Lotus Elan

pop up lights

PostPost by: jonathan.downe » Fri May 18, 2018 4:23 pm

I would appreciate some help with this as cant think what else to do to sort my pop up lights
I have had the usual issue with my pop up lights - they come up very quickly (within two to three hours) and so I have had work done to try to sort. It has a new galvanised chassis so the vacuum doesn't leak from there and I have had new piping to get rid of any leaks plus new bellows" from Paul Matty (Darth Vader lookalike).
However whilst it now means when up they don't "flop" going over speed bumps they still come up after three or so hours and when I put them down they go down nice and quickly except for the last couple of inches which take 30 seconds. I have checked and the headlights don't hit the frame so it cant be that.
Any ideas what is still causing the lights to pop up so quickly and struggle to drop down right at the end?
Hope this makes sense.
Cheers,
Jonathan
jonathan.downe
New-tral
 
Posts: 8
Joined: 15 Nov 2016
Location: London

PostPost by: billwill » Fri May 18, 2018 4:38 pm

That sounds as if you have the fail-safe headlight operation. You don't say which model Elan you have and the arrangements differ slightly.

It's rare to get perfect vacuum seal so almost always the fail-safe ones will leak, if standing still, no engine running, resulting in the headlights slowly coming up.

On non-fail-safe arrangements like my S3, the headlight pods close after the vacuum has leaked. I only get a few minutes, so I reckon you are doing quite well if yours lasts for a few hours.

I suppose I could improve mine, but I can't be bothered as it is not important to me what happens when the engine is not running.
Bill Williams

36/6725 S3 Coupe OGU108E Yellow over Black.
billwill
Coveted Fifth Gear
Coveted Fifth Gear
 
Posts: 4721
Joined: 19 Apr 2008
Location: London UK

PostPost by: 1owner69Elan » Fri May 18, 2018 6:01 pm

As was discussed in a recent post, the headlight vacuum switch is prone to leaks. Also, rather difficult to refurbish.
And frankly, even when new, would not necessarily hold vacuum for a long time.

You can verify if the switch is the culprit by temporarily bypassing the switch (connect the hose ends that go into the switch) and seeing if the vacuum holds.

I permanently bypassed the vacuum portion of the switch using a modern vacuum solenoid, still actuated by the original switch:

img_8608.jpg and



I included a small vent filter for the open leg (vent to atmosphere - kills vacuum), just to ensure no foreign material could enter (suggested by another post).
img_8605.jpg and


Then the other ports are connected to the existing vacuum lines.

My failsafe lights now stay down indefinitely and don't creep up at all over time. The solenoid is just tucked into an available space behind the dash by the heater. It's small so it fits fine, just rests in there. The headlights function as originally, only better.

You can use an NO (normally open) version for the failsafe lights and an NC (normally closed) version for non-failsafe. Needs to be a direct actuating solenoid that works with vacuum.
'69 Elan S4 SE
Street 181 BHP
Original owner
1owner69Elan
Fourth Gear
Fourth Gear
 
Posts: 791
Joined: 16 Jun 2015
Location: Napa, California

PostPost by: Spyder fan » Fri May 18, 2018 6:15 pm

It seems as though you have a late Elan +2 with what?s known as ?failsafe headlamps? as in if the vacuum fails the lights will stay up rather than down. That?s safe as far as safety goes but not safe as far as sanity goes.

If the linkage is nice and straight and the vacuum system is working well then it takes about 24 hours before the headlights start to wake up. Not pretty and a source of much angst among owners.

The failsafe system is a total pain and the only cure is to modify using MX5 electric headlight lifters, there is a kit designed by myself ( I don?t get commission :cry: ) available from Spyder. Or you can have a go at making your own ( it?s not that difficult.... I designed a kit after all! )

Seriously, the failsafe system is a very poor design that relies on a single vacuum pod that is constantly under load whenever the car is running. The twin pod non failsafe system is only under load when the headlamps are being used and stay nice and shut at all other times.

The modification takes advantage of the failsafe system linkage/balance bar, it will be worth the cost of buying the kit or taking the time making your own.
Kindest regards

Alan Thomas
User avatar
Spyder fan
Coveted Fifth Gear
Coveted Fifth Gear
 
Posts: 2541
Joined: 11 Jun 2009
Location: Kent country & Sussex seaside UK

PostPost by: vincereynard » Fri May 18, 2018 6:50 pm

I can confirm that the Spyder system is good. :shock:
vincereynard
Coveted Fifth Gear
Coveted Fifth Gear
 
Posts: 1216
Joined: 12 Jan 2015
Location: amersham

PostPost by: Spyder fan » Fri May 18, 2018 7:23 pm

vincereynard wrote:I can confirm that the Spyder system is good. :shock:


What you really mean is that the Alan Thomas system produced by Spyder is good.........? :mrgreen:
Kindest regards

Alan Thomas
User avatar
Spyder fan
Coveted Fifth Gear
Coveted Fifth Gear
 
Posts: 2541
Joined: 11 Jun 2009
Location: Kent country & Sussex seaside UK

PostPost by: vincereynard » Fri May 18, 2018 8:58 pm

Spyder fan wrote:
vincereynard wrote:I can confirm that the Spyder system is good. :shock:


What you really mean is that the Alan Thomas system produced by Spyder is good.........? :mrgreen:


That's preferable. I had to go and lie down in a dark room to recover.
vincereynard
Coveted Fifth Gear
Coveted Fifth Gear
 
Posts: 1216
Joined: 12 Jan 2015
Location: amersham

PostPost by: Bud English » Fri May 18, 2018 9:31 pm

So... one out of 658 things of yours that they touched works well? That must make you feel much better. :lol:
Bud
1970 +2S Fed
"Every Lotus that an owner modifies makes yours worth that much more." - You're welcome!
User avatar
Bud English
Fourth Gear
Fourth Gear
 
Posts: 933
Joined: 05 Nov 2011
Location: Winnemucca, NV, USA

PostPost by: mbell » Sat May 19, 2018 9:29 am

It would be useful to know what year and what type of light witch the car?

Early cars have vacuum controlled by the switch (know to leak) and late cars have electric switch and solenoid.

I also run custom made mx5 motor setup as vacuum due to missing pod when I got the car.
'73 +2 130/5 RHD, now on the road and very slowly rolling though a "restoration"
mbell
Coveted Fifth Gear
Coveted Fifth Gear
 
Posts: 1668
Joined: 07 Jun 2013
Location: Austin, TX (UK Ex-pat)

PostPost by: vincereynard » Sat May 19, 2018 9:31 am

Bud English wrote:So... one out of 658 things of yours that they touched works well? That must make you feel much better. :lol:


I feel truly blessed. How tedious the last 18 months would have been!
vincereynard
Coveted Fifth Gear
Coveted Fifth Gear
 
Posts: 1216
Joined: 12 Jan 2015
Location: amersham

PostPost by: gus » Sat May 19, 2018 12:23 pm

The delayed raising means either the linkage is binding or the spring is messed up, I think mine has two springs

With a solenoid rather than dash switch and a strong check valve I have had my headlights stay down for weeks with no reservoir. I would not trust the chassis without proof. I mean vacuum tight welding......not really likely

basic troubleshooting. eliminate everything that can leak. Jump across the switch so that you cannot raise the headlights. Eliminate the t for the chassis. If you cannot find a check valve, find a little plumbing ball valve and shut off the vacuum before shutting the car off. If the headlights will not stay down overnight in this condition, either a line is bad a joint is bad or the vacuum actuator is bad.
gus
Fourth Gear
Fourth Gear
 
Posts: 646
Joined: 05 May 2011

Total Online:

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 12 guests