Lotus Elan

My (father's) Lotus

PostPost by: benymazz » Mon Jul 11, 2016 7:57 am

Hello all:

Let me preface this by saying I turn 15 in August, and am new to this forum.

My father passed in July of 2014. He was 74 years old.

When he was 25, he went to the UK and bought a brand new Lotus Elan S2. He drove it all over England, then shipped it home. It was stolen off the ferry, but he eventually got it back, although badly abused. I remember him telling me the story of driving it to work one day, and throwing a rod, the engine had been so cookedt.

He raced it at many Northeastern US courses, like Limerock and Watkins Glen. He stopped racing in the 80s and focused on other things, and the Lotus collected dust. Finally, for the Mohawk-Hudson branch of the SCCA's 50th Anniversary, he started restoring it. I barely remember helping him with it, but I think that's what started my early love for working on cars and engines. He drove it to work in the summer, until his death almost 2 years ago.

That being said, I have 3 questions.

1) It has largely sat unrun since then. I started it up about this time last year, after putting in a new battery and doing the usual, checking oil, coolant, etc. It started and ran beautifully. Odds are it will sit like this until next summer, when I (hopefully) have my permit. Is there any harm in only starting it once a year like this? Is there anything I can or should be doing to prevent i.e. corrosion in the engine from sitting still so long?

2) More detailed-oriented question: As far as I know it has the stock rotoflex-style axles (or as the Brits call them, driveshafts). Is it worth replacing these for more modern CV shafts?

3) It has a leaky radiator, somewhere in one of the welds on the top seam. I assume this can't be repaired, can anyone link me to a website that sells replacement radiators? Also see a few people saying replacing the stock belt driven fan with electric is the only way to go. Can't remember my dad ever having a problem with it overheating, as I think it was largely stock and not for performance. There's another engine sitting under the workbench built for that :D

Any and all help is appreciated, thanks in advance. :)
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PostPost by: rgh0 » Mon Jul 11, 2016 12:53 pm

Welcome to the forum

love to see some pictures of the Elan.


In response to your questions.

1. i would try to run the engine every 3 months or so and get it up to full temperature. if this is not possible and you can only run it once a year I would do a few things to help prevent corrossion while siitting.

a. pull the plugs and spray spray some oil or wd 40 or similar down into the cylinders and then replace the plugs
b. take the tension off the water pump drive belt so you can turn the pump by hand every few months
c. make sure you have fresh oil and antifreeze coolant in the engine before and run it until hot before you shut it down
d. spray some wd-40 down the carb throats while you hold the carb throttle open
e. you may find the fuel has gone off if you store it for a year - fill the fuel tank and put some fuel stabiliser in it before storing. You may need to drain and refill still after a year depending on the quality of the fuel you have locally

2. It is very hard to find good quality rubber donuts these days and many people have poor experience with new ones. A CV conversion is a good idea once you start using the car seriously

3. The original radiators are easily repaired to fix leaks from the seams. New cores can also be fitted relatively cheaply if the tubes themselves are damaged and leaking. Replacement new radiators are also available but they are more expensive than a fix by a local radiator shop if you remove the radiator and take it to them.

cheers
Rohan
Last edited by rgh0 on Mon Jul 11, 2016 1:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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PostPost by: Mazzini » Mon Jul 11, 2016 1:06 pm

Welcome to the forum :D

Please post some photos.

All the best,
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PostPost by: elanfan1 » Mon Jul 11, 2016 1:34 pm

benymazz wrote:Hello all:

Let me preface this by saying I turn 15 in August, and am new to this forum.

My father passed in July of 2014. He was 74 years old.

When he was 25, he went to the UK and bought a brand new Lotus Elan S2. He drove it all over England, then shipped it home. It was stolen off the ferry, but he eventually got it back, although badly abused. I remember him telling me the story of driving it to work one day, and throwing a rod, the engine had been so cookedt.

He raced it at many Northeastern US courses, like Limerock and Watkins Glen. He stopped racing in the 80s and focused on other things, and the Lotus collected dust. Finally, for the Mohawk-Hudson branch of the SCCA's 50th Anniversary, he started restoring it. I barely remember helping him with it, but I think that's what started my early love for working on cars and engines. He drove it to work in the summer, until his death almost 2 years ago.

That being said, I have 3 questions.

1) It has largely sat unrun since then. I started it up about this time last year, after putting in a new battery and doing the usual, checking oil, coolant, etc. It started and ran beautifully. Odds are it will sit like this until next summer, when I (hopefully) have my permit. Is there any harm in only starting it once a year like this? Is there anything I can or should be doing to prevent i.e. corrosion in the engine from sitting still so long?

2) More detailed-oriented question: As far as I know it has the stock rotoflex-style axles (or as the Brits call them, driveshafts). Is it worth replacing these for more modern CV shafts?

3) It has a leaky radiator, somewhere in one of the welds on the top seam. I assume this can't be repaired, can anyone link me to a website that sells replacement radiators? Also see a few people saying replacing the stock belt driven fan with electric is the only way to go. Can't remember my dad ever having a problem with it overheating, as I think it was largely stock and not for performance. There's another engine sitting under the workbench built for that :D

Any and all help is appreciated, thanks in advance. :)


Firstly welcome to the forum, you must be our youngest member. It's great that you have a keen interest in cars and that you 'speak' so well for a fourteen year old, you would have easily passed for a much older/more experienced person. If you can move the car up and down your property or find someone you trust to drive it for you it wouldn't hurt.

Don't forget to get it insured, you should be able to buy laid up cover so that if it were to be destroyed or stolen you could replace it. They are worth quite a lot of money thesedays.

Good Luck.
Steve

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PostPost by: Ross Robbins » Mon Jul 11, 2016 3:35 pm

As usual, Rohan has given the perfect counsel for the actual problem, so I won't try to add anything there. Let me just add a couple of things from a different perspective.

First, welcome to the forum and to the world of Elan worship.

Second, condolences on your loss. When you do get your license, this will be one of the most important legacies from your dad, so do everything you can to protect it. As suggested by Elanfan, get comprehensive insurance from your regular carrier or a full policy from Hagerty (this may need to be done by a relative in the household) to protect your asset.

And, finally, join your local Lotus club. If you post your location, we can probably have some specific contact info for you. You will benefit from an immense pool of knowledge, an ability to help with your specific issues on the car, and perhaps most importantly, some surrogates for your dad. Good luck Benymazz...we are here for you.
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PostPost by: 661 » Mon Jul 11, 2016 3:41 pm

Sorry for your loss, but what a tribute one can pay your father by keeping the car loved.
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PostPost by: trw99 » Mon Jul 11, 2016 4:23 pm

Welcome lad.

Tim
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PostPost by: benymazz » Mon Jul 11, 2016 5:47 pm

Thanks for all the help guys, especially Rohan. Really appreciate it.

Everyone seems to be asking for pictures, so here they are:

Image

Image

Image

Image
1965 S2 26/4623
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PostPost by: 661 » Mon Jul 11, 2016 5:53 pm

Beautiful, but looking at those master cylinders it would remind me to add brake and clutch fluid to the list of things to do.
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PostPost by: RichardHawkins » Mon Jul 11, 2016 6:24 pm

Welcome to the forum young sir.

I think you have one of the rare and valuable wood rimmed steering wheels. These early wheels had no metal within the rim, and are considered fragile. Check or have the wheel checked, if it is the early type, they have been known to break whilst driving.

We do not want to lose our youngest member.

I think I would have given almost anything for such a car at your age.

Enjoy the car.

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PostPost by: KevJ+2 » Mon Jul 11, 2016 7:49 pm

[quote="RichardHawkins"]

I think I would have given almost anything for such a car at your age.

Especially with a spare engine under the workbench :shock:
Welcome :mrgreen:
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PostPost by: tvacc » Mon Jul 11, 2016 10:39 pm

I would ditch the fan and buy a front mounted Kenlowe or similar.

CVs are a good idea. Most of the major suppliers have them. Rohan gave you great advice. At your age I doubt you will be able to get insurance anywhere.You might like to share ownership with a trusted relative and put ot under their name.

Are you in NY?

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PostPost by: benymazz » Mon Jul 11, 2016 11:43 pm

tvacc wrote:I would ditch the fan and buy a front mounted Kenlowe or similar.

CVs are a good idea. Most of the major suppliers have them. Rohan gave you great advice. At your age I doubt you will be able to get insurance anywhere.You might like to share ownership with a trusted relative and put ot under their name.

Are you in NY?

Tony V


Yeah, at the moment it's insured under shared ownership.

I do live in NY. Clifton Park.
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"I'm never gonna financially recover from this"
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PostPost by: Mazzini » Tue Jul 12, 2016 7:43 am

That is a really lovely looking car :D
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PostPost by: Elanintheforest » Tue Jul 12, 2016 8:37 am

Hi Benny and welcome
I reckon that the most important job you have to get done is overhauling the brake and clutch hydraulics.

In the Lotus manual it says that the brake fluid is meant to be changed every 2 years, and the master cylinders, slave cylinder (clutch) and calipers inspected / overhauled or replaced every 5 years. It's not an expensive set of things to get done, and if you don't know when it was all done, then get it sorted!

The Elan has a single circuit brake system, unlike modern cars that have a 'backup' circuit, so any component failure will lead to having no brakes. This has happened a few times to me over the years, and it's pretty scary!!

The second important thing to do is to get that fuel pipe replaced...the one that feeds the carburetors from the fuel pump. Again, these have a finite life, and perish quite quickly. With the carburetors sitting over the distributor, full of sparks, many Elans have been burnt out due to fires in this area.

I'm sure you're going to have a ball with this car over the years, and I can't imagine having a better car that an Elan that you're Dad had from new.

Enjoy!!

Mark
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