Lotus Elan

Road & track owner survey 1971

PostPost by: Pistacchio sprint 72 » Sun Jul 14, 2013 8:27 am

:mrgreen:
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PostPost by: rgh0 » Sun Jul 14, 2013 10:14 am

Interesting to see the problems and most liked things have not changed much over the years!
Bad engine mounts is not just due to poor quality rubber these days by the look of it

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PostPost by: GrUmPyBoDgEr » Sun Jul 14, 2013 10:49 am

That's something that I've been arguing for a long time!
Today's rubber products are generally far superior to those of yesteryear; some examples being tyres windscreen wipers, coolant hoses, door seals etc.

The reason our engine mounts & drive shaft couplings (donuts) fail is down to "cheap manufacturing" & that encompasses poor quality materials & poor manufacturing processes.

The required quality would be achievable if the purveyors of those parts could find (or maybe try to find) & employ reputable manufacturers.

Fortunately or unfortunately there are now alternatives to those components e.g. CV joints which are supposedly more reliable & a fit for life component.

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PostPost by: rgh0 » Sun Jul 14, 2013 12:14 pm

Hi John
I agree with you fully. if you believe rubber is worse these days then why are tyres so much better :D
As you say it is just cheap manufacturers using cheap rubber blends and poor quality control on their curing process.

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PostPost by: Fred Talmadge » Sun Jul 14, 2013 12:52 pm

Still we often have owners looking for the less expensive option. So the manufacturers comply.
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PostPost by: Pistacchio sprint 72 » Sun Jul 14, 2013 1:12 pm

humm by the way, just to be on the safe side:
are the rubber engine mounts on my spyder chassis standards item? or specific to spyder?
where would you advice me to source a new set from?
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PostPost by: Sea Ranch » Sun Jul 14, 2013 6:48 pm

Driving habits have to factor into component reliability, too. Here we have 79% who claim they drive their "fragile" Elans hard or very hard.

Reminds me of a similiar owner survey on the Porsche 914, which revealed a very hard-driving group, as well (with one owner quoted as saying he "red-lined every shift and slid around all corners").

Interesting to compare this with statements from Miles Wilkins ("Lotus Twin-Cam Engine") regarding reliability of the engine in the day (comments from factory staff about how few warranty claims they had on the motor and how it was the most reliable/durable thing they had designed/built).

I think it's also worth remembering that a large number of the survey respondents (56%) bought their car used, and we know what that can mean in terms of condition, maintainance, etc.

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PostPost by: msd1107 » Sun Jul 14, 2013 8:32 pm

Yes, I remember this when it came out.

Basically, they said that if an item could fail, it would, and in multiple ways.

The car was the least reliable car they had so far surveyed.

This bears on what our collective wisdom is. The owner who treats their Lotus like a sedan with questionable driving and maintenance habits has terrible reliability and bad mouths the car for being unreliable.

The owner who drives hard but respects the car and who is diligent in their maintenance usually has a long term, high mileage, reliable car.

Those of us who still have the original Elan generally fall into the second group.

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PostPost by: [email protected] » Mon Jul 15, 2013 4:03 pm

I agree with David. Driven and enjoyed usually means maintained and in that case an Elan is a very reliable car. I know mine sure is. Old tech cars demand a fairly high level of maintenance compared to contemporary cars and that's just the way it is. A high level of issues with these cars get inherited from previous owners and poor repairs/rebuilds. Once that gets sorted out they can be enjoyed with a reasonable amount of maintenance.
As far as engine/gearbox/diff/strut mounts and suspension bushings go we've seen two levels of quality, sub original quality and above original. The only weak link on the original parts was the engine mounts and that's no surprise since they were originally based on a 998CC 105E Anglia with skinny tires and all of about 40HP ! Used the current "heavy duty" mounts and that issue is no more and use of the high quality mounts/bushings and you should see the usual 20+ years of hard driving . Of course 7" wide wheels and a strong 1850cc race based engine, heavier gearbox and things like that will be a different story.
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