Lotus Elan

Rope seal fitting

PostPost by: Quart Meg Miles » Thu Mar 23, 2017 11:00 pm

Wilkins and Buckland both duck the issue of fitting this critical part so I read our archive. It was advised to soak the ropes in warm oil and leave overnight before fitting. Mine got more like 24 hours and I heated them finger warm just before fitting too. After fitting, described below, a combination of oil and "chalk" coated the crank surface and squeezed out wherever it could. Should it do that and is the seal ruined?

To try and get the rope length right I used this method, assuming the block is inverted and not describing details like lubrication and Wellseal in the seal wells:

1. Remove the rear seal carrier;
2. Drop the crank onto its shells without fitting the caps but fit the thrust washers;
3. Lay the sump gaskets on the block face (dry) and curved out instead of in, lining up the 2nd from rear hole with its block thread hole;
4. Fit the seal in the sump, squeezing it in gently then drop the sump over the crank;
5. Fit the 2nd from rear sump bolts and tighten them until the gasket is nipped which should compress the seal almost fully round the crank and into the sump;
6. Release the bolts and take off the sump and gaskets;

It did not look as though it was fully in and the ends stuck out about an inch each side; the sump can't have bent!

I continued, to fit the other seal:

7. Remove the thrust washers and crank then fit the carrier back on the block;
8. Press the second seal into the carrier and drop the crank in place, fitting the thrust washers;
9. Fit and tighten the rear main bearing though not to full torque;
10. Cut the seal almost through with a knife flush with the block face (or a little above);
11. Remove the main bearing, thrust washers and crank and cut off flush the rest of the surplus seal;

This worked perfectly but the white slime was all over the crank seal area. Also the crank wouldn't turn easily until the bearing was loose. The cut off ends were less than half an inch, as expected.

I can redo the sump seal if I remove the carrier again and perhaps leave out the gaskets (which will fill the gap if the seal is cut flush). But I'm worried about the "slime" and seal integrity. Any ideas?
Meg

26/4088 1965 S1½ Old and scruffy but in perfect working order; the car too.
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PostPost by: nomad » Thu Mar 23, 2017 11:48 pm

Isn't the slime Teflon? Just assumed they would use Teflon in this day and age or something similiar. I drove mine in with a suitable sized piece of shafting and cut them with a razor blade scraper. They ended up very tight and I hope they are OK. Engine hasn't run yet. Last I dealt with rope seals was on a 57 283 GM V8 when I was in my teens. Seemed to work on that.

Kurt.
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PostPost by: Quart Meg Miles » Fri Mar 24, 2017 9:58 pm

Thanks Kurt, I hadn't thought of that. It's the right colour for native PTFE, which is a wonderful electrical material, and I'm surprised it can be powdered like that. But perhaps that's how they coat it onto frying pans.

Coating frying pans with it always worried me: heat it to over 400?C and it decomposes into chloroform and hydrogen flouride and the latter is something you do not want to meet.
Meg

26/4088 1965 S1½ Old and scruffy but in perfect working order; the car too.
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PostPost by: Quart Meg Miles » Sat Mar 25, 2017 10:28 pm

Quart Meg Miles wrote:I can redo the sump seal if I remove the carrier again and perhaps leave out the gaskets (which will fill the gap if the seal is cut flush).

Which I did, though using a thin steel rule instead of the gaskets. The seal now seems to fill the sump cavity but the ends still poke out a long way and I cut them off just above flush. Time to rebuild the bottom end with Graphene.
Meg

26/4088 1965 S1½ Old and scruffy but in perfect working order; the car too.
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