Lotus Elan

Help to a + 2 owner down under (South Australia)

PostPost by: inxs » Tue Aug 22, 2006 12:05 pm

I envy all you 'Loti" owners on the other side of the world, there certainly seems to quality companies specialising in Lotus as well as an abundant supply of parts in Ebay, (Ebay UK is on my favourites list!!).

I would like some direction with the following problems I have and hopefully the advice can steer me in the right direction with my 67 elan + 2 with out me wasting money chasing the wrong solution!!!

The two main issues I have is with the alignment of the wheels (front and rear).

The rear left wheel has a toe in of 26.7mmm and the right 13.6mm, I recently did all the bushes in the two a frames with "super pro" urathane bushes, replaced the lotacones (new Paul Matty) and replaced all bolts. I measured the rear A frames and they appeared OK, they have the general "knocks" one would expect for 40 years of use, but with toe in this bad they must be shagged. My option here is to buy new adjustable A frames from the Elan Factory, with a cost around $700.00 AUD for the pair (ouch!!) this I gues will fix the problem and give me an adjustable toe in on the rear.

The second is the castor on the front wheels, the front left is 4º18' and the right is 1º50'. Going to chassis shops here in Adelaide and spending $500.00 to find out what I already know I am at the point to take the body of the chassis so I can get a better picture of what is a fault.

The front shock on the RH side is leaking so these will need replacing.
My questions.
1.Taking the body off, no major dramas? (have looked at previous posts), this looks the best way to look at what has been done previously and to get a good idea what needs to be done to fix up the castor issue.
2. what would be the best shocks for light track use, mainly road use, are adustable springs worth the extra$?? (will do both front and rear shocks)
3. Adjustable A frames, is this the way to go on the rear?
4. I have a front trunion kit, with the body of what other jobs would i need to plan for (ball joints and all front bushes I presume)

I will glady assist with quality red wines from the Barossa Valley for some help on my endeavour!!!

Thanks in advance,
Darren

PS buying an early Lotus in Australia as a part of your "mid life crisis" can be an expensive past time!!!
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PostPost by: schroeder » Tue Aug 22, 2006 12:33 pm

Darren

Body off is not such a daunting task as it might first appear but it isn't a two hour job either. I assume you are contemplating it to measure the chassis dimensions. I certainly wouldn't do it just to replace trunnions, ball joints and shcok absorbers.

Before you go to all that trouble a few suggestions

Rear suspension toe in :- Try swapping the a frames side to side and see if the problem transfers. If it does new a frames may be in order.

Measure the rear bearing housing bolt hole to stub shaft angles to see if they match one another. Could be that the housing is bent or someone has tried a repair. Also are you sure the rear wheel bearings are not worn?

Front suspension :- Make sure all bushes and ball joints are in good shape first before you get a measurement. Measure the vertical links for concentricity from the trunnion thread to the top ball joint hole. Again compare the results from either side. Also inspect front wishbones for damage (The original pressed steel one usually deform before the chassis). Again you can swap sides to see if the problem transfers. Also they are often welded up someone decides to drill off the head of the trunnion bolt after a totally seized trunnion sleeve gets rusted onto the bolt. This can affect the set up.

It may sound like a lot of work but you'll end up doing it anyway even if you take the body off and the additional access won't be worth the hassle. If the chassis is bent, say after an accident, you are probably going to see it without taking the body off.

Good luck

Stu
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PostPost by: 1964 S1 » Wed Aug 23, 2006 2:33 am

Hello Darren, Stu's suggestions are brilliant.
I'd think twice or maybe six times about taking a +2 body off the chassis. They're tough little cars but low, sounds like it may have run over something on the left side. As far as shocks, I'm old and old school. I say stock shocks but if you can out drive those, get adjustables. (hopefully they won't make your car nose high)
I bought my S1 as a mid life crisis thing and lucked out, it was so much FUN and dependable that when a cheap +2 came along I got to have, ANOTHER MID LIFE CRISIS! They've both been economical cars to own, unbelieveably fun to drive, you won't necessarily have to spend a lot ... (A FAST USED ELISE WILL BE NUMBER THREE!) Eric
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PostPost by: Sarah Ryan » Wed Aug 23, 2006 11:50 am

Darren, do your self a favour & call Steve at the Elan Factory. Lots of free advice from an expert. $700 for new adjustable A frames is not that expensive for an item that's better engineered, better made than the original & adjustable. I & many others have been using him for many years. Cannot fault him!
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PostPost by: inxs » Sat Aug 26, 2006 5:03 am

Thanks for the advice.
The car was repaired on the left hand side some 16 years ago and basically hasn't been on the road since. I have measured the front end using the chassis bolts as datum points. It would appear the repair to the front left shock tower is't correct.
So body off it seems!!
I have swapped the rear a frames over L to R when I did the bushes, this did'nt appear to transfer the problem over to the other side thats why I tried to have the chassis looked at by a professional chassis shop. I guess not to many Lotus's here in SA hence I basically wasted my money taking the car to them for advice.

The advice from the board is fantastic and guess what its free!!!

Thanks Sarah for the recomendation on the adjustable A frames from Steve. I have purchased gear of Steve in the past and certainly will be buying more gear in the future from him, the ouch wasnt a referance to Steves price but I wasnt figuring on spending $700.00 on A frames. (just had the motor out and rebuilt the gear box, my money tree in the back yard is a bit bare at the moment!!!)
Regards Darren
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