Lotus Elan

Introduction and first 2 questions

PostPost by: drtarkir » Fri Aug 27, 2010 3:58 am

First an introduction. I live in Virginia just outside of DC. I
already have more projects than I need, 1965 Mustang GT fastback which
will be on the road next month, 1967 Unipower GT which should be on
the road later this year, 1971 Jaguar XKE just finished body and
paint. And now my latest find a 1971 Lotus Elan +2s. A friend of mine
had owned the car since the mid seventies. He thinks he threw a piston
pin and parked it about 1980. I have been bugging him to sell me the
car for several years and he finally told me to bring a trailer and a

Good news - Car is pretty much complete and has never been wrecked.
One of my daughter's boyfriends wants to learn how to do bodywork and
paint so in return for his doing the grunt paint stripping and sanding
I will teach him.

Bad news - Sadly it sat outdoors in the Texas sun for nearly 30 years. So
it needs a complete body off going through. Lots of work, interior and
all rubber is in very bad shape.

So for my first of what will be many many questions. We are pulling
the body this weekend. I have an engine hoist and plenty of room. I
have the checklist from lotuselan.net. In various pics of others
pulling their body I have noticed that the body weight is not
centered. Can anyone give me an idea of where the body weight is
centered? I have an adjustable load leveler that will allow for some
adjustment but I would like to start off as close as possible to the
cog. The body will be coming off with the seats out, the doors, hood,
and trunk lid off.

Secondly, what books are a must have? I got the original factory manual with the car but it is lacking in many areas.

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PostPost by: paddy » Fri Aug 27, 2010 5:33 am

Welcome and congratulations on your acquisition. It sounds like you've got a great basis for a project.

For books, my recommendations would be:

Factory Workshop Manual
Factory Parts List
'Authentic Lotus Elan & Plus 2' by Robinshaw and Ross
Miles Wilkins Twincam book, assuming your engine needs a complete rebuild.

I do not have the Brian Buckland book but it is also highly recommended by others here - I don't think it covers the Plus 2 but there are still lots of things in common.

I also don't have the Dave Bean catalogue but that also sounds like a very good reference, especially if you are considering engine upgrades.

Since your car is (a) complete and (b) fully assembled then I'd say you should use the car itself as a reference :) Take lots of photos and notes as it comes apart because none of these books are exhaustive, and no two cars are identical.

Anyway, it sounds like you've been there before so you shouldn't have too many problems. The bottom line is that the cars are still pretty simple.

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PostPost by: Baggy2 » Fri Aug 27, 2010 9:24 am

Hi and welcome.
I am a long term (35 years) Elan +2 owner but relative newbie on this forum. After the workshop manual and possibly Miles Wilkins twin cam book to have beside you on the bench you really don't need anything more than LotusElan.net! I really dont think there is any book printed that has the wealth of information and experience thats available here. There are times when an enquiry will render a range of opinions and you have to choose but I suppose that could be true of reading several different books?
The real reason I responded to you was the mention of the Unipower. That's a rare car that I hankered after in my youth and would still love to have in my dream garage - don't suppose you would like to email some photo's would you?
All the best
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PostPost by: bob_rich » Fri Aug 27, 2010 11:23 am


welcome to the +2 forum. I have just taken the body of my chassis and got a lot of help and advise and I have attached the links to the two threads relating to getting the body off my car. I think I would add that would take the glass out as well as boot bonnet and doors and also lift on the sills near the edge of the wheel arches. Most people recommend not to lift at the front of the bonnet (hood) and also not at the rear the boot (trunk). when lifting mine , I have moved it a number of times since using my lifting bars idea, 4 people could do it quite easily. no info on distribution of weight but did weigh the body and info is on the threads attached With one person near each wheel arch it does seem well balanced

You comment that it has been baked in the Texas sun--(we dont get that problem in the UK!) . as it is a fibre glass body I think I would proceed slowly perhaps using jacks to get it free of the body by a couple of inches all round so that 30 years of "stiction" of the body to chassis can be carefully eased apart without putting unnecessary stress on the body. Note that the side members are required to be in good order if you use them to lift. ( test by jacking the car carefully at each jacking point-- car should lift with no nasty fibreglass cracking sounds

links with advise I got on my lift below

hope all goes well

best of luck



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PostPost by: innesw » Fri Aug 27, 2010 12:00 pm

Hi Dennis,
I've been taking my body on and off my chassis all year, hoisting the body off the car is the harder of the two methods in my opion as the weight is deffinately not centred, but both methods are pretty simple anyway. I just jack up the chassis and body (I have a large stable tractor jack) put the chassis on axel stands then put supports under the body and then lower the chassis out of the body.
I lifted it with the body stripped of its interior but still with all doors, boot lid (trunk) and bonnet (hood) and all the glass still in and with that the centre of the weight is was just in front of the rear wheel arches.

There isn't much point in removing the boot and bonnet as they are so light, the doors with their windows would drop the weight but I managed fine with all of them still attached. When the body is off the chassis it is best to support it along the body just inboard of the sills (so you can change them out if need be, mine were powdered rust after 29 years in a garage).

The Workshop manual has everything and sometimes not quite in the place you think to be, if its not in there the next step is put a question on the forum.

You probably already know from your Unipower GT that paint and bodywork on fibreglass cars is an absolute pain :lol:

Keep us updated with the progress 8)

1973 +2S 130/5 JPS Restoration build thread -> Click Me
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PostPost by: billwill » Sat Aug 28, 2010 1:50 pm

Lowering the chassis from the body sounds like a great idea as one person can do that and can watch very carefully and STOP on discovering the items in turn that one has forgotten to undo or remove out of the way..

:shock: :lol: :P
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PostPost by: summerinmaine » Sat Aug 28, 2010 4:57 pm

billwill wrote:Lowering the chassis from the body sounds like a great idea as one person can do that and can watch very carefully and STOP on discovering the items in turn that one has forgotten to undo or remove out of the way..

:shock: :lol: :P

That is a good idea. It doesn't seem to matter how many times I've done it; I always seem to miss a ground wire or something.

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PostPost by: rdssdi » Sat Aug 28, 2010 7:00 pm

I removed the body from my +2 using two "Hi-jackers" they are platform lifts ratcheted up with a handle one notch at a time. They are used by HVAC companies to raise units into position.

I used one on either side contacting the rocker area with a carpeted 2 x 4 lumber as added support.

Rolling the chassis out from under was a bit tricky as one set of wheels had to roll over the lifts bases.

I will try to find a photo and post.

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