Lotus Elan

Help!!

PostPost by: blueseamonkey » Sun Aug 28, 2005 9:22 pm

Hi I've just bought my first car, a +2 (early type) that seems to have been a late registration as all the paperwork says it was registered in 1970. Thought I'd got a bit of a bargain, as I got it for £3500, vgc, 33000 miles, only a few minor electrical niggles (driver's side window not working, interior light flickering on & off all the time). I've had an amazing 2 weeks with the car until now... However on a drive up the M1 today, heard a clunking noise from behind me that gradually got louder. Pulled off ASAP, and found most of the nuts had sheared off the rotoflex coupling on passenger side. Fortunately no real damage to body, but car had to go on flatbed home, and now is sat sadly on my driveway until I find out how to fix it, or find a suitable mechanic in Sheffield who can do it for me. Any hints or tips on this would be most appreciated as I've not done much work on cars before, but am very keen to learn (thought I'd better anyway with a Lotus!) Or any mechanics in Sheffield area would be good too.
If anyone has ideas as to where to start with the window motor that would be good as well, although clearly NOT a priority, (passenger side does work but is very slow, driver's side worked on 1st day, but not since, I have replaced the battery as the original went flat very quickly)
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PostPost by: types26/36 » Sun Aug 28, 2005 9:37 pm

Have a look in the "things in common" section under "rotorflex frustration" topic, its just been discussed. Then buy a workshop manual.
Good luck as its not the best job to get you started with Lotus. :cry:
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PostPost by: chrishewett » Sun Aug 28, 2005 9:56 pm

Hi,
The rotoflex problem is not uncommon and I would say that you have got off very lightly indeed. I would bet that your problems are caused because someone has not used suitable bolts on the rotoflexes. They are under considerable stress and not just any old bolts will do. I speak from experience here. I have gained some knowledge on the subject over the past few weeks and would be happy to pass it on to you, just pm me.
Problem with window is either bad earth or more likely battery not up to it.
You will have no end of problems over your ownership but if you persevere you will end up with a car that will give you much pleasure.
This forum will give loads of support and information if you continue to use it, I don't know if I would ever have finished my car without it.
Good luck,
Chris
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PostPost by: blueseamonkey » Tue Aug 30, 2005 7:12 pm

I have just had a more detailed look underneath, and things are a lot worse than I thought. I had hoped to get away with just replacing a few bolts. But in the process of losing two bolts from the inner donut (my car interestingly doesn't seem to have outer donuts - is this another problem or is this common?), the car has then damaged the inner donut. I had kind of suspected this, but more was to come...
In fact one whole corner of the differential unit has sheared off, remaining attached to the chassis where it had been, but completely removed from the rest of the differential.
What had looked like a tricky but manageable job to take a weekend now looks like something way over my head needing quite a bit of knowledge and equipment that I don't possess. If you think I'm panicking now, you're not too far off!
Thanks for your help and suggestions so far, but I need them more than ever now. Anyone knowing any good local mechanics would be useful too!
Cheers
Rick
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PostPost by: nebogipfel » Tue Aug 30, 2005 8:16 pm

Rick,

Bad luck my friend, it is all fixable but will cost a few quid :(

If the diff mounting has broken where they usually do then it is relatively easy to fix - you need to remove the unit and find a good local aluminium welder to re-attach it. I would strongly recommend you fit the bracing bar as fitted to later +2's and Sprints which spreads the load better.

The drive couplings have been much discussed on this forum however the choice is to stay standard and fit new donuts or to use alternative drive shafts. It sounds as if your car may already have the Spyder designed shafts if you only have inner donuts.

Whatever you choose to do about shafts you MUST use the correct bolts or they will shear off and you must ensure that the diff top mounts are in A1 condition and the lower torque rod bushes are also perfect so that the repaired unit is mounted properly.

Good luck and don't panic. The worst part about the job is that it is a b*gger to actually get the final drive and shafts out and back but any local (careful) mechanic should be able to do it. It isn't complicated, just very fiddly and inaccessible.

If you need parts I recommend Susan at Mick Miller Classic Lotus (01728 603307) She can also supply a very nice CV joint driveshaft conversion
John

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PostPost by: 1964 S1 » Wed Aug 31, 2005 12:29 am

Greetings from the USA. I too say, don't panic, ten deep breaths, two pints of ale perhaps, and proceed. I'd contact local clubs, find a decent knowledgeable mechanic and if by chance he'd let you do some of the grunting, parts chasing, or whatever to save on costs, go for it. It's a tricky/long job to accomplish even for Lotus mechanics... I'd recommend a replacement undamaged (good used is ok) rear end casing as opposed to repairing a cracked one. The reinforcing bracket is a good idea. You've got a car that offers tremendous potential for driving pleasure few people have a chance to experience. Check out the other side closely for rotoflex problems before putting it back on the road,,, I'd replace those bolts, as well as the other end if they're the same type. Good Luck, hang in there, it's a sports (racer) coupe that's hard to top.
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PostPost by: chrishewett » Wed Aug 31, 2005 6:57 am

Bad luck.
However it's all doable. I know someone who has a very good diff for sale if you decide to replace it (I would).
As for the driveshafts - does it have a cv joint or a uj joint on the outboard end? That will help identify it. As you have a non standard shaft the usual bolts will probably not do. It is important to have the shank of the bolt passing completely through the parts of the shaft. Where did the bolts shear? If it was on a threaded part then the bolts are wrong. You need to measure the hole the bolt will pass through and then source the correct bolts. I finally got mine from Namrick in Hove, they were very helpful.
Chris
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PostPost by: blueseamonkey » Wed Aug 31, 2005 2:11 pm

Thanks for all your encouragement. What with that, a couple of pints and a good night's sleep, I'm not panicking so much now!
The intermediate drive shafts are a Hardy Spicer / Rotoflex hybrid (according to the previous owner). They look very similar to the Spyder design, but I'm not sure if they are exactly the same as the diagram I've seen on this site, perhaps just a slight variation.
Apparently the diff mounting was also a replacement from Spyder. Does this make any difference to the kind of diff I need?
The one bolt I found coming off as we loaded the car onto the flatbed seemed to be completely the wrong kind (looking at the advice in the forum) as it had thread along most of its length. The nuts may have been wrong too as this one seems to have just come undone. The other missing bolt will be somewhere along the M1, whether it loosened or sheared off I'm not sure. Looking at that it seems almost inevitable they were going to go at some point, and I guess I am lucky it didn't cause an accident at high speed.
I reckon a replacement diff is probably the way to go, the extent of the damge to this one suggests to me that a welded joint may not be enough. Does anyone have any details on the bracing bar/reinforcing bracket as I can't see anything about it in the workshop manual?
I guess the search for a good mechanic starts here!
thanks
Rick
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PostPost by: types26/36 » Wed Aug 31, 2005 4:09 pm

blueseamonkey wrote: .
Apparently the diff mounting was also a replacement from Spyder. Does this make any difference to the kind of diff I need?

I reckon a replacement diff is probably the way to go,

Does anyone have any details on the bracing bar/reinforcing bracket as I can't see anything about it in the workshop manual?
Rick


The diff is just a Ford MK 1 Cortina/Anglia type and some of the early Escorts (known as the English Diff) there are several ratio's and I think the +2's were 3.7. This Ford diff was fitted into a Lotus caseing (I dont know what Spyder made but I doubt you need the diff, sounds like its just the caseing you need.
The bracing bar is in the later workshop manual and there used to be a drawing in the archives of lotuselan.net
If you are dealing with Spyder ask them if they have a 2nd hand one to sell, I think they take them off when doing conversions.You might even get a whole diff and bracing bar from them.
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PostPost by: types26/36 » Wed Aug 31, 2005 5:21 pm

I just checked, the diff bracket is sill in the files section under "Sprint Diff Bracket "
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PostPost by: sk178ta » Wed Aug 31, 2005 6:33 pm

I`ve been using Dave at High Peak Classic Autos in Buxton tel 01298 70008.
Jim
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PostPost by: chrishewett » Wed Aug 31, 2005 6:57 pm

Looks like the bolts were the problem. They must be right and you need nylock nuts torqued up correctly. Expensive mistake you will now put right I am sure. You may be able to get the right bolts from the maker of the shafts.
Chris
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PostPost by: Kets » Sun Sep 04, 2005 5:33 pm

If your looking for a good Elan mechanic you won't find one in Sheffield, your best bet would be Chris Foulds in Huddersfield, 01484 666552. I live in Rotherham and he's the closest to me.
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PostPost by: tonycharente » Tue Sep 06, 2005 9:41 pm

There's an "empty" Elan Diff Housing on eBay at present - http://cgi.ebay.fr/Lotus-Elan-Diff-Hous ... dZViewItem
Hope this helps, Tony.
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PostPost by: blueseamonkey » Wed Sep 07, 2005 5:17 pm

Thanks for the tip! I'm bidding on it now.
Rick
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