Lotus Elan

Getting OGU roadworthy again

PostPost by: billwill » Tue Nov 20, 2012 12:49 am

Here is a photo of the standard adaptor (from Q.E.D) for the capillary bulb of the engine temperature gauge versus the enlarged adaptor that was made for me (I think by Vegantune of Spalding) when the water valve corroded the rear-most hole in the thermostat housing of my old cylinder head and it was cured by making the hole larger and cutting a larger thread. The larger thread is (I think) 1/2 BSP, anyway it's the standard thread of many plumbing fittings such as taps and especially the usual compression fittings for 15mm copper plumbing pipe.

This larger adaptor was too tight on its inner diameter and caused me lots of trouble because the sensor bulb seized inside it.

DSCN3578 (Medium).JPG and
Standard capillary bulb (temperature sensor) adaptor against the larger adaptor that caused me all my woes.


The strange thing is that who ever made it up, didn't really need to, because a brass thread adaptor from 1/2 BSP to 3/8 BSP is available as standard in plumbing shops. I bought this one in B&Q

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Standard size adaptor from plumbing shop



The original adaptor (now lost) plus the brass thread adaptor would have solved the problem and due to its larger inner diameter would (hopefully) not have siezed around the sensor bulb.

DSCN3585 (Medium).JPG and
Standard adaptor plus standard thread convertor = non-standard adaptor


In B&Q I also found a 3/8 blanking cap (I think 3/8 BSP) which fits onto the adaptor in place of the sensor bulb and would make it easy if necessary to run the engine without the sensor bulb inserted.
DSCN3582 (Medium).JPG and
Blanking cap suitable for the sensor adaptor
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PostPost by: billwill » Wed Dec 12, 2012 11:07 pm

Well it seems pretty sure now that my fuel smell in the cabin was indeed caused by seepage through the long rubber pipe (braided with stainless steel mesh) that was fitted back in 2001. I have now replaced it with a hard copper-nickel pipe and the fuel smell has dramatically diminished, though I will not know for sure until I take the Elan out on the road and have a significant draft through the cabin to remove the old lingering traces of fuel smell.

Fitting the pipe was difficult, because it has to be gently bent and straightened in sequence to pass it down past the drivers knee side, then under the door sill then up in the cavity on the right behind the drivers seat (where I also have a loudspeaker for the radio) then finally across just under the parcel shelf trim and finally into the boot to connect with the electric fuel pump mounted on the cross-support.

The copper-nickel line is fastened to the trellis rods with cable ties after first wrapping self-almalgamating rubber around the pipe to prevent rattles.

I used PVC braided pipe to connect to the fuel pump, because the pump outlet was a bigger diameter than I expected and I have become worried about the bio-fuel ethanol content of modern petrols might damage nitrile rubber pipes. I tried to use the PVC pipe for the front flexible connection too, but the fitting on the fuel pressure regulator was too narrow and I could not get it to seal.

DSCN3590 (Medium).JPG and
Copper-Nickel pipe and rubber end-pipes



DSCN3604 (Medium).JPG and
Flexible pipe connects to fuel pressure regulator.


DSCN3603 (Medium).JPG and
Copper pipe emerges in engine compartment


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Pipe passing through a main pedal box strut.


DSCN3599 (Medium).JPG and
Pipe under the door sill on right side. 2.


DSCN3598 (Medium).JPG and
Pipe under the door sill on right side


DSCN3597 (Medium).JPG and
Pipe behind the trellis, behind driver's seat


DSCN3596 (Medium).JPG and
Pipe runs under front of parcel shelf


DSCN3592 (Medium).JPG and
Fuel pump connection (polythene pipe)
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PostPost by: billwill » Wed Jan 16, 2013 2:32 am

Just a note to say I haven't done anything to my Elan over the Christmas/New Year break, other than finish fastening in the right hand side panel and door seal and putting the driver seat back in.

Waiting for warmer weather, because I will have to do the flexible brake pipes out in my yard in the cold, not enough room in the garage.
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PostPost by: billwill » Sat Mar 23, 2013 1:28 pm

>Waiting for warmer weather, because I will have to do the flexible brake pipes out in my yard in the cold, not enough room in the garage.


Still waiting for warmer weather. It's being mighty late this year. Right at the moment it is snowing here in North London, UK.

So the only thing done for my Elan so far this year is that I have had 4 hard brake pipes made up, to go from the junctions to the 4 flexible brake pipes at the wheels.
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PostPost by: billwill » Sat Apr 20, 2013 9:34 pm

Today was the first day that the Met Office did not forecast showers, so I started on doing the brake pipes.

Grrr, not a successful day at all.

I couldn't undo the old hard brake pipes for the front wheels, from the 5-way junction, the spanner was clearly going to round-out the hex flats on the union, which would have been a big problem, so I decided to leave the old steel pipes in and just fit the new HEL flexible pipes.

I did the right front brake OK, but I've had a minor disaster on the left front brake. The bleed screw simply would not unscrew and it has sheared off flush with the calliper surface. :( :( :(
I've taken the calliper off and tried to drill out the broken bleed screw, (trying to catch all the swarf with lotsa grease) but the enlarged hole is not perfectly central and now jams the drill each time so I can't as yet get the broken stub out. Can't remember where I've stored my stud extractors (those tapered things with a coarse left hand thread). Given up for today, disconsolate.

Anyone got any good tips on this issue?
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PostPost by: robertverhey » Sat Apr 20, 2013 9:57 pm

Been there a few times over the years...so I feel your pain. These are not threads you want to be compromised in any way, so once you reach the vicinity of the thread on one of the sides (when drilling slightly off centre, as you now are) I'd be inclined to start worrying it with a small punch or other suitable sharp implement. The idea being to split the remains of the bleed valve threaded section thus allowing it to come away from the sides (ie reduce its diameter) and then get "turned" out once the pressure's off the threads. a bit of heat might help.....Never had much success with extractor studs myself.....

And then of course run a tap down the thread when the nightmare's over.
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PostPost by: Bud English » Sun Apr 21, 2013 1:33 am

...and watch the seat at the bottom.
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PostPost by: billwill » Sun Apr 21, 2013 1:06 pm

I'm relieved to know that someone else has encountered & fixed the problem. i.e to really know that it is possible.

I was thinking it would have to be done on a rigid milling machine that would be able to recut the hole in the screw centrally.
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PostPost by: billwill » Wed Apr 24, 2013 11:49 pm

Has anyone else dealt with a sheared off bleed valve?

Does anyone know if Classicar Automotive can fix it for me? Will they accept a caliper with a seized bleed valve as an exchange unit?
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PostPost by: AHM » Thu Apr 25, 2013 12:05 am

billwill wrote:Has anyone else dealt with a sheared off bleed valve?

Does anyone know if Classicar Automotive can fix it for me? Will they accept a caliper with a seized bleed valve as an exchange unit?


Yes, yes, and yes. I'll fix most things but front calipers just aren't worth the bother when classicar automotive will do a much better job for a sensible price.

You get your old unit back plated, new pistons, seals, bleedscrews.
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PostPost by: Bombay Racing Green » Thu Apr 25, 2013 7:25 am

Hi Bill,

I have just done business with Lee at classicar automotive. Found him to be very helpful. I dropped off my car's calipers to them when I was over in Feb. He told me that my fronts were different types. One early and one late. He has matched up a pair from his stocks. Also, a PO had fitted a bolt instead of a bleed nipple on one of the rear calipers! He has repaired this and fitted new handbrake linkages from Kelsport (A necessary purchase unfortunately). The total price, including shipping these heavy items to Ireland, was very reasonable. Lee was easy to talk to and, as you can imagine, very knowledgeable. Found out that the rear calipers are shared with the Fiat 1500. I'm sure everyone here knows that but I didn't!

Hope that helps. Good luck!

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PostPost by: billwill » Sat May 11, 2013 11:26 pm

Info about brake pipe fitting on my car is on the following thread:
lotus-suspension-f42/tightening-flexible-brake-pipes-t28382.html


I have now dispatched my caliper with the sheared off bleed screw to Classicar Automotive for reconditioning. Lee Cherry there seems to think he will get that stuck screw out, whereas with days of WD40 soaking, and moderate torque with a stud extractor and moderate heat with a blow lamp would not shift it for me. To be sure of not damaging the thread in the caliper for the bleed screw, I would be inclined to rigidly bolt half the caliper to the bed of a milling machine and cut the old screw out carefully, but I have no such precision machine myself.

I had no such problems with the other 3 calipers, but having fitted new hard pipes of Copper at the rear, I have changed my mind and decided to fit Kunifer (copper-nickel) pipes instead, so I've ordered a set of those, plus some proper flange nut spanners.

I've also ordered a bunch of rubber boots for ball-joints as one on a track rod end has split.

And I've ordered (on ebay) a second-hand fuel safety inertia switch to put in my electric fuel pump circuit. I've realised I should probably have ordered one that the salvage person had taken the 3-pin plug connector from the loom of the dismantled car as well as the switch as the photo of the pin arrangement that I've seen looks as if that plug is difficult to obtain alone.
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PostPost by: billwill » Fri May 24, 2013 9:46 am

My Shiny, My shiny, muhahaha!!

My reconditioned front caliper has returned from Classicar Automotive; now nothing (?) stopping me getting my Elan ready for MOT. test.. except rain & cold.

DSCN3883 (Medium).jpg and
Reconditioned front brake


DSCN3879 (Medium).jpg and
Reconditioned front brake
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PostPost by: AHM » Tue May 28, 2013 10:34 pm

One of the most satisfying purchases in classic car ownership - A smile and the knowledge that you can stop!

What more do you have to do for the MOT?
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PostPost by: billwill » Thu May 30, 2013 2:28 am

I insured for the road yesterday.

Brakes were done & bled by last Sunday, then overnight I remembered I had forgotten to oil the trunnions! :shock:

So Bank Holiday Monday, had to jack the front up again. Then I found my grease gun is not capable of generating enough pressure with thin oil, so I had to refill it with grease and grease the trunnions instead. :) :)

Then the rest of Monday was applying T-cut to remove all the various dark marks accumulated over 3 years. I haven't finished that yet, done about two thirds. Then after that I will need to re-wax it to protect the now naked paint.

I re-did a wiper blade, so I think :? that the only thing needed for MOT test is to check all the bulbs work, that the horn works and pack all the tools from the passengers footwell into the boot.

Other commitments mean that I probably won't be able to get it to an MOT test before this weekend, but hopefully early next week.
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