Lotus Elan

Yet another headlight conversion

PostPost by: tedtaylor » Thu Dec 23, 2021 5:25 pm

my very late and original federal Sprint also has the vacuum switch for headlights only and a rocker switch near it for the parking/marker/dash lights. :)
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PostPost by: oldelanman » Thu Dec 23, 2021 6:52 pm

pharriso wrote:Can someone else confirm that UK cars have a 3 position rocker switch for the lights next to the vacuum pull switch?


Yes that's correct, at least it is on the S4.

Position 1 ... H/L FLASH
Position 2 ... H/L FLASH......+...SIDELIGHTS
Position 3 ... SIDELIGHTS...+...HEADLIGHTS
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PostPost by: davidj » Fri Dec 24, 2021 5:34 pm

I have also used actuators to raise the headlights on my S3 restoration, My car would originally have had two vacuum units and initially I considered connecting to two light pods together using a tube similar to my +2 and as mentioned above and using one actuator. However, I could not find a satisfactory design as the location bolts on the light pods which would also locate the tube are not in line but angled upwards so the tube woiuld not rotate concentrically to the bolts. Consequently I have fitted two actuators; not a major inconvenience as they are only £30 each. I used the fastest units I could find at 50mm/s operational speed with 100mm stroke, so take 2 seconds to raise.

As mentioned, overtravel needs to be avoided as serious bodywork damage could result. To overcome this issue I designed a two piece lever which attach onto the light pods to give adjustment to both raise height
and down position. This is bolted onto the existing vacuum fixing hole and a boss pivots on the light pod fixing bolt. In addition, the end of the rams were tapped m6 and rubber bobbins attached to give a degree of compression in the mechanism. The bobbins were attached to the lever with a 90 degree ball joints to allow for slight positional errors.

The car was being rewired. The S3 does not have relays for the lights, so I added two and a third DPDT relay was added to operate the actuators. This was wired into the 3 position light switch. When the side lights are turned on the lights are lowered, while the lights are raised when the main beam is activated. The vacuum valve was no longer used. Unfortunately I cannot find the wiring diagram but if it turns up I will post it.

All in all, the system works very well. Slightly slower I guess than the original and no flash, but still very satisfactory. The actuators could probably do with covers to protect from the elements. Total cost was £60 for the actuators, £10 for the relay and £15 for other bits and bobs.
Attachments
IMG_20200810_175028.jpg and
Note ball joint connection
IMG_20200810_174904.jpg and
Note bobbin on the end of the piston
IMG_20200720_113932.jpg and
Captive bolt used as access to rear of bracket difficult when fitted.
IMG_20200719_134044.jpg and
Banana slot sets down position; horizontal slot adjusts raise height.Boss locates on pod fixing bolt
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PostPost by: smo17003 » Fri Dec 24, 2021 6:51 pm

David,

That is a very elegant solution - well done. My big worry is that the two inner bobbins on my car are also not concentric. I don't have the car at the moment so I can't check.

A few questions.

My actuator looks exactly the same but the speed is 67mm/s. The force is rated as 150N (35lb/f) - what's yours out of interest? I tried to match as close as possible the one used by Mr. Gale.

The captive bolt looks like a coach bolt/roofing bolt - is that what you used?

Did you specify a particular shore (hardness) for the rubber bobbins or are they just standard items?

Did you strengthen the GRP where the actuator mounts?

Do you get any vibration on the pods when they are raised as obviously the springs have been deleted?

Cheers

Mike
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1968 S4 FHC
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PostPost by: davidj » Fri Dec 24, 2021 8:32 pm

Thanks.

In answer to your questions

1. I am afraid I cannot exactly remember the exact load but I seem to remember it was similar to yours. No problems lifting the lights pod.
2. Yes, zinc plated coach bolt.
3. Just standard items, but useful to create a bit of tension in the mechanism and allow for some overtravel.
4. Yes, plates on the lower mounts to spread the load but the loading not that great if the mechanism is set correctly. I had to shim under the lower pivots so the actuator lined up with the bracket. Obviously the original vacuum design did not have this problem as the actuating rod was attached to the flexible bellows.
5. The actuators are basically screw jacks and lock up solid at extremities of travel holding the light pods rigid between the compression of the bobbin and rubber bump stop. Consequently no need for springs (but have not tried it out in anger!)

Cheers.
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PostPost by: smo17003 » Fri Dec 24, 2021 8:50 pm

Thanks David.

You system will be my Plan B if I run into problems with my link-bar version. If you do happen to find the wiring diagram that would be really helpful.

Cheers again

Mike
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1968 S4 FHC
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