Lotus Elan

Good old M.O.T (and brakes)

PostPost by: billwill » Sun Jun 19, 2016 2:22 pm

Thanks for the MOT test; whoever thought to exclude old classics from the MOT is just plain daft.

With the MOT we a get a relatively cheap independent assessment of the safety of our cars.


My Elan had its annual MOT about 10 days ago and it failed, yet I am glad. A front brake pipe was leaking hydraulic fluid when the footbrake pedal was applied. (Plus a few relatively insignificant, easily fixed electric faults).

With the car back at my place when itightening the brake-line fitting the steel bundy pipe sheared across completely; evidently it had developed a small crack a day or so before.

Without that MOT i could have had sudden brake failure at any time (followed by sudden death?)


Anyway, back to doing the repair; I swiftly concluded that my old steel bundy pipes should all be replaced; I had done the two rear ones about 3 years ago, but given up on the four others as I could not seem to be able to undo the pipes from the 5-way junction (on the chassis near the oli filter) without likely breaking them.

I had two new Kunifer pipes in waiting and I soon ordered a new Kunifer pipe for master to junction and front junction to rear junction from Kirkham Car Parts (01623 427757).

Contemplating how on earth to get easy access to the rear junction and for the long front to rear pipe, I was contemplating perhaps buying a car lift that I found on the Internet that does lift and tilt (see tool-talk-f43/interesting-alternative-car-lift-ramp-t37033-15.html#p256313 ) but at near ?500 for that I thought I would try my old methods first.

So as I had already raised the front by driving it onto my ordinary ramps (tricky with no footbrake, only an Elan handbrale) I fetched my rear beam made from 4x4 fence posts (two thicknesses with a short gap fror the exhaust pipe so that the wood lifts the rear corners of the door sill plus the chassis near the exhaust pipe.

I used the beam to lift the rear of the car using two scissor jacks and assistance from a trolley jack. I lifted it high enough to get axle stands under the beam and slackened the scissor jacks slightly so that eventually the beam & car were supported by both by axle stands and the jacks.

Then I put some building blocks under the door sills as an extra safety precaution (they were not actually touching the body, but would if the other supports toppled or failed.).

dscn6471.jpg and
Elan supported on beam, axle stands and jacks

dscn6472.jpg and
Car supported on ramps at front and beam at rear.

Fortunately the long front to rear brake line came unscrewed normally at the rear 3-way junction but the four pipes at the front junction were a nightmare and took ages to get off. I had to take the oil filter off to get it out of the way. Eventually I had to file through each of the 4 old lines and get the junction out so that I could use a socket set and vice to get the old fittings out of the junction. (despite having the correct split-ring pipe fitting spanners).

Later I had to take the front carburettor off too to get at the remnant of pipe to the master cylinder. I found that pipe was already cunnifer pipe, but hey-ho I had cut it through. :(


I found that fitting the long front to rear pipe was not quite as difficult as I expected; it is hard, but my old memory that it went down the inside of the box frame was wrong, instead it is clipped to the underside of the chassis following the exhaust pipe (I wonder about cross-heating effects). The Kunifer is easier to bend carefully into place than steel bundy pipe.

Eventually all the pipes were in and screwed up, the oil filter & carb replaced and the tedious process of brake bleeding performed. As I was alone I could not watch for bubbles I just had to trust that pumping about 200 cc of fliud out of each bleed nipple would be sufficient to get the bubbles out. I seem to have succeeded in that, though there might be still a very small amount of air in the system. I had to stop there though as I had used up nearly all the litre of new brake fluid that I had bought.

One scissor jack broke when I was lowering the rear of the car.

Anyway hopefully all is well now and I can take it for an MOT retest tomorrow..
Bill Williams

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PostPost by: billwill » Tue Jun 21, 2016 1:20 am

My Elan passed the MOT and so in celebration I went for a 45 mile spin out in Hertffordshire.

:D :) :mrgreen:
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PostPost by: TeeJay » Tue Jun 21, 2016 9:23 am

Good news Bill and I fully agree with your sentiments re the MOT.
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PostPost by: mbell » Tue Jun 21, 2016 7:17 pm

Good news.

When I lived in the UK I always viewed the MOT was always a significant pain in the a**e and a bit too strict in places.

Now I am in Texas I really miss it. The car still has to go through a yearly test but it is extremely basic, not much more than a Saturday morning once around in my opinion. Basically tests horn, lights work, tires, wiper blades, the wheel aren't going to fall off, basic brake operation but not condition. It's really a joke for anyone who actually even attempt to get their vehicles in good condition.

The result is you see a lot of cars driving around that haven't received the maintenance they need to be safe, especially with things like suspension components. People just continue to drive the car's because nothing forces them to fix them or they simply don't realize they are driving dangerous vehicles.

So I fully agree with your MOT is a good thing and wish they had better checking here!
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PostPost by: The Veg » Thu Jul 07, 2016 5:52 pm

I've lived in TexSux and they are the exception is USA- most states have NO safety inspection of any type! Here in the southeast you'll see some real junk heaps on the road as a result.
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