Lotus Elan

Brake lights stopped working

PostPost by: GrUmPyBoDgEr » Mon Aug 27, 2007 2:14 pm

Hi John p.c.
Someone's at least thought of the idea & I'm pretty sure that one manufacturer or the other has brake lights which incorporate increasing intensity (pressure sensor), although I've not heard mention of changing flashing intensity.
I've got a 3rd brake light mounted up on the roll bar ( the sole reason for fitting the thing) but that's as far as I want to go into turning my Elan into a rolling Disco :lol:
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PostPost by: handi_andi » Mon Aug 27, 2007 9:10 pm

I found the third brake light on my Disco quite helpful at telling me whioch way up it was but that is a different story! Interesting idea though, what additions have people made to make the visibility of a slowing elan more visible?
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PostPost by: greg.harvey » Tue Aug 28, 2007 9:12 am

I recall stories of brake lights running up rear door pillars - no good for something like an Elan, but a good idea on something modern like a Punto or a Focus - idea being when you slightly depress the brake the bottom lights on either side light up and the harder you brake, the more lights light up on the door pillar on a scale of, say, one to five. It would look a bit like the dancing column of light on a hi-fi graphical equaliser. Can't remember if it was pub talk or a manufacturer genuinely considering it. Bloody good idea though. Nothing worse than following someone with a habit of continually touching the brakes on the motorway! With a system like that, you'd know you didn't have to reciprocate. :)

(Ps - haven't tackled this yet - weather was too nice for crawling around in a garage, but thanks for all the tips - I will report back in this thread when I sort it out.)
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PostPost by: frearther » Tue Aug 28, 2007 11:28 am

I can only recall two brake light switch failures. One was from corrosion on my 356A Speedster oh, so many years ago. The contacts corroded to the point where they were useless.

The hydraulic switch on my Elan also failed from 18 years of disuse (old, gummy fluid!).
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PostPost by: 1964 S1 » Sat Sep 15, 2007 1:22 am

Hello Andy, speaking as an ant in the land of SuckUV's,,, aka USA, there seems nothing I can do short of a Chaplinesque outstretched flashing red glove on a pole to help people see me. My little white S1 has narrowly escaped gas tank crushing incidents on two occasions. It's gotten to the point where I don't drive it in the city as frequently as I used to..... Eric
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PostPost by: greg.harvey » Mon Nov 12, 2007 10:56 pm

Just thought I'd post a quick update. It's taken me a disgracefully long time to sort this out, but the problem was the switch - I ran a wire across the terminals and the brake lights were fine.

Sooo... unscrewed the switch from the pedal box and toddled down to Halford's (a high street motoring store) to see if their catalogue carried a replacement. Didn't expect it would, but the spotty youth on the computer said "Lotus Elan? +2? 1973-74? Brake light switch? Yep! We got it."

"Are you sure?" I asked... "Are you sure it's for the correct Lotus Elan??"

"That's what it says..."

So I ordered the part in, went to fetch it today and guess what - it's a brake light switch for a modern Elan! :evil:

Serves me right really - should've known better than to trust the Halford's computer. I'll try and nip out to a motorfactor tomorrow and see if I can find a member of staff who even knows what an Elan +2 looks like!
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PostPost by: mikealdren » Tue Nov 13, 2007 8:28 am

Greg,
They shouldn't be hard to find, they were used on lots of 1960/70s cars. Try a Lotus specialist (Paul Matty, Sue Miller, Christopher Neil etc) who all do excellent mail order.
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PostPost by: greg.harvey » Tue Nov 13, 2007 8:48 am

mikealdren wrote:They shouldn't be hard to find, they were used on lots of 1960/70s cars.


That's what I figured, which is why I decided to trust Halford's - thought with such a common part they might have it right. Oh well. I'll try a motorfactor, as I'm sure they'll have one, and if not, Matty's it is!

Cheers!
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PostPost by: Robbie693 » Tue Nov 13, 2007 11:21 am

If you can't find one, or they are exhorbitantly expensive, they are easy to fix.

Just pop the end off and there is a washer and a couple of contacts (usually corroded or singed) inside. Clean them up and clip the end back on...
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PostPost by: greg.harvey » Tue Nov 13, 2007 2:56 pm

Sound advice! I'll dismantle mine now! :-)
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PostPost by: greg.harvey » Tue Nov 13, 2007 3:59 pm

Right, switch is in pieces (see attached). Looks like it could do with a clean. I'll take some glass paper to it and then put it back and see what happens! :-)
Attachments
DSC00115.JPG and
Plus 2 Brake Light Switch, exploded
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PostPost by: greg.harvey » Mon Nov 19, 2007 2:51 pm

Well, I've been too successful!
I had no brake lights, now they're on all the time. Equally useless. About to dismantle the switch again, as my gut feeling is I've reassembled it badly - but could it be anything else?

Thanks!
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PostPost by: greg.harvey » Mon Nov 19, 2007 3:21 pm

I think I've worked it out. I actually thought about how the mechanism needs to work, rather than guessing, this time (!! :roll: ) and I see what I did wrong. There's a little square peg on the end of the push part of the switch, which is clearly supposed to marry to the little square hole in the brass contact plate - when you do that, the switch makes perfect sense. Off I go down to the council garage, in the rain, to try again!! :-(

Edit:
Success! Robbie693 was dead right. Had to disassemble it and reassemble again four times - seems there are numerous ways you can put it back together the wrong way (push-button can turn and throw things out of alignment, contact plate can jam behind one of the pins, etc.) but after much fiddling and faffing it now works fine. If this did nothing else, it proved I need to buy a multimeter!Then I could've done all of the above from the comfort of my own home rather than kneeling in the rain in front of the garage with a torch! I know what I'm buying on Saturday. ;-)

Write up in my blog, as ever: http://classicmotoring.blogspot.com/200 ... rakes.html

Thanks for all help! :-)
Greg
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