Lotus Elan

Buying a Plus 2

PostPost by: Elanintheforest » Thu Jun 28, 2018 2:42 pm

The Elan is no less reliable than any other car if it's put together properly and well maintained. Brian Buckland has been using his car daily since 1969 and it has now covered just over 900,000 miles. Last year he did over 20,000 miles in in, including a quick dash down to Spain.

If the car is unreliable it just needs sorting properly....and using!

Mark
User avatar
Elanintheforest
Coveted Fifth Gear
Coveted Fifth Gear
 
Posts: 2751
Joined: 04 Oct 2005
Location: Forest Of Dean, Gloucestershire

PostPost by: vincereynard » Thu Jun 28, 2018 5:17 pm

knatch wrote:Thanks Gents.
Given my daily commute would be in town and shortish, c. 20 miles round trip, will I still face reliability problems ?
I ran an MGB for several years this way and had very few problems.


As has been stated it will be as reliable as you make it. The rear end is a bit fragile and the electrics could be a problem but the (mechanical) rest is simple 60's stuff.

I still would not consider putting kids in the back.
vincereynard
Fourth Gear
Fourth Gear
 
Posts: 950
Joined: 12 Jan 2015
Location: amersham

PostPost by: martinbrowning » Fri Jun 29, 2018 8:34 am

Elanintheforest wrote:I still would not consider putting kids in the back.


How about wife in the back, kids up front?....... :lol:

Martin B
Time flies like an arrow; fruit flies like a banana.
72 Europa Special, 72 Sprint, 72 Plus 2
martinbrowning
Third Gear
Third Gear
 
Posts: 324
Joined: 07 Jun 2007
Location: Belfast

PostPost by: rgh0 » Fri Jun 29, 2018 9:16 am

knatch wrote:Thanks Gents.
Given my daily commute would be in town and shortish, c. 20 miles round trip, will I still face reliability problems ?
I ran an MGB for several years this way and had very few problems.


The more you use a Lotus the more reliable it gets. Most problems people have are due to lack of use or poor maintenance

cheers
Rohan
User avatar
rgh0
Coveted Fifth Gear
Coveted Fifth Gear
 
Posts: 6703
Joined: 22 Sep 2003
Location: Melbourne, Australia

PostPost by: alan.barker » Fri Jun 29, 2018 10:10 am

The more you use it is only possible because you have fixed more problems :roll:
Alan
Alan.b Brittany 1972 elan sprint fhc Lagoon Blue 0460E
alan.barker
Coveted Fifth Gear
Coveted Fifth Gear
 
Posts: 1425
Joined: 06 Dec 2008
Location: BRITTANY FRANCE

PostPost by: gus » Fri Jun 29, 2018 12:30 pm

Not to be a wet blanket, but as someone who has put something approaching 100k on my +2 I feel a bit of reality is in order

The +2 is more reliable than the Elan, it has a longer wheel base and fewer hokey bespoke hardware so it tends to rattle itself apart less frequently

However, as built it is far from a reliable car.

Generator?
water pump?
chassis rot/cracks?
undersized Lucas wiring with poor quality connectors?
Donuts?
Diff output shafts?


Properly updated, yes the car is pretty decent

If the car has:
Alternator, preferably newer, but even a Lucas is far more reliable than the generator, and can at least run the power windows at idle.

Bolt in water pump. With perfect care a stock water pump can last, but how long? Either the head comes off[and never in synch with when it needs doing] or you tolerate leaks

Replaced chassis. It is 50 years old, a stock chassis is waiting to fail. Sitting unused, or 'carefully used' a stock chassis will not show the fact that the front closing plates are non existent and it is all about to fold like a wet cardboard box

wiring? A new harness is at least new, and is better than the beads on a string that are likely in the engine bay.

Donuts. Yes they can last quite a while. However when they go they fail spectacularly and leave you stranded. Replacements are of variable quality. Replacement CV joints will probably last forever, and when they die they will growl for a decade until you get around to changing them.

Diff output shafts. Early ones die, period. They need to be changed. Not complicated but not amusing with donuts.

Most of these issues are little different from any period British car.

Buy a well done car with receipts and pictures, or buy one and do it right

I have done many 1000+ mile trips and never had to tow it home. That is not to say I never had to wrench on it while away. I used to drive my car a lot, however, and did not spend my year making it perfect for a big trip. More like I drove it to work every day then threw my gear in the trunk and drove where I was going.

I know this sounds negative. It should not be viewed that way. It is about managing expectations. I have been busy with family and the +2 sits[though the Exige is a good stand in] and I miss it terribly. I drove it summers like a Honda and spent the winters making it ready for the next year, for many years.
gus
Fourth Gear
Fourth Gear
 
Posts: 530
Joined: 05 May 2011

PostPost by: LaikaTheDog » Fri Jun 29, 2018 2:54 pm

I used my first plus 2 as a daily commuter of 28 miles each way in heavy traffic for 6 years.

My only regret was selling it...

Plus 2 clutch is heavy compared to a Kia picanto but not compared to a lotus esprit....
User avatar
LaikaTheDog
Third Gear
Third Gear
 
Posts: 228
Joined: 29 Oct 2003
Location: UK, London.

PostPost by: vincereynard » Fri Jun 29, 2018 4:53 pm

gus wrote:Generator?
water pump?
chassis rot/cracks?
undersized Lucas wiring with poor quality connectors?
Donuts?
Diff output shafts?


Rear Wheel bearings? Trunnions? Cill Members? etc etc
A later S130 helps with some of the above.

Buy one with most done (properly!) or be prepared to pay / DIY. As I have found receipts from the incompetent mean diddly-squat.
vincereynard
Fourth Gear
Fourth Gear
 
Posts: 950
Joined: 12 Jan 2015
Location: amersham

PostPost by: The Veg » Sat Jun 30, 2018 12:57 am

LaikaTheDog wrote:Plus 2 clutch is heavy compared to a Kia picanto but not compared to a lotus esprit...


I didn't think my Esprit's clutch was terribly heavy, but then I am a big strapping sod. :mrgreen:
1969/70 Elan Plus 2 (not S) 50/2036
"It just wouldn't be a complete day if I didn't forget something!" -Me
User avatar
The Veg
Fourth Gear
Fourth Gear
 
Posts: 894
Joined: 16 Nov 2015
Location: Atlanta 'burbs (southeast USA)

PostPost by: gus » Sat Jun 30, 2018 12:58 pm

vincereynard wrote:
gus wrote:Generator?
water pump?
chassis rot/cracks?
undersized Lucas wiring with poor quality connectors?
Donuts?
Diff output shafts?


Rear Wheel bearings? Trunnions? Cill Members? etc etc
A later S130 helps with some of the above.

Buy one with most done (properly!) or be prepared to pay / DIY. As I have found receipts from the incompetent mean diddly-squat.


Interestingly rear wheel bearings do not seem to be a big issue anymore. The quality of bearings starting in the 80's improved so much that I have never replaced one from wear. I thought I had a bad one in 1998, but it turned out that the stub axle had beat itself to death and was rattling around in the bearing bore.

Sill members fall under chassis, replaced mine with Spyder in 1984. Trunnions....keep em oiled they last quite a long time.
gus
Fourth Gear
Fourth Gear
 
Posts: 530
Joined: 05 May 2011

PostPost by: JonB » Sun Jul 01, 2018 9:17 pm

gus wrote:Interestingly rear wheel bearings do not seem to be a big issue anymore. The quality of bearings starting in the 80's improved so much that I have never replaced one from wear. I thought I had a bad one in 1998, but it turned out that the stub axle had beat itself to death and was rattling around in the bearing bore.


Same thing happened on mine. Bearing inner ring must be much harder steel than the shaft.

Whatever you buy, expect to change suspension bushes and trunnions (especially if there is caked on grease all over the seal). Probably shock absorbers too, and dump the doughnuts for CVs. If the engine is good you shouldn't have too much trouble. Change the oil, filters and the diff / gearbox oil plus seals. The rest of it (apart from engine oil leaks) is just fettling.
1973 Elan Plus 2S 130/5 - UK - Chassis 50/1115L
JonB
Coveted Fifth Gear
Coveted Fifth Gear
 
Posts: 1269
Joined: 14 Nov 2017
Location: South Coast, UK

PostPost by: M.J.S » Wed Jul 04, 2018 5:44 pm

rgh0 wrote:
knatch wrote:Thanks Gents.
Given my daily commute would be in town and shortish, c. 20 miles round trip, will I still face reliability problems ?
I ran an MGB for several years this way and had very few problems.


The more you use a Lotus the more reliable it gets. Most problems people have are due to lack of use or poor maintenance

cheers
Rohan


Fully agree with Rohan. When I first bought mine over a decade ago I used it as often as I could with very few issues, but when use began to fall to just every now and again, it all started to go pear shaped. :(
ZARDE the 130/5.
User avatar
M.J.S
Second Gear
Second Gear
 
Posts: 167
Joined: 21 May 2008
Location: Lancashire, UK.

PostPost by: Bigbaldybloke » Wed Jul 04, 2018 8:32 pm

When I first got my plus 2 it was my everyday car and I traveled regularly around the uk in it in my job as a service engineer working in power stations. Only two recurring problems and both with non original parts, the alternators only lasted about 6000 miles and the electronic ignition developed an intermittent fault that caused the engine to just die every now and again. Replaced the lumenition ignition system completely with another and that fixed that, changed the make of alternator and that fixed that. Only problem that nearly stranded me at the far end of the country was the needle roller bearing in the centre of the flywheel breaking up and effectively locking the clutch so I had to drive home without stopping and change gear without the clutch, a bit hair raising in traffic but I managed it. So as others have said, used regularly they can be reliable transport, I was doing 10-12000 miles a year.
Change is inevitable, except from a vending machine!
Bigbaldybloke
Third Gear
Third Gear
 
Posts: 434
Joined: 16 May 2017
Location: Lincolnshire

PostPost by: CBUEB1771 » Thu Jul 05, 2018 12:51 pm

I'll walk the heresy plank and suggest a Spyder Zetec-converted +2, the proposed use is exactly what Spyder intended. That being said my +2 will never have anything other than a Twincam in it and generally only period-reasonable modifications. :wink: I used my +2 as a daily driver when I first bought it in the late 1970s and had very few problems. One must keep in mind that in the late 1970s most automobiles intended to be daily drivers were not a great deal more reliable than an Elan +2. In the past 40 years daily drivers have improved enormously and I would never again use my +2 for that purpose.
Russ Newton
Elan +2S (1971)
Elite S2 (1962)
User avatar
CBUEB1771
Coveted Fifth Gear
Coveted Fifth Gear
 
Posts: 1637
Joined: 09 Nov 2006
Location: Boston, Massachusetts USA

PostPost by: nwbaxter66 » Thu Jul 05, 2018 6:30 pm

Add another vote of support for the "the more you use them, the more reliable they are".
My first was my daily driver from home into Wolverhampton BR Station and back for over two years (with the occasional blast down the M42/M6/Birmingham New Road for a change of pace - never a hiccup.
Of course, for those in the know the miracle wasn't the car getting me to and from the station - it is that some creature Wulfrunian didn't either steal it or damage it - it was in the 80s!!!
Nick Baxter
1970 Plus 2S (Federal)
nwbaxter66
First Gear
First Gear
 
Posts: 48
Joined: 03 Aug 2006
Location: Omaha, Nebraska
PreviousNext

Total Online:

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 11 guests