Lotus Elan

Catastrophe on Elan ownership day one!

PostPost by: Steve G » Wed Mar 16, 2011 11:06 am

I looked for those attachement points which is why I removed the backboard, as you might be able to see in the terrible phone camera picture, they don't exist now. I did forget to check for the brackets in the wheel arch, I will do that next.

Is there anything wrong with attaching them the way that I have? These mounts originally secured the roll bar which then secured the seatbelts so must be adequate.

In terms of safety/MOT failure, I can only think that because the belts pass through the slots in the backboard and make a right angle turn towards the offset mounting points, in the event of a crash, the force on the belts could tear through the fibreboard material and place a lateral force on the necks of the occupants, an undesirable characteristic.

I want to do everything properly on this car but right now I just want it to pass the MOT! My motivation (and wife's understanding) for further jobs will greatly increase when the little car is drivable.
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PostPost by: curly type 26 » Wed Mar 16, 2011 1:05 pm

Hi Steve, great to read you have climbed the mountain & now coasting along tidying up. All that knowlege you have acumulated & friends along the way, brilliant. Hows the TTR steering wheel was the wife suitably pleased with her gift to you? :lol: now enjoy Regards Curly 1964 26Rr Forth Bridge Rebuild :oops:
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PostPost by: oldelanman » Wed Mar 16, 2011 1:18 pm

Hi Steve,
I think you have recognised the problem with mounting the belts as they are - the mountings are certainly strong enough but they are too far inboard. If the belt did not pass through the slot in the backboard it would be very uncomfortable if not impossible to wear as it would tend to wrap round your neck. The backboard is only a trim item and is not designed to act as a guide for the belt, particularly in the event of an accident.

If you do have the original mounting brackets still fitted I would use them if at all possible. Otherwise you could perhaps make some fixing points in the correct position using a suitably strong metal bar or angle attached to the body mount bolts you are using now, it would be concealed behind the backboard so would not show. Incidentally those body mount bolts should be tapped directly into the rear towers and fitted from inside the car - from your pic you appear to have bolts fitted the other way round with nuts on the inside - presumably the thread in the chassis was stripped at some time. If that is the case you need to get a spanner on the bolt head when you tighten up the nut. Sorry if I'm stating the bleeding obvious.

Whatever you do don't forget your safety is the most important consideration regardless of the requirements of the MOT.



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PostPost by: Steve G » Thu May 19, 2011 8:51 am

Well I got her back on the road, passed the MOT on Friday 13th May, got insured with Kim (Routen Chaplin) yesterday and went out to the post office to pick up my free tax disc (very satisfying!). Then went out for a drive with a friend in the fog, I was about a mile down the road and the engine started hesitating, managed to get most of the way home then it died, on a hill, right on a busy junction. My wife came out and we jumped the car and I got home. I think I may need a new battery but I'm going to test the alternator tonight before I buy a new one. I read a few threads on here and this one looks like a favourite with Classic Lotus owners, the Odyssey PC680;

http://www.odysseybatteryshop.co.uk/i-O ... I3107.html

Is anyone currently running this battery in their Elan? I'm a bit concerned that it measures 185 x 79 x 170mm and my 'Super Start' battery measures 190 x 170 x 155mm. Do you have to fabricate a new mount for this smaller battery?

Does anyone have or know of a good testing procedure for checking the cause of the battery not charging/holding charge? I have a trickle charger on it now so when I get home tonight it should be fully charged. With a multimeter where should I start?

One day soon I can imagine going for a nice drive!
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PostPost by: pamitchell » Thu May 19, 2011 9:33 am

Hi Steve

I have the 680 installed on my S4. Must be at least 6 yrs old. Still holds a charge and cranks the car over w. no issues. I drained it several times and it came back up to full charge. I found a metal case at a electronic used parts store
and modified it to fit the Odyssey in the original rear battery space. Let me know if you need photos of the install. I think you'll be happy with the Odyssey plus saving about 25 lbs weight. Colin would approve!
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PostPost by: Steve G » Thu May 19, 2011 9:41 am

pamitchell wrote:Hi Steve

I have the 680 installed on my S4. Must be at least 6 yrs old. Still holds a charge and cranks the car over w. no issues. I drained it several times and it came back up to full charge. I found a metal case at a electronic used parts store
and modified it to fit the Odyssey in the original rear battery space. Let me know if you need photos of the install. I think you'll be happy with the Odyssey plus saving about 25 lbs weight. Colin would approve!


Thanks Phil, I would love to see pictures of the install, if you don't want to post them here you can email them to me at stevegunnis 'at' gmail.com

As you say, Colin would approve, The Halfords batteries that only manage 500 or so amps are huge! 680 cranking amps should do the job!
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PostPost by: types26/36 » Thu May 19, 2011 10:04 am

I fitted an Odyssey 680 a couple of years ago, while it starts the car OK (it has a CTEK connected all the time) I am not partically impressed with it.
If I do some testing of verous things....headlights,starter etc the 680 seems to loose power quicker then a lead acid battery. This is just my opinion so fire away with your stories of a 680 starting a car in 100 degrees below and sitting for ten years without a charge :lol: :lol:
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PostPost by: paddy » Thu May 19, 2011 10:08 am

The battery will unquestionably have a lower capacity that a normal battery. It provides a high starting current, but for a much shorter period of time. It's fine if your car starts easily and is garaged so isn't being started at -10 too often. I don't think I would count it as a direct replacement for a normal battery.

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PostPost by: paddy » Thu May 19, 2011 10:14 am

I have the Odyssey as well, fitted into the cage that you can also buy for it.

I can't say I'm convinced that's the cause of your problem, though.

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PostPost by: Steve G » Thu May 19, 2011 10:35 am

OK, some good advice there, I didn't realise it was a 'special' battery, just thought it was a good quality one with thinner plates so it was smaller/lighter.

What about this one, another Odyssey but the extreme range;

http://www.powervampracing.com/detail.asp?ID=135

It looks as though Odyssey and Powervamp are the same base batteries, all made by Enersys, the Odyssey ones having anti-vibration technology and fancier graphics! Either way I like the fact they're made here rather than China as British stuff is really reliable. :roll:

I'm not convinced about the battery being the problem either Paddy, if it was the battery not accepting the charge why would it turn the starter over for ages after a trickle charge then die when driving it? I think it isn't being charged by the alternator. This might be to do with the regulator, I'm going to do some testing tonight before buying a battery. Where would be the first place you would look?
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PostPost by: paddy » Thu May 19, 2011 10:48 am

You need to get a voltmeter and measure the voltage at the battery terminals when the engine is running. It should read around 14v - anything in the range 13.5-15v shows that the alternator is almost certainly charging. It will probably be a bit less at idle but should pick up to that voltage when you increase the engine speed slightly to 2000 or 2500 RPM. It should not keep going higher if you increase the engine speed from there.

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PostPost by: 69S4 » Thu May 19, 2011 11:50 am

I bought a 680 battery for the Elan a couple of years ago and so far it's been thumbs up all the way. It definitely cranks the engine over faster than the std Halfords battery that it replaced, even when that battery was new and I'm guessing that's because the current through the starter was limited by what the old battery could provide. It also performs the same trick on my Honda CBX motorcycle, cranking the engine over about 30% faster than the (good condition) same size Yuasa battery and firing the engine up in seconds whereas the std one can take 30 -40 secs.

It is smaller Ah capacity than the nominal capacity of old one but that had declined to virtually zero over three years so in practice the Odyssey doesn't look quite so bad. It is much smaller than the original fit size and I had to make up a cradle to keep it in place - pic below - based on the original bolt holes.


Image


I've had a voltmeter fitted in the Elan since the 80's (after a spate of dynamo related strandings) and it does give peace of mind when you see the needle around 14v. I cut a hole in the dash to fit it (just above the cigarette lighter) and have got so used to it that it looks strange to see the std dash without it. I made an led voltmeter for my overlanding bike so I could keep an eye on the charging system and it just has three leds (undercharging, correct, overcharging) in a plastic box about an inch cube with a couple of wires to connect it up. If I didn't have the existing voltmeter I'd certainly put something like that in the Elan - perhaps down by the handbrake or somewhere so you can see it at a glance.
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PostPost by: pamitchell » Fri May 20, 2011 2:38 am

My 680 battery box
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PostPost by: StressCraxx » Fri May 20, 2011 4:30 am

Phil,

My compliments on your battery box! Nice fab work, good grommets and installation.

I still have a conventional lead acid battery in my elan. I will replace it with a PC 680 when it is time.

I have been using a PC680 in my Formula Ford for four years. The FF has no dynamo or alternator, a total loss system. I have a jump battery for cranking to establish oil pressure before warming up on the Friday test day. The rest of a double race weekend, the PC680 onboard starts the car for two practices, two qualifying, two races, every time I need it on pre-grid and any time I stall the thing in the paddock or if I spin on course. I charge it up when I get back home and its still at 12.5 volts/70% charge after a very demanding weekend. The battery weighs only 13#. There are new ultra light batteries available at 3 to 4 lbs for a 12 ah battery. I might give them a try to save more weight.

The PC680 is mounted in the nose of my Zink Z10 on a bracket just ahead of the master cylinders. 3 years ago, last race of season, I had an off at 100+ at Thunderhill. The nose was torn up, battery bracket bent up and shoved the battery into the master cylinders. I had two 2" holes 1" deep in the side of the battery. I was able to restart the engine and drive back to the paddock on the broken battery. There was no leakage from the open holes with exposed plates.

The elimination of acid spillage and an extremely tough battery have sold me on these things.
There is no cure for Lotus, only treatment.
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PostPost by: Steve G » Fri May 20, 2011 9:11 am

Thanks for those pictures, it's always good to see just how much love people put into their cars. I might not need to buy a 680 just yet though, I had the trickle charger hooked up all night and the engine started on the first turn of the key. My friend came over with his multimeter and without looking first put the leads on the battery terminals, there was a small but expensive sounding noise form the multimeter and a blank screen, that was the point that he realised the red lead was in the current rather than the voltage socket. That's the one with the "Warning - Max 10A unfused" writing next to it. Oh dear.

So we decided to drive the car over to Halfords about 7 miles away, as it was such a nice evening. I took the battery out of my Golf and put the necessary tools in the boot to switch the battery over and we set off.

The car was driving beautifully, it's quite noisy and and I was conscious of upsetting my local community especially when an old boy down my road stopped in his tracks and stared. Then as I passed him he gave me a double thumbs up and started clapping, this was a pleasant surprise and made me feel good for the rest of the day. This has never happened before in my 8 years of motoring, I think it must be known as the Elan effect.

Anyway we got there without a hitch but noticed the idle was a bit high so adjusted it (the rev counter is also way out of calibration, reading 5000rpm in fourth gear at 40). I bought a new multimeter and we tested the battery (lead in correct socket) with the engine off first. It read 12.68V which I think is as expected for a good battery. We started the engine and it read 12.40V. Ah, there's a clue. I unplugged the alternator and the voltage at the battery was the same (12.38V). I then tested the voltage across the alternator terminals and it read around 0.2V.

So I may need a new alternator, it is a Lucas 17 ACR I think;
http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/17ACR-Lucas-Alter ... 7001155178

Although I have a suspicion it may be a poor earth as the block was freshly painted in the rebuild and it is supposed to earth through the bolted connection to the engine, I had a similar earthing issue with the engine mounts because they were painted. I will try connecting an earth strap between alternator and chassis. Would the voltage across the two connectors on the alternator read close to zero if the alternator had a poor/no earth?
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