Lotus Elan

Horn shorting

PostPost by: jimj » Thu Oct 01, 2009 2:54 pm

My horn has started to sound when turning the wheel, or just pulling and pushing it. It`s not the horn push/button itself, it even does it when I remove the springy doodah (can`t remember it`s name).
Obviously a short, where should I start looking?
Jim
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PostPost by: paddy » Thu Oct 01, 2009 3:02 pm

It's the screws that hold the steering wheel boss together - they're shorting on the contact ring that the horn brush normally contacts with.

You have to loosen the steering column clamp and pull the wheel back a bit. Maybe also tape over the screws so they don't contact again.

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PostPost by: adigra » Thu Oct 01, 2009 3:32 pm

Paddy beat me to it. I discovered this last week when I had the boss powdercoated, which made the screws sit a bit prouder. The horn sounded as soon as I switched on the ignition. I just fitted some thinner washers, which solved the problem instantly. It is a silly design.

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PostPost by: paddy » Thu Oct 01, 2009 3:42 pm

When I got the Elan the horn wasn't working, and I didn't do anything about it for ages. Then when I was doing something on the rack I noticed that the wire across the flexible joint had been delberately disconnected, so I reconnected it. The next day I had an embarrassing journey when the horn would just sound for no apparent reason at the most inappropriate times (eg passing small children, young women, old women, etc), down to the same problem.

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PostPost by: jimj » Thu Oct 01, 2009 4:29 pm

In the words of FREE;"It`s alright now". For some reason the wheel was sitting a little too far down the column. A suitable washer solved the problem.
Thanks,
Jim
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PostPost by: garyeanderson » Thu Oct 01, 2009 5:04 pm

Hi Jim

All the steering columns I have seen on an Elan (S2 through S4) are like the photo, Splines and a taper at the bottom, the wheel bottoms on the taper. I do not understand how a washer can be used to move the wheel away without compromising the safety of you and everyone else on the road. I hope that I just don't understand the washer position.

The last time I had the horn beeping when the wheel was turned was the pencil like thingy was broken, it was the last item to be changed but an instant fix once swapped. I don't know why and didn't look into it any further.
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PostPost by: RotoFlexible » Thu Oct 01, 2009 6:37 pm

I just had a relatively new horn contact brush break (in a parking lot, fortunately). The horn started blowing intermittently and the steering got crunchy. Removing the brush didn't help. I turned the wheel a few times until the metal bit that actually contacts the ring (which had detached from the rest of the brush) ejected from the column, restoring silence and smooth steering.

I haven't found the trick to keeping these brushes alive. Either they rub too hard (leading to annoying noise and feel when turning the wheel, and rapid failure) or not at all. I think you need to set the brush just far enough into the hub to get contact, and use a light dielectric grease on the ring - will try that with the next brush.
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PostPost by: alexblack13 » Thu Oct 01, 2009 7:01 pm

Hello Jim...

I am with Gary on the washer fitting thing! Where did you put this washer?

This could be V dangerous. :shock:

Best method is just to slacken the column pinch bolt and pull the wheel up a mil or two.Retighten the clamp tight But not daft. Mind it is supposed to slip during an accident.Tighten the locknut firmly.

Check it out.. :?

AB.........
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PostPost by: paddy » Thu Oct 01, 2009 7:53 pm

RotoFlexible wrote:Either they rub too hard (leading to annoying noise and feel when turning the wheel, and rapid failure) or not at all. I think you need to set the brush just far enough into the hub to get contact, and use a light dielectric grease on the ring - will try that with the next brush.


I used graphite (ie scribble all over the contact ring with a carpenters pencil). Conductive and a lubricant at the same time.

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PostPost by: jimj » Thu Oct 01, 2009 10:25 pm

"Don`t worry, be happy" as ? said! On Gary`s photo you can see that below the splines the column narrows then widens again. From my collection of old washers I pulled the first one out that just fits onto the widening bit and stops just before it`s widest point. This just spaces the steering wheel out enough. As the great Kylie Mynogue once said; "you should be so lucky, lucky, l..........."
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PostPost by: garyeanderson » Thu Oct 01, 2009 10:54 pm

Hi Jim

You have compromised the design that holds the wheel in place. The taper is no longer doing anything to help. You may get away with it for a long time but, its likely to bite you hard when it fails.

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PostPost by: alexblack13 » Thu Oct 01, 2009 10:55 pm

Hello Jim,
Sounds like you are preventing the wheel from sitting properly on the taper.Is that correct? If so that is not a great Idea. It could come loose and you are relying on the splines only for grip / drive, wheel to column. This can be a fair load. That taper is designed to take a fair grip of the wheel. That's what can be a devil to loosen the wheel off when removing. It should (like all tapers) be a perfect fit to its female part.
Your washer may be preventing this fit.

Take care with this. As Gary said you could be endangering yourself and every other road user. I would remove said washer and get the wheel fitting correctly on its taper. Then adjust your column length a little to give the clearance you need for your horn pickup. That is how it is designed to be set up and is simple and quick to do. Lotus did not fit washers/shims here. :shock: :shock: :shock:

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Please don't take this the wrong way. This reply is intended to help. Your steering is too important to get wrong.

Like Gary I hope its an understanding issue, but I suspect you have 'spaced' your wheel boss off its taper. V bad idea!!!

Don't bodge it...

Alex B.... 8)
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PostPost by: elj221c » Fri Oct 02, 2009 12:19 am

RotoFlexible wrote:I haven't found the trick to keeping these brushes alive.


I have! Don't use 'em. My S2 with a MotaLita wheel and boss dosen't have a horn push in the centre. Just an aluminium centre with 'THE' badge. That's how it came. Actually, I can't remember it having a horn when I bought it but then, the car was alledgedly built/rebuilt for sprinting. No time for a horn there!

When I put the car back together I used a stalk non locking type of switch set in the dash not far from my right index finger with Fiamm air horns. Worked a treat!

I can't confirm if the taper on my boss fits along with the splin. Never thought about looking. It's 1am and I am waiting for first Japenese GP practice and I'm not sure where the boss or the wheel is precisely so no answer tonight but it can't be right to use a washer!

garyeanderson wrote:The last time I had the horn beeping when the wheel was turned was the pencil like thingy was broken, it was the last item to be changed but an instant fix once swapped. I don't know why and didn't look into it any further.


Of course, if you have non messed around 'proper' car then Gary has the likely correct answer!

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PostPost by: 69S4 » Fri Oct 02, 2009 6:48 am

elj221c wrote:
RotoFlexible wrote:I haven't found the trick to keeping these brushes alive.


When I put the car back together I used a stalk non locking type of switch set in the dash not far from my right index finger with Fiamm air horns. Worked a treat!
Roy
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I've also had to give up on the pencil thingy (for the time being anyway) My MotoLita wheel came with the hole for the pencil drilled slightly too large and at an angle inwards so it catches on the inside of the brass ring and jams. After breaking two pencils I gave up and rewired the horn to operate from a push switch on the dash. To keep the UK MOT tester happy I made up a "Horn" sticker from individual letters of leftover dash decal so at least he'd know where to push to test it.

Over the winter I'll have another look at the wheel to see if I can fill in the pencil hole and redrill it at the correct angle.
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PostPost by: jimj » Fri Oct 02, 2009 9:31 am

Thanks for your concern. When I said that the washer was a lucky fit, it`s because it just, millimetrically, prevents the wheel boss shorting. I was very mindfull that the wheel needs to really bolt down on to the tapered splines, and it does.
Jim
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