Lotus Elan

Early Tales of Woe - So What's Your Story?

PostPost by: Ross Robbins » Mon Dec 24, 2012 11:26 pm

OOPS :oops: :oops:

Well spotted Tim. I am the most funny when unaware and unintended.

So can one of you grammaticitarianologist types rewrite what I meant which was that Tom is a car enthusiast and he was at the pub with his lovely wife whom I would covet if she and I were both single which we are not. And I DO bear a striking resemblance to Terry Thomas. School for Scoundrels was one of my earliest introductions to British humor and I have been captivated ever since through Monty Python and even : :roll: Benny Hill :roll:
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PostPost by: alan d bell » Tue Dec 25, 2012 6:08 pm

this didn't happen to an my elan but to my excel, it is extremely embarassing. 40 years of playing with cars and the other day the excel had a flat battery,out with the jump starter and connected it to the battery, nothing happened so i opened a door slight click and wipers and lights started flashing and moving, looked under the bonnet nothing untoward,went to the boot, shock, awe and horror i had connected the jumper in reverse polarity. how could i, red to red easy isn't it? not for an idiot like me.
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PostPost by: Bud English » Tue Dec 25, 2012 6:59 pm

...sad when even your tales of woe happen when the car is non op, but here goes. About midway through my car's thirty year "period of rest", after my divorce, and during my move on to my houseboat, I had to move the +2 to a friends back yard. Money was tight, I didn't spring for a proper trailer but settled for a front wheel dolly. After all I wasn't going far, my friend lived just ten miles or so up interstate 99. About half way there, as the right rear wheel went flying up the sloped shoulder of the freeway like it was accelerating under WOT, the thought "if you have to tow it, you should always tow it backwards" flashed through my mind.

I chased down the rogue wheel and tire, thankful that I hadn't killed anyone and that the car had stopped relatively intact. I ended up calling for a proper flat bed tow truck for the rest of the trip. The cost of the tow, the new a-arm, bearing carrier, and rear disc was way more than the proper tow device would have been. The good news was that if I didn't have a heart attack that day, I'll never have one.

"...thirty year "period of rest", after my divorce, and during my move on to my houseboat...", Damn, that sounds pathetic.
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PostPost by: Quart Meg Miles » Wed Dec 26, 2012 2:39 pm

+2 S130. The centre-lock wheels always struck me as being handed wrongly, they tried to undo themselves, but one Sunday I clearly forgot to tighten one wheel nut. Turning at the first junction next morning the car wobbled badly but I managed to park safely. Quick, out with that enormous spanner made by the previous owner and swing that nut tight, no need for the jack. Soon there was a clunk followed by four more as the driving pegs fell out of the back of the hub.
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PostPost by: peterako » Thu Dec 27, 2012 12:49 pm

Can empathise with many of the above ''woes' :)

Meg,

Quart Meg Miles wrote:+2 S130. .... Quick, out with that enormous spanner made by the previous owner and swing that nut tight, no need for the jack. Soon there was a clunk followed by four more as the driving pegs fell out of the back of the hub.


I can picture and HEAR this!

A few stand out for me....

Steering column shearing (thankfully at very low speed)...see: http://www.lotuselan.net/forums/post70028.html

Loosing my bonnet at 100+km/h in the overtaking (extreme outside) lane of a 5 lane motor/high way...in heavy traffic.
(Bonnet flipped up and blocked screen for what seemed like an eternity....luckily the bonnet stay held onto it though)

Loose wheel nut...clunk syndrome :)

Battery dramatically discharging while on a long run due to fatigue break in alternator wire.....

Electrical failure leading to loss of headlights on a very twisty country road.... (thermal cutout)

Front shock shearing....(probably caused by hitting a sharp 'speed bump' ... at speed the week before)

Trunnion popping (DPO never having lubricated them in their 10 + years of ownership)

Seat rear collapsing.....after going over a nice humpback bridge...

All four pistons having their rings break....simultaneously.....

Centre exhaust pipe being almost pulled off on entrance to a family wedding.....exhaust note was loud enough before that to gain attention :shock:

And the list continues.... :)

But, have to say, with each breakage the repair has made the car stonger and more reliable than ever!

(Relayed the lights, strengthend the steering, have 'perfected' wheel nut tightening, bonnet has 'belt and braces'.....)

Most 'failures' have been either human related or the result of nearly 40 years of neglect by previous owners.

Happy Christmas!!

Peter
I is an Inginear....please excuse my speeling!
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PostPost by: Jentwistle3 » Thu Dec 27, 2012 9:40 pm

My tale happened with my Europa Special, not an Elan. This was a few years back. As with all Europas, the Otter switch had gone bad and the electric cooling fan was not working. This hadn't been much of a problem so far as i rarely was caught in traffic, so my remedy was to get to an open section of roadway and get the car moving to get air through the radiator. (You can already see where this is headed, right?) one day my now ex wife needed to use the Europa because her VW had broken down. While she was driving it, the water pump belt failed. Needless to say she faithfully followed instructions and continued driving. I wish i had a video of myself as she drove up to where i was standing by the side of the road, fixing her VW. She drove up with clouds of steam billowing from the car, ran the window down, and said innocently "i think something is wrong!" The whole time i was jumping up and down screaming "shut it off, shut it off!" Net result: warped head and blown head gasket. Needless to say I replaced the Otter switch, adding a relay and a manual over-ride. New head gasket, shaved head, new valve guides and seats, and we were all ready to go. Until I timed the cams incorrectly while putting it back together, but that is another tale....
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PostPost by: StressCraxx » Fri Dec 28, 2012 1:48 am

I have been married to my Elan for just a few more weeks than my long suffering and seldom patient wife. (1979)

Purchase and starters:

My Elan sat for more than two years under a tarp, out in the Denver Colorado weather before I bought it. Therefore, all of the corrosion issues and poor grounds made the first few months of ownership a challenge. My good friend allowed me to keep my car in his garage while my new home was being finished. I would come over in the afternoons after work and tinker with it to get it running. I had not had a chance to get it registered and inspected because it would not run well enough to take to the inspection station. Plus, I could not get the lights, signals, wipers, and horn to function on a consistent basis. There were times the wipers would not turn off unless I turned off the ignition.

I finally got it to run well enough to drive it up and down the street in front of my friend's home to shake it down. I was immediately pulled over by one of Denver's finest. I had no valid license plate or registration (4 penalty points) and no safety inspection (4 penalty points). The muffler was almost nonexistent(2 more points). Only 2 more points and I would lose my license to drive.

Officer walks up, hands on hips, asks "what the hell is this thing?" "A Lotus" was my answer. "Who makes it?" "Lotus" again. "Well, it looks pretty cool, but a little small for me. (from my vantage point the officer looked like he was 6foot 13). Have a great day!" and climbed back in his car and left.

I turned the key to start it up. The starter immediately spit the pinion off the shaft leaving me stranded, so I got to push it back up the street to my friend's house. Once back in the garage, I found a replacement starter pinion in the box of spares from the PO. I pulled the starter and installed the new pinion. It lasted exactly one week and was spit off again. The starter shaft bushing was so worn out, the force from hitting the ring gear would deflect the shaft to one side. The ring gear looked shredded.

Bought a rebuilt starter and discovered its bushings were more worn than the original! Found an original Lucas Rebuilt at a foreign car parts store (the owner and I became personal friends because of my continuing patronage). Success! Starter worked the way it should, for exactly one day. I drove it to one of my clients' offices, dressed in my best suit. I saw my client, climbed back in the Elan and turned the key. (click). That was all. The new starter had jammed itself in the ring gear. No amount of rocking, bumping, or turning the starter shaft from the front would free it from the ring gear. My client took pity on me and allowed me to call my new wife to come by and bring some old clothes and hand tools. Once I loosened the top bolt, the pinion returned to its rightful place. I got the car home and the water pump failed as I pulled in the driveway. I spent the following Saturday with a small sharpening stone and removed the burrs from the ring gear while waiting for the WP kit to arrive from Dave Bean.

The next day I joined AAA for their towing service and have never let it lapse! I carried a small tool kit with a spare pinion in the boot for years. There was always a spare rebuilt starter under my workbench.

I was so grateful when the Toyota/Denso starters were available for Elans 15 years later!
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PostPost by: robertverhey » Fri Dec 28, 2012 8:17 am

Since I'm recovering today from a ladder fall yesterday (2 meters, bruising, no breakages, thankfully), it's probably timely that I chime in.

Will spare you the story about the time a spray welder spark nearly caused me to burn down a block of flats.

Much more interesting was the time I connected jumper leads in my cortina engine bay to get the motor started, positive to the solenoid and earth to the centre macpherson strut shaft nut. Normally, I now realise, this would not work as an earth, the strut being isolated from the chassis by the various rubber suspension bushes. In my case however, the newly fitted goodridge braided brake hose provided the only earth path, and a very inefficient one at that!. The metal braiding turned red hot, completely melted the rubber inner brake hose....much smoke, much panic, much reaching for the extinguisher until I figured out what was going on. Had to buy a whole new set of braided hoses, expensive punishment for my folly.
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PostPost by: twincamman » Fri Dec 28, 2012 10:26 am

While plumbing the basement for the wreck room / family room washroom I reckoned that 16 foot copper tube was needed as 8 foot tube would require too many joints . How to get them home asked I ? why in the super 7 . Just put them in the passenger side and let them stick out over the roll bar . So off to Canadian Tire and home with 8 x 16 foot pipes sticking out the rear of the 7 over the roll bar [ thinking just how clever I was] until while getting out of the car in my garage I hit the remote door switch in my pocket ----the garage door came down and bent the 16 footers into 6 foot and 10 foot lengths with 40 degree bends for me in no time ----ed
dont close your eyes --you will miss the crash
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PostPost by: peterako » Fri Dec 28, 2012 11:51 am

twincamman wrote:.... So off to Canadian Tire and home with 8 x 16 foot pipes sticking out the rear of the 7 over the roll bar ...


Now that would be a something to see!! :shock:
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PostPost by: Quart Meg Miles » Fri Dec 28, 2012 12:25 pm

Hey Ed, that's your best joke yet, even the grammar is right! LOL.

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PostPost by: twincamman » Fri Dec 28, 2012 12:30 pm

I gots spel chek now :lol:since I put elanfan1 on my ignore list his/her twattel postings come up as adverts , the latest for vaginal infections and another for hemorrhoid cream ----apropos I thought --
Last edited by twincamman on Fri Dec 28, 2012 1:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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PostPost by: Quart Meg Miles » Fri Dec 28, 2012 1:11 pm

Here's where you get your own back, Ed!

Having said "Goodbye" to my parents ready for the hundred mile trip home in the S130 the starter failed completely. No noise, nothing. Stripped it out and found it was non-standard, the end plate carrying the brushes being a pressed steel disc held in by four thin screws into the end of the body casting, but they'd fallen out and under braking the armature had slid around and disengaged. My father's stock of screws didn't match the threads so we wound in some self-tappers and off I went, in the dark.

Halfway down the M23 (motorway, freeway) I realised I was running out of petrol but had no confidence the starter was going to work when I stopped. :idea: Try it out on the motorway, if it doesn't start just select fourth gear and drop the clutch :o ! So I cut down to about 80 mph and did the deed but it didn't start even when I dropped the clutch, but instead slowed down until the car came to a halt with the starter jammed in the flywheel! 11 pm New Year's eve on an empty motorway. :oops:

HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE.

PS. It push started instantly, once I'd freed the starter, and I filled up with the engine running.
Meg

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PostPost by: twincamman » Fri Dec 28, 2012 1:34 pm

had a similar when my front brake stuck on suddenly on a super highway bridge in Burlington one afternoon -----got to the bottom and dove head first into the driver footwell with 18 wheelers zooming by at speed inches away from instant destruction [ mine] while I used a HUGE pipe wrench to reset the bias bar on the ?lan----things for racing are a pain in ones ass on street cars - re entering the free way involved getting to warp 3 in 40 feet by side stepping the clutch at 2800 RPM and a merge into traffic that would have impressed Fangio with tire smoke and gravel flying and burn marks on the QEW that remained for weeks and perfect 2 nd to 3rd to 4th shifts at 8000 rpm - did I mention when the brake released the car started to roll into traffic and I had to time my repositioning in the driver seat with the release of my hand from the brake pedal and replace my foot there? circus sole would have hired me on the spot -and of course I set the hand brake before I went in the foot well---all this with the hard top in place --but I could never figure out where the little girl squeaky voice came from yelling 'were rolling into traffic --were rolling into traffic ' ....ed
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PostPost by: Bart_arc » Fri Dec 28, 2012 5:30 pm

Seems I'm not the only one with an Elan that tries to rob me from my life...
Driving 60-70 mph on a beautiful summers evening, all of a sudden smoke from under the bonnet.
By the time i could stop the car flames replaced the smoke!
I burned both my hands removing the bonnet but this car was NOT going to burn down completely!
I managed to end the fitre with a borrowed extinguisher (i forgot i had one in the car with all the commotion)
A short cirquit on the starter motor caused the isolation of the cables (and everything around it) to burn.
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