Lotus Elan

The Saga of 26/4623

PostPost by: Bombay Racing Green » Tue Nov 12, 2019 7:59 am

Hi Ben,

I’m enjoying your thread. Thanks. Regarding your rear bearings. Could they possibly have Nilos bearing seals on them? They are mentioned in the Dave Bean catalogue as the only way to effectively seal a bearing.
https://images.app.goo.gl/vAz9dhmNmvrgiqpB6

Are you off to College? I wish you the best in your studies and I hope you keep using your Elan.

Regards,
Pete
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PostPost by: 661 » Tue Nov 12, 2019 1:04 pm

Great thread. I recall buying my Elan when I was 22y and rebuilding it during a Uni summer break. It does indeed make for an interesting ride compared to your mates, but it will progress to being a second car when you can afford a banger to go around in.
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PostPost by: benymazz » Wed Nov 13, 2019 4:27 am

Bombay Racing Green wrote:Hi Ben,

I’m enjoying your thread. Thanks. Regarding your rear bearings. Could they possibly have Nilos bearing seals on them? They are mentioned in the Dave Bean catalogue as the only way to effectively seal a bearing.
https://images.app.goo.gl/vAz9dhmNmvrgiqpB6

Are you off to College? I wish you the best in your studies and I hope you keep using your Elan.

Regards,


Interesting... I had never heard of Nilos seals before. It does sort of look like my bearing has something similar to that.

After I get the Elan back on the road (within a couple of weeks... I hope) and I have time I'll cut the outer race off of a couple of the bearings and see if that can give me any more insights into seal style and failure mode (lack of lubrication or contaminant/abrasive ingress or some combination thereof)

And yes, I'm at college now studying mechanical engineering with a focus in high performance vehicles (no surprises there :lol: )

661 wrote:Great thread. I recall buying my Elan when I was 22y and rebuilding it during a Uni summer break. It does indeed make for an interesting ride compared to your mates, but it will progress to being a second car when you can afford a banger to go around in.


Ah yes... my plan was to rebuild the engine over the summer and then drive it to Florida but that plan went awry due to reusing pistons that were too worn. It'll take a while for me to get my tail out from between my legs on that one. Anyways, now I'm working on it at my cousin's house on weekends (40 minute drive away from my college and very thankful that she was generous enough to loan me her garage for an unspecified amount of time).

My daily is a bone stock 1989 Volvo 240 DL (sedan, not the wagon mind you) which can only be described as a legend. 300,000 miles on it and still running like a champ. Although bone stock (and will forever stay that way) and mechanically sound it looks like absolute trash from the outside. It also needs a couple of parts replaced - ECU coolant temp sensor, new exhaust manifold, and new O2 sensor - but it's going to suffer as is until the Elan is out of the garage...

I could talk for hours proclaiming the wonder of Swedish automobile design that is the Volvo 240 but all I will say is that it's the perfect companion to the Elan... in that they are opposites in every respect. The engine in the Volvo makes the same amount of power as the standard engine in my S2, but the Volvo weighs twice as much. The Volvo will seemingly run forever and ask only basic maintenance while my Elan has broken down in my girlfriend's driveway. The steering on my Elan is the most responsive man has ever created, whereas any input given via the weathered steering wheel on the Volvo is far more of a suggestion than a command. I still love them both though. They have character.

The engine is going back in the Elan this weekend and into next week. Trying to get it driving before Thanksgiving... I haven't driven it since the middle of July and I really miss it!

-Ben
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PostPost by: StressCraxx » Wed Nov 13, 2019 5:23 am

Ben,

We had 3 240's when our kids were growing up. A 244GLT intercooled turbo, a 245DL and 240DL. The engines are bombproof. They definitely had their quirks and weaknesses, but they always got you where you wanted to go and back home.

We used the GLT as a substitute when our two sons would not quite fit in our Elan for GGLC events.

Regards,
Dan
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PostPost by: benymazz » Wed Nov 13, 2019 6:16 am

Alright. Story time. If you aren't interested, disregard this. However I feel this is a humorous story that is now cemented in the history of this car, and it wouldn't be right to leave out of a thread supposedly chronicling the history of this car.

The main events in this story all took place just under 6 months ago—May 26, 2019.

It was the end of my senior year of high school. My now-girlfriend and I were in the awkward part of our relationship where we had feelings for each other but weren't "official" yet. I had shared my first kiss with her only 4 days prior (and in the Elan too… add that to the list of emotional attachments I have to this car) and we were spending most of our free time with each other. It was a fun ritual: we would get out of school—I drove the Elan so I always snuck out a couple of minutes early to get the tonneau off or put the top down depending on what the weather was that day so that I could beat the traffic... and maybe also show off a little bit to everyone who was just getting out as the bell rang :D ) while she usually stayed after for honors society or club meetings—and we would go our separate ways for a few hours. Later on in the day we would usually meet up for dinner at the local burger joint and pass the time there, sometimes going out for evening drives afterwards in the Elan if it wasn't too late and the weather was nice.

All in all, it was a good time to be alive.

Anyways, 4 days after we went on what I now suppose was technically our first date, there was a neighborhood gathering of sorts going on at her house and I was invited. Now, at this point we were still denying that we were dating, but I think to anyone with more than a few functioning brain cells it was clear that we basically were. Anyways, I pulled up to the house, and parked at the end of the driveway on the curb (for clarification, it was a housing development, not a main road). Some time later, maybe a couple of hours (early afternoon now), she and I were sitting at the edge of the pool and her dad walks over to me, leans in, and says, "Is that your little car?"

I didn't know where this was going but I was already uncomfortable. I replied, "Yes..."

He explained to me what happened: He had a 2006 Mustang that he was selling, so he had parked it down on the street to show to a prospective buyer who had come that morning. Later on, someone commented to him that they thought he left one of the interior lights on. So he went down to the street to check (there were no lights on, for the record) and then figured that as long as he was down there he might as well pull it back into the driveway. I mentioned that my car was parked at the end of the driveway... as he was turning left pulling into the driveway he hit/scraped the corner of the left rear bumper of the Lotus with the front fender area of the Mustang as he cut the corner.

The damage could not have been more ironic. Due to the rear bumper shape on the Elan, the only damage was a scrape down to primer on the "crease" which was barely noticeable because the bumper is silver lacquer over gray primer. No fiberglass damage that I could see, even after taking the bumper off. The Mustang however had three small but very noticeable dents in the fender area and a small line where the paint was taken off. I never would have been able to come up with an accident scenario between two vehicles in which an Elan comes out on top, but apparently this was it.

He had sold the Mustang for $10,000 that morning too—when the buyer returned to pay and pick it up, my girlfriend's father had to knock $500 off of that because of the new dents...

Anyways, I wasn't upset. What was there to be upset over? There was virtually no damage to my car. I actually felt bad for her dad. I fixed the bumper the next weekend by getting out my leftover can of silver lacquer from when the bumpers were painted and a fine brush and touched it up by hand. Good as new. Besides, I think that we both came out of it looking pretty good insofar as I didn't get upset and he was very nice and kind to me.

TL;DR the first time I met my girlfriend's dad was when he hit my Elan.

-Ben
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PostPost by: Bombay Racing Green » Wed Nov 13, 2019 7:59 am

Nice story Ben. Keep them coming.
Mech Eng is a great degree. I did Naval Architecture but it was essentially Mechanical Engineering with extra subjects. Living with an Elan will teach you mechanical sympathy, patience and first aid!

Good luck!
Pete
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PostPost by: rgh0 » Wed Nov 13, 2019 11:32 am

benymazz wrote:
Bombay Racing Green wrote:Hi Ben,

I’m enjoying your thread. Thanks. Regarding your rear bearings. Could they possibly have Nilos bearing seals on them? They are mentioned in the Dave Bean catalogue as the only way to effectively seal a bearing.
https://images.app.goo.gl/vAz9dhmNmvrgiqpB6

Are you off to College? I wish you the best in your studies and I hope you keep using your Elan.

Regards,


Interesting... I had never heard of Nilos seals before. It does sort of look like my bearing has something similar to that.


After I get the Elan back on the road (within a couple of weeks... I hope) and I have time I'll cut the outer race off of a couple of the bearings and see if that can give me any more insights into seal style and failure mode (lack of lubrication or contaminant/abrasive ingress or some combination thereof)

And yes, I'm at college now studying mechanical engineering with a focus in high performance vehicles (no surprises there :lol: )

661 wrote:Great thread. I recall buying my Elan when I was 22y and rebuilding it during a Uni summer break. It does indeed make for an interesting ride compared to your mates, but it will progress to being a second car when you can afford a banger to go around in.


Ah yes... my plan was to rebuild the engine over the summer and then drive it to Florida but that plan went awry due to reusing pistons that were too worn. It'll take a while for me to get my tail out from between my legs on that one. Anyways, now I'm working on it at my cousin's house on weekends (40 minute drive away from my college and very thankful that she was generous enough to loan me her garage for an unspecified amount of time).

My daily is a bone stock 1989 Volvo 240 DL (sedan, not the wagon mind you) which can only be described as a legend. 300,000 miles on it and still running like a champ. Although bone stock (and will forever stay that way) and mechanically sound it looks like absolute trash from the outside. It also needs a couple of parts replaced - ECU coolant temp sensor, new exhaust manifold, and new O2 sensor - but it's going to suffer as is until the Elan is out of the garage...

I could talk for hours proclaiming the wonder of Swedish automobile design that is the Volvo 240 but all I will say is that it's the perfect companion to the Elan... in that they are opposites in every respect. The engine in the Volvo makes the same amount of power as the standard engine in my S2, but the Volvo weighs twice as much. The Volvo will seemingly run forever and ask only basic maintenance while my Elan has broken down in my girlfriend's driveway. The steering on my Elan is the most responsive man has ever created, whereas any input given via the weathered steering wheel on the Volvo is far more of a suggestion than a command. I still love them both though. They have character.

The engine is going back in the Elan this weekend and into next week. Trying to get it driving before Thanksgiving... I haven't driven it since the middle of July and I really miss it!

-Ben


Hi Ben
Nilos seals are sold by Dave Bean for the front wheel bearings. They replace the outer cap and inner felt seal. The work as a flexible metal to metal seal between the Nilos seal and the spinning outer race. They can be used on other bearings but dont suit the rear on an Elan.

Metal shield bearings are something different but similar in concept. For the Elan rear they are not good as rubber seal bearings as the work best with a spinning outer and fixed inner and on bearings not too exposed to environmental water / grit. The Elan rear has a fixed outer race , spinning inner and lots of environmental challenges hence the need for rubber seal style bearing

The 6206 bearing is one of the worlds most common bearing as it was used in many household washing machines with a spinning outer and fixed inner race. Hence the shields and Hoover tag !!!

50 years of Mech eng and Chem eng and building Loti have enabled me to learn a little so enjoy youre Lotus and your studies. If you want a reliable car ditch the Volvo and buy a Landcruiser !

cheers
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PostPost by: benymazz » Thu Nov 14, 2019 3:54 pm

A progress update: The rear suspension is apart currently but going back together. I replaced the wheel bearings in one of the uprights over the weekend and tackled the other one last night.

I had planned on buying new axle shafts and hubs somewhere down the road for peace of mind as the originals had been autocrossed on heavily and I also have been known to drive my Elan fairly hard on the windy backroads but this investment was moved to "now" after I discovered two cracks in the left hand axle. One was starting at the end of the keyway and moving out at a 45 degree angle and the other was actually on one of the ears of the axle near the "root" (where the ear meets the shaft... don't know a better term). So it got 2 new axles and hubs.

Anyways, I took a little bit of an unconventional approach - being short on tools, I was forced to improvise a little bit. I went out and picked up about 5lb of dry ice and after pre-chilling the axles in the deep freezer I put them on the dry ice. After putting the inner bearing in a ziploc and warming to about 50-60C by immersing the bag in hot water, I took the axle out of the cooler and the bearing out of the ziplock and the two slipped right together (working quickly is key - you have to put the bearing on very swiftly or the bearing will lock onto the shaft before it is in its desired location!) After the temperatures had equalized somewhat I put the axle/bearing assembly back on dry ice and gently warmed the upright with a torch. After applying some loctite 640 bearing retainer to the upright, again the two components slipped right together (I used a block of wood as a drift against the inner side of the axle to ensure that I got it bottomed out "in one go" again working swiftly is key as once in contact the temperatures equalize very very quickly).

Unfortunately the outer bearing is where this method stops working as (from my experience) you can no longer get the required temperature differentials needed for everything to "slip together". There are three components now and three differentials would be needed: Axle, outer bearing, and upright and I don't think you can get the upright warm enough safely. Perhaps if I had a purpose made tool for pushing on the inner race of the bearing (like Rohan has shown in other posts) I could have tapped it together with a few firm whacks before the axle (still cold from the installation in the upright) warmed up but I don't know. I was forced to use the conventional method of tapping around the inner race to get the bearing into place (I used a brass punch as it was all I had).

If anyone else has experimented with this method I'd love to hear what you did.

-Ben
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PostPost by: el-saturn » Thu Nov 14, 2019 8:57 pm

just a numerical addition: my chassis is 4982 (3 months later??) HOWEVER mine is a 36 S3!! sandy ..............so where was MY chassis hangin out?
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PostPost by: Quart Meg Miles » Thu Nov 14, 2019 11:00 pm

el-saturn wrote:just a numerical addition: my chassis is 4982 (3 months later??) HOWEVER mine is a 36 S3!! sandy ..............so where was MY chassis hangin out?

nono17120's type 36 S2 was chassis 5033 and registered in France in Dec 1965, so how come yours is S3?

BTW, when did your roof fall off?
Meg

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PostPost by: trw99 » Fri Nov 15, 2019 11:02 am

[quote="el-saturn"]just a numerical addition: my chassis is 4982 (3 months later??) HOWEVER mine is a 36 S3!! sandy ..............so where was MY chassis hangin out?[/quote]

Sandy

Your Elan is not a Series 3. It is a Type 36 Series 2 Coupe from September 1965. These were the forerunners of what became the S3 FHC. Usually they are pre-airflow (though not always!). June 1966 saw the first S3 introduced.

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PostPost by: el-saturn » Fri Nov 15, 2019 1:30 pm

miles (our sons name, btw) - my chassis got lost somehow: so it was used prob. 1 year after production (?). it turned into a 36. the "lost" top actually was lost (after i cut it off) - the car got here as a FHC and i bought it as a Gr. 4 race car. our MOT issued/registered the car as Lotus Elan S2 "with an added hardtop" (in german: mit aufsatz) so by swiss law this was always a convertible and i built it so. i started working on the body BUT it was almost ruined (widened, bad work) by the PO so i bought a s3 dhc body from LOTUS in Norwich in 1981 for 3300£ (+300 "postage" by truck) - the chassis is zink plated and never saw any corrosion! sandy + greetings from 36/4982
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PostPost by: Quart Meg Miles » Fri Nov 15, 2019 3:58 pm

Thanks Sandy, you couldn't make it up; but it is a Lotus!

Sorry to have hijacked your thread, Ben, carry on the good work.
Meg

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PostPost by: benymazz » Wed Dec 04, 2019 5:25 pm

After a series of setbacks with my machinist, I am hopefully going to get the last of my engine parts back today and begin assembly.

The block was done last week but the machine they use for reaming and honing wristpin (gudgeon pin) bushings broke its belt last Wednesday and due to the holiday work was halted until the following Tuesday when the new belt arrived. And I got a call yesterday alerting me to the fact that I had the wrong rod bearings (intended for polished journals, so the clearance was too tight). Cue frantic ordering of new correct bearings and having them overnighted to the machine shop.

Provided that I don't get any more phone calls from the machine shop telling me there's a problem, I'm going to pull an all nighter tonight assembling and installing the engine. I am pushing to get this done because of my schedule for the next several weeks - I have final exams starting Saturday and I am going home for the holidays next Thursday and will not be back until Jan 8, and my next two weekends after that are booked so if it doesn't happen this week it likely will not be running until the beginning of February... which is just entirely too long to go without driving my Elan. It's been off the road since July 26.

-Ben
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