Lotus Elan

steering column and indicator cancel clip alignment

PostPost by: bloodknock » Fri Mar 15, 2019 6:28 pm

HI folks
just inserted the column in my sprint. The column shaft is aligned by the flat that accepts the bolt on the flexible joint near the rack. Ive centralised the rack and adjusted the track rods to get the wheels as parallel and straight ahead as possible by eye.
Now, i did not remove the cancel trip clip for the indicators from the column when I stripped the car, however, I dont know that it has not been moved in the rebuild period (~40yrs :? ) whilst being moved through five houses (garages). So, what im asking for is detail of the indicator trip clip position on the steering column when the steering is in the straight ahead position.
Thanks
Bob
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PostPost by: john.p.clegg » Fri Mar 15, 2019 6:32 pm

Bob
Wheels straight ahead,steering wheel straight ahead, "cancel clip" smack bang in the middle of the two cancel "arms"...

John :wink:
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PostPost by: ericbushby » Fri Mar 15, 2019 7:00 pm

Hi Bob,
It is a strange job to do until you have done it. Try this sequence.
Ease off the collapsible joint part way up the steering column.
Disconnect the universal joint at the steering rack by withdrawing the bottom part of the column.
After checking that the indicator cancelling clip dimple is located correctly in the hole in the column, rotate the column until it operates the cancelling correctly and leave it in the mid position. Ignore the steering wheel for now.
With the front wheels set straight ahead re-engage the universal and set the collapsible clamp as the workshop manual.
Now remove the steering wheel and refit centrally. (1and1/16 AF socket.)
Pull the steering wheel back a couple of millimeters to prevent accidental earthing and sounding the horn.
Best of luck
Eric in Burnley
1967 S3SE DHC
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PostPost by: mbell » Fri Mar 15, 2019 7:55 pm

On a plus two (spitfire column) the clip dimple/protrusion on the steering shaft should be at the 3'o clock position. I suspect it the same for Elan with same column set up.

I've couple of failed attempts in at getting it correctly lined up. My issue is getting the front wheels pointing dead straight forward when putting it back together. I've taken various measurement from chassis to wheel to try make sure they are right but never quite get it right. It is further complicated that you have to rotate the steering to get at the bolt/nut on the joint clamp so you can't set it and not move it to do this.

So you need to be very careful with your wheel alignment. Also my memory you need to remove the column/joint from the rack rather than the column from the joint. This is due to the end of the column having a flat section and only going together in limited number of orientations.
'73 +2 130/5 RHD, now on the road and very slowly rolling though a "restoration"
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PostPost by: john.p.clegg » Fri Mar 15, 2019 8:39 pm

P.S.
after you've done it,try it , and if you feel it needs adjusting either way , it's no big job...it's just a pressure fit...

John :wink:
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PostPost by: pharriso » Sat Mar 16, 2019 10:25 am

mbell wrote:On a plus two (spitfire column) the clip dimple/protrusion on the steering shaft should be at the 3'o clock position. I suspect it the same for Elan with same column set up.

Would that be 9 O'clock on a LHD car?

Good timing btw, I'm getting ready to put mine all back together again.
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PostPost by: elanner » Sat Mar 16, 2019 12:51 pm

Re:
after you've done it,try it , and if you feel it needs adjusting either way , it's no big job...it's just a pressure fit..

Mine is not like this.

Per other replies my clip has a protrusion that locates firmly in one of two dimples in the steering column, so it can only be adjusted 180 degrees, allowing the indicator switch to be on the left or right of the column. If yours is like this then the only way to finely adjust the position of the cancel arm is to rotate the column in the splines at the joint by the rack.

As Mbell mentions, this can get tedious if you don't eyeball the straight ahead position of the wheels accurately, which turns out to be harder to do than it sounds. I took my Elan for a drive and noted the steering wheel position when driving straight. Then, I jacked the front up, put the steering wheel in the same position, and lowered the front wheels onto blocks, so that they and the rack couldn't move. Then you can take the steering wheel off, release the U/J at the rack and rotate the column so that the cancel arm on the clip is properly located at 3 o'clock or 9 o'clock, depending on which side of the column your indicator switch is located.

The clip is fragile and breaks easily. Treat it carefully.

(My Canadian spec car had the indicator on the right when I purchased it. I switched it over to the left so that it matched all modern US cars. This is easy to do although you have to swap the main & dip wires on the headlamp switch otherwise it works upside down. You also have to change the decals on the indicator cowling, which will be upside down after the change. These are available from Rimmer's - be sure to state which side they are for.)

By the way, if you've got the column out and are messing around in this area it's a really good time to change the steering column bushes, which are invariably worn. It only takes a few minutes once you've got it all apart.

Nick
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PostPost by: bloodknock » Sat Mar 16, 2019 1:32 pm

It is indeed fiddley!!
The alignment of the cancel clip, the column colapse clamp flat, the UVJ clamp bolt flat, and the front wheel alignment (by eye!).
I'm doing my final fine adjustment at the UVJ rack splines, it seems easiest.
Thanks to all for help
regards
Bob
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PostPost by: mbell » Sat Mar 16, 2019 2:44 pm

pharriso wrote:Would that be 9 O'clock on a LHD car?


Not sure, depends if the position of the stalk it's mirrored or not.

To put it another way: the dimple should be positioned pointing at the center of the indicator stalk.

(It operates little levers that protrude from the stalk. So dimple needs to be centrally located between them in the straight ahead position)
'73 +2 130/5 RHD, now on the road and very slowly rolling though a "restoration"
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PostPost by: pharriso » Sat Mar 16, 2019 3:20 pm

mbell wrote:
pharriso wrote:Would that be 9 O'clock on a LHD car?


Not sure, depends if the position of the stalk it's mirrored or not.

To put it another way: the dimple should be positioned pointing at the center of the indicator stalk.

(It operates little levers that protrude from the stalk. So dimple needs to be centrally located between them in the straight ahead position)


Yes, the indicator stalk is always on the outside of the car, LH or RHD.
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PostPost by: elanner » Sat Mar 16, 2019 3:35 pm

Re:
Yes, the indicator stalk is always on the outside of the car, LH or RHD.

Heck, I never knew that. In 1969 neither did Lotus because my LHD Canadian market Elan had the indicator stalk on the right side of the column. I've no idea how the previous owner of 30 years put up with it.

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PostPost by: The Veg » Sun Mar 17, 2019 1:31 am

elanner wrote:Re:
Yes, the indicator stalk is always on the outside of the car, LH or RHD.

Heck, I never knew that. In 1969 neither did Lotus because my LHD Canadian market Elan had the indicator stalk on the right side of the column. I've no idea how the previous owner of 30 years put up with it.


Same with my federal Plus 2.
1969/70 Elan Plus 2 (not S) 50/2036
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PostPost by: JonB » Sun Mar 17, 2019 7:55 am

Interesting. I take it, then, that the indicator stalk could be moved into the more common left hand position by virtue of turning the column 180 degrees and refitting the steering wheel, which means it'd be on the same side as most modern cars (the benefit of which would be me not accidentally putting the wipers on when I wish to turn).
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PostPost by: ericbushby » Sun Mar 17, 2019 9:21 am

Hi Jon,
Yes , you could probably do that, but then it would be wrong like all modern cars in the UK.
In the day the understanding was that the indicator stalk was on the opposite side to the gear lever so that you could indicate your intentions whilst changing down to do it.
Due to most of our cars now being made in Europe this has been lost. It still works correctly in a LHD car.
I find that I have no trouble in the Elan. It is when I get back in the Ford that I get it wrong.
I need a sticker which says `If you see me start my wipers, I may be turning left`
Don`t get me started on that daft 3 door Mini where the single rear door opens into the middle of the road and the modern Ford Ecosport which has a side opening tailgate and blocks access to the interior of the car from the pavement when open. I once saw someone buying one of those !!!
But then I believe lots of people buy a car which doesn`t have a spare wheel. I won`t do , so maybe it`s just me.
Rant over.
Eric in Burnley
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PostPost by: elanner » Sun Mar 17, 2019 12:42 pm

JonB wrote:Interesting. I take it, then, that the indicator stalk could be moved into the more common left hand position by virtue of turning the column 180 degrees and refitting the steering wheel, which means it'd be on the same side as most modern cars (the benefit of which would be me not accidentally putting the wipers on when I wish to turn).


No - not really. Assuming the cancel switch is working correctly to start with, you should be able to leave the steering wheel and column untouched and simply rotate the cancel clip 180 degrees on the column so that the protrusion on it drops into the column dimple on the opposite side of the column. You don't want to lose the rotational alignment of the lower half of the column in the U/J at the rack.

Then you'd have to transpose the main/dip and indicator arms on the column housing. They're only held in with two screws. If the wiring loom is tight you may have to remove the loom channel that runs under column so that you can reorient the wires appropriately. Then swap the main/dip bullet connectors where the wires from the switch connect to the loom (otherwise the switch will work upside down). You can worry about the indicator decals on the cowling later.

All that said, I'd bet that rotating the clip 180 degrees without getting the column out is tricky, or that some other gremlin will cause you to remove the steering wheel and everything else. But, theoretically at least, you don't need to. If you do end up needing to pull the column then release it at the impact clamp under the dash board so that you can remove just the top half of the column. Then you won't lose the rotational alignment.

If further gremlins force you to remove the lower half of the column from the splined joint at the rack, mark it and the joint first, so that you can put it back in the same place.

In my case the cancel arm was at the 2 o'clock position, so the indicators only cancelled in one direction, so I had to reorient the column in the splined joint.

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