Lotus Elan

Elan wheels - peg drive or bolt on?

PostPost by: yvesmontreal » Sun Apr 17, 2016 11:41 am

It turns out that the Elan I've been trying to revive for the past few months was supplied complete with a set of 6 bent peg drive wheels. Or at least half of them, which only leaves 3.

Trying to find a straight peg drive steel wheel is option one. A straight and crack free wheel is like hen's teeth so far.

Purchasing a new set of Minilite peg drive, 13 x 5 mags is option two. Apart from the cost (close to CDN $1500 all included) previous threads cover issues with peg drive mags - they would not have enough material to receive torque from the pegs it seems, and doubts about the quality of the foundry that now makes the wheels for Minilite (Two Gates).

Installing bolt on hubs is option three. Usable, second hand rear hubs seem to be unavailable; new ones come at a price ($500 a pair), which is a separate question. But it does open several possibilities for both second hand and new wheels. Which brings me back to square one - won't new mags imported from Cheapistan share the quality issues stated above? And obviously purchasing second hand mags will share the issues of finding a straight and crack free wheel.

Which brings me to option four. Is there a known way to convert existing bolt on mags to peg drive? The following photo shows a period Minilite that has clearly been converted. And the second photo shows how new knock on Minilites (MG and all) use a steel adapter. Would it be feasible to convert a bolt on mag to peg drive with a steel adapter?
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minilite8x15ko.jpg and
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PostPost by: john1180 » Sun Apr 17, 2016 3:53 pm

I'd look into a set of mini lite peg drives from Tony Thompson Racing. He only sells top quality stuff and stands behind his products.


http://shop.tonythompsonracing.co.uk/tt ... -442-p.asp
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PostPost by: RichardHawkins » Sun Apr 17, 2016 9:19 pm

Yvres,

Your steel wheels may be repairable.

The wheel comprises two parts, the centre and the rim. The centre is the part that is specific to Lotus and effectively irreplaceable. New rims are available. If the wheel centres are sound new rims can be fitted.

I don't know if rims are available in Canada. I bought rims from a German company Mefro. If I remember correctly they cost ?14 each. These new rims were not quite the correct inside diameter. I cut off most of the old rim with an angle grinder leaving enough to turn down in a lathe so that the new rim would fit. Mefro advised me about the class of fit required. I then had the new rim welded in place.

I would think you could find a local machine shop in your area who could do this for you. As you have 6 wheels, I think you have a good chance of finding 4 sound centres. The first job is to have the wheel centres checked for cracks, damage/ovality of the peg holes, and that the centre itself is not buckled.

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PostPost by: StressCraxx » Sun Apr 17, 2016 10:33 pm

I have owned my Elan for 37 years.

I had similar issues as everyone else with the steel wheels. Bent, stress cracks, out of round, egg shaped pin drive holes, you name it. A bent wheel even caused a chassis pickup point failure in the right rear. That was pure excitment. I had them straightened several times, tig welded and machined the oval pin drive holes but the wobbles always returned.

I bought a set of used Panasports from another Elan owner. They are 13x5" pin drive. I have had them on my car for 15 years. They fit perfect, they don't come loose. They track straight and true. The drive provided by the pins in the wheel centers remain perfect after 15 years. I keep the K/O's tight using Sarto's spinner knock off tool and a torque wrench. No more wobbly steel wheels.

I'm grateful Kiyoshi Hamai worked with Panasport many years ago to produce these wheels. I know how tough they are from their use on rally cars and racing Formula Ford (sometimes we bang wheels or go farming at 100mph+). The Panasports are about the same weight as the original Elan wheels. I believe the original wheels suffered from Chunky's "lightweight economy of design" that challenged other Lotus cars.

If you can have your centers installed in new rims, more power to you. Before going forward, have the centers non-destructive tested, set up in a brake lathe to check for true, and the holes repaired. I have had similar work done and it can get costly as time and material work.

Good luck and best regards. :D
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PostPost by: yvesmontreal » Tue Apr 19, 2016 10:19 am

Thanks for your replies.

The wobble of the bent wheels indicate more than rim damage. The centres are bent.

Are peg drive Panasports still available anywhere? RD does not carry them anymore. So far the only option would be MInilites, and indeed Tony Thompson has a better price than I had seen elsewhere.

I still want to explore bolt-on options though...
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PostPost by: CBUEB1771 » Tue Apr 19, 2016 3:15 pm

yvesmontreal wrote:So far the only option would be MInilites


Kelvedon has other options including 26R style wheels in bolt-on and 5-peg center lock patterns.
http://www.kelsport.net/parts/products. ... ctionID=36
Ray, at RD, is now carrying Minilite wheels in place of the Panasports previously offered. Looking at the TTR and RD websites closely it would appear that the Minilite peg drive wheels they offer are the same. These are not the Two Gates wheels that people have complained about.
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PostPost by: fattogatto » Wed Apr 20, 2016 5:19 pm

StressCraxx wrote: I keep the K/O's tight using Sarto's spinner knock off tool and a torque wrench. No more wobbly steel wheels.

Dan


I will preface this by saying I know there will be many who disagree. Dan has twigged the secret.

That said, the drive provided by the wheels (or the security relative the front wheels) has nothing to do with the pegs. If the pegs are bending or cracking then the wheel nut is not torqued properly. The drive/security is provided by the tightness of the wheel nut. The pegs are locating devices only (a misnomer to call them "drive pegs.") Same on formula race cars. My 1987 March F1 car had 3 small (.250") pins on each wheel using 17" slicks with 500 hp. The clamping force between wheel nut and wheel is what is important.

You should be able to fit the wheel without pegs, torque the wheel nut properly, and never have a wheel loosen. If your wheel is loose enough to put force on the pegs then you have other issues.

The Panasports I have only have 3 holes for the pegs. Why don't they have 6 holes if these pegs are so important? Locating devices that make it easier to put the wheel on.

YMMV.
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PostPost by: gus » Mon May 09, 2016 11:17 am

When I had 2 M100 wheels straightened I asked about straightening steel wheels, guy said sure no problem

Would not of course involve the 'Lotus' issues, stretched drive peg holes, or collapsed center from over torque.

If it is simply out of round, it can be fixed
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PostPost by: holywood3645 » Mon May 09, 2016 5:42 pm

The peg engagement on Panasports is poor compared to 100% 5 peg engagement with Minilites I will edit and include the thread.
I opted fro Minilites and disposed of the Panasports.
I kept the original elan 5 peg wheels and refinished also have the chrome embellishers, but only use the minilites on the car.

lotus-suspension-f42/minilites-panasports-t25995-15.html

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PostPost by: yvesmontreal » Sat May 14, 2016 4:44 pm

I've just gone through the task of measuring lateral runout on my 6 peg drive wheels. Funnily enough it went in decreasing order, first I measured had .200'' and last had .020". Research on the net provides several recommendations to keep runout below .040" and .050". So I have one good wheel and another one is so-so.

Any other views on tolerable runout?
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PostPost by: fattogatto » Sat May 14, 2016 4:59 pm

That depends on where you measure the run-out. If measured at the outer edge of the wheel then more can be tolerated. Measuring at the bead is a better indicator of whether the wheel is bent or not.
The real test is whether you can feel any difference while driving.
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PostPost by: bill308 » Sat May 14, 2016 5:16 pm

I suggest there is nothing good about steel wheels. other than originality.

Alloy wheels are stronger and truer and will remain so for a longer period of time, all else being equal. Remember they are machined on a lathe, not welded.

I had Panasports on my S2 for years and never had bad incident, other than original fitment when the inside surface of one wheel was chewed up a bit by the head of a suspension bolt that was not clocked correctly.

If you want the best ride, go for a good set of new alloys and forget the steel ones.

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