Lotus Elan

headlamp actuator adjustment S4

PostPost by: 0005K » Wed Jun 10, 2020 4:22 pm

I have a Failsafe S4 Federal Elan. The vacuum actuator works - but won't for long if I keep letting the spring bend the actuator rod! I have it reassembled it with new metal turnbuckles. I successfully used zip ties to hold the spring compressed while I made the attachments.It is all connected with the center rod bracket extending forward, the spring curl facing forward and the rod-tube ends pointing down - sometimes - as it kind-of shows in the service manual. The turnbuckles are not yet adjusted because the pod connecting tube keeps flipping around and moving side-to-side etc. Is there anything other than the turnbuckles and the spring to locate and position the actuator tube? Did I forget to attach a critical part which would stabilize the tube position? Any suggestions would be appreciated.
Dick
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PostPost by: 0005K » Thu Jun 11, 2020 3:22 pm

Is there some type of rod locator that is supposed to be bonded to the underside of the nose - where the center of the rod has rubbed into the fiberglass reinforcement? Or does something fit into the ends of the rod?
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PostPost by: oldelanman » Thu Jun 11, 2020 5:38 pm

I don't have the failsafe system so I could be totally wrong here but I believe that the bar is located at either end by the headlamp pod inner pivot bolt which engages with the end of the bar with spacers to centralise it. SJ Sportscars in the UK lists longer inner pivot bolts for the failsafe set-up.

If it were me I would locate the bar first then attach the link rods to the pods and check the pods rise and fall properly before finally attaching the vacuum actuator and spring, that way you should avoid bending the actuator rod.
However, as I said, I have no experience with the failsafe system so hopefully someone will be along shortly to provide more accurate advice.

https://www.sjsportscars.com/parts-and- ... 0B0048.htm



..
Roger
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PostPost by: 0005K » Fri Jun 12, 2020 12:12 am

Wow!
That would make sense. I'll look into it tomorrow. The actuation tube has smaller holes in the ends, so I suppose that a headlamp pod pivot bolt could continue through the body bobbin and enter the end of the actuation tube. I had not seen any reference to that in the shop manual or in the Brian Buckley book. Thank you Roger!
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PostPost by: bitsobrits » Fri Jun 12, 2020 12:15 am

It's been awhile since I had an S4, but Roger is correct that there is a bolt that passes through a bobbin in the headlamp pod and into the end of the cross tube on each end. Unfortunately the parts manual does not make that clear.
Steve

Elan S1 1963-Bourne bodied
Elan S3 1967 FHC pre airflow

Formerly:
Elan S1 1964
Elan S3 1966 FHC pre airflow
Elan S3 1967 FHC airflow
Elan S4 1969 FHC
Europa S2 1970
Esprit S2 1979
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PostPost by: rgh0 » Fri Jun 12, 2020 9:43 am

bitsobrits wrote:It's been awhile since I had an S4, but Roger is correct that there is a bolt that passes through a bobbin in the headlamp pod and into the end of the cross tube on each end. Unfortunately the parts manual does not make that clear.


Yes thats what happens on my failsafe PLus 2 in that it has two bolts to secure the link tube one through into the tube and one through the arm that comes off the tube at each headlight pod

cheers
Rohan
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PostPost by: oldelanman » Fri Jun 12, 2020 10:09 am

rgh0 wrote:
bitsobrits wrote:It's been awhile since I had an S4, but Roger is correct that there is a bolt that passes through a bobbin in the headlamp pod and into the end of the cross tube on each end. Unfortunately the parts manual does not make that clear.


Yes thats what happens on my failsafe PLus 2 in that it has two bolts to secure the link tube one through into the tube and one through the arm that comes off the tube at each headlight pod

cheers
Rohan


The Elan appears to have adjustable links between the arms and the pods rather than being bolted directly as the Plus 2 is.
Roger
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PostPost by: 0005K » Fri Jun 12, 2020 9:52 pm

The longer lower headlamp pod bolts worked like a charm! I used 2 inch long full thread bolts which went at least 1/2 inch into each end of the actuator tube. It was a clearance hole (not a threaded hole) in the ends of the tube.The tube is now very stable, and still has some cross-car room to move. The whole system takes quite a bit of adjustment and lock-down, but it seems to work once the swivel rods are adjusted. There is still some minor contact of the tube bracket at the spring attachment to the fiberglass reinforcement on the underside of the nose - but that was also there when I got it. I need to make sure that the pods still make contact with the stop-bolts at closed and open, so the pods don't rattle. I'll check it again after installing the heavy headlamps.
THANK YOU for the information I needed to get the headlamp pod actuation working!
Dick
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PostPost by: pharriso » Sun Jun 21, 2020 12:34 pm

0005K wrote:I have a Failsafe S4 Federal Elan...............It is all connected with the center rod bracket extending forward, the spring curl facing forward and the rod-tube ends pointing down - sometimes - as it kind-of shows in the service manual. ...................
Dick
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Reading this made me realise that my Spring was assembled the wrong way around. This is how the workshop manual shows everything:
Parts Manual_SectionBL.jpg and

This is how my car was assembled since I bought it in 2013:
IMG_0557.JPG and

The headlights used to take up to 5 minutes to raise! Although the Spring was torqued it was applying it's force almost along the connecting bar, so very little torque applied to raise the headlights.
Flipping the Spring around like:
IMG_0569.JPG and
There's a lot of torque in that Spring, be careful when you attach it, it could damage the nose paint & fibreglass!

The Headlights now come up quickly :D

Sounds like the OP now has their cross bar assembled correctly with the long bolts, but here is a picture of mine to show the turnbuckles etc:
IMG_0560.JPG and
The cross bar is held firmly in position.
Phil Harrison
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