Lotus Elan

Elan S4 being awakened after 35 year slumber.

PostPost by: Elanintheforest » Sat Mar 27, 2021 3:31 pm

A delay on getting the petrol tank made and the dash refurbished slowed things down a bit on the Elan over the winter, but that wasn’t a bad thing…I needed the rest.

If you are about to fully restore your Elan or just want to smarten up the dash, then plan ahead. My dash was away for 6 months, and the petrol tank also had a 6 month lead time to have made. Both were worth the wait as they really are perfect.

As I’ve just fitted the dash I have one more suggestion. Don’t be tempted to fit a repro dash if you can avoid it. They are tricky little sods to fit when all wired up, and I had to offer it up, figure out what was in the way, take it back and adjust something 4 or 5 times before it went on properly. If it hadn’t been the original dash I really would have doubted that it would fit at all.

Back to last November, I had a few jobs to do before the dash came back.

The underfelt and carpets went in pretty easily, although the original underfelt is probably a few mms thinner than the stuff I had so adjustments had to be made.

The hood frame was repaired with a couple of new rivets and rubbed down / repainted, along with the frame tray. It took a couple of trial fittings to get it symmetrical on the car as, when a rivet or two had failed, one of the bows went a little out of shape. Then it got cold and wet over Christmas / New Year so I took to warmer activities, mainly involving eating and drinking.

The dash arrived back in January, and the dining room table became the perfect workbench on which to build the dash up, cleaning up / renovating all the bits and pieces on the way. The ash tray took a fair bit of restoration, and I probably spent an hour or so on each switch. Can’t rush a good job.

The petrol tank arrived in February, and with much messing about the holes in the fibreglass lined up with the threads in the tank. The tank is perfect, but the original tank had been mounted at a very strange angle in the boot. One corner was held up but the rear panel, and consequently a couple of holes were 3 or more cms out of place. Much messing about with fibreglass to drill new holes and repair the old ones.

The tank was made by Andy at Axminster Panels, and I opted for the modification of having the pipe take-off and sender on the side rather than on the back. It seems a far more logical place to put them, allowing room to put a decent in-line fuel filter in the boot, and being able to see instantly if there is anything weeping from the sender unit.

Last week I couldn’t put it off any longer, and the built-up dash was connected up to the loom in the car, and all the circuits re-tested. Everything worked apart from the rear lights, but as I had cut the boot lid loom to take the lid off that was easily explained.

With the electrics working the choke and heater cable were fitted, along with the water / oil gauge and its temperature sender pipe and oil pressure pipe. The dash was offered up a few times, each time noting some other bit of loom that was in the way. Once they were cleared it became obvious that the heater was encroaching too far into the dash space, so it was taken out, the ‘Y’ section heater mounting bracket modified until the heater fitted as far forward towards the bulkhead as it could, and the dash offered up one more time. It fitted like a glove now, with a lot more space between the back of the ignition switch and the heater box than it had when I took it apart.

All electrics were re-tested, the dash screwed in place, wires tidied, glove box liner fitted and the gear lever fitted.

I had a good night’s sleep last night!
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PostPost by: trw99 » Sat Mar 27, 2021 5:08 pm

Excellent looking job, Mark.

The end is in sight!

Or is it?

Tim
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PostPost by: Elanintheforest » Sat Mar 27, 2021 5:28 pm

Not a lot more to do Tim. Steering columns in, radiator in and hooked up, carbs and exhaust to get on and get engine running, and then the brake callipers / servo complete the mechanical side. Wheels to blast and paint, bumpers to paint, under the bumpers to tidy up and fit a new hood. Apart from a few smaller jobs, it's done.

But I now realise what needs to be done on the S3.
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PostPost by: Mazzini » Sat Mar 27, 2021 6:26 pm

Excellent workmanship!
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PostPost by: Geoffers71 » Sat Mar 27, 2021 11:14 pm

Very very nice Mark, really excellent job. Takes me back to my resto of the S2 :wink: :D
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PostPost by: Elanintheforest » Sun Mar 28, 2021 8:40 am

If I'd have kept the S2 Geoff I may have finished by now, 5 years after you did!
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PostPost by: Elanintheforest » Tue Mar 30, 2021 10:59 am

Just one photo showing the refurbished steering wheel in place with the refurbished dash, and I’m chuffed to bits.

The steering column went back in without a fuss, but was too long. I did have some issues getting it off the steering rack UJ when stripping the car, so I think that tapping the old steering wheel to pull it off 'adjusted' the length inadvertently. That was soon sorted.

Everything electrical works now, even the horns. The original horn wire from the horn button had been cut, and the rest of the horn circuit modified to work a pair of air horns from a switch under the dash. Luckily the ‘modifiers’ left most of the original circuit intact, so it just had to be re-united back into it’s original position.

The only bit to do on the dash now is to get the Phillips Turnolock mounted. I’ve figured out how to do that, and have the power / earth / speaker cable and aerial poking out from its mounting place, but I now have to find a way of connecting the speaker cable into the back of the radio without the correct plug. Could be tricky, unless anybody knows of a supplier for these things?

Next is looking at mounting the exhaust system. I have a NOS S4 mild steel silencer which I will fit to replace the S/S Sprint one that was fitted. It looks like the silencer is a fair bit longer than the Sprint one, and with only one mounting point. And it’s heavy! Should be fun, but I do love the sound of the original mild steel S4 twin silencer….they are very loud!
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PostPost by: trw99 » Tue Mar 30, 2021 11:22 am

It really won’t be long now, Mark!

Tim
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PostPost by: ericbushby » Tue Mar 30, 2021 3:06 pm

Hi Mark,
This may not be helpful, but for the Turnolock speaker plug this electrical crimp connector pin fits quite well.
RS Components Part no 284 8501.
They are 21 pence each, but only available in bags of 100.
I had some left over from the olden days when I used to go to work. None left now unfortunately. A bit of a long shot unless you know any industrial electricians.
Eric in Burnley
1967 S3SE DHC
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PostPost by: Elanintheforest » Tue Mar 30, 2021 4:28 pm

Thanks Eric. It's good to know that something out there may do the job.

I was down to two options. Take the radio apart and solder a couple of wires onto the inside of the plug and have the wires come out of the case somewhere to be attached in a more conventional manner.

Alternatively, tin the two speaker wires and shape them up until they fit !

I doubt that I would ever listen to the radio but I do feel compelled to have it working rather than sitting in the dash as an ornament.
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PostPost by: Elanintheforest » Sat Apr 17, 2021 4:04 pm

The big day came when it was time to start the engine. I always try and get oil pressure up on cranking but always fail! This time I injected oil into the gallery with a syringe via the oil pressure gauge take-off on the block. Still no oil pressure, so the carbs went on, the plunger put into the syringe and with one hand operating the carbs, the other nervously on the ignition key, the engine was cranked over and started. It took about 2 seconds for the plunger in the syringe to take off like a rocket at 80psi, and I was happy.

The next day the refurbished radiator was fitted, the oil pressure gauge connected, and a more controlled start up initiated. It didn’t take long before the garage filled with smoke from the old manifold and exhaust, which had been asleep for 36 years and full of oil, and of course, the excess oil from the bores was burnt off. I left it for an hour for the air to clear, and warmed the engine up properly (with no smoke now!) to set up the carbs and check everything worked. The charging system was dead, and as I’d had to re-build the loom after some numpty had roughly ripped it out to put an alternator in place of the dynamo, it could have been a complex fix. But it was just the old regulator box playing up, and a replacement had the system working fine.

The tachometer doesn’t work, so a few things to check out there, and the headlamps kind-of lift up, but then won’t go down! I suspect the switch or some daft error I’ve made connecting everything up, but that will be checked out next week.

Next on the list is to overhaul a fan motor and pop it in place and figure out a little loom for the fan, otter switch and manual override. I’ve found a couple of diags on here that I can play with, so that shouldn’t be too much of a drama. Famous wordstempting failure.

Very pleased that the Acralite intruder pistons don’t intrude too much and start-up and getting smooth tickover was very straight forward. The machine shop I use is very good, and even though they assured me that the pistons had been machined for road use giving a C/R of 11:1 or so, you never know until you try.

I do have a question for the group. How on earth do those otter switches stay in place? They push in quite easily, and I can see it shooting out under pressure of the radiator. I did warm the engine up enough to pressurise the system, and the otter switch stayed in place, but I really don’t understand how.
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PostPost by: richardcox_lotus » Sat Apr 17, 2021 4:51 pm

Well done Mark. To hold the otter switch in place, you may have a spring clip, but they don’t always hold. So I added securing wire - bottom half passing through a radiator fin gap. Not my neatest job but does what it’s meant to.
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PostPost by: Elanintheforest » Sat Apr 17, 2021 5:47 pm

That looks like a good idea Richard. A champagne cork cage may just do the trick, and for the same purpose.

I'm still wondering how it's meant to stay in place. I thought about the brass bulb of the sender expanding at a greater rate than the brass of the radiator header tank, which would help, but only when hot. The trick then would be to avoid potholes before the thermostat opens to prevent the sender from falling out.

Another thought is that the rubber is a special compound that expands after the first heating and that bonds it into place. Or it has a glue that bonds it in place I've run out of ideas after this logical drivel !!
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PostPost by: elanfan1 » Sat Apr 17, 2021 8:41 pm

Steve

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PostPost by: trw99 » Sun Apr 18, 2021 6:26 am

Mark, the Otter switches were well known for popping out. Fitting a figure of eight securing wire was common practice.

Well done on the start up!

Tim
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