Lotus Elan

Rear Hub / Outboard Drive Shaft Play

PostPost by: 74Twincam » Tue Jul 16, 2019 5:41 pm

Hello-
I'm swimming in "while I'm in there" items on my Sprint, as I work front to back to replace seals and dried out bits from years of sitting idle. I've decided to replace the rear donuts with the Elan Trikbits parts, as well as refresh the brakes, and have removed the drive axle, caliper, rotor, etc. to clear the space for the new parts.

My question is, now that I have the other parts removed from the hub and outboard drive shaft, there is some axial play / thrust present when I wiggle the drive shaft vs. the hub housing. Given there are a set of ball bearings holding the axle in the housing, am I correct to think that there should be ZERO axial play ? Am I due to remove the outboard axle and replace the bearings?

I'm also staring at the rear differential trying to muster the courage to just remove it and replace seals there too while I'm in here. And while I'm in here, maybe replace the differential output shafts with new HD units... and maybe outboard drive axles too... and.... SAVE ME!!!
Bill
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PostPost by: Mazzini » Tue Jul 16, 2019 8:09 pm

Save you? You're already in too deep to be saved :-)
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PostPost by: StressCraxx » Wed Jul 17, 2019 12:37 am

74Twincam wrote:Hello-

My question is, now that I have the other parts removed from the hub and outboard drive shaft, there is some axial play / thrust present when I wiggle the drive shaft vs. the hub housing. Given there are a set of ball bearings holding the axle in the housing, am I correct to think that there should be ZERO axial play ? Am I due to remove the outboard axle and replace the bearings?

I'm also staring at the rear differential trying to muster the courage to just remove it and replace seals there too while I'm in here. And while I'm in here, maybe replace the differential output shafts with new HD units... and maybe outboard drive axles too... and.... SAVE ME!!!


The bearings in the hub housing are simple deep groove conrad type bearings commonly used in industry. They have a limited amount of thrust capacity. If you have more than 0.005" axial play, I would replace them with new bearings that have rubber seals on both ends. You will need four bearings total for both sides. I believe they are a size 6206 2RS. Buy only name brands such as SKF, FAG, NTN. Brands such as Consolidated are from resellers in eastern Europe, Pakistan, India and China. The other issue is if the bearings are loose in the housing. They should be a snug fit, not loose. If they are loose, the bores are hard to set up in a mill and rebush. Most reinstall the bearings using loctite stud and bearing mount with good results.

If I'm incorrect I'm sure others will correct me.

Regards,
Dan
There is no cure for Lotus, only treatment.
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PostPost by: 512BB » Wed Jul 17, 2019 7:57 am

Good morning Bill,

You will have heard the often repeated crap, when pulled up in a carpark, of what the letters L O T U S stand for. I just drive off when Mr Nobody comes up to me and spouts that rubbish, without saying a word :lol: Lotus cars had a poor reputation.back in the day, because they were poorly serviced, never serviced, badly serviced and neglected. None of my cars have ever let me down in 40 years of ownership, apart from one, and that fell under the bracket of neglected! Shame on me.

You state that your car has sat around for years, unused, and I am guessing here, was of unknown provenence. To get it good and reliable, go through everything, leave nothing to chance.

You are going to have to remove the suspension unit to replace the knacked wheel bearings. Take the opportunity to remove the diff and have it fully rebuilt, unless you have receipts to show that that has been done within a reasonable time, say 5 years. If it has been overhauled in that timeframe, I would still replace all the seals, to be sure. I know a little bit about diffs, search DIFFS FOR SALE using the search function on this site. NB. I am not offering to rebuild your diff here. I would also replace the top diff mounts and lotocones at this juncture.

So you are doing the right thing Bill, by going through everything from front to back. Its the only way to get a car of unknown / chequered history good and reliable.

Good luck with it.

Leslie
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PostPost by: JonB » Wed Jul 17, 2019 8:06 am

Leslie, he doesn't really need to take the suspension unit off to change the wheel bearings, they can be done in situ. Here's proof: http://www.lotuselan.net/forums/viewtopic.php?f=42&t=40997.

I concur with your excellent advice, though; insofar as a proper overhaul is in order to be sure.
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PostPost by: vincereynard » Wed Jul 17, 2019 12:44 pm

512BB wrote:Lotus cars had a poor reputation.back in the day, because they were poorly serviced, never serviced, badly serviced and neglected.
Leslie


Nothing to do with being complex, fragile with dreadful initial build quality then? An "owners survey" in Autocar late '69 showed 67% would not buy another (expensive) +2. Rather more than poor servicing.

Nice to see some "specialists" are maintaining the factory standards. :)
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PostPost by: 69S4 » Wed Jul 17, 2019 1:42 pm

Back in the day - when I was too young / skint (or both) to consider Lotus ownership - I would never have considered any of the factory's products to be 'reliable' cars. But that was almost the point. If I wanted reliable there were plenty of other generally boring cars. What Lotus produced were exciting cars and if that meant living with grease under the fingernails and an empty bank account then so be it.

In the close to 40yrs I've had my Elan (and the 7 before it) that's still pretty much my conclusion. The Elan is just about acceptably reliable in the sense of it rarely dumping me at the side of the road but there's a permanent list of things that need to be fixed or adjusted in some form to optimise it. I remember a(wealthier) friend who had one in the 60's telling me much the same. Standards may have moved up a notch or two these days but I think Lotus still inhabit that semi developed but worth the effort niche. If they were sanitised to the point where they were genuine competition for the likes of Porsche I think I'd probably lose interest.

Re the dealers / specialists, there's a commonality with them that's reminiscent of how British motorcycle dealers used to be - oil stained spares departments made from war surplus wooden panels where you wait for ages for no one to serve you accompanied by the sound of hammering and expletives from the repair department. If they could make these places in black and white it would be just like the old days. All that's changed is that H&S have got rid of the half smoked Woodbines hanging from everyone's lower lip.
Stuart Holding
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PostPost by: 74Twincam » Wed Jul 17, 2019 2:41 pm

Haha-
You guys are great, the Lotus ownership trials are not unfamiliar to me- I knew I was signing up for a big bite of this when I got the car. My Lotus hub experience is based on a Europa, so at least this is slightly better in my mind.
The good news is this car wasn't abused or too badly hacked up by poorly done modifications, it just sat as the previous, elderly owner didn't make it a priority before he passed (understandably). I'd rather fix and service age and corrosion issues that have to undo someone else's shortcuts, and so far, most of the mechanical parts are in extremely good condition once cleaned up.

I show about 0.008-0.010 of play with the dial, and can hear/feel the bearings wiggling around the more I'm messing with it, so bearings and seals it is! I'll likely pull the hub, strut and other parts to do it all on the bench. The other axle parts will wait pending inspection and measurements, but my gut tells me to be prepared...

THANK YOU for the part number reference and input on the issue, and encouragement - !
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Bill
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PostPost by: jono » Wed Jul 17, 2019 3:55 pm

Bill,

It took me until the third attempt to fit new bearings without having play in them after only a few miles.

Last time I used SKF Explorer (Italian made) 6206RS bearings and they have been trouble (and play) free over a few thousand miles now - not expensive either, around ?7 each if I recall correctly.

However I think it was my fitting technique which caused the failures. You will know this I'm sure but avoiding side preload in the bearings is critical and it takes some care not to do that given the Lotus hub design when pressing in the second bearing and ensuring no side load is transmitted into the inner bearing.

I can't imagine how you would do it succesfully without removing the struts especially bearing in mind the side loading issue so, personally, I would not even think about doing that and would therefore whip out the struts where you can have full control of the task on the bench.

Cheers

Jon
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PostPost by: 74Twincam » Wed Jul 17, 2019 4:09 pm

Awesome-
Thanks Jon, I'll plan accordingly. I've had good success with SKF bearings as well. There seems to be enough information and tips on the forum about hub removal and disassembly to refer to, so it's just a matter of getting the tool and preparing for that job.
It will give me something to keep me busy...as if!
Bill
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