Lotus Elan

S1 Élan Rebuild - My Story

PostPost by: Certified Lotus » Thu Aug 13, 2015 3:27 am

Tony, I am the 5th owner. I don't know who the first owner was but I do know who all the rest where. None have a last name that starts with Bu. Sorry.

I am fortunate to have some fairly good records of what was spent on this car by previous owners. It's nothing short of amazing as it has clearly been the money pit. As usual for most cars of this vintage, constant spending on little things that went wrong. One of the owners did a frame off restoration and engine/Trans rebuild in the early 80's. I spoke with him and got a good understanding of the work done on the car. The last owner of 16 years started spending some serious money but probably just gave up as there seemed to be no end in sight. The estimates to do work were getting bigger and I read the correspondence of the PO trying to keep the expenses to something realistic.

When the original engine was replaced I do not know. But the engine that came with the car was not factory supplied.

I bought the car and decide to rebuild it. It's on its third engine, two transmission rebuilds, two differential rebuilds and now has a new chassis, suspension, rebuilt or new drivetrain and a number of interior and body repairs/replacement of parts. And I'm not completely done.

Gotta love vintage cars. And the caring of the Lotus mark.
Glen
72 Europa - 74/2358R
69 Elan S4 - 45/7941 - Sold
64 Elan S1 - 26/0379 Restored
12 Colin 30 - Lotus Racing Kart - Sold
07 Exige S - Wicked Road/Track Car - Sold
07 Exige S - Fast Road/Track Car - Wrecked at track
06 Elise - Track pack - Sold
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PostPost by: Certified Lotus » Sun Aug 16, 2015 2:16 am

After a week off from working on the Elan, Drew and I tackled the list I have of remaining items to complete on my car.

First and foremost was the brake issue of the master cylinder getting rock hard and locking up the front brakes. After much reading, inquiring on this forum about what others have experienced and some additional research it was determined that the push rod was probably too long. How much we didn't know. So I ordered a new brake master cylinder with pushrod from RD Enterprises and when it came I measured the pushrod that came with it.

3 1/2 inches from end to end. Well.......that sounds right from everything I have read, but some have stated that it needs to be even shorter. We took the pushrod out of the current master that is installed. It was 4 inches from end to end. We figured that we would try and just replace the new pushrod while the master cylinder was still attached to the car as we would not have to completely re-bleed the entire system.

Guess what? The new shorter push rod (3 1/2") worked perfectly! Of course we had been down this road before so we decided to run a couple of errands and put some miles on the Elan. Drove for over an hour, parked the car and let it sit and then drove some more. Everything worked perfectly. Finally!

The balance of the day was spent getting the rest of the high priority things done on my list:

The fuel gauge operating. It was just a matter of connecting the sending unit to the fuel gauge and then wrapping the wires in the boot.

DSC06718.jpg and
Wiring the sending unit to fuel gauge


Next was the repair of the glove box mounting bracket that allows the dash bolt someplace to connect and reinforces the glove box position. Needed to epoxy glue the custom aluminum bracket the left side of the box to hold the nut for the dash bolt. Once the glue dried, all went together fine (with a little finessing).

DSC06721.jpg and
Epoxy glue the custom bracket for glove box

DSC06719.jpg and
Installing repaired glove box


There were a series of things that didn't work once we got the car together. The turn signals, turn signal light indicator & horn weren't functioning and it was just a matter of tracing some wires under the dash and making sure of strong connections. Once the loose connections were identified, everything was bundled and tucked under the dash with plastic wire tie.

DSC06723.jpg and
Centering the steering Wheel


Last was the alignment of the steering wheel so it was true and center while driving the car. Drew removed the wheel and adjusted it to align with the wheels straight.

DSC06737.jpg and
Finished Dash installation


Drew had to leave to do family related things so I buttoned a few things up and decided to go for a another drive.

What a sweet sport car! The handling is so nimble, steering every so sensitive to the touch and the shifting with such positive feedback on the gear selected. The engine has a great torque range as the power just keeps coming through the entire RPM range. And the sound........its pure music. The throaty exhaust that growls when you accelerate and push hard. But very gentle sounding when just cruising. I'm very impressed with the TTR fast road exhaust system. Just what I asked for! I'll shoot a video of the Elan driving so you can hear the music :-)

Everything was fantastic and it was tough to come home and park the Elan in my garage.

DSC06732.jpg and
Almost completed!


The completion work list is getting smaller. Time to enjoy driving the car for the rest of the summer!
Last edited by Certified Lotus on Sun Aug 16, 2015 12:19 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Glen
72 Europa - 74/2358R
69 Elan S4 - 45/7941 - Sold
64 Elan S1 - 26/0379 Restored
12 Colin 30 - Lotus Racing Kart - Sold
07 Exige S - Wicked Road/Track Car - Sold
07 Exige S - Fast Road/Track Car - Wrecked at track
06 Elise - Track pack - Sold
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PostPost by: gjz30075 » Sun Aug 16, 2015 9:41 am

Certified Lotus wrote:
Drew had to leave to do family related things so I buttoned a few things up and decided to go for a another drive.



What??? How dare he! You're on a roll and I think you can make the LOG with the car! Just kidding; I
know you have much more sorting to do.

A great story, thanks.
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PostPost by: Certified Lotus » Sun Aug 16, 2015 4:11 pm

Nice morning of back country road driving in my Elan. I was smiling the whole time. It was worth every hour of time and dollar invested :D

Took my younger son out for a drive and he thought it was like a go-kart at the track.

DSC_0822.jpg and
The back roads of Princeton
Glen
72 Europa - 74/2358R
69 Elan S4 - 45/7941 - Sold
64 Elan S1 - 26/0379 Restored
12 Colin 30 - Lotus Racing Kart - Sold
07 Exige S - Wicked Road/Track Car - Sold
07 Exige S - Fast Road/Track Car - Wrecked at track
06 Elise - Track pack - Sold
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PostPost by: Certified Lotus » Mon Aug 31, 2015 3:37 am

Never assume. Always verify. I know this and for some reason my normal logical self didn't apply the standard for my next project on the Elan. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

As some of you know (those that have been following my build thread) I had purchased an airbox from QED as they make a rather nice one for the twin cam that would provide lots of air to the webers. The only problem was you couldn't close the bonnet with it installed as it was too tight a fit for the bonnet edge. Major bonnet modification would have been required and I didn't want to destroy my bonnet so back to the K&N filters.

I really wanted the stock look of a black airbox on my TC and although I have the OEM back plate (the curved early version which is a bit beat up but usable), I do not have the cover and can't seem to locate one. So I figured I would just buy the one for the later cars which is in plenty of supply as someone has made a copy. I assemble all the parts from the UK and the US and very early Saturday morning removed the bonnet and took off the K&N filters.

Additionally, I wanted to clean up the relays and wring mess on the other side of the engine bay that were installed by the PO (or at least the shop that the PO had do the work) so I went about removing all the stuff they installed, sealed up the multitude of holes they drilled and painted the entire area flat black. While the paint was drying I went back to my airbox install.

DSC06753.jpg and
Prepping for spray painting engine bay touchup


Test fitting the backplate I determined the braided fuel line and fittings were getting in the way of a nice clean installation so out came my air grinder and I reshaped the bracket on the rear for the carb return spring.

DSC06755.jpg and
Modifying airbox backplate


After a couple of test fits and some additional grinding everything fit perfectly, I painted the bare metal black and let it dry while I went back to the other side of the engine bay and removed the paper from my spray paint job. I then relocated the small red compressor for the airhorn to a location out of the way in front of the radiator (using a hole that was already drilled to attach to the body). Made a new longer wiring harness for the airhorn (out came the soldering iron and spade plugs). Finished everything up and moved back to the airbox as the paint was now dry.

DSC06758.jpg and
Installing airbox backplate


I got everything installed, trunk hose, K&N filter and clamps and it looked great!

DSC06761.jpg and
Finished installation of complete airbox and trunking


Reinstalled the bonnet, put the springs back on and went to close the bonnet............not quite!

DSC06766.jpg and
Bonnet doesn't close!


The bonnet wont close. No way I thought. Looked at everything very closely and realized the "newer airbox design" isn't made for this car. The lip of the bonnet gets in the way of the airbox. No wonder the original airbox is curved in the early cars.

Now you have to realize I spent many $$$ on airboxes so far and many more hours of labor to install and un install these damn things.

Off came the nicely modified airbox, backing plate, trunking hose, K&N filter and back on went the K&N filter set for twin webers.

DSC06771.jpg and
Back to K&N filters


Now what am I going to do with two complete sets of airboxes? mmmmmm, I might need another car as I have a lot of parts for another Elan project.

I put that idea back into my head and cleaned up the car as I was going to two (2) car events the next day.
Last edited by Certified Lotus on Mon Aug 31, 2015 11:26 am, edited 3 times in total.
Glen
72 Europa - 74/2358R
69 Elan S4 - 45/7941 - Sold
64 Elan S1 - 26/0379 Restored
12 Colin 30 - Lotus Racing Kart - Sold
07 Exige S - Wicked Road/Track Car - Sold
07 Exige S - Fast Road/Track Car - Wrecked at track
06 Elise - Track pack - Sold
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PostPost by: Certified Lotus » Mon Aug 31, 2015 3:53 am

Went to two car events today. One was a "Cars & Coffee" at the Bethelhem, PA "Steel Stacks" where you never know what will show up. Hundreds of cars of every make and model, some quite rare and very expensive. It always amazes me what people have in their garages that only come out on nice sunny days. Even though there were lots of head turning cars, my little Elan got lots of attention :D

DSC_1129.jpg and
Attracted crowds all day :-)

DSC_1118.jpg and
Classic 356

DSC_1126.jpg and
Simple design but functional layout

DSC_1109.jpg and
Rare to see on the street

DSC_1110.jpg and
Interior of F car


The second event was about 20 minutes away and it was our Local Lotus club (PALS) as we have an annual event at the Tilted Kilt in Allentown, PA. The word must have gotten out as we had record attendance this year. Great group of people and Lotus cars. And the highlight of the afternoon is when the girls come out and pose for us. All you have to do is ask nicely.......

DSC_1264.jpg and
What a fun little sports car!


DSC_1306.jpg and
The Tilted Kilt Girls of Allentown


I drove about 120 miles today. Longest road trip yet and it was 92 degrees F and very humid. The Elan ran like a top, never missed a beat and never got above 85 degrees F.

Boy is this car fun to drive!
Last edited by Certified Lotus on Sun Sep 06, 2015 12:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Glen
72 Europa - 74/2358R
69 Elan S4 - 45/7941 - Sold
64 Elan S1 - 26/0379 Restored
12 Colin 30 - Lotus Racing Kart - Sold
07 Exige S - Wicked Road/Track Car - Sold
07 Exige S - Fast Road/Track Car - Wrecked at track
06 Elise - Track pack - Sold
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PostPost by: billwill » Mon Aug 31, 2015 12:00 pm

I think you mean 85 C in your last sentence.

85F would be rather cool for your oil and I don't see how an ambient of 92 F could ever cool the rad lower than ambient. :D
Bill Williams

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PostPost by: rcombs » Mon Aug 31, 2015 12:03 pm

Great looking Girls! The car is very nice as well.

Rick
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PostPost by: seniorchristo » Mon Aug 31, 2015 12:52 pm

Shucks! I didn't realize these events were going on. Both less than 10 miles from home. :( I'll try for next year :)
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PostPost by: tvacc » Mon Aug 31, 2015 12:55 pm

We had a Tilted Kilt event as well. Rochester NY. Pictures on the LOONY site. www.lotusowners.com

Link about 1/2 way down page.
Tony Vaccaro
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LOONY (Lotus Owners of New York)
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PostPost by: jimj » Mon Aug 31, 2015 2:01 pm

Personally, I prefer ladies dressed with a little more decorum. Here`s a pic. of an old banger;
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PostPost by: trw99 » Mon Aug 31, 2015 2:52 pm

Jim, Suffolk or genuine SS100?

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PostPost by: ken ob » Mon Aug 31, 2015 4:27 pm

The old banger looks pretty good.
By the way, what is that car ?

Ken
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PostPost by: jimj » Mon Aug 31, 2015 5:03 pm

Tim, really ! how could you ask? you don`t think a woman of such discernment would passenger in some modern day pastiche, though she did ask, naively, why we didn`t get one. It`s a 1935 three and a half litre SS100. The name "Jaguar" was actually a model name but post war Swallow Sidecars thought it prudent to rename their brand.
A couple of years ago, in a queue for a ferry, a whole line of Suffolks were behind us, returning from a Suffolk rally. They all proudly wore the Suffolk badge and Suffolk rally plates. Respect.
It`s great pic. but Carole doesn`t like it. She says it makes her look fat. I told her to lose weight then.
Jim
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PostPost by: gjz30075 » Mon Aug 31, 2015 5:38 pm

jimj wrote: but Carole doesn`t like it. She says it makes her look fat. I told her to lose weight then.
Jim


To what hospital do I send the 'Get Well' card? :lol:
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