Lotus Elan

Clutch slave cylinder and a noisy bearing

PostPost by: alan » Tue Apr 22, 2014 1:00 pm

be careful how you fit the springs :mrgreen:
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PostPost by: adigra » Tue Apr 22, 2014 1:27 pm

The springs may well be the cause. The car goes in on the 3rd, so should have a verdict soon after. Either way, the clutch fork isn't sitting right and, I suspect, it's pushing on the bearing at an angle which has made it fail prematurely.

It might be overkill, but I will have the whole clutch assembly replaced as I am now suspecting my previous clutch failure (the pressure plate was cracked) wasn't only due to age, but this same cause.

It happens. At least it will give me the opportunity to refresh all of the seals and investigate an oil leak or two.

I thank all of you for responding and being helpful and patient with a simpleton like me!

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PostPost by: adigra » Thu May 08, 2014 4:18 pm

A little update. Had a chat with the mechanic who has taken the engine out and investigated. One mystery solved in that the oil pickup had fallen off and was being chewed up by the crank. He says this would account for a grinding noise which I discounted as another clutch failure symptom. Luckily, and surprisingly, there was no other damage inside. There was no oil pressure loss at any point, so I never suspected anything wrong there.

Sadly, the head needs a bit of work as one valve wasn't seating properly, which is disappointing, but accounts for an oil leak there.

Back to the clutch: he says there was nothing technically wrong with it itself, but that there was a lot of oil coming from the dried out rear engine seal which had flooded it. The release arm springs all bent out of shape, probably accounting for the odd angle of the arm. Everything is being replaced, but I am concerned with the springs being bent so badly after having done so few miles since installation.

All of this is, sadly, work being done for the second time since the recent rebuild. I am very disappointed by a number of specialists who have done the work previously, and am still finding stuff which really should've been done better in the first place. I couldn't have done the work myself, so I had taken the car to recommended Lotus and Twin-cam specialists thinking I was giving it the best care possible.

I am really starting to lose faith in the car and the support network.
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PostPost by: pharriso » Thu May 08, 2014 5:29 pm

adigra wrote:I am really starting to lose faith in the car and the support network.


You need to get it back & to start driving it.
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PostPost by: adigra » Thu May 08, 2014 9:48 pm

pharriso wrote:
adigra wrote:I am really starting to lose faith in the car and the support network.


You need to get it back & to start driving it.


That's exactly what I've been trying to do, but difficult to achieve with these issues. The best drive I've had in it in the last year has been taking it to the mechanic last week.
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PostPost by: alan » Fri May 09, 2014 6:36 am

" the oil pickup had fallen off and was being chewed up by the crank".
I think this was the oil return pipe not the pickup.
For the clutch, had the release bearing been pressed onto the the carrier correctly and not just loose on it :?:
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PostPost by: adigra » Fri May 09, 2014 7:05 am

You might be right. The information was coming at me pretty fast over the phone so I understood it as the strainer having fallen off.

As for the bearing, I am really not sure. The only obvious issues he mentioned were the oil ingress and the bent springs.
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PostPost by: adigra » Wed May 14, 2014 6:25 pm

Had a look at the car and the disassembled engine yesterday. Alan was correct, it was the return pipe that had fallen in and was rubbing against the crank. It was quite chewed up, but luckily no bits have fallen off, and no damage to the crank, or anything else in there. Everything else, aside from the one valve seat mentioned above, checks out and looks as new as it should be.

The clutch was soaked in oil and, according to the mechanic, wouldn't have lasted too long. While they looked new the bearing was quite dry and whiny, and the springs were bent out of shape. No particular reason for the springs to be so misshapen, as they were new last year, suggesting poor quality...

While discussing poor quality parts with the mechanic, who is an Austin Healey specialist, he said replacement parts for the A-H are no better, and early failures are just as common. He says, as I have come to realise, that the main problem is with the lack of testing and development of upgraded parts and the "That will do." mentality. Pretty much 90% of all of my problems last year arose from parts sold as specifically for the Elan, which required extra work after being fitted (such as my completely mistimed distributor which was not only sold to me by a specialist but also fitted and "set up", but had 5deg. initial advance making the car run like crap).
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PostPost by: alan » Mon May 19, 2014 9:16 am

before you fit the new clurch to the flywheel. imho it's best to also replace the spigot bearing in the crankshaft.
It's a cheap part :wink:
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PostPost by: adigra » Thu May 22, 2014 5:07 pm

Spigot bearing already done!

Had another small surprise. The raised circle on the QED (Omega) piston surfaces (what are they called?) were touching the edges of the combustion chamber leaving a small bevel. No real damage though.
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PostPost by: rgh0 » Thu May 22, 2014 11:31 pm

If the pistons are that close to the head I would be worried. Any touching no matter how small can lead to big end bearing damage and ultimately failure. I would remove and machine the piston tops to get 40 thou clearance at least and replace the bearings.

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PostPost by: adigra » Fri May 23, 2014 2:19 am

Thanks Rohan. Yes, the pistons have already been machined as soon as the mechanic noticed the problem earlier this week. I'll speak to him again today about the bearings, but he says everything seems good. We are confused by the problem as all of the parts in the rebuild (done 2500 miles ago by a different shop) came from QED and the crank is original, so the clearance issue is a bit strange.
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PostPost by: adigra » Fri May 23, 2014 2:55 am

Actually, thinking about it, I'll have him replace the bearings regardless, if he hasn't already (he's really been on top of everything so far).
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PostPost by: adigra » Fri May 23, 2014 3:34 pm

I went to see the engine and speak to the mechanics. The pistons were too long as the block looks to have been decked a bit in the past and they were coming up too far and touching the head. The head was tested and it's fine, and the pistons were skimmed and tested as were all of the bearings and gudgeon pins, etc.

The most bizarre of all though, was that piston #3 was fitted back to front so the cutouts for the valves were reversed and touching the valve.

All of the parts fitted are top quality, but they were cobbled together without care. The builder came recommended by someone on this forum, and was an ex-QED engine man, so all of this is rather surprising.

Oh well, live and learn.The silver lining on all of it is that I was very lucky to have escaped with no major damage and that the failing clutch has prompted the investigation. It's being put right and should be back on the road next week.
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PostPost by: alan » Fri May 23, 2014 6:40 pm

The builder came recommended by someone on this forum, and was an "ex-QED "engine man.

maybe that's why he was "EX" :mrgreen: :mrgreen:
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