Lotus Elan

Monumental screw-ups

PostPost by: reb53 » Tue Sep 22, 2009 11:00 pm

I?ve found that Lotus cock-ups/problems tend to come in groups.
It?s as though they all hang around until there?s enough for a family get together then arrive en masse.

Several years ago, in my corporate days, I drove to ?the city?, about 4 hours away, to attend a meeting.
Leaving to come home it was raining and the motorway was really busy.
Managed to stall in the bumper to bumper traffic. Quickly reached for the key but it wouldn?t move. Stuck in the ?run? position. Wouldn?t turn to ?start?, or ?off?.
Leapt out, jammed my foot behind the front wheel, ( no hand-brake and on an incline), and used the solenoid to restart.
Jump back in quick before rolling into car behind.
We?re away! Until having to stop for gas and can?t turn engine off.
Easy, deliberately stall it.
Use solenoid trick to restart, but won?t?..click, click?..flat battery.
Small, country type garage so lady owner happy to give me a push as husband briefly away.
Push across the forecourt pretty quick as there?s two of us. Leap in and foot on the clutch.
Straight to the floor?.no clutch.
Push it out of the way and in desperation decide to check the clutch master in case it?s empty and a top-up may make it sort of work.
Take off the long modified throttle return spring that runs above the airbox, then the box, lid off cylinder and check out. Looks fine and as husband has now returned run car over pit and check nothing obviously awry underneath.
All looks normal so decide to get a push from husband and wife and carry on without clutch.
Plenty of speed across the forecourt this time as I crunch it into gear, and we?re off again.
And I mean off?.forgotten to put the throttle return spring on hadn?t I.
So we?re heading for the main road at full noise unable to depress the clutch or switch off.
Frantic braking on the wet road resulted in the fronts locking whilst the rears kept driving. As we sledged towards the road my eyes were getting pretty big as I tried to figure out how I was going to merge sideways. Fortunately even more frantic braking brought the whole plot to an end.
Got home clutch-less, key-less, and battery-less. Amazing how well you can plan your driving if you know you can?t stop.
My business suit was never the same?

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PostPost by: rgh0 » Wed Sep 23, 2009 11:50 am

Ralph that is an inspirational description of perserverence in the face of overwhelming adversity -- only in NZ would this be just a normal days motoring.

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PostPost by: handi_andi » Wed Sep 23, 2009 12:46 pm

Together it is possible that they only occur in NZ, however, I have had elements of the story happen to me. Once drove a landrover from the peak district to Aberystwth with no clutch, flat changes except for traffic lights and junctions where I had to stop, which involved putting the old girl in gear and using the starter to get her in to life as well as moving forward. All the more remarkable given that the old girl was a diesel and therefore required quite allot of power to get her going.

My first car, that I brought from a scrap yard the starter motor gave up shortly after leaving derbyshire heading for the peak district. AA got me going again and I then proceeded all the way without turning the engine off even when forced to park up for calls of nature. Given I only had less than a years driving experience was a miracle I never stalled her.

As for the first journey in my plus 2 from Flitwick in Bedforshire to Fife for an overnight stop, that journey featured the drivers internal door handle giving up the ghost and the electric window at the same time when I got to the M6 toll. So had to climb out over the tunnel and through the passenger door, ebfore paying the nice lady, getting back in and driving off. Later in the journey the vacum units gave up the ghost on the M6 and had to wedge them both up with a carpenters pencil. Then due to user error thought the aft end electrics had given up and so ended up jumping the electrics, not realising that all I needed to do was to flick the sidelights switch on in the cabin. Finally, due to a missing gasket in the drivers side floor where the steering column passes through, a long journey and freezing fog that froze the need washer fluid into a half inch "iccle" around the front windscreen, and killed the battery overnight, I ended up with Hypothermia.

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PostPost by: tdafforn » Wed Sep 23, 2009 2:38 pm

Three howlers that almost led to personal injury.
1) decided to attack a rusty triumph spitfire with a wie brush on an angle grinder. Lost concentration and dropped it into my crotch. Luckily my dads old 3 layer army trousers gave protection as the wire brush wound up in them (giving me a wedgy) and the motor stalled.
2) angle grinder again. newly bought, first cut in the same spitfire, had taken precautions (ie removed petrol tank, carbs etc). unfortunately forgot that fuel lines contain a fair amount of fuel. cut out some rust by the tranny tunnel, hit fuel lin, woosh, big flames, no eyebrows
3) welding the underside of the floor with the car above me on trestles. Learnt that molten metal is hot and can "drip" from welds. Result, slight hair fire!
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PostPost by: alexblack13 » Wed Sep 23, 2009 5:14 pm

Here's another not car related one.

I was fitting a dust extraction system into a joinery manufac' shop. New shop new system. My Mate Fin (manager), decided to pitch in and help. Out of the corner of my eye I saw him pick up my 220 volt power drill. High speed and V high torque. The said item has just over 1 hp motor. Big heavy and powerfull drill, and you needed to watch it like a hawk, so I briefed him to NOT allow the running down drill (it took around 5 seconds to run down) anywhere near his clothing (trousers!!). He was sitting on the scafolding and drilling holes in the ducting for pop rivets when he alowed the heavy drill to drop down enough to contact his trousers just around crutch height.The still spinning drill gripped his breeks along with a fair handfull of fuzz (Ever been lifted by the fuzz?? :shock: ) this caused him to hold on even tighter to the drill and at the same time hit the trigger. The sight of the guy wrestling with the thing two stories up, and screaming like a stuck pig, looked like he had a badger chomping on his 'nads!! He simply could not let go of the drill.

I brought this hilarious but potentially Dangerous situ' to an end by unpluging the extension cable.

He put the drill down vowing never to go near it again.

:lol: :lol: :lol:

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PostPost by: Alasdair » Fri Sep 25, 2009 7:11 pm

All Lotus related.

After many years looking for an Elite, I purchased one that came in many boxes, very enjoyable venture restoring the car. Having never done one before it was a learning experience, engine and differential in place but, prop shaft still on the garage floor! Well, seems you can not put the shaft in with Engine and differential in place like the Elan, was I mad, took the lesser of 2 evils removing the diff! Years later I can not recall if I tried or, if it would have gone through the tunnel access?

When installing front and rear hubs on the Elite, assumed the L and R threads went on the same sides as my Elan sitting right beside it, no I did not look in the manual! All tight and ready for a round the block trial, they are different I found out when a spinner hit the road. Not easy job changing all four side to side. I would love to know the reason they are different, must be something to do with the steel opposed to wire wheel spinner location, any one know?

And, when purchasing and getting a recent S3 SS back on the road after 28 years, I decided to remove the glove box lock to clean and lubricate, worked fine anyway but.... For those that like puzzles, get someone to remove and dismantle one without you seeing, see if you beat my 1 hour reassembly, I should have paid attention!

That's enough!

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1954 S1 Land Rover
1962 Elite S2
1966 Lotus Cortina MK1
1968 Elan S3 SS Coupe
1968 Austin J40
1969 Elan S4 SE DHC
1972 Elan Sprint
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PostPost by: paddy » Fri Sep 25, 2009 7:18 pm

Alasdair wrote:When installing front and rear hubs on the Elite, assumed the L and R threads went on the same sides as my Elan sitting right beside it, no I did not look in the manual! All tight and ready for a round the block trial, they are different I found out when a spinner hit the road. Not easy job changing all four side to side. I would love to know the reason they are different, must be something to do with the steel opposed to wire wheel spinner location, any one know?

It was discussed here: elan-archive-f16/spacers-t6916.html

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PostPost by: alaric » Fri Sep 25, 2009 8:08 pm

Ralph that's a character building experience if ever I heard one!

My dummest hour with my old 1400 Mini involved the good old distributor drive - the bit that's driven from the camshaft. Yup you've guessed it, I managed to drop it into the gearbox. I managed to get the engine out within a couple of hours, then stripped it to remove the box and retrieve the drive.

On the Elan the most embarrasing thing I've managed to do so far is to leave the trailer handbrake on when transporting it. We'd parked on a hill when we stopped to get coffee, and I thought it was a good idea to put the trailer handbrake on to make sure it didn't roll away. Unfortunately, I also decided to let my father drive the next leg of the journey, and forgot to take the brake off. Having no reference to judge from, he happily quick shifted againt the braking of the trailer, and used the power of the v6 under the bonnet of the towing car to get up to 60mph on the motorway. We were soon beeped and flagged down by an alarmed couple telling us there was smoke pouring out of the wheels. Oops. Would have saved me a lot of money in the long run though, if it had gone up in flames back then. The trailer braking was a lot better after that though.

All the best.

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PostPost by: steveww » Wed Sep 30, 2009 9:56 am

Looks like welding is a very dangerous exercise :shock:

Some years ago a friend was restoring an MGB and the welding was with oxyacetylene, MIG was quite new then. One of the spare bottles fell over and hit a trolley jack as it landed which took off the valve. The now jet propelled bottle shot across the workshop and punched its way through the closed door and disappeared across his back garden and in to the field beyond. Fortunately the only damage was the shattered door.
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PostPost by: terryp » Wed Sep 30, 2009 10:12 am

My biggest screw up was actually only about a 2 years ago with my old Lotus. I was fitting a new radiator. Having filled the system I was just checking the wiring around that area and found that one of the bullet connectors was coming out. I got my smallest sharpest screwdriver and pushed hard at the connector, missing and going straight throught the radiator , antifreeze coming out everywhere! I was very upset! Susan Miller was completely unphased and just posted out another!
I have always since been very carefull around that region!

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PostPost by: el-saturn » Sun Jul 07, 2019 4:51 pm

........................the wrong marque! but once upon a time a friend started the engine of this 12cyl ferrari 412 and he forgot this really stupid rag which was close enough to the unfiltered intake: 30'000.00 sfr just the parts! christian didnt even loose this brand new job he had. sandy
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PostPost by: 512BB » Mon Jul 08, 2019 10:59 am

Where on Earth do some of you find these old posts? You could not possibly have been searching the archives for 'Montmental screw ups'.

I do not remember ever seeing this post at the time or I would have bored you all with some stories back then, as I am going to now :lol: But before I do, and having read through the topic, a shout out some of the posters who contributed 10 years ago. S G Booth, how are you doing my friend? I hope you are over your health problems Stuart, I certainly have not seen you on any of my many visits to Addenbrookes! Will give you a call to catch up. Tsoar, haven't seen you post in years Chris, still got the +2 ? Alex, how are you doing, give us an update on what you are up to.

So to Msu. Not long after buying my first car, 1981, a Sprint of course, need you ask, I blew the engine going down the Hendon Way, foot to the glassfibre :D Smoke billowing everywhere. Engine rebuild and was refitting the head. AT 2 O CLOCK IN THE MORNING. Big mistake. Very tired, but was my only means of transport. This was the first twincam I had ever worked on. Indeed, the first ENGINE I had ever worked on.

Picture the scene, 2 AM, in summer, garage doors wide open, pitch black, deathly quiet. Tightening down the exhaust camshaft, when all of a sudden, someone enters the garage and discharges a shotgun. Boooom. Well no actually, that was the sound of the camshaft breaking. Made me shake, so it did. Shit, what the f..k was that.

Didn,t take me long to observe my handywork. What the hell am I going to do now and where the hell am I going to get another one of those ? Well, call it a morning and go to bed is what I did. Quck call to Derek Dean when I got up and a trip to Sarf Harrow to be relieved of 45 quid saw me with a replacement second hand Sprint cam. A lot of money in those days but no one else had one, so what was a boy supposed to do. That cam is still in the engine to this day.

Further tales to follow. Can't wait, follow me on Facelessbook then.

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PostPost by: alexblack13 » Mon Jul 08, 2019 11:30 am

Hello Leslie,

Probably heard I sold the sprint? Basically because I could not get into the thing very easily and found myself on all fours on the pavement. I have never seen it or heard of it since. Still a mistake selling it though and one I regret very much.

Health wise still holding my own health wise as far as the prostate cancer is concerned. Big changes in life but still above ground.

A few years after the prostate issue popped up I ended up with a blues and twos visit to our local A&E. Atrial fribulation. Had two visits both with overnights... Then a great doc asked me .. ' has anyone ever told you that you have a leaking heart valve' ? I thought.. here we go again. So far under control and no more AF. But a bit short of puff here n there. Ongoing.. The only option is a new valve. I just don't fancy that one bit with memories of the bypass op and recovery still fresh in my mind.. So this will be on a last resort basis.. :?

Lotus wise. We now have an M100 and what a revelation this has been. Amazing little car. Love it. So still in the elan family.

I pop into the forum every now and then for a 'listen' and post when I think I can help.

Just finished building a mate's locort engine and he is now showing the car with great enthusiasm.

So I am still here.. great to hear from you all and listening out.
m100.1.jpg and
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PostPost by: Mazzini » Mon Jul 08, 2019 2:23 pm

Alex! Great to hear from you! Drop me a line when you have a mo.

Leslie, do you know what happened to Derek Dean?
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PostPost by: 512BB » Mon Jul 08, 2019 4:48 pm

Good stuff Al and yes I know you sold your Sprint, cos I bought it from Stan on Orkney. I only wish that I had bought it directly from you when you advertised it for sale, it would have been in beter condition, but nothing that I cannot sort, given a bit of free time. I have been meaning to give you a call, to quiz you on various aspects of the car, which I will do shortly. Will mail you first. All the best my friend, regards to Carol.

Robert, not sure what you mean by do I know what happened to Derek Dean. I have heard all the stories from back in the day and the last I heard of him, he had been living in Australia for many years and was doing something with Lotus cars over there.

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