Lotus Elan

Trigger for a whole heap of work...

PostPost by: JJDraper » Sat Jun 15, 2019 7:29 am

Pride come before a fall.. I was just thinking that the +2 was running really well and took it out for a trip out in the sun (rare in the last week). On the way back, I revved to 6k through the gears and it pulled hard. Parking up, I noticed a puff of steam from the front. Bu**er! lifted the bonnet and was met by a spray of water from the front of the engine - the dreaded water pump has let go....

Now, I haven't touched the bottom end of this motor since I bought the car in 2002, and it has covered at least 120k miles (over 100 in my ownership) since the bottom end, including the pump has been apart. I have been thinking about the things that may need to be done, but have just been OK so far. I guess this is going to have to be an engine out job which potentially triggers all sorts of work.

My question is should I do the lot or the minimum? Head gasket has been sound, so a real shame to mess about there, apart from a clean up; Bores have a very slight wear lip, but compression is still good after the high mileage; Oil pressure is still reasonable (40psi) although I have noticed that in hot weather after a fast run, pressure now dips at idle (never used to); clutch bearing needs to be replaced (rustles); engine core plugs are weeping and oil seals front and back as well. I am not convinced by the water pump cassette option, so I won't go down that route at the moment.

To do everything, I guess I will need liners, pistons, crank grind, and associated machining and parts - 3 grand (GBP) sound reasonable? Or, the minimum - leave the bottom end alone, do the water pump & put it back together - less than a grand?

As I don't have workshop facilities, most of the work will have to be farmed out apart from the re-assembly and putting it back in the car.

Any thoughts - spend or no spend? 3k is a big hit...

Jeremy
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PostPost by: JonB » Sat Jun 15, 2019 7:49 am

Depends on what the car has cost you to date and whether you see it as a hobby or investment.

If it were me I'd fix the pump and oil leaks only. Naturally check the state of the bores and head. But as you righty say, it leads to other work just because you are in there, so why fight it?
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PostPost by: jono » Sat Jun 15, 2019 9:04 am

Why not seek out a 711m block, rebuild that to 1700 and put the old short twink motor out to grass?
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PostPost by: TeeJay » Sat Jun 15, 2019 10:35 am

It’s a possibility, because “the compression is still good” ??? What are they? And “oil pressure is still reasonable (40 psi) and “bores have a slight wear lip” to complete a rebuilt without major costs. I.e. without the need to regrind crankshaft, camshafts, reborn and new pistons.

Also what size are your bores?

The engine needs to be cleaned and carefully checked. There is a possibility that you could get away with replacing the crank and main bearings and small end bushes. Also may be OK just to hone the bores and replace piston rings. Renew the camshaft bushes and tappet shims.

With some 120k miles, I think, because you need to remove the engine for both water pump and clutch bearing, its worth checking out the engine to determine what is required.
Just my two pennies worth.
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PostPost by: JJDraper » Sat Jun 15, 2019 2:30 pm

Pistons are at +60, and the reason to keep the block & head together is that they are a matching numbers pair for the car from the factory. From the records that came with the car, the engine has done 2-300k miles hence the +60 bores.

My current plan is to remove the head etc; remove the engine and ask a specialist to look at the short block for assessment. The guy I have in mind for this has been intrigued to have a look at the internals of the short block for some years since we found out it had been assembled by an F1 engineer in the '80s. It has a 6 bolt crank which is about right for the age, but who knows what is in there - certainly no noises or knocks and it has always been rev happy, even when I removed the lightened flywheel.

If it is pronounced fit apart from new shells & a bore hone, then I trust his judgement. If more is needed then that is what will be done. I have been whingeing on this forum for years about what to do if & when the bottom end needs attention and now my bluff has been called, but not in the way I was expecting - water pump.

Might even take the gearbox out at there are a few weeps there... The list goes on!

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PostPost by: TeeJay » Sun Jun 16, 2019 10:06 am

Jeremy, my block is also +60.

With these blocks; if the machining was carefully carried out; it should still be possible to fit liners. So you should be able to keep your Head and Block as a matching pair.

Hope it all turns out well for you.
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PostPost by: JJDraper » Wed Jun 26, 2019 3:50 pm

Started work last weekend removing all the ancillaries and found a few other problems. Funny how that always happens. Radiator needs a re-core & pressure test & I found a split on the steering gaiter boot. I wonder what else there is.. Engine out this weekend.

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PostPost by: JonB » Wed Jun 26, 2019 4:01 pm

Oh dear, it's all kicking off now...

Good luck, Jeremy! At least the steering gaiter is a reasonably cheap / easy fix.

JonB


PS, Love the colour combination.
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PostPost by: potleyu18 » Wed Jun 26, 2019 6:53 pm

Hi,

I have just had my head completely re built by CTM new valves, springs, caps and valve guides all set up by them with correctly shimmed clearances. cost was £1100 they also re bored my block to 40 thou and pressure tested for £250 Excellent value in my opinion as there service was outstanding.

Found some Cosworth forged pistons via the club magazine and went directly to Cosworth for the rings total £280.

Luckily i'm capable of putting it all back together as all in including the gaskets around £1600 so it can be done for less than you thought and now have an engine with around 155 bhp .

If you need any contact for CTM call Charlie 02085921180 not sure where you are in the country but they are 80 miles form me but well worth the effort.

Steve
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PostPost by: JJDraper » Wed Jun 26, 2019 10:53 pm

I have used Cylinder Head Services near Northampton, UK for the last two head refreshes. They charged a reasonable 300 notes for a clean up, checking all parts, slight skim and pressure test. This included cleaning the head, refacing the valves & seats and reassembling it, without cams. Came back looking like new. Recommended - no ties etc etc

15 years ago QED did the full refurb with guides, buckets, springs, valves and cams etc - now that was pretty expensive (£1400 odd), but even after nearly 100k miles, CHS said all guides etc were well within in tolerance. Quality. Not sure if they still do workshop stuff anymore.

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PostPost by: Foxie » Wed Jun 26, 2019 11:28 pm

JJDraper wrote:<Snip>
15 years ago QED did the full refurb with guides, buckets, springs, valves and cams etc - now that was pretty expensive (£1400 odd), but even after nearly 100k miles, CHS said all guides etc were well within in tolerance. Quality. Not sure if they still do workshop stuff anymore.

Jeremy


QED did a full head refurb for me a long time ago, but they don't do machine work anymore.

Phil Price at Connaught Engines in Kent did a very good job on my last head refurb a few years ago, including replacing the cam bucket sleeves.

:)
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PostPost by: JJDraper » Fri Jun 28, 2019 7:32 pm

Engine out today. As the head will have to come off anyway, decided to do it before the lift. Also taken out the engine only at this stage. Never done this before, and a willing helper was most welcome. The 1 tonne lift was probably marginal as the reach is not good, so had the remove the engine from the side, with the wheel taken off to give even more room. All went well, with the usual learning curve....

A bit hot today, and I am now a real redneck..

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PostPost by: JJDraper » Sat Jun 29, 2019 9:40 am

If you want to know how much play on a water pump is too much..

https://youtu.be/FUsm7FDEub4

A little play is OK, but I think you will agree this is too much!

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PostPost by: pharriso » Sat Jun 29, 2019 5:40 pm

Like wow! :roll: You dodged a bullet there!

Good luck with the rebuild.
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PostPost by: JJDraper » Mon Jul 01, 2019 8:46 pm

Another question I had before the lift was the source of the oil leak at the front of the engine.. I think the picture tell the story. That cork gasket gets squished pretty hard - I wonder if the block has been decked a little, making the water pump cover stand proud. Only used wellseal on the gasket faces.

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