Lotus Elan

fitting spydercar electric headlamp lift conversion

PostPost by: roebuck » Sun Dec 09, 2018 9:34 am

Hello,
I am not far off the restoration of my 1970 S4 SE DHC and I have been advised to fit the Spydercar electric headlamp lift conversion.
I was interested if anyone has fitted one of these kits?
My only access now would be to remove the grille as the radiator has been fitted.
Is it easy to do via the nose?
Thanks in advance.
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PostPost by: vincereynard » Sun Dec 09, 2018 10:25 am

Works a treat on my +2.

I believe it is also adjustable for speed of lift etc.
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PostPost by: Orsom Weels » Sun Dec 09, 2018 10:39 am

Can't say for sure about the Spyder conversion, but we designed, fabricated & fitted an electric headlight lift system very similar to what Spyder now sells to my pals series 3 using only the grille/air intake for access, although we did take the headlight pods out as part of the design & fitting process, which allows for better sight of what you're doing.

Regards, Tim
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PostPost by: elanner » Sun Dec 09, 2018 2:05 pm

Why were you advised to do that? What's wrong with the original vacuum system?

The electric systems are obviously excellent but if your existing vacuum system is not broken why mess with it? Personally I like the quirky vacuum system, which is part of the character of the car and perfectly effective when in good condition. Aside from being original, it complements the rest of the Elan in that you get that faint feeling of surprise and pleasure when it actually works. :-)

(I'm not sure if I'd feel the same about the failsafe implementation - the lights creeping up by themselves when parked would doubtless bug me, but none of my Elans have been failsafe models.)

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PostPost by: Jentwistle3 » Sun Dec 09, 2018 7:18 pm

171cedb2-c8fd-44bf-8daf-5d416a233567.jpeg and

I just did this on my S2. If you?re interested I can send wiring diagram and bracket pattern. I can?t upload a video but I can email if you?d like to see it in operation.
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PostPost by: Mr.Gale » Mon Dec 10, 2018 10:52 pm

Here is what I did with my fail-safe system but it would also work on individual headlights.

Mr.G

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_HLdt4Bhnto
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PostPost by: mikealdren » Tue Dec 11, 2018 8:59 am

Mr.Gale wrote:Here is what I did with my fail-safe system but it would also work on individual headlights.

Mr.G

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_HLdt4Bhnto


I like the relatively slow actuator, some, like the MX5, are very fast acting. What's if off?
thanks
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PostPost by: Foxie » Sat Dec 15, 2018 2:56 pm

elanner wrote:Why were you advised to do that? What's wrong with the original vacuum system?

The electric systems are obviously excellent but if your existing vacuum system is not broken why mess with it? Personally I like the quirky vacuum system, which is part of the character of the car and perfectly effective when in good condition. Aside from being original, it complements the rest of the Elan in that you get that faint feeling of surprise and pleasure when it actually works. :-)

(I'm not sure if I'd feel the same about the failsafe implementation - the lights creeping up by themselves when parked would doubtless bug me, but none of my Elans have been failsafe models.)

Nick


You have obviously not experienced the sheer terror of being on the M20 on a stormy rainy night, with a 40 ton artic up your a***e, with all spotlights on, and any time you push the throttle to get away, the headlights start to sink into the bonnet ! :shock:
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PostPost by: elanner » Sat Dec 15, 2018 8:43 pm

Heck, no, indeed not - nor would I want to!

It sounds like the one-way valve in the vacuum line needed some attention, but I'd not want to discover that in the circumstances you describe (or in any circumstances, come to think of it). And, I have to admit, I would go to considerable lengths to avoid driving on a Interstate in the dark in a heavy storm. Being in a such a small, fragile vehicle in such dangerous conditions would be terror enough for me, regardless of the headlamps. And because the roof is always down. :-)

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PostPost by: Bigbaldybloke » Tue Dec 18, 2018 1:51 am

On my Plus 2 I made my own electric set up. Bought a pair of Mazda motors off eBay and made some mounting plates out of 3mm alloy sheet and some alloy angle. I used 6mm stainless screwed stick and rose joints for the linkage. The only tricky bit is getting the correct length of arm on the motor as it needs adjusting, for the Plus 2 it needed lengthening a couple of millimetres. Electrically it?s pretty straightforward, as the Mazda motor just does a 180 degree turn depending on which wire you apply voltage to, so one relay with a changeover contact does it and the relay coil gets its signal when the headlights are turned on. Easiest place to pick up this signal is on the connection to the column dip switch, saves rummaging behind the dash trying to get to the headlamp switch.
The motors are fast, keep your fingers out of the way as it will do severe damage to them. I?ve still got all my fingers, but tried it before securing the wiring out of the way and it ripped it out on first test!
Change is inevitable, except from a vending machine!
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PostPost by: Spyder fan » Thu Feb 21, 2019 10:56 am

A bit of a late reply to the original posters question, but I hope this helps.

I have a hybrid Spyder / Alan Thomas electric headlamp lift conversion on my +2. It's hybrid in that I cobbled together something that worked using the existing failsafe balance bar and an MX5 (miata) headlamp lift motor. Spyder rather liked the concept but not my execution, so they fabricated a proper bracket for the motor and more reliable linkage to the balance bar. I had already installed a motor speed controller which worked well and there was no problem with my wiring (phew!). So the upshot is that Spyder now offer a full kit for the +2 and Elan.

The reason I cobbled together the system in the first place was because I had got through 2 failsafe vacuum pods in 3 years and was fed up with the cost of replacement and haphazard availability (I waited 2 months for one of them). It's now been trouble free for nearly 6 years.

The failsafe system uses just one vacuum pod, and I think that a major reason for frequent failure apart from the quality of the replacements is that when the car is running the pod is under constant vacuum, there is also the annoyance of the headlamps raising when the car has been standing idle, although sometimes they would stay down just to spite me :lol: A bit of stiffness or misalignment of the balance bar puts the single pod under stress as well.

My S4 happily uses the standard 2 pod system, I have had no problem with this for over 8 years now. The chassis was new in 2010, the non return valve on the manifold works properly and there are no leaks in the system, so no problems with the headlamps lowering when pressing on. I do vent/drain the vacuum chamber/crossmember every 6 months (oil change time). The pods are not under load unless the headlamps are raised so there is very little wear or stress put upon them as I really don't like driving my S4 at night unless I have to.

My advice would be to save your money if you have the original system and it's working. If not, then the Spyder system is roughly the cost of 4 new pods and yes you can do the work required through the nose grill aperture
Kindest regards

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PostPost by: 69S4 » Thu Feb 21, 2019 1:15 pm

Spyder fan wrote: I do vent/drain the vacuum chamber/crossmember every 6 months (oil change time).



Anyone else drain their std chassis crossmember every now and again?

If so, given there's no drain hole, how have you done it?
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PostPost by: Spyder fan » Thu Feb 21, 2019 2:30 pm

69S4 wrote:
Spyder fan wrote: I do vent/drain the vacuum chamber/crossmember every 6 months (oil change time).



Anyone else drain their std chassis crossmember every now and again?

If so, given there's no drain hole, how have you done it?


I'd forgotten that a Lotus style chassis doesn't have a drain plug in the crossmember.

This is the Mods section after all :D I have a bespoke Spyder chassis and it has a drain hole with threaded plug. ( it is a one off chassis built just for my S4 Duratec)

for Lotus style chassis I would recommend drilling a hole each time and welding it shut afterwards whilst smoking some weed. Of course so many of them leak anyway that a drain plug is unnecessary. :mrgreen:

EDIT:
Here's a photo of my +2 Spyder chassis crossmember (built 2007), you can clearly see the drain plug

vacuum-tank.jpg and
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PostPost by: 69S4 » Thu Feb 21, 2019 3:29 pm

I can't hear any sloshing if I move the car and listen so I'm guessing there isn't much in there. Or, given its never been emptied, am I deluding myself? How much normally comes out - a thimbleful, an armful, more, less, nothing?
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PostPost by: Spyder fan » Thu Feb 21, 2019 4:36 pm

There are horror stories relating to the vacuum tank/cross member filling with petrol fumes and making rather a loud bang if someone was foolish enough to repair with a welding torch.

Petrol vapour being heavier than air, will drain from the tank. The other theory is that modern fuel vapour containing ethanol will rot the rubber diaphragms in the pods causing premature failure.

There is a little condensate present when I remove the plug, just a few drips, but it smells and looks absolutely foul.

EDIT..... SORRY FOR THE DRIFT OF TOPIC!
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