Lotus Elan

I've lost all my gears!

PostPost by: Richard Howell » Sat May 13, 2006 7:36 pm

Hello

Thanks for that, I'll try the rocking back and forth.
The hose between the master and slave cylinders sounds a good idea too.

Thanks


Richard
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PostPost by: Richard Howell » Sat May 20, 2006 3:49 pm

Hello

I managed to get out of reverse gear by pumping the clutch pedal, so I'm hoping the problem selecting gears is also down to the hydraulics.

Three things are holding me up at the moment, my bleed screw spanner is metric and is the wrong size (but nearly the right size) I assume the correct spanner is imperial, can anyone tell me what size I should get?
Also what is the modern clutch hydraulic fluid recommended for the +2?
Also what is the width and length of the flexible hose between the two solid pipes?
I can probably sus these out myself, but if anyone out there has a quick answer I'd be grateful!

Thanks again!

Richard
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PostPost by: ianf » Wed May 24, 2006 8:06 am

Richard,

Just to go down another route for a moment, if the car was unused for a period in the winter the clutch lining may have attached itself to the flywheel, so even though the mechanism works (you had movement at the actuating lever) the clutch will remain engaged.

I had this on an old car many years ago and it was so badly stuck that I had to remove the engine and lever the plate off the flywheel.

The other method which didn't work for me (the car had been parked outside for 4months) is starting the car in gear (I'm not sure how this will work with rotoflex couplings) and pumping the clutch as you trundle along - hopefully the engine torque working against the weight of the car is enough to free the problem. If you are able to do this off the road it is advisable and if you need to stop quick turn the ignition off!

It may be as well to bleed the clutch first to eliminate that possibility.

Good luck.

Ian
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PostPost by: ianf » Wed May 24, 2006 8:14 am

Richard,

I just had a thought - If you try my suggestion you may save the rotoflexes by enlisting a couple of friends to push the car along with you in neutral and the engine running you then push the lever into 1st or 2nd (may go in easier) then start pumping the clutch to free it.

Also ignore the sniggers from your mates - they don't understand!

Ian
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PostPost by: Richard Howell » Wed May 24, 2006 10:29 am

Hello

The car had been driven quite a bit before the problem started, so I'm suspecting it is the hydraulics. i got all the parts to day, so hopefully will be able to fit them in the next week or so.

I'm still unable to track down suitable "safe" clutch fluid, where do you guys buy yours from? Assuming you all use Girling LMA.

Thanks again for your help!

Richard
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PostPost by: ianf » Wed May 24, 2006 6:12 pm

Richard,

I just use DOT 4 brake & clutch fluid from Halfords. I'm sure there are many views on this but I have had no problems.

Ian
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PostPost by: Richard Howell » Wed May 24, 2006 6:29 pm

Hello

I was talking to a colleague at work and he thought I'd have no problem with Dot4, but I have come across coments on newsgroups saying Dot4 melted their rubber. I think I can now get hold of the Girling Crimson fluid from a specialist in Doncaster, so i may go with that for peace of mind.
However, i'd be interested in any coments about Dot4 problems.

thanks

Richard
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PostPost by: Richard Howell » Fri May 26, 2006 4:27 pm

Hello

I contacted Castrol directly about where I could buy Castrol Girling GT/LMA or Crimson thier reply was "The brake fluid you require is no longer made". However, they were helpful and gave me a number to ring.
The Castrol expert told me that GT/LMA or Crimson is the same as DOT3, but DOT4 shouldn't cause any problems with the rubber seals.
It's the mineral based fluids used in Citroens that cause damage to rubber.


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PostPost by: ianf » Fri May 26, 2006 7:58 pm

Richard,

I would go along with that , I also tried to find the crimson stuff when I bought my Elan 9 yrs ago. I then tried either dot 5 or silicone fluid which made the brakes soggy so I immediatly changed it back to dot 4 and thankfully the pedal came back.

Ian
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PostPost by: Richard Howell » Sat May 27, 2006 7:58 am

Hello

Yes, I found the folowing info on brake/clutch fluid -

Dot #3 and #4 are composed of Polyalkalene Glycol Ether, a characteristic of which is it's strong attraction to water. It is said to be hygroscopic. Water contaminating Brake Fluid makes it's boiling point drop which causes bubbles and steam to form in the Brake System. These are more compressible than Brake Fluid which makes it more difficult for the Master Cylinder to transfer the energy from the brake pedal to compress the calipers. This can cause a spongy, soft feel and can, in the worst case, use all the energy of the brake pedal to compress the bubbles and steam leaving none to compress the calipers at all resulting in total brake failure . DOT #3 has a DRY boiling point of 401°F and a WET boiling Point of 284°F. DOT #4 has a DRY boiling point of 446°F and a WET boiling point of 311°F. Remember, these are minimums allowed by the US DOT.

DOT #5 is silicone fluid, and while it isn't hygroscopic at all, it is lighter than water. So, any water migrating into the system will flow to the lowest point, namely the calipers. Once there, it can boil at 212°F, cause a vapor lock and cause total brake failure. DOT #5 is expensive and should be changed annually to avoid moisture problems, so it's just not practical. It's Dry boiling point is 500°F and it's WET boiling point is 356°F.

Water is bad for your brakes. As little as 2% moisture contamination can reduce the boiling point by as much as 25%. Independent field tests by the SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers) have shown that the average 12 month old car has a moisture content of 2% in the brake fluid. On cars 18 months old, the level averaged 3% with a quarter of the cars tested being over 4%. After several years, moisture content levels of 7% or 8% are common. To put this into perspective, DOT #4 is rated at greater than 446°F, add 3% moisture content and the temp drops to under 300°F, at anything more than 4%, you might just as well be running pure water through the system.

How does water get into the brake system? Moisture can migrate through the microscopic pores in the rubber brake hoses and seals and especially when the reservoir cap is opened. The hygroscopic quality of the fluid will literally pull the moisture out of the air. Also, each time you apply your brakes or clutch, some moisture enters the weep hole in the cap of the reservoir.

The recommended Brake Fluid for Lotus cars is Castrol GT LMA. It is rated as DOT #4 with a DRY boiling point of 446°F and a WET boiling point of 311°F. The 'LMA' stands for 'Low Moisture Acivity' and has a very slightly higher resistance to moisture than regular DOT #4 fluids. It is said to extend the life of the seals in the braking system, but the only evidence of this is anecdotal, there have been no definitive tests on this.

DOT 5 is very poor stuff!

Richard
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