Lotus Elan

New Lotus Elan Plus 2 owner a few teething problems

PostPost by: handi_andi » Sat Feb 04, 2006 10:08 pm

Hiya
Not sure whether I am mad or insane, however, I brought myself a 1972 Elan Plus 2 earlier in the week and drove it from Bedfordshire to Banffshire to get it home, a distance of some 600 miles. Anyway, now that I got over my hypothermia, the cause of which I will come to in a moment I have a few questions about the teething troubles I picked up enroute.

First of all the remote handle on the drivers door gave up the ghost, which was fine when the electric windows were working, but damn embarassing at the M6 toll booth when they weren't. Any one got any ideas what this could be?

Secondly, my fuel gauge isnt working and neither is the cigarette lighter. I also lost the electric windows, dash lights and until i jumped the st and 2nd fuses in the front fuse box off the headlight relay all of the tail lights as well. Anyone got any ideas as I have a sneaking suspicion that this may be connected to the next two problems, but any ideas?

Thirdly, my headlights have stopped going up but they were going up fairly well when i picked car up, but somewhere on the M6 in the dark they started to droop and had to be wedged up with the help of a carpenters pencil. I assume this is a vacum system problem which might explain why number 4 cylinder appears to be running rough and when u remove the spark lead at idle it makes very little difference. The vacum hose to the non-return valve has several cracks in it at the bend just after it leaves the cylinder head. Could a vacum leak here upset the number 4 cylinder?

Finally, my brakes were not that strong on way up unless i pressed them twice then they appeared to be better than my old spitfire ones, however, on last 130 miles of trip every time i pressed the brakes they stuck on and to release them I had to press the brake pedal again. Never had that one before, any ideas anyone?

Thanks, will probably end up posting alot on here as I am used to playing with cars but the Lotus seems something else again. You should have seen the looks on the tyre changers face when I presented them with a rim with only one hole in it LOL

Andy
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PostPost by: Dave-M » Sat Feb 04, 2006 11:12 pm

Andy, You seem to have the essential requirement for Lotus ownershp RESOURCEFULNESS!!!. Must put a Carpenters pencil in my toolkit.
1) remote is probably not working because the link rod has come out . There is a guide halfway between handle and door lock and if the rod is not located in this it can pop out of the remote handle
2)Electrics I will leave to the experts but it usually comes down to bad earths
3)Headlight vac supply is from NO1 cyl so you probably have a leak in the vac circuit, Check the T piece in the front X member first
4) Servo vac cames from cyl no 4. If the pipe is split no servo + crap idle
Fix it quick
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PostPost by: rgh0 » Sat Feb 04, 2006 11:29 pm

Andy

Sounds like you have had a classic welcome to Lotus ownership. Be glad you like working on cars as you will get lots of oportunities to fix these things. Get yourself a workshop manual and parts manual if you dont have one already.

The previous comments covered the topics pretty well, a few extra ideas

The earth point for most of the dash electrics is the bolt to the chassis behind the lower right corner of the centre dash section ( at least it is on my 73 plus2) check that first.

Headlights dropping while cruising at freeway speeds but working OK otherwise is normally a leaking check valve.

Inconsistent brake action and brakes sticking on is normally problems with the vacuum control valve in the remote booster. However generally sensible to do a total booster overall as it probably needs it rather than to just try to fix the control valve.

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PostPost by: handi_andi » Sat Feb 04, 2006 11:51 pm

Hiya

Thanks guys this is by far and away the friendliest and fastest forum I have ever been involved in. Glad I brought a Lotus just so I had a good reason to participate in here.

As for the Hypothermia, that was due to cruising at 75 with the heater not giving out any heat and the enginer temp steady at 85. Is 85 normal? This on top of -5C tmperature outside gave me a -20c wind chill onto my legs which proved to be a good heat exchanger for lowering my core temperature!

Andy
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PostPost by: 1964 S1 » Sun Feb 05, 2006 2:56 am

The Lotus has no relation to your mental health but I'd say things are looking VERY good if you bought a +2 and could hop in it and drive 600 miles. Everyone's "kidding?" aside, my two Lotuses and the other five I've owned in the past three decades have been basically trouble free cars when it comes to driving down the road. And now, we all have to understand we're driving forty year old cars. On yours... I agree with what's been suggested and... 1) I'd replace the thermostat and see if the temp gets warmer...maybe first check the on/off valve on the heater core line. 2) The window problems have/are being discussed on several threads here. 3) I'd unplug the lighter and carefully tape the end of the wire. Lotuses and glowing hot things don't mix. Use a handheld igniter when necessary. 4) Does the fuel gauge warning light work? If yes, I'd say forget about trying to utilize a fuel gauge. That's what I've been doing with my +2 and have only run out of gas once. (due to evaporation, watch out for that phenomenon in +2's, also in previous threads) and I stick my S1 fuel tank and have never run out. I'll bet you fall in love with your +2. (mental health aside)
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PostPost by: Dave-M » Sun Feb 05, 2006 11:21 am

Andy, One more important thin to check is the condition of the driveshaft couplings, They can do a lot of damage if they let go. To make sure the bond between the metal inserts that hold the bolts and the rubber is still good, jack up the rear of the car and rotate the road wheel while watching the tow couplings, If the metal bits slide out from the rubber they are shot. If the coupling flexes the rubber and metal together they are OK. If they are shot drive very gently until you can replace them.
Regarding the heater, If the heater and demister both do not work your heater will need bleeding. To do this needs a helper. Jack the front of the car as high as possible remove rad cap and heater hose connected to thermostat housing. Put your thumb over the outlet at the thermostat housing and have your assistant top up the rad until water comes out of the heater hose. They quickly replace the hose on the connection and tighten. your heater should now work.
One other point on the +2 heater. The outlet for the hot air is directed by a rather flimsy fibreglass moulding which is pop riveted onto the lower front section of the heater. This sends the hot air down the side of the tunnel just forward of the dashThe outlet is quite small and can easily be blocked with soundproof felt and carpet whigh is attached to the tunnel side. Have a feel round and you will soon see if you need to trim the carpet / felt back to allow full air flow.
I would say 85C is a good temp to run at and is certainly hot enough to give a good heater
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Dave
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PostPost by: ppnelan » Sun Feb 05, 2006 12:26 pm

Welcome, Andy! :D

Electrical problems on a Lotus ? Surely not....!! :o
I assume you have the 'earlier late' version with the multiple fuse boxes - they simplified things to use only one fuse box after this...
Check earths to EVERYTHING - headlights, sidelights, window motors. They all have separate earth wires which (a) need to connect properly to the thing they are earthing, and (b) need to lead back to an earthing point that connects properly to the chassis. Any high resistances will cause havoc, with some things (lights etc) affecting others...
CARRY A LARGE FIRE EXTINGUISHER ! Perhaps fit a battery isolator switch too....

I suggest you reverse flush the cooling system too - it could just be rust etc blocking the thermostat or maybe the core itself. How much use has the car had?

There's a spring that can be added to the 'shuttle valve' in the servo to inprove brake release - search this site for other postings on the subject. Not sure whether it's a bodge to overcome a poorly maintained servo or to make up for a badly designed unit, but it does work - I have one on mine.

Has it had a replacement chassis? They rot through the crossmember that 'holds' the vacuum and this can indicate the need for a chassis change... :( However, there are several other (simpler & cheaper!) things that it could be (see other posts), so check these first.

Good luck & enjoy the experience!! :)
Matthew
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PostPost by: zuckerlowe » Mon Feb 06, 2006 10:33 am

Welcome Andy,
I'd just add one comment to the above replies. I also had an ineffective heater but was able to get it working by using kettle descaler. The resultant muck came out as a gel and seems to be mostly black particles, which I assume were from the rubber heater hoses. Unfortunately I was only able to do this after removing the heater matrix, which involved removing the dash.

Cheers
Steve (1968 +2, 1970 MGB)
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PostPost by: Jason1 » Mon Feb 06, 2006 7:08 pm

Andy

Congrats on the new car :D

600 miles in a =2? You are a braver man than me

I bought my 1968 +2 at the end of the summer and have been plagued with electrical problems. I have recently replaced the dash and removed a multitude of Scotchlocs and household connectors from the wiring. Why people do not just cut out the old corroded connector and solder the two wires together I will never know?

Anyway, I agree with all the other posts, so far every earth wire I have stripped back has been burnt black requiring replacement. Earth wires on these cars are rubbish! I am working from the rear of the car back through to the front and checking every earth wire and connection.

The last time I went out in the car I flicked on the headlights and smoke started to come out of the dash :o I think it was the relay which I will replace, but still a bit scary. It's all part of the charm and when it's all done I know it has been done properly.

My car only has 2 fuses so if you pop one you lose allsorts of systems. I pulled one of the fuses the other day and it was completely crusted over, no use to anyone.

So my advice is:

1. Check all earth wires and replace where necessary(if you have the
time replace them all anyway).
2. Get a fire extinguisher, smoke coming from the dash is scary!
3. Carry spare fuses.
4. It's an old car, expect it to get sick sometimes.
5. Enjoy it :D


Jason
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PostPost by: handi_andi » Thu Feb 09, 2006 1:13 am

Thanks for all the advice I have tried to follow it all to the letter, which included finding out whether the low fuel warning light works today, which it didn't and so for the first time in my life I ran out of fuel.

I have managed to re-instate the drivers inner door handle to a workign condition today, which was a nice 15 minute job and the sort of one I like.

I have also managed to get the brakes to become a little friendlier although I think a renewal or refurbishment might be the only way to eliminate all of the braking gremlie. However, they did get worse first and become digital brakes i.e either off or full on and locked on. They are still sticking a bit then and the brake pedal is not smooth all the wy down. However, i think that brake master cylinder needs to be replaced, probbaly along with the flexible hose at least.

The electric windows have packed u again along with the hazrd warning lights, however, i have discovered what the shrieking is from the engine is and that would be one very loosely tensioend fan belt which i tried to tension today. Does appear that whoever did it last time didnt dor a very good job as the botom pivot bolt was only finger tip tight but i coulnt get alterator to rotate so fan belt i still slack and charge is less than 13 volts.

Have a feeling that the low voltage might also explain why the fuel guage is off line as thats on a feed from the voltage stabiliser unit

The vacum problem would appear to be centred aournd the offside light as there is, well was, a loud hissing noise coming from this area. So have blanked off the vavum house at the one way valve. Was hoping this might cure the pinking problem the cylinder nearest the windscreen seems to be suffering. It did initally but not anymore. Needless to say both headlight pods are wedged up one with an mproved design i.e. replace carpenters pencil by a piece of vacum hose

thanks

Andy
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PostPost by: berni29 » Thu Feb 09, 2006 2:59 am

Hi There

Ditto all of the earth related advice! On the heater I have just recently cut a load of sound deadening felt and carpet away from the outlets on my own car, and in the past have replaced the matrix (on a previous +2) with an aluminium one from a ford fiesta. My electric windows used to be intermittent and the cause for me was a bad connection on the back of the ammeter.

Berni
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PostPost by: elanman3 » Fri Feb 10, 2006 1:35 pm

Andy,

Like the other posts congratulations.....600 Miles first trip, thats more than I've managed to do in the 2 1/2 years I've had my +2. When I first got my car I had a lot of the same electrical problem and it was the earth point at the bottom right of the dash.
For your servo parts, brake seals, alternator, starter motor etc. etc. you'll be able to pick them up quite easily from Lucas Uk in Aberdeen. Just around the corner from Abdn prison, Wellington Rd.

Colin
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