Lotus Elan

Replacement quick-ratio rack from Moss Motors for Elan S2

PostPost by: loueelotus » Fri Jan 12, 2018 4:05 am

HI,

I just removed my rack and steering from my S2 Elan (time for rebuild.. winter here now) I dismantled it and have started checking the parts.. most are reusable, though the rack itself is very pitted and will need replacement. I can send pic's if someone wishes..

First I can not seem to find another rack alone to purchase.. so I heard that **Moss Motors has advertised a replacement "quick-ratio" rack for the Spitfire that will fit the Elan S2. can anyone help in possible locating a new rack alone and if not then will the Moss one fit?


Regards,
Lou
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PostPost by: paddy » Fri Jan 12, 2018 9:03 am

The Elan used the Herald/Spitfire rack but has narrower track and so it has slightly shorter track rods, so it's not a direct replacement - the track rods need to be shorted or replaced. Sometimes people get away with it by having track rod ends with a deep enough thread. Also, the Elan has spacers fitted that limit the travel so these would need to be fitted.

There are earlier threads that refer to the problem; eg:

lotus-suspension-f42/steering-rack-question-t1370.html
lotus-suspension-f42/elan-tie-rod-ends-t27864.html

and you'll probably find others. See also the issue mentioned there about whether the threads on the replacement track rods are metric or UNF.

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PostPost by: loueelotus » Fri Jan 12, 2018 5:22 pm

Thank you Paddy for the info and links. I had read the threads in the past few weeks.. At one of the Lotus Clubs on the west coast of the USA web site *Golden Gate Lotus Club* there is a remark that says and I quote from the web site:

**From Various Sources
Moss Motors has advertised a replacement "quick-ratio" rack for the Spitfire. It was new manufacture in the old style and a direct bolt-in.

So the other thing I am then looking at is if the rack does not really fit where can I get just the rack rod for the Elan. Picture Attached of my rusted and pitted one..
Attachments
20180112_120746.jpg and
Rusted Rack
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PostPost by: Esprit2 » Fri Jan 12, 2018 7:21 pm

Lou,

I'm not aware of anyone selling new, replacement rack bars alone... ie, the bare metal bar with gear teeth cut into it. If they're out there, you will most likely find them through Triumph sources.

However, the basic Lotus Elan/ Europa/ Seven S2-S3 steering racks are the same as the Triumph Spitfire/ Herald 1200 rack assembly (not the Herald 948). However, they are longer or shorter as required, and use different lock stops to limit steering angle as appropriate for the different cars. The differences are all in the small, Lotus-only hardware parts that are used with the same basic housing and rack bar.

The BARE rack bar in the Triumph Spitfire/ Herald rack is the same as the Elan/ Europa/ Seven S2-S3. The Elan Plus 2's rack assembly is similar to the GT6 rack assembly, but again... with Lotus only small parts. It's the small pieces that are added onto it during assembly that make it uniquely correct for any one of the Lotus models mentioned.

The Spitfire/ Herald/ Elan/ Europa/ Seven S2 & S3 rack assemblies have a 7-tooth pinion. The GT6, with that heavy-as-an-anchor six-cylinder parked over the front axle, uses a 6-tooth pinion for a better mechanical advantage, lighter effort, but slower steering (more turns lock to lock). The Elan Plus 2's rack is based upon the GT6's. The bare rack bar that works with a 6-tooth pinion doesn't work with a 7-tooth pinion. Your Elan rack assembly has a 7-tooth pinion, so you'll need to limit your search to the Spitfire/ Herald 7-tooth rack assemblies... or bare rack bar.

If you can find a used but serviceable Spitfire/ Herald steering rack assembly, you can either...

Transfer the Triumph BARE rack bar alone into your Elan Steering Rack (along with new bushings, etc), and otherwise use all of the Lotus parts unique to your model... Elan, Europa, or Seven S2-S3.
... Or ...
Transfer the uniquely Elan parts (lock stops, sleeve nuts, tie rods, etc) from your old Elan rack assembly to the Spitfire/ Herald assembly. That is, throw away everything Triumph that isn't 'housing' or bare 'rack bar', and replace it all with the Elan/ Plus 2/ Europa parts.

As Paddy previously noted, the Elan's track is narrower than the Spitfire's. The unique, shorter Elan tie-rods take care of most of that difference, and the rest is adjusted via assembly settings. Transferring your Elan's existing tie-rods and small bits to the Spit/Herald rack is all you need to do in order to rectify any length differences. If you're Elan-only tie-rods are no longer serviceable, then new ones are available from Lotus specialists.

Do not simply cut the longer Spit/ Herald tie-rods shorter, then re-cut the threads. The stock rolled threads are much stronger and crack-resistant than cut threads. Cutting new threads brings with it a significant risk of breakage in use. Don't go there. Rolling threads isn't something most of us are equipped to do at home, so it's more practical to just buy new Elan-specific, shorter tie-rods when you need replacements.

*~*~*~*
I'm also interested in the quick ratio racks being offered by Moss Motors, Victoria British, and other Triumph specialists. However, I understand (??) that it's a unique design (no shared parts) that, as a complete assembly, is bolt-in interchangeable with the Spitfire/ Herald rack. But on a part-for-part basis, is not interchangeable. I would like to confirm that, but so far have not been successful.

I would like to put a quick ratio rack in my Lotus, but in order to do that, I'd have to be able to transfer the Lotus-only parts over to the new quick ratio rack. I'm not particularly interested in spending $200 to take apart a new rack (then it can no longer be returned) just to find out the Lotus parts won't fit. I'd kinda like to know that before making the purchase. Unfortunately the folk at Moss/ Victoria/ etc just sell parts, they don't know what's in them. I've asked, but no one has been able to tell me the new racks are interchangeable on a part for part basis... and I strongly doubt it.

Does anyone here know for sure?

Regards,
Tim Engel
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Last edited by Esprit2 on Fri Jan 12, 2018 11:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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PostPost by: RichardHawkins » Fri Jan 12, 2018 8:23 pm

Tim,

I can't comment on the rack, but I recently purchased the flexible steering column joint from Moss. The quality is appalling. I complained and they sent a replacement that was marginally better, but still unusable. I complained again, and asked what the manufacturer had to say and where was he. The answer was that Moss cannot return items to the manufacturer who is in Turkey!

I would be extremely cautious about any Moss products especially something that is safety critical such as steering or brakes.

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PostPost by: Davidb » Fri Jan 12, 2018 9:36 pm

I have seen a racing Elan for sale that is advertised as fitted with a 'quick rack"-I will see if I can find it again.
I have often wondered about these quick racks and even wondered if they are actually Spitfire racks that would be 'quick' in a GT6?!
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PostPost by: Esprit2 » Fri Jan 12, 2018 11:07 pm

The Quick Rack from Moss & Victoria British has an eight-tooth pinion, which would make it faster. They also claim the Spitfire's steering goes from 3.5 turns lock-to-lock, to 2.6... so, quicker.

6-Tooth Pinion, GT6/ Elan +2 (lighter effort, but slower)
7-Tooth Pinion, Spitfire/ Herald, Elan, Europa, Seven S2 & S3.
8-Tooth Pinion, Quick Rack. (quicker, but heavier effort)

Regards,
Tim Engel
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PostPost by: loueelotus » Sat Jan 13, 2018 3:30 am

Thank you all for all the information it will really help. I will keep looking into rack rods.. I will take your advise on checking out Triumph clubs, etc. for info on purchasing the rod or the rack & pinion that needs work
and someone wants to sell.. Someone must be selling them here or the UK..I really do not want to buy a unit from Matty in the UK ($$$) to Canada.. I have all winter but the sooner the better..

Yea.. Moss can sell some cheap stuff sometimes .You just have to try to get parts that are without movement. I have the same joint that you have through another seller in Montreal and had to take in apart and tighten it but in the end I refurbished the old original one though a tread explaining how to do it right here on Lotus Elan.Net.. This is a fantastic site to get a lot of info..

Anyways if anyone has more info please join this conversastion

Regards,
Lou
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PostPost by: lotusgagne » Sat Jan 13, 2018 5:17 pm

Tim,

to answer your question, some years ago, I had bought the Moss quick ratio rack and pinion for my racing Elan, thinking that I could transfer the Lotus shorter tie rods to this new rack. Unfortunately, I could not take the rack and pinion assembly apart since it is sort of 'sealed' or assembled by press. As I recall, it was made in Argentina. It looked good, but useless for a Lotus. I managed to return it to the Moss dealer in Montreal in spite of the marks my vice had left...

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PostPost by: Chancer » Sat Jan 13, 2018 6:16 pm

There are quick racks available for a Caterham (1.75 turns IIRC or perhaps the standard one would suit the Elan better) that have a large diameter aluminium housing but are directly interchangeable with the Herald/Spitfire items and use the same mounts, track rods etc, these are worth looking into as they are a known quantity, an OE quality item in my experience unless things have changed.

They can be stripped and rebuilt just like the original rack and the parts looked interchangeable to me, no modern cheap to produce crimped joints, rack damper and inner rod ends all shimmable.
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PostPost by: loueelotus » Sun Jan 14, 2018 3:41 pm

Since I read that there are many issues with other rack and steering's from other cars to fit the Lotus Elan then I was wondering who in the USA would have a good reconditioned or rebuilt one or would rebuild mine. If that is difficult to find then I would have to go to the UK I guess.. Examples.. Dave Bean.. Ray..
Thanks.
Lou
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