Lotus Elan

Keeping It Original

PostPost by: ericbushby » Thu Jun 09, 2022 4:29 pm

Hi Tim,
Thanks, I have never noticed that arrangement before and I find it odd to trap a high voltage cable between two earthed metal parts. Having worked on high voltage industrial equipment all my working time that looks a likely failure point. I would not do it that way.
Cheers
Eric in Burnley
1967 S3SE
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PostPost by: pharriso » Thu Jun 09, 2022 5:49 pm

ericbushby wrote:Hi Tim,
Thanks, I have never noticed that arrangement before and I find it odd to trap a high voltage cable between two earthed metal parts. Having worked on high voltage industrial equipment all my working time that looks a likely failure point. I would not do it that way.
Cheers
Eric in Burnley
1967 S3SE


I'm with you Eric.... asking for trouble...
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PostPost by: billwill » Thu Jun 09, 2022 6:46 pm

ericbushby wrote:Hi Tim,
I understood that the ignition leads were originally routed round the back of the head and through the hole in the head casting. Then a metal plate was fixed to the cam cover, over the plugs to reduce radio interference.
It may be more original than you think.
What a find, well done.
Eric in Burnley
1967 S3SE DHC



As Eric says, your ignition leads are in the ORIGINAL position for cars fitted with the radio suppression kit.

i.e round the back and into the spark plug crevice through the rectangular hole at the back of the cylinder head.

But if so, you are missing the aluminium plate which covered the spark plug crevice. It was held on by 4 of the cam cover bolts. My car had one originally, but the plate was never replaced after the first renovation in 1983 and I didn't chase it up as it wasn't very effective anyway.
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PostPost by: Elanintheforest » Fri Jun 10, 2022 5:15 pm

Loving this topic and I wouldn't expect anything less from you Tim, or indeed, for that car!
Are you going to be going through the car front to back overhauling the brakes, suspension and steering?

How is the car for oil leaks and the dreaded water drip from the water pump?

My S4 had been off the road and not run at all since 1985, was it was no surprise that everything needed doing on that. But I also found that the S3 needed almost as much work, and whilst it hadn't been on the road for quite a few years, most things had sprung a leak.

The surprising thing with the S3 was that the Rotoflex coupling still looked to be in perfect condition with no cracks or splits. I put those on in 1979 !

One thing that I would urge is to overhaul the brake system completely if it hasn't been done in the past few years. I used to overhaul the callipers myself, but with them being over half a century old, I now entrust such work to the pros. I used Bigg Red in Worcester for my S3 Calipers, and they did a fantastic job on the 4 calipers for £350 including postage!

One other thing that could make a big difference is to get the wheels checked out for being true, blasted and re-painted. No point in going for super new tyres unless they are right!
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PostPost by: AshleyPark » Sat Jun 11, 2022 11:28 am

If you want to spend £350 that's fine, but restoring the callipers is an easy job to do yourself really.
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PostPost by: Bits » Sat Jun 11, 2022 8:52 pm

Great to see the right car with the right person. Who has the right mindset and elan knowledge to keep an original car in it's factory condition.
It's important that these cars exist and are used for the pleasure they give.
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PostPost by: Craig Elliott » Sun Jun 12, 2022 3:11 pm

billwill wrote:
ericbushby wrote:Hi Tim,
I understood that the ignition leads were originally routed round the back of the head and through the hole in the head casting. Then a metal plate was fixed to the cam cover, over the plugs to reduce radio interference.
It may be more original than you think.
What a find, well done.
Eric in Burnley
1967 S3SE DHC



As Eric says, your ignition leads are in the ORIGINAL position for cars fitted with the radio suppression kit.

i.e round the back and into the spark plug crevice through the rectangular hole at the back of the cylinder head.

But if so, you are missing the aluminium plate which covered the spark plug crevice. It was held on by 4 of the cam cover bolts. My car had one originally, but the plate was never replaced after the first renovation in 1983 and I didn't chase it up as it wasn't very effective anyway.


With the full radio suppression kit fitted you couldn't route the HT leads around the back of the engine. As well as the ally plate covering the valley between the cams there's also a plate covering the back of the engine attached where the gearbox bell housing joins the block. There's no gap for the leads to go through there (or if there is there's more risk of the leads rubbing/shorting) so they would have to go between the carbs and over the top of the inlet cam cover.
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PostPost by: pharriso » Sun Jun 12, 2022 5:45 pm

Craig Elliott wrote:With the full radio suppression kit fitted you couldn't route the HT leads around the back of the engine. As well as the ally plate covering the valley between the cams there's also a plate covering the back of the engine attached where the gearbox bell housing joins the block. There's no gap for the leads to go through there (or if there is there's more risk of the leads rubbing/shorting) so they would have to go between the carbs and over the top of the inlet cam cover.

Actually yes there is plenty of room, these 2 photo's are of that area of my car with the full suppression kit fitted:
IMG_7314.jpg and

IMG_7315.jpg and

The spark plug wires pass below the cylinder head corner where it would be in close proximity to the suppression plate.
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PostPost by: pereirac » Sun Jun 12, 2022 8:18 pm

Tim,
Your car looks lovely. I still have the original radiator and fan for my car in the garage but given the traffic these days I added an earlier style wide radiator, a slightly more modern Kenlow fan, a manual switch for the fan and hazard lights. I still have donuts as they make driving the car 'interesting'. I have Lucas electronic ignition which was recommended to me by Peter Day in the 1980s as getting to the points is a bit of a bugger. All in all a few changes which make the car more able to cope with modern driving but nothing which can not be reversed.
Have fun with your Sprint
Carl
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PostPost by: billwill » Mon Jun 13, 2022 2:12 pm

deleted, irrelevant.
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PostPost by: The Veg » Tue Jun 14, 2022 1:28 am

Looks a real beauty Tim! Sounds too like you're going to have a lot of fun with it!
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PostPost by: trw99 » Wed Jun 15, 2022 11:11 am

Having got the car home and then spent some time giving it a good look over, I began to draw up a list of work to be done. I had already booked the car in with my mechanic, let’s call him Colin, so that he could change all the fluids and give it a good look over, up on the ramp and report his findings. I ought to mention that Colin is what us boomer generation would call a good old fashioned motor mechanic, even though he is a little younger than me. He is a Jaguar enthusiast but spends a good deal of his time spannering for a serial Lotus collector, who has an original Six, a race winning XI as well as a Sprint in his 30 car garage. So I have no qualms about handing my car over to him.

I also wanted to put a few more miles onto the car, especially on country roads, to get to know it even better. Since my list included a few parts, I thought I’d drive over into the next county and visit the ever-helpful Susan Miller. It was a warm spring day, so the roof came down and I set off cross country, to enjoy some good Elan roads. Which I did!

As usual, Susan was most welcoming and allowed me to wonder around her Aladdin’s Cave of Elan parts, ephemera and photos of Mick. We had a good long chat and she gave the car a good long look over, noting the originality of many parts on it. With a bag full of service items I said my goodbyes to her and spent a couple of hours in the early evening wending my way home via a different cross country route, largely devoid of traffic. The air was heavy with the scent of early summer, the crops coming through, the verge-side cow parsley, occasional wafts of newly mown grass as I passed through villages. The sun was still warm and I was able to enjoy myself at the wheel of the Elan even more!

The handling was as good as it should be, the ride as superb for a 60s sports car as Chapman and Hickman intended, the performance delightful. I did not drive flat out as I was acutely aware that the tyres need replacing. They have more than enough tread but I could not trust twenty six year old rubber to do what it was intended for back in the 90s!

Over the next couple of days I was able to do some odd jobs, such as ordering a spare set of keys from Morelands, some Millers Classic Sport 20w50 from Oppie Oils, a can of Lotus Yellow from the Touch-Up Paint Factory and a Classic Certificate of Provenance from Andy Graham at Hethel.

By the time Colin arrived with his low loader to take the Sprint off to his workshops, I had driven just over 650 miles. I remained very pleased with my purchase and grateful that my gut reaction to the car had been correct. However, now for an expert mechanic to give it the once over. What would he find?

This was the list of work I handed to Colin:

The steering wheel is not centralised. It can be rectified of course, but first we should investigate the tracking of the car once the new tyres have been fitted.

The indicators work, but tick erratically.

Hot starting is an issue. The Dellorto carbs appear to be well set up and tend to hold their tune well. It may just be that I have to get used to it.

The speedometer has a delay during acceleration. Its as if the needle is held back momentarily before it pings round to about the true speed. Watching brief.

The tachometer bounces sometimes. This is pretty normal for Elans and there may be no fix.

The clutch needs investigating. Reverse is hard to engage and disengage. Clutch makes a clicking noise when engaging.

Change all fluids.

Check cylinder compression. Note any engine issues.

Change air filter element.

Check distributor operation and for wear.

Check water pump operation and for any weeping on the front chest. Check all hoses. Fit new thermostat and fan belt.

Check brake pads and operation.

Check all suspension and steering bushes. Check over suspension wishbones for straightness. Check over shock absorbers and springs. Check driveshaft doughnuts.

Check over entire chassis, note any areas of concern to discuss. Check for straightness as far as is possible.

Check all lights are operational.

Tim
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Spring Sunshine.jpg and
Ready to go to Suffolk
Wheel NS Front.jpg and
Some work needed on the rubber!
Engine May 5.jpg and
Missing flasher relay
Engine 8.jpg and
Well used and well tuned Dellortos
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PostPost by: slowsprinter » Tue Nov 15, 2022 12:43 pm

Tim

I'm really pleased to know that you now have your own Sprint, given that you must be one of the UK's leading guru's of the marque!

I met you briefly over 12 years ago now at Donnington, when we were both marvelling at Alex Black's lovely restoration on his Lagoon Blue DHC. I had recently acquired my own Sprint project (which in reality was several boxes of bits). Alex's car had a big effect on me as mine is now a Lagoon Blue over White that I am still working on. Mine was originally a FHC but the previous owner had written it off (and nearly himself). So my car is a bit like Trigger's broom, it is a different bodyshell (DHC) and a different chassis (Spyder). Therefore I am not as inclined as you are for originality! Plus I have never actually driven, or indeed even been driven in an Elan. It was my favourite boyhood car (I had the Dinky Elan with the Tiger in the tank). So that is why I took the plunge when I was aware of this project locally to me in Scotland. Life has got in the way of my restoration and I have gone through various stages of motivation problems. Currently I am enthused again.

I am just at the stage of fitting the new dash to my car. I've had the engine running and all my electrics are working. I have doors that don't close and no hood, carpets and a few other things missing.

I look forward to reading your thread as time progresses. My best wishes to you.

Ian
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PostPost by: trw99 » Tue Nov 15, 2022 6:21 pm

Hi Ian and yes, I certainly do recall meeting you at Donington.I thought you might have got your car roadworthy by now! Anyway, best of luck with the latest growth spurt.

I have enjoyed putting just under 2k miles onto my Sprint since I bought it. I love the frisson of excitement every time I get in it, never knowing if I shall reach my destination, never knowing what may go wrong!

Since I wrote my last update several frissons have come and gone; a couple have stayed!

I had a problem where once the engine had heated up, it would cough, spit, backfire and die. It would restart again when nearly cold. I changed out all the ignition parts you might expect, coil, cap, leads, plugs and rotor arm, all to no avail. It was only once I had asked an experienced mechanic to diagnose the fault that he identified the Powerspark unit in the distributor had begun to expire. Once replaced with a new item, all was well.

Until one hot summer day all my electrics went. No radiator fan, no lights, no indicators, no horn, no wipers, no windows. Engine ran fine and the courtesy light went on and off as normal. I eventually swapped out the main fuse for a new item, having cleaned up every earth point and wire I could find. The fuse did the job.

Or so I thought. The other week, in heavy rain, the wipers stopped. The indicators stopped. The window stopped. In fact, every time the electric radiator fan cut in, the electrics went AWOL.

Luckily I have a very good friend who knows Sprints and what I am going through. Even though he lives in the US, he manages to diagnose the problem. You may know him as pharriso. I know him as Phil. So my next task is to re-wire the fan and hopefully, fix the problem.

Despite this, I am okay driving around our country lanes if I avoid any traffic. Until last week. I went to close the drivers window and got the dreaded thunk. I've not yet had the time to take off the door card to explore what has bust, but have already ordered a replacement cable and the Alex Black/Eric in Burnley fasteners from Susan Miller.

In addition to all this, I have carried out some minor work on the car, including spraying some Lanoguard around the underside to give some winter protection, I hope!

It is booked in for early January with my Lotus mechanic for the engine and gearbox to come out. I shall be sending the gearbox off to be refurbed by Al at Promotor, whilst Colin looks over the engine and starts replacing any worn items, as well as those hard to get to bearings, water pump etc.

I have had three really good days out with the Sprint. The first was to the CLER 60th anniversary picnic at Hethel. The second was to drive over to a good sailing friend who has a concours MG TF and to compare notes. Whilst the third was to visit John Watson, HLR Lotus 7 Registrar and the first owner of my car, on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of him buying it.

Tim
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