Lotus Elan

Steering rack removal

PostPost by: Davidb » Tue Mar 26, 2024 3:24 pm

Had a nasty shock yesterday when I found I could barely turn the steering wheel with the car on stands and wheels at full droop. I have disconnected the tie rod ends and it is definitely the rack.
I have been messing with Elans, on and off since 1983, this is the first time I have had to remove a rack with the body on--is it possible without cutting fiber glass?
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PostPost by: MACCA.GLM » Tue Mar 26, 2024 3:52 pm

Hi

Yes it can be removed without any major issues.I took mine out via the drivers side after removing the steering coupling and pulling the steering column inner back from the joint then removing the u bolts to the chassis.

Remember to make Sure the shims under rack go back in the correct order

cheers G
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PostPost by: Davidb » Tue Mar 26, 2024 5:04 pm

Many thanks Macca.
Now to find out why...?
I suspect it has a lot to do with hundreds of miles on gravel.
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PostPost by: Davidb » Tue Mar 26, 2024 7:36 pm

OK, rack is out and boots off--it does not look good.

Road maintenance crews use calcium chloride on gravel roads to keep the dust under control-I think that is causing my problem.

Yes, the rack had intact boots and they had clamps on each end. The only thing I can think is that when I got home from the last trip I pressure washed the underside of the car thoroughly-with a fairly gentle, sub 1000psi electric pressure washer-NOT one of those 3500 psi monsters! The car was caked in dirt and dust on the underside and it had to be done.

I am going to strip the rack down and will report back on what I find.
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PostPost by: MACCA.GLM » Wed Mar 27, 2024 8:04 am

When I did my rack
There was only one part that could be used the tube everything else was scrap including the tie rods.I have these parts to confirm.

I took it to kyley Klinton in Birmingham uk
And they completely rebuilt it with all new parts for around £400 . A good price in my view.

Hopefully you can get it done where you live.

Good luck with it

Keep us posted

Regards

G
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PostPost by: gjz30075 » Wed Mar 27, 2024 8:33 am

Did the rack come out from the right hand side?
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PostPost by: MACCA.GLM » Wed Mar 27, 2024 9:24 am

Drivers side
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PostPost by: h20hamelan » Wed Mar 27, 2024 3:26 pm

David, dont you have a 26R(esque?) car.
Mine has the inners turned down like the 26R’s.
Maybe someone here knows and can share, but maybe this is the reason.

IMG_2744.jpeg and


Edit; to clear up confusion. If you jacked it, and didn’t have the angled inners, maybe some damage was done.
Last edited by h20hamelan on Wed Mar 27, 2024 3:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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PostPost by: Davidb » Wed Mar 27, 2024 3:34 pm

Not sure what you mean by "inners turned down"?

(That is one rusty Elan!)
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PostPost by: h20hamelan » Wed Mar 27, 2024 3:43 pm

The photo shows the inner tie rods turned down

That’s a ‘well seasoned’ and ‘well traveled’ baby suspended 10’ in the air eh!
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PostPost by: Davidb » Wed Mar 27, 2024 4:59 pm

Still not sure about that-I will compare mine to a Spitfire rack a friend is supplying.

I think I have figured out the problem. It wasn't caused by calcium chloride. I am embarrassed to say it appears to be caused by neglect!
When I rebuilt the car almost ten years ago I rebuilt every mechanical part-engine mostly replaced, gearbox, diff, shocks, springs, axles etc, etc. The one part I didn't strip and at least inspect was the steering rack since it felt and operated perfectly, I thought. After fifteen thousand hard miles, much of it in wet weather since I live in a Rain Forest and after sitting unmoved for six months the rack cried enough!

A friend is supplying a Spitfire rack that he says seems very good so I will build one rack out of the two--the Lotus specific ball joints are in good shape so I will use those again.
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PostPost by: h20hamelan » Wed Mar 27, 2024 6:30 pm

Does the lower suspension cause problems, & or why is mine angled, thought the 26r’s were too?
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PostPost by: Davidb » Wed Mar 27, 2024 7:48 pm

When you say "turned down" are you meaning angled down?
26Rs would be angled down because they had "kinked" control arms to lower the ride height.

The Spitfire rack a friend supplied has turned out to be a GT6 rack! Six spline pinion.

Does anyone know if it is possible to use a six spline pinion with a GT6 rack or are they, as I suspect, different gear cuts?
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PostPost by: Davidb » Wed Mar 27, 2024 8:16 pm

Edit: I just checked on the Triumph forums and apparently you can swap a six for a seven tooth pinion without any0 problem.
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PostPost by: h20hamelan » Wed Mar 27, 2024 8:17 pm

https://www.gglotus.org/ggpart/elanxref.htm#steer

angled, turned, bent, otherwise in a downward fashion.

Glad you figured out your issue David!
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