Lotus Elan

Early Re-TIRE-ment: advice requested

PostPost by: mjbeanie » Sat Mar 30, 2024 12:40 am

Hello Lotus enthusiasts.

Can someone please tell me the recommended tire size for these original aluminium Lotus 13" rims. I bought these from a friend. Just tried to replace the existing 5 year old 185-70VR13 Vredestein tires, with the same exact tire. It didn't go well.

The existing tires were very difficult to remove and were delaminating from the inside. I've been to two tire facilities with the same result. The new tires could not be installed. I am at a loss to understand what to do next. For now I am taking my new 185-70VR13 tires, and putting them on the familiar steel stock rims. However it would be great to use these aluminum rims at some future time.

IF anyone has these aluminum rims, -Please advise what Tire Size you have installed.

Thanks very much for the help.
-Mike
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Last edited by mjbeanie on Sat Mar 30, 2024 1:09 am, edited 2 times in total.
'71 Lotus Elan Plus 2S130 (Type 50/0179)
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PostPost by: h20hamelan » Sat Mar 30, 2024 12:48 am

Use a quality manufacturer, Toyo makes what I think is the perfect tyre. It’s a winter, so much more sticky as its soft compound. You dont need to worry about under 50 degree days and tyres being too hard, you dont need to worry about wet or water as they have excellent hydroplaning.

I am sure there are others on TireRack or LesSchwab etc

You might need to warm the tyres up a bit before removal.
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PostPost by: rgh0 » Sat Mar 30, 2024 2:07 am

The Lotus alloy rims have a very shallow well which makes fitting the tyres very hard.... but it is possible. I use my local race tyre supplier to fit new tyres for these and he hates me every time i come in for new tyres. When removing the old tyres he usually cuts the bead wires to make removal easier.

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PostPost by: mjbeanie » Sat Mar 30, 2024 2:13 am

Thanks Rohan.
My tire guy has a great shop and excellent Porsche and BMW expertise. But no joy mounting the tires to the alloy rims. Can you please advise what tire size you’ve fitted ?
'71 Lotus Elan Plus 2S130 (Type 50/0179)
'70 Opel GT
'67 Sunbeam Alpine
'88 Porsche 924 S
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PostPost by: h20hamelan » Sat Mar 30, 2024 2:22 am

Not to get too much more in the way, sorry if I am offensive.

Your tyre people could/should try clamping the rim upside down.
But first, why not find a real tyre shop with a “Road Force Tyre Balancing Machine” and go from there. As they will definitely have a centre clamp tyre machine. But be warned, the centre on your rims are delicate, so again better to do it face down or upside down.
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PostPost by: mjbeanie » Sat Mar 30, 2024 2:33 am

I will look into this further, but these guys are very skilled and adept. Its a high end shop that specialized in tire services. My friend takes his fleet of Jaguars from E-type to XK, to them. This shop is very highly rated one of the best. I will mention your recommendations to them.

That said, I will continue to investigate after I remount the steel rims on the car. I still wish to confirm the proper tire size for these rims. If someone out there can confirm it would be appreciated.
'71 Lotus Elan Plus 2S130 (Type 50/0179)
'70 Opel GT
'67 Sunbeam Alpine
'88 Porsche 924 S
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PostPost by: h20hamelan » Sat Mar 30, 2024 3:01 am

In my shop I have an old centre clamp, for trucks and heavier things.
I also have a rim clamp with four separate arms to aid in installation ( i have adaptors for motorcycle and small 6 inch trailer tyres too). As Rohan states, removal is difficult at best.
Installing should not be as difficult, if they are warmer (do in in the afternoon or from a heated shop or warm day etc) and lots of soap on the rim and rand of tyre. Tyres past 5 years should be questioned, so look at the date stamp week of year, then year normally in a oval which is a separate mark to the manufacturer’s information.
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PostPost by: mjbeanie » Sat Mar 30, 2024 3:07 am

Thanks, Yes the old tires being removed are 2019. The new tires were just received last week from Tire Rack.
I am getting the feeling I am going to have to send these rims to the UK to have the tires mounted properly. I will continue to investigate. Is my tire size for these rims correct at 185-70 VR13?
'71 Lotus Elan Plus 2S130 (Type 50/0179)
'70 Opel GT
'67 Sunbeam Alpine
'88 Porsche 924 S
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PostPost by: h20hamelan » Sat Mar 30, 2024 6:47 am

Most modern rims have a deeper inner circumference
Old Lotus rims are only deeper on the rear side, like shown in your photos.
When you mount tyres, or dismount. You need to pull the rand of the rubber to make way for pulling it over the rim of the wheel. The rand needs to go somewhere, if you turn your Lotus rims upside down which will give the rand the room it needs, it wont be a problem (or as much of a problem)
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PostPost by: rgh0 » Sat Mar 30, 2024 7:16 am

I have had both 175/70 and 175 / 60 x 13 tyres fitted. One thing to be careful off is that tyre fitters may turn up the air pressure on their machine to help get the tyre over the rim. This also makes the hold down clamps tighter and they can bight into the rims of of the Lotus Alloy which is very soft.

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PostPost by: alan.barker » Sun Mar 31, 2024 6:58 pm

Tyres should be fitted with Rim upside down. Tyre fitted from inside of Rim NOT outside. Then there is room for Tyre to slip into centre of Rim.
You still need plenty of lubricant.
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