Lotus Elan

Steering column to rack & pinion universal joint conversion

PostPost by: leifanten » Wed Nov 11, 2009 6:07 pm

Marten, that is a stunning looking frame and engine! If the rest of your restoration work is to the same standard (which I assume it is) your Elan must be one of the better ones in Europe (World). Why did you chop it from a FHC? I thought the FHCs were rarer and more valuable than the DHCs.

I will look into getting me some of those rigid rack mounts now that I have radiator out and will disconnect to put on the uni joint on the column/rack connection.
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PostPost by: GrUmPyBoDgEr » Wed Nov 11, 2009 6:49 pm

I've seen that variant before & it looks OK but it's a sort of "half way House" solution using those "U" Bolts.
I prefer the solution that uses the basic split Blocks clamped together with standard Nuts & Bolts.
It also seems to be unnecessarily complicated, requiring half round machining & those special "U" Bolts
With the split Block + 2 Bolt variants you know that clamping loads are being applied to the rack without the possible losses due to the friction factor of the "U" Bolt possibly moving around the upper half round clamp during the tightening process.

Most importantly & possibly a deciding factor (after all it's not that bloomin' critical), are they cheaper than the ones pictured on Marten's Photos?

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PostPost by: frearther » Wed Nov 11, 2009 6:55 pm

The u-joint conversion cal also be purchased in the states from RD - and possibly others.

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PostPost by: types26/36 » Wed Nov 11, 2009 7:03 pm

frearther wrote:The u-joint conversion cal also be purchased in the states from RD - and possibly others.Art


The universal type coupling is a standard fitting on the Europa Special so it should be available from most of the Lotus parts suppliers.
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PostPost by: Frank Howard » Wed Nov 11, 2009 7:30 pm

leifanten wrote:Why did you chop it from a FHC? I thought the FHCs were rarer and more valuable than the DHCs.

Leif,

The FHC guys will tell you they're more valuable. The DHC guys will tell you they're more fun...........They're more fun.
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PostPost by: msd1107 » Thu Nov 12, 2009 6:03 am

We had a long thread on this awhile ago, with the FHC people pointing to the fact the FHC is a 12 month car, from puddle jumper to snow plow. The DHC people point to the joys of top down motoring and the un-impeded views.

Possibly mind set is determined by the persons' personal philisophy. There are many that do not consider a car a sports car unles it is open and these may be more numerous and vociferous and thus set the standard and value. There is plenty of room for both in the Lotus community.

Certainly, if you want a DHC Lotus, there are many models from which to choose. Likewise, if you want a FHC, there are many models from which to choose. The Elan offers both.

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PostPost by: Frank Howard » Thu Nov 12, 2009 6:38 am

Leif,

My car is our daily driver. We put the top up only when we have to. That should tell you something. We've got it down right now and it's November in Minnesota albeit a mild November. I've seen plenty of FHC to DHC conversions. Never seen a DHC to FHC conversion though. (Buying a hardtop for your DHC doesn't count because it's still a DHC. Just has a different removable top.)
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PostPost by: mart2elan » Thu Nov 12, 2009 7:29 pm

Hi Leif,

I like to drive open in the summer so after 3 year searching and trying to find a DHC for a reasonable price without succes i had to go for an alternativ and purchases an FHC.
Initialy i didn't planned to do the FHC-DHC conversion but after i started on the body work and was getting some experience on fiberglass i build up enough confidence and decided to do the conversion.
Looking back i must say it isn't so difficult.
In my experience it's also good driving with the soft top up on cold and wet day's.
It's really dry inside and the heater capacity is more then sufficient.

Marten
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PostPost by: alaric » Thu Nov 12, 2009 8:44 pm

Hi. When fitting these solid rack clamps is it necessary to re-shim the rack to minimise bump steer?

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PostPost by: paddy » Thu Nov 12, 2009 9:59 pm

alaric wrote:When fitting these solid rack clamps is it necessary to re-shim the rack to minimise bump steer?


I don't think there's any guarantee that the mounts will be a straight swap leaving the new setup identical to the old. So I think it's highly desirable.

If your current setup is perfect, you can measure the height of the rack from the chassis at both ends and then just shim it with the new mounts to get the same position. Or you can take the opportunity to measure the bump steer directly and set it up from scratch.

I fitted solid mounts earlier this year and, after setting up properly, there was a vast improvement in the behaviour of the car.

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PostPost by: david.g.chapman » Fri Nov 13, 2009 12:08 pm

Do solid rack mounts affect sensitivity to front wheel imbalance - shake in the steering wheel at 70 mph ish?

Is it worse, better or not much changed?

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PostPost by: GrUmPyBoDgEr » Fri Nov 13, 2009 12:42 pm

Hi Dave,

somehow I don't think that you will get a direct answer to that one unless someones Car had such a problem before & after changing the Rack Mounts.
Theoretically every time you remove Compliance you will become more aware of Vibrations, Road Surface etc.
On my Car I have 185/60 Tyres & solid Rack Mounts but the Steering Wheel doesn't transmit much if any unwanted "feel"
I don't think that solid Rack Mounts play a major role regarding vibration transmission.

Cheers
John
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PostPost by: types26/36 » Fri Nov 13, 2009 1:07 pm

This is an interesting topic as the Europa has solid mounts, I remember a discussion before about this (don't think it was this forum) and why the Europa has the solid mounts as opposed to the Elan's rubber mounts.
I cant remember the exact reason's but it had something to do with the Europa being a mid engined car and its weight distribution and steering feel, I remember when I had a Europa the steering was extremely sensitive much more so that the Elan but whether this is due to solid mounts I do not know.
I do think the Europa was more critical with wheel in-balance than the Elan so possibly rubber mounts do play a part and are "more forgiving" than the solid version.
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PostPost by: david.g.chapman » Sat Nov 14, 2009 4:36 pm

Hmmm,

Food for thought there.. it could go either way if you hard-mount the rack. Sometimes vibrations like a motorway speed resonance can be killed by stopping movement. General random vibration would increase, I suppose.

Without drifting from this thread too much, I am having some success in reducing balance sensitivity by replacing the bushes in the steering column (old non-collaspible type). My original lower felt bush had deteriorated, giving me 1mm of play at the bottom of the column. These bushes are not available. I have added some oil filled nylon bushes down the length of the column and been fiddling about with the running clearance. Too little and the steering is heavy, "sticky" and a bit tricky, but NO vibration gets through. I have had to ease the inner column where the bushes are to increase clearance and get the right steering feel, and vibration is still reduced.

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PostPost by: paddy » Sun Nov 15, 2009 9:07 am

types26/36/74 wrote:This is an interesting topic as the Europa has solid mounts, I remember a discussion before about this (don't think it was this forum) and why the Europa has the solid mounts as opposed to the Elan's rubber mounts.


The Elan's rubber mounts are directly inherited from the Triumphs. I assumed it was just as likely that this was the least-effort option in the rush to put the Elan together, rather than anything else.

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