Lotus Elan

My first really long trip in my Elan

PostPost by: steve lyle » Mon Nov 09, 2020 6:47 am

My original plan was to get the car ready this year to go to LOG in Salt Lake City - about 2500 miles total. Once that fell through, I still wanted a long road trip just for the adventure, to get out of the house, and to uncover any other problems the car might have. So the wife and I packed up and took off, with plenty of masks and hand sanitizer.

The trip: From Tulsa, to Memphis to see my sister, then to Nashville, to visit my brother, then follow the Natchez Trace Parkway (440 miles) to Natchez, MS, with a side trip to Vicksburg, then back to Tulsa. The entire trip ended up being 1876 miles over 8 days, with the longest leg being the last one at just over 500 miles. All on secondary roads, except for a short sprint (groan) on I-40 to get a across the river at Memphis.

Long story short, the car ran great. My plan is to take the car apart and do some body repairs and a color change this winter/spring, so this was a chance to uncover additional issues to address. And I found a few...

- The wipers don't park consistently at the same spot. Something is slipping in the mechanism - either the blade to gear box connection, or the cable to gear, or whatever. So that will need to be checked out when the dash comes out.

- The car needs a dead pedal for my left foot. I'm thinking to make up something out of wood that I can then fiberglass.

- We drove through some rain, and had some leaks - two of which were conveniently over my right and left legs. Another thing to get special attention when the car comes apart.

- Luggage wise we had the car filled to the gills, but room for everything we needed. A longer trip to SLC for LOG in 21 will require a laundrymat stop. But the car was more loaded than we'd ever had it, and it resulted in a few scrapes of the back end of the tail pipe, mostly focused on the clamp at the muffler. Probably because the DCO installed the clamp with the tightening bolt sticking a bit down below pipe. To the extent that it tore the clamp off the car. This was discovered in Vicksburg, where you apparently can't buy the fancy wide/smooth clamp that I got from DBE with the muffler. So I tried putting on a u-bolt style clamp. Which dragged even worse, and also got torn off, but before we even left Vicksburg. Luckily no other damage. Once we got back, I ordered a new clamp, and when I was installing it I found that my muffler had sagged a bit on the hangers. So with a combination of raising the muffler up a bit on the hangers and installing the clamp with the bolt above the bottom of the pipe, we should have a bit more clearance. And when I take the car apart I'll put in adjustable spring mounts so I can tune the rear ride height like I can currently on the front.

- I had no issues with hot starts. I credit that mostly to the pre-engagement gear reduction starter from RDE, but I think leaner needles on the Strombergs and a new coil may have helped too. Sometimes I had to crank it a bit longer when hot, but it always started fairly quickly.

- The 5-speed was a definite pleasure to have along, no issues at all, nice smooth shifts and calm cruising.

The car got plenty of comments, a couple of the usual guesses that it's an MG. One Spitfire guess. At least 3 SUV's took our picture on the road, and at a fuel stop in Mena, Arkansas, a guy ran over from his Ferrari (no lie - a Ferrari in Mena!) saying he thought we might be an Elan, he had heard of them but never actually seen one. Cool car, he said. I told him he had a cool car, too.
Attachments
IMG_0159.JPG and
On the Natchez Trace Parkway
IMG_0094.JPG and
The Mississippi River at Natchez
IMG_0085.JPG and
At the Vicksburg battlefield
IMG_0079.JPG and
The Mrs at the wheel for the first time
Steve Lyle
1972 Elan Sprint 0248k @ https://www.mgexp.com/registry/1972-Lot ... 48K.30245/
1972 MGB Roadster @ https://www.mgexp.com/registry/1972-MG- ... 842G.4498/
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PostPost by: johnmat » Mon Nov 09, 2020 8:20 am

Nice! Keep going! :arrow: 8)
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PostPost by: gherlt » Mon Nov 09, 2020 8:52 am

steve lyle wrote:- The car needs a dead pedal for my left foot. I'm thinking to make up something out of wood that I can then fiberglass.

Yes, the car is great on long trips. I do the Germany-Spain (1725km) on one day, all on motorways. I would like a 5th gear, too. But really, engine is not the main component of the noises at 130km/h .... (at least with the DHC, I didn't make the trip with the FHC yet).
Regarding the left foot, place it it behing the clutch pedal. gives a bit of a stretch.
Problem for me on long stages is the right knee, it hurts after a few hours. Seems I twist the foot a bit ...
1964 S1 (engine ready, awainting body paint)
1967 S3 DHC (needs new starter)
1969 S4 FHC (running great ... done 60km ... engine damage :-( )

Brian Bucklands 2nd edition available ! Look here: https://theelanman.com
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PostPost by: elans3 » Mon Nov 09, 2020 11:26 am

Car looks great, and your Mrs looks a "died in the wool" Lotus driver !
Congrats, sounds like it was a very enjoyable trip.
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Elan S3 FHC Pre-Airflow 1966
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PostPost by: TBG » Mon Nov 09, 2020 2:22 pm

"The Mrs at the wheel for the first time"

I note the indentation in the sun visor. Was this you administering discipline? :roll:

Most I have done in one day in my Elan - roof down was 802 miles. Quite knackered at the end of that trip. :D
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PostPost by: steve lyle » Mon Nov 09, 2020 6:51 pm

gherlt wrote:Yes, the car is great on long trips. I do the Germany-Spain (1725km) on one day, all on motorways. I would like a 5th gear, too. But really, engine is not the main component of the noises at 130km/h .... (at least with the DHC, I didn't make the trip with the FHC yet).
Regarding the left foot, place it it behing the clutch pedal. gives a bit of a stretch.
Problem for me on long stages is the right knee, it hurts after a few hours. Seems I twist the foot a bit ...


Agree on the wind being a bigger sound issue than the engine at higher speeds. That tends to keep us off of Interstates, although my bigger concern is just being seen by semis and Suburbans.

I put my left foot behind the clutch pedal too. There probably isn't enough room to do that and have a dead pedal too, but if I could only have one, I'm thinking dead pedal. I guess I should make it easily removable in case I'm wrong.

What bugs me on the long trips is my right (gas pedal) heel. It gets sore after awhile. Cruise control would be nice, which I've added to my MGB, but I can't figure out how to run a cruise cable to the carb throttle shaft through or around the Federal Stromberg secondary throttle adapter thingy that's still on my car, though the throttle plates have been removed from it.
Steve Lyle
1972 Elan Sprint 0248k @ https://www.mgexp.com/registry/1972-Lot ... 48K.30245/
1972 MGB Roadster @ https://www.mgexp.com/registry/1972-MG- ... 842G.4498/
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PostPost by: steve lyle » Mon Nov 09, 2020 6:54 pm

TBG wrote:"The Mrs at the wheel for the first time"

I note the indentation in the sun visor. Was this you administering discipline? :roll:

Most I have done in one day in my Elan - roof down was 802 miles. Quite knackered at the end of that trip. :D


LOL - that's not the direction that discipline goes in our household!

No, that came with the car when I got it. It's on the list to get addressed when the body gets refurbished. That, or maybe remove them entirely.

Yeah, the 500+ had me a little wired at the end of the day, couldn't imagine another 300 on top of that.
Steve Lyle
1972 Elan Sprint 0248k @ https://www.mgexp.com/registry/1972-Lot ... 48K.30245/
1972 MGB Roadster @ https://www.mgexp.com/registry/1972-MG- ... 842G.4498/
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PostPost by: Foxie » Mon Nov 09, 2020 7:28 pm

steve lyle wrote:
- The car needs a dead pedal for my left foot. I'm thinking to make up something out of wood that I can then fiberglass.



Nice to hear about your trip !

Here is a pic of the dead pedal I made up for the Plus 2.

It's a piece of 16 gauge steel, cut and bent. Secure to the bulkhead by 2 screws, and to the floor by 2 more.

Added some lightening holes to keep Colin happy.

As you can see from the pic, this is the Mark IV version !

:)
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68 Elan +2, 70 Elan +2s
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PostPost by: Ross Robbins » Tue Nov 10, 2020 12:58 am

Well Done Steve!

Far too few of us drive long distances in our Elans so it is nice to see a spirited drive from you and your better half. I especially liked seeing you traverse the Natchez Trace. When my LOUTS friends and I did our trip down the Great River Road from Itasca to New Orleans it was one of our favorite parts of the trip.

If you will contact me at lotusross at comcast dot net, I have something for you.
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PostPost by: Elan45 » Wed Nov 11, 2020 4:38 am

Longest trip in our Elan was from Columbus to the LOG 6 in Vermont. We convoyed w/ Dan Mliler from Cleveland in his JPS Europa and I longed to have had his 5th gear for cruising.

Actually, the return trip was longer, since the fuel tank in the Elan developed a crack around the lower left mounting stud and the car and every thing inside it smelled of gasoline for many years to come.

Another long Elan trip was the drive to Watkins Glen in Autumn 1978 in our newly acquired red FHC to celebrate Mario's winning the world championship. And having to be back at work Monday morning.. Sally and our 8 YO son, Brent, made travel in the coupe less than comfortable.

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PostPost by: el-saturn » Wed Nov 11, 2020 7:31 am

you don´t need a pedal-substitute if you have a safety devises roll cage: my left foot loves it and it´s positioned as if ordered so ! sandy
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PostPost by: TWebb » Wed Nov 11, 2020 1:51 pm

Steve,

Fellow Tulsan here. Recently purchased an Elan. Love to connect.

Tim Webb

Feel free to send private message or email.

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