Lotus Elan

Elan S4 being awakened after 35 year slumber.

PostPost by: rgh0 » Tue Sep 03, 2019 11:30 am

The head looks like its in great condition and has not done a lot of miles. Does it have an engine number stamped on the rear face like most of the early die cast heads had ?

cheers
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PostPost by: Elanintheforest » Tue Sep 03, 2019 1:04 pm

It's LP189 Rohan, dated 9th March 1963, and came off a Lotus Cortina. The first owner of the Elan ran a sports car and Lotus dealership in Yorkshire and he put the head on. I would imagine that the Cortina had done very little work when it came to grief, and the dealership got the wreck and tucked the head away to go on the Elan 10 or 15 years later.

I found the original tax disc holder under the seat when I first got the car....
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PostPost by: Andy8421 » Wed Sep 04, 2019 6:14 am

Elanintheforest wrote:Thanks for the response guys, much appreciated.

Mark (MarkDA) I think you're right that the setup Chris has shown appeals to my need for originality, in appearance at least. I'm hoping to be able to repair my loom as the wires that are intact seem to still be flexible and will go again. I've just been repairing a loom from a Cortina I brought over from Zimbabwe last year that had been nibbled by rats and monkeys, so I'm now experienced with taking looms apart, replacing the occasional wire and re-wrapping them! I do have a couple of old looms which I can pich the right coloured cable from with the right ends, so it should look original in the end.

Thanks again guys.
Mark


Mark, Were it me, given the effort you are putting in, I would show the old loom the door. New looms with original colours are available.

The original Lucar (spade) / Bullet connectors are terrible and deteriorate with age. The cables aren't sealed at the connector and water seeps up the cable via capillary action, corroding the copper as it goes. This makes fitting new connectors difficult. The insulation suffers from the heat in the engine bay, cracks and allows water to enter, again leading to corrosion.

The wiring on the Elan is marginal at best and there are many threads on this forum about the electrical problems that owners suffer. Much better to start with a 'known good' loom and not spend hours chasing poor connections up and down the car.

Good luck.
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PostPost by: lotusfan » Wed Sep 04, 2019 7:46 am

Mark

I agree with Andy8421 about showing the old loom the door, you never know what horrors could be lurking within the old loom(s).
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PostPost by: Elanintheforest » Wed Sep 04, 2019 3:58 pm

I do agree guys that old looms have to be checked out carefully, and in most cases I would replace a 50 year old loom with a new one. I've had a few very different experiences, ranging from wires being extremely brittle with oxidised ends, to looms being virtually like brand new. I bought a 2 door Cortina 1600E from Spain a couple of years ago that had been in an underground garage for 45 years and despite the extremes of heat and cold outside, the loom is like new. Likewise an Escort Mexico, garaged all it's life, and despite being used every day for the first 12 years in the North West of the UK, a fairly damp environment, the loom and connectors are like new.

This Elan has also been garaged all it's life, and with the connectors I've pulled apart so far, there is little corrosion, and the cables are soft and pliable. I certainly wouldn't use the car until each connector has been apart and examined, a job I'm looking forward to behind the dash!

Mark
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PostPost by: oldelanman » Wed Sep 04, 2019 4:38 pm

Elanintheforest wrote:I think I have enough info now to strip out a part of the loom and re-instate the dynamo circuit with RB340 .....

Hi Mark,
As you car originally had a Stromberg engine I wonder if it would have had the RB106 control box and not the later RB340? My S4 Stromberg has and from the above pic the other Mark's (Mark030358) has it also. Not important functionally but may be if you're trying to preserve originality. If our VIN's are close it may confirm one way or the other perhaps.
Roger
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PostPost by: MarkDa » Wed Sep 04, 2019 5:45 pm

Too many Marks involved in this thread :D
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PostPost by: Elanintheforest » Wed Sep 04, 2019 6:20 pm

Strange coincidence Roger, but looking through some photos that Mark (Mark030558) sent me I spotted the RB106, I then hunted out some photos of my old Yellow S4, also a January 1970 car, and it also has a RB106.

RB106 it is, and luckily I have a NOS one as a spare for my S3 which will sit there happily.

I shall be having words with Mr Buckland who describes the RB340 as 'The S4 and Sprint control box' in his book!

Mark
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PostPost by: l10tus » Thu Sep 05, 2019 9:06 am

The relays were installed as MarkDA's picture ex. factory (terminals pointing down, staggered)

The headlamp flasher wiring does not need a special flasher unit (other than the standard one you can buy from Sue Millar, Paul Matty, etc. ) - It's the wiring diagram that's been drawn up by the then, technical author, that's the problem.

When you get to that part of the wiring rebuild I'll send you the correct wiring layout. (This issue was sorted by Alex Black, some years ago).

Yes, the Sprint used the later control box positioned as you describe..

Good luck with the rebuilding,

Cheers for now,
Philip.

UK '72 Sprint DHC

Sometimes my Lotus makes me cry.
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PostPost by: Elanintheforest » Thu Sep 05, 2019 5:41 pm

Thanks Phillip. I'd be very interested in the wiring diagram as I am going through and checking out the electrics, as far as I can, before taken the body off to replace the chassis and renovate everything on it. I like to get the basics sorted before restoration!

I'm hopefully completing the head tomorrow, and have had the joy of removing the hood, frame, hood tray, petrol tank and a few other bits and pieces today. And the first blood has been spilt! In the next couple of weeks I'll start to check out the electrics and get them sorted as far as I can at this stage.

I'll PM you.

Mark
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PostPost by: Elanintheforest » Mon Sep 09, 2019 10:57 am

The car is now up a bit higher to get everything undone underneath, after it’s all been soaked in penetrating oil for a week. The bodywork is looking exceptionally good and I don’t think the car has ever had a bump. With the paint being at least 40 years old, and possibly original, I think that any body sections grafted on, especially given the workmanship in the 70s, would be fairly obvious now.

The only damage I can find is a little piece of the sill flange, that the door rubber attaches to, is broken off where someone has been sliding in and out of the seat! Must have been uncomfortable.

The petrol tank looked superb from the outside, but it had a couple of gallons of brown sludge inside. When the liquid was emptied out, there remained a crust of brown stuff about 2 inches thick, and it wasn’t old petrol! It smells more like old turpentine or paint, and I don't think it could be cleaned out so the tank is scrap, along with the sender. It doesn’t look like the original specification steel tank is available any more, or am I looking in the wrong places? There seem to be a few options for aluminium. Any recommendations welcome!
Mark Kempson
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PostPost by: USA64 » Mon Sep 09, 2019 9:59 pm

I put my sat-for thirty-years carbs in a gallon of Gunk carburetor parts cleaner which comes with a handy parts basket. It removed all the hopeless-looking gunk overnight! I'll bet if you pour a gallon into your fuel tank it would clean it out. The stuff not expensive so it might be worth a try.
We are supposed to be having fun, are we not?
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PostPost by: Elanintheforest » Wed Oct 02, 2019 4:20 pm

I don’t think that any solvent will help this petrol tank. On closer inspection there’s about 2 kgs of rust scale held in a fairly solid lump by old sticky petrol. The tank looks so good from the outside.

The rolling chassis came away from the body without too much fuss. It is still the original chassis, and it looks to be in really good condition. Strange as I’m sure the turrets were rusted out when I looked at it 13 years ago, which is why I bought a new chassis for the car a few years back. That may now be spare.

The front turrets are absolutely solid, and there’s no rot on the chassis that I can see. A bit of surface rust at the bottom of the saddle, and that’s about it. No cracks are visible either around the engine, gearbox or differential mounts.

With a bit of detective work, it looks like the chassis has been off at some time since it left the factory. All the chassis bolts had Copperslip on them, and the wheel arches are stone-chipped and painted, including under the chassis towers, front and back. That’s the giveaway.

But it may have been done in the late 1970s as the previous owner, who had the car from 1980 to 2003 when I bought it, had nothing done to the car. It makes sense that a 10 year old Elan, with 55k miles on the clock, would have been quite tired and needing a fair bit of work. As the first owner ran a sports car garage in Bradford, then overhauling the car completely wouldn’t have been a big issue.

Another thought is that if the car was built up as a kit, the chassis was dropped out before it was all built up to add some rust proofing. Again, owning a garage selling the cars it would be an easy job, and the owner would have known exactly where the cars rusted out.

In any event he chassis must have had some protection from new as it seems to be in such good condition, and when / if it was re-built, it was painted with a soft underseal, something like Ziebart. A nightmare to get off, but it’s done its job.

We’ll see what’s revealed once the chassis is blasted. In the meantime it’s coming apart. The rear suspension and rotoflex couplings are fighting back, with the struts coming out of the Lotocones complete with the sleeve without having to undo them! The rear suspension was only held together with the force of the rotoflex couplings. Luckily all the differential-side rotoflex bolts came out ( with a lot of effort) so the rest of the bolts will be treated to Mr angle grinder.

The main thing I’m concerned about now is getting the 4 original Lotocone mounting bolts out. The head of the bolt is very shallow (maybe 3 mm) with plenty of scope for rounding off. If anybody has some hints or tips I’d be interested. They are going to soak for a couple of weeks in penetrating oil, the projecting threads are going to be cleaned up with a rotary wire brush and lots of heat applied before removal attempted.

The last two photographs graphically illustrate what happens to old brake fluid when it’s left for 30 odd years. I don’t think the clutch hydraulics would have been bled too easily.
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PostPost by: tdskip » Thu Oct 03, 2019 2:19 pm

Subscribing - keen to see your progress and good work.

Sounds like you are leaning towards replacing the harness?
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PostPost by: Elanintheforest » Thu Oct 03, 2019 3:23 pm

Not yet! I've stripped out the 'extra' wiring that had been put in for air horns, figured out how to undo the alternator conversion wiring and now understand the headlamp flasher circuit. Now I can stand up inside the engine bay I'll clean it all up properly and see if it can be kept. I think so at this stage.

Now I've found it still has the original chassis, and that will hopefully go again, and it has its original paint, dash, upholstery etc., the challenge is to try and keep / renovate as much of the original material as possible. That means it won't be perfect and in gleaming show condition, but it will be a bit different!!

Mark
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