Lotus Elan

Plus 2 light pods (again)

PostPost by: JonB » Wed Nov 22, 2017 2:53 pm

Hi

One of my pods is catching the body as it comes up, which makes both lights stick when about 80% up. It's the bottom part of the pod catching on the lower lip of the opening. The offending pod is on the driver's side and it appears to be slightly skewed in its hole. Also a bit loose. There is a small amount of play in one of the pivot points.

Can it be adjusted easily, or is it a "full out repair" sort of thing? I could sand the lip down a bit but am very reluctant to do so for obvious reasons!
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PostPost by: JonB » Wed Nov 22, 2017 3:18 pm

A picture to illustrate the problem (not my car - grabbed from someone else's upload):

pod-catching.jpg and


The edge of the pod (yellow arrow) is catching on the leading edge of the opening flange (white arrow).
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PostPost by: davidc » Wed Nov 22, 2017 3:46 pm

when putting mine back together i found it is necessary to carry out a bit of alignment with the securing and pivot bolts to get the pod exactly where is needed to be in the body opening.

what i mean is don't just tighten up the bolts either side, there is a bit of backing 1 off and tightening the other to get the pod where it needs to be. Same with bonnet.
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PostPost by: Orsom Weels » Thu Nov 23, 2017 10:15 am

Taking a few mm off the lower lip (where your white arrow is) & adding a bit of a chamfer will help, it can't be seen with the pod fitted & there's quite a lot of variation with the depth of the lip between cars depending on how it was trimmed it at the factory anyway. The pivots are just threaded bobbins, both in the pod & the body, so you screw the stud into the bobbin in the pod so it's just through, then pick up the tread in the body bobbin. This gives a little side to side adjustment, but fore & aft & up & down are fixed. If you have play in one of them, it usually means the thread has stripped in one of the bobbins. If you're lucky, you can helicoil the thread back to original, if it's really worn, you may have to drill out & use a thread insert. The bonnet is hinged in the same fashion & I have had to do this with one of my bobbins on the body where the bonnet spring (now removed, as unnecessary) had put excess load on the pivot & worn it badly off centre. The only difficulty was drilling the worn hole in the correct place to keep bonnet alignment correct.

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PostPost by: JonB » Thu Nov 23, 2017 11:29 am

Thanks, Tim.

I was afraid of that! I'll file the inner lip down as a short term measure and take a look at the bobbins later.

Gearing up for the "diff out / driveshaft replacement" saga at the moment. Not looking forward to it, much.
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PostPost by: alan.barker » Fri Nov 24, 2017 8:39 am

Imho the first thing to do is remove the special spring which is very strong.
Next remove the cross connecting bar.
This is the only way to check for wear without spring pressure.
To remove pods you need to remove the headlamp units first.
That way you have easy access to the pivot set screws which can be seized.
If the pivot threads get damaged in the pivots you can fit stainless Helicoil Inserts.
Some of the problem are often loose Bobbins that need bonding with resin and grp strands (repair explained in workshop manuel).
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PostPost by: AussieJohn » Fri Nov 24, 2017 11:54 am

Maybe worth pulling out the headlight from the pod and checking that the bolts are not loose and unscrewing themselves, this could be the play you can see. cheers, John.
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PostPost by: alan.barker » Fri Nov 24, 2017 12:29 pm

To have access to the pivot set screw heads it's very easy to take the headlamp units out the pods which are only held in by 4 self tapping screws. :)
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PostPost by: Foxie » Fri Nov 24, 2017 1:27 pm

The original design of the headlamp and bonnet pivots was cheap and simple, but never made for long term service.

The threads in the aluminium bobbins do not survive well. The bolts are fitted in unbalanced shear, and soon wear to a tilted position which tears out the thread of the bobbin.

I have drilled out the bobbins and fitted steel bushes instead. ( I think fitting helicoils is a lot of work to retain the original design fault) I have fitted a cross tube into which the inner pivot bolts are screwed. This links the pods to lift together, as well as fully supporting the pivot bolts.

I have also brazed nuts to the steel bonnet frame to take the threaded bonnet pins, which fit into plain bushes in the body bobbins. :)
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PostPost by: JonB » Fri Nov 24, 2017 4:12 pm

My car has a cross member so the lights are joined physically. I's a "fail safe" model with only one vacuum actuator which is in really good condition (it's obviously been replaced). I'm not going to sweat it too much. I'll have a go at filing the inner lip back, though, because that won't entail pod removal.
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PostPost by: Robbie693 » Fri Nov 24, 2017 4:25 pm

You might want to check the pivot bolts anyway as they have a habit of winding themselves out. Same for the bonnet bolts...
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PostPost by: JonB » Tue Nov 28, 2017 9:09 am

Well, I had a session last night looking at the offending pod. I took the light unit out (easy job as mentioned) and undid the bolts (two pivots and one connector to the actuating rod). The pod has a worn out bobbin with no thread and an oval hole which accounts for the misalignment that is causing it to catch on the opening lip. For now I have used a plastic insert in the hole made from the end of a Rawlplug (UK brand name for a thing that lets you screw things into brick walls) which is just the right diameter for the bolt. This seems to have done the trick.

Another problem that I left is the hole for the actuating lever bolt. My car has the wrong bolt fitted (diameter is too small) and the hole in the pod it goes through is oval. This results in unwanted free play in the pod. What's needed here is a bush of some sort, or a washer with a raised lip on its inside edge that would engage with the hole in the pod and prevent further wear. I will look for something suitable, but has anyone got any suggestions?

Finally, the pivot points. I put washers on the outside of the pod to space it correctly in the opening. One is thicker than the other. When attempting to put the bolts in, I found I couldn't hold the washers in position and kept dropping them into the nose cone. After the 4th attempt I gave up and took the pod back out. I taped each washer in position with electrical insulation tape on one side of the washer, leaving a little tail of extra tape hanging below the lip of the pod. This allowed me to get the bolts in without dropping washers or hunting for the washer holes. Once done, it was a matter of simply pulling the tail of the tape from the underside of the pod to remove the tape.

I'm not sure if the pods were originally fitted with washers, but I found this a handy approach to (re)placing them.

An unwanted side effect of spending all this time up close and personal with the front of the car has allowed me to notice more paint blemishes in the (metallic) Royal Purple finish. Grrr... :evil:
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PostPost by: john.p.clegg » Tue Nov 28, 2017 9:20 am

Oh the joys of Lotus ownership....

Keep it up.

John :wink:
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PostPost by: alan.barker » Tue Nov 28, 2017 3:54 pm

You will need a way to restore threads to all 4 bobbins for each headlamp pod.
The pivots are the set screws turning in the threads of the bobbins laminated into the body.
The set screws are assembled from inside the pod and tightened upto their heads.
If you are lucky you will be able to put wire thread inserts in the bobbin holes to return them to threaded holes.
Or if too big maybe some sort of solid stainless inserts which are bigger.
The worst is to need to laminate new thread bobbins in place which is a very sticky job :roll:
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PostPost by: Robbie693 » Wed Nov 29, 2017 12:49 am

Just pondering, do the pods have to be threaded? Could the set screws not be changed for a bolt and screwed into the body bobbin so that the pods pivot on the plain shank portion?

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