Lotus Elan

first post here.. Spyder elan +2 driven

PostPost by: Spyder fan » Tue Mar 11, 2014 9:43 am

stugilmour wrote:Alan, thanks for the excellent write-up. I had no idea of all the differences in the Zetec cars. Just going from memory that my exhaust pipe is diameter 1 5/8". Assuming the larger brakes you mention will dictate the 14" wheels have to stay? My car has the ex-Mini rack, but with the stock uprights, trunnions, etc. I have never checked the turning circle but it seems OK. Your baby looks a bit tired from the track day; her eyes are almost closing. :) The ride height in your second picture looks very nice. Would all the Spyder Zetec's use the modified double wishbone rear suspension?


Stu


Hi Stu,
Yes the 14 inch wheels are necessary for the front brakes especially if you are using Wilwood 4 pot callipers like I have on the S4.
All the Spyder modified Zetec cars use the rear double wishbone arrangement, the rear hubs are also Sierra items which allows the use of a tunnel mounted handbrake arrangement and of course the XR4i/cosworth brakes.
:D I had a slight vacuum leak when the photo was taken, this meant the headlamps would raise after an hour or so rather than the normal day or so, she did get spanked thoroughly that day.

There is a list of the basic items needed for a Zetec conversion here http://www.spydercars.co.uk/lotus-elan-2-zetec-conversion-products/ Add gearbox, Engine, Limited slip differential, Throttle bodies, Engine management a full re-trim and paint job and gasp at ?35k minimum outlay if you ask Spyder to build it. You can maybe save ?10k if you do it all yourself including painting (not advised).
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PostPost by: collins_dan » Tue Mar 11, 2014 1:14 pm

Just curious if you have driven a stock Plus 2 and what you thought in comparison. There seem to be a lot of non-spyder versions on here that are driven regularly and quite hard. I understand that the zetec has more hp, but the twin cam can be enhanced quite a bit with cams and some work, as a search through the archives would show. Dan
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PostPost by: theelanman » Tue Mar 11, 2014 1:14 pm

my ride height on standard everything
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PostPost by: rgh0 » Tue Mar 11, 2014 1:42 pm

To my knowledge Lotus only made two documented changes to the Plus 2 suspension

One was to use "optionally" a slightly longer front spring of the same spring rate. This was stated as being for making the car suitable for all markets. I suspect it was also to allow for the sag in the front springs. The plus 2 front springs are seriously over stressed and unless made perfectly will slowly loose their free length and thus produce a lower ride height. Knowing Lotus I would bet the longer springs would get the car through the warranty period before the front springs sagged to much :lol:

The other was to fit a 40 mm alloy spacer between the Aeon Spring and the rear shock strut top after chassis 50 /1531. This brought the Aeon spring into play earlier and helps prevent the rear end grounding. I will bet not many cars still have this in place :roll:

I don't understand why the exhaust forces such a high ride height as you should be able to route the exhaust around any items such as gear box or bell housing that are lower in the Zetec than the Twink version.

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Rohan
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PostPost by: Spyder fan » Tue Mar 11, 2014 2:08 pm

collins_dan wrote:Just curious if you have driven a stock Plus 2 and what you thought in comparison. There seem to be a lot of non-spyder versions on here that are driven regularly and quite hard. I understand that the zetec has more hp, but the twin cam can be enhanced quite a bit with cams and some work, as a search through the archives would show. Dan


Hi Dan,
My +2 was standard for 3 years before I had it converted, the difference in performance is like night and day. Racers regularly tune their Lotus twin cams to 180bhp and beyond, but you wouldn't want to use one on the road. 140BHP is a figure often mentioned as being a good mix of power with usability on a tuned Lotus twin cam for road use.

It could be argued that 140BHP is plenty for a lightweight roadster like the Elan, but the +2 is quite a bit heavier and the performance can only be described as brisk unless you start pumping out over 160BHP. At this level you need to start taming the beast with electronic fuel injection, otherwise you won't get any driveability below 4000rpm, the crank will need to be all steel, the rods and pistons forged items, lots of work and lots more money perhaps ?10,000 for an all steel twincam with throttle bodies. Once you have done this you need to start looking at the transmission, the standard setup won't stay reliable for too long with 30% + more power and torque being thrown at it, the brakes have to work harder, perhaps more rubber is needed.
This basically is the argument in favour of going the Spyder conversion route using a cooking Ford engine that does 160BHP straight out of the box needing just a cam swap and quick bit of headwork to give 180BHP, coupled with a bulletproof Ford 5 speed gearbox and clutch assembly mated to a once again "Ford" limited slip differential, solid driveshafts and CV joints complete the driveline and the brakes are covered once again by Ford using Sierra uprights and hubs. All of this little lot will cost less than just tuning the Lotus twincam engine on it's own.
It's not a conversion for everyone, you either like it or don't like it for whatever reason, but they are interesting nonetheless.
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PostPost by: Spyder fan » Tue Mar 11, 2014 2:20 pm

rgh0 wrote:
I don't understand why the exhaust forces such a high ride height as you should be able to route the exhaust around any items such as gear box or bell housing that are lower in the Zetec than the Twink version.

cheers
Rohan


Dear all,
my apologies for making so many posts on this topic, it's one of the few areas on Elans that I feel at least a bit qualified to comment heavily upon.


Hi Rohan,
Here's a view of the sump with the exhaust manifold clearly displayed, I have often stood underneath the car when it's on the ramps at Spyder for annual MOT time and scratched my head as to how the exhaust could be routed better.
03.JPG and


I fear that the real reason for the ride height is the tallness of the Zetec engine in relation to the +2 bonnet/hood line meaning the body is sitting higher on the chassis than standard or the Zetec chassis is taller to compensate. Some cars need the top of the cam pulley surround removed or modified before the bonnet/hood will shut.

Regards and keep racing

Alan
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PostPost by: collins_dan » Tue Mar 11, 2014 4:02 pm

Alan, Thanks for the update. Sounds like it is a good idea to drive both and draw your own conclusions. Your comments seem mostly focused on the engine differences, did you notice much of a handling difference? Just curious. While I can't be buying another lotus, given kids turning driving age each year (just bought one a mini, and another will be getting my gti and I will need another Baltimore City street fighter), colleges are on the horizon (one starting in the fall and US universities are ridiculously expensive, another is off to boarding school), tempting Plus 2s just keep turning up ... http://www.ebay.com/itm/Lotus-Other-Ela ... ars_Trucks
Cheers, Dan
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PostPost by: Spyder fan » Tue Mar 11, 2014 7:11 pm

Dan,
My +2 drives like an extremely well set up standard car. One of the misconceptions is that the Spyder modified cars drive like a modern, that's not the case. Spyder were always well regarded for their in period "upgraded" suspension components where they manufactured more precise tubular versions of the Lotus folded metal front wishbones. The rear suspension adds a top wishbone which reduces wear and tear on the "Chapman" rear strut and the lower "A" frame can be adjustable if desired to make the rear wheels run parallel or toe in or toe out as required.
After 5 years it's still fresh and taut, which is a credit to the quality of the components used and Ron Hickman's original design. All the magazines will tell you that nothing can really surpass an original well set up Elan in the handling stakes, perhaps the only different thing about the Spyder conversion is increased grip due to the modern sticky rubber that's available on 14 inch 185/60 profiles courtesy of Yokohama, but the extra power needs it to keep us mere mortals honest when the loud pedal is pressed too enthusiastically :wink: 105 to 130 bhp on the old rubber coupled with the original setup is still very entertaining, for me it just doesn't have enough to give that occasional grin that comes once or twice a year when someone underestimates that old blue Lotus a few seconds before you press the pedal and leave them way behind wondering what's just happened 8)

Hope your kids are not thinking of taking you to court for the college fund? http://edition.cnn.com/2014/03/04/justice/student-sues-parents-new-jersey/

Regards

Alan
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PostPost by: olia » Tue Mar 11, 2014 8:22 pm

Rohan your car looks spot on..


Alan thanks for the info. No doubt 20k is a reasonable price for such a car. But honestly dont know how you could really enjoy lotus handling with the steering as it is. I dont think im exaggerating, and im sure other spyder cars are different depending on castor and offset as u mentioned
the 14 inch wheels and slightly wider tyres dont play a huge roll i think

I have driven a plus2 at paul matty many years ago, and thought it handled well

maybe drastic, but how about a different path for the manifolds? wonder if its at all possible
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PostPost by: Spyder fan » Tue Mar 11, 2014 9:37 pm

olia wrote:Rohan your car looks spot on..


Alan thanks for the info. No doubt 20k is a reasonable price for such a car. But honestly dont know how you could really enjoy lotus handling with the steering as it is. I dont think im exaggerating, and im sure other spyder cars are different depending on castor and offset as u mentioned
the 14 inch wheels and slightly wider tyres dont play a huge roll i think

I have driven a plus2 at paul matty many years ago, and thought it handled well

maybe drastic, but how about a different path for the manifolds? wonder if its at all possible


The steering on my +2 is a bit on the heavy side at parking and very low speed, that's all, it doesn't affect the handling or feedback in any way that I can see or imagine. If the car you drove is still there next month when my MOT is due I will have a quick drive and give my opinion on it versus my car.
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PostPost by: rgh0 » Tue Mar 11, 2014 10:41 pm

From the look of the photo the sump of the zetec is significantly lower than for a twin cam and the exhaust is lower again which explains the high ride height that Spyder use.

The exhaust also runs all 4 pipes down under the car which looks like it forces the exhaust system lower compared to the orginal twin cam where only the two secondary pipes ran down under the car. There is not really room for a 4 to 1 system or long primaries in an Elan / plus 2 - i have also tried to figure that out also and without removing the alternator and running them forward its not really possible.

i dont know what sump variations are possible with a Zetec but a different 4 to 2 to 1 exhaust should enable you to raise it back up to more near its original location.

Just a comment on engines also - You can build a tractable 160 hp twin cam suitable for road use at a cost not much more than a normal rebuild. It will never be as easy to drive as a modern fuel injected car or get as much power as a warmed up Zetec at 2 litres but still a perfectly acceptable every day driver with plenty of go even in a Plus 2.
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PostPost by: Spyder fan » Wed Mar 12, 2014 8:17 am

Rohan,
Is the exhaust/sump issue worth a new topic in the Mods section? The sump on my S4 isn't as low and the exhaust manifold goes 4 into 2 before passing under into a Y piece. No ground clearance issues.
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PostPost by: rgh0 » Wed Mar 12, 2014 8:58 am

Sounds like all you Zetec guys need to explore the sump / exhaust / ground clearance issues and options in more detail as the high ride height on Zetec plus 2 arises frequently and the precise problems and answers are certainly not clear

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PostPost by: stugilmour » Wed Mar 12, 2014 5:48 pm

Stu
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PostPost by: Johnfm » Fri Mar 14, 2014 8:18 pm

The bonnet fit on the foreground car is shocking.

Unless it is a trick of the light, the bonnet front edge is way too high.

?20k for a plus 2??
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