh0 wrote:Yes the photo in the buckland manual on page 348 is of the high lift right hand lotus special mount for the Elan not the standard ford mount used on the left hand side.

I presume your early spyder chassis has the mounts still on the engine and not relocated to the chassis with arms that go to the engine as shown on the other photo on page 348.

Hard to understand why the engine now hits the bonnet when it did not before, when you appear to have covered all the potential causes. I put the mount flange on the front side of the chassis flange as it is easier to install but that should not make much difference in engine height i think.

I would do the following

1. Confirm you have the right spacers under the gear box mount - you say you did not remove the gear box but you dont say if the spacers are present.

2. Slacken the mount to chassis bolts and let the engine drop as far as it will and retighten. if this does not give enough clearance then I would slot / enlarge the mount bolt holes to allow it to drop sufficiently versus the chassis. I routinely enlarge the mount bolt holes before installing as it makes aligning the mount with the chassis to insall the bolts much easier and quicker.

cheers
Rohan


That's great, thought I might have been going crazy for a minute. Now I can relax that not only are the mounts fitted as before but they are the correct way around.

My spyder chassis does indeed have the normal engine mounts with no extension arms (the red ones pictured in the manual?).

That is interesting that you have put the mounts on the front of the chassis flanges, that might help with the tight clearance I have between the engine and the bulkhead and the gap between the fan and the radiator being a lot bigger than the manual recommends. Do you know if the way you have done it is the original factory way? As you say, it would make negligible difference to the height, if anything bringing the engine forward would make the problem worse as the bonnet is lower towards the front.

I don't know where the gearbox mount is, i will look for the spacers, or lack of them.

That's a great tip about loosening the bolts, I torqued them up while the engine was still supported by the jack and tackle so that might give me a bit more clearance if it drops. I will try that.


Thanks for the link to the picture Paddy, that also confirms I was right and the manual wrong. Sometimes it's good to have a little self-confidence. Brian, if you're reading, I love your manual but you owe me some skin grafts for my knuckles and one bank holiday weekend where I should have been at the breakfast club!
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PostPost by: SADLOTUS » Tue Aug 31, 2010 11:31 pm

Hi Nico

Just been reading this post and I'm wondering if:
a. something I've always thought is wrong or
b. I've read it wrong or
c. it is wrong

I always thought Spyder designed the engine mounts to be 'U' shape down, ie if the mount fails it will fall into the U, not onto the chassis as suggested in earlier posts, an 'n' arrangement..surely... will lift the engine.

is it a, b, or c?
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PostPost by: rgh0 » Wed Sep 01, 2010 7:06 am

The later Spyder chassis moved the engine mount to the chassis from the engine block and provided an arm from the mount to the engine block. This is a clear improvement as it makes access to the mount easier and moves the exhaust side mount clear of the headers. However this required the mount to be inverted from normal position to retain the safety feature of the U section catching the weight of the engine if the rubber failed.

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PostPost by: curly type 26 » Thu Sep 02, 2010 9:37 am

Hi Steve, great to hear all going well & running only concern i have is you mentioned not using airbox. You are using some form of filtration i hope, not using a filter & airbox is quite a risk, enjoy :) Curly 1964 26Rr
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PostPost by: Steve G » Thu Sep 02, 2010 10:12 am

curly type 26 wrote:Hi Steve, great to hear all going well & running only concern i have is you mentioned not using airbox. You are using some form of filtration i hope, not using a filter & airbox is quite a risk, enjoy :) Curly 1964 26Rr


Hi Colin, I am using Pipercross air horn socks, the double ones that go over each twin carb. I understand your concern as I saw the amount of fuel that gets spat everywhere with the socks off.

I might refit the airbox one day, I'll weigh up the pros and cons, heat soak not really an issue in that car but the safety aspects are pretty important. I would have to get a new air filter housing as the one in there that I've now removed is rusty and horrible. At the moment I like looking at and hearing the Webers as I've never owned a non fuel injected car before and they're things of beauty. :lol:
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PostPost by: curly type 26 » Thu Sep 02, 2010 7:53 pm

Hi Steve, glad to hear using filters, used socks many years ago but got fed up with smell of petrol wafting up from engine bay, the original set up works well & can still hear carbs growling away, & also control spitbacks, I am sure there are lots of views on this from other owners, but whatever dont be temted to use without protection :) Curly
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PostPost by: Steve G » Mon Mar 14, 2011 10:18 am

I made some good progress yesterday. The wife took my new baby girl up to Scotland to see her sister so I had two whole days to work on the car. I had no idea in my carefree, pre-baby days how precious two days on your own could be.

Firstly, a new problem arose in that it wouldn't go into gear with the engine running. This turned out to be a seized clutch, it was brand new and hadn't been moved for a few months so in the cold somewhat damp garage it had got a bit rusty. Started the engine with it in gear, clutch depressed and let it up, sounded like an orbital sander when it started moving but unstuck pretty quickly. I'd forgotten how lovely that gearshift feels, when you drive a crappy old Golf to work everyday with what feels like an elastic band connecting the stick to a rubber gearbox in France, it is quite a revelation.

Next up was the headlamps not popping up, so I kept charging the system and then cutting the engine and sticking my head in the engine bay to locate the source of the hissing, this proved quite elusive, I think there were various vacuum leaks so I replaced the whole assembly of taped, cracked and bodged hoses with a new length of 8mm fuel/air/oil hose. I decided to bypass the chassis resevoir as I couldn't get the right t-piece from Halfrauds. I also removed and blanked off the hose going to the brake servo (next step) and installed the one way valve further down the line. I started it up and gave the throttle a few blips and they popped right up and stayed there, absolutely rock solid. It was at precisely this moment that the sun came out and the whole world seemed like a nicer place than five minutes before.

Then, it was the leaking brake servo. It's a manky, corroded heavy old lump of nastiness that reeked of a money making optional extra Chunky was famous for. Three bolts later and it was sitting on the 'deemed unnecessary' shelf along with the equally rusty airbox. I used the brake line from the union (as it is harder to get to) and connected it to the master cylinder, as detailed in the Workshop manual for non servo cars. I am yet to refill and bleed the braking system but I have high hopes that the harder brake pedal effort will be offset by better feel, less weight ahead of the front axle (stupidly heavy that servo) and a lot less stuff to go wrong and leak. Being that I ride mountain bikes I don't think I'll have trouble getting the required pressure on the pedal, after all I have been known to push accelerators so hard that never feel like coming up again. :roll:

The horn compressor just needed some oil, it still sounds a bit weird but I think the MOT tester would have to be a bit of a pitch Nazi to fail it on that.

The seatbelts are mounted to the only points available, I unscrewed the rear bulkhead from the hood tray and there was no sign of alternative points so they will stay where they are. I have attached a picture, does anyone else have their seatbelts mounted here (and passed an MOT)?

photo.JPG and


All in all a very good day, I will hopefully get it through an MOT very soon in time for the glorious long hot summer that I have planned.
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PostPost by: alaric » Wed Mar 16, 2011 8:44 am

Nicely put Steve, a bit of humour always helps. I know what you mean about the arrival of littluns; all those lie ins I used to have, all that time I used to have... And everyone around me declaring that the kids'll be the first to drive the car on the road. Pah!

Sean.
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PostPost by: oldelanman » Wed Mar 16, 2011 9:14 am

Steve G wrote:The seatbelts are mounted to the only points available, I unscrewed the rear bulkhead from the hood tray and there was no sign of alternative points so they will stay where they are. I have attached a picture, does anyone else have their seatbelts mounted here (and passed an MOT)?


Hi Steve,
Did you check to see if the proper mounting brackets are fitted to the top of the suspension towers? You will be able to see them by looking up under the wheel arch. It may be that the access holes through the body have just been glassed over.

http://www.lotuselan.net/forums/elan-f14/seatbelt-attachment-t20712.html?hilit=%20seatbelt

Regards,
Roger
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