Lotus Elan

Headlight Vacuum System

PostPost by: GeofTodd » Sat Jul 30, 2016 5:16 pm

Hi Everyone,
Got a problem with my '73 Elan+2 headlights that won't retract even with the engine running. Can anyone direct me to a replacement vacuum actuator unit, which seems to be where the problem lies.
Thanks
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PostPost by: Sea Ranch » Sun Jul 31, 2016 6:31 am

I'm assuming you mean the vacuum pod, the so-called "cylinder vacuum" unit.

What I and some others have done was to clean up the old unit and fiberglass the lower (vacuum) half of the pod (the bottom half where the vacuum is generated). I'm presuming you have some rust holes there. The polyester resin and mat makes a great repair. Further, some have made a better seal for the rubber diaphragm with aerosol tire repair rubber. There are various flexible rubber-type products around that can be sprayed or poured into the top half of the vacuum unit, allowed to flow around until cured.

Between these two fixes you should have a fully functioning vacuum actuator unit.

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PostPost by: GeofTodd » Sun Jul 31, 2016 4:34 pm

Many thanks Randy,
Does anyone hold one of these as a spare/reconditioned part that you know of? If not I will take a shot at the fix you suggest.

ATB
GT
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PostPost by: Sea Ranch » Sun Jul 31, 2016 5:00 pm

SJ Sportscars (and RD Enterprizes) list them, of course, but at 165GBP, I can understand looking for a used or reconditioned unit first! Hopefully someone will be along shortly with a suggestion :mrgreen:

If you've not done fiberglass repairs yet, you'll find it very easy to get started.

Best of luck,

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PostPost by: alaric » Sun Jul 31, 2016 5:19 pm

Paul Matty's have them too don't they? I'm sure that's where I got mine from.

Sean.
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PostPost by: GeofTodd » Sun Jul 31, 2016 5:22 pm

Thanks to all for your suggestions. Looking forward to my Elan being able to blink again!
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PostPost by: martinbrowning » Mon Aug 01, 2016 5:04 pm

Hang on a minute Geof....unless you have a "failsafe" system, then loss of vacuum will not be your problem. UK market cars used the vacuum to raise the light pods, they drop under gravity. (That of course was always the problem, failsafe system uses vacuum to retract them).

Let us know how it goes!

Martin B
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PostPost by: GeofTodd » Mon Aug 01, 2016 5:38 pm

Thanks for the heads up Martin
Yes they have failed to the up position. The engine is not drawing them down when it's running. Will be taking a further look on the weekend.
Cheers
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PostPost by: billwill » Tue Aug 02, 2016 12:20 am

martinbrowning wrote:Hang on a minute Geof....unless you have a "failsafe" system, then loss of vacuum will not be your problem. UK market cars used the vacuum to raise the light pods, they drop under gravity. (That of course was always the problem, failsafe system uses vacuum to retract them).

Let us know how it goes!

Martin B



Not gravity... Springs to pull the UK headlamps down.
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PostPost by: alan.barker » Tue Aug 02, 2016 7:16 am

On the failsafe you could also have a problem with the solenoid valve.
I would suggest you test the Vacuum pod off the car first. Then check non return valve near inlet track of n? cylinder. Then bypass the Solenoid Valve fitted on inner wing exhaust side near the front before rad.
On my 1973 +2S 130 failsafe i replaced the Solenoid Valve with a modern replacement with a Viton seal inside.
After when the headlamp switch is on mainbeam the Headlamp Flash will work (very handy)
Alan
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PostPost by: GeofTodd » Tue Aug 02, 2016 7:31 am

Thanks for all the great tips. Lots of ideas to pursue.
Cheers GT
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