Lotus Elan

broken down Elan on the side of the road - did ya fix it?

PostPost by: garyeanderson » Sun Jun 03, 2012 7:46 am

This topic may not be what you want to think about but it does happen and sometimes you just cant fix it. The topic
What tools and spares are in your boot/trunk
elan-f15/what-tools-and-spares-are-your-boot-trunk-t25330.html
got me thinking about the number of times that it has happened and all of the different stuff I carried at the time just wouldn't or didn't help. I think there are at least 4 times in the last 20 years that this has happened. A snapped output shaft is not field repairable (well not when your 3 miles from home), came home at the end of a rope that day. I was a hundred yards from a friends so I walked over and made a phone call to get some help. Several years ago I severed the fuel line when I neglected to properly support the the line in the middle, inside the tunnel and after 10 years it drooped far enough that the gearbox companion flange sawed through the line. I guess I could have fixed it but I was about 200 yards away from the Museum of Transportation in Brookline for British Car Day and got some help to get the Elan to a safe spot off of the road and was able to get Beau and myself a ride home to get the trailer that I had on loan and went back to retrieve the Elan. Another was about 7 years ago and I had the engine and gearbox out to do some things and swapped out the 3.9 for a 3.55 differential and either missed one (or several) of the CV bolts and the flange fell off 4 miles from home, I hitchhiked (with Beau) home, I think about 5 cars passed and I got a ride to the door. Got the F250 diesel and a few spare bolts and some other tools and went and fixed it where it was, dwove the Elan home and got the bicycle and went back fro the pickup. The last time I died on the road it was not a total lack of mobility but I could not coax the Elan to do more than 20 mph on the interstate, this was on the way to LOG 30 in Gettysburg and I was about 75 miles from home and I was meeting Bill Fralick several miles ahead at the next rest area. I managed to break down lane it for the couple of miles and we unloaded his Elan and put mine on the trailer in its place to make the next 400 plus miles. The story is written here
The Road to LOG 30 or how I managed to arrive
free-parking-f19/the-road-log-how-managed-arrive-t21402.html
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Anyway, the reality is "shit F'en happens" and you need to deal with it, the best advise I have gotten is get a cell phone and be a member of AAA for the free towing. So far I have neither and still pull the same crap that I have done all of my life and let fate rule things, It may be soon time to heed that good advice as I sure don't like walking...

Gary
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PostPost by: gjz30075 » Sun Jun 03, 2012 8:44 am

Coming back from Road Atlanta, half mile from home, all the bolts had backed out of one of the cv joints to aluminum adapter plate. This flung the axle around a bit and jammed it in the already ruined wishbone and the car stopped dead. Couldn't even be pushed. I walked home and got the necessary allen wrenches to remove the axle so the car could be moved and a tow rope.

I had always locktited the bolts and checked them periodically, but apparently I 'missed a period'. :oops: They are now safety wired.

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PostPost by: collins_dan » Sun Jun 03, 2012 5:38 pm

I should have my wife share her collection of pictures of me with my head somewhere in or under the car. I re-connected the loose starter wire in a parking lot during my second day of ownership, replaced the fuel pump in a parking lot I had glided into about a week later, disconnected the broken Anti-theft switch that took a couple of strandings to figure out, have figured out the exact strength of tap required with a socket wrench to free a grouse jet that is stuck, and most recently had bolts holding the outer end of the drive shaft back out that I had not safety wired yet :oops: on the theory that they wouldn't back out after just a short trip or 10. Dan
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PostPost by: Ross Robbins » Sun Jun 03, 2012 7:05 pm

Not an Elan story but a Lotus story:

Nevada. The empty West. The part of highway US 50 which is officially called (you can look it up) “The Loneliest Road in America” - from Fallon to Ely, a distance of 256 miles, there are only two towns with any services at all: Austin and Eureka. In between is a whole lot of empty! One vehicle every half hour to an hour connotes traffic. No worry, I have a newly rebuilt motor.

Somewhere between Austin and Eureka, on a flat straight highway with nothing 5 miles in either direction, the charging light on the dash lit up. And the temp gauge was rising rapidly? Aha! Fan belt! Apparently, the generator had broken the back plate and the fan belt was thrown but it could have been a quarter mile to two miles back. And there wasn’t a soul around; just the wind, the sky and “The Loneliest Road in America”.

There are times when we really want some solitude and cannot find it in our hustle bustle world. This was one of those times when the most beautiful thing I could have is a friendly face for support. And yet, there was nothing. No sound. No sign of habitation. No cell reception. I was totally, completely, fully alone. I summoned up my best MacGyver attitude and searched for something to turn into a fan belt. All I had was a small tool kit with some wire and hose, spare clothing, and my gas jug, all tied down with bungee cords.

YES, that’s it, a bungee cord! I found one and began taking off the wire hook ends.
Then I had to wire the ends together with my fine wire, like a bungee surgeon. It all took 45 minutes and not one vehicle passed. Finally, I had what looked somewhat like a fan belt. Green, puny and stretchy, it was a beautiful fan belt to me. I slipped it over the crank and water pump pulleys, bypassing the generator. I figured I could make it quite a way without draining the battery. I started the car and it worked! It turned the water pump. I let the car tick over for a bit. The temp stayed steady. Eureka!

That was my destination, but I wasn’t sure how far it was. To test my repair I flipped the throttle and the bungee flew. I’d remount the belt and just ease the throttle up gently. It worked perfectly until about 1,700 rpm. Each time I got there the bungee would fly off. So I set off for Eureka at 1,600 rpm. In fourth gear I made about 24 miles per hour.

It was nearly one hour before I reached the booming metropolis of Eureka, Nevada, Population 600. The hardware store was open and the very kindly lady who owned the store asked what I needed. I said, “A fan belt for a 1968 Lotus Seven”. I may as well have asked for a Flux Capacitor for my DeLorean. She said she had lots of belts if I could just tell her what size I needed. Carefully measuring, we found a matching size Gates belt for a washing machine. On popped the belt with a perfect half inch of deflection…neither too loose nor too tight. Without a generator, I would need to follow the Lucas mantra for certain; be home before dark! So I headed off to my rendezvous with my transport, only 170 miles east, at normal speeds. The car was running perfectly. Then we ran into a full fledged winter storm…but that’s another story right?
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PostPost by: garyeanderson » Sun Jun 03, 2012 8:23 pm

Hi Ross

My friend and I spent Thanksgiving day on US-50 in 1975, it was a good day to make some distance as traffic was light and US-50 didn't look a whole lot different on the map then I-80 at that time. Peanut butter and jelly for lunch and dinner but we made it as far as Utah from San Francisco before we quit for the evening. we spent the night in the 67 Mustang we were driving (no working heater and we awoke to 8 inches of fresh white powder covering the highway. The mustang was great at 40mph in the powder so I bumped up the speed to 50 and then it was getting a bit light at 55 so we backed it down. drove like that for an hour or so and finally we noticed that they had gotten around to plowing off the white stuff. All was good back in the day...

Gary
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Map is 1973 issue from Phillips Petroleum
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PostPost by: fatboyoz » Mon Jun 04, 2012 11:22 am

Gary,
A beautiful sunny day in the middle of a very wet May. Looking forward to a trip to the beach and the Elan was on song after recently fitting Keith Franck's Hypojets. Stopped to uplift 30 litres of 98 Premium Unleaded and back on the road. Not for long though. The Elan suddenly would not rev' above a steady idle, but did manage to limp to a safe spot.
First guess was the right guess, the glass fuel pump bowl revealing a lack of flow when revving the engine.
A quick check of the glass fuel filter in the boot confirmed fuel contamination. Tools needed? Screw driver (carried to fiddle with idle and mixtures), pliars (don't leave home without at least two pair) and a couple of 10mm open enders (along with the rest of the set and a set of sockets).
Cleaned the replaceable screen of what looked like grey sealant and away we went. Can only suppose that the garage, where we picked up the fuel, must have had some maintenance done on their pumps and a piece of sealant let go whilst I was filling.
Very happy that the extra filter I fitted caught the gunk before it got to the carbs.
Colin.
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PostPost by: garyeanderson » Mon Jun 04, 2012 12:41 pm

Hi Colin

Back in the day folks that drove an Elan during the week a their primary form of transportation would spend part of the day on Saturday checking bolts for tightness and other weekly checks, look in the manual for details.
Elan maintenance.JPG and

I have gotten lax in my weekly checks as I don't get the Elan out on a daily basis and well I am just a lazy SOB, that said my Elan demands that I at least open the bonnet and check the oil as it's been a leaker for a while and attention must be paid or else I will be seriously paying. This gives me a chance just to look around for anything out of place or odd looking. while not a very thorough exam, it at least half hearted and can catch some of the problems that may bite my ass. I should keep a few spares in the glove box (points, condenser, sparkplugs, etc) and will get around to adding them soon. I do keep a few tools in the boot, but not a complete kit.
elan boot.JPG and

Lately a few of these tools are in the living room tending to the sows ear but mostly its what I carry with me when I am out. It certainly wont get me home 100% of the time but then again I am used to making alternate plans with little or no notice. Thats kind how I live my life, duck when you have to, run when you must, last one standing wins!

Gary
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PostPost by: collins_dan » Tue Jun 05, 2012 4:41 pm

Just wrapping up my reply from before. On all the breakdowns mentioned I have been able to fix at the side of the road, but not always immediately. And even the one time that I had to be towed (jammed throttle cable), I would have been able to fix at the side of the road, if I had the part. In that situation, I was at the side of the highway, so no going to the parts store for a fuel pump and coming right back. I carry an extra distributor cap, rotor, fan belt, brake/clutch fluid, a reasonable road side tool kit, flashlight... and I have virtually always had what I needed (except a 8MM allen wrench, which I have since added). So for me, it has been less about tools, more about parts. Right now I am carrying a slave cylinder rebuild kit and circlip pliers as the fluid color (turning black) indicates to me that its life is limited. Dan
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PostPost by: AussieJohn » Tue Jun 05, 2012 5:52 pm

On my old S2 the plastic clutch line burnt through on the exhaust miles from nowhere, I was bu**ered but disconnected the brake servo and borrowed a copper line to replace the clutch line; up and running again [phew]
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PostPost by: DeanG » Tue Jun 05, 2012 11:19 pm

In North America a copy of the Lotus Ltd roster. It has a geographical listing of people who will help you out. I never had to use it but it makes me feel better to carry it.
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PostPost by: 1964 S1 » Wed Jun 06, 2012 4:39 am

Miata.
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PostPost by: garyeanderson » Wed Jun 06, 2012 9:08 am

1964 S1 wrote:Miata.


As usual, Eric you are correct! 5.0 is the way to go without a doubt. Don gave $7k as a pretty nice driver, what kind of Elan do you get for that kind of pocket change?
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