Lotus Elan

Another post about uprights / trunnions

PostPost by: JonB » Wed Dec 06, 2017 1:59 pm

Hi

I have dismantled the front uprights and acquired new trunnions, ball joints and track rod ends. So far, so good. However... on degreasing the kingpin thread on the upright, I have discovered the threads are rusty.

IMG_4313.JPG and


IMG_4312.JPG and


I've read all the stories about them giving way, stress cracks due to pitting, etc and I am very concerned. Problem is, new uprights are so expensive and there is little guarantee of quality. I had read that the GT6 uprights Canley sell are good... but what do you think of these pictures? Would these be considered safe?

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PostPost by: elanman999 » Wed Dec 06, 2017 2:58 pm

Jon,
Not good news. I would see how loose it is with a new trunion on it. But from here it looks as if it needs to be renewed. Just IMHO.
Are the new one supposed to be that fragile?
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PostPost by: JonB » Wed Dec 06, 2017 3:14 pm

I commented on the trunnion fit in my front end overhaul thread. One is OK, the other allows the trunnion to rock left - right on the (vertical) kingpin. I measured about .8mm play although it is tricky to do this. Neither have up/down play which would be an MOT fail.

I have done a ton of reading up on the trunnions, even before getting the Elan, and saw this thread http://www.triumphexp.com/phorum/read.php?8,954741 ? which started out warning people that aftermarket uprights were often manufactured sloppily and there was a danger that they would fail prematurely.

That thread is a long one but the upshot of it is:

  • The base of the thread should be smooth with no pitting
  • The metal used should be of good quality
  • The thread should be roller made, not cut (to reduce the risk of micro fractures) and there should be no sharp edges or burrs.
  • The oil gallery should be dead centre, drilled straight and (if made to the OEM spec) stepped so that the part closer to the upright is narrower.
It concludes with a recommendation that the uprights sold by Canley are of good quality and I am thinking of ordering a pair. They are GT6 parts with the pimple in the side that indicates they fit the bigger knock on wheel stub axles.

  • 29072 FRONT VERTICAL LINK - GT6 VITESSE R/H
  • 29073 FRONT VERTICAL LINK - GT6 VITESSE L/H
However as they are nearly ?100 a side I thought I'd ask for views on my existing set, and the quality of the proposed new ones before committing. I also sent mail to CC asking the same questions. I know they sell a trunnionless solution with a rose joint but they're a bit too expensive for me.

All opinion / experience gratefully received!
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PostPost by: Craven » Wed Dec 06, 2017 4:05 pm

Don?t reuse them; you will see just how bad they are when you get the new ones.
You are however right in scrutinising what are on offer, as there are many unhappy stories about the quality, mainly the fit of trunnions.
Fortunately, I had a full set of new old stock STANPART?s when I did mine and they did not have any of the reported ?faults ? with today?s repros. Point being ? they were always like that Sir ? no they weren?t.
p1020795.jpg and
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PostPost by: oldelanman » Wed Dec 06, 2017 4:33 pm

Jon,
If you need convincing measure the overall thread diameter top and bottom - you will probably find they are worn tapered. Just checked an old one I have and it's 0.011" smaller at the top and there is the same 0.040" or so rock on the trunnion when assembled that you have found. A new trunnion did not reduce that "slop" so the upright was replaced as well.
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PostPost by: Orsom Weels » Wed Dec 06, 2017 4:50 pm

Jon, I can only echo the above comments, don't use em ! Apart from anything else, the rough surface of the thread will wear the new trunnions in short order. My friend had one that looked the same as yours on his Elan when we restored it. I wanted to replace it, but with funds tight, he tried very hard to clean it up & make it as smooth as poss, which left a very small amount of play. It passed it's MOT without comment, but by the next one, after only about 2000 miles, it was in a shocking state, with loads of rocking, & up & down play, & the oil was thick with bronze filings. The upright didn't look any different, but the trunnion threads were significantly worn away. He managed to find a good second hand replacement from Boss motors in Snetterton, complete with a perfect Stanpart trunnion for a lot less than the price of a new upright :wink: :)

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PostPost by: JonB » Wed Dec 06, 2017 5:04 pm

Hmm, yes good point re measuring taper.

CC wrote back saying the only manufacturer is in the UK and the low quality parts have disappeared from the market.
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PostPost by: Davidb » Wed Dec 06, 2017 7:18 pm

Canley's stub axles are billet and are the least expensive that I was able to find-You are planning on replacing the stub axles?
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PostPost by: JonB » Wed Dec 06, 2017 9:44 pm

Nope. I think mine are ok, some wear but work without play on my existing bearings (when the nut is tightened correctly).
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PostPost by: Davidb » Wed Dec 06, 2017 10:08 pm

There should be no signs of wear on them. The front stub axles are two of the most highly stressed parts of the suspension. I replaced my front uprights and stub axles recently-with parts from Canley-and felt much safer after the Visa bill was forgotten...
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PostPost by: MarkDa » Thu Dec 07, 2017 8:19 am

Jon
You may find the parts are actually cheaper at lotus specialists.
Next week's meeting is beginning to look a bit doubtful?
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PostPost by: miked » Thu Dec 07, 2017 10:49 am

I have used Canley uprights on three cars. No problems.
Regarding pitting, what you see on the surface is less than what is actually beneath. I scrap any that are pitted. Had a Spitfire let one go in 1975 when parking.
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PostPost by: Davidb » Thu Dec 07, 2017 4:41 pm

Having spent quite a bit of time comparing the costs of uprights and stub axles I found Canleys to be cheaper than any Lotus supplier-especially for the stub axles.
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PostPost by: MarkDa » Thu Dec 07, 2017 5:31 pm

I take it back CC prices are inc VAT which as David says brings them a bit under.

Has anyone gone trunnionless with them?
Not much use to Jon as he's bought new already, but it would be interesting to hear.
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PostPost by: JonB » Thu Dec 07, 2017 7:56 pm

No no I haven't ordered them yet but the trunnionless ones are too expensive and I am not convinced about the design. I've read arguments for and against.

Put it another way. The uprights on my car are as far as I can tell 43 years old and they have not let go despite being greased and left to rust by the PO, then driven 200 miles by me (unsuspectedly, but well aware of the trunnion design and its weaknesses). So, if I can be sure the Canley uprights are good enough quality, then a pair should see me out nicely if I maintain them properly, which I will.

I think I'm baulking at another 200 quid out the door, but I think my uprights are too far gone. Anyone care to disagree?
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