Lotus Elan

Need some advice/opinions

PostPost by: Robbie693 » Thu Jan 18, 2007 11:41 am

I have a suspected Servo problem on my Plus 2. It was fitted with a Lockheed replacement some years ago (6 or 7 from what I can gather) and the car has only covered around 500 miles since.

After replacing the master cylinder and a new front caliper recently I had a lot of trouble getting the air out of the system. This seems to be ok now as I get a reasonably firm pedal. However, once I start the engine the pedal goes mushy with lots of travel and a small amount of creep. I've done the tests in the manual and the servo operates (hisses) on brake application with the engine running and after 2 minutes of switch off.

So I suspect the seals have gone in the hydraulic bit of the servo (possibly due to the lay-up). Anyone agree with me here?

Next point; I've rang around for a rebuild kit and a coulple of places quoted me about 60 quid. Then I rang a place called J&L Spares (Brake servo specialists) and the man told me with a sigh "there are so many places selling these Lockheed servo's and they all seem to be a different spec. The castings all have the same part number on them but internally, there are a number of different piston sizes..."

So he asked me to dissmantle and measure both the pistons and get back to him for the seals, which should be about ?25.00.

So questions are:

1. Does the servo sound suspect?

2. If I bought and off the shelf kit, what are the chances of it being the wrong size (in other words has anyone heard of there being various sizes of servo specified for the Plus 2)?

Sorry for the rambling post, I did get the part number for the servo kit from Delphi, but in the light of what this guy is telling me I can't be sure that whoever fitted the servo bought the one that the kit fits...

Thanks in advance

Robbie
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PostPost by: Fubar » Thu Jan 18, 2007 12:34 pm

If it was mine I'd give Paul Norton a call at Norton Classic Servos. He should be able to supply the right kit if you DIY or rebuild it for you if you'd prefer.
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PostPost by: Robbie693 » Fri Jan 19, 2007 10:05 am

I tried phoning and emailing him but there was no reply (and no answerphone, just a hollow silence :? )

Is he still in business?
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PostPost by: schroeder » Fri Jan 19, 2007 11:09 am

The Lockheed servo needs to be mounted correctly per the Lockheed instructions to ensure that it does not trap air. IIRC it needs to have the hydraulic outlet higher than the inlet which is not always easy to achieve in the plus 2 bay unless you make appropriate brakets.

Two other things that can affect pedal feel.

Flexi hoses (They are pretty long and distort under braking as the try to starighten) and body flex around the pedal box. My +2 has always had long pedal travel and a slight questionable feel despite multiple master cylinders, servos and caliper rebuilds over 23 years plus aeroquip hoses.

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PostPost by: Robbie693 » Fri Jan 19, 2007 12:13 pm

Thanks Stu,

The servo appears to be mounted correctly. I assumed that if the pedal is hard with minimal travel without the engine running then there is no air present?
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PostPost by: Elanintheforest » Fri Jan 19, 2007 4:09 pm

Hi Robbie...it does sound like a servo problem, but if it is the seals that have gone, what else isn't right in there? I've overhauled servos, calipers and master cylinders in the past, but with patchy results on servos in particular. I now hand my stuff over to a specialist who goes through the whole thing, checks every component, re-plates the casing and hands back what is effectively a brand new unit that has been hand built rather than mass produced. I figure if there's one area that extra cost can be justified it's the brakes.
I use Classicar Automotive in Cheshire, who specialise in Elans. They can also rebuild the original Girling servos if you can get one. Always had great service and a product that lasts.
Mark
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PostPost by: alaric » Fri Jan 19, 2007 4:38 pm

Hi.

I also used Classicar Automotive. Mine's an original, and it came back looking brand new. Very pleased with the result. However, they did take some time to overhaul it as parts were hard to source (a few months) so if you're doinig this for a car that's on the road and not mid restoration I would discuss options with them first - I think their part exchange units cost the same - avoids the wait.

Is it worth trying to bypass the servo if you're not sure that's the cause of the problem - it's inline, so can you get some adapters and bypass it just to test the rest of the system?

Sean.
Last edited by alaric on Fri Jan 19, 2007 10:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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PostPost by: Robbie693 » Fri Jan 19, 2007 5:15 pm

Thanks Mark, Sean,

I called Classic-car and they said to rebuild it was almost the same price as a new one (?145.00)! Although I have found an ebay shop selling new ones at a discount at the moment - ?115.00

I was hoping that, as the servo has had only 500 miles use it wouldn't be worn, just that the seals had gone off due to it's prolonged lay-up (like the master cylinder).

I'd like to get hold of a Girling but the ones that show up on ebay are generally past it by the look of them.
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PostPost by: gsminors » Sun Jan 21, 2007 1:58 am

As a matter of interest I do not have a servo on my 69 +2 it was taken off long time ogo by the PO. My brakes are very firm little travel in the pedal and the amount of pressure to stop at high speed is not much more then if their was a servo. The +2 is very light and if correctly set up it does not really need a servo.
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PostPost by: Robbie693 » Mon Jan 22, 2007 10:00 am

Thanks Geoff

I did consider that but I like the servo assistance.

I decided, partly encouraged by Mark, to get a new one. Especially as there are rumours of them not being in production for much longer....

Cheers eveyone for your input.

Robbie
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PostPost by: CBUEB1771 » Mon Jan 22, 2007 5:21 pm

gsminors wrote:As a matter of interest I do not have a servo on my 69 +2 it was taken off long time ogo by the PO. My brakes are very firm little travel in the pedal and the amount of pressure to stop at high speed is not much more then if their was a servo. The +2 is very light and if correctly set up it does not really need a servo.


I removed the servo from my +2S many years ago to "add lightness" etc. I tried hard to make it work including going to the smallest bore master cylinder available (5/8"). I could never get the pedal force down to an acceptable level. I had disturbing amounts of flexure in the scuttle where the pedal box is mounted. I put the servo back in and have never looked back.
Russ Newton
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PostPost by: Elanintheforest » Mon Jan 22, 2007 5:37 pm

Russ...as the owner of an Elite would it be fair to say that you're a little more aware of fibreglass structural failure than the average Elan owner? :shock:
You are of course right, it's not uncommon for the pedals / pedal box to break away from the shell, particularly in this often brake fluid, oil and petrol soaked area.
Although this is an Elan forum, I think it's quite justified to have a picture up of the Elan father....go on Russ, show us what must be one of the most beautiful cars every made.
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PostPost by: CBUEB1771 » Mon Jan 22, 2007 6:50 pm

Elanintheforest wrote:Russ...as the owner of an Elite would it be fair to say that you're a little more aware of fibreglass structural failure than the average Elan owner? :shock:
You are of course right, it's not uncommon for the pedals / pedal box to break away from the shell, particularly in this often brake fluid, oil and petrol soaked area.
Although this is an Elan forum, I think it's quite justified to have a picture up of the Elan father....go on Russ, show us what must be one of the most beautiful cars every made.
Mark


Mark,
I suppose you are correct about this. I have been in some raging debates within the Elite community about servos. Even some Elitists don't seem to be bothered by the sound of cracking fiberglass. Unfortunately my Elite is in somewhat less than photogenic state, so at your invitation I will post one of my favorite images and something close to what my end product will be.
Attachments
1606 Alex Korab Glam.jpg and
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PostPost by: Elanintheforest » Wed Jan 24, 2007 2:10 pm

Fantastic picture Russ. Do you have to have front plates in Boston? They let us off in the UK still with the digits in the grille on the Elite and Elan, but most European countries and Japan seem to insist on great big plates on the front, which doesn't do much for the car. White with the Silver roof does look very pretty, but Primrose with a Red interior is the colour for me. I've gone all weak thinking about it.
There's a bit of an Elite thing going on in 'Free Parking...What was that Poster?' thread right now...I'm sure you could have answered the questions!
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PostPost by: CBUEB1771 » Wed Jan 24, 2007 2:58 pm

Elanintheforest wrote:Do you have to have front plates in Boston? Mark


We have a fascinating system in the US with each state having its own vehicle registration, inspection and insurance requirements. Imagine Sussex and Surrey having different plates and MOT requirements. In Massachusetts we had rear plates only for many years but more recently returned to a front and rear system. The earlier rear-only plates are still legal, being "grandfathered". The two systems are readily distinguished by differing colors for the letters and numbers. My +2S has the old rear-only plate which I hope to carry to my grave. My Elite is relatively new to me and undergoing a top-to-bottom restoration and I have never registered it for the road. I am probably two years from that event. So the Elite will likely have two plates and I am sketching a system of brackets with quick-release pins such that I can quickly attach and detach the front plate. Perhaps over the weekend I will photograph both the +2S and the Elite nestled in the garage and post that. The +2S is "down" for the dreaded water pump repair. Well, I certainly have rattled on off-topic. Hopefully I have not annoyed anyone.
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