Lotus Elan

Brake upgrade kit

PostPost by: drtarkir » Thu Dec 15, 2016 7:21 pm

My car is a +2S and I am interested in replacing both the front and rear brakes. I currently have the original 13" steel wheels but will most likely install 13" Minilites.

In looking at the various pictures on your site and in this thread it looks like the front caliper that you use is the Forged Dynalite with a piston area of 4.8". In looking at the specs on this caliper it seems to be a good fit.

I have 2 questions about the front kit

1. Will the original dust shield still fit or can it be modified to fit
2. Will the kit work with both the steel wheels and the Minilites

On the rear kit I do have some concerns. I know that several companies offer a modified Powerlite caliper to which they have added a mechanical handbrake mechanism. In looking at your site it appears as if this is what you have done. The top Powerlites have a piston are of 3.0" Assuming that this is the case I have several questions about this.

1 Wilwood states that the Powerlite caliper is for light duty import street use with a weight limit of 750KG. Since my +2 weighs 950KG this is a concern. Maybe because they are used in the rear where the requirements are less this may be OK.
2 Will the same kit work for the 13" steel and 13" Minilite wheels
3 Is a proportioning valve needed or does the difference in piston area and capability between the different calipers front and rear eliminate the need for one.
4 If indeed the kit uses the Powerlite caliper do the parts for the handbrake bolt on to the caliper or does the caliper itself need to be modified.
5 What exactly comes in the rear kit and what is it's cost
6 I understand that the kit is still about 1 month from being ready. Is this still the case

Michael, you have shown some reluctance in revealing some of the details about your products both here and in your email. While I understand this to some extent I believe that you need to provide all the details. I have no doubt that you have spent many hours and a significant sum of money developing these kits and you should expect to reap some rewards for this. However, before I or anyone else will spend what appears to be around $1,000 for these kits we need to know exactly what we are getting and what we are getting into. This is not some $50 part we can buy, try, and can throw away if it does not work. And the fact that it involves our cars braking system makes it even more critical.

When I stripped my car the first thing I tossed were the brake boosters. One way or the other I am going to install WIlwood brakes. If I am satisfied that your products will do the job fine, sign me up for a set. If not I will figure out a way to do it myself. While Wilwood has shown no interest in making a kit for our cars they have an excellent tech support department and I have no doubt I could do this.

Dennis
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PostPost by: mio137 » Thu Dec 15, 2016 9:04 pm

No dust seal needed nor can it be fitted.
There is no reason for fitting this. Better cooling.
Yes if you choose the kit for steel wheels it fit both.

Rear brakes:
they state 750 kg? This is for using them in the front and take all the brake force.
If you have a weight transport to the front under braking and lifting the rear wheels you have 950 kg.
The thing is to have the rear brake more and have a flat braking instead of nosediving.
These kits for +2 already drive around and works fine.
Only thing I have been trying to finish the rear handbrake mechanism so it looks very nice and you can use
the original handbrake tree.
No change in wheel size.
No proportioning valve needed.
Rear kit is all inclusive brake hose and ready to fit. and since the special caliper is made on license in UK, you can either source them yourself or buy the kit complete. 840 ? elan.net price + carriage.
I understand your concern about the braking part. I can only say that I have sold and tested these kits for years.
They were built for ultralightweight racing, lowest possible unsprung weight. If they work on race tracks they certainly work on the street for occasional hard stops.
On +2 application I use a higher friction compound when fitted with steel wheels.
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PostPost by: Chancer » Fri Dec 16, 2016 12:10 am

Dennis, I used Willwood 4 pot calipers on my Caterham, I fabricated my own brackets which was not for me particularly difficult, they worked just fine with the standard master cylinder, a big improvement in braking performance and feel.

A rear set up with handbrake mechanism is no doubt more complicated and to make a kit to sell on the open market that will be simple to fit for owners of all comp?tences whilst retaining a proper engineered look and feel is a big investment in time and money and the kit price reflects that.

I found that after sorting the front brakes the rears became the weak point, the heat soak into the calipers (at 12 O clock where the heat rises) in the paddock after a race or practice session would boil the fluid I would have to remember never to apply the handbrake after a session to reduce the conduction.

I never sorted the rears, a change of life intervened, a project for the future, the Elan set up is very similar in many respects and I would expect a Willwood caliper set up on the rear to make a significant improvement.
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PostPost by: drtarkir » Sat Dec 17, 2016 5:32 pm

Chancer

What caliper did you use? Was it a lug or a radial mount.

Dennis
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PostPost by: Davidb » Sat Dec 17, 2016 6:13 pm

I noticed that the caliper that Michael used (according to his photo) was this one:

http://www.wilwood.com/Calipers/Caliper ... o=120-6817

Full specs and critical dimensions here:

http://www.wilwood.com/PDF/Flyers/fl104.pdf
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PostPost by: seniorchristo » Sun Dec 18, 2016 12:04 am

Mio
I have Minilites on my S3 and would like to increase brake capability. Do I understand correctly there are (3) styles of caliper brackets depending on which brake disc you use? Besides the weight savings is there a performance (braking) gain using the Wilwood calipers with the standard elan discs. I have Minilites but I am leery of necessity and cost of +2 discs. I am planning on street use only with approximately 150 HP.
Thanks for your efforts!
Chris Herr :)
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PostPost by: rgh0 » Sun Dec 18, 2016 12:56 am

Chris
What are the problem symptoms you are trying to improve by a brake change.

e.g.
lack of initial brake bite?
poor brake modulation?
over heating ?
poor front rear balance ?
too heavy pedal pressure ?
too long pedal travel ?
excessive pad wear ?
excessive disk wear ?
excessive brake dust ?
instability under heavy braking ?
instability braking on rough roads ?

In general the standard Elan brakes are fine especially for road use but also for track use.

Most of the above can be fixed by correct selection of pads and keeping the overall system in good condition

The rears are over braked so they generally lock first on heavy application and work needs to be done to balance them better with the fronts due to greater weight transfer with modern stickier tyres than when the brakes were first designed but apart from that the other symptoms are generally pad selection related or system condition related and new / different calipers are not really needed and they may or may not help hide the root cause of the problem.

cheers
Rohan
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PostPost by: Chancer » Sun Dec 18, 2016 11:27 am

drtarkir wrote:Chancer

What caliper did you use? Was it a lug or a radial mount.

Dennis


Lug I think, its been years and I cant recall the different types, they look like the ones in the link after your posting except I think they are cast and machined aluminium.

long time ago in a previous life...............
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PostPost by: seniorchristo » Sun Dec 18, 2016 3:03 pm

Rohan
Thanks for taking an interest. I presently have no serious brake issues. The purpose of increasing front brake capability would be to accommodate the increase in HP I anticipate. I would also like to decrease pedal effort and reduce unsprung weight. If the standard ?lan brakes are fully capable of stopping 150 HP I will have to weigh the other advantages versus the cost. :)
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PostPost by: Davidb » Sun Dec 18, 2016 7:41 pm

I think I have decided to save my pennies and get a set of Girling AR calipers. I am rebuilding my car as a 26R clone-since it already has a number of 26R parts fitted and has good period racing history. However, if I get a Plus 2 (possible) I think I will use this kit.
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PostPost by: drtarkir » Sun Dec 18, 2016 11:49 pm

Michael, which Powerlite caliper is used in the rear brakes. I ask because there are 3 different units with various piston sizes.

Dennis
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PostPost by: rgh0 » Mon Dec 19, 2016 9:51 am

seniorchristo wrote:Rohan
Thanks for taking an interest. I presently have no serious brake issues. The purpose of increasing front brake capability would be to accommodate the increase in HP I anticipate. I would also like to decrease pedal effort and reduce unsprung weight. If the standard ?lan brakes are fully capable of stopping 150 HP I will have to weigh the other advantages versus the cost. :)


The standard brakes certainly capable of handling a 150hp Elan on the road. I would first fit modern high coefficent pads to the front leaving the standard pads on the rear. This will balance up the brakes better with modern tyres and lessen pedal effort and give better initial brake bite. Just as bigger front calipers will do.

cheers
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PostPost by: seniorchristo » Tue Dec 20, 2016 3:14 pm

Ok thanks Rohan. I will give the pads a try.
Chris :)
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PostPost by: mio137 » Wed Dec 21, 2016 1:10 pm

seniorchristo wrote:Mio
I have Minilites on my S3 and would like to increase brake capability. Do I understand correctly there are (3) styles of caliper brackets depending on which brake disc you use? Besides the weight savings is there a performance (braking) gain using the Wilwood calipers with the standard elan discs. I have Minilites but I am leery of necessity and cost of +2 discs. I am planning on street use only with approximately 150 HP.
Thanks for your efforts!
Chris Herr :)


All kits use the +2 discs because it is cheap and available everywhere.
The kits with vented discs are for 14" wheels or 13 " but then the caliper is a Superlite not Dynalite.

the performance in braking is way better much higher torque than standard disc and caliper (girling lf14)
Michael
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PostPost by: mio137 » Wed Dec 21, 2016 1:27 pm

Davidb wrote:I think I have decided to save my pennies and get a set of Girling AR calipers. I am rebuilding my car as a 26R clone-since it already has a number of 26R parts fitted and has good period racing history. However, if I get a Plus 2 (possible) I think I will use this kit.


Girling AR calipers won't change anything but weight, the hydraulic surface is the same ( same pressure on pedal same friction as standard)
One thing that don't stay the same is the Girling AR caliper is not very stiff, so the original Girling LF14 is much better caliper.
I you have special regulation for racing the car it makes sense to use the Girling AR caliper otherwise not.

And I do agree with Rohan if the brakes are maintained at all time it works fine.
LF14 is good enough for all out racing with twincam engine on R tyres. caliper temperatures are close to seal break down 170 degree C, new discs and pads every 2-3 sprint races or 35 laps on 1 mile circuit.
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