Lotus Elan

MSA Euroclassic Preparation

PostPost by: Foxie » Fri Jul 09, 2010 4:08 pm

I got a pm about preparation for the MSA Euroclassic, I have been unable to reply as a PM so I'm putting it up here, I hope that's ok
GreekS1 wrote:
Hello Sean,

My name is Vassilis Petropoulos and Im taking part in the Euroclassic in September. Since I gather youve done before what spares and preparation would you recomend fro the event! My car is a S3 fhc Se I bought last year in quite good conditions but I havent tackled such a long drive in it before. For me, coming from Greece, the whole rally will be about 4,500 KM (around 2800 mile) and im quite nervous...
Any help will be most appreciated!
Thanks
Vassilis



Hi Vassilis,
It's good to hear from another Lotus driver on the Euro, now we are four !
Like you we have also a long drive to the start !
This is our 16th Euroclassic, and we've never had a problem caused us to fail to finish (touch wood)
Before talking about spares and preparation, I can tell you the event is supported by Brit Assist (http://www.britassist.co.uk/ ) They have a great team of expert mechanics, mobile workshop, welders, recovery trailers, and a stock of many common spares. But still no excuse for not doing good preparation !
Norman Winchester Brit Assist boss also does vehicle recovery insurance to the UK, I use this. You might check out what is available for you.
It?s also important to do the service/inspection in good time before the event, and then give the car a good testing, with plenty of both motorway and mountain roads. Nearly all of the problems I?ve had (and there were not that many !) have been the result of doing work or making adjustments immediately before the event, and not finding out there was a problem in good time beforehand.
With the Lotus, the main things to check are a good battery, radiator and heater hoses, fan/water pump belt, rotoflex couplings, electrical connections, especially to coil and dynamo/alternator, gearbox and diff oil levels, check that all brake piston are free, and the pads have plenty of wear left, good tyres, new points if you have not converted to electronic ignition.
If you are can drive in heavy traffic in Athens, I think your cooling system must be in reasonably good condition ! The heat problems with the Lotus are: the original fan whether mechanical or electric was not good enough, the specified spark plugs (Champion N7Ys) sooted up in traffic, and the carburetters also got so hot in traffic that they also started malfunction. Driving up very long steep mountain roads like the Alps at a slow speeds and large throttle resulted in boiling radiators.
I have made many modifications over the years to make the car more reliable. The main things were replacing the inaccessible mechanical fuel pump with a Facet electric pump in the boot, fitting twin 10? Kenlowe fans to the wider +2 radiator (one would really be a big improvement) and Luminition electronic ignition. I have fitted an engine oil cooler. I also have made up a couple of fitments to keep the rear of the bonnet about an inch or so open in very hot weather.
I have fitted Spyder CV conversion about ten years ago, which eliminates one set of rotoflexes, the remaining pair of heavy duty ones are still perfect.
If you are driving at night in the rain, with headlights on and the wipers and blower fan on, the original dynamo is not good enough, so an alternator conversion is a big improvement.
I have several bad experiences on continental motorways in very heavy rain. A Lotus with the tiny back lights becomes invisible in the spray, and you can?t see in front ,so you slow down. Big lorries however, are high above the spray and will be driving faster than you dare, and will be appearing from behind all the time. That is very scary. So I?ve fitted a pair of compact Hella rear fog lights on the parcel shelf.
I have relayed the wipers, elec windows and all the lights.
I used to carry quite a lot of spares and tools, even a set of axle stands, but now I carry a minimum spare set of plugs, cylinder head gasket, fan-belt and 5 litre can of water. A small tool box with a 3/8? and ?? rachet and minimum sockets, pliers, screw drivers, cable ties, duct tape, 12v test lamp, some spare cable. And jack, wheel hammer and the required safety items.
Jim Jackson has done quite a few Euros, I think he broke a timing chain on one of the circuits and went home on a trailer. I?ve googled David Blackridge and I see that he has done some tough rallies. Maybe you have contacted them also, but I?ll drop them an email. With four Lotuses on the run, I don?t think there is any need to carry four sets of spares, so if we know what each of us will bring, it should help things .
You might also be interested in reading about Peter and Alison Cotes? adventures in their Elan (http://rallyelan.com/) to see what type of punishment the Elan can take.
We are looking forward to meeting up at the Nurburgring in September, we plan to arrive on Friday evening and are staying at the small Huellen Hotel nearby.
But be warned, it?s Superbike weekend at the Ring !
Best wishes,
Sean

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PostPost by: TheOpenRoad » Sat Jul 10, 2010 10:58 am

Hi Vassilis, Tony Merrygold here. Good to see you are doing the preparation for the Euroclassic.

We used to own an Elan Plus 2 similar to Sean's and had many of the problems that he mentions, electrics, overheating, although never the fuel pump. The worst two problems we had were the brake servo sticking on, on a classic car run in the UK, locking up the brakes. The RAC bypassed the servo and we ran it without a servo for a year or so. Replacing the water pump if it goes is very difficult as the front has to come off the engine.

Overall my advice is as follows:
  • If it has a dynamo, definitely replace it with an alternator
  • Disconnect all the electrics
  • Remove the plastic body from the chassis
  • Remove the Ford engine from the engine bay
  • If it is on the original chassis - this will have started to flex as the steel and the welds degrade.
  • Throw away the chassis
  • Throw away the engine
  • Recycle the plastic body and make it into coffee cups.


Then do the following:

  • Buy a decent chassis made out of steel girders.
  • Add a steel body to it.
  • Fit a 2.5 litre fuel injected Triumph engine.
  • Afix a couple of TR6 badges

Have a great time.

All the best. See you in September. Tony
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PostPost by: Foxie » Sat Jul 10, 2010 12:16 pm

TheOpenRoad wrote:Hi Vassilis, Tony Merrygold here. Good to see you are doing the preparation for the Euroclassic.

We used to own an Elan Plus 2 similar to Sean's and had many of the problems that he mentions. Replacing the water pump if it goes is very difficult as the front has to come off the engine.

All the best. See you in September. Tony

I forgot to mention: I have also replaced the front cover with a modular water pump, but running without the mechanical fan has meant I never did have any trouble with the water pump.

Yes, the Triumph is a very nice car, but here is my choice of a straight-6 2.5 injected twin-cam :mrgreen:
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PostPost by: GreekS1 » Mon Jul 12, 2010 8:02 am

Hi Sean! Hi Tony!!
Thanks for your answers!
Tony look forward to seeing you again in September (and in 2 weeks at the TR weekend!)

I will have a European breakdown service which comes with my Greek insurance. The elan is running fine and Ive done a couple of long runs recently including a regularity rally with no incidents. What I will do is change the cam cover and sump gaskets because of a little leaks and change oil and filter. These will be done about a week before the off.
The battery is a god Varta one, radiator has been recored this winter. In Greece the car runs a steady 90 degrees creeping to 95 when the traffic is thick. I have an kenlow installed with an manual switch as well. Other upgrades are: Alternator, electronic ignition, uprated coil, electric fuel pump.
Regarding spares im thinking hoses, rotofexes, some tools, master and slave cylinder seals and fuses.

Vassilis
1967 Elan S3 SE FHC
2000 Elise S1 - Sold

Athens - Greece
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