Lotus Elan

1971 Sprint rebuild "diary"

PostPost by: JC33supreme » Fri Mar 13, 2015 7:09 pm

I?ve posted at length about my Elan history in the ?Hello? section of the forum, so it was time to stop talking and start doing.

The first was to spend money on equipment, so I bought (from SGS) a tool chest, skates, an adjustable seat and some odds and ends. The service was impeccable ( f.o.c. next day delivery) and the cost very reasonable. From Halfords, I bought their large ?Professional? socket set and a bundle that included a trolley jack, a creeper, wheel chocs and some axle stands ? again I was very happy with the cost and quality of these items, especially the socket set which is gorgeous, although it is enormous and heavy. I passed a happy afternoon pushing the car around on the skates, and swivelling it like a top, and deciding the best place to locate it in the garage. Needless to say, I eventually chose the worst place, in the middle of the garage, right where the extending ladder comes down from the mezzanine floor where I have stored hundreds of Elan parts.

Now there were no excuses and I actually started to do some work.

As explained in my earlier posts, although all the wheels were attached, the rear springs were not fitted, so the car was sitting very low at the back. So low, I could not get the trolley jack underneath, so I had to start jacking at the mid point, put an axle stand under the car each side and then jack again a bit further back. This was going well until there was a loud creaking noise, and when I looked underneath the rear of the chassis had dropped out of the body - years ago I had removed the rear body to chassis bolts to facilitate fitting new wishbones . I then had to continue jacking under the rear wishbones until I could eventually get axle stands underneath.
It was only then that I noticed that when the chassis dropped out of the bottom that one Weber mounting stud and the water temp sensor had been snapped off the cylinder head ? a great way to end the first day!

I had originally thought to separate the body from the chassis by using an engine hoist, but I then decided to carry on jacking ? it didn?t seem to put any stress on the body and I would not have to worry about how to attach the body to the hoist or worry about it tipping front to back ? very important as I am doing everything single handed. It went really well, so I shall devote almost all this post to how I did it.

In order to avoid any more damage to the engine head, I decided to remove it. This was relatively easy following the manual, except I could not get the head off!! It was loose, and I could easily wiggle it around, and I spent a frustrating 24 hours (almost full time) trying to get the b****y thing off. Even beer wouldn?t shift it. Eventually I found the block to head bolt on the timing case that screws in from underneath on the left hand side ? phew. The head then lifted off easily ? it?s very coked up but otherwise looks to my inexpert eye to be in good condition. When I removed the camshafts I found very light scoring on one bearing face; hopefully that will polish out.

I belatedly realised it would be a good idea to think about things BEFORE doing them, so I searched this forum for advice on removing the body. Many, MANY thanks to Jang, Raymond who posted a checklist on 06/10/1999, which I found in the archives ? it was invaluable. Back to jacking up the body, which as usual I did without proper planning. Originally I was jacking using a six inch length of 3 x 2 on top of the jack to spread the load. Once I had raised the body about a foot, I decided that once the body was off I would build a trestle underneath the car so I could move it to a shed and I could store the (hopefully) rolling chassis underneath. At the moment all work is taking place whilst my wife is abroad, and there must be no evidence of what I have been up to in the garage (and especially that her car has NOT been in the garage) when she returns, at the end of March!!
Having decided I would build a trestle, I decided to put full length 3 x 3 bearers fore to aft under each side of the car and jack it up under those. This necessitated some nifty holding up one corner of the body with one hand whilst putting in the new bearers with the other, but the body is mercifully light, and this went without incident. As I went higher, I piled up building blocks to raise the jack and to raise the axle stands. I went very slowly so I could check how stable everything was, but it all went ok. If anyone else decides to do it this way, I would recommend having a jack for each side.
At that point I then realised I would not be able to roll the chassis from underneath the body because the blocks and axle stand would be in the way ? I needed to put the bearers crossways at the front and rear so that I could continue to jack the car from outside the width (track) of the chassis. Of course, I could only do this once the bodywork between the wheel arches was above the level of the backbone.
Once gain I was holding the body with one hand and shifting bits of wood, building blocks and axle stands with the other, but it all went smoothly. I then continued jacking until at last I could roll out the chassis, backwards, from underneath. There was also a bonus in that the 40 y.o. chassis seems to be rust free and in good order ? time for more BEER.
I attach some pictures to show how badly I did it, and it still worked ? no damage to the body at all.
I?ll keep you updated of how everything else goes.
John
Attachments
IMG_0573.JPG and
Last look
IMG_0568.JPG and
Chassis - looks ok
IMG_0567.JPG and
Separated
IMG_0565.JPG and
Higher
IMG_0560.JPG and
cross beams
IMG_0550.JPG and
Fore and aft beams
20150211 076.JPG and
Starting point
Last edited by JC33supreme on Wed Apr 08, 2015 6:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.
John

If something is worth doing well.................................................... it's well worth undoing
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PostPost by: trw99 » Fri Mar 13, 2015 7:19 pm

Thanks for posting John! Good luck.

It strikes me your biggest problem is going to be - the wife!

How are you going to get the car rebuilt by the end of the month?!

Tim
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PostPost by: richardcox_lotus » Fri Mar 13, 2015 8:55 pm

Well done with write up. I'm still awaiting the post with all the swear words in it.

Regards
Richard
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PostPost by: JC33supreme » Sat Mar 14, 2015 12:15 pm

Tim : you have hit the nail on the head. It will involve lots of careful planning, which (as you have seen) is my forte!!!!!!!!!

Richard: how dare yo be so rude to me, you !"@*!?*******.

J
John

If something is worth doing well.................................................... it's well worth undoing
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PostPost by: JC33supreme » Sat Mar 14, 2015 9:46 pm

STRIPPING THE CHASSIS
Having split the chassis from the body, it was time to strip the chassis.

I had decided to send the chassis to Spyder for checking, modification (enclose front turrets, removable under-sump cross member, towing eye, chassis exhaust cut out) and bead blasting and painting.

Firstly, I covered everything with gunk and then hosed it off. I then spent about two hours power washing the gunk/oil/grease mixture off the drive ? oh well, it needed cleaning anyway. Even after cleaning, the chassis still looked good, particularly good for 40 y.o.

I thought I?d remove the engine and gearbox whilst the wheels were still on. I?d read here how the angle of dangle was crucial, but I could not find it, and I couldn?t see how the engine can be raised high enough without fouling the over-the-gearbox cross- member. I also don?t think the Elan lends itself to using an engine hoist ? the width (track) is too narrow to get the legs of the hoist in from the front, and if I tried to lift from the side, the front wheel got in the way of leg of the hoist. I eventually got the engine out, but it took me more than a day, and I am seriously concerned how I am going to re-install the motor and ?box combination ? maybe I?ll split them. So, guys, be prepared to give detailed advice as to how this should be done.

Next up was the diff, which was even worse. I found it very difficult to undo the nuts and bolts which fasten the diff input flange to the propshaft flange. Both flanges have curved backs which prevented me from getting a socket or ring spanner onto the nuts and bolts, and ?C? spanners just slip off as soon as some torque is applied. With the help of some heat, I loosened two them, but I couldn?t budge the other two, so I resorted to a grinder. I can?t imagine how these bolts could be undone with the body in place. I did see a post on here which mentioned that special long headed nuts and bolts could be used, so I?ll try to find a set of those when I re-attack the diff to the prop. My mechanical inadequacies continued when it came to getting the diff out of the chassis. I have read all the posts on here, in particular the post that suggested you get it out as far as you can and then go and have a beer ? the diff should drop out whist your on the second can. It didn?t work for me, even though I tried, hic, several times.

With the engine and diff removal delays, I was now much later than I had hoped in getting the chassis to Spyder, and I had rented a trailer to take it up to Peterborough. So I left the diff loose in the chassis and got on with stripping all the brakes lines, callipers, steering and suspension from the chassis. To make up time, I worked through the night and finished about 3:00 am, loaded the chassis and lots of brake and suspension bits and drove to Spyder through the night.

I must say Spyder?s own chassis looks gorgeous. In the 60?s I remember being shown around the Brabham factory, and seeing several Spyder / Zetec chassis being built reminded me of that visit. They look like works of art, and I was sorely tempted to convert, especially as access to all the mechanicals is so much easier. However, common (financial) sense ruled the day.

I hope to collect my refurbished chassis (with diff loosely installed !!) and refurbished/new suspension and brake parts in about a week. It will be such a joy to work with clean components when I reassemble the chassis; I am thoroughly sick of being covered in 40 year old grease and oil.

I now have to decide what to do about the engine, for which I will submit a separate post in the engine section asking for your advice.

Thanks for putting up with all my struggles,

John
Attachments
IMG_0576.JPG and
Washed chassis, rear
IMG_0577.JPG and
Washed chassis, front
IMG_0592.JPG and
Engine & box out (at last)
IMG_0593-angle 4.JPG and
Another view of angle of dangle
IMG_0597.JPG and
Diff left in chassis
IMG_0598.JPG and
worked thru night
IMG_0599.JPG and
Stripped, almost
IMG_0607.JPG and
Chassis loaded
IMG_0614.JPG and
Steering, suspension & brakes to Spyder
IMG_0618.JPG and
work of art
John

If something is worth doing well.................................................... it's well worth undoing
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PostPost by: JC33supreme » Wed Apr 08, 2015 7:12 pm

I?ve now collected the chassis, suspension and steering bits and all the ancillaries from Spyder. I haven?t done anything with them yet, but it will be such a relief to now be working with clean parts.
The work was more extensive (and expensive) than I had imagined.
The chassis was modified for the towing eye, large bore exhaust cut-out, removable under-sump crossmember, bead blasted and painted with epoxy paint.
The diff was fitted with new bearings and seals, painted and refitted to the chassis with all new bushes and tie rods.
The front and rear suspension has been replaced/upgraded for adjustable ride heights, with all new wheel bearings and bushings, and all wishbones were blasted, painted and re-bushed.
The brake callipers have been reconditioned (one cracked under pressure testing & was replaced) and all new fixed and flexible brake lines have been purchased, along with discs and pads.
The steering system was where a lot of the unexpected costs surfaced. New uprights, trunnions and track rod ends were required.
I also bought new nuts and bolts for everything, which was another cost I hadn't budgeted for.
I haven?t been able to start putting together the jigsaw as my wife has returned from her overseas trip, and her to-do list is ?slightly? different from mine. So, not much to report but I thought you would like to see some pictures of the new shiny bits.
John
Attachments
Trailered home.JPG and
Home at last
Everything.JPG and
My shopping trip
Chiny shassis.JPG and
Chiny shassis
Chassis-new bump steer shims.JPG and
Bump steer shims
Refurbed calipers.JPG and
Calipers
Diff-blast,paint,bearings & seals.JPG and
Diff refurbed
Fr susp-adjustable damper & spring.JPG and
New adjustable dampers & springs
Fr susp-new discs, uprights, bearings.JPG and
New front everything
Rear susp-bones blasted & painted.JPG and
Rear 'bones
John

If something is worth doing well.................................................... it's well worth undoing
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PostPost by: pharriso » Wed Apr 08, 2015 7:58 pm

You have 5 brake calipers? yes I counted them! :roll:

You initially said that you were going to have the front turrets closed in, but it looks like that was not done?

Everything looks great, it will certainly be more pleasure to put everything back together when it is clean & not covered in 40 years of grime.
Last edited by pharriso on Thu Apr 09, 2015 9:43 am, edited 1 time in total.
Phil Harrison
1972 Elan Sprint 0260K
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PostPost by: JC33supreme » Wed Apr 08, 2015 9:59 pm

Hi Phil,
You are very eagle-eyed. Do you work for the CIA?
You?re quite right about the number of boxes, five. The fifth box contains all the handbrake bits and pieces, which were in quite good condition since I had them rebuilt just before I stopped driving the car, some 30 odd years ago.
You?re also correct about the front turrets ? I forgot to check they had done that, so I will have to be very thorough with the Waxoyl.
The next time I have some work done, will you come with me to do a quality check?
Reagrds,
John
p.s. from where did you get that taste in car colours?
John

If something is worth doing well.................................................... it's well worth undoing
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PostPost by: trw99 » Thu Apr 09, 2015 8:22 am

"p.s. from where did you get that taste in car colours?"

No John, don't ask him that! We'll have the Green Elan Appreciation Society back out here again. Oh dear!

Your bits look jolly fit, sir.

Tim
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