Lotus Elan

Front cross-brace missing?

PostPost by: skelteanema » Sun Jun 21, 2020 5:52 am

Hi all,

I have started removing components in order to remove engine for a water pump change.I don't appear to have a cross brace fitted on my chassis under the sump. I have a Spyder folded steel chassis and I believe it should have a removable cross brace. I have had my car for 20 years and never noticed it was missing as I have not had to do any work involving the cross-brace until now.

under car picture 2-smaller.jpg and
Missing cross-brace?


I assume it is fitted just behind the anti-roll bar as there is a reinforced hole on either side (as shown in second picture).

under car picture 3 smaller.jpg and
Correct location?


Does anyone have a description of the shape and the dimensions of this cross-brace so I can fabricate one. What thickness of metal does it use? Does it have dome shaped piece to fit in the cup in the chassis?

Thanks
Skittle. 1967 Elan S3 DHC
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PostPost by: alan.barker » Sun Jun 21, 2020 7:27 am

Imho contact Spyder
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PostPost by: rgh0 » Sun Jun 21, 2020 8:21 am

Yes the Spyder removable brace has a dome shape connection on the brace to match the sockets you have in the Chassis. Spyder should be able to supply a suitable replacement.

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PostPost by: Andy8421 » Sun Jun 21, 2020 8:24 am

The spyder cross brace has a matching male cone that locates in the female cone on the chassis to stop the brace fretting. There are pictures of the brace and cone if you scroll down through this thread:

https://lotuselan.net/forums/viewtopic.php?f=31&t=23126&start=

Unless you want the challenge of making a brace yourself, as suggested above, I would contact Spyder and buy one from them.

Good luck.
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PostPost by: Lotusian » Sun Jun 21, 2020 2:59 pm

Yes, definitely get the Spyder cross brace. You may well find it difficult to fit, as your chassis will almost certainly have sprung apart (what the brace is meant to avoid, of course).
I have just removed and refitted mine, in order to replace the sump gasket without removing the engine. I had to lift the front of the chassis to take the weight off the wheels, and then further lift the engine in order to get the sides back into the correct position. All of this was necessary even though the brace was missing for only two days.
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PostPost by: denicholls2 » Sun Jun 21, 2020 5:20 pm

Might have fallen off? Owners of these cars would do well to perform a regular chassis inspection to avoid tragedy. Very shortly after purchasing my Europa, I lifted the rear wheels for a tire change only to discover the suspension trailing arm bolt was about halfway unbolted. That would have been an interesting experience. :shock:
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PostPost by: skelteanema » Wed Jun 24, 2020 1:48 am

Thanks for the replies thus far.

. I have contacted Spyder but have had no reply as yet. I will try and contact them again.

If any one has a Spyder brace, would it be possible to give the distance from hole to hole so I can check whether my frame has splayed much, and also so I can put a temporary brace in until I manage to get one from Spyder.

Thanks in anticipation.
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PostPost by: alan.barker » Wed Jun 24, 2020 4:55 am

Maybe someone who changed the Lotus Chassis for a Spyder Chassis has the old Lotus Cross Brace. I know the ends are different but easy to change. Easier than making a complet Cross Brace.
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PostPost by: wotsisname » Wed Jun 24, 2020 6:48 am

I'm assuming this is an Elan. I believe the plus 2 is different... happy to measure up if the +2 info is useful
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PostPost by: rgh0 » Wed Jun 24, 2020 7:13 am

wotsisname wrote:I'm assuming this is an Elan. I believe the plus 2 is different... happy to measure up if the +2 info is useful


It is possibly a different brace length between the folded sheet metal Spyder replica of the Lotus Chassis versus their tubular space frame version.

I had always believed the the width between the front Y arms on the Lotus chassis was the same on Plus 2 and Elan but a recent discussion around oil pump removal seemed to indicate they may be a little different for some reason.

Unfortunately I have a spaceframe Spyder chassis on my Plus 2 so it is maybe doubly wrong as a reference :D

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PostPost by: skelteanema » Wed Jun 24, 2020 10:37 am

It is an Elan S3 with folded steel Spyder chassis.
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PostPost by: skelteanema » Wed Jun 24, 2020 8:45 pm

Hi All,

Spyder has now replied. They do not have complete braces made up. I quote:

We would need to know the length centres between the bush holes, as you have a very old chassis or we could send In component form if you have welding kit.

I have responded that I am happy to receive a kit form as I have welding equipment. However, it is possible (likely) that the chassis has splayed by not having the brace present for a while so a measurement between bushes will still be useful.

As I am removing the engine for a water pump change, if I can't get a measure, I will pull the chassis arms together as much as possible with the engine out and use that as a measure.
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PostPost by: snowyelan » Wed Jun 24, 2020 8:55 pm

If the engine is out clamping a straight length of timber/angle iron or such to each side.of the vertical wall should pull it I to position. Getting the length of these pieces as close to the dimension between the uprights and the boxed spine is important.
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PostPost by: oldelanman » Wed Jun 24, 2020 9:08 pm

skelteanema wrote:Hi All,

Spyder has now replied. They do not have complete braces made up. I quote:

We would need to know the length centres between the bush holes, as you have a very old chassis or we could send In component form if you have welding kit.

I have responded that I am happy to receive a kit form as I have welding equipment. However, it is possible (likely) that the chassis has splayed by not having the brace present for a while so a measurement between bushes will still be useful.

As I am removing the engine for a water pump change, if I can't get a measure, I will pull the chassis arms together as much as possible with the engine out and use that as a measure.


I have a Spyder sheet steel chassis which is about 12 years old, I was under the car today so took a few measurements of the brace....
Distance between bolt centres is 555 mm ..
The U section channel measures 31 mm X 14 mm, material thickness 2.5 mm.
IMG_20200624_150044.jpg and
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PostPost by: skelteanema » Thu Jun 25, 2020 10:16 pm

Thanks Roger,

that is just what I needed. This gives me a number to work with. I checked the distance between my bushes and it is about 20mm wider than yours. I think once the engine is out I should be able to pull the chassis back to close to your measured distances.
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