Lotus Elan

Bolt-on Wheel Dimensions for S1

PostPost by: stelz » Mon Jan 21, 2013 3:56 am

Friends,

I've done a lot of searching on the forum before opening this new, but frequent topic.

I have re-begun my S1 resto which came with spitfire steel wheels on the bolt-on hubs. I would like to change these to minilite or panasport bolt-ons, but understand I need to be really careful about the offset / backspace. The body is getting its final surgery shortly so I want to purchase the wheels and tyres to get it all correct first.

This topic suspension-steering-brakes-wheels-tyres-f42/steel-wheels-lotus-spitfire-t21976.html has the standard Lotus steel wheel (4.5J) as a 27.78mm offset, Panasport on rd website has their wheel as 25mm offset, 5" width which is close. I assume the offset is slightly less to give some more clearance to the A-arm bolts due to thicker alloy, but will push the tyre sidewall out the same amount (3.78mm) to the wheel arches which we all know are tight as.

I'm still waiting for Minilite to tell me their dimensions.

Has anyone had the experience of either the Minilite or panasport bolt-on's on a standard wheel arch (no 26R flares) and can give any advice?

The tyre I have my eye on is 155/80 R13 Michelin XM2 - no experience with them, they just seem to be available and fit (open to advice on that too though).

Thanks,
Ben
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PostPost by: Maulden7 » Mon Jan 21, 2013 12:15 pm

I fitted Minilites to my standard bodied S2 many years ago, & it was not a good experience. Minilite didn't seem at all interested in sorting the problems, & I subsequently wrote a letter to Club Lotus about the whole episode, & this was published in their mag. This letter was carefully worded & fully factual, but I still received a sinister phone call from an employee at Minilite threatening me with legal action. I suggested that taking legal action about my fully factual & documented published account might be a little difficult to win, & heard no more.

However, I believe that this was the first set of bolt-on wheels that the then newly resurrected company had produced, so I'm certain that my problems were solved a long time ago.

Basically the wheels at the rear could not be fitted as they would not clear the lower suspension wishbone - even with the correct thin headed bolts used (fronts were fine as supplied)

I subsequently, modified the lower corners of the wishbones with an angle grinder, had the inside edge of the wheels very slightly machined off, & fitted thin spacers. No bodywork mods at all.

Everything works fine on road & track under the hardest driving that I can manage.

I should emphasise that the quality of production of the wheels was excellent.

Edit - forgot to mention tyres!

I currently have Falken ZIEX 165/60R13 H speed rated (130mph) fitted - these are superb tyres imo
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PostPost by: stelz » Tue Jan 22, 2013 4:37 am

That sounds like it was a real pain for you, but excellent info - thanks.

Do you know what the offset is of your wheels ? Minilite have said they'd do 100mm backspace, which sounds like the same as panasport.

I am worried I will have the same experience as you, plus I've got the distance problem being in Australia.
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PostPost by: Maulden7 » Tue Jan 22, 2013 3:46 pm

My experience was some years ago & the wheel spec is long gone from my brain cell, so I've just taken a wheel off to check & the backspace dimension is 95mm.

So ..... they are now quoting 100mm - is that going to assist?

I suspect that angle grinder mods to the wishbone ends will still be required no matter what (I think that Tony Thompson sells his wishbones with the ends already champhered off) & you might need to shave the inner edge of the wheel arch. You must of course use the special thin headed bolts.

Hope that this helps.

Edit - I also have narrow diameter rear springs & platforms. Also I believe that Minilite offer both 95mm & 100mm "backspace" wheels.
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PostPost by: jk952 » Tue Jan 22, 2013 11:55 pm

I put minilites on my s2 -bolt on -last year or so. Had to grind the bolts and fiddle a lot to get things to just clear. Remembering there is some give under cornering loads too. Have 155 80 13 tires that just, I mean just clear the std fenders so that means I couldn't put spacers in either. Going to 14 inch may solve some of this but then not sure on tire avail.
I do like the look of the minilites. My std steel wheels were so out of round and seemingly fatigued centres as to useless, now nicely painted though :)
There is a discussion somewhere...I think....

Jack
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PostPost by: stelz » Thu Jan 24, 2013 4:31 am

Maulden7 - thanks for pulling your wheel off and measuring. I am surprised it has measured 95mm backspace. That would make it about 20mm offset and place the wheel further out towards the lip of the wheel arch than the 100mm / 25mm backspace/offset that both panasport and minilite are advising is "normal". I also understand that the Lotus wheel was 4.5J and a backspace/offset of 27.78/105.28

I also have 2.25" springs on the back so that shouldn't get in the way. Already have thin bolt heads.

Jack - do you know what the offset/backspace is on your wheels ?

I think it would be safest to order 100m offset and use spacers if I need to reduce the offset which would push the tyre out toward the lip of the wheel arch.
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PostPost by: vstibbard » Thu Jan 24, 2013 9:10 am

Hi, im just finishing S1 and have had a nightmare with wheels, i tried Minilight, TTR minilights and compomotive, all fouled outer wheel arch lip and whishbone bolts which have been lightly chamfered.
I finally found 13x5" wheels from Midland wheels which fit nicely, clear the wishbone nd wheel arch lip.
Im usung small spring platforms but think they would clear std diameter rear springs, i now have Dunlop CR65 M450 tyres fitted with clearance.
If you want the offests happy to find them.
Highly recmmend MWS, great service and knowledgeable.
Regards V
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PostPost by: stelz » Thu Jan 24, 2013 11:07 am

Hi Vaughan - it would be brilliant if you can find out what you ordered. Had a look on their website and they look good.

As I said above, I've got 2.25" rear springs too and standard wheel arches which I assume you have on your road car too.

Good tip re tyres and I had my eyes on those - I'll give Stuckey a ring tomorrow.
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PostPost by: jk952 » Sun Jan 27, 2013 5:15 pm

Stelz,
Was out of town in Lansing MI.. watching Cadillac bodies being made... actually at a meeting but overlooking the body in white area... :)

Offset is 94mm from highest part of rim lip to hub face.

I have stock springs by the way.

They were ordered for the Elan, though I am not sure they are really spec'd any different than Spitfire, I asked but did not receive a reply.
Gorilla make nice chrome nuts (have on the 7 diff size though) but I haven't checked yet if they do that size, the ones with the rims are zn plate and look bad already and car is in garage all the time....
Jack
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