Lotus Elan

Body fitting advice.

PostPost by: davidj » Thu Oct 03, 2019 8:10 pm

Good evening,

I am approaching the scary task of fitting my s3 body onto a new chassis. The body is bare, with no interia, doors or glass installed so access is not a problem. I have read the Brian Buckland book, studied the Spyder notes ( it is a Spyder spaceframe chassis) and looked at all the excellent posts on this site about the subject. Any other pearls of wisdom?

I have fitted the engine/gearbox/diff so any distortion due to the weight has all ready occurred and plan to check the bonnet clearance.

Thanks in advance for any advice. :D

Cheers,

David
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PostPost by: baileyman » Thu Oct 03, 2019 9:07 pm

I suspended my shell by the door trusses to a winch on a trolley on the ceiling. I used 3/8" scrap rope, which worked great as the thing is only about a hundred pounds, and an engine hoist tilt adjuster really helped. It had to go up and down a shocking number of times. Not always for good reasons...

As my shell was painted I found things like thermostat housings, carb studs and uprights wanted to mar shell surfaces. These are mostly hidden, but hey, I taped over upright corners and strapped some plastic kitchen placemats around the engine over the protuberances. I still got some scratches.

I discovered rear brake lines interfere a bit. The bosses (TTR 26R chassis) should be welded on about an inch lower, I think.

I found the depth gauge on a vernier caliper did a good job of finding the depth to the undrilled chassis. My bobbin thicknesses were 0.65". A little calculation gave shim thicknesses. These I numbered to match the holes.

I understand there is a bit of controversy over drilling, whether to do the UNF or the UNC first. I did the UNC because then I could shim without misaligning the UNFs and then measure them for shims and drill them to match. But some tell me I'm backwards.

John
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PostPost by: MarkDa » Thu Oct 03, 2019 11:13 pm

First off - ensure that you install the hand brake tree (and rods) before finally putting the body on.
My son suggested it and I said it would ok - it wasn't!!
Brian does warn about this being a body off job - I managed without but it was a pig.

Before drilling into the turrets do ensure that the body is fully down - be prepared to get inside yourself to overcome any friction.

As others have said you don't want to stress the body by pulling it down so washers are important to ensure good load transfer from subframe to body.

Do Spyder chassis still have the felt saddle?
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PostPost by: DUKE » Fri Oct 04, 2019 7:45 am

Rent a couple of a Genie lifts from your local hire shop....quick, easy and safe, worked for me!
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PostPost by: Craven » Fri Oct 04, 2019 10:49 am

Can’t see the fuel line, needs to go in first. Clean up any threaded hole that may have paint in them.
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PostPost by: Certified Lotus » Fri Oct 04, 2019 12:43 pm

I put the entire chassis on jack stands (leveled) so I could get underneath the car easily while lowering the body and confirming fit. I had a new 26R chassis to drill and it all went smoothly once I got the body adjusted (with the padding installed on the top and sides of the center of the chassis). Use metal transfer punches through the bobbins to insure exact locations to drill and tap.

I was lucky and didn’t have to use any shims afterwards for final fitting. And all the threaded holes in the chassis fit perfectly.
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PostPost by: lotusfan » Fri Oct 04, 2019 1:05 pm

Very strongly recommend ‘R’ clips instead of split pins for handbrake rods and tree.
Mike
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PostPost by: MarkDa » Fri Oct 04, 2019 1:20 pm

lotusfan wrote:Very strongly recommend ‘R’ clips instead of split pins for handbrake rods and tree.


+1 to this - much easier if need to remove in future.
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PostPost by: MarkDa » Fri Oct 04, 2019 3:39 pm

Craven wrote:Can’t see the fuel line, needs to go in first. Clean up any threaded hole that may have paint in them.


Definitely - get it connected to the pump before body on. V Diff after.
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PostPost by: RichardHawkins » Fri Oct 04, 2019 7:31 pm

I have just noticed this week that the workshop manual 'section A chassis' contains a list of things to do/check when changing the chassis.

hope this helps,

Richard Hawkins
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PostPost by: baileyman » Sat Oct 05, 2019 2:04 am

Oh, another thing that worked well... I made a couple pilot hole inserts to guide the drill. Someone at LOG suggested this. All of my bolts were 3/8", so I used two 3/8" bolts and on a lathe drilled them for the pilot, length about 5/8". One was screw threaded, the other only shaft. And I found that since my drill bound in a few places with ordinary length bits, I used a long flexible bit (12"?) from the home center store. That way, under the dash for instance I could arc the bit so the drill could clear the shell. Things centered up pretty well that way. A couple times I did have to chase a coarse bolt chassis hole with a tap to make the bolt clear, but that was about it.

John

pilot-guide.jpg and
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PostPost by: davidj » Sun Oct 06, 2019 11:22 am

Thanks for all your replies. The hand brake tree, speedo drive and cable, gearbox exhaust mount and petrol pipe have now been installed. I have also installed the exhaust manifold to check the fit. Can the body be fitted with this left in place? Make life easier if it could be.

So, the body is ready to be dropped on. Is it just a matter of moving the body until it is central and drilling the holes? Once shimmed, I would have thought it is best to drill the bolt holes first in situ, bolt the body down, then drill and tap into the chassis for the set screws . However, the recommended method appears to mark all the holes centres and lift off the body to drill. Why is this? Must be something I am missing. Which datums on the chassis are best to check it is square?

Thanks again..........

David
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PostPost by: Certified Lotus » Sun Oct 06, 2019 11:44 am

You need to remove the body from the chassis once all the bolt hole locations are marked. Otherwise you can’t thread the drilled holes with a tap. You could probably drill all the holes with the body in place but I wouldn’t do that as you could accidentally enlarge the bobbin holes.

That’s why it’s so important to accurately mark the center of the hole location with a transfer punch of the correct size.
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PostPost by: MarkDa » Sun Oct 06, 2019 10:11 pm

There's not a lot of free play between body and chassis.
You have the rack platform to assess level at front and turret tops at rear.
And assuming your chassis is on the level you can stand back and check what it looks like.
Basically if you settle the body down it should be pretty well right.
Yes you do have to Mark the holes and then drill-tap with body off.
If I remember correctly the tunnel top tappings were trickiest - but to my surprise they were bang on (beginner's luck?)
You may find it easier and more accurate to drill pilot holes first.
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PostPost by: davidj » Tue Oct 08, 2019 11:15 am

Good morning,

The body was lowered onto the chassis today. This is not a task for the faint hearted! For future reference, REMOVE THE REAR CARB STUDS! This was mentioned in the advice below, but I forgot and now have a nice scratch in the driver bulkhead. The exhaust manifolds (standard size) did fit.

However, I am a bit concerned the body looks to be sitting a bit high, particularly at the front. There is a gap of approx 20mm (3/4") between the front steering rack mounting bracket and the body. Unfortunately I have nothing to compare it too, but as an engineer, it does not look right to me. The body is resting between the two front suspension uprights so it cannot drop any further. At the reat, it looks to be sat correctly on the rear diff chassis mounting.

There is no weight in the body, so it will drop a bit on the suspension when seats, doors, glass etc is installed but I am suspicious. Is this correct or have I a problem?

Thanks in advance for any advice!

Cheers,

David
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gap between steering rack bracket and body.
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