Lotus Elan

Lowering a Zetec Elan

PostPost by: richgilb » Wed Apr 22, 2009 9:28 pm

I see that Niall appears to have a lowered Zetec +2, seen in the Donnington pictures thread. I was advised by Andy at Spyder to not lower mine. I think he said it would spoil the handling. Has anyone lowered their Zetec Elan and if so, was the handling spoilt?

Richard
I am now an ex-Elan owner but will drop by from time to time with some suitably inappropriate comments.
User avatar
richgilb
Third Gear
Third Gear
 
Posts: 318
Joined: 20 Dec 2007
Location: Kingston......Upon Hull

PostPost by: niallf » Thu Apr 23, 2009 6:12 am

Just to be clear, my +2 isn't 'lowered'. It has Spyder springs and sits on Spax dampers at the rear and Pro-tech at the front after one of my original Spax ones snapped!
The dampers have adjustable spring platforms and they're adjusted to be about 1/4" off their lowest setting.

It does scrape the odd speed bump, so I try to avoid too many of those, that said the lowest part is the exhaust, the majority of which is a piece of 2" mild steel pipe, bought for about ?5 from a steel stockholder.

As to the handling, well seems fine in normal driving. I'm very aware that I'm sat in a fibreglass box with little in the way of side impact protection when I'm driving it, so I don't often test the lateral G forces to their limits. They seem very high!

Niall
User avatar
niallf
Second Gear
Second Gear
 
Posts: 200
Joined: 19 Sep 2003
Location: Banbury(ish), UK

PostPost by: richgilb » Thu Apr 23, 2009 7:54 am

Niall

This is really encouraging, as I have seen some threads here where things have seemed really complicated. Can you confirm whether you have the zetec engine in your +2?

Regards,
Richard
I am now an ex-Elan owner but will drop by from time to time with some suitably inappropriate comments.
User avatar
richgilb
Third Gear
Third Gear
 
Posts: 318
Joined: 20 Dec 2007
Location: Kingston......Upon Hull

PostPost by: gerrym » Thu Apr 23, 2009 8:51 am

Guys, should this subject be titled "Lowering a Spyder Zetec" or "Lowering a Zetec Elan".

Is the Offroad look exclusive to Syder Zetecs, or Plus 2s with new chassis (Lotus Sheet metal or Spyder space frames), or Zetec engined Lotus Plus 2s or (baby) Elans etc etc other permutations?

Regards

Gerry
gerrym
Fourth Gear
Fourth Gear
 
Posts: 894
Joined: 25 Jun 2006
Location: Aberdeen Scotland

PostPost by: bcmc33 » Thu Apr 23, 2009 9:45 am

Richard,

I don?t know anything about the Zetec +2, but the suspension settings cannot be that different from the standard Elan.

One of the things that always bugged me about the Elan was the front end sitting 1? too high. There have been many threads on this subject as to the whys and wherefores and different peoples opinions that never really helped to situation.

When I changed to front and rear adjustables I took the opportunity to set both front and rear lower wishbones to be parallel to the ground ? as per the detailed drawing in the workshop manual. These adjustments were made with someone of my weight sitting in the driver?s seat and half a tank of petrol.

The car now looks exactly as it should - without the ugly gaps above the tyres. However, I cannot say it improved the roadholding as the car always outclassed my driving skills and abilities.
Brian Clarke
(1972 Sprint 5 EFI)

Growing old is mandatory..........Growing up is optional
User avatar
bcmc33
Coveted Fifth Gear
Coveted Fifth Gear
 
Posts: 1847
Joined: 10 Apr 2006
Location: Aldridge, West Midlands, UK.

PostPost by: niallf » Thu Apr 23, 2009 12:49 pm

richgilb wrote:This is really encouraging, as I have seen some threads here where things have seemed really complicated. Can you confirm whether you have the zetec engine in your +2?


Yep, it's the full, devil's own, Spyder chassis, 2L Zetec, MT75 Gearbox & Granada LSD. Converted by my good self coming up to 4 years ago now :o .

Some pics of my build here...
http://rides.webshots.com/album/88461117tMWhKB
http://rides.webshots.com/album/98201778oHhNtl
http://rides.webshots.com/album/114307331dvvlAD
http://rides.webshots.com/album/117349750GdCsvo
http://rides.webshots.com/album/243456459vHFsHa
http://rides.webshots.com/album/411901802uDXeLi
http://rides.webshots.com/album/556062181jbDHxD

Just to clarify, it's a toss up between the Sump and the exhaust which is the lowest part, but since the sump is parallel with the front wheels, it's the exhaust in the middle of the car that usually grounds on bumps. I'm also careful on roads with a very pronounced crown, or some of those bumps that are only on the centre of the carriageway, I usually put one wheel over the top of those.

Niall
User avatar
niallf
Second Gear
Second Gear
 
Posts: 200
Joined: 19 Sep 2003
Location: Banbury(ish), UK

PostPost by: richgilb » Thu Apr 23, 2009 2:10 pm

Right, so if there is an increased risk of the sump touching the road, Andy is of course going to discourage us from making the car look lower, right?

If so, I guess I have to weigh up whether aesthetics are important enough to make me drive more carefully. And I am not sure they are. I often drive it hard and hear it touching tarmac as it is.....although I know this is just the exhaust, judging by the scrapes on it.....any lower and it could be my sump.
I am now an ex-Elan owner but will drop by from time to time with some suitably inappropriate comments.
User avatar
richgilb
Third Gear
Third Gear
 
Posts: 318
Joined: 20 Dec 2007
Location: Kingston......Upon Hull

PostPost by: niallf » Thu Apr 23, 2009 2:55 pm

I think the Spyder ride height recommendation is much more to do with avoiding complaints about the car grounding, than anything do to with suspension geometry. My dampers are adjustable and stiffening them would help avoid damage under the engine. I think the exhaust manifold sits lower than the sump under the engine too.

I've done 10K+ miles since conversion and I don't think the engine/sump's grounded once. If my car grounds, it's almost invariably the centre of the car.

I discovered on my way to Donington last w'end that my tyre pressures were all between 14 and 18 psi. Pumping them up to a more sensible 25 psi meant my drive from Banbury to Donny was completely scrape free, including up the gravel tracks into Donny.

Something I intend to try, when driving it isn't a more appealing, is to raise the spring platforms by about 1/4-1/2", as compared to some 'ordinary' +2s I think my car's a little low! For a further solution, I also think that there's clearance for the tyres to be 60, rather than 55 section and the 2" round exhaust centre pipe could be made more oval down the centre of the car. Gaining an inch more clearance in the middle would probably stop any but the most extreme grounding, which my +2 did before conversion anyway.
User avatar
niallf
Second Gear
Second Gear
 
Posts: 200
Joined: 19 Sep 2003
Location: Banbury(ish), UK

PostPost by: Elanintheforest » Thu Apr 23, 2009 3:07 pm

There's always going to be some sort of compromise when changing specification from original. My Plus 2 has a BDA, but with a standard Lotus chassis and engine mounts. Consequently, the sump is at the standard level, and the gearbox and exhaust sits where they are in a standard car. As the BDA is tall, about the same as a Zetec, a bump had to be put in the bonnet. This was 1971...no Spyder options available then!

As you can see the car looks to be the right hight.

Mark
Attachments
bumpy side.JPG and
Bumpybonnet.JPG and
User avatar
Elanintheforest
Coveted Fifth Gear
Coveted Fifth Gear
 
Posts: 2907
Joined: 04 Oct 2005
Location: Forest Of Dean, Gloucestershire

PostPost by: GrUmPyBoDgEr » Thu Apr 23, 2009 3:24 pm

The depth of the Zetec sump is not a major setback.
A shallower sump can be fabricated from e.g. the Modeo sump; something that I did to the one fitted in my Elan, or there are special sumps on the market that will provide improved ground clearance.
It all depends on how much importance you place on this change & how much cash you have in your pocket.
Limiting ride height factor on my S4 was the wider tyres & a clash with the rear wheel arches, which did not cause any need to raise the ride height.
(Centre exhaust pipe is ovalized 2.5" SS tubing)

Cheers
John
Beware of the Illuminati


Editor: On Sunday morning, February 8th 2015, Derek "John" Pelly AKA GrumpyBodger passed away genuinely peacefully at Weston Hospicecare, Weston Super Mare. He will be missed.
User avatar
GrUmPyBoDgEr
Coveted Fifth Gear
Coveted Fifth Gear
 
Posts: 3151
Joined: 29 Oct 2004
Location: Burnham-on-Mud

PostPost by: gerrym » Thu Apr 23, 2009 4:39 pm

As per John's comments on the sump, I have a fabricated steel sump on the Zetec to limit total depth. Sump does not protrude below the Cross member. To keep the sump volume, wings are needed. To keep oil starvation to a minimum, there a baffling system. It also needs a shortened pickup, which puts more stress on the oil pump fasteners. The gasket system is not as elegant as the Ford OEM system, so certainly there's practical downsides as well as additional cost.
Regards

Gerry
gerrym
Fourth Gear
Fourth Gear
 
Posts: 894
Joined: 25 Jun 2006
Location: Aberdeen Scotland

Total Online:

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 12 guests