Lotus Elan

Miata Motor Headlight Conversion

PostPost by: disquek » Tue Nov 26, 2019 12:53 am

Hi,

I've completed making the brackets and tested them (paint pending). I just thought you folks would want to see it.

I experimented with having a spring on it, but it's not needed for raising them and didn't change the amount of jiggle. All of the play is in the pod pivots, which was there with the vacuum setup (which was fine).

I used a PWM controller from Amazon to slow them down. My tests were just done with little jumper cables. I haven't finalized the wiring yet, but it seems straight forward from here.

It's 100% bolt in. No mods needed beyond replacing the vacuum pod with this motor. It bolts in the same holes as the pod.

Links for videos of it working.

https://www.amazon.com/photos/shared/gN ... TIWr0ari0Y
https://www.amazon.com/photos/shared/sy ... jc_CLRlSYM

Kyle

headlight_motor.jpg and
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PostPost by: alanr » Tue Nov 26, 2019 10:04 am

Well done, I like it...nice work!
A question though not being familar with the Miata motor operation.
The arm looks as if it goes slightly over centre or is at centre, so when bringing them down does the motor continue or reverse?

Alan.
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PostPost by: tvr78 » Tue Nov 26, 2019 11:43 am

Why change an original perfectly working simple system with something like this?
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PostPost by: john.p.clegg » Tue Nov 26, 2019 12:04 pm

No more "rockets to the moon" or" climbing everest" chaps....

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PostPost by: disquek » Tue Nov 26, 2019 12:39 pm

tvr78 wrote:Why change an original perfectly working simple system with something like this?


Nobody sober would describe the original system as perfectly working. lol. Things improve and those are worth having. We don’t use bias ply tires or 80 octane fuel either. I got tired of having the headlights popped up every time I came into the shop (they stayed down about 5 hours). I also understood that this vacuum leak was causing an idle imbalance.

The Miata motors were free. Some scrap sheet steel, $20 in a PWM controller and relay. Some enjoyable time in the shop and now I have a system that works far better, weights the same, and costs very little. If we met at a cars and coffee, you’d never know I did it.

All good!

Alan, The arm swings in a complete circle going the same direction.
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PostPost by: prezoom » Tue Nov 26, 2019 4:50 pm

The arm on the Miata motor is a spline fit, and can be positioned in any direction. The advantage is, there is no need for a vacuum port on the number one intake manifold, no more vacuum lines to the controlling switch, and no worries about the chassis vacuum tank. The electrical connection that operated the vacuum solenoid on my Plus2, now operates the relay that controls the operation of the Miata motor. Less complexity, and less prone to failure.

One additional thing I did, was position the motors armature shaft so it points upwards toward the engine compartment. Broached a piece of tubing to fit over the end of the exposed shaft and the tube extends up into the engine compartment. The little red knob originally on the end of the shaft now on the end of the tube and accessible to manually raise or lower the lights should there be an electrical failure by just opening the engine compartment.
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PostPost by: Foxie » Tue Nov 26, 2019 10:53 pm

tvr78 wrote:Why change an original perfectly working simple system with something like this?


I once had a nightmare on the M20 on a dark and rainy night, with a big artic with all its lights blazing coming in through the rear window, and my headlights sinking every time I tried to accelerate away. :shock:
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PostPost by: USA64 » Wed Nov 27, 2019 12:11 am

I suppose it's progress when going -all electric- on a Lotus is seen as a step toward reliability!
We are supposed to be having fun, are we not?
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PostPost by: andrewk » Wed Nov 27, 2019 1:28 am

Nice job, Kyle. I used Toyota Supra (1981-2002) parts which were even easier. The Toyota mounting plates needed only slight modification to bolt straight in to the Elan.

1.jpg and

2.jpg and

4.jpg and

5.jpg and


Note that I also used three relays, one triggered by the park light switch and one for each motor in case the motors rotated at different speeds. It may have been overkill but relays are cheap!
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PostPost by: alan.barker » Wed Nov 27, 2019 10:26 am

I always consider with the original system if there is a problem with Headlamp droop it was an early warning.
Rust or cracks in Chassis :cry: :cry:
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PostPost by: 69S4 » Wed Nov 27, 2019 10:40 am

alan.barker wrote:I always consider with the original system if there is a problem with Headlamp droop it was an early warning.
Rust or cracks in Chassis :cry: :cry:
Alan


It's not all gloom and then doom though - there are other reasons why you get droop. Pipes leak or rub through, valves fail, rubber perishes etc
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PostPost by: disquek » Wed Nov 27, 2019 2:55 pm

alan.barker wrote:I always consider with the original system if there is a problem with Headlamp droop it was an early warning.
Rust or cracks in Chassis :cry: :cry:
Alan


That concept reminds me of this story

“This was one of the very first 917s, with an alloy chassis, which was gas-filled. There was a big gauge in the cockpit, which measured the gas pressure, and that was there to keep you informed of the chassis’s condition. If it zeroed, they said, that meant that the chassis was broken, and I should drive mit care back to the pits.”

“Once I knew what the gauge was for, I also knew that if it zeroed I wasn’t going to drive it mit care anywhere – I was going to park the bastard there and then, pick up my Deutschmarks and get home to Mum...”

-Kyle
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PostPost by: Mr.Gale » Wed Nov 27, 2019 6:42 pm

Or, you can do it this way. :D
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_HLdt4Bhnto&t=9s

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PostPost by: disquek » Sat Nov 30, 2019 3:47 am

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