Lotus Elan

Self centering steering?

PostPost by: Grizzly » Fri Jun 21, 2019 8:27 pm

Hi all.

I've been using the 2 seater allot more this year and all seem's to be going well but i noticed the front end feels a bit sketchy even after the alignment has been done three times.

The two issues i seem to have is the steering feels vague, it doesn't wander etc but doesn't seem to have the feel i was expecting...... the other issue is the self center is very weak, it will self center but much slower than our +2.

As all the bushings and joints are new (the rack has next to no play in it) nothing appears to be tight/binding, i keep coming back to the alignment but i've been assured it's bang on.

There must be some thing wrong some where along the line because vague isn't normally a word associated with elans.......
Chris
User avatar
Grizzly
Coveted Fifth Gear
Coveted Fifth Gear
 
Posts: 1902
Joined: 13 Jun 2010
Location: Cheshire/UK

PostPost by: mbell » Fri Jun 21, 2019 8:38 pm

Do you have the alignment results? Especially the caster?

Too little cast would likely reduce the self centering nature of the steering. I have some vague recollection that they might have been a change to (increase) the caster setting on the chassis over the life of the Elan. So knowing more about the car (age/series) and chassis might be useful.

What is the history on the column? Have the column bushes and lower coupling been replaced?
'73 +2 130/5 RHD, now on the road and very slowly rolling though a "restoration"
mbell
Coveted Fifth Gear
Coveted Fifth Gear
 
Posts: 1378
Joined: 07 Jun 2013
Location: Austin, TX (UK Ex-pat)

PostPost by: Grizzly » Fri Jun 21, 2019 9:05 pm

1970/71 S4/Sprint, original chassis no welding, corrosion or damage (i spent quite allot of time measuring the chassis before and after it was blasted and epoxy powder coated as i was a little worried about heat distortion)

I have the alignment results if i can remember where i put them....... will have a look tomorrow.

The Column has new bushes fitted and the coupling has been replaced with the UJ type (also new)

To be quite honest i didn't know there was any adjustment on the camber/caster?
Chris
User avatar
Grizzly
Coveted Fifth Gear
Coveted Fifth Gear
 
Posts: 1902
Joined: 13 Jun 2010
Location: Cheshire/UK

PostPost by: 661 » Fri Jun 21, 2019 9:45 pm

Caster changed from 7 degrees on the early cars to 3 degrees .
It's not meant to be adjustable, but can be tweaked by moving the top ball joint.
Likewise, camber is not adjustable in the standard car, you need to alter the length of the wishbones relative to each other.
Graeme
S4 SE
S2 GTS
Peterson JPS Exige
User avatar
661
Fourth Gear
Fourth Gear
 
Posts: 658
Joined: 29 Mar 2012
Location: East Sussex

PostPost by: Chrispy » Fri Jun 21, 2019 9:55 pm

I would think that you could adjust caster with some shims between the ball joints and the arms to some degree.
Chris
Elan +2 #0245
Exige S2 Supercharged
Chrispy
Third Gear
Third Gear
 
Posts: 232
Joined: 29 Oct 2017
Location: Brisbane, Australia

PostPost by: Grizzly » Fri Jun 21, 2019 10:59 pm

I don't think the trunnion has any tolerance for the ball joint being off center.
Chris
User avatar
Grizzly
Coveted Fifth Gear
Coveted Fifth Gear
 
Posts: 1902
Joined: 13 Jun 2010
Location: Cheshire/UK

PostPost by: mbell » Sat Jun 22, 2019 12:44 am

Are the arms "sided" for front and back if so fitting them the wrong way could adjust the caster.

Long and short of it is the caster needs confirming as correct or incorrect IMO.
'73 +2 130/5 RHD, now on the road and very slowly rolling though a "restoration"
mbell
Coveted Fifth Gear
Coveted Fifth Gear
 
Posts: 1378
Joined: 07 Jun 2013
Location: Austin, TX (UK Ex-pat)

PostPost by: RichardS » Sat Jun 22, 2019 8:07 am

Anything to do with tyre pressures? I seem to remember I had a similar symptom when running higher pressures. I find 25psi all round suits me.

Richard
Lotus Elan Sprint FHC 1973
User avatar
RichardS
Third Gear
Third Gear
 
Posts: 404
Joined: 23 Apr 2007
Location: Wirral, UK

PostPost by: 661 » Sat Jun 22, 2019 8:24 am

Grizzly wrote:I don't think the trunnion has any tolerance for the ball joint being off center.


Correct, but, as said, see what you have first.
In practice if the ball joint is moved back a couple of thick AN washers it might increase castor by about 1/2 a degree, and there is just about enough tolerance in the trunnion to allow that, but it will probably wear a bit quicker.
Graeme
S4 SE
S2 GTS
Peterson JPS Exige
User avatar
661
Fourth Gear
Fourth Gear
 
Posts: 658
Joined: 29 Mar 2012
Location: East Sussex

PostPost by: Orsom Weels » Sat Jun 22, 2019 8:56 am

This is an interesting thread for me, as ever since I've had the Elan, I've felt the steering a bit vague compared with my +2. It just doesn't give me the same confidence at all. My Elan is a series 4 on a Spyder pressed steel frame, (not a space frame) & I've also ben through all the measurements, alignment etc & can find nothing out of spec. I've played around with tyre pressures, & like Richard, find 25 - 26 psi about the best compromise. The +2 is still on it's original Lotus chassis, & both cars have had everything replaced/renewed, but the +2 was done about 10 years earlier & has probably done twice the mileage since. Tyres are Kumho on the +2 & Uniroyal on the Elan, both std sizes etc.
I should qualify this by adding that the handling is still very good & miles better than most other cars of the era, or indeed much later, it just isn't as confidence inspiring as the +2. It's probably more a reflection of just how good the +2 is rather than anything wrong with the Elan.

Regards, Tim
Orsom Weels
Third Gear
Third Gear
 
Posts: 492
Joined: 31 Oct 2011
Location: Norfolk, UK

PostPost by: gjz30075 » Sat Jun 22, 2019 10:10 am

Maybe you have some dried up grease in the rack. What does it feel like when it 'free wheels', ie, front
end jacked up and move the rack via the tires?
Greg Z
45/0243K Sprint
36/5727 pre airflow coupe
User avatar
gjz30075
Coveted Fifth Gear
Coveted Fifth Gear
 
Posts: 2750
Joined: 12 Sep 2003
Location: Roswell, Georgia, USA

PostPost by: Esprit2 » Sat Jun 22, 2019 7:58 pm

Caster affects the self-centering more than any other setting. And in the models that use the Triumph upright and lower trunion, caster isn't adjustable... it's built into the chassis.

Shimming the upper ball joint backward or forward would, in theory, alter the caster. However, the lower trunion's two axis are at a fixed 90 degree angle, and cannot accommodate any change in kingpin angle. Forcing the issue by shimming the ball joint just puts the trunion in a serious bind, and leads to a premature failure.

If you have a later Elan with 3 degrees of caster built in, and you want more, then sell the car and buy an older one with 7 degrees of caster built in.

Drive the car, and you'll probably get used to it. Lighter self-centering simply means 'you' have to be in control, including returning the wheel to straight ahead.

Regards,
Tim Engel
Esprit2
Third Gear
Third Gear
 
Posts: 325
Joined: 02 Apr 2008
Location: Twin Cities, Minnesota, USA

PostPost by: JonB » Sat Jun 22, 2019 8:51 pm

I had the same problem on my Plus 2. All new bushes.

Turned out to be the tyre pressure, it was too high. Have you checked them?
Late 1972 Elan Plus 2S 130/5 - UK - Unit 50/1115L
User avatar
JonB
Coveted Fifth Gear
Coveted Fifth Gear
 
Posts: 1546
Joined: 14 Nov 2017
Location: South Coast, UK

PostPost by: Foxie » Sun Jun 23, 2019 12:28 am

You say your front toe has been set to spec, but the steering response does not feel the best. Have you tried adding a bit more toe, say 50%, and test driving the result ?

Have you had the rear toe checked ?

I checked my Spyder wishboned rear end on my Plus 2, and it was toed out, differently, on each side. A set of toe-adjustable Spyder lower rear wishbones (Not cheap, but worth every penny) gave me a massive improvement on straight-line stability. Again, set to spec, adjust, and test drive to get the best setting. :)
68 Elan +2, 70 Elan +2s
User avatar
Foxie
Fourth Gear
Fourth Gear
 
Posts: 829
Joined: 20 Sep 2003
Location: Wexford, Ireland

PostPost by: h20hamelan » Sun Jun 23, 2019 4:08 pm

+1 for rear toe
W. Kootenays B.C. Canada
Born, and brought home from the hospital (no seat belt (wtf)) in a baby!
h20hamelan
Second Gear
Second Gear
 
Posts: 211
Joined: 25 Sep 2010
Next

Total Online:

Users browsing this forum: 2tmike and 6 guests