Lotus Elan

Inner steering column removal

PostPost by: JonB » Sun Dec 03, 2017 11:59 am

According to the Brooklands manual, you can take the inner column from the steering column by loosening the crash clamp and drawing it out into the car, by pulling on the steering wheel.

Not on mine! It comes out about an inch, then gets caught on something. Pulling harder will draw it out another half inch, but on release it gets pulled back in. Feels springy, rubbery - like the bottom bush is holding onto the shaft.

Have I missed anything?
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PostPost by: billwill » Sun Dec 03, 2017 12:23 pm

I think you have to take the clamp off completely, not jut loosen it.
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PostPost by: Orsom Weels » Sun Dec 03, 2017 1:08 pm

Yes, clamp needs to be completely removed, otherwise it will hit the bottom of the outer column tube. It should be more of a solid stop though, not sure where you're getting your 1/2 inch of 'spring' from.

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PostPost by: JonB » Sun Dec 03, 2017 4:25 pm

Of course I took the clamp off... Not entirely my first rodeo... I should have said "removing" rather than "loosening" in my OP, apologies. It is sitting in the footwell as we speak (type). :D

It's this 1/2 inch of "spring" that's got me worried. I want to fit new bushes without disconnecting the column switches if I can, because those Lucar connectors don't want to come loose (without snapping the wires). You cannot get a grip on the bullet at all, it is a case of "pull the wire and hope for the best". You need to unplug the switches to remove the outer column. Were it a more modern car, there'd be a single multi connector that could be unplugged as one but there you go, it's 43 years old.

I might be able to see what is going on if I stick my head in the footwell and play Lotus Yoga Master. Dunno if I'm flexible for that. Might give the kids a good laugh! Alternatively, I could release the outer column and try to push the upper inner down. In any case the outer needs to be undone to reposition it.
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PostPost by: MarkDa » Sun Dec 03, 2017 8:55 pm

Jon
I think I told you about this problem in your 'packing' thread.
What you're coming across is the steering lock boss coming up against the upper bush.
The outer tube is a bit soft and I couldn't work put how to get enough force into the system to shift the bush so decided to live with a bit of play!
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PostPost by: pereirac » Sun Dec 03, 2017 10:34 pm

A thought, can you not unscrew the column switches but still leave them wired in?
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PostPost by: JonB » Mon Dec 04, 2017 7:09 am

Yes, but they would still be connecting the column to the car, so not much more access.

I have an idea, though. Going to try turning the wheel when resistance is met, see if it helps free up the upper bush. Otherwise, take out the horn ring and push the column all the way in, then maybe I can get at the bush in situ.
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PostPost by: MarkDa » Mon Dec 04, 2017 7:30 am

Jon
I don't think that the column will go far enough down to completely clear the upper bush.
You are probably better off taking everything out to work on of you are determined to do this now.
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PostPost by: oldelanman » Mon Dec 04, 2017 8:24 am

You really need the column out of the car to do this job then you can make up a wooden clamp to hold it in the vice so you can work on the bushes without risking damage to the thin outer column tube.
If you are worried about damaging the wiring trying to pull the connectors apart, why not cut off the insulation and prise the sleeves apart to release the bullets ? New connectors are just a few pence each .
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PostPost by: JonB » Mon Dec 04, 2017 8:53 am

Well, I have done some more research and one suggestion is to leave the old bush in place and fit a new one on top of it. Sound like a plan? Either way, the outer column needs to be unbolted (not necessarily removed) so I can fix the dreadful alignment / packing that's causing the outer to be hard up against the dashboard. Looks like additional bracketry is in order as the mountings all flex (hand brake, pedals and steering wheel).

I am very reluctant to hack away at any of the electrics as it's asking for (more) trouble in my opinion. So far I have not come across a single wire that's not corroded internally (black coated instead of bright copper). I don't want to have to try to resolder a bunch of bullets onto that sort of wire if I can avoid it - although I do have a bunch of new connectors.
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PostPost by: oldelanman » Mon Dec 04, 2017 8:58 am

Jon,
I'm not suggesting you remove the bullets from the wire - just sacrifice the connector - no need for any resoldering and you can clean up the bullets before refitting.
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PostPost by: JonB » Mon Dec 04, 2017 10:24 am

The connectors look like this one, which is a "5 in one" (I see "3 in ones" on my loom but they are otherwise the same)

https://s3-us-west-1.amazonaws.com/seve ... _31741.jpg

When the bullets are inserted into these, they disappear inside the rubber outer and cannot be extracted save by pulling on the wire (with the subsequent risk of snapping and leaving the bullet in place - there's one in the headlight wiring loom like that).

The only alternative, which I think you're suggesting, is to cut away the rubber so as to get access to the innards of the thing, thus giving access to the bullet.

Again, something I would rather not do at the moment, because the rubber is quite hard (probably caused by age) and there is a danger of the blade slipping and cutting me or something else nearby. All these connectors are buried in a tight bit of loom just above the heater outlet on the left hand side of the driver's footwell. It looks pretty gnarly, and it's difficult to get a blade in there or support the connector block for a safe cut.

I saw a thread with a dashboard loom being fitted off the car. Impressive work, but it's definitely the "loom of doom". Who knows what terrors await, should this beast be inadvertently disturbed by the slip of a craft knife?
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PostPost by: Orsom Weels » Mon Dec 04, 2017 10:47 am

MarkDa wrote:Jon
I think I told you about this problem in your 'packing' thread.
What you're coming across is the lock boss coming up against the upper bush.
The outer tube is a bit soft and I couldn't work put how to get enough force into the system to shift the bush so decided to live with a bit of play!
Mark


Ah, I was forgetting we are talking about a car with the steering lock. Without this, the inner shaft will pull out leaving the bush still in the outer column, but the 'collar' for the steering lock prevents this & the bush has to come out with the inner shaft. The simple way to achieve this if you are fitting new bushes anyway is to drop the column as much as you can for best access, then locate & drill the two locating pegs from the old bush, they will be at 9 & 3 o'clock just below where the nacelle for the switches etc loins the tube. The bush will then slide out with the shaft.

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PostPost by: MarkDa » Mon Dec 04, 2017 11:00 am

I don't think that there's enough room in the tube for a second bush and they're pretty tight.
Column will have to come out really.
You can remove switches and lock leaving them in car.
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PostPost by: Orsom Weels » Mon Dec 04, 2017 11:12 am

MarkDa wrote:I don't think that there's enough room in the tube for a second bush

There is if you don't have the steering lock, but I think a second bush would foul the steering lock collar before the new one had located correctly.
MarkDa wrote:and they're pretty tight. Column will have to come out really.

If you drill the pegs off, the bush will pull out reasonably easily with the inner shaft, you can use it as a sort of slide hammer. Easier done on the bench, but can be done with it all in situ, you can bolt the column back in place to hold it while you pull the shaft/bush out.
MarkDa wrote:You can remove switches and lock leaving them in car.

You can remove the steering lock/ignition switch, but not the column switches as the wiring loops back through the column nacelle, so they have to be disconnected to 'un-thread' them.

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