Lotus Elan

Elan Part Found In Stock At Local Liquor Store

PostPost by: Frank Howard » Wed May 16, 2007 7:38 pm

Hard to believe but true. It all started when my Sovy started acting up. For those of you who don?t have one, a Sovy is a device that sits on top of the master cylinder reservoir and is designed to warn the driver of a leak in the braking system. I believe at one time, it was required in certain markets such as the US. Despite the fact that I had plenty of brake fluid, the warning light insisted that this was not the case so I decided to investigate.

First of all, as far as I can determine, a replacement Sovy is not available. Upon dismantling it, I found it to be a simple device consisting of a cork impaled on a rod that should fall as the brake fluid level falls. Once it falls a certain amount, a copper disk on the rod touches two terminals completing a circuit that powers the warning light. The reason the light would not go off was fairly obvious. After soaking in brake fluid for 36 years, the cork had become water logged or shall I say brake fluid logged and as a result, it would no longer float. But where to find a replacement? That?s where the liquor store comes in.

I needed a cork, but not just any cork. It had to be small enough to fit into the Sovy device, yet buoyant enough to keep the contact disk away from the electrical terminals. A plastic one would not do as once the metal rod was pushed through it, the plastic cap would fill with brake fluid and sink. Several bottles were opened with a special Italian Lotus tool made by ?E.B.?. This opener is capable of removing a cork without the use of a cork screw so it will not tear a hole in it. After several exhaustive experiments involving numerous vintages, my wife and I finally found the perfect cork in a bottle of 2004 Clos du Bois, a Merlot from California. About $11. I put it on the drill press and drilled a (slightly smaller than the metal rod) hole through the center of it, trimmed the bottom end to size (the part that was touching the wine) on the bench grinder, and installed it.

The brake warning light is no longer giving me false warnings and as a bonus, the brake fluid appears to be getting better with age. If anybody needs this special Lotus part, please send $11 and I will be happy to ship it to you anywhere free of charge.
Frank Howard
'71 S4 SE
Minnesota
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PostPost by: stuartgb100 » Wed May 16, 2007 7:54 pm

No offense Frank, but:

quote:

"I finally found the perfect cork in a bottle of 2004 Clos du Bois, a Merlot from California. About $11."

Would you mind "awfully" if I just ordered a crate and imported it, enjoyed the wine, and e-bayed the corks ?

PS: I'd recycle the bottles if it made you feel better .....

Regards,
Stuart.
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PostPost by: lotusdelta » Wed May 16, 2007 8:49 pm

cheers,
A first rate story and laugh...amazing what owning a lotus does to the mind....
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PostPost by: dougweall » Thu May 17, 2007 4:20 pm

That's what I like to hic hear about, a bit of hic injun nuity :lol:
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PostPost by: Rob_LaMoreaux » Thu May 17, 2007 7:51 pm

That's as good as my story of Sunday afternoon at LOG in southern Wisconsin.

I had fixed an issue with the regulator and wanted to go for a drive. As I turned the corner from the hotel the throttle fell to the floor and the engine went to idle.

Needless to say I had forgotten the spare throttle cable back home in Michigan. So I coasted into the nearest parking lot and proceeded to see if I could shorten the outer sheath to get the cable to work. No luck.

It was at that point that I noticed the parking lot belonged to a bicycle store and they were open. I went in and handed the gentleman the cable asking if they had something like it. $3 later I had a new cable. So I went back in and spent another $3 for a spare. The first is still working great today.

Incidently my cork for the Savoy unit came from the hardware store since I was concerned about wine in the brake fluid.

I noticed a few years ago that the switch portion of the savoy unit is the same as my cousin's 1989 Jaguar XJS. Now if I can find the right paint can for the rest of the stupid thing....

Rob
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PostPost by: Frank Howard » Thu May 17, 2007 10:07 pm

Rob_LaMoreaux wrote:That's as good as my story of Sunday afternoon at LOG in southern Wisconsin. I had fixed an issue with the regulator and wanted to go for a drive.

Oh you went for a drive all right. You drove straight to the autocross course where you were kind enough to give me a ride during one of your runs. Thanks Rob.
Frank Howard
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PostPost by: pharriso » Sat Aug 31, 2013 9:24 am

I had the same issue - Brake "Fail" light on & traced it to the SOVY contacts being shorted even though the brake fluid level was good.

Well I took the SOVY assembly apart & found that the float had sunk, in fact when I squeezed it - it exploded :roll:
:
Sovy_Disassembled.JPG and


I also went to my local non-traditional auto parts supplier & was lucky in that they had large glasses full of SOVY floatation devices saved from prior tastings. I selected 3 of the plastic/foam devices:
Corks.JPG and
Note the Lucas defective float to the rear.


All is back together & working fine... A fun project that cost $0.00!
Phil Harrison
1972 Elan Sprint 0260K
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PostPost by: billwill » Sat Aug 31, 2013 2:30 pm

The tale above of the throttle cable reminded me a a very frustrating experience I once had.

I had just finished some IT work for a customer at their apartment in an isolated historic building. It was nearly midnight when I got to the car park to go home, but my Elan would not start. and the weather was cold some snow flakes were falling. It was so isolated there is no mobile phone signal there so I could not call the RAC and I did not want to awaken my customer.

I had been having cold start problems so I did have a second fully charged battery in the boot. I exhausted the first battery trying to start and coupled up the second instead.

Still it wouldn't start and in my frustration I pressed the throttle too hard and the soldered nipple pulled off the end of the throttle cable at the pedal end.. So I was worse off than ever. It was now well gone midnight.
:o
Soldering in the car park was not possible, no such tool, but I looked desperately through what I did have, fortunately my computer-support bag had all sorts of things in it, including some terminal blocks:
Image
So I took out one of the brass connectors and as my pliers/cutters were in the bag I was able to shorten the outer sheath of my throttle cable so that enough inner cable was exposed. So there I was, as many of you will know, scrabbling around with my head in the footwell reaching up by torch light to screw two tiny grub screws on the brass connector to grip the inner hawser.

Eventually, many curses later, the throttle was working and with what seemed like the dying few ergs of energy from the second battery, the engine finally started about 1:30 am. :shock:

I was so relieved. I drove the 80 miles back home. without any further problem.

Shortly after that I bought a suitably bicycle brake cable (they have such nice slidey inner sheaths) and made a more permanent replacement, with a proper scew fixed brake cable nipple on the end.

8)
Bill Williams

36/6725 S3 Coupe OGU108E Yellow over Black.
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PostPost by: andyelan » Sun Sep 01, 2013 9:37 am

Hi Everyone

Paul, regarding taking the SAVOY switch apart, could I please ask how you managed to remove the drive rivets without damaging the red plastic top. I found them too hard to drill and then even with the heads removed the stem still remained embedded in the plastic base

Regards
Andy
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PostPost by: pharriso » Sun Sep 01, 2013 10:37 am

andyelan wrote:Hi Everyone

Paul, regarding taking the SAVOY switch apart, could I please ask how you managed to remove the drive rivets without damaging the red plastic top. I found them too hard to drill and then even with the heads removed the stem still remained embedded in the plastic base

Regards
Andy


Phil here...

I only had 1 drive rivet left. I judiciously levered up the red top & as I did so the rivet pulled out, rotating as it did so as it has spiral teeth which bite into the plastic.
Phil Harrison
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