Lotus Elan

+2 S new project - words of wisdom appreciated!

PostPost by: SteDavies3 » Mon Jun 10, 2013 8:47 pm

Hi there,

We picked up our '70 +2 S over the weekend and are all ready to kick off the restoration project. The car is exceptionally original and a one owner from new! We intend on restoring the car, maintaining the originality, however any advice would be appreciated on more modern day upgrades to improve day to day usage etc?

Words of wisdom on where to acquire parts and the like would be spot on too.

I've waited years to own one of these and am already dreaming of the day where I set off down the open road for the first time (without being oblivious to the fact I may have to overcome some blood, sweat and tears along the way haha!!).

Many thanks, Ste.
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PostPost by: john.p.clegg » Mon Jun 10, 2013 9:46 pm

You'll have blood ,sweat ,tears and a diminished bank balance but a big grin on your face....cut off the end of your exhaust,it sticks out too far....

You'll get all the info you want on here and then some...

John :wink:
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PostPost by: pharriso » Mon Jun 10, 2013 10:22 pm

Welcome, looks like a great project!

p.s. Great T shirt!!
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PostPost by: tcsoar » Tue Jun 11, 2013 6:51 am

Hi Ste,

Nice looking project, I have just finished mine and all the blood, sweat and reduced bank balance is definately worth it.

Suppliers I used in order of preference are Sue Miller, Paul Matty, SJ Sportscars. They can all be found on the web and are all willing to give advice.

Wisdom can be found, apart from here, in the Lotus workshop manual, I also had the parts book which has some great diagrams but this can now be found here, http://www.rdent.com/manuals/index.html. But if you are stuck then the answer is probably already on this site, if you cant find it then just ask, I have always found the people on this site very helpful.

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PostPost by: cal44 » Tue Jun 11, 2013 2:19 pm

Never let the tire guys put the weights on the outside of the wheel. When they argue that is the right place.....aaaa.... no........it's not. Granted it's a place, but inside tape weights works just as well.

We are doing a red P2 now and spending like a drunk soldier........it just is.

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PostPost by: Jason1 » Tue Jun 11, 2013 6:15 pm

Welcome Ste

Upgrades = CV shafts, electronic ignition, motorised headlights and better battery.

Parts Suppliers: Mick Miller, SJ Sportscars, Paul Matty and Spydercars,

Good luck

50/0951 1968 Wedgewood blue +2, 1990 Mini Cooper RSP
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PostPost by: jeff jackson » Tue Jun 11, 2013 8:22 pm

Hi Ste,
Welcome to the family.
Please do a search on this site for any answers to questions you may have. I'm sure they will be on here somewhere!!
Don't go crazy on ebay buying stuff for the +2, sometimes new parts are cheaper from Sue Miller or Paul Matty, check there first before bidding.
Some parts are unobtainable, but not many!
Enjoy the car, I'm on my second (and Ive had that for 20 years!!)

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PostPost by: RichardHawkins » Wed Jun 12, 2013 11:29 am

Dear Ste,
I have an Elan S4 fixed head, which I have been restoring since 2007. I am too embarrassed to say how much I have spent. One of the reasons it has taken so long is that I have run out of capital, and am now working from income. My friends in Lincolnshire and North Yorkshire Lotus joke that I am building a car from new spares, and whilst this is not entirely correct it is close i.e. the only chassis steering and suspension components not replaced are the rear wishbones and steering column. My friends say I am fussy, I think I am just trying to do everything correctly.

I advise taking photographs, making notes tying labels to components, and throw nothing away.

Labels need to be tough, (I use brown card with a metal eye, and attached with a tie wrap) and written with something that does not fade (I use permanent felt tip pen)

Keep everything so that you can use it to compare with any new parts you buy. Lots of replacement parts are copies of copies and don't fit. For example I bought a new dash board because it is cheaper than having the old one re-veneered and polished, but it did not fit, and I ended up in a 3 way dispute between Sue Miller City Polishers and myself. All resolved amicably, but took ages.

My experience of engine machine shops has been horrendous. I did eventually find competent people but only after bad experience and expensive re-work.

Keep going and don't give in.

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PostPost by: AHM » Wed Jun 12, 2013 12:37 pm

1. ask lots of questions
2. don't take it to pieces - you can't drive a car in pieces
3. do what is needed to get it through an MOT
4. Don't be persuaded that you need a new this or that or a rebuild or a respray
5. Maintain it as you would have done in the 1970's

This enables you to enjoy it, find out what is wrong with it, drive it, and spend the money where an when it is needed.

Keep everything - The things that you think are wrong or aftermarket are the ones that are rare and original!
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PostPost by: rgh0 » Wed Jun 12, 2013 1:54 pm

The things I have done on my Plus 2 versus "original" for durability and everyday driving pleasure

1. Electronic Ignition
2. Electric fuel pump
3. CV drive shafts
4. Modern ducted electric fan and 3 row radiator
5. Removable water pump module
6. Alternator ( if the car did not come with one, mine had one from new)
7. Pre-engage starter.
8. Some work on the carbs to get the mixtures better and more stable - a range of options how you choose to do this.
9. Modern high coefficient brake pads and remove the booster or keep it depending on the feel and pedal weight you like.
10. Modern sticky tyres

if you want to start playing with the engine for some more performance and the drive train and suspension to handle it then that is a whole new ballpark of near infinite possibilities.

The vacuum headlights work fine in my experience if you fix the leaks :D

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PostPost by: miked » Wed Jun 12, 2013 3:40 pm

Sent PM with being a local.

In addition to previous info'.
String line car to ensure rear wheels toe in. If not sort out with Adjustable A frames.
Check bump steer of front wheels.
Look into and do simple fuel tank breather mod to prevent smelly plus 2 fuel syndrome. Stinky garage!
Sort rad cap recoupe is working correct to ensure full coolant system.
I would go to 43D dizzy with better insulated caps and arms. 23D4 can be a pain IMO.

Toatlly agree with bit by bit rolling resto', if possible.

Mike :)

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PostPost by: alaric » Thu Jun 13, 2013 3:43 pm

I agree with the above - try and get it on the road to drive it before starting the resto.

My two penn'orth:

If the engine's not working and you want to restore anyway then do the engine last.

Don't touch the brake servo until just before you are ready to use it - they have a very short shelf life.

Replace all the seals and possibly the complete brake master cylinder - the return seal in the cylinder can get dirt onto it and you lose the brakes - this happens if there's a little corrosion inside the cylinder when a car is old or has been in storage...

I put a T9 gearbox into mine in place of the maxi gear based one, but it's not essential to do that really - if you have the 4 speed then it's a great box.

The solid driveshafts are a popular mod, but again not essential, and easily done later. At ?500 or so it's an expense you don't need to lay out early on.

The contact points can be replaced with a hall effect device. It's a simple mod that avoids you needing to set the dwell angle etc.

Make sure the air box behind the carbs is sealed, especially if you're trying to start the car and fuel belches out of the carb trumpets. The fuel can drip onto the distributor and start a fire.

Replace the black plastic fuel line that connects the fuel pump to the carbs with a braided steel one. I got mine from ebay.

Check the fuel line that runs down the chassis tunnel - the original will be a black plastic effort that can wear through due to rubbing etc. I've replaced mine with a copper pipe pushed through a rubber fuel line. Not an easy mod due to accessability but you want to be sure there are no fuel leaks from that line or from the flexible section that runs from the end of the chassis tunnel to the fuel pump.

If the float chamber fuel valves are a bit weak you can end up with fuel running into the engine, since the fuel tank is quite high relative to the carbs. This usually ends badly.

Check the sideways movement of the pedals - the accelerator and brake in particular. The pivot / bushes can wear to the point where the pedals make contact, and that's not good. If there's too much wear you need to replace the bushes in the bar that the pedals hang from.

Do the body preparations yourself. It's not hard and you'll pay attention to fibreglassing detail unlike a pro who just wants the job done.

Oh and the differential does come out. It really does. If you don't have any oil leaks from the shaft seals it's probably ok. However, the stabiliser bars that connect to the bottom of the housing and the chassis can damage the diff housing if the rubber bushes have perished. Not easy to repair - ebay again...

I hope at least some of that is useful.


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PostPost by: stugilmour » Fri Jun 14, 2013 1:40 pm

Welcome Ste. Best of luck with the car. Excellent points.

Great if you can do a rolling resto or at least run the car for a season to really see where you are at. Unfortunately my car required a frame replacement, so I kind of took care of everything when it was in bits.

Lots of great reliability ideas mentioned already. Would add to check and clean all of the chassis grounds, fuse holders, dodgy looking connectors, etc.and repeatably function test all of the electrical accessories during your initial use of the car. As I took mine completely apart I re-wired it with modern style connectors, which has eliminated electrical gremlins. Might not be required on yours as it looks really nice, but something to consider. When trying to fuss with the electrics, be aware there were several versions of the Plus 2 wiring, so provide model details when asking questions. The folks are great at helping to sort stuff.

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PostPost by: tonyabacus » Mon Jun 17, 2013 1:35 am

Before ditching a 23D distributor check out with Aldon Motorsport who have over 40 years experience with them, they are better than the later dizzy and can be refurbed and upgraded with electronic ignition very easily. The Aldon system is not quite as complex as Lumenition and is easy to install.
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PostPost by: bengalcharlie » Tue Jun 18, 2013 7:54 pm

yes like Stu mentioned the electrics are the Achilles heel of the car and I have also replaced many original connectors with modern ones, especially the the ones that are exposed to the open like the light connectors and many connectors in the engine bay.
I made all the modifications as mentioned by Rohan and also widened the space between the pedals so I can comfortably drive the car with modern wide shoes. Not a must by many elan owners but I like it. I welded some bigger pedal pads on top of the existing smaller pads.
I also use dot5 (silicone) brake fluid which means never having to replace/rebuild brakes anymore there this brake fluid does not absorb moisture. Dot4 creates rust within the calipers so that is why you have to replace this fluid on a regular basis.
Again a mod that many owners might not like but it works for me having used it for the last 30 years on all sorts of cars with no negative experiences. extra bonus is that it does not attack your paint if you have a spill, just get a cloth and wipe it off.
some of my light bulbs have been replaced with LEDs, but that is a bit of trial and error because you want to make sure your lights are still bright enough.
It works well if you replace either the front or the rear indicator lights so it flashes correctly whilst idling, something that might be a problem with the normal bulbs under these conditions.
Hope this is helpful.
Plus two's are awesome cars!!
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