Lotus Elan

+2 Loose wheels

PostPost by: Washer » Thu Aug 20, 2015 9:05 pm

I am currently giving my steel wheels a much needed refresh. After removing the tyres, each wheel was mounted on a front hub to check run out. Disconcertingly, one wheel was still loose on the hub when the spinner was bottoming out on the threads. Swapping the front spinner for the rear enabled all play to be removed from the wheel. Fitting the same wheel to the rear hub with the original front spinner also removed all play.

The wheels are in all in reasonably good condition and no damage visible on the locating tapers on the wheels or spinners. Some light corrosion is present on both the wheels and the hub mating surfaces. As far as I am aware wheels hubs and spinners are original fittings. Presumably the wheel centre is distorted in some way or the slight corrosion is sufficient to prevent the spinner bearing on the wheel.

The issue that is really troubling me is that if this hub/wheel/spinner combination is typical then I have assumed that my wheels are under the correct clamping tension because the spinners have all been fully torqued. However, if the spinner is bottoming on the threads then no amount of torque will make any difference to the clamping tension of the hub/spinner. The design of the hub only allows you to check if the there is any play on the hub not the clamping tension.

Although there is information on the web describing how the Rudge-Whitworth centre lock operates, information on the lotus system is less available. It appears to me that the wheels transmit drive/braking torque though surface friction between the wheel and hub flat surface and to a lesser extent the spinner/wheel taper (not the locating pins). The clamping tension must be key to this working correctly. Do the correct wheel dimensions allow the required clamping pressure to be exerted when the spinners bottom out on the hub?
I am wondering if it would be better to turn the spinner to eliminate wheel play and then tighten through a further angle to achieve the correct clamping pressure. This would also help to identify if the spinner was bottoming on the threads as the required angle would not be achievable. I have no idea what this angle should be..
Have other forum members experienced similar problems?
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PostPost by: john.p.clegg » Thu Aug 20, 2015 9:27 pm

" Presumably the wheel centre is distorted in some way",yes,this does happen when one uses excess force on the spinners,I've had a couple...scrap.

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PostPost by: paul_adamson » Sat Aug 22, 2015 7:40 am

I had a similar experience. Traced to a slightly out of true hub face. Cured with a delicate skim.
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PostPost by: Washer » Sat Aug 22, 2015 8:20 am

Hi, thanks for the replies.

My major concern is identifying any faulty wheels. If the spinner just makes enough contact to eliminate any wheel play before bottoming on the hub threads then there is no way of knowing what clamping pressure, if any, has resulted from tightening the spinner.
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PostPost by: dgym » Sat Aug 22, 2015 8:31 am

what level of whacking something with a hammer is considered excessive force? :? :(
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PostPost by: john.p.clegg » Sat Aug 22, 2015 8:44 am

I have a pair of scrap spinners that I have " opened-up" to allow me to see the clearance before bottoming,can't remember exactly but it's not a lot...

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PostPost by: Washer » Sat Aug 22, 2015 10:31 am

I suspect that many cases of the steel wheel location holes going oval through fretting may happen due to the lack of clamping pressure even if spinner is really tight, due to thread bottoming.

Lotus recommend 200-250ftlbs torque, but this rather theoretical on a hammer tightened spinner. Ok, this is a long shot, but does anybody have any knowledge of how much deflection the wheel centre undergoes, if any, in response to this level of torque? If this was known then it may be possible to have a way of checking if the spinner is actually clamping the wheel.
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PostPost by: john.p.clegg » Sun Aug 23, 2015 6:59 pm

"what level of whacking something with a hammer is considered excessive force? :? :("

Wheel spinner tightening 2.jpg and


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PostPost by: el-saturn » Sun Aug 23, 2015 7:54 pm

i've been using my heavy "plastic" lead filled whacker since 1981 (steel 4 andahalfs) and so far i haven't lost a wheel and i guess i have a gifted and precise right hand/arm = +/- 6kgm - just an uneducated or uncalculated guess ---------------- 30years of experience i luv my s3 alpine greetings sandy
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PostPost by: Washer » Sun Aug 23, 2015 9:03 pm

Hi John, many thanks for the info.

That?s an interesting set of instructions, particularly ?when struck firmly, the rotational movement of the nut reduces to the point it is apparent that the nut is tight?, is it from the Workshop Manual?

I did wonder if Lotus used the bottoming of the spinner thread to create a fixed distance between the hub flange and the spinner in order to achieve a set clamping pressure on the wheel centre. However, if the instructions are from Lotus then it warns against over tightening, something that would not be possible if this was true.

Hmm.. I wonder if it is possible to measure the distance between the hub flanges and the spinner when bottomed and also the width of the wheels between the surface that abuts the flange and the spinner seat. This would give me some comparative info on the state of my wheels. The tapered seats will be a problem though :roll:

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PostPost by: dgym » Sun Aug 23, 2015 9:56 pm

turns out I've been following those instructions perfectly. Thanks John
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PostPost by: mac5777 » Mon Aug 24, 2015 5:12 am

Hi Washer, go to the business vendor listings and look at my knockoff wrench section and there is a copy of the Lotus Elan manual that show 160 to 180 ft lbs of torque. And a later manual showing 200 to 220. I use 190 and have never had a problem. Loosen them and re-torque every so often.
Lotus is the only car company and I mean the only one that states a torque setting. All others suggest using a lead hammer. My tool enables a one inch socket with a torque wrench to know what force has been used. Without my tool, I'm not sure how Lotus determined the torque setting.
If your spinners are bottoming out, maybe count the threads in the spinner and then count the turns on the hub to get it tight. That is just a guess with no proof of a correct method.
Hope that helps.
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http://biertijd.com/mediaplayer/?itemid=47217
http://knockoffspinnertool.com/lotus_el ... structions
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PostPost by: john.p.clegg » Mon Aug 24, 2015 5:31 am

Mike
Gleaned the info off here somewhere,here's page 1 to give you the full instructions...

Wheel spinner tightening 1.jpg and


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PostPost by: mac5777 » Mon Aug 24, 2015 7:49 am

Thanks John for the best instruction I've heard other than the Lotus manuals. Where did you find this info?
I have worked with a Lotus guy who has removed many spinners. He said to loosen the spinner with a lead hammer, then jack the car up, remove the spinner and wheel, make whatever repairs, replace the wheel and finger tight the spinner, then put weight back on the wheel by lowering the jack and beat the spinner back on with the hammer.
He is using my tool and said that the added extension leverage you get using a torque wrench will spin the wheel even with the weight of the car on the wheel. I would need to block the wheels.
Jaguar guys said that you'll need to roll the car to get a good seat, then re-tighten.
Using my tool, just jack the car up just so the wheel will turn, Use my wheel wedge to block the wheel, then loosen the spinner. Then move the wedge to the other side of the wheel to tighten the spinner without letting the jack down. Let the wedge lock the wheel in place and you will get a properly seated spinner without the weight on the hub etc. The back wheels can be in gear with the emergency brake on.
It would be hard to gauge torque swinging a hammer.
John, thanks again for the added information.
Sarto
Here is the recommended method for Cobra wheels. Notice that when he breaks the spinner loose, he hits the wheel. When removing a spinner it takes more force to loosen them. He says to grip the end of the hammer for added force. Hard to do in the back wheels that are deep set.
http://www.olthoffracing.com/tech-and-how-to-videos
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PostPost by: Washer » Mon Aug 24, 2015 4:54 pm

Hi all, thanks all for the great advise on torquing the spinner.

However, my problem is not the tightening of the spinner but whether the spinner is actually bottoming before there is sufficient apparent clamping pressure on the road wheel. I have a hub/wheel /spinner combination that results in the wheel perceptibly loose even when the spinner is tight. Swapping the spinner does eliminate the looseness but I suspect there is little clamping pressure on the wheel even though the spinner is very tight.

Assuming that the problem is the deformation of the wheel centres, It seems that there are 3 options:

1) Fit new Alloy wheels
I like steel wheels on my +2 and really don?t want inappropriate alloys :D

2) Source some used steel wheels
No guarantee that they will be any better than the originals which have little run-out or corrosion.

3) Reduce the possibility that spinners will bottom on the hub threads
Although I like this option I am not sure how to achieve it. Shimming the hub, reforming the wheel centre or giving more clearance to the spinners may be options, but I need to have some measurements to understand how much more clamping pressure is needed.
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