Lotus Elan

Time to sort out the niggles

PostPost by: JJDraper » Sat Feb 02, 2013 5:35 pm

With the return of reasonable weather in the UK I set to, to sort out the niggles that have built up on my +2 over the winter so far.

1. Get the wheels balanced - the vibration above 70mph has been getting worse so I took the wheels off, cleaned them and took them to the trusted local tyre shop. 20 quid well spent. Also an opportunity to check the tread for stones, screws etc.

2. Fix the poor earth which has given me flickering headlights and pathetic air horns. This also stranded me for 10 minutes or so when the solenoid refused to kick in on trying to restart after filling up at the local petrol station. Turned the key and nothing, zip, not even a click but a slight dimming of the instrument lights. Turned out that the cooling fan stole the current for the solenoid, so when it stopped - bingo, the solenoid worked. Point of interest is that the blue main beam light flickered on when the earth failed. I'm sure someone will explain the electrickery that causes this (return earth paths etc). However, the stranding forced my hand. So, I sorted this with an extra earth cable from the engine mount to chassis bolt with the dodgy earth point on the chassis upright. I wont go into the boring details, but this is a poor design point IMHO. Anyway, with a brass to brass connection and solid earth bolt it now is all hunky dory.

3. Check & adjust handbrake as it has been getting harder to hold on the local hill starts. A few turns of a spanner and all was sorted.

4. Check clutch actuator free play as getting into first has been a little baulky lately. Run the car onto the ramps and get a good look at the situation. Still OK, with a little free play but the housing rubber gasket is looking a little fried. Start worrying about what may be causing the baulking....

5. Take the opportunity to have a good look round under the car... Oh dear!! Starter mounting face is cracked - How on earth did that happen?? Bolts are all tight and it still starts on the button, but I suspect not for much longer! Time to source a replacement...

6. While I'm under there are there any more problems? Oh yes!! What is this I see? One of the dizzy clips has pinged out of place!!! I'm mighty surprised and relieved that this didn't end badly.. I did a 350 mile run to Macclesfield and back last weekend in filthy weather and snow. I shudder at the thought of what might have been.

Moral. Get out there now! Check everything with a good inspection lamp and always check the dizzy clips are really, really in place..

Happy spring motoring

Jeremy
Attachments
Starter crack.jpg and
Big Ooops.jpg and
Last edited by JJDraper on Sat Feb 02, 2013 11:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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PostPost by: john.p.clegg » Sat Feb 02, 2013 6:18 pm

I hope you washed all that salt from underneath...

John :wink:
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PostPost by: JJDraper » Sat Feb 02, 2013 11:28 pm

All the salt got washed off last week in the rain... Never had any problem with salt corrosion - it was fatigue that killed the last chassis (sorry - steel sub assembly). As you can see, the in-built external oiling system works well.

Jeremy
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PostPost by: fatboyoz » Sun Feb 03, 2013 2:08 am

Jeremy,
I recently had an 'Item 4' experience, including difficulty getting 1st gear. Turned out to be corroded slave cylinder bore. Had the slave cylinder sleeved in stainless steel, fitted a new seal kit and is now back to normal. Can also suffer from 'lost motion' at the pedal connection end of the master cylinder push-rod.
Regards,
Colin.

JJDraper wrote:With the return of reasonable weather in the UK I set to, to sort out the niggles that have built up on my +2 over the winter so far.

1. Get the wheels balanced - the vibration above 70mph has been getting worse so I took the wheels off, cleaned them and took them to the trusted local tyre shop. 20 quid well spent. Also an opportunity to check the tread for stones, screws etc.

2. Fix the poor earth which has given me flickering headlights and pathetic air horns. This also stranded me for 10 minutes or so when the solenoid refused to kick in on trying to restart after filling up at the local petrol station. Turned the key and nothing, zip, not even a click but a slight dimming of the instrument lights. Turned out that the cooling fan stole the current for the solenoid, so when it stopped - bingo, the solenoid worked. Point of interest is that the blue main beam light flickered on when the earth failed. I'm sure someone will explain the electrickery that causes this (return earth paths etc). However, the stranding forced my hand. So, I sorted this with an extra earth cable from the engine mount to chassis bolt with the dodgy earth point on the chassis upright. I wont go into the boring details, but this is a poor design point IMHO. Anyway, with a brass to brass connection and solid earth bolt it now is all hunky dory.

3. Check & adjust handbrake as it has been getting harder to hold on the local hill starts. A few turns of a spanner and all was sorted.

4. Check clutch actuator free play as getting into first has been a little baulky lately. Run the car onto the ramps and get a good look at the situation. Still OK, with a little free play but the housing rubber gasket is looking a little fried. Start worrying about what may be causing the baulking....

5. Take the opportunity to have a good look round under the car... Oh dear!! Starter mounting face is cracked - How on earth did that happen?? Bolts are all tight and it still starts on the button, but I suspect not for much longer! Time to source a replacement...

6. While I'm under there are there any more problems? Oh yes!! What is this I see? One of the dizzy clips has pinged out of place!!! I'm mighty surprised and relieved that this didn't end badly.. I did a 350 mile run to Macclesfield and back last weekend in filthy weather and snow. I shudder at the thought of what might have been.

Moral. Get out there now! Check everything with a good inspection lamp and always check the dizzy clips are really, really in place..

Happy spring motoring

Jeremy
'68 S4 DHC
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PostPost by: 512BB » Sun Feb 03, 2013 8:18 am

Jeremy wrote: Moral. Get out there now!

No fear Jerry, far to cold, sport on the tely, breakfast to cook, then my housework to do!

I'll be back with some more excuses later.

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PostPost by: elanfan1 » Sun Feb 03, 2013 10:21 am

I can just see you in a pinny and Marigolds.
Steve

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PostPost by: JJDraper » Sat Feb 16, 2013 6:29 pm

Got out and fitted the new starter motor today. A dirty, oily, cramped and difficult job! The hardest part was getting to the upper bolt. I was having difficulty getting the socket & ratchet in there with enough room to undo the bolt. For a moment I thought I was going to have to remove an engine mounting.. Just enough space to get it all out & in.

The old starter bendix looks pretty trashed and I got worried that the starter ring would match. I fitted the starter around 60k miles ago and the new flywheel & ring at about 40k. Had a close look inside the housing and the ring gear looks OK as far as I can tell - what do y'all think?? Note the repair on a broken lug - neat!

The new starter fired up the engine with a quiet cough - much quieter that the old one, but perhaps not quite the oomph. Perhaps the brushes will bed in and give a few more ft/lbs.

While I was under there I carried out another visual and spanner check; alternator bolts a bit loose; offside lower wishbone bushes looking tired; anti roll bar drop link bushes mashed; and finally a knackered rod end/ball joint. Oh well MOT on Thursday, so I suppose I had better order up the parts and get busy....

Have a nice day!

Jeremy
Attachments
New starter.jpg and
Old and new.jpg and
Mashed bendix.jpg and
Ring gear.jpg and
Tight squeeze.jpg and
Repair or bodge.jpg and
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PostPost by: jk952 » Sun Feb 17, 2013 12:01 am

Jeremy,
re the starter - Saildrive (Keith) noted some time ago that the hole in the metal plate is sometimes smaller than the starter flange causing it to cock on installation. I had the same problem and it buggered a rebuilt starter in no time at all, and a starter that came with the car had a flange failure similar to yours, which I hadn't noticed as fractured but not broken through totally until I tried it later. ( this was before I read Keiths issue - though we live about fifteen minutes away from each other!! ) The misalignment is difficult to notice in the cramped confines. I recently put a different type starter in, works great, and fit easily. Hopefully yours is in straight.
Jack
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PostPost by: kstrutt11 » Mon Feb 18, 2013 1:40 pm

I remember it was pretty common for a lug to break off the starters on anglias and Cortinas, I suspect primarily it is basically a weak design, the higher CR of the Lotus will only make it worse, later on the went to a 3 bolt mounting. (even without the matching bell housing the 3rd lug seems to improve life as it reacts the bending force as the starter engages).

Kevin
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