Lotus Elan

New vs Old Fuel Tank

PostPost by: sveris » Sun Apr 21, 2019 5:18 pm

Over the years, I've had my tank fabricator construct several Elan tanks. There are two different models with different filler neck angles. Otherwise, the tank bodies are virtually identical.

Andy is probably doing one replacement tank for all Elans, with a compromise angle that's in between the two correct ones.

Steve in Ohio
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PostPost by: Mazzini » Sun Apr 21, 2019 5:25 pm

Axminster tank fitted to my S2. Bought in 2011.
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PostPost by: Mazzini » Sun Apr 21, 2019 5:28 pm

S3 tank, bought in 2012.
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PostPost by: Mazzini » Sun Apr 21, 2019 5:32 pm

Sprint tank, bought from Andy in 2018.

All three tanks are foam filled with senders fitted.

The S2 tank seems to fit the best, the Sprint the 'worst', the filler neck angle could have been better, but it still works fine.
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PostPost by: types26/36 » Sun Apr 21, 2019 5:56 pm

ericbushby wrote:Brian,
For the spare wheel problem, can I suggest fitting a 70 profile tyre to the spare wheel.
It will act as a get you home spare quite well, especially as you probably will never need it.
They are quite common and are used on the Fiat 500 and Ford Ka.
I got a good part worn one fitted for £10.00. I didn't even need it balancing.
Eric in Burnley
S3SE DHC

Yes thought about doing that Eric but the rolling diameter would still be slightly wrong so thought might as well use a half worn one of the correct size.........probably much the same as the 70 series anyway but as you say probably never need it. Thanks anyway.
Brian
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PostPost by: 1owner69Elan » Sun Apr 21, 2019 5:57 pm

Mazzini wrote:Sprint tank, bought from Andy in 2018.

All three tanks are foam filled with senders fitted.

The S2 tank seems to fit the best, the Sprint the 'worst', the filler neck angle could have been better, but it still works fine.


Very informative posts. I am optimistic that the new tank will work out fine. The flexible rubber connector is a saving grace.

I’ll check the fit of mine this week.
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PostPost by: 1owner69Elan » Sun Apr 21, 2019 7:11 pm

Regarding the spare tire issue. The new Axminster tank has convex stiffening ribs pressed into the side panel thus reducing the dimension available to the diameter of the spare tire by perhaps 1/2". The stiffening ribs are not present in the original but I would consider this a superior design feature on the new one for strength and vibration.

img_1752.jpg and


The reduced clearance is not a problem for me as I don't carry a spare tire. With 26r hubs I would need a fifth (v. expensive) 26r compatible wheel. It is less expensive for me to carry a can of tire sealant and then subsequently buy a new tire. I can have four flats and subsequently purchase (expensive) new tires before it would break even. Also, less weight in the car with no spare.

PS: I also carry long distance towing service insurance. In case of an unfixable flat tire and any other untoward occurrences.
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PostPost by: Grizzly » Tue Apr 23, 2019 9:31 am

I know it might sound daft but why don't you just get a matching tyre and stick it in...... nothing more annoying that getting a hole in your tyre right outside a garage to find they don't stock a compatible size (don't ask how i know that)
Chris
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PostPost by: Elan45 » Tue Apr 23, 2019 5:07 pm

One Owner,

My 2nd S3 Elan DHC came to me in 1984, wrecked in the nose, but all damage was up high so minimal frame damage. It had been upgraded to 26R spec by the original owner. It still had the original tank fitted and a spare tire mounted on a 5th 26R Ser 1 wheel. It does fit. I think the spare had one of the old original Dunlop SP41 fitted.
Now if I could just get the time to rebuild the car. Vintage racing my other Lotus race car takes a large percentage of my toy car time.

I am interested in one of these alloy tanks. How does one contact Axminster? Is he in UK or N America.?

Roger
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PostPost by: 1owner69Elan » Tue Apr 23, 2019 5:15 pm

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PostPost by: Andy Wiltshire » Sat Jun 08, 2019 1:51 pm

Hi.

Having read this thread I feel that I should reply to some of the points raised with regards to Lotus Elan tanks that we make at Axminster Specialist Panels Ltd.. We have made close to 400 of these Lotus Elan tanks and these have been sent throughout the world. Within the last week we have sent a standard tank to Sweden and a race tank to Australia.

We have designed the internal baffles of our replacement tanks so that they are an improvement over the original steel tanks and superior to any other Elan tanks available. We have considerable experience in making race / road tanks which are used at the highest level.

We have a number of original steel tanks and have had access to many more. Lotus being Lotus there will always be discrepancies on a handful of tanks with slightly different features. An example of this is that I have known of only two original tanks that have the fuel sender securing points at a slightly different rotation to the rest The top fastening should be at 12 o'clock whilst the couple that I have mentioned have a gap at 12 o'clock.

With regards to the filler neck on the original tanks, they are all in the same position on the body of the tank but, sometimes are at a very slightly different angle (we are talking a couple of degrees at most). This is easily rectified within a few seconds by the customer when fitting one of our new tanks, and I often explain how to do this to customers prior to them receiving their tank. The reason for this is that the hole in the bodywork for the filler varies on most cars. They varied on original cars, repaired cars and cars fitted with new bodies.

There have been numerous customers that we have provided extra assistance to when they have a car that is not standard, ie modified or accident damaged etc, or they suspect this may be the case. An example of this is the placing of the x3 mounting points in different positions on the base of the tank to suit the customers individual car. We do have an aluminium template replicating the curved base of the tank which we are happy to send to customers if they are in doubt with regards to the locations of the holes in their boot floor. They would then mark this template with the required locations, send back the template and the tank will be made to match.

Steve. You have mentioned that there were two different tanks with different filler neck angles. Sorry, but you are incorrect. As mentioned, that filler neck angle can vary very slightly and there are not two set angles. Over the past few years I have seen you mention on this and other forums the tanks that you supply. I should politely mention that on at least three occasions, we have supplied replacement tanks (2x Elan tanks and x1 Europa tank) to customers in the US who were not happy with the quality of your tanks upon receiving them.

Please note that there is a company in the US that is selling fabricated Elan tanks and informing the customers that they are from our company, Axminster Specialist Panels Ltd. They are not our tanks and are of inferior quality. In addition, they are more expensive than our tanks including the shipping to the US.

We would happily compare these tanks to any others on the market.

We pride ourselves on customer satisfaction, often going above and beyond to ensure our customers are happy. Positive feedback on this and other forums etc constantly shows this. We have worked numerous evenings and weekends to supply tanks that are urgently required.

I hope this has clarified the points raised and if there are any questions please ask.

Thanks.
Andy Wiltshire
Axminster Specialist Panels Ltd.
http://axminsterspecialistpanels.com/
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PostPost by: Elanman99 » Sat Jun 08, 2019 7:36 pm

As an owner of one of Andy's tanks which has the filler tube that does not line up with the hole in the bodywork, I would be interested to hear how it can easily be corrected (I did not get any fitting instructions when I bought it).

I have never measured the angle difference but I am sure it was way more than a couple of degrees. Since on the two seater anyway the bodywork hole is determined by the recess in the bodywork I cannot see why there would be any significant dimensional differences between the cars themselves.

Ian
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PostPost by: 1owner69Elan » Sat Jun 08, 2019 9:02 pm

As in my earlier posts I found the Axminster tank to be of very high quality.

But, as Mazzini documented on three different Elans, the lining up of the filler neck and gas cap/filler can be problematic.

When you consider that there are several conditions that must simultaneously be satisfied in fitting a new tank, along with the potential variability in the Lotus bodies, it is not particularly surprising that fitting a replacement tank might result in some level of fiddling (fettling) to get it to fit properly:

The following conditions need to met:

1. Lining up the gas cap/filler with the tank neck. This is complicated by the fact that the gas cap/filler (at least on my Federal S4) has a vent tube that extends into the tank neck. This tube needs to not contact the sides of the tank neck. So the alignment between the tank neck and the filler neck becomes critical. Even a few degrees difference in orientation gets multiplied over the lengths of the tank neck and the gas cap/filler/vent tube making alignment problematic.
2. The gas cap/filler needs to rest flat against the large body grommet and not at some "cock eyed" angle as it sticks up out of the body. This limits the amount that you can tilt the gas cap/filler in situating the vent tube within the tank neck without interference.
3. The tank outlet to the fuel line needs to line up with the fuel line/grommet routed to the front. A flexible coupling gives you some leeway, but not much, as the two ends are very close to each other.
4. The three mounting studs on the tank need to line up with the three holes in the lower body.
5. The tank drain plug needs to line up with the access hole in the body
6. The tank needs to be situated at the proper height with a flat, horizontal top in order to result in a flat boot floor. This limits the amount of tilting that can be applied to the tank.
7. If fitting a spare tire, one needs ensure that there is sufficient clearance for the spare that butts up against the tank.

Perhaps, naively, I had expected a "plug and play" experience in fitting the new tank. But, all of the above constraints came into play. It took several hours to get just right using spacers underneath the tank to position it correctly as well as ultimately re-positioning the rear-most mounting hole as well as the drain plug access hole in the body. As my car is being prepped for paint creating these new holes (and filling the old ones) was not a big issue, but if you already had a painted body, in which you don't want extra holes, this might be a concern.

One might ascribe the above installation problems to a "ham fisted" garage mechanic or a dumb current owner but I would note the following:

1. My 69 S4 body is bog standard with no modifications, accidents, or body repairs. The existing 50 year old tank was never removed until just now and it had fit precisely. I only replaced it as a matter of course during a restoration to get a nice and clean (and lighter) tank.
2. The new tank was fitted by a very experienced "high end" restorer. This restorer is entrusted to work on multi-million dollar cars that participate, for example, in the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance. These folks are admittedly incredibly meticulous, not accepting anything that is not spot on. Perhaps, more than should be expected on the Elan? For example, many of our cars were delivered with ill-fitting doors as well as body asymmetries from side to side.

In any event, and not without some effort, the final result is that I now have a very nice Axminster tank acceptably fitted to my car. I would provide a picture but the car is still in prep; for the last 5 months and counting.
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PostPost by: Andy Wiltshire » Sat Jun 08, 2019 10:11 pm

Hello Ian.

I have just checked and yes, your Elan tank was the first that we had made, back in 2006!

Obviously we have constantly improved upon the design since then.

I find it a little strange that 13 years on you are now offering criticism of the tank, when at the end of your last email back in 2006 you did say, " As I mentioned when I first bought the tank I was very satisfied with its quality, I still feel the same."

Hi 1owner69Elan.

Thanks for your reply and your well worded content.

Andy Wiltshire
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PostPost by: RichardS » Sun Jun 09, 2019 7:07 am

I fitted one of Andy’s tanks about 10 years ago. It fitted perfectly and was easy to install and looks great!

Richard
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