Lotus Elan

Rusty headlamp vacuum pods

PostPost by: Hawksmoor » Mon Feb 10, 2020 3:46 pm

Both the headlamp lift pods on my 1971 Sprint are rusted through at the lower edge. The holes are in the top part, so they still work, but it looks terrible.
Two questions - what is the best way to repair the rotten part, and was there a drain hole originally so thew water tnat goes in through the actuating lever hole can get out somewhere (imagine not, accounting for the rust!)?
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PostPost by: Concrete-crusher » Mon Feb 10, 2020 6:56 pm

Mine looked like that, and eventually the steel rod snapped because its also rusted but you can't see it

My advice buy a new one, they are made by Miles Wilkinson
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PostPost by: Craven » Mon Feb 10, 2020 8:21 pm

Drain hole.
They look like this inside. Diaphragm can be repaired if you are determined enough; I repaired a leak using a bicycle tube repair kit.
PODs.jpg and

P1030447.JPG and
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PostPost by: saildrive2001 » Mon Feb 10, 2020 8:50 pm

Bite the bullet & buy new ones, that's what I did.
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PostPost by: ivan.wood » Mon Feb 10, 2020 10:06 pm

I used Evercoat Fibre Tech which is a polyester repair medium that has kevlar reinforcing fibers mixed in with it. Fortunately the rust holes were not as large as yours but it worked well and you can't really tell after I sanded it down and painted them. I sandblasted the rust top before repairing them.

You could may be put some mesh over the hole to support the polyester/fiber repair paste while it cures.
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PostPost by: Hawksmoor » Tue Feb 11, 2020 3:44 pm

Thanks so much for your replies.
As the diaphragms seem OK we are going to have a go at repairing the rusty bits. I have a feeling that it will be all in vain though, and I will end up buying new ones.
Will let you know how it goes!
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PostPost by: HCA » Wed Feb 12, 2020 9:54 am

Is the Sprint vac pod the same as the Plus2 failsafe pod?

If so, I have fitted an electric operating system to mine that means there is a vac pod on the shelf. It is in perfect condition (it may evan have been new soon before I bought the car).
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PostPost by: MarkDa » Wed Feb 12, 2020 10:29 am

There is financial argument for converting to electric activation given the price of a pair of pods!
You can help reduce water ingress with a rubber washer around the rod - unfortunately the best way to keep it in place is a lead disc on top!
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PostPost by: Grizzly » Wed Feb 12, 2020 2:54 pm

I had the same issue with my 2 seaters pods, after replacing my +2 pods in the early 2000's with inferior reproductions (which was a mistake) i was determined to keep the original pods if possible.

The pods were one of those jobs i had a few months before needing them, so i kept my eyes open and ended up buying a crusty pod from ebay that had enough good metal in the upper half i could cut sections out of it and welded it into my pod to replace the corrosion (cost me about £8). They are really not hard to repair as long as you have the original thinner steel type which can be split fairly easy and of course the diaphragm is in good order.
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PostPost by: 2tmike » Thu Feb 13, 2020 3:46 pm

IMG_3142.JPG and
IMG_3154.JPG and
IMG_3153.JPG and
IMG_3150.JPG and


Looks a little crude but the end result is functional .....
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PostPost by: alan.barker » Thu Feb 13, 2020 4:05 pm

Patch it with grp and stay with Vacuum Pods. If there's a very very small leak give it a blast with a Puncture repair aerosol :wink: :wink: Put a foam disc on the operating rod so any water will not go inside pod on top of diaphragm.
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PostPost by: pharriso » Thu Feb 13, 2020 4:14 pm

Do these rust inside out or ouside in? Thinking of some preventative mainteance...
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PostPost by: snowyelan » Thu Feb 13, 2020 5:50 pm

Inside to outside. The drain hole is too high to be effective. I sandblasted/painted mine and left the (smallish) rusted out area unrepaired. I don't think its realistic to expect a foam washer to prevent water from getting inside. I figured may as well let it out thru the path it created.
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PostPost by: alan.barker » Thu Feb 13, 2020 6:20 pm

The foam washer on the push rod was Lotus original fitting :mrgreen: :mrgreen:
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