Lotus Elan

Wheel wobble woes; warped hub

PostPost by: 1963 S1 » Fri Dec 01, 2023 11:02 pm

A Big big thank you to Mike Ostrov for providing assistance in diagnosing and removing the damaged rear hub on my Elan. Also many thanks to StressCraxx and another kind local Lotus enthusiast, showcasing the generosity of the Lotus community and this great forum.

Driving home one day I was followed, for a few miles, by someone who wanted to notify me of my rear wheel wobbling. They successfully did so when I was about to drive into the driveway. Curious as to the potential cause, I removed the wheel and visually inspected the hub, upright, etc. and found no obvious telling signs. Reaching out to Mike and presenting the issue, the suggestion was: you may have a bent wheel, worn wheel bearings, or bent hub. Easiest to test was to fit the other wheels which did not experience any apparent wobbling onto the rear hub. Sure enough, all tested experienced the same wobbling. The car has only been driven a few thousand miles since a complete rebuild so the wheel bearings were not top of list. Next was the hub, and testing the others as well for run out. The wobbly wheel corner showed a range of -10 to +55 thousandths variance while the other three displayed -2 to +3 or +4 thousandths of an inch. Clearly, I found the issue. Now to removing the hub. With bolt on wheels, we used Mike’s massive hub puller clamp to attempt to remove the hub. Nothing budged. We applied heat; still nothing. We left the torque laden clamp fitted overnight hoping for the hub to be freed by the morning; again nothing. Applied further torque, still nothing. Knowing this hub was destined for the bin, we then began drilling away iron near the center to weaken its hold onto the shaft, carefully drilling so not to drill through and contact the shaft. Voila, after many hours of attempts, the hub was finally freed. Fortunately, Mike had a good used spare hub in his parts collection which was fitted and tested for run out. It measured similarly to the other ‘good’ hub on the opposite side of the car. We then test the fitted wheel, car raised off the ground, by placing the car in 1st gear and driving (or flying) the car in mid-air. No new signs of wobble… so time for a test drive. Success. My rear wheel wobble is gone. Thought I’d share this with those who may face a wheel wobble dilemma and may consider similar diagnostic steps.

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PostPost by: h20hamelan » Sat Dec 02, 2023 1:09 am

Nice work!

Suppose the question is, how does this happen.
From hitting a curb? I would expect the rim to give first. If something hit the centre of the wheel near the hub?

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PostPost by: 1963 S1 » Sat Dec 02, 2023 1:14 am

That's a great question. I don't have the full history of my Elan, nor do I know whether the bad hub was originally from my car or another and whether the wheels were from mine or another. The rebuilder did not disclose the origin of all the parts on the car. Your thought on it having hit a curb sometime in its history is plausible, however would think the attached wheel would have been junk post impact.
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PostPost by: StressCraxx » Sat Dec 02, 2023 1:18 am

Well done! Glad everyone was able to help.
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PostPost by: rgh0 » Sat Dec 02, 2023 7:06 am

Generally the bolt on rear hubs are bent by using a 3 jaw puller to remove them.

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PostPost by: Mike Ostrov » Sat Dec 02, 2023 9:14 am

Hi, Rohan. I have both 3 and 4 jaw pullers. I use this full sized monster as it encapsulates the entire back of the curved hub. Usually with some oxy/acel heat they will pop off. This recalcitrant hub was very difficult. When it did let loose, the noise was like a cannot shot. No evidence of any corrosion along the taper. Careful carbide grinding, per the picture was the key on this job. No tapered axle (s) were harmed! Always enjoy your contributions to the forum. Wish I could pop back down, but last visit was in 2003 to examine Elite #1001 (the first) down in Gee Long and then work up to Cains for some snorkeling, visiting Elite and Lotus folks along the way. Cheers. Mike, in the San Francisco Bay Area, for your visit.
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PostPost by: rgh0 » Sat Dec 02, 2023 9:38 pm

Hi Mike

I use a large bearing splitter behind the hub and hydraulic puller. The bearing splitter fits in behind the hub up clode to the axle shaft so minimal bending load on the hub flange.

About 40 years ago I had a look at an Elite to buy but did not proceed because of the cost, worst investment decision I ever made :)

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PostPost by: Mike Ostrov » Sun Dec 03, 2023 12:16 am

Hi, Rohan. Come on up and you can drive my Type 14's. I can pick you up at the SF or Oakland Airport with the Elite/Elan Mk II. 1725 cc TC with a C-4 automatic or the elite/Elan MK I with 1460 cc Lady Climax and a Datsun 280 zx 5 speed. Just some fun engineering exercises.

When you are ready, will find a nice Type 14 for you.

Yes, my puller is a split bearing type. Fits nicely behind the convex hub.

Time for another antibiotic and pain meds from last Weds 3.5 hours of oral surgery: 7 extractions and 6 implants for a full lower jaw prosthesis. Should be ready for a New York steak next Sept.

Cheers. Mike.
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