Lotus Elan

Oil Leaks and Self-actualization!

PostPost by: terryp » Thu Jun 02, 2011 3:28 pm

Well after spending over 2 and a half years trying to cure the small oil leaks at the front of my engine I have come to the conclusion that its not that bad and whats a couple of drips in the tray anyway. It seems now to be coming out of one of the bolts (Which is tight :roll: ), but hey ho I don't care about it any more , I'm just driving and forgetting!!
I think it means I am now a Lotus owner .............. :wink:

Terry
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PostPost by: collins_dan » Thu Jun 02, 2011 3:47 pm

One further point of rationalization....oil drips prevent rust! You must drive frequently, fast and take many tight turns to fully distribute it along the chassis. Its been critical to retaining my original chassis for 40+years. Dan
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PostPost by: Spyder fan » Thu Jun 02, 2011 6:10 pm

Terry,
I will obviously have to report you to Miles Wilkins and all the other smug git's who insist that Lotus Twin Cam's don't leak if they are built and maintained correctly. This is the same engine that doesn't overheat and is very cheap to repair if it goes wrong.

Shame on you :roll:
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PostPost by: Elanintheforest » Thu Jun 02, 2011 8:04 pm

Alan, when I took my Elan into Miles to have the engine rebuilt, I pointed out to him that it didn't leak oil, and never has...and it was true!

He guaranteed that once he had rebuilt it, it still wouldn't. Well it didn't for 15 years, and then a couple of years ago there was a little drip drip from the rear crankshaft oil seal. My fault for not using the car enough though.

The main cause of a persistent leak seems to be slightly warped front covers. Finding a good one has been hard in the past, but they are now being re-made with strengthening ribs and are very good at keeping the oil where it's meant to be.

So they really can and should be oil tight, Terry. Start to worry, and never forget.......... :shock:

Mark
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PostPost by: Spyder fan » Thu Jun 02, 2011 8:26 pm

Elanintheforest wrote:Alan, when I took my Elan into Miles to have the engine rebuilt, I pointed out to him that it didn't leak oil, and never has...and it was true!

He guaranteed that once he had rebuilt it, it still wouldn't. Well it didn't for 15 years, and then a couple of years ago there was a little drip drip from the rear crankshaft oil seal. My fault for not using the car enough though.

The main cause of a persistent leak seems to be slightly warped front covers. Finding a good one has been hard in the past, but they are now being re-made with strengthening ribs and are very good at keeping the oil where it's meant to be.

So they really can and should be oil tight, Terry. Start to worry, and never forget.......... :shock:

Mark


SMUG GIT! .................... (See Terry, I warned you :twisted:) What about running hot in traffic? Shame on you for having too many cars so that you didn't use one of them enough! Agreed that front covers are the main cause of leaks followed by overtightened sumps, failed gaskets on oil pumps, fuel pumps etc and poorly fitting cam covers . These things were only meant to last for 6 - 10 years, Lotus weren't known for Bentley standards of engineering resilience now or then and would have suggested that you buy a new one if the old one had worn out perhaps?
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PostPost by: Elanintheforest » Thu Jun 02, 2011 9:58 pm

Very true, much as Porsche, Ferrari and many others do today. OK they are a lot higher performance, but routine replacement of discs, head gaskets, wheel bearings, suspension joints etc. on major services seems to be the norm.

With the early Lamborginis there is a warning in the handbook not to start the engine if the temperature is below zero, as gaskets will fail!

I hate to say it, but I've never had any problems with overheating either! And that's with the S3 which still has the Anglia metal fan blade and no electric fan, and doing about 40k miles, summer and winter.

The BDA Plus 2 has never had a problem with overheating or oil leaks. That uses the standard (early) radiator.....the same type as used in the S3. It was driven around north London for years, and taken on southern European summer trips, covering some 80k miles before the engine was rebuilt.

So if some leak oil and some don't, and some overheat and some don't, I think that I would look at the state of the components of the engine, and how a given engine has been rebuilt, rather than the basic design. For sure, when the cars are (were) used a lot as an everyday car, they would leak oil earlier than, say, a standard Cortina due to the different expansion rates of the different metals in the engine. But with the sort of use most of them get today, a 10 year oil leak-free engine would seem to be a reasonable expectation wouldn't it?

Oh, and the water pump in the S3 is fine as well !!!

Mark
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PostPost by: collins_dan » Thu Jun 02, 2011 10:05 pm

This is proving to be an interesting post, as you have just covered most of my leaks: front cover - check, sump - check, camcover - check. Why the leak on the back right side, where the block meets the gearbox? That one is my most persistent, or effective, if you consider all the rust prevention it has provided over the years. Dan
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PostPost by: terryp » Fri Jun 03, 2011 7:09 am

A think a poll may be required!!!!

Terry
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PostPost by: Spyder fan » Fri Jun 03, 2011 7:14 am

Mark,
I think the overheating problems are more apparent on cars with the later narrower radiator, but mostly it's driver anxiety rather than actual overheating thats going on, my twincam would get hot right into the edge of the red in heavy stop start high summer traffic (25C+) but it never actually boiled over. Most moderns that actually have a water temp gauge (My new Mini doesn't have one) sit static at N in traffic and maybe move a few degrees before the fan cuts in and all goes back to N, therefore we have become accustomed to this and start worrying when our prides and joys read high on the temp scale. I suffered from this anxiety and was suckered into buying one of Tony Thompsons radiators and swirlpots, the result was that the car ran cooler in traffic probably due to the higher volume of coolant and the fact that the cores were new and not furred up. Mr Thompsons radiator does a very good job of cooling my zetec now, although I had to alter it for the reversed flow.

After my rebuild on my old twincam I had a drip from the front cover and leaky fuel pump: as you know I don't get a lot of time to fettle cars myself so it was back to the engine builder/restorer who just took the partisan and familiar line of,
They all do that sir
unfortunately our hobby is at the mercy of various and sundry experts with no official backup as to what's right or what can be expected, which is why these forums are so valuable.

Terry,
do you have unmade roads in your part of France? If so you could get the contract to oil them down in the summer :lol:

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Kindest regards

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PostPost by: 1558cc » Fri Jun 03, 2011 10:16 am

Might as well post this here as well!

"We'd been having a couple of leaks from ours. Through the gasket etc. Turns out the engine wasn't breathing properly. We'd already got a cylinder head breather, but it was a tube into a bottle, a few small air holes in the lid of the bottle, and low and behold. NO MORE LEAKS! To be honest, it was only happening on the race track though!"
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PostPost by: 1964 S1 » Sun Jun 05, 2011 4:07 am

Hi Dan, that right rear leak may be the culmination point of the other leaks. They may be blown to the back of the block by the fan and airflow while driving.
Or,,,,it could be the oil pan gasket...?
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PostPost by: 1964 S1 » Tue Jun 07, 2011 4:33 am

Hi Terry,
That little guy hammering his head detracts from what you're writing for a guy like me.
It's a total distraction when I'm trying to read what you've written. I stop after about eight seconds, but I'm a slow reader.
Eric
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PostPost by: terryp » Tue Jun 07, 2011 9:20 am

Eric
Funny it's your name sake ...."Flat Eric" moving with the beat!

Perhaps I should go for a car instead?

Another poll :wink:

Terry
Still with leaks!
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PostPost by: 1964 S1 » Tue Jun 07, 2011 2:32 pm

ah.... Is he Flat Eric from hitting his forehead on the dash cover?
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PostPost by: terryp » Tue Jun 07, 2011 2:36 pm

Probably Eric
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z47KUNmmCng
Looks like my Lagoon Blue car as well!

Terry
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