Lotus Elan

Plus 2 with different wheel base either side!!!

PostPost by: Johnincoventry » Sun Jan 10, 2021 6:45 pm

I recently bought a 90% restored elan +2, L regd. The previous owner has been absolutely meticulous in the restoration, only the trimming left to do. However the near side front wheel is too close the the wheel arch at the front. On measuring the wheelbase either side, there is a 1" difference, offside being the correct 96", but nearside 97".. The chassis is new, so I thought the previous owner had assembled the wishbones incorrectly, but having dismantled and rebuilt the suspension, the problem remains.
Does anyone have any words of wisdom they can offer please??
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PostPost by: bitsobrits » Sun Jan 10, 2021 10:07 pm

I had a similar issue on my current S1 Elan. Caused by a really bodged front frame repair (two frames welded together to make one) which, along with differing L/R wheelbases, had the left front upright at a nominal 0 degrees castor with the right one at 8 degrees. Anyway....

I would start with an inspection of the front suspension pivots to determine if they are bent (shoud be pretty obvious), then looking for obvious damage or bodgery in the rear. If you are off an inch surely something will be visible.

But...if not, then I would proceed to jacking it up and getting it fairly level, use a plumb bob to determine the lateral centerline of the two tracks (reference the inner suspension mountings front and rear) then the center of the hubs. I used a marker on painter tape on the floor to lay this all out, but chalk marks are probably close enough for this exercise. See how all the marks align, then do a really careful inspection of the corner which is off the most. A small digital level can be useful for quick side to side checks of the frame and suspension components.

I should mention this all really should be done with the wheels removed and the suspension at normal ride height.
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PostPost by: pharriso » Sun Jan 10, 2021 10:31 pm

"However the near side front wheel is too close the the wheel arch at the front."

That's a little strange as it suggests the wheel has been pushed forward, rather than rearward.

It's either going to be damaged pivots, or damaged wishbones. You have to remove the wishbones to fully check the pivots, so lay the wishbones on top of each other to see if there's any distortion. Let's hope it's wishbones....
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PostPost by: The Veg » Mon Jan 11, 2021 2:06 am

Makes me wonder if that's why the car was sold.
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PostPost by: rgh0 » Mon Jan 11, 2021 2:13 am

You also need to check you don't have two independent problems if you cant find anything obviously wrong with the left front suspension and its pivots

The left front wheel may be to close to the front of the wheel well due to poor body repairs and the increased wheel base on the left may be due to the rear left wishbone being damaged or not mounted correctly.

cheers
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PostPost by: bitsobrits » Mon Jan 11, 2021 2:21 am

[quote="The previous owner has been absolutely meticulous in the restoration,[/quote]

If I were you I would also revisit your perception of the POs level of 'meticulous', and fully examine all safety related aspects of the restoration.

Having rebuilt a few Elans over the years, the more I think about this, the more convinced I am one would have to be fairly oblivious to assemble one with the suspension so far out of whack.
Steve

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Elan S3 1967 FHC pre airflow

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Europa S2 1970
Esprit S2 1979
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PostPost by: h20hamelan » Mon Jan 11, 2021 4:10 am

And it would be odd to budge a body repair, as it would affect the leading edge (bow) or front of the car.
How is the vacuum resivoir, got a straight edge. Maybe cut a suitable 2x4 or angle iron etc. Shovel shaft!
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PostPost by: alan.barker » Mon Jan 11, 2021 9:09 am

Imho i think i would look at lifting the Body off to have easy access to check out the Chassis.
With the Body off it's easy to check Chassis and start from basics. Direct measurements and no crawling about underneath.
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PostPost by: Johnincoventry » Mon Jan 11, 2021 5:08 pm

Really grateful to all the replies posted. Thank you. I was hoping someone would come up with a known common fault, that just meant something simple, such as anti roll bar fitted upside down or something like that. Unfortunately it seems the discovery of the fault lies in a fair bit of groveling under the car.
I have another piece of information which is pointing to a damaged/repaired chassis. Of the two body mounting bolts on top of the tunnel, near the dash, the near side bolt does not line up with the bobbin...........
Clearly chassis needs a closer look at. Maybe it was nicely painted to cover a repair!!!!!
Regards
John.
PS will post my findings.. BTW anyone have experience of the spyder chassis??
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PostPost by: JonB » Tue Jan 12, 2021 1:48 pm

Hi John

I don't know what you paid for it, but I'd be asking for a refund. If the seller misrepresented it you have a (legal) case.

Re: Spyder chassis, lots of owners on here including me (well, when I owned my car - it's been sold). My experience is it is more rigid than the Lotus chassis, better designed and makes it easier to get at things (such as the diff & propshaft for removal) due to better clearances. Does not seem to affect the value of the car ("originality") as the Plus 2's aren't deemed all that precious by the masses (this is the main reason they are cheaper).
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PostPost by: alan.barker » Tue Jan 12, 2021 4:02 pm

The Chassis you fit is a personal choice so upto you.
For a +2 used on the road you will not see a difference in roadholding. This is what Lotus were and still are good at. If you want to do competition Spyder is not always allowed.
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PostPost by: vincereynard » Tue Jan 12, 2021 4:51 pm

Johnincoventry wrote:. BTW anyone have experience of the spyder chassis??


There are (or were) 2 types of Spyder chassis. A near replica of the original folder sheet one and a replacement constructed from tubing. The image - suggests you have the former.
1430 Jan. 12 16.35.jpg
1430 Jan. 12 16.35.jpg (46.75 KiB) Viewed 336 times


IF the seller claimed a NEW chassis and you can show it has been repaired by ????? then surely you have a case for serious compensation at least.

Something like the PO builds up the chassis and does not notice it is distorted UNTil he drops the body back on.
Sells it on ASAP without bothering with the trimming?
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PostPost by: alan.barker » Tue Jan 12, 2021 5:17 pm

I think have a chat with seller first and show him. But it also depends what you paid.
Alan
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PostPost by: miked » Tue Jan 12, 2021 8:52 pm

If i am reading this right?
My take!
I rejected two new Lotus Elan Chassis's about 18 years ago at the dealer I ordered from and travelled to pick up from (with my hired van).
When putting a tape measure between the turrets on the left and then on the right there was a difference of 1/2 inch more on the left side compared with the driver right side.
I waited 3 months and the second was was worse. 5/8 this time.
So, entirely possible that traslates to the problem.
I have a keen eye and stood on the back cross member and could actually see it was the rear part of the chassis that caused the larger gap on the left side. Load of scrap!
Not at 90 degrees to the centre.
I went for a Spyder chassis because it was going to be accurate. I dearly wanted a Lotus chassis for that restoration. I spoke to Spyder at the time and they told me about the problem unprompted.
I would cut the PO some slack as it was not easy to see.
To add insult to injury these chassiss were also twisted. When sat on a screed workshop engine bay floor they rocked about.
So much for trying to be a purist. I have picked up several new old stock Lotus chassiss over the years for other restorations and they have been spot on when examined and measured.
I would question the accuracy of the jig at the period the chassis was made or repaired. Just a rhetorical question.
Cheers Mike
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PostPost by: alan.barker » Wed Jan 13, 2021 2:39 pm

Hi John,
if you keep it lift the Body off.
Takes a few hour to detach. As a rolling Chassis easy to check where it's out with Tape Measure. Contact a Body Shop/Sheet Metal Shop. Let them correct and Tig or Mig Weld = job done. If no rust no need to change Chassis. You might not need to strip to bare Chassis.
Give it a try and save your money.
Good luck
Alan
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