Lotus Elan

two MOT failure questions please...

PostPost by: paddy » Fri Apr 23, 2010 3:41 pm

As I mentioned above, I have the same problem and tried to eliminate the movement.

The movement I see is a combination of things:

- flexibility in the outer column and its mountings;
- flexibility in the inner column (the topmost bush is some distance from the wheel boss);
- wear on the inner column itself (so there is some play, even with a new bush);
- some flexibility in the wheel spokes.

I'm keeping an eye out for a new inner column to get rid of some of it, but even then I think there will still be some movement which is just inherent in the design.

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PostPost by: Craig Elliott » Fri Apr 23, 2010 5:09 pm

Re - number plates, you could get a normal black/silver number plate with a couple of L shaped brackets fixed upsidown to it that simply bolt to the front of the car under the radiator grill. This would easily be removable for cleaning and other purposes post MOT (I don't think there's anything in the MOT to say you can't have the grill numbers and a proper number plate), if you forgot to put it back on the argument over what is legal or not or in keeping with the car's age would happen if you got stopped... :wink:

On the steering column side, if the brackets and bushes are all OK then I'd say the tester is beyond his/her experience with old cars and go somewhere else as has already been suggested. This level of judgement is a pain - I took my +2 to a south london classic Alfa specialist for an MOT several years ago and he seemed very pedantic about the test and failed it on a wobbly brake pedal - despite the fact that there isn't any wear in the pivot/spindle. It's never failed on this at any other station before or since.

On another common MOT failure point, I got to read the small print on the handbrake test weight requirements and apparently for a +2 the weight is given as 1040kg - this is the weight of the car plus an allowance for fuel and driver/passengers. I've often wondered why it isn't the 900ish kgs as given in the manual.

C
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PostPost by: Spyder fan » Fri Apr 23, 2010 8:03 pm

Simon,
The white numbers and letters arrangement on the grill with everything blacked out behind was legal up until 1973, your tester is wrong and you can appeal this and it will be a certainty that you will win. Your steering column is probably ok too, although I would check everything is tight and as per the book before going any further, but what you have described is exactly the same as my steering column and that hasn't failed in 6 years of ownership.

Here's an extract from the UKMOT.com regarding an appeal, this seems a little harsh in that you have to hand over another ?54, but you should get that back.

Appeals & Queries

What if you disagree with a Test Result? Do not carry out any repairs to your vehicle.
? If you think it has wrongly failed; you must complete an appeal form (VT17) obtainable from any MOT test station or the Inspectorate and return it to one of our offices within 14 working days of the test along with a full test fee. We will then offer an appointment within five days to recheck your vehicle. If your appeal is successful some or all of the test fee will be refunded to you.


Good luck. If you decide not to appeal and go to another test centre instead let us all know where you are situated and we can hopefully reccomend a more sympathetic testing station for you.
Kindest regards

Alan Thomas
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PostPost by: DUKE » Sat Apr 24, 2010 9:30 am

Hi,If the movement of the column suggests its the complete column rather than just the inner,I have had the same failure in the past which i have got around by slackening off the column mounts under the dash and slipping a suitable piece of rubber (old top hose) between the top of the column and the bottom of the dash and then tightening up the mounting bracket. It has worked for me, also quite difficult to spot.
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PostPost by: 69S4 » Sat Apr 24, 2010 11:06 am

Not sure how different the +2 assembly is to the 2 seater but I had similar concerns over the flexibility of the column on my S4 in advance of last years MOT. I went through the whole system trying to work out where the movement was coming from and ended up taking the whole thing to bits, replacing bushes (easier than I thought) and checking the clamps and mounting brackets for free play.

Eventually, with a bit of creative "engineering" (similar to Duke's approach) I got the column a lot more rigid than when I started but nowhere near as rigid as either of our modern cars. The flexible coupling was another source of concern. Even "new" ones have play in them so I rebuilt a spare using cut down fuel injection hose rather than the std soft rubber and used that. One year on it's still play free.

The column and the handbrake were my front runners for failure but neither of them even got mentioned in dispatches. It failed on a steering rack gaiter. On a scale of pedantry based on our modern cars I'd rate my local guy as a 7/10 but so far he's always been fair with the Elan. My local motorcycle MOT guy though, is off the scale. It's more like having the bike judged for a concours award.
Stuart Holding
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PostPost by: kstrutt11 » Sat Apr 24, 2010 10:09 pm

If I remember correctly there was a legal case which Lotus won over the front number plates on the grille, I remember Graham Arnold talking about it in the club Lotus Mag before he died, if you talk to club Lots they may be able to help.

On the other hand it may be quicker to get a modern number plate and temporarily fit it for the MOT.

Mine has this arrangement and despite being a 73 car has never failed even with a very picky inspector who failed it on the headlights wobbling due to the engine idling! (it's an L plate and they just seem to assume it is 72).
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PostPost by: billwill » Tue Apr 27, 2010 3:15 am

After a spat with an annoyed policeman in the City Of London (the real reason was that their anti-terrorist CCTV with automatic number recognition couldn't read the low somewhat shielded numbers/letters on my grill). Insisted that I had to have a proper number plate. & I had to prove it at a police station.

I got a PVC stick on plate & stuck it on the bonnet just above the bumper. & that was accepted.
At that time I looked up all the regs and also found the statement that Graham Arnold had got the grill system cleared.

I used to carry a copy of the numberplate regs in my glove box after that to show to any further jobs-worth cop.

But I left the PVC one in place until the next paint job. So I had two front number plates for quite a while.
Bill Williams

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PostPost by: Emma-Knight » Tue Apr 27, 2010 9:24 am

Hi there,
while I was working on my steering assembly last year, there were some interesting findings:
even a more than 25 year old steering coupling did not show any play - the rubbers were hardened - though heavily cracked. The MOT guy did not find out that the rear clamp bolt was so short that it did not touch the nyloc section of the nut :shock: . Fortunately everything was rusted together... There were some milimeters of longitudal play in the steering. First thought it was the coupling but it came from the axial play of the pinion gear in the rack.
The column bushes are just good against radial play. On my car, its the white nylon insert / bearing that wears. The rubber bushing part was rock solid and without any play (also no play to its steel liner). I did try two brand new complete bushings on the inner column - they had positively more play than the well used old ones :?
It is quite easy to pick out the old nylon bearing inserts - in fact just a flat sheet of nylon - and make up a replacement from scratch and fit these.
The outer column to body fixing - even when fully tightend - is comprising felt and rubber. The metal clamp parts, originated from Triumph, are soft and easy to bend. Its not a "Folkswagen"...
:roll: It seems strange to me that parking brake (which normaly is used for parking only and therefore only in static use) is just ground off to please MOT inspectors. Also strange that donuts are put in an out of limits working angle to be "tested"...
:cry: Anna
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PostPost by: cjones60 » Tue Apr 27, 2010 10:15 am

I took my +2 s130 for it's MOT last week, I spent the previous 3 weeks getting everything ready, my biggest
worries where the handbrake and play in the steering, turned out these were fine (only hic-cup with the brakes
was finding the weight of the car, the tester puts this data in for the efficiency test) two small issues I had before the test were the lag in the air horn actually sounding ( So I fitted modern Ford horns) and the inconsistency of the indicators flashing with the thermal type flashing unit, so I changed this with a modern Ford unit (Semiconductor type) best ?10 I have ever spent.
Test went fine with no advisory, only 2 verbal comments, one was the torque rod diff bushes should be changed
and a nyloc nut on the front wishbone/trunnion was not correct, the nylon part was not on the thread correctly ( I had a S4 Elan that failed it's MOT for exactly the same Nyloc) after the MOT I ordered the Diff (Poly) Bushes from Susan Miller and she kindly sent me a new Nyloc and bolt for the trunnion/wishbone - This was exactly the same as the original, only way to get the nylon to go on the thread is not fit a washer?
Chris
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PostPost by: john.p.clegg » Tue Apr 27, 2010 11:03 am

Chris
( I had a S4 Elan that failed it's MOT for exactly the same Nyloc)...you shouldn't re-use nylocs :lol:

only way to get the nylon to go on the thread is not fit a washer?....you could grind/turn down the metal end of the nut slightly...

John :wink:
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PostPost by: cjones60 » Tue Apr 27, 2010 1:04 pm

John
Susan said that some people were using "Slim" Nylock nuts to get round this - I opted for the No Washer
route as at least it's solid and tight - Chris
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PostPost by: nebogipfel » Wed Apr 28, 2010 7:21 am

The best solution to all this is to find a sensible MOT station. Most are clueless when it comes to old cars.

Re; the front number plate on Elans..... It's factory original and is therefore correct.
John

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PostPost by: GrUmPyBoDgEr » Wed Apr 28, 2010 9:27 am

john.p.clegg wrote:Chris
( I had a S4 Elan that failed it's MOT for exactly the same Nyloc)...you shouldn't re-use nylocs :lol:

only way to get the nylon to go on the thread is not fit a washer?....you could grind/turn down the metal end of the nut slightly...

John :wink:


"You're not going to send those Washers out for a ride in my Car are you?"
Colin Chapman quote, maybe not Word perfect though :wink:
John
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PostPost by: bcmc33 » Wed Apr 28, 2010 10:38 am

john.p.clegg wrote:Chris
( I had a S4 Elan that failed it's MOT for exactly the same Nyloc)...you shouldn't re-use nylocs :lol:

only way to get the nylon to go on the thread is not fit a washer?....you could grind/turn down the metal end of the nut slightly...

John,

I can't remember the exact figures but, from memory, Nylocs have to maintain at least 90% of the retention for five (5) applications to meet the BSI/ISO standard. But I have to agree, I rarely reuse Nylocs

It has been common practice, for me since working on the Elan, to reduce the length of Nylocs to suit the application. Two examples - 1/2" UNF nuts for front suspension upper and lower wishbone to chassis, and the 7/16" UNF nuts that fix the solid driveshaft to the disc/spindle. Both applications were to ensure that I had the correct locknuts in place.

Please, no comments on the fact that you don't require locknuts with Nylocs. In a professional capacity I worked to the rules - in a personal capacity Belt & Braces.
:)
Brian Clarke
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PostPost by: john.p.clegg » Wed Apr 28, 2010 1:38 pm

Thanks Brian (friend)

I stand corrected

John :oops:
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