Lotus Elan

Chassis Refurbishment

PostPost by: jono » Fri Mar 05, 2021 7:57 pm

The chassis on my 1968 Plus 2 (very low miles) is original and I can see no reason why it cannot be used again subject to some 'refurbishment'. There is no rot in the front towers, the only thinning is in the sides of the backbone where the felt has trapped water - these areas may need repair/plating but I am having it blasted so that will find any other poor areas.

Has anyone been through this process and do you have any hints and tips?

Cheers

Jon
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PostPost by: steveh » Fri Mar 05, 2021 8:22 pm

Hi Jon , Good to see all going well, the only thing i found was to check very carefully for stress cracks particularly around welds- Cheers Steve
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PostPost by: vstibbard » Fri Mar 05, 2021 8:40 pm

drill and check thickness & condition of the front turrets, whilst it may look ok fromqoutside, the rust comes form the inside.... you can always weld up the holes if sound.
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PostPost by: rgh0 » Sat Mar 06, 2021 7:38 am

jono wrote:The chassis on my 1968 Plus 2 (very low miles) is original and I can see no reason why it cannot be used again subject to some 'refurbishment'. There is no rot in the front towers, the only thinning is in the sides of the backbone where the felt has trapped water - these areas may need repair/plating but I am having it blasted so that will find any other poor areas.

Has anyone been through this process and do you have any hints and tips?

Cheers

Jon


Many years ago my plus 2 chassis which spent the first 10 years of its life in the UK had the same problem with corrosion in the lap join along the bottom of the backbone. I had removed the chassis due to cracking in the brackets that held the rear inner wishbone pivots and discovered the rust in the backbone also. In the end I sold the chassis to someone who believed he could repair it and bought a new Spyder chassis

cheers
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PostPost by: ncm » Sat Mar 06, 2021 10:02 pm

I have a Spyder reconditioned chassis that has had one of the backbone sides replaced, so yes it can be done.
Brian.
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PostPost by: 74Twincam » Sun Mar 07, 2021 5:31 am

I’d evaluate it after blasting and go from there. Mine needed more than I first thought before it was cleaned thoroughly. After I had mine cleaned and sandblasted, then I was able to inspect various sections with calipers and a micrometer.
It needed repair at the lower, outside flange behind the front right wheel, a section about 24” long. I cut and bent the sheet steel and cut out the rotted section, welding in the patch very carefully. I’m an amateur welder and it turned out well, just by taking my time. It can very well be done if you’re motivated and feel it economically worth your time vs. a replacement. I kept it in the back of my mind that if I screwed it up, I’d be into a replacement anyhow, so what did I have to lose?
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PostPost by: Gordon Sauer » Sun Mar 07, 2021 12:09 pm

When I had mine stripped I also confirmed that it matched the manual measurements so that not just that it wasn’t cracked or weakened but had held up geometrically, Gordon
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PostPost by: mikealdren » Sun Mar 07, 2021 1:07 pm

My original chassis wasn't too badly rusted at the base of the turrets but they had cracked, I would say check carefully
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PostPost by: jono » Tue Mar 09, 2021 11:16 am

Thanks for all the helpful comments.

The chassis is stripped down now and I have had a chance to pre clean it before I take it to the blasters. So far it's looking good.

The front towers were found to be full of crud which I assumed was rust however on probing further it turns out some good soul had filled them with oil or grease and what I was actually looking at was oil/grease bound up with road dirt. Once I gouged and melted it out I can feel inside the turrets and they seem great - slight rust flaking to the nearside but otherwise solid.

I found one cracked engine mount weld when I removed the lower brace and the sides of the backbone will definately need plating but I can't see that being much of an issue so long as care is taken to avoid heat distortion of the thin sheet with the welder.

Off to the blasters this afternoon - will share some pictures when it comes back.
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PostPost by: ncm » Tue Mar 09, 2021 9:59 pm

Spyder have used stitch welding rather than a continuous weld on my repaired chassis. The original side panel has been removed from about half-way down and a full depth replacement welded over the top.
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