Lotus Elan

Removing front springs?

PostPost by: Tmac897 » Sun Aug 11, 2019 1:53 pm

I've read somewhere that the front springs are difficult to remove, due to their length? Any special tools required, other than the standard spring compressor? Any tips or tricks I should know?

I want to strip and paint the springs and mounting tubes, and clean up the shocks. Although it was quite a few years ago that I last drove it, I don't remember any issues with the shocks, so I'm planning on reinstalling the old ones after cleanup. I'll replace them, if necessary, once I get back on the road :)

The rear shocks are a different story, as they are showing some corrosion on the exposed tubes. I also read somewhere else on this forum that shocks weren't available? They do have them in stock at Dave Bean, if anyone is looking...

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PostPost by: 69S4 » Sun Aug 11, 2019 2:37 pm

I couldn’t use std spring compressors on my front springs as the coils were too close together to get the hooks in. There’s all sorts of workarounds from custom made compressors to using ratchet straps, but whatever you do bear in mind that the static load on each spring is close to 300lbs so getting it wrong releases a lot of bouncy energy.
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PostPost by: baileyman » Sun Aug 11, 2019 3:13 pm

I made a compressor out of 2" wide aluminum C section, threaded rod, and nuts, since no commercial compressor seemed sized small enough. A hole allows the rod of the damper to set into the C section, chucked in a vise. Then the threaded rods, beaten into hooks on the ends, pull the spring down quite nicely.

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PostPost by: alanr » Sun Aug 11, 2019 4:11 pm

You can't use ordinary car spring compressors. There isn't the room between the spring coils.
This is what I made with threaded rod and a couple of plates to fit new springs and shocks to my +2:--
shock-absorber-tool.jpg and

compressing-spring.jpg and


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PostPost by: types26/36 » Sun Aug 11, 2019 5:45 pm

........or a Lotus front brake disc, a Lotus bolt on wheel and some threaded rod.
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PostPost by: HJF » Sun Aug 11, 2019 6:19 pm

Not tried this on the Elan yet but on a Caterham I successfully used motorcycle spring compressors ... would this work on the Elan too?
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PostPost by: richardcox_lotus » Sun Aug 11, 2019 7:21 pm

So a question on this topic.......the workshop manual implies that compressors should be used before the units are removed from the car.

As I understand it though, the springs and shocks can be removed as a unit, with the compressors used subsequently off the car.

Is the manual incorrect on this point ?

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PostPost by: types26/36 » Sun Aug 11, 2019 7:39 pm

richardcox_lotus wrote:So a question on this topic.......the workshop manual implies that compressors should be used before the units are removed from the car. Richard

??? I think you are confusing the rear shocks with the front shocks which is what is being discussed.
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PostPost by: Tmac897 » Sun Aug 11, 2019 8:34 pm

But you can take them off the car as a unit, springs, shocks, perches, etc., which is what I’ve done. Now I just need to get the springs and shocks apart.
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PostPost by: Tmac897 » Sun Aug 11, 2019 8:37 pm

types26/36 wrote:........or a Lotus front brake disc, a Lotus bolt on wheel and some threaded rod.


Seems fairly ingenious. I don’t have the original wheels, though. Sigh.
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PostPost by: LaikaTheDog » Sun Aug 11, 2019 8:46 pm

Did mine yesterday using ratchet straps
Also use ratchet strap to pull the front ARB together to get it over the damper bolts
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PostPost by: Tmac897 » Sun Aug 11, 2019 9:10 pm

Apparently none of you have read the myriad “Don’t roll your own spring compressor” articles. :shock:
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PostPost by: billwill » Sun Aug 11, 2019 9:19 pm

You can clean & paint the springs without taking them off the shock-absorber.

Image
Last edited by billwill on Sun Aug 11, 2019 9:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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PostPost by: types26/36 » Sun Aug 11, 2019 9:26 pm

billwill wrote:You can clean & paint the springs without taking them off the shock-absorber.

Interesting ......how do you paint the spring if the shock has the shroud on it.....is it a case of out of sight....out of mind?


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PostPost by: Tmac897 » Sun Aug 11, 2019 9:48 pm

[quote="billwill"]You can clean & paint the springs without taking them off the shock-absorber.

Not a bad option. Depends on how I decide on my paint color scheme.

Some very interesting options all around.
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