Lotus Elan

Catastrophe on Elan ownership day one!

PostPost by: RotoFlexible » Wed Mar 03, 2010 1:44 pm

neilsjuke wrote:You need to take the engine out and strip it and check very carefully or if you dont it may well go bang in a big way.
Neil

I completely agree with this, but beyond that, you pretty much have to take the engine out. First, while it is just barely possible to "drop the gearbox" (I've done it, once), you normally remove the engine if you want to separate it from the gearbox. Second, I think you have a broken crank, not flywheel separation from the crank (otherwise the flywheel would be more or less flopping around). Unless you have a removable cross member, you can't remove the sump from the engine, so you can't replace the crank (or inspect it, or remove and inspect the rods etc.). Bite the bullet and do it right.
Andrew Bodge
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PostPost by: 512BB » Wed Mar 03, 2010 1:51 pm

Steve,

I could not agree more with what Neil has just said. You have no idea what forces were required to shear those flywheel bolts, and those same forces have acted on your main and big end bolts, perhaps not in exactly the same way, but never the less.

It may take more money, effort and time, but will give you peace of mind, if you remove the complete engine and box, strip it right down, inspect, and go from there. Otherwise, you will only regret it, if in 3 weeks you are back on here looking for a new block and ALL internals if a rod lets go.

And personally, I have nothing against using spit cam chains. I have used 3 of them over the years, still going strong. Buy a quality one though, and make sure you fit the retaining clip the right way round.

Keep us updated,

Leslie
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PostPost by: Steve G » Wed Mar 03, 2010 2:23 pm

Thanks Guys, I will probably take the engine out. It will mean waiting a few weeks as I don't have room in my current garage. The timing chain won't be an issue then. :lol:

I might have to do the leak test again as the two valves that leaked the most were the ones that were open when I was taking the head off and cleaning it up, it's very likely that bits of carbon and other crap got under the valve seats.

I don't think the crank is broken or the pistons would not be moving on turning the engine, unless you mean something else? What is very weird is when we first turned the engine and it was in gear the car was rolling forwards. Maybe there was some friction between the flywheel and crank still.

It might turn out to be a full rebuild after all, as you have said there's no point merrily driving it around after the head rebuild for the bottom end to go. All for the sake of not having a rev limiting rotor arm!
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PostPost by: paddy » Wed Mar 03, 2010 2:37 pm

I think it's possible that the bolts and dowel just sheared without damaging the crank at all, but unlikely. The input shaft would still be located in the crank journal so the flywheel would turn normally, but you'd be able to wobble it a bit back and forth.

However, I think there's likely to be some damage to the bolt and dowel holes as someone mentioned above, or perhaps that end of the crank is cracked or damaged in some other way. Turning the crank from the other end you'd still see the pistons move as normal.

Good luck.

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PostPost by: Steve G » Wed Mar 03, 2010 3:09 pm

I'll have to hope that it hasn't damaged the crank as they are ?750! How will I be able to tell if it is? Take it to an expert is probably the answer I deserve.
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PostPost by: gerrym » Wed Mar 03, 2010 3:37 pm

Flywheel bolts and dowels are there because the crank is accelerating back and forth in an angular sense, and the mass of the flywheel resists that acceleration. This results in large shear forces. When the engine was over-revved, those same forces increased in a big way. The flexible crankshaft (relative to the forces imposed on it at high revs) was also probably imparting some lateral angular (ie at right angles to the crank) forces on to the flywheel bolts.

So expect to see some crankshaft damage. As a minimum, it should be very carefully crack tested. Also consider replacing the flywheel outright.

Not sure that contact with the puny valves would have been the cause of the flywheel damage.

Regards
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PostPost by: 512BB » Wed Mar 03, 2010 5:15 pm

Dont worry Steve, if in the end you find out that your crank is nacked, you can buy a good crank for a hell of a lot less than ?750, otherwise i will sell all mine at that price.

If it were my engine, i would have everything checked for straightness and true, just to be on the safe side. I would also go for new big end bolts, the mains should be okay, but i stand to be corrected.

Re Miles Wilkins, I am fairly sure he does not carry out his own machine work, but i may be wrong. If that is the case, ask around for a quality machine shop down your neck of the woods, to carry out the various checks that your crank and other parts need.

All the best,

Leslie
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PostPost by: elansprint71 » Wed Mar 03, 2010 5:26 pm

You have not told us the most important bit- what did your wife say?


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PostPost by: Steve G » Wed Mar 03, 2010 5:32 pm

Thank you, I have contacted three machine shops local to me and a mechanic friend for quotes to rebuild head and I'm also going to see about taking the whole car to a garage to get everything checked over. There's no way I'm starting the engine again before everything has been checked, there's just no point. I'm still going to drop the gearbox myself so I can just see what's happened to the flywheel for now. I don't want to cheap out on anything but at the same time I don't want to pay unnecessarily for things and I won't learn anything by just handing the car over to someone.

As for my wife, luckily for me she is an angel and has been very kind and supportive. But I guess we have only been married for 8 months. :lol:
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PostPost by: jimj » Wed Mar 03, 2010 5:52 pm

Just call me Jim Sacriledge but if it were me and time and money were paramount, I`d buy a rebuilt engine, swap it, then dismantle your engine and sell the bits seperately on ebay. You`d be amazed how much in total you`d get, probably nearly enough to pay for the replacement engine. Plus, as you are eager to learn more about the twincam engine, dismantling it entirely would be a great practical instruction exercise.
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PostPost by: Craig Elliott » Wed Mar 03, 2010 6:15 pm

Hmmm... Jim, I like you're style but... (call me Craig Cynical) What happens when you start to build up lots of negative feedback on Ebay/disgruntled punters for selling parts that may or may not fail quickly? ... and what happens when you fit the "new" engine and find that someone has done exactly the same thing to you?

I can't help but think that the best thing to do is stick with what you have, find out what is damaged, work out the costs of fixing it and then decide whether to go down the new/reconditioned/re-use routes. It's still cold and wet so there's no real rush to fix...

C
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PostPost by: alaric » Wed Mar 03, 2010 7:55 pm

When I got my car the engine was out and described as 'good'. I stripped it planning to replace bearings etc, and found a broken piston ring with associated scoring. Total rebuild cost was of the order ?3500. For that sort of money I got what was effectively a brand new blueprinted balanced engine, with virtually everything replaced. That was money that I hadn't budgeted for, and delayed the rebuild of the car for some time while I came to terms with it. Still, it's great now. I could have done it cheaper, but at the time I didn't know much about the car so was still learning. I'm still not sure I'd take on the inspection part of the rebuild myself though, as I think there's experience to be gained from building a number of engines. As Miles says in his book. First thing is to come to terms with the cost. Then get it rebuilt.

If you'd just run into a wall or the car in front, the insurance would be paying - although if they looked closely enough they may contest it was due to non standard installations on the car. What could you tell the insurance I wonder? It was an accident after all, wasn't it, and thanks to your action you avoided involving third parties. It was caused by a non standard installation, and possibly made more likely by a worn throttle pedal bearing - a bit of lateral movement on the pedal can cause it to catch on the brake pedal. Not sure you'd get very far but who knows.

All the best.

Sean.
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PostPost by: alexblack13 » Wed Mar 03, 2010 8:38 pm

Hi Guys,
I am intrigued by the statement 'dropping the gearbox'. How? I know with a bit of wrestling it can be done (Just!) but I would bet that removing the engine would be quicker and it needs removing anyway for inspection and rebuild. WHY 'drop' the gearbox Steve? Sound like more work for nothing to me. Unless you are going into the gearbox also. I, in that case would take both out as a one lump, or separate, whatever suits you.

So very sorry to hear of this unfortunate event, but it will fix. and you will know its spot on then.

I always ask myself, if it were an airplane would I fly it? If the answer is no.. Fix it right!


Keep us all posted as to your progress

Alex B.... 8)
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PostPost by: curly type 26 » Wed Mar 03, 2010 10:07 pm

Hi Steve, unless the machine shops or the garage you intend to use have previous knowledge and understand our old cars you could end up providing someones retirement fund & you could still have a pile of unhappy parts. Slow down & step back. I snapped the flywheel bolts on my 1760 7even was dead lucky only damage was the 6 bolts. I now only use arp, Move house 1st then lift & strip engine & inspect hopefully no probs. But have rods & crank checked for cracks & truth fit new bearings- crank sprocket-chain-spigot bearing-waterpump-re-ring or rebore as required, & have it all re-balanced. Use graphogen assembly lube or similar to protect on start up. Take the head to someone who really does understand them or you will get screwed. Whats the worst you will find? valves-seats-guides-springs-cam followers-bent quadrant- cam bearings-you could fit harder ex seats now its apart. For what its worth thats the way i would approach it. Good luck Curly 1964 26Rr :)
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PostPost by: AdamS2 » Wed Mar 03, 2010 11:42 pm

Hi Steve,

I agree with the last post as regards to what to do with your engine. If you are handy with tools as has been said prevoiusly have a go yourself these are not complicated engines it is after all only a Ford anglia block with a trick head on it and not that trick if the truth be known. I mean complicated engines are quad cam Ferrari and Lamborghini engines and the like, try being half way through a rebuild of one of them and thinking where does this bit go again. And as has been mentioned before once armed with the Miles Wilkins engine book you cannot really go wrong and remember this is probably one if not the best web site of its type for information and assistance and over the years has never ceased to amaze me with the depth of knowledge and willingness to impart experiences (and as a motor vehicle engineer I use many forums for assistance) have a go and use the forum for guidance and save yourself 2K.

Adam
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