Lotus Elan

Steering Rack Question?

PostPost by: pereirac » Mon Mar 14, 2005 11:56 am

The Elan steering rack is said to be a 'modified' Triumph Herald/Spitfire unit. Does anybody know how it is 'modified' and is this something you can do yourself?

Thanks

Carl
Carl

72 Elan Sprint
87 Excel SE
97 Alpina B10

http://www.lotuselan.co.uk
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PostPost by: garyeanderson » Mon Mar 14, 2005 1:25 pm

Hi Carl

The tie rods are shorter and you can't just trim the Spit tie rods as the threads are rolled (shaft diameter is smaller than the threads) and there won't be any threads for the jam nuts to lock the tie rod ends. There are also stop limiters on the Elan Rack. If you have a bad Elan rack (the center portion)you can remove the stock Elan bits and move them onto the Spit rack.

Gary
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PostPost by: BillGavin » Mon Mar 14, 2005 2:21 pm

Just to add a bit to Gary's info-

The tie rods from an MG Midget (after Jan 1972) are the right length for the Elan: in fact, the whole Midget rack is pretty close. The rack length is different, but not too far off, and the pinion shaft diameter is larger than the Spit and Lotus pinion. Details of the mounting bracketry are also different but IIRC the rack housing could be fitted to the Elan chassis without much trouble.

As Gary says, if you decide to use a Spit rack, don't toss the original rack, at least save the special bits.
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PostPost by: Elanman99 » Mon Mar 14, 2005 7:33 pm

I recently ordered a brand new (newly manufactured) Triumph Spitfire rack with the intention of using it as a source of unworn parts to overhaul my original Elan rack. When I removed one of the rubber gaitors to strip the rack I discovered that its internal construction was not amenable to being dismantled!

Basically the rack (manufactured in Poland I recall) was of swaged and sealed construction. The end ball joints had no removable cap nuts or shims, in other words non servicable. Fortunately the supplier gave me a refund.

I have heard several tales of woe about people buying 'exchange' racks and finding that they had bought old/worn racks with a new coat of paint. As I understand it the actual rack and pinion items are not being manufactured by anybody at present so 'overhauling' a rack is pretty limited.

Ian Phillips
68 Elan S4 DHC. Built in a weekend from a kit (just like the advert said)
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PostPost by: M100 » Tue Mar 15, 2005 11:20 am

If you get a spitfire catalogue from Moss Europe www.moss-europe.co.uk they show all the parts you can buy to rebuild the racks yourself - more or less everything is available except the Lotus length tie bars.

<a href='http://www.moss-europe.co.uk/MossUK/Pdfs/Spitfire/Spitfire%20MZCP405%2093-128.pdf' target='_blank'>http://www.moss-europe.co.uk/MossUK/Pdfs/S...05%2093-128.pdf</a>

(The rack is on page 130)

The only difference on the Lotus racks from the Herald/Spitfire one are the tie rod length/threaded portion and the rack limiting stops.

The tie rod is 7.59 inches (ball centre to thread end) on the Elan and 8.715 inches on the Herald/Spitfire but has already said they cannot usually be altered as the rolled threads mean the diameter where the Lotus needs the thread is already sized to about the thread minor diameter.

The rack limiting stops (you can usually reuse both) are sized as follows:

Pinion end: 27/32"id 1 1/16 "od 9/32 " long spacer welded to the locknut

Outer end: A spacer 27/32 " id 1 1/16 " od 1 3/4 " long

I've never heard of the Midget rack tie rods fitting though - have you got a definitive tie rod length and threaded portion (and part number?) to check against an original Lotus one?

Lotus themselves did some Elan replacement racks back in the late 80's early 90's that were of "sealed" construction based on (I think) the Austin/Rover Metro one.
Martin
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PostPost by: BillGavin » Fri Mar 18, 2005 3:49 pm

I don't have the numbers in front of me, but I disassembled both racks myself and laid the tie rods side by side - they are indistinguishable. I built up a spare rack for my Elan from a rusty Elan rack, a Spitfire rack and a Midget rack.

This is the late Midget rack, not the early one, which is completely different. The Midget rack also has travel stops, but I don't recall the dimensions.

- Bill
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PostPost by: steveww » Mon Mar 21, 2005 9:44 am

You might be able to use different tie rod ends (ball joints) on the end of a cut down Triumph rack? :unsure:

The usual racing parts shops sell all sorts of tie rod ends
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