Lotus Elan

What would you do with the engine out and apart?

PostPost by: prezoom » Wed Apr 17, 2019 3:54 pm

Back in the mid 60's when I was racing my S7, I was in a race that included an S2 Elan. The Elan had a lightened flywheel and it came apart on a down shift. Fortunately I was leading at the time, so the errant parts were something I didn't have to deal with. I will never forget seeing the damage to the driver's legs, and the damage to the car. My 7's flywheel had not been lightened, and after that, I gave up any thought of lightening mine. The lightest steel flywheel I ever had, was in my last race car. Made by Tilton, it looked like Swiss cheese and used a 5 inch clutch pack. Throttle response was instant, but getting the car moving with a 1.6 first gear was a real pain, as the clutch was more like an "off/on" switch. My Zetec Plus2 has a Fidanza aluminum flywheel coupled to close ratio gearbox and a 3.55 diff, but the added torque of the engine overcomes the lighter flywheel, and makes the car very easy to drive.
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PostPost by: RichardHawkins » Wed Apr 17, 2019 7:19 pm

I have decided on an electric water pump. Hope this is not a mistake. A friend has one of the cartridge type pumps, I know it is not from Burton, but I don't remember the brand, the point is he can't get the cartridge out!

As far as reassembly is concerned, check everything you can for shape, ie round flat straight as appropriate. I use my sump as bad example. All the bolts had been over tightened, resulting in a wavy flange surface, so that when laying the sump on the bare block I had point contact at most bolts and gaps between block and sump between the bolts. Making it fit took a long time, I made thick (3mm) washers as large as there was room for to try to spread the bolt force. I followed Rohans advice and stuck the gasket to the the block then waited a day before bolting the sump to the block. This reduces the tendency for the gasket to extrude out of place as it is already stuck to the block. My timing chain guide is another interesting detail, it was wider than the space where it should fit! The front timing cover was never going to seal. I filed it to fit the space.

Our cars were hand built in small numbers. Check everything you can.

I don't mean to deter you, just be careful and sensible, you will get there.

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PostPost by: tdskip » Wed Apr 17, 2019 9:32 pm

All good information, not deterred at all. Just slightly more educated, which is good!

Thanks for the response.
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PostPost by: 74Twincam » Wed Apr 17, 2019 11:19 pm

New timing chain for sure and give the tensioner consideration for replacement as well. Spend the money to have parts crack checked and properly measured.

I've had great success with an alternative trick to the paper gaskets- a thin amount of Loctite flange sealant (#518, also affectionately called Raspberry Jam) does the trick for oil leak prevention, especially on the front timing case covers. I also use it to stick down the cork gasket on top of the cases, then letting it set, before fitting the cylinder head. This helps keep it from sliding around as you focus on aligning the head and gasket into place.

All oil passages clean and clear...follow basic good practice of being clean and organized and you'll do fine!

Sump baffles might be a good add as well-

Have fun with it-
Bill
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PostPost by: tdskip » Thu Apr 18, 2019 2:12 am

Thank you Bill, appreciate the suggestions.
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PostPost by: Donels » Thu Apr 18, 2019 8:33 am

Just a bit more info on lightened flywheels. I investigated a lightened steel flywheel following the horror stories. For road use they weigh 14lbs and cost around £300. I then weighed my Lotus cast flywheel and was surprised that it only weighed 15.5 lbs. It's a lot of cash for a small gain. I think Colin Chapman had sussed from the start.

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PostPost by: 2cams70 » Thu Apr 18, 2019 10:15 am

I think you give Colin Chapman way more credit for the design of the Lotus Twin Cam engine than he deserves! He may have commissioned it but he certainly didn't design it! It and the BDA are mostly good engines because of the sound fundamental design of the block by Ford. I think the unknown people involved in its design are real heroes. You really only need a steel flywheel if you are going to lighten a flywheel or are running a full steel bottom end with a commensurate increase in expected RPM's. The aluminium flywheel may be an option but like you said yourself a lot of expense for small gain. Your next step will be to assess the condition of the head. Paradoxically to a point the worse the condition it's in the more potential for making performance improvements at little additional expense!!
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PostPost by: tdskip » Thu Apr 18, 2019 2:16 pm

For a tractable and reliable street engine is it worth fooling around with the valve sizes etc. or does that get to be very expensive very quickly?
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PostPost by: rgh0 » Thu Apr 18, 2019 2:38 pm

To get value out of bigger valves you really need to do a lot of porting and that gets expensive very quickly. You get more value out of short duration high lift cams and standard valves sizes and just cleaning up around the valve seat area. This needs special spring packs and will probably need valves with longer valve stems. But if your rebuild needs new valves and springs and cam followers as most do there is no significant added cost apart from the cams themselves.

cheers
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PostPost by: tdskip » Thu Apr 18, 2019 3:50 pm

Thanks for the response.

The head on this car was rebuilt but sat for a long time, probably need to do the springs anyway.

Appreciate the coaching.
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PostPost by: hbferrariguy123 » Mon Apr 29, 2019 10:06 pm

tdskip,
I live in Huntington Beach and just started a rebuild on my Elan engine. You mentioned you're in Orange County as I am. How about we get together and swap stories?
Please contact me at [email protected] or 714-609-3685.
Hope to hear from you.
Lou
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PostPost by: tdskip » Mon Apr 29, 2019 10:10 pm

Hi Lou, will drop you a note offline.

Thanks for reaching out.
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PostPost by: Bigbaldybloke » Thu May 02, 2019 11:49 pm

Lots of talk on lightened flywheels, I didn’t bother with that on mine but did fit a new ring gear, clutch cover and plate and also the spigot bearing in the centre of the flywheel. Carefully flush out the oil ways and ensure the oilways to the cams are clear, similarly as has already been mentioned, ensure the water ways are clear, especially inside the block around the cylinders. After that it’s just take time and care on the rebuild and make sure you follow the recommended torques for the various bolts, over tightening can cause as many problems as under tightening. A good torque wrench is vital.
Check your engine mounts are in good condition and if replacing them make sure you get the correct good quality ones. Some people, me included, have used cap head Allen bolts for the exhaust manifold rather than the standard studs to make fitting a removing the manifold easier, but not everyone agrees with that.
Happy spannering!
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PostPost by: tdskip » Fri May 03, 2019 12:23 am

Thanks for the response, and all of the very helpful coaching on the thread.

Very much appreciated.
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PostPost by: 2cams70 » Fri May 03, 2019 3:49 am

Bigbaldybloke wrote:ensure the water ways are clear, especially inside the block around the cylinders


Yes - I've found due to the installation angle of the engine most of the crud accumulates around number 4 cylinder. Remove the cylinder block drain plug (sometimes very difficult to do if it's a corroded in steel later and not an earlier brass plug) and the welch plugs - especially the rear behind which you will usually find a lot of crud. Have a good scrape around with a screwdriver particularly around the base of the cylinders. Best to do it before hot tanking the block so the hot tanking solution has the best chance of removing what's left of it.
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