Lotus Elan

Embarassed...but alive!

PostPost by: Hamish Coutts » Thu Apr 26, 2007 6:45 pm

Maybe a daft question but is the steering column the same on ALL Elans. There wasn't an original version that was updated later on and it's the older one that is likely to be the one that breaks?

Probably living with faint hope that as my +2 is one of the later ones, it has a column that wont break. Whatever, I'm going to have a grovel around under the dash this evening to see if I can see anything with the clamp removed.

Hamish.
"One day I'll finish the restoration - honest, darling, just a few more years....."
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PostPost by: gordonlund » Thu Apr 26, 2007 7:55 pm

Hamish,

On the basic early Elan +2, not the later S, the steering column was Mk1 Ford Cortina, single stalk. the later column was off the Triumph Herald / Vitesse, 2 stalk version. The Ford column was a single shaft (non collapsable). The Triumph column was two piece held together by a two bolt clamp which was designed to retract in the case of an accident.

Hope this of help to you. Its all in the Lotus workshop manual.

Gordon

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PostPost by: Hamish Coutts » Thu Apr 26, 2007 7:57 pm

OK I've had a look at the steering column where the breakages have ocurred. Even with the clamp off there's the break zone is only just visible where it exits the bearing at the bottom of the column tube - and that's using a morror and an inspection light.

There was nothing obvious just fairly bright clean metal. Can any of you engineers say what would be visible if there was any trouble brewing?

Or is it better just to put it all back together and just forget about it?


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PostPost by: gordonlund » Thu Apr 26, 2007 8:10 pm

Hamish,

If in any doubt about the integrity of your steering column for Gods sake get a replacement. Loss of steering is not recommended!!!!

Gordon
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PostPost by: rgh0 » Fri Apr 27, 2007 7:57 am

Hamish
From the photograph and description the failure is due to fatigue cracking so its going to be hard to see without removal of the column and use of a dye penetrant crack detection kit. You can by buy these kits for around Australian $50 here so I presume around 25 pounds in the UK from any good engineering or tool supply place.

Not sure why the reported failures seem to all be in plus 2's and spitfires and not in Elans but maybe the column in the Elan is better supported and does not see the bending loads or the lighter Elan puts less loads on the column.

Anyhow I am crack testing both my Elan and Plus 2 columns. I dont fancy loosing the steering in my Elan going into the righthand corner at the end of the main straight at Phillip Island at 190 kmh !!

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Rohan
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PostPost by: Hamish Coutts » Fri Apr 27, 2007 8:24 am

Agreed Rohan,

Don't think the experience would be good for your blood pressure and might raise your heart rate a beat or two. :shock:

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PostPost by: john.p.clegg » Fri Apr 27, 2007 3:29 pm

Yes,you're correct,loss of steering is not a good feeling. Last summer I was out early for a trip to the Newark autojumble,the sky was blue and the birds were singing.
The day before I had fitted an uprated steering joint and was pleased with the improvement in "feel",blatting down the Ashbourne road at nearly the legal limit,(of course officer.)
Things were good,very good,sounds of the sixties on the radio jousting for my affection with the singing of the exhaust,was in seventh heaven.
Then decided to get really comfy and pull my seat forward a bit,right hand on the seat release,left hand on the steering wheel,pull myself forward when all hell let loose....the wheel came up two inches and detatched itself from the roadwheels...some idiot had tightened the pinch bolt but not in the groove but just on the shaft.....well we went this way we went that way with me in panic trying to spin the wheel each way to try to correct the steering and finally came to rest on the wrong side of the road on the brow of a hill...
Still not out of trouble yet,what if some early morning idiot like myself was heading in the opposite direction? He would come over the brow of the hill and come face to face with me vainly trying to reverse the car back and onto the correct side of the road by alternately applying the handbrake,jumping out to get the roadwheels pointing in the right direction,jumping back in and reversing a little over and over again....

NOT a good feeling.....

The moral of this story?

I don't know,but don't loose your steering...

John :wink:
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PostPost by: Dave-M » Fri Apr 27, 2007 3:58 pm

Sorry guys I dived in without reading the second page.

I think there were two types of column.
One was the collapsable type and the other was a one piece affair. To tell the difference you look at the indicator stalk (s).
The non collapsable one has a single stalk and was from a ford cortina Mk2 (I think).
I have one laying around in the workshop and can photograph if required. it was fitted to a @69 plus2.
I would assume they were interchangeable.
regards
dave
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