Lotus Elan

Testing the operation of the vacuum light pods

PostPost by: PaulH » Sat Sep 28, 2019 10:14 pm

Here's a link to short video showing the testing of the headlight. The vacuum pods are the original pair, 53 years old.
https://youtu.be/v4MfgkrIkxM

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PostPost by: Craven » Sat Sep 28, 2019 11:34 pm

You should check the head lights go out if just the vacuum switch is pushed in.
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PostPost by: JimE » Sun Sep 29, 2019 3:53 pm

On the S4 Elan and Sprint the headlamp lights are operated via a rocker switch (not the vacuum switch). Jim
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PostPost by: Grizzly » Sun Sep 29, 2019 4:41 pm

Assuming your car is a down sprung headlight type (not an export car) I would suggest raising the headlights after a few mins of engine running to build up some vacuum, shut it all off with the headlights still up and see how long it takes them to drop (if they drop at all). This should test for leaks and how well the one way valve is sealing.

Obviously do this with the lights off or the battery disconnected.
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PostPost by: oldelanman » Sun Sep 29, 2019 4:46 pm

JimE wrote:On the S4 Elan and Sprint the headlamp lights are operated via a rocker switch (not the vacuum switch). Jim


True but the pod switch and relays should switch the lights off when the pods are lowered ... maybe that's what Craven is suggesting Paul should check ?
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PostPost by: PFV6 » Mon Sep 30, 2019 3:39 am

The pods seem to work correctly, but not the light switch (or the relays). With the pods up, the headlight switch should offer only two choices: one, in the "down" position: headlights on. Two, in the "up" position, headlights flash. The system still works properly on my S1.
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PostPost by: alan.barker » Mon Sep 30, 2019 4:24 am

JimE wrote:On the S4 Elan and Sprint the headlamp lights are operated via a rocker switch (not the vacuum switch). Jim

On my Sprint with the light switch in off position if i pull the Vacuum Switch they come up with Main Beam illuminated. For flashing.
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PostPost by: nmauduit » Mon Sep 30, 2019 7:53 am

the LHS pod appear a bit slow reaching the top: maybe the spring or lever is bent a little? I suppose you put a dab of lubricant on the "hinges" (otherwise there is a risk of them walking over time, or wearing out the bobbin if original soft alloy - and if they move chances are they'll rub, which is a pity on a newly painted car). I suppose you've check that it does not rub at the back when opening.

On my car, the pods spring open so quick I had to glue the top rubber limit to secure them (and there is a knock of the fiberglass when they reach the limits - pressure is quite significant, I suppose a mark would develop over time).
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PostPost by: billwill » Mon Sep 30, 2019 10:55 am

Many automatic flashing circuits have been disabled as they are technically illegal.

My recollection, of my S3 coupe originally, is that if the headlights were brought up by the vacuum but the electrical headlight dashboard switch was off, the headlights would flash automatically/

If the dashboard electric switch is turned on the headlights come on when up and are controlled by the steering column switch, middle = main beam, down = dipped beam.

Most column switch actually had three positions, up= headlights OFF. But Lotus had usually fixed a stop in the switch to prevent the lever going into the UP position.
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PostPost by: PFV6 » Mon Sep 30, 2019 11:59 am

I have a citation for "Improper use of headlights" that was included in the huge file of documentation that came from the original owner. When I asked him about it, he told me that he had the headlights on in the daytime in the flashing position to warn oncoming drivers of a speed trap ahead :)
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PostPost by: Craven » Mon Sep 30, 2019 2:32 pm

PaulH car is a series 2 Elan.
If the car has the original circuits, relays and headlight pod operated switches, I say pod operated switches not micro switches because pre later S3?s they had motorcycle rear brake style pull switches? fitted on the inner wings, the correct operation would be:-
Vacuum switch only operated, Head lights raised with flashing main beam.
If Headlight dash only is operated, due to safety overheating issues, the lights will not function.
If the Headlight dash switch is operated and the Vacuum switch is also operated then normal main and low lights are available.
From PaulH Vid the flash operation was not operative raising concern that the ? no headlight ? function may also be inoperative, not a good idea. Easiest way to confirm if working is to drop the pods with lights on and see them go out near the closed position.
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