Lotus Elan

One year into Elan Sprint ownership

PostPost by: Mrmci » Thu Jan 18, 2024 8:09 pm

Hi Chaps,

I am one year into ownership and thought I'd share an update of my journey to date in case anyone is interested.

This forum has been so helpful in getting my car, which has only done 5k miles since 1988 and only 700 since 2003, up and running again.

It's long but here is my year.

Sorry for any bad English, I'm typing on my phone as I wait for my 3 year old to go to sleep.

First task was sorting some non functioning electrics. My flashers weren't working properly, I got everything sorted in the end. I had to resolve in a non conventional way due to my light switch having been replaced and not providing a switched live in the "off" position. Some clever use of switching relays and my amusing flasher circuit now works. I also resolved a variable indicator flash rate using a digital flasher unit from classic LEDs in the UK.

I took the Elan on a trip around Wales and to Le Mans classic last year, all in all about 3k miles with a couple of teething problems.

Fuel leaking from carbs. I had them rebuilt and the leak came back. I think it was a loose solder bung in a cross drilling and a vacuum in the choke chamber behind the inspection plate. Now resolved with a newer style inspection plate with a hole in it and the bungs have been epoxyed and re peened in.

I'm running seemingly quite hot, c90-95c. Had the radiator recored with a 3 core setup and a new electric fan and switch. Cost a lot of money and made no real difference but it doesn't seem to overheat so it's probably reassuring to know it's done.

I partially did the radiator as I was getting terrible mis fires when it was hot. I think this was actually a mis symptom of running too rich at idle and fouling the plugs. I've weekened off the idle mix and put in hotter plugs and it seems much better. Only did this late in the year so still needs properly testing but the tickover is much smoother and it seems to run better.

I had a terrible oil leak and just before I set off for le man's (24hrs before) I thought I should probably have a check of where it was coming from. I thought I'd lucked out when I found it was from the sump plug. I loosened slightly, re tightened and had the horrible feeling of a stripped thread. Thankfully I happened to have a metric sump plug slightly oversize and an appropriate tap and had the very very stressful task of re tapping the sump in situ. Thankfully it worked.

Had an engine mount bolt come loose and lost the bolt and spacer on a roundabout with a massive clonk as it rattled off the exhaust. Did a lap of the roundabout, found a still warm bolt and spacer so assumed they were mine and this forum helped me to diagnose where they'd come from. Now back in and tight.

I've recently had a problem with what I think may be a sticking thermostat. Went out for a drive. The temperature gauge started bouncing up and down and peaked at 110c, but with no symptoms of overheating. I stopped the car thinking maybe I was out of water. Cracked the rad open as it was cold and got sprayed with cold water. I guess the thermostat may have been stuck shut. After I did this I think the stat may have been shocked loosed and it seemed to heat up normally after that. Just hope I didn't do any damage.

Other than that it is wonderful, not as sporty as my Europa S2 and feels much older to drive, not sure why, maybe because my Europa is actually quite developed nowadays.

Hope that's interesting.

Mark
Mrmci
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Location: Ashby-de-la-Zouch, UK

PostPost by: richardcox_lotus » Thu Jan 18, 2024 9:26 pm

Nice write up Mark, thanks for sharing.

Having lived with a Sprint that often ran at 90 degrees, I can recommend getting your temperature gauge restored. My car is now running at 75 degrees ! So all those years of worry / driving with one eye on the gauge, now reduced.

Regards
Richard
Richard
'72 Sprint
richardcox_lotus
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PostPost by: Mrmci » Thu Jan 18, 2024 10:02 pm

Thanks Richard,

I've used an infrared pyrometer on the thermostat housing and the gauge appears pretty accurate.....but the forum has helped to determine that these are within the normal range of operation of an 87c thermostat so I think it's normal.

Mark
Mrmci
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Posts: 35
Joined: 06 Jan 2023
Location: Ashby-de-la-Zouch, UK

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