Lotus Elan

1969 Plus 2 rebuild

PostPost by: AndyWhite » Thu Apr 22, 2021 2:19 pm

Hi All

I am new here but want to get involved so I thought I would write a maybe not so quick resume of salvaging a 1969 plus 2 from 25 years stored on axle stands in someone's workshop. I am the third owner of this car, the second owner having bought it, thrown it on axle stands and then given up. This will less be about my skills rebuilding stuff (as I am the ultimate bodger) but more on things that can trip you up, things that caused me issues and how I sorted them. I am sure other people taking on stalled projects such as mine will come across the same things, so hopefully this may help them.

Rescue began when I was stuck at home after a back operation and decided to try and talk my neighbour, who had someone else's stalled plus 2 project in his workshop into getting the bloke to move it on. The thing was slowly rotting away. The engine was a stripped down pile of rusting bits in a corner and the shell was being used as a work bench. After a bit of to and froing the deal was done and my neighbour agreed to let me do the build in his place as long as I cracked on. It still took 2 years! To cut a long story short I gathered the engine bits and took them to the machine shop. 4k later I had a pile of new bits and the work started. My youngest was onboard so he got the engine build, under supervision of my neighbour Bob, who is a proper old school mechanic.
here he is ring gapping
ring gapping.jpg and
Lewis gapping rings


In the meantime I did the box and made sure we had all gears and pulled the prop, did ujs etc. Stuffed the prop back in the shell threw in the engine less the head and timed in the cams
carbson.jpg and
carbs that dont match... i didnt know at this time


Here things started throwing up strange events. Jacked front up to do suspension, next weekend big puddle of oil under diff. This caused much head scratching as the seal in the box tail was dry. After more head scratching I visited this site and after a lot of searching the likely culprit was identified. Pulled prop after a fight with it to discover no plug in the yoke so oil was running down the splines and out the back of the yoke. So watch out for that one!

I had decided to go wasted spark and ditch the dizzy so the jackshaft got machined so it has no lobes for dizzy or fuel pump prior to rebuilding engine. We then pushed car out for its first day in the sun in 25 years.
firstlightofday.jpg and
come to the light


Now things really start to get interesting. When I get more time I will continue with issues such as no reverse, a non clearing clutch, mx5 seats, headlamp popups, wiring faults , non fitting doors, broken boot cables, screwed suspension, matching webers that arent matching, Webers that do match with incorrect chokes, and more very exciting, or is that time consuming stuff. I leave you with this picture, she has an engine built by a 14 year old sitting in a bay and we are getting close to actually throwing the key
twink.jpg and
twink built by 14 year old....top work
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PostPost by: pharriso » Thu Apr 22, 2021 2:30 pm

Looking forward to your posts, thank you for rescuing another car! :D
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PostPost by: AndyWhite » Thu Apr 22, 2021 2:59 pm

This episode is entitled when matching webers aren't. and when they are, but still aren't.

So the key was thrown. The starter turned really really really slowly.

TIP.... forget earthing issues. Buy a 30 or 35mm by 5mm earth strap and go down the entire length of car with it. Then starters turn and all sorts.

Earth issue to starter sorted by plumbing in a big earth and she started, virtually first hit. However she sounded like a bag of old nails. And mostly poorly fuelled. I had rebuilt the type 31 carbs I had found in the boot, but one at a time. After a bit of time wasted head scratching I decided to pull the progression hole covers and see where the butterflies were as regards to the holes. It was now I noticed that the weber' had matching top covers but totally different progression hole drillings. So they were never ever going to balance up or run right through the progression stage

TIP don't trust Weber top covers. trust your eyes. Check everything where previous owners are concerned.

I sourced a set of webers from elsewhere, a set of 151 italian jobs. These needed a huge rich idle jet, and at the risk of jumping ahead when I drove it it was super lean on acceleration. Turns out these had old chokes in bodies with air bleeds, so when I tightened down the air bleeds to set them up the bleed screw had bottomed on the chokes, so I thought they were closed and they were all pulling air hence lean bottom. But I will come back to driving later.

I refer to the above tip..... check everything on carbs, as I had Dellortos with worn bodies too!
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PostPost by: AndyWhite » Fri Apr 23, 2021 7:05 am

So we now had a car running , all be it at this time on iffy mismatched Webers, I plugged in the laptop and stuffed in a safe basemap to get the car ticking over a bit better. I pushed a lot of early advance in as webers always seem to like 12 to 14 degrees at tickover. If anyone has a meagjolt tps map for a twink shout please, trying to map on the fly with a laptop on a passenger seat is sub optimal.

At this point the dash was still hanging out, there was no interior, the seat was a beer crate and the brakes were an unknown quantity. However we could see if she would move under her own steam. The answer was NO, she couldn't. This was somewhat of a letdown after months to get to this point. The clutch was not clearing. This was a bit bamboozling as the entire clutch was renewed during the build. However both the master and slave were rebuilt by the previous owner then left in the car for years. They were well greased but who knows. Decided to replace the master and slave and whilst at it run a braided hose to the slave which I got by using an old MGB brake goodridge hose I had lying about.
Still didnt clear. This was now very puzzling. and had eaten up 2 weekends of faffing. Until the day I gave up, and let the clutch out whilst I still had my hand on the gear lever, as I released the clutch she clicked into first. Well well well!

So the clutch is overclearing. Dont know why, probably a slightly different plate, as it was set up as per manual. None the less the problem was now out in the open and could therefore be solved. So I took the rod out of the master cut the forked end off, tacked it onto a nut then screwed it to a threaded actuating rod I found in the Triumph stash. A few minutes of fannying about and we had an operational clutch .

TIP... be careful if you fit a new clutch , the plates may be somewhat different and if you think it isnt clearing it may well be overclearing.

What could possibly go wrong now. I eased the car forward a foot. It moved a foot. I went for reverse. NO reverse. Now this was very weird as I rebuilt this box, and it 100 percent had reverse when I put it in the car. Furthermore sticking car in first and third smashed my fingers on the dash.

More head scratching. Fingers in the dash was the fact that I had an Elan gearlever in a plus 2. They aint the same I discovered. I had made the age old mistake of assuming the bits in the car were actually from the car. So after a couple of hours of interwebbing that was sorted and a correct one sourced.

TIP check all your bits. Assume NOTHING is correct.

So in order to actually claim the car to be at least motivationally functional I needed to locate reverse. Reverse was hiding somewhere in the long grass, and to be fair I wasnt getting the lever even close. As anyone who has come across these issues knows, working out what the hell is going on takes an inordinate amount of time and a fair bit of guess work. I went to bed on it. I awoke the next day with an epiphany. The box deffo had reverse when I installed it. The only thing I had done since was fit the reverse switch which we had removed as it was getting battered during the install. So lets start there. I wound the switch back out whilst Lewis stirred the lever looking for reverse then ..... click.... in it went . RTFM Andy you idiot. This is totally my fault for rushing and not following the manual. No one else is to blame.

TIP.... the manual is your friend. Read it.

In the meantime I had condemned the old steel wheels (wrongly as it turned out) as crap, and ordered some revolutions. I like revolutions, always have. And you get stickers so it is a double win.. The chrome was all falling off the spinners so got them removed and left them brass like. I like it so it is staying that way..

Then I went to fit them. They fitted...... but not if I wanted to go around corners as the leading edge was catching arch...... Oh GOOD!

They look nice IMO though so here is a pic of them
revolutions.jpg and
4spoke Revs are my favourite wheel, also appearing on my GT6
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PostPost by: AndyWhite » Fri Apr 23, 2021 3:04 pm

Once we had a car that moved all be it only 2 feet it was time to make headway with turning it from a shell with an engine to a method of transport. First thing was to sort the outside edges of the wheels catching the front of the front arches. It was clear there was something awry with the body as I could see evidence of shoddy repair work inside the inner arches. I did not however realise how many issues this would cause later. We cut the arch leaving the flange on it with the grinder then wired it back to where we wanted it to gain clearance. Once we had the clearance we needed I glassed the sections in from behind and then clipped the lockwire out once it had set. I didn’t bother painting it , as the whole car needs paint. Once that was done we sat it down and discovered that one front suspension side was stupidly soft and the other rock hard. I attempted the Triumph fix of loosening all the nuts and bolts and rolling it back and forwards then clamping them again with weight on them but that didn’t work. I pulled shocks off and decided I could not be bothered to fight them, so lobbed them in the corner and fitted some TTR adjustable perch ones. That solved the problem and allowed us to move onto the brakes. The handbrake was inop and the brakes would come on but not release unless you cracked a pipe and let the pressure go. Pulled the master cylinder apart to discover it was partially seized, as it had been rebuilt, fitted to the car and left for 20 years. I was expecting things like this so it was no surprise, it is just mildly annoying taking things off a car you are trying to rebuild.

None the less we now had a shell that braked, stopped started and sort of moved and steered. I looked at the seats which had no foams left, no rubbers, no webbing and were partly rusted through and decided to fit Mazda mx5 ones. They are more or less a simple fit, requiring only a couple of cut a welds on mounting points. I went for leather ones with a built in headrest, and seeing as they had seatbelt mounts on them I went with mazda seatbelts too. I had to invent a mounting plate but it was easy. Whilst raiding Mazda bits I ditched the vacuum pods and invented a cross bar out of an old bottle jack handle, 2 bits of bar and half hour welding, then installed an MX5 headlamp motor to pop up the lamps. I pulled the old vacuum switch from the car and sold it for what I thought was stupid money , but hey…it wasn’t my money. Here they are getting fitted
MX5 seats.jpg and
Mazda seat test fit



I rebuilt a door ( removing old hinge bars is entertaining.) I used the air hacksaw carefully, and it looked great. I rebuilt the other one. It was utter tat. The frame was bent as hell the door was badly repaired and it was a case of make do to get the thing moving.

I fitted the glass, which took ages and fits where it touches. Pushing in the insert was entertaining to say the least , but I got there in the end, modded the wiper switch, moved the wiper wash to the stalk headlamp flash and we were nearly ready for a test flight. Just the bonnet to put on. OH!

Remember the front that was grafted on poorly…. So the leading edge of the bonnet caught the inside edge of the nose on lifting and cracked all my paint off. The only bit of the car I had painted was the bonnet! What a bummer.. This still needs sorting and will be a bonnet off , grind back enough to get it to clear on the nose and bolt back on.

And off we went for a first drive, which was an experience. Once on the mains it was great and good fun, it went around corners well seeing as it is set up with fishing line and marker pens but acceleration and cruise was god awful due mainly to the previously discussed closed but actually open air bleeds, and that utter lash up throttle cable idea.

I spent a morning putting on some “rebuilt” dellortos to discover one had a bent spindle so I couldn’t balance the chokes, but even that told me that it was the webers that were the issue. Once I has discovered the air bleed problem I drilled some holes through the chokes , like modern chokes have and they were fine, apart from the fact they are not as snappy as the Dells. I put this down to the fact the dellortos are on 30mm chokes and the webers 32. I have yet to decide how I will choke the dellortos, but I am currently trying to find a decent set as the body wear in mine means the butterflies are hard to get closed enough to idle well. I may choke the dells up to 32, but I will test first and see if its ok. I cant see it being on WOT much on the street.

So there we are. Current position is getting a decent drivers door, making the boot open and indeed fit right, a couple of electrical woes, sorting out the window up downs, bolting in the sunroof which is held in with 2 self tappers, mapping the ignition, sorting jetting although I am ballpark already, sorting hot running as currently I need the fan on all the time to keep her cool. This is almost certainly a packaging issue , with a brake servo (not put there by me) the popup motor and a big cone filter in the way of the rad, along with a pusher fan. There is also the fact hard braking ends up with a solid pedal until it releases after a second… I suspect a new servo which was fitted forever ago and left may be sticky, either air valve or piston .I will disconnect the vacuum and run without it for a minute to test this and then deal with the fallout. Theres a clonk somewhere at the back forward to reverse, diff backlash maybe, or a uj on the uj driveshafts which I didn’t mod and I don’t know who built them

However it has gone from wreck of bits to a rolling restoration. And if you look at my Stag or GT6 it will probably stay one. Not one has ever been finished fully. But my cars are for driving, not shows.
lotus.jpg and


And I know its a Lotus board but seeing as half of a lotus is a GT6 here is its sister.
gt6.jpg and
Gt6 tuned megajolt revolutions
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PostPost by: TBG » Fri Apr 23, 2021 8:09 pm

Brilliant story! Keep it going...........................D

20190909_102111.jpg and
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PostPost by: AndyWhite » Sun Apr 25, 2021 8:51 pm

Well the brake release issue is 100 percent servo related, as disconnecting the vacuum pipe has cured it. I took a drive out to collect a door frame from forum member Bill Sheraton who showed me his plus 2 which is much tidier than mine.

There is a horrible clonk form the rear that happens intermittently on gear changes or off and on runoff. The prop ujs were replaced so I doubt its that. and a quick crawl under the car did not show any obvious issues. The driveshafts are uj types without donuts, dont know who made them or when , but could feel no movement, or much diff lash. Something is going on though, so maybe thats next weeks crawl under the car. It seems to have sprung an oil leak too.
I was expecting a few issues though, they never like coming out of retirement.

So next weekend will be servo which means rad removal. and trying to find this clonk. Good news is one of the windows now goes up and down .
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PostPost by: mbell » Mon Apr 26, 2021 12:07 am

Check the "nuts" that secure the dampers in to the tubes at the rear. Read quite a few people who have reported rear knocks that where these were loose allowing the dampers to move a little bit.
'73 +2 130/5 RHD, now on the road and very slowly rolling though a "restoration"
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PostPost by: AndyWhite » Mon Apr 26, 2021 9:43 am

Good Call,

I am going to just jack the back up, axle stands and then check everything I think . As the car was vaguely a rolling chassis and apart from checking driveshaft nuts were done up and brakes worked I have not gone round checking everything, although a few things I have found since tell me I ought to have done!

A bit of rooting about in the Triumph spares has unearthed a GT6 servo. I am going to whip the air valve off of it and see if that helps. If not then the servo will go in the skip, which also solves half of the front end packaging issues in front of the rad.

The rad will have to come out anyhow to get the servo out so I can build some ducts around it.

Thanks for the and those that have pm'd advice too. I take it all on board.
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PostPost by: rgh0 » Mon Apr 26, 2021 10:01 am

The servo should be on the LH wing behind the radiator for a Plus 2 not buried in the nose in the front.

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PostPost by: AndyWhite » Mon Apr 26, 2021 10:09 am

Agreed Rohan,

But where is it and where it should be are two different things and it was moved down there xxxx years ago by the previous owner, not something I did, or would do seeing as its blocking half the rad. It is also more of an irritant now as I need to get to it to work on it , and it means pulling the rad etc.

Oh well, I think to be honest I may just pull it . I can see if I can fit it back where it should live although I may well have stolen that area for other things. More likely it will be the same as my GT6 and get chucked out. :D
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PostPost by: jono » Mon Apr 26, 2021 11:16 am

AndyWhite wrote:Agreed Rohan,

But where is it and where it should be are two different things and it was moved down there xxxx years ago by the previous owner, not something I did, or would do seeing as its blocking half the rad. It is also more of an irritant now as I need to get to it to work on it , and it means pulling the rad etc.

Oh well, I think to be honest I may just pull it . I can see if I can fit it back where it should live although I may well have stolen that area for other things. More likely it will be the same as my GT6 and get chucked out. :D


May be worth ditching the servo and using a smaller master cylinder - I did this on my previous Plus 2 and with EBC Greenstuff pads the brakes were great and very progressive.

Also worth noting, in relation to your rear struts adn the knocking issue, some of the after market inserts are slightly too short and need a thick spacer washer at the bottom of the tube to allow the cap nut to compress on the insert without bottoming out. I had knocking from the rear with AVO dampers before applying this fix.
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PostPost by: AndyWhite » Mon Apr 26, 2021 12:02 pm

Well the rear end is the only bit I have yet to have taken apart. The fact the front end of the car sat so weirdly caused me to have to look at that , so both corners got pulled apart, but the rear has not been looked at yet, so I suppose that is where I will go to next.

I drove it without the servo yesterday and was ok to be honest. I may have to look at it anyhow , the pedal is long, ie it bites much better going on coming off then going on again to get a good firm push. There may be a touch of air hidden in there too. I will need to look at the master and see what size it is before making a judgement call. I may have a Triumph one kicking about I can try. I will go with Mintex 1144 pads same as my GT6.

Now the passenger window goes up and down I can seal the frame up and put the door card on that side and tidy the carpet up and the myriad of wires hanging down there, and now I have a door frame that is straight I can begin work on my side and see if we can get that working. Ive not even attempted interior light fixing yet, I really CBA with another 4 hours with a multimeter, and getting the drivetrain sorted and it to stop are bigger priorities. I am holding off going to get ignition mapped until I have some dellortos. I just dont think much of webers by comparison

Thanks for the tips though. I will probably end up ditching the servo if truth be known. I am sure I will find something at the rear. These UJ driveshafts are a bit cobbled together though, they have to run at strange angles. Not convinced, although I have yet to have bothered to research them. I am trying to not bleed more money now she moves!
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PostPost by: AndyWhite » Tue May 04, 2021 8:11 am

This weekend was a classic one step forward two steps back.

Pulled the radiator so I could get to the servo, the water came out nice and clean, well blue like it was supposed to, but the drain from the rad was slow, which has made me suspicious. The rad is a full width spitfire one, 2 core, and has I was told been recored. I think it has been painted black and that is it frankly, some of the fins are a right mess. I think now it is out I will run it to the rad people and get them to test , and maybe recore to a 3 core, depending on what they find, and getting a boss for a fan switch put in it. I pulled the air valve on the servo and replaced it with a spare I had kicking about. I will test it , and if it still does it , it will get servo deleted.

Much , MUCH worse however was the lash up on the drive shafts. Bolts loose and a cods up uj system . What we have are uj shafts with a small flange bolted (badly) with countersunk allen bolts and nuts to an adaptor plate on either end. Left side showed outboard uj had movement, but this was kind of hidden by the amount of spline freeplay in the sliding joint. In fact on the left side there is even lateral play on the sliding shaft.

These are deffo homemade. They are a total engineering lash up. How difficult is it to just get the right size flanges and drill them? Too hard apparently. In any case they are U/S, Or cattled as we say in London!

The question now is do I go to propshaft services and get them to make me a proper set up, buy a ready made set, or go CV instead. Ive been doing a lot of forum reading, I want to go cheapest decent option really, cos saving this car is killing me financially :(
small flange to adaptor.jpg and
bodged


and this
adaptor to hub.jpg and


Does anyone know the open and closed lengths of the sliding shafts so I can get the prop people to size it up without having to do engineering stuff. I dont trust these ones as being remotely right .

So all in all not a great weekend
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PostPost by: rgh0 » Tue May 04, 2021 10:07 am

Buy a modern CV kit from one of the multiple versions around.

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