Lotus Elan

Rear Wheel Bearing?

PostPost by: englishmaninwales » Tue Sep 03, 2013 11:16 pm

1967 S3 Coupe. Replacement Spyder bearing carrier and adjustable upright. I knew it wouldn't be long before my newly aquired Elan would cause trouble!

Car was running well and no bearing noise. I felt a knocking from the LHS rear under braking, and on investigation I found on rocking the wheel it felt horrible as there was significant play. I checked the KO wheel was tight and still felt the play. Jacked the car up and I was unable to reproduce the play. I suspected a failed bearing (especially as the car has been little used over recent years and maybe the grease had hardened) and that the play was eliminated when jacked up due to the tension in the outer driveshaft from the rotaflex coupling being under tension.

I removed the hub, went to unbolt the caliper and found it was loose (!) and decided that this was the cause (accounting for the knocking under braking - and made a mental note to spanner check the whole car). Tightened and re-assembled the hub.

Car on the ground still felt like before like a knackered wheel bearing. So again I removed the hub, caliper, and unbolted the outboard wishbone fixings, the outer rotaflex coupling and removed the brake disc.

I'm now troubled because I cannot feel any play whatsoever or lumpiness in the wheel bearings. There is no play in the wishbone inner chassis bushes. The rotaflex couplings are in reasonable condition.

I have removed the inner circlip attempted to remove the outer driveshaft from the bearing carrier and it wont budge.

I'm tempted to remove the whole assembly to press the driveshaft out, but I'm still troubled that the wheel bearing appears OK and that something else is could the cause.

Help! Any pointers, please?
Thanks. Malcolm
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PostPost by: UAB807F » Wed Sep 04, 2013 5:40 am

Hi Malcom,

You seem to have been everything I'd also suspect, I'm assuming when you can feel play the car is on it's wheels and you're rocking the rear wheel ?

Other things which also come to mind;

If the lower A frame is soundly mounted, the bearings have no play and the hub itself is solid when mounted then I'd take a look at the spring/damper forming the upper location. I'd check the nut at the top of the damper mounting and even more remotely, the locatone. When I first got my Elan the lotacone on one side had disbonded and the first time I dismantled it to replace a broken spring, the whole lot came away. The metal insert had disbonded from the rubber, but the weight of the car kept everything together when moving along !

Clutching at straws, then next would be the diff mounts and tie rods, just in case something is loose there. A long shot, but while you have the spanners out you might as take a look ?

Brian
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PostPost by: PeterK » Wed Sep 04, 2013 6:47 am

Have you compared with the opposite rear wheel ? The original knocking may have been cured by tightening the caliper and it is now 'normal'.


If the problem wheel is materially different to the other, when you jacked up the car, was this on the wishbone or the body (is the strut/spring under more or less compression than standard).

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PostPost by: robertverhey » Wed Sep 04, 2013 8:17 am

Hmm sounds familiar, in my case the bearings were okay but the axle shaft itself had worn, causing play. Had to replace the shaft ($$$ ouch $$$$) and fitted new bearings (cheap)
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PostPost by: david.g.chapman » Wed Sep 04, 2013 8:57 am

You may have covered this already as you have removed the hub - but just in case...

It might be worth checking that the outer bearing is not rotating on the shaft as mentioned above - once this starts the bearing wears a groove in the shaft and you get the play described. The shaft will then have to be metal sprayed to restore its diameter, or a split sleeve fitted after the sharp edges are relieved on the groove (they can start cracks). if the groove is deeper than say 10 thou I would not attempt to repair it.

The hub nut can work loose but you would have checked that.

Cheers

Dave Chapman.
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PostPost by: englishmaninwales » Wed Sep 04, 2013 12:32 pm

Thanks for the rapid and helpful responses.

Brian
Yes I can only feel the play when rocking the wheel when the car is on its wheels I rather suspect you're correct with the top damper insert nut being loose, given there are other nuts not properly torqued. I guess there is an access to it under the parcel shelf. It it is loose I can expect a damaged thread on the top of the insert- been there before with a front McPhearson strut on a Pug 205 GTI.

Peter
Yes the other side is fine and tightening up the caliper didn't cure the play on rocking the wheel with the car on the ground.

David
Hub nut was tight. I can't see any rotation in the outer race in the outer bearing relative to the bearing housing and checked with the circlip out (although might only occur under load).

Robert
With play from a worn outer shaft, I guess that would be obvious once disconnected from the outer rotaflex? The outer shaft/bearings feel smooth turning, no lumpiness or play on rotation.

Hmm.. I 'm going to look at the insert top nut ( I think this is castellated/split pin type from the drawings)
Thanks all.

Malcolm
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PostPost by: englishmaninwales » Thu Sep 05, 2013 7:29 pm

Well, I've drawn a complete blank on this! Strut insert nyloc is tight and no sign of a failed lotocone. Diff mounts ok. I'll have to give in and get someone to take a look at it!
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PostPost by: robertverhey » Thu Sep 05, 2013 10:30 pm

How frustrating these things can be. I see that the play disappears when the car is jacked up (presumably with the suspension on full droop). Have you tried jacking the suspension up while the car is up on a jack, to try to simulate natural ride height, but with wheel and hub removed? Surely you should be able to see what's moving relative to what if you do that? Robert
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PostPost by: UAB807F » Fri Sep 06, 2013 5:43 am

Hi again Malcom,

These little cars can be a right pain at times, can't they ? After what you've checked, any normal car would be sorted by now, but of course this is Lotus we're talking about.....

I'm as stumped as you if it's any consolation. The only thing I noticed in your last post was that on my rear dampers the top nut isn't a plaint nyloc but a sort of "top hat" arrangement which has a bush sliding inside the lotocone to take up side play I'd guess. The original castellated nuts were similar although not as pronounced IIRC, and not a conventional nut arrangement. If it's really tight I can't see how it makes a lot of difference other than alignment, but it's something to consider I suppose.

Surely play can only be at a few places; a loose wheel, the A frame bushes, to top mounting or the hub/axle/bearings themselves ? Before you give up I'd be tempted to sleep on it then have a look with fresh eyes, maybe using a decent size lever or crowbar to check for the movement like the MoT guys do.

Brian

ps Now as we're straw-clutching, here's a really wild one to consider.

The damper insert is held in place with a screwed collar into the hub/tube arrangement after filling the void with oil. Now if that's coming loose it would mean that the strut wasn't secure and lead to play as the damper "rattled about" on sideways motion ?

I think it would need to be quite loose to make a difference but it might fit the tale. If you had the wheel hanging free the pre-loading from the spring would mask any movement as the damper is fully extended, but once on it's wheels the car's weight moved the damper (to half way ?) and it might just be enough to remove spring tension on the collar and cause play.

I think I'd try jacking the car up using a plank of wood under the outer A frame (care !!!) to load the spring and then feel between the coils (hand/screwdriver ?) to see if there's any movement on that strut collar.

Other than that I think I'm going with the worn axle as previously posted, but why anyone would reassemble an expensive new Spyder hub with worn parts that are relatively cheap to recover is hard to imagine.
Last edited by UAB807F on Fri Sep 06, 2013 8:09 am, edited 1 time in total.
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PostPost by: englishmaninwales » Fri Sep 06, 2013 6:08 am

Yes thanks, some good ideas there. I 'm away on a break for a few days and I shall be giving it all some thought, and I'll post to give the next instalment!!

Malcolm
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PostPost by: englishmaninwales » Sat May 10, 2014 6:00 pm

UAB807F wrote:Hi again Malcom,

These little cars can be a right pain at times, can't they ? After what you've checked, any normal car would be sorted by now, but of course this is Lotus we're talking about.....

I'm as stumped as you if it's any consolation. The only thing I noticed in your last post was that on my rear dampers the top nut isn't a plaint nyloc but a sort of "top hat" arrangement which has a bush sliding inside the lotocone to take up side play I'd guess. The original castellated nuts were similar although not as pronounced IIRC, and not a conventional nut arrangement. If it's really tight I can't see how it makes a lot of difference other than alignment, but it's something to consider I suppose.

Surely play can only be at a few places; a loose wheel, the A frame bushes, to top mounting or the hub/axle/bearings themselves ? Before you give up I'd be tempted to sleep on it then have a look with fresh eyes, maybe using a decent size lever or crowbar to check for the movement like the MoT guys do.

Brian

ps Now as we're straw-clutching, here's a really wild one to consider.

The damper insert is held in place with a screwed collar into the hub/tube arrangement after filling the void with oil. Now if that's coming loose it would mean that the strut wasn't secure and lead to play as the damper "rattled about" on sideways motion ?

I think it would need to be quite loose to make a difference but it might fit the tale. If you had the wheel hanging free the pre-loading from the spring would mask any movement as the damper is fully extended, but once on it's wheels the car's weight moved the damper (to half way ?) and it might just be enough to remove spring tension on the collar and cause play.

I think I'd try jacking the car up using a plank of wood under the outer A frame (care !!!) to load the spring and then feel between the coils (hand/screwdriver ?) to see if there's any movement on that strut collar.

Other than that I think I'm going with the worn axle as previously posted, but why anyone would reassemble an expensive new Spyder hub with worn parts that are relatively cheap to recover is hard to imagine.


Well a few days turned into several months before I could deal with this! You all know how these things get push back behind other dreadful jobs like painting the house!

Brian, you were spot on - the damper retaining collar was not fully tightened, allowing lateral movement of the damper within its housing.
Cheers!
Malcolm
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PostPost by: KevJ+2 » Sat May 10, 2014 8:07 pm

I've just fitted new inserts and put short self tapping screws through the tube tops into the top locking threads to stop them coming loose. I think they used to be peened.
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PostPost by: UAB807F » Sun May 11, 2014 4:54 am

Good news Malcolm, it's just amazing how many ways these cars can devise to trip us up, isn't it ?

I like Kev's idea of self tappers to stop them unscrewing. After I read that, I seem to remember my originals had a couple of cut-outs at the top so the strut body was tapped into these to lock them, but the modern replacements weren't the same. I wish I'd thought of drilling & pinning at the time, they aren't exactly the easiest things to get at.

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PostPost by: englishmaninwales » Sun May 11, 2014 7:49 am

I have a mix of bearing housings - the offending side with the loose collar is a Spyder steel fabricated item and the collar was not properly peened and hence loosened. The off side is an original Lotus aluminium item with the steel tubular portion properly peened into a cut out in the collar.

Sadly the inner bearing is spun on the Lotus housing so may need replacement. The housing is pretty battered from POs over the last 48 years and may well be scrap. I expect the recess for the bearing is now oversize but is there any mileage in trying to shim the bearing?
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PostPost by: UAB807F » Sun May 11, 2014 3:41 pm

You could always try a trick my dad once showed me, which quite unashamedly was a bodge to get an old car back together.

The first part was to use a dot punch to form several slightly raised marks around the bearing mounting and then pressing in the bearing with plenty of Locite bearing fit - the stuff that is used to fill large gaps. I think the grade these days is 638 ?

Any future removal will need a blowlamp to degrade the loctite, but it is very impressive stuff. I use it on the rear hubs of the Europa.
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