Lotus Elan

Damper stake out

PostPost by: Quart Meg Miles » Sat May 09, 2020 10:53 pm

Lovely drives in the last few days to our customary evening picnic spot at Burpham, near the Sussex Downs. Only trouble is the poor surface of the road to it after the A27, the car rattling most of the way. Yesterday, a mile short of the destination, a distinct hard knock was heard from the left rear wheel as every bump was traversed. At the stop I could make the same knock sound by trying to bounce that corner up and down. Everything was fine apart from the knock and we got home without incident after a walk, a cuckoo (second of the day) and the picnic.

Thinking about what it could be I decided that the damper retaining nut must have unscrewed itself and the damper body was moving up on bumps then falling slowly by gravity until the next bump impacted it. Sure enough, that is what I found but doing the nut up again without stripping the unit out wasn't simple.

The nut, on my unit, is a short tube with an external pipe thread welded to a thick sheet metal hexagon, about 2" (50 mm) AF, with a hole for the damper shaft to pass through it. Although I could turn this nut with my fingers (after lowering the hub to expand the spring) it wouldn't grip the internal thread of the strut's tube. I could feel that the top of the damper was not central in the tube but I couldn't lean the tube over by hand, eventually jacking up the edge of the spring platform to do it. Then the nut engaged and tightened up after about six turns. I tightened it harder with some narrow adjustable pliers before attempting to stake the tube in two places. I assume I missed this important stage in 2018 when I fitted it; it's a Spax.

IMG_8213.JPG and
The damper centraliser! The white metal strip is holding the bump stop and dirt shield up.

Tonight we drove the same road for a picnic and the whole car seemed quieter and smoother and we hardly noticed the poor road leading to Burpham!
Meg

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PostPost by: SENC » Sun May 10, 2020 2:35 am

Well done, Meg!
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PostPost by: Hawksfield » Sun May 10, 2020 9:40 am

Hi
Not much stay at home and isolate there then!! :lol:
Regards

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PostPost by: nigelrbfurness » Sun May 10, 2020 4:55 pm

Lol clearly the Sussex police are a bit more laid back than our local rozzers, who took great exception to me taking my Elan a mile down the road and back again for its "essential exercise" (sic) with dire warnings about what would happen if they stopped me again. And they were the only traffic I encountered.
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PostPost by: Quart Meg Miles » Sun May 10, 2020 5:43 pm

I've passed by several police vehicles, always going the other way, but always within ten miles of home and on the way to people-free areas to walk in. Round the estate I will pass a dozen, which is safer? Stay safe, guys
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PostPost by: Quart Meg Miles » Fri May 15, 2020 10:11 pm

Oh dear, it seems to be back, though different. Bouncing the left rear side gave the knocking noise when I got home tonight though it hadn't at my destination. But there had been a crashing noise the whole trip which I thought must be loose stuff in the repacked boot (trunk). I'll try to check it tomorrow and if the nut is loose then I'll have to take the strut out. I thought I'd left all that behind for a few years. :oops:
Meg

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PostPost by: Quart Meg Miles » Mon May 18, 2020 9:36 pm

Yup, the nut was loose and I couldn't make it engage at all. So the strut was taken out and dismantled.

Even without the insert the nut wouldn't fit because the tube was slightly oval; but a quick squeeze with a clamp and it spun in easily. But the insert almost fills the tube to the top and the nut wouldn't go round it, it's ID is 42 mm but the insert OD is 43 mm! I removed the nut from my spare SPAX insert and it fitted perfectly. I suspect that when I fitted the insert originally I didn't like the supplied nut, which looks like a fragile zinc casting and the threads are awful. So I had used the previous nut, which had held in a Monroe (and possibly an Armstrong before that), not noticing the short thread engagement.

I won't describe the game I had with the spring compressors, which is why the strut isn't back in the car yet, but would advocate, once again, the use of a split pin to secure the spring assembly on the strut before fitting to the car. I learnt today that they did it on the type 14 Elite so why not on the Elan? It's just a simple drilled hole and a sturdy split pin just above where the top spring cap sits:

IMG_8260.JPG and

Gulp, I've just realised that the hole for my split pin, which I fitted innocently two years ago, will have severed the adjustment rod running the length of the strut! Should I sue SPAX for not advising the adjuster? Possibly this could be resolved, on my spare strut, by fitting two smaller pins either side, but how big is the hole down the middle of the strut? I've been happy with the damping so it doesn't really matter to me.
Meg

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