Lotus Elan

Elan S4 rebuild - my story chapter 2

PostPost by: Certified Lotus » Mon Apr 25, 2016 1:04 pm

Thanks Bill! Great overview and should provide me with a better understanding of how to trace the problem. The ground wire was taken off to remove the tach. But that being said, I'll run another ground to test just in case. Really appreciate your insights!
Glen
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PostPost by: Certified Lotus » Sun May 01, 2016 9:59 am

After receiving Bill's wiring diagram and some additional testing of the connections to my tach I decided to send it to Nisonger Instruments in Mamaroneck, NY for refurb. They have a rush service that charges $60 to get the instrument back in 4 days instead of 4 weeks so I went with that. I got the tach back in 3 days. It looked brand new and came with comprehensive instructions on the proper installation of the wiring of the tach........which didn't apply to the S4.

I had also ordered a new voltage regulator and voltage stabilizer from R&D Enterprises and had that in my possession for Saturdays work on the S4. I've gotta say, the entire electrical system has now either been replaced or rebuilt so its basically all new, including the battery!
dsc08007.jpg and
Rebuilt tach and new voltage stabilzer


Drew came over to help and as he started installing the tach and voltage stabilizer I replaced the voltage regulator in the engine bay. I got done before he did so I moved over to my S1 to install new springs on the front shocks (replaced the 8" 140lb springs with 10" 150 lb springs, that is another story which I will update on my S1 post).
dsc08003.jpg and
Replacing voltage regulator


The typical electrical gremlins popped up during installation of new electrical parts. Got the tach working fine, but now the instrument lights didn't work!
dsc08002.jpg and
Drew reviewing wiring schematic once again


And because their is absolutely no room to work on anything under the dash, the speedo and tach came back out to determine what was wrong. Drew even took the seat out so he could work from the floor on his back tracing every wire under the dash.
dsc08004.jpg and
Speedo and tach out tracing wiring

dsc08014.jpg and
Drew tracing all circuits for dash light mystery


Ended up being a missing power wire coming from the new voltage stabilizer so we made one in short order, rewired everything and reinstalled the instruments. Every single electrical thing functions as supposed to and the battery is finally getting the right charge from the generator.
dsc08021.jpg and
All instruments and electrical working as new (or better)


Before we took the S4 out for an afternoon drive, we replaced the spark plugs with new ones and off we went. Drew and I took turns driving the car on some of my favorite back roads enjoying the day and making mental notes of little details that need to be looked at. The Elan ran perfectly with great brakes, oil pressure, water temp, no ignition warning light, idled perfectly and has great pick up. Whaa Hoo!

Brought it back to the garage and parked it.
dsc08027.jpg and
S4 rebuild complete waiting for paint touchup


Next week the paint guy is coming over to talk about the repair of scratches, the fiberglass repair we made and buffing the entire car.

Getting very close to completing!
Last edited by Certified Lotus on Sun May 01, 2016 5:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Glen
05 Elise - Back where I started
65 Elan S2 - 26/4055
72 Europa - 74/2358R
69 Elan S4 - 45/7941
64 Elan S1 - 26/0379
12 Colin 30 - Lotus Racing Kart
07 Exige S - Wicked Road/Track Car
07 Exige S - Fast Road/Track Car
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PostPost by: SENC » Sun May 01, 2016 12:24 pm

Simply excellent!
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PostPost by: lotocone » Sun May 01, 2016 1:27 pm

Glen,

Great to see you got the electrical work done and that the car runs well. I also had my tach rebuilt by Nisonger for my S4. It has been quite a few years, but I think I had to call them to get it wired properly. Too bad there is so little room under the dash. I remember trying to get under steering wheel to work.

Eventually I'd like to rewire my car with new harnesses. About how long do you think it would take to do the dash harness? That's go to be the hardest one to do. I'd probably be doing this on my own once the dash is pulled out.

Bob
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PostPost by: Certified Lotus » Sun May 01, 2016 2:05 pm

Bob, if you take the dash out and work on a bench, taking lots of photos, you can rewire the dash in a full day. That is based on your having extra wiring, connectors, a good soldering iron and a circuit testor. You will need to make custom cables and ground wires. I would also have a wiring diagram enlarged as big as you can make it to trace connections out. British Wiring has a very complete harness and most of it is a direct replacement.

If you read through my post you will note some of the areas that were a challenge.

It might take you a day to remove the dash and another full day to install it after rewiring it. And then a third day to trouble shoot the things that don't work after install.

Now that I have done this, I could probably do it all in three days or less. With time for a couple of beers at the end of each day :D
Last edited by Certified Lotus on Sun May 22, 2016 11:28 am, edited 1 time in total.
Glen
05 Elise - Back where I started
65 Elan S2 - 26/4055
72 Europa - 74/2358R
69 Elan S4 - 45/7941
64 Elan S1 - 26/0379
12 Colin 30 - Lotus Racing Kart
07 Exige S - Wicked Road/Track Car
07 Exige S - Fast Road/Track Car
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PostPost by: Certified Lotus » Sun May 01, 2016 2:07 pm

SENC wrote:Simply excellent!

Thanks. It's been another rewarding rebuild of a fantastic Elan !
Glen
05 Elise - Back where I started
65 Elan S2 - 26/4055
72 Europa - 74/2358R
69 Elan S4 - 45/7941
64 Elan S1 - 26/0379
12 Colin 30 - Lotus Racing Kart
07 Exige S - Wicked Road/Track Car
07 Exige S - Fast Road/Track Car
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PostPost by: Certified Lotus » Sun May 08, 2016 10:33 am

The painter came over yesterday to evaluate the touch up work to be done. A number of scratches, the bonnet doesn't match the color of the rest of the car and the fiberglass repair needs to be painted. Plus the whole car could use a wet sand and buff as its been sitting for more than 30 years. He left saying he'd get me an estimate early in the week and could schedule a weekend in the next thirty days. More $$$ invested, but it will be worth it as this is a very nice example of an S4.
Glen
05 Elise - Back where I started
65 Elan S2 - 26/4055
72 Europa - 74/2358R
69 Elan S4 - 45/7941
64 Elan S1 - 26/0379
12 Colin 30 - Lotus Racing Kart
07 Exige S - Wicked Road/Track Car
07 Exige S - Fast Road/Track Car
06 Elise - Track pack
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PostPost by: Certified Lotus » Mon May 16, 2016 9:33 am

Drew offered his garage to do the painting as he has a larger compressor than I do and had previously built a temp paint booth for another project so he knew we would get the painting work done quicker. I drove the S4 over to his house on Sunday morning. It was nice and cool with no humidity and a breeze blowing. Perfect painting weather.

I parked next to one of his other projects, a Porsche 911 that he is restoring. Nice contrast of different type of period sports cars.

dsc08041.jpg and


We jacked up the front of the car so the painting of the front cowl would be easier. Bob (the painter), Drew and I had discussed the work to be done and decided it would be best to paint the entire front cowl instead of just blending in the patch. We are also repainting the entire bonnet as the color didn't match (it was too orange).

dsc08043.jpg and


While Bob was sanding the front cowl and then priming the fiberglass patch, I spent the first haft of the day touching up every little scratch on the body. We plan on wet sanding and buffing the entire car so it should all blend in nicely.

dsc08049.jpg and


We built a "paint booth" in the front of the garage to mask off the rest of the garage from overspray.

dsc08061.jpg and


Drew and Bob pouring the color matched red paint for first of four coats of paint.

dsc08072.jpg and


Bob laying down the second coat of paint. It was setting up nicely in the weather and drying quickly.

dsc08076.jpg and


Next weekend is wet sanding entire car and then full buff.
Glen
05 Elise - Back where I started
65 Elan S2 - 26/4055
72 Europa - 74/2358R
69 Elan S4 - 45/7941
64 Elan S1 - 26/0379
12 Colin 30 - Lotus Racing Kart
07 Exige S - Wicked Road/Track Car
07 Exige S - Fast Road/Track Car
06 Elise - Track pack
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PostPost by: tedtaylor » Mon May 16, 2016 2:07 pm

Do pray tell you will be painting the bumpers silver??? :)
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PostPost by: Certified Lotus » Mon May 16, 2016 2:36 pm

Ted, the bumpers were already painted gold and never installed on the car. They are staying gold.
Glen
05 Elise - Back where I started
65 Elan S2 - 26/4055
72 Europa - 74/2358R
69 Elan S4 - 45/7941
64 Elan S1 - 26/0379
12 Colin 30 - Lotus Racing Kart
07 Exige S - Wicked Road/Track Car
07 Exige S - Fast Road/Track Car
06 Elise - Track pack
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PostPost by: Certified Lotus » Sun May 22, 2016 11:20 am

The paint cured nicely during the week and everything is ready for a day of wet sanding the entire car on Saturday. Bob is the master at this having a light touch and changing to ever finer grit of paper in the process. I took off the rear trunk LOTUS letters so the finish would be the same all around the lettering.
dsc08086-2.jpg and
Bonnet wet sanded and on to the body of the Elan

dsc08090-2.jpg and
Bob's light touch

dsc08091-2.jpg and
Yes, the entire car is being wet sanded


Sunday is buffing day. That will really bring the finish out. Can't wait for this to be completed and the bumpers finally put back on. Getting close to the final stage of the rebuild.......
Glen
05 Elise - Back where I started
65 Elan S2 - 26/4055
72 Europa - 74/2358R
69 Elan S4 - 45/7941
64 Elan S1 - 26/0379
12 Colin 30 - Lotus Racing Kart
07 Exige S - Wicked Road/Track Car
07 Exige S - Fast Road/Track Car
06 Elise - Track pack
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PostPost by: Certified Lotus » Mon May 23, 2016 10:06 am

Buffing. Its an art form and you need a good eye, the proper tools, lots of different types of compound and most importantly Bob.

The paint on the car magically transformed. It was amazing to watch the process and gave me a whole new appreciation for how detailed it is.

dsc08097.jpg and
Small areas require a small buffer

dsc08099.jpg and
Larger areas require a larger buffer

dsc08103.jpg and
Side of Elan getting full treatment

dsc08107.jpg and
Bonnet buffing after repainting and wet sanding

dsc08111.jpg and
Front of Elan with repainted bonnet

dsc08117.jpg and
Rear of Elan with Boot lettering back on

dsc08123.jpg and
Side view back home in my driveway

dsc08124.jpg and
Other side of Elan back home in my driveway


The repainting of the front cowl and bonnet blended in extremely well and the entire wet sanding and buffing process brought the paint back to a very high level. It's not concour car show quality as the original paint job was not perfect, but it looks great and well worth the time and money invested to bring it to this level.

Thanks Bob!

Now the gold bumpers and emblems need to go back on.
Glen
05 Elise - Back where I started
65 Elan S2 - 26/4055
72 Europa - 74/2358R
69 Elan S4 - 45/7941
64 Elan S1 - 26/0379
12 Colin 30 - Lotus Racing Kart
07 Exige S - Wicked Road/Track Car
07 Exige S - Fast Road/Track Car
06 Elise - Track pack
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PostPost by: tedtaylor » Mon May 23, 2016 12:44 pm

looks great Glen. Do you have trim rings (rim embellishers) for the wheels? will really make it Pop! love the spinners.
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PostPost by: Certified Lotus » Mon May 23, 2016 1:06 pm

Thanks Ted! I do have the trim rings. The finish details are this weeks project so I can photograph the completed car over the weekend.
Glen
05 Elise - Back where I started
65 Elan S2 - 26/4055
72 Europa - 74/2358R
69 Elan S4 - 45/7941
64 Elan S1 - 26/0379
12 Colin 30 - Lotus Racing Kart
07 Exige S - Wicked Road/Track Car
07 Exige S - Fast Road/Track Car
06 Elise - Track pack
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PostPost by: Certified Lotus » Mon Jun 13, 2016 12:22 am

A couple of weeks of distractions from working on the S4 but I got refocused and started last week on the finishing touches. One of the things I had ordered was the trim strip for above the front bumper. It looked fairly easy to install so I set about it late one afternoon. I installed it and uninstalled it twice. I didn't like the way it looked and there were still gaps. And I really needed an extra pair of hands so I figured I would just wait for a time when Drew could come over.
dsc08139.jpg and
First install of front bumper


A week later (today) Drew came over and we discussed what I thought needed to be done which involved some light grinding of bodywork and fitting of the bumper to a closer tolerance. Drew agreed it was the right way to fit the bumper and away we went with the plan.
dsc08140.jpg and
Prepping area to grind

dsc08146.jpg and
Grinding excess fiberglass

dsc08147.jpg and
Painting touchup


Chris came over in his S3 to test his newly installed rear diff he had rebuilt and re-installed last night. Says the cars runs great and not a sound out of the rear differential. We got him involved in our project right away as we needed an extra pair of hands.
dsc08153.jpg and
Chris helping install the trim strip

dsc08154.jpg and
Bumper trim strip installed


After installing the trim strip we all agreed the car would look much better without it. As I understand it the factor installed the trim strip as they couldn't get the bumpers to align properly without major gaps, so the trim strip was added as a solution. Well, to us that was a challenge and spent most of the day making all sorts of adjustments to get the gap as consistent as possible. I think it turn out nicely and who ever buys this car, if you don't like it the trim strip will come with it and you are welcome to install it!
dsc08155.jpg and
Bumper installed without trim strip


One of the things that bothered me during the rebuild of this car was the windshield frame seemed very flexible. I never understood why until a did a lot of research and found out this car didn't have a tensioner block installed in the windshield frame and that was necessary to make the frame tight against the windshield molding and the glass. Drew and I took the windshield and rubber molding out, installed the tensioner block and reinstalled the windshield and molding. Now its very snug and tight fitting. As it should be.
dsc08156.jpg and
Removing winshield and rubber molding

dsc08159.jpg and
Installing tensioner block

dsc08162.jpg and
Windshield re-installed


I installed all the badging around the car. Getting closer to completion!

We went for a test drive. Brilliant sunny day. The S4 runs wonderfully but I'm not keen with the steering. Something is not quite right. Its not as crisp and responsive as my S1. Need to look into that and make a few adjustments. Next weeks project!
Glen
05 Elise - Back where I started
65 Elan S2 - 26/4055
72 Europa - 74/2358R
69 Elan S4 - 45/7941
64 Elan S1 - 26/0379
12 Colin 30 - Lotus Racing Kart
07 Exige S - Wicked Road/Track Car
07 Exige S - Fast Road/Track Car
06 Elise - Track pack
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