Lotus Elan

elan +2 1973 in need of some advice

PostPost by: simonpacker » Mon Sep 22, 2008 1:05 pm

hi all new to this site.

i have an elan +2 1973 first one for me and just wanted to get an idea for what is normal and what isnt.

the brake pedal seems to have a lot of travel and is not all that confident inspiering?

4th gear is a bugger to get in nicely and the box can be a shit to use sometimes ( this could be just me on an off day )

vibration at speed (prop poss?) somethink at the back

other than that its seems fine to drive and is good fun.
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PostPost by: leedsj » Mon Sep 22, 2008 1:12 pm

Hi Simon - and welcome! The 5 speed gearbox on my +2S wasn't in the best shape when I got and it just went downhill ever since. I've just last week had it reconditioned however - at J.R.Dain in Norwich - and it is lovely - would recommend them if you're in or near Norfolk (UK) - 01603 407372

james
1974 +2S/130 JPS
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PostPost by: ppnelan » Mon Sep 22, 2008 3:44 pm

Sounds like you have all the usual symptoms... :)

Mine has a Lockheed replacement servo and has a long-ish pedal. It's been much better since tesing the brakes to the limit on the MoT test last week though! They might need bleeding and/or new fluid if it hasn't had much use (a lot of them stand idle for months at a time which does them no good at all... :cry: ). Or it could be extra slack wheel bearings (front) or disc runout knocking the pads back.

Is it a 5-speed? If so, they usually show signs of wear if they haven't been rebuilt or very carefully looked after. Commonly it is 2nd gear that is difficult to select, or 1st & reverse if there's a clutch 'problem' (drag due to pressure plate hub contact, or poor disengagement). I've not come across a problem with 4th before, but 5th can be tricky to select as the lever is not sprung loaded like a modern car - it takes a bit of getting used to... :wink:

Vibration - does it have alloy wheels? The originals are difficult to balance ('oh no, not THOSE again...' says the man at the garage!). Being a relatively lightweight car it is very sensitive to the imbalance. My +2 had quite a lot of vibration at the back at 60mph. After careful wheel balancing with new tyres, I changed the propshaft (a common cause as you suggest) for one with less wear in the sliding spline, and fitted new universal joints. I also changed the gearbox, diff mountings, dampers, & driveshafts. Now I can reach 70mph+ before a 'mild' vibration starts! :)

Vibration van also be caused by the diff contacting the bottom of the chassis, usually during engine braking, perhaps due to worn diff top and/or bottom mountings.
It's worth checking the rubber 'donut' drive couplings as they can fall apart with violent use or just over time. I watch mine when they jack up the chassis on the ramps at the MoT garage. The suspension hangs at full droop and there's usually a nasty splitting sound when the wheels are rotated as the rubber begins to come away from the metal plates. It looks bad, but they can last a while if it isn't used for track days, etc. If you've any doubts though, replace them as they can make an expensive mess of the rear of the chassis/body... :shock:

Unless you buy a 'perfect' one, or you take everything apart & rebuild it, you will probably have many 'happy' years of discovering the short-cuts & poor maintenance of previous owners... I have, but the more problems you sort out, the better they get so HAVE FUN :!:

:arrow: Matthew
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PostPost by: ppnelan » Mon Sep 22, 2008 3:46 pm

leedsj wrote:The 5 speed gearbox...had it reconditioned however - at J.R.Dain in Norwich - and it is lovely - would recommend them if you're in or near Norfolk (UK) - 01603 407372

James, would you care to let us know the rough cost of this, and how long it took?

Thanks,
:arrow: Matthew
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PostPost by: leedsj » Mon Sep 22, 2008 7:58 pm

Certainly. The work itself was ?614 + VAT which covered engine out and in (?250) the rest covering dismantling, cleaning and rebuilding gearbox + fitting a new clutch. It was pretty grim in there I suspect - my 2nd was basically without syncro and 4th and 5th were slam-it-in-with-a-graunch bad. Susan Miller supplied all the additional bits (new casing, clutch, rubber gator, engine mounts (well, might as well seeings as the engine was going in and out) - I can't remember what that came to exactly, but it was the usual Susan Miller great value for money, so not much.

All in all it took about a week.
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PostPost by: kstrutt11 » Tue Sep 23, 2008 7:44 am

Hi,

I also have a 73 +2S130, I could never get a good pedal until I junked the servo, fitted a smaller m/cyl and green stuff pads. Without it the pedal is rock solid.(though obviously you need to press harder).


When I bought my car it had chronic vibration, it turned out the flange was loose on the diff, with that fixed it was much better but vibration still set in around 70mph, I now have Spyder rear drive shafts and a balanced / rebuilt prop, now vibration does not set in until well above the national speed limit.

Kevin
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PostPost by: rocket » Tue Sep 23, 2008 10:18 am

Hi mate welcome to the club...when i first had my 2 it had similar problems to you..i just worked through them,spent quite a lot at Mattys and now have a great car,used most days that starts and stops and most of all makes me smile..

Ian.
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PostPost by: simonpacker » Tue Sep 23, 2008 12:05 pm

thanks all for your help. it look like i have some work to be getting on with.

kevin where did you sourse your master cyl from and has it made the brakes more like a lotus elise? i have an elise and just love the way the brakes feel and work.

thanks again for all you advice.
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PostPost by: seaandmoor » Sun Sep 28, 2008 8:55 pm

Welcome Simon,
Yes all the usual probs if the previous owner has dealt with them properly and are often linked.
Yes the servo usually needs replacement together with calipers and pads. But you will need to check the hubs as these are very often bent by removal without the correct tool by someone who is unaware of the damage they are causing and this then gives you vibration.
Contributory causes are diff flange, loose diff torsion bars, drive shafts and prop shaft which should all be straight and balanced. Oh and check engine mountings - when I bought mine it was just relying on gravity!
Finally replace the sterring wheel bushes, check the toe in is correct and that the dampers are actually damping and balance the wheels but make sure the tyres are actually round as if the car has been standing they may have developed flat spots.
Mine touched 100 without vibration but then my diff bearings went!
Previous owners will have codged and bodged - tell yourself it's time to do it once and do it right.
Good luck.
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