Lotus Elan

Rear suspension service advice

PostPost by: HCA » Wed Mar 25, 2020 2:13 pm

These lock-down days are great! I have so many jobs that await delivery from ebay of various bits 'n bobs that I just roll onto the next one! The car is now in a serious pile of pieces!

Today, rear suspension. A few surprises - one side has a brand new hub and both brake calipers are new. Then I notice a huge gash on the inside of a wheel, so much of a one that I am surprised it still holds air. Obviously something big happened, and I need a new wheel. But the upside is that the brakes are new and the handbrake easily passes MoT.

I seek some advice please:

1. There are what seems to be factory pressed panels under the wishbones and, on one side, a cover affair over the discs. Did Lotus go to this trouble? I shall ditch them as they are unsightly and get in the way - unless someone tells me there is any technical merit that has escaped me...

2. Shocks look original! So maybe a birthday present of new ones - Paul Matty offers a choice: Protech, Koni (£300??), Gaz or Spax. Are there any suggestions for comfortable road use please?

3. I may as well service the bushes and bearings (althyough I expect one is new). Again, any suggestions from experience - off the shelf ones a la Paul Matty, or Superflex?

4. I have a Spyder chassis - do I assume that it uses the original Lotus wishbones and that I do not have to specify anything special regarding bushes and bearings?

5. Were springs ever a problem? After 47 years, do I continue with them or replace? The car sits pretty square.

One side has a newish doughnut and the other is reliant on two of the three bolts! I do not know if this is a contention, but are the drive shaft replacement really necessary for comfortable road use? Am I going to be ok with new Rotaflexes?

Again thanks for any snippets
Hal
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PostPost by: ericbushby » Wed Mar 25, 2020 2:33 pm

Hi Hal,
If you are going to buy new shock absorbers then you have an opportunity to buy the shorter limited droop ones, in case you decide to fit CV shafts in the future. They will not make any difference to the ride or height of your car, so nothing is lost. Kelvedon stock them I believe.
Just a thought,
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PostPost by: pharriso » Wed Mar 25, 2020 3:08 pm

Is this a Plus2 or an Elan (avoids the word baby :twisted:)?

Later Plus 2s - S130s came with rear wishbone shields which acted as tambourines with gravel.

Plus 2s don't need droop limiters to protect CV shaft joints from lockup.
Last edited by pharriso on Wed Mar 25, 2020 6:22 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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PostPost by: JonB » Wed Mar 25, 2020 3:19 pm

Hal, I have Konis on my car. And a spare (used) set if you are interested.. plenty of life in them.
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PostPost by: HCA » Wed Mar 25, 2020 3:57 pm

Apologies - it is a 1973 S130.

I note on Paul Matty's website, the Konis are specifically 'limited drop'. Unless anyone tells me that the Rotoflex is a killer, then I do not think I will need the driveshaft upgrade...

Jon - tell me more about the Konis - you say lots of life left in them, how so? I could be interested. What about fronts as well - do you have these too?

Anyway - another job finished before it has started - just called Paul Matty.'' Regrettably had to shut until April 7'' :x

Thanks Phil for confirming the futility of the shields!
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PostPost by: ericbushby » Wed Mar 25, 2020 5:02 pm

Ah, Plus 2, droop limiter not necessary.
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PostPost by: Davidb » Wed Mar 25, 2020 5:39 pm

I can recommend http://dampertech.co.uk/ I bought my GAZ shocks from them and their price was the best and the service very good.
Rear shock part number is GAI 1063 and front is GP6 2131 (height adjustable)
I am very happy with the shocks after three years of very hard use.
'65 S2 4844
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PostPost by: Matt Elan » Wed Mar 25, 2020 9:54 pm

Q1 - There were an assortment of pressed tin panel around the rear disks and suspension. Supposed to keep spray and road dirt off the area but most owners removed them....
Q2 - If the shocks are working OK and not leaking then there is no real reason to replace.
Q3 Bushes should be standard. Sue Millar Poly bushes (Road spec) are good and easy to fit. I struggled to fit new metalstic bushes to my rear suspension 'A' arms while polybushes went in really easily.
Q4 Spyder chassis should use all standard bushes
Q5 Standard springs should be fine after all Chapman knew a bit about suspension design! Workshop manual gives rear spring length as (free) 16.0 in (40.6 cm), front (free) 14.9 in (36.04 cm)
HTHs
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PostPost by: HCA » Thu Mar 26, 2020 4:18 am

Thanks Matt,

This is often the case that poly bushes are easier to install. I might follow this road. Thanks too for the spring measurements. I will note them for when I strip it all down.

Do you have any views on Rotaflex drive couples?
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PostPost by: alanr » Thu Mar 26, 2020 8:34 am

My +2 S130 still has the underside wishbone protection panels and also the protection panels over the top of the rear suspension. Most +2's have at some point had them removed and I guess how much they protect the rear suspension from the weather and gravel rash is debateable.
They are also a bit of a pain to remove and refit every time you work on the rear suspension but personally I think they are a nice touch and will be keeping mine for originalities sake.

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PostPost by: rgh0 » Fri Mar 27, 2020 1:01 am

My understanding was that they were fitted to reduce excessive wear being experienced on the rear disks on the Plus 2 due to dust and dirt being thrown up onto the disk. When I got my Plus 2 back in the Early 80's there was a very rusted set in the box of spares that came with the car. My car came to Australia after spending its first 5 years in the UK so they did not last long.

I never refitted then and threw them out long ago and I have not experienced excessive rear disk wear so it appears they are not that critical

cheers
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PostPost by: Chrispy » Fri Mar 27, 2020 1:24 am

Apparently installed to help with rear brake life. Stories around from the original testing taking place (Norway maybe??) and they were chewing out the rear brakes in a few hundred miles.
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PostPost by: The Veg » Fri Mar 27, 2020 2:04 am

My car had them until last year when I refurbed the suspension. They're currently gathering dust in a corner of the garage. I'm gonna keep them in a box in the attic because so.eday some originality-purist will want a set at any price! :lol:
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