Lotus Elan

dash harness

PostPost by: rdssdi » Sat Nov 19, 2005 3:05 pm

I have recently received my new dash from Prestige Autowood. It is beautiful
and worth the wait.

I began wiring the dash. I have a new harness from British Wiring. I believe
it was manufactured for them by Auto Sparks in the UK.

I was able to identify a very small number of wires using the factory wiring
diagram. Most of the color codes specified on the diagram are not on the
harness. I was very specific with British Wiring regarding which wiring diagram
"matched" my car. In fact they sent me a copy of the wiring diagram from the
workshop manual titled "Lotus Elan +2 Federal/(RB 340 Control Box)/March '68
- March '69." This was the harness I required.

Has anyone had this problem and sorted it out? I would like to know how
anyone successfully wired their +2 dash.

1969 Elan +2
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PostPost by: rdssdi » Sat Nov 19, 2005 10:13 pm

I have determined that the wiring harness supplied to me by British Wiring,
here in the U.S., is most likely a RHD harness.

I found a wiring diagram in the workshop manual that is mostly correct in
color coding. Although incorrect for my application. It appears the ignition
switch wires branch from the loom in a RHD position. I used the ignition switch
as a determinate as it is not a "mirror" image item.

If I am correct, I do not know how such a mistake is possible. I have a
difficult time believing that an experienced company can be so obviously wrong.

I am getting sick and tired of having to learn more than the suppliers and
supposed experts when it comes to sourcing parts for my restoration. I would
certainly be lost if not for this list and the expertise provided.

I would appreciate pictures or a sample of an Elan +2 dash wiring harness
for a 1969 car. My original is in terrible shape and was cut up by the P.O.. It
appears I will have to offer an original to copy as specifying a wiring
diagram and LHD means nothing to the experts.

1969 Elan +2 LHD Federal unit no. 50-2060
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PostPost by: TYPE45 at aol.com » Sun Nov 20, 2005 1:55 am


Try flipping the harness upside down!

On a more serious note, on my S4, the original harness comes through the
firewall on the left side and most of it terminates at the center of the dash.
What doesn't terminate there turns back to the left side of the dash as I have a
LHD car. If I had a RHD car, these remaining wires, including the ones that
go to the steering column would continue to the right side of the dash. The
point I'm trying to make is that it appears that the harness on my car is
suitable for LHD or RHD cars. Perhaps the harness you received is similar.

Frank Howard
'71 S4 SE
TYPE45 at aol.com

PostPost by: rdssdi » Sun Nov 20, 2005 2:21 am

I tried to configure the dash harness I have. Unfortunately the ignition
switch is not mirrored as the other parts are. The RHD ignition switch is on the
lower left center of the dash and the LHD ignition switch is on the far
right side of the dash.

To further complicate things the wiring colors do not match any schematic I
have. More accurately only some of the wire colors match.

The original harness does not match the wiring diagram exactly but so far I
have over 90% compliance.

1969 Lotus Elan +2
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PostPost by: Gordon Sauer » Sun Nov 20, 2005 7:45 am

Let me know how it goes as I have one from them but it's still hanging on the
wall! When I got it about a year ago though, a perusal of it seemed to
indicate it was correct--correct brown square alternator plug for my car, wiring to
central fuse box in center of dash, correct set up to the ignition--all
matched my old harness--a +2S130 Federal, 1972 but oddly with a 50/0306N number
that always seems weird when it is numerically lower than earlier cars, like
yours. Gordon Sauer
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PostPost by: brassrngfm » Sun Nov 20, 2005 1:23 pm

Without seeing your harness I can't comment on a solution. However, I also
got my dash for mt S2 Elan from Prestige and the harnesses from the same
folks as you. It matched perfectly except for one wire.
Good luck
Paul Zimmeran
65 S2
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PostPost by: rdssdi » Mon Nov 21, 2005 12:47 am

Are there any other suppliers of wiring harnesses other than British Wiring
/ Auto sparks?

Has anyone purchased a Lotus harness from another supplier?


1969 Elan +2
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PostPost by: 72plus2 » Mon Nov 21, 2005 1:50 am


I was talking to a veteran local mechanic (Oshawa, Ontario, Canada) who knows somebody who makes wiring harnesses in our area. He thinks this source manufactures great quality items at a cheaper price than a lot of parts dealers. All they require is the original as a template. Perhaps this is an option you can explore in your area, or if you are in Ontario, I can forward you the details of my local source.

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PostPost by: twincamracing » Mon Nov 21, 2005 2:15 pm

Bob, I build my own harness when need be. It is time consuming, but not
difficult. The hardest part is maintaining an appearance of originality
by wire color and wrapping. Most of the bulk wire sold in the US comes
from the far east and is a lesser quality then OE Brit and, especially,
German wire.

Didn't seem so long ago you could liberate the harness of a crashed XJ
sedan and have plenty of the right color and guage wiring as donor
materials. I don't know if this is the case anymore.

There are a couple ways to build a new harness after removing what is
left of the original. One is to follow your diagram and lay each wire,
one at a time, into the car making the connection at each end as you go
then bundle with tie wraps to make it tidy. The other is to remove the
harness laying it out on a board then placing new wires in such a way
as to wrap as original allowing some excess at each wire end for
fitting of connectors in the car.

Either way will give you a nice fit with enough slack to service when
necessary (like pulling a guage out of the dash before disconnceting
wires, etc). I tend to the former as I can check each circuit along the
way, I can then pull the whole thing out to wrap as OE when all the
ends are made, or not.

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PostPost by: TYPE45 at aol.com » Mon Nov 21, 2005 2:28 pm

As most modern cars use wire that is covered with insulation that is much
thinner than that found on British cars, and crashed Jags are rare to find in
junk yards, I have discovered that a close substitute can be found in modern
Saabs. I pulled the interior harness from a 9000CD and found plenty of similar
sized and colored wire for my Elan. Hope this helps.

Frank Howard
'71 S4 SE
TYPE45 at aol.com

PostPost by: "Roger Sieling&quo » Mon Nov 21, 2005 3:13 pm


My late '69, English spec RHD +2S is sitting off road awaiting my restoration. I intend to convert it to LHD during the restoration and I've been toldby someone whose expertise I trusted, that the wiring looms for RHD and LHD +2s were the same, so I have already procurred a LHD rack, pedal box and dash from a Fed +2. I also found, when I was working on it in running condition that the loom colors bore little resemblance to the schematic color code. I was able to trace things around and familiar enough w/ typical British standard color codes that I had everything working. This was a car that had sat for 8 years before I got it and now, after running it for two years,has been off road again for over 15, due to a van reversing into the nose and other car projects taking priority. I wish I had better access to it, but it is stored in a friend's barn until I have time.

I suppose if I were faced w/ your problem, I would make up a short plug in harness to carry the connections from the wrong side of the dash to the correct side, using same colored wires as is on the new loom. Perhaps you could convince British Wiring to supply materials to you for free to make this conversion. This is probably what I will do if I have to extend the loom when I convert from RHD to LHD. The other potential problem you will face, which I have anticipated, is the fuse boxes etc are oposite sides of the car in RHD vs LHD, because the pedal box must change sides and the fuse boxes are mounted to the blanking panel which covers the opposite side pedal box hole in the firewall. Good luck.

"Roger Sieling&quo

PostPost by: tvacc » Mon Nov 21, 2005 3:29 pm

Back in the 90's when I was up to doing such things...I did a ground up
restoration on my72 Elan. When I received the wiring harness from Ray at
R&D..there were some differences. Not the left/right problem you seem to be
having..but while my car had a "relay box" under the dash for the tail
lights.this new harness had no provision for that.

I spoke to Ray and he gave me some advice that I will never forget and it
has served me well over the years.

He said.(and I paraphrase as it was more then 10 years ago) "Tony.you just
have to sit down with the harness and the wiring diagram and study it. You
have to come to grips with the fact that in the end you will know the wiring
of the Elan backward and forward and have a total understanding of it."

He was right.and I did. I still do. (well.most of it.I did get stuck out
in the west (Idaho) with the car last October and you ( And Ray at RD
that faxed a wiring diagram to the motel) all helped me when I accidentally
pulled the "power to coil" wire out of the back of the tach.) By the time I
got back to Buffalo from Seattle.I AGAIN new the wiring backward and
forward. I had made several "jumpers" to by pass such things as the
radiator sensor.and a few other things.

Tony Vaccaro

www.lotusowners.com <http://www.lotusowners.com/>
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PostPost by: rdssdi » Mon Nov 21, 2005 3:51 pm

What is most frustrating is that when I compare the original harness to the
March '68 - March '69 federal +2 wiring diagram, I can easily identify all the

Why don't the vendors ask for the original loom or at least inquire as to
the wire color codes and position of components that change over time.

1969 Elan +2
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PostPost by: "Robert Bulfin&quo » Mon Nov 21, 2005 4:35 pm


I just rewired my 69 S4. I bought correct wire colors (and arger guage)
from Auto Sparks and made my own harness, one wire at a time. My car was
not *original* when I got it, and it is even less so now. I put in more
fuses and cleaned up many excess wires. If you follow the wiring diagram
and look at a few *uprated* diagrams on the web and ask the group for
help, it is not too hard. The real benefit is that you know what you
have when you are finished.

I just got my engine back in, but between getting married, moving and
having two relatives critically ill in the hospital, I haven't cranked
it up yet. I am sure I will find a glitch or two in the wiring when I

The Other Bob
69 Elan S4 DHC

Bob Bulfin, Professor Department of Industrial/Systems
207 Dunstan Hall Auburn University, AL 36849
(334) 844-1422 (Voice) (334) 844-1381 (FAX)
"Robert Bulfin&quo

PostPost by: "e s" » Mon Nov 21, 2005 7:03 pm

There are something like 15 diagrams for the plus two. there are, however, only 3 major differences. Early[your car all non s plus twos, more or less]. Generator, 2 fuses in engine bay no extra gauges.
Then there is "s" which is multiple fuse boxes in engine bay, might be generator or alternator. Lastly is the "late" which has 4 fuses in the dash.

IIRC the early ones are all pretty similar, so if they sent you vaguely theright one yo should recognize it. Look in the manual and find one that seems to match and if it is too far off, return it.

It is unlikely anyone makes all the iterations of plus two harnesses. They were ugly to start with [i love the tangle of wires as thick as my arm poking through the firewall] and I don't think they are
"e s"

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