Lotus Elan

Original at any effort?

PostPost by: peterako » Wed Mar 18, 2009 10:51 am

Elanintheforest wrote:I think that CV driveshaft replacement is a must, mainly because the replacement rotoflex couplings only seem to last a year, and replacing them is a pig of a job. I don't think it changes the character of the car, as once you get used to the rotoflex, you don't go kangaroo-ing down the road...they just feel normal with a bit of care. The drive shafts just remove the need for care!


Agree with the CV joint conversion being very worthwhile.

I've had mine in for 2+ years and 10's of thousands of miles!

I, personally, did find that they changed the car.....they improved mine! Much tighter cornering on the nice windy roads arond my part of the country :D

Do it! It's worth it!

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PostPost by: Frank Howard » Wed Mar 18, 2009 1:09 pm

Elanintheforest wrote:it takes 10 minutes to remove the carbs and get the points checked / replaced, maybe another 15 minutes to clean everything up and put it back together

Mark, isn't is easier to remove the distributor from the car?

Elanintheforest wrote:I really think that the cars are 'upgraded' because it makes the owner feel better....the mods actually make no real practical difference.

Mark, I agree with you in some cases, but not in all.

Elanintheforest wrote:There are some guys currently putting injection onto twincams, and discarding those awful weber carbs. Will it dramatically improve performance and reduce fuel consumption? I doubt it...

Then perhaps you can explain why our 16V 1839 cc 2,500 pound Mazda achieved the same highway m.p.g. (38) as our much more aerodynamic 8V 1588 cc 1,600 pound Elan did. It can't all be attributed to the extra gear and the extra valves should actually reduce the m.p.g. Also, why will the Mazda fire up immediately in the dead of a Minnesota winter as if it's in the middle of the summer?
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PostPost by: Frank Howard » Wed Mar 18, 2009 1:25 pm

peterako wrote:Agree with the CV joint conversion being very worthwhile...Much tighter cornering on the nice windy roads arond my part of the country :D

Hey Mr. Engineer! :shock:

I plan on upgrading to CV axles one day but in the meantime, perhaps you could explain to us laymen how the CV joints "tighten" the cornering.:?
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PostPost by: paddy » Wed Mar 18, 2009 1:34 pm

peterako wrote:Much tighter cornering on the nice windy roads around my part of the country :D


Windy? So the Elan corners better when there's a force 8 gale?

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PostPost by: Elanintheforest » Wed Mar 18, 2009 2:29 pm

Frank, the injection system is undoubtedly more efficient, with current BMW V8s getting upto 40mpg! If you managed to improve the Elan from 30mpg to 40mpg, that's a fuel saving of approx ?30 for every 1000 miles travelled (in the UK, with quite expensive fuel). As most of our cars may do 1 or 2 thousand miles a year...........that's what I mean by it not making a load of difference. I don't know what it would cost to inject a twincam, with time and bits I guess somewhere in the region of say ?1500. So a pay back period of 50 years if the car is only doing 1000 miles a year, or only 25 years if you're doing 2000 miles a year. Then you start to make on the deal!!

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PostPost by: Carlos A » Wed Mar 18, 2009 3:06 pm

dusty wrote: The CV driveshafts is another thing I'm considering but this is one that i think would change the character of the original driving experience.


Thank God for that! Every time I drive my car I want to get to my knees and thank the Lord for the solid CVs! Alleluia!

Elanintheforest wrote: As most of our cars may do 1 or 2 thousand miles a year...........that's what I mean by it not making a load of difference. I don't know what it would cost to inject a twincam, with time and bits I guess somewhere in the region of say ?1500. So a pay back period of 50 years if the car is only doing 1000 miles a year, or only 25 years if you're doing 2000 miles a year. Then you start to make on the deal!! Mark


Fuel injection would be in the 4K dollars range. Worthy only if you have the money around, bothering you in your pocket. But I agree with you.... Fuel injection is a major and maybe unnecessary mod.

Mark:

2000 miles a year? I have driven mine 7K miles since September. It is the car I drive to work except when raining, when I take my MGB :oops:

Electronic ignition has made my car very smooth. It does make a difference!
Last edited by Carlos A on Wed Mar 18, 2009 5:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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PostPost by: worzel » Wed Mar 18, 2009 3:56 pm

Hi again

Some widely varying views on this one!

Seems to be a trend to use these cars fairly infrequently- so in general some mods probably aren't worth the hassle/expense. Some arguably are only marginal improvements but I do feel that some are pretty significant.

In my own case I'd say the best alterations I've made are-

The 5 speed box- I don't drive any quicker but my ears don't ring so much after a 200/300 mile journey.

Minilites- a definite improvement in terms of smoothing out the car in terms of driveline harshness/vibration.

Modifying the doors to eliminate water leaks- on a winter morning the inside no longer fogs up and the car smells much better!

Electric lifts for the lights- don't work any better except that lift is immediate and if a motor ever fails (unlikely-they're Toyota) the pod can be manually wound up quite easily. Try propping up the vacuum system with a piece of wood etc (I've had to do it).

Rewire and relocating the earthing points- I can't remember the last time anything electrical didn't work on my car (apart from the 37 year old window motor which had never been overhauled in its life).

Improving the fixing arrangements for the outer steering column- no more steering shake.

A more modern fuse box- and more fuses elsewhere in the system- at least the wiring is safer.

Switching to an alternator- no more very slow indicators etc and a battery that actually charges properly.

Other mods I've done I could probably live without- they're mainly cosmetic but they make me feel better about the car.

Some things I'd never consider would be fuel injection- the new type Dellortos run fine so for me the cost wouldn't be justified- and- controversially- the donuts- for me not worth the bother and in practice I don't really notice them after such a long time (except when reversing occasionally). I'd also never go in for wider wheel rims (the 5in Minilites are widest I'd go) or mods that changed noticeably the exterior look of the car.

Over to you!

John
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PostPost by: msd1107 » Wed Mar 18, 2009 5:11 pm

I have run Strombergs with modified needles that gave 45+ MPG on a 400 mile trip. (Really an experience to get to 400 miles and still have a quarter tank left!) The car was quite cold blooded in the morning though. Webers generally won't get there, and the usual FI conversion does not either.

The objective in attaining high fuel economy figures is to run at as high an AFR as possible. And the TC does not like very lean mixtures, especially in transitional running.

For FI, the owner would have to allocate a substantial amount of engine dyno time or instrumented on road time, plus modify the software, to be able to sneak up on the optimum AFR at constant speed while retaining acceptable driveability in other situations.

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PostPost by: JJDraper » Wed Mar 18, 2009 5:51 pm

Original? Original is a relative term. Do you mean absolute, or original 'look 'n feel' (and sound)! If the car is a low mile, documented history, kept indoors sort of car then originality is good. If your car is a car with a dim past, countless miles and many POs, original means very little. To paraphrase a very old book "There are many rooms in Colin's house". As part of the social process of 'restoring' my +2 I have had some very interesting conversations with Ken and Neil who have been involved with Lotus & the factory for a long time and some of the stories with regard to the what parts got fitted in the factory are quite scandalous... Original is not that clear cut! When advising on a rebuild Neil was careful to ask what the use was to be made of the car. This guides his recommendation for the way forward. A museum quality restoration will be painstakingly 'original' - and will be reflected in cost. A regular use car will need sympathetic improvements.

I have turned up some new, original parts for my resto, but will not be using them, as I think the process of repairing the old parts is more in keeping with the patina of a used car. The originals can wait for another time, or be used for reference. My paintwork will definitely not be original, as original materials will not survive long in modern polluted streets. I will be incorporating quite a few other improvements, but I believe the finished article will be an interpretation of the original.

Value - I guess there will always be a niche market for truly original specimens, as the E-Type example, but there are plenty of 'original' E-Types you would be well advised to stay away from! Any improvement away from original must add lightness - to your ownership! You pays your money and you makes a choice.

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PostPost by: JJDraper » Wed Mar 18, 2009 5:53 pm

PS to my post quick list of mods I have incoporated..

- Move the filler cap to the top of the thermostat (Burton Power or Cliveyboy) & blank off the original.
- Alternator
- Ditch the Ambient Air temp gauge & fit an oil temp gauge - surely more useful..
- Modern radiator electric fan - less current draw, better airflow.
- Silicone hoses - peace of mind.
- Seats with headrests - ditto above
- LED dash lights - because its easy with the dash out!
- Decent halogen headlights
- Pedal box upgraded as per Spyder to eliminate wobbly pedals.
- I am considering reversing sensors as this is a dodgy area for parking & bumpers get scraped. Fitment is a bit of a poser..
- 14" wheels for a greater choice of tyres.
- 3.55 diff - longer legs

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PostPost by: denicholls2 » Wed Mar 18, 2009 6:15 pm

To me, reversibility is the key. My perspective is that many mods occur when the old bits wear out. So they're gone anyway, unless replaced with "new" old bits.

When I pull something out of my car, like the black original-like carpet that increased the cockpit temperature (Europa) by at least 10 degrees, ditto the seat covers, it goes into a box and up in the attic. For about a day's effort per mod, my "improvements" are easily reversed. I get a car in the meantime that's much more liveable, and I daresay looks better to boot.

My Elan when I get one will be driven regularly. In that context, I'm on the fence about the Twink and definitely in 5-speed territory as my commute is 15 minutes at 65+ MPH on the highway. I don't really want to alter the spirit of what is undeniably a great car as-built, but I want to smile as much when I drive it as when I look at it. :D Mods I would do right away based on experience are electric pump and electronic ignition. Likewise, nighttime driving in the darker parts of the year when heat is required begs for the high electrical output at low RPM offered only in an alternator. If the car had a generator, it gets carefully prepped and put in the box along with the original pump.

To date, I haven't bought a car because many of the good candidates had great value as originals, something that may appeal to others but about which I'm not overly concerned. I'm reluctant to take the better unmolested examples off the market and away from those who value them. A nicely sorted Elan that had just suffered catastrophic engine failure would, for me, be a great find.
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PostPost by: peterako » Wed Mar 18, 2009 6:39 pm

Hi Frank and Paddy :lol:

Not an engineering explaination....

Just driving experience with CVs v's my donuts. The back end of the car really tightened up both in forwards backwrads motion and lateral.

There's one particular right hand bend 'over crest' with the wrong camber that used to throw the back of car our and up with the donuts. Now the car sticks to the road with barely any fuss on the same corner. (maybe las 'flex' in the shafts/drop in the driveshafts?)

Windy? Yep, it's always windy here! I guess this could be some of it :D....well this and all the beans.....forget Zetec! Go Jet Propulsion :lol:

Have also recently changed to some fast road front shocks and springs (from Sue Miller, Tony Thompson) and WOW! Can this car get any better??? Haven't sorted out the (adjustable) damping yet but getting there (you have to feel the poor quality of our roads to believe how bad they are :shock: ).

Back to the 'original at any cost' question.

My take is to have the car as good as it can be and I can afford. It's a Lotus! It's for driving!!!

Peter
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PostPost by: Frank Howard » Wed Mar 18, 2009 8:04 pm

peterako wrote:The back end of the car really tightened up both in forwards backwrads motion and lateral.

I can understand the backwards and forwards motion tightining up. I just don't see how the CV axles could tighten up the lateral motions unless they were used as an upper link a la the Europa.

peterako wrote:There's one particular right hand bend 'over crest' with the wrong camber that used to throw the back of car our and up with the donuts. Now the car sticks to the road with barely any fuss on the same corner.

I've never driven an Elan with CV axles so I can't argue wth what you have experienced. Could it be that the slightly heaver weight of the CV axles is preventing the rear of the car from lifting off the road?

peterako wrote:maybe las 'flex' in the shafts/drop in the driveshafts?

If you hold one end of each axle parallel to the ground (if you're Superman) I can assure you that the donut axle will exhibit less droop than the CV axle. Anyway, I'm happy to hear that you are enjoying your Elan Peter and I hope you had a happy St. Patrick's Day! :D
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PostPost by: peterako » Wed Mar 18, 2009 8:26 pm

Frank Howard wrote:If you hold one end of each axle parallel to the ground (if you're Superman) I can assure you that the donut axle will exhibit less droop than the CV axle. Anyway, I'm happy to hear that you are enjoying your Elan Peter and I hope you had a happy St. Patrick's Day! :D



Oddly enough one of my nick names in School was Superman :) (Really)

I'm not going to think too hard about it though. (Maybe the wheels stay in contact with the road with the CV and not with the donuts?)

St. Patrick's Day was GREAT. Weather perfect, Parade also great.

But MUCH more importantly....the whipped ice-cream season officially starts on St. Patrick's Day....yum yum!!

Hope all is well over the other side of the pond :)

Peter
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PostPost by: andyelan » Thu Mar 19, 2009 8:07 pm

Hi Everyone

Just a bit of food for thought. I wonder how the courts would view a modifyed Elan if it were to be involved in a fatal accident. Recently a local man was jailed when a Landrover he had modified crashed killing his children who were riding with him.

Now, I know we would all say that our cars have been put together properly and arn't dangerous, but how many of us, who work on our own cars actually have formal qualifications to prove we are capable of making this judgement. The problem is, like it or not, bits of paper matter these days. I wonder what the legal implications would be, in the case of an accident, of driving a car with an engine significantly more poweful than original, with a non standard chassis and with brakes taken from a variety of other vehicles. I assume we would argue that the car has been approreatly uprated to take account of this, but I'll bet most peoples registration document still have the car down as a plain old 1970s Lotus Elan, not a new car on which all appropreate type approvals have been carried out. Perhaps it would be interesting to here if our friends in the US have anythig to say on this matter.

In the mean time, I'll stick with my totally standard Elan Plus 2, rubber donuts and all

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