Lotus Elan

Elan + 2 130/5 Rebuild

PostPost by: Alastair.hazell » Thu Dec 30, 2021 4:50 pm

It is a long time (around forty years) since I fitted a Spyder Spaceframe chassis to my + 2. My car has been off the road for the last twenty years, dry stored throughout, and I have had the engine, gearbox and diff rebuilt. My daughter is getting married next September and that is the trigger I need to start to re-assemble.

Has anyone come across (or created??) a check-list for overhaul and re-assembly from this condition? I think I could work it out, but it would be useful if something like this already exists.

What is the consensus view on fuel tank and also driveshafts upgraded to single or double U/Js?


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PostPost by: h20hamelan » Thu Dec 30, 2021 7:12 pm

Bucklands books are great, and more time looking at the photo gallery and reading posts here will help.

Many +2 have the fuel rollover vents T’ed together above the tank, and vent at the top of the filler neck into the neck.

CV, you will get purists and those that argue more force on driveline bits. Pretty sure the consensus is, in the early 60’s, donuts were cheap and good. Now they dont last as the rubber has too much china, or whatever, and CV’s only need grease.

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PostPost by: 512BB » Thu Dec 30, 2021 9:02 pm

Welcome to the board Alastair.

You have had your car as long as I have had one of mine. Not many people keep them that long, you must be in love. lol

I will let others chime in with what to do with your car and procedures, but we do love a load of pictures. Why don't you post up a few and maybe detail your journey with the car to date here. Well, it is Christmas.

All the best,

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PostPost by: john.p.clegg » Thu Dec 30, 2021 9:53 pm

I fitted double u/j's ( spring-loaded centre spline shaft ) and was most pleased...
( need to check the u/j clearance though... )

Fuel tank ? if it's corroded , change it...if not , keep it , has anyone explained the weight saving by fitting an alloy tank??
Is there any ?

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PostPost by: stugilmour » Fri Dec 31, 2021 1:12 am

Welcome aboard Alastair. You have had your car a lot longer than me. :D

CV shafts are great, particularly with the added Plus 2 weight. Consider replacing the splined shafts at the same time, even if your selected CV kit does not include them.

New aluminum tank from Axminster is the way to go. Do not recall the weight savings. Definitely change the venting to the new design; lots of threads with details. Consider getting the tank with accommodation for an in-tank fuel injection pump; not sure what Andy needs for the upgrade.

Is the body on the car?
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PostPost by: Bigbaldybloke » Fri Dec 31, 2021 1:43 am

I fitted a Spyder stressed skin chassis in 1986 and my car is now nearly ready to go for retrimming before it’s ready to go back on the road. In the time it’s been off the road I’ve replaced all the suspension bushes twice, replaced the drive shafts with cv ones rather than a second set of donuts. The engine had a full rebuild just before I took the car off the road and it’s had oil down the bores and turned over occasionally. The original oil was drained and a new fill put in it before it was taken off the road. The water system was drained and the waterways in the engine given a serious squirt of WD40. The body was removed and resprayed and much of the wiring removed. I found that the mild steel sill members were badly corroded and these were replaced, similarly the top seat belt anchor points were found to be badly corroded and these were replaced. All the brake lines were replaced including the flexible s, and similarly for the clutch, obviously the calipers and master cylinders were overhauled or replaced depending on condition. Your clutch may well have the plate well stuck to the flywheel!
You don’t say how recently your engine etc were rebuilt, if 20 years ago it may need some work, if recent ignore the water pump and clutch comments.
Your water pump seal may now leak, and the fan belt will be perished. You’re going to need a new battery and the various earth connections should all be cleaned and remade to hopefully eliminate earthing problems.
Your damper shafts may have corrosion on them depending on how the car has been stored.
If the fuel tank has been left empty it may well be corroded inside, cheap boroscopes are now available that could be used to check inside. Mine was not good and I opted for a new alloy tank from Kelvedon but sold my original to someone who was going to get it cleaned and internally coated.
The vacuum pods for the headlamps may have corroded, mine had so I replaced them with an electric motor system.
Buy a couple of carb overhaul kits and strip and clean them and treat yourself to new plug leads and ideally distributor cap. Might need to do the fuel pump too.
Once you get the engine turning over give it a compression test before starting it, if it’s reasonable start it and once warm repeat the test, figures are in the manual.
If your exhaust is not stainless it may well have rotted out inside the silencer and centre pipe.
Good luck and I hope you don’t find too much wrong.
I’m sure you’ll get many more suggestions!
12B29A0E-A939-40B8-90E4-9020637B3387.jpeg and
Badly corroded seat belt mounting, looked fine initially
Change is inevitable, except from a vending machine!
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PostPost by: Alastair.hazell » Fri Dec 31, 2021 10:14 am

Thank you all for your interest. I have owned the car since March 1979.

I had not heard of Axminster but their fuel tanks look to be works of art. I think the fuel tank/fuel line had been a weak spot on mine back in the day with periodic blockages. Are there any other suppliers I should be considering? I am part way through getting the old fuel tank out but this is giving me some grief!

Turning now to CV driveshafts I believe there are several variations of these from different manufacturers, e.g. Spyder, some with U/Js at both ends, and at least one retaining a single donut. What is the experience and views on these please?

Thank you also for the steer to Bucklands Books.

I will dig out a photo later.

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PostPost by: HCA » Fri Dec 31, 2021 10:48 am

Removing the tank is a pain, but it does come out in the end with much swearing.

I do not believe the weight saving of an alloy tank is all that much. Another place you can try is ASHeritage - https://www.asheritage.com who make the tanks to order and I think are much quicker than Axminster. They also make radiators. Yes, if you are considering EFI (or even if not..) consider an in-tank pump.

IMG_2007.jpg and

If you want just a new standard tank, I have a near new one, but it is in France so you will have to work out how to get it into brexitland.

Re the drive shafts - how is that trade deal you guys have with Australia going? I ask as I rate the drive shafts by Elantrikbits. He tells a good story, sounds genuine and is a really nice chap - http://elantrikbits.com/lotus-elan-blog ... onversion/
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PostPost by: Bigbaldybloke » Fri Dec 31, 2021 11:14 am

I went for the drive shafts with cv joints at both ends. Stories of poor quality donuts convinced me that retaining one donut each side was only getting rid of half the problem. I bought from Kelvedon as they were local to me and I could go and see them before buying, but I believe several others sell the same shafts. Sue Miller has a good reputation. For me the most awkward part of the tank change was access to the connection on the bottom of the tank, but luckily the previous owner had cut a hole in the rear of the boot to access it, sealing this is still on my to do list!
While I was fitting the drive shafts I also fitted the diff reinforcing bar and all new bushes on the bottom torque rods.
Basically anything rubber has been replaced as it eventually perishes and fails.
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PostPost by: Donels » Fri Dec 31, 2021 4:28 pm

My fuel tank was pitted on the outside but inside didn't look to bad so treated it with POR 15 inside and painted the outside. If you do decide to go this route whatever you do don't get POR 15 on your hands, use gloves. I had 2 weeks of embarrassment when meeting people having to explain why I looked like I'd just cleaned the pigs out!
It's impossible to remove. :oops:
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PostPost by: Rob1n » Fri Dec 31, 2021 11:51 pm

Hi Alistair I have owned my +2 from 1983, it has been off the road for most of that time. Over a period of around 20 years I have been rebuilding the car as follows;
I have fitted a new Lotus galvanised chassis, engine gearbox and diff rebuilt. Body stripped and repaired and resprayed. All bushes bearings replaced new front suspension arms, rear suspension bearing housings, I-have got rid of the donuts as one broke and sent the half shaft through the boot floor!! and uprights, all brake lines and flexible hoses. The real pain at the moment is the wiring, I removed all the old wiring and renewed the looms, unfortunately the looms do not seem to match, make sure you mark the switches and take plenty of pictures as the wiring is not easy to work out through the drawings from the workshop Manuel. My short term goal is to run the engine before starting to re-fit everything.
My daughter got married a few years ago which was another timeline missed as were her school prom etc etc.
I have found this forum and the guys interaction and advice first class.
There are lots of things I am picking up from just going through different posts and subjects which can save you time and money. Wish it was around when I first started on my car!
Good luck and keep at it and look forward to seeing photos of the rebuild and the car all finished.
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PostPost by: TeeJay » Sat Jan 01, 2022 8:33 pm

Alastair.hazell wrote:Has anyone come across (or created??) a check-list for overhaul and re-assembly from this condition? I think I could work it out, but it would be useful if something like this already exists.

Hi Alastair.
I have completed a full nuts and bolts restoration of my +2, it took several years.
A general guide was the "Overhaul & Rebuild" section in the workshop maunual, which I have attached below.
All the best with the restoration and as you know, there is a vast amount of help on this forum.

Overhaul & Rebuild.pdf
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PostPost by: ericbushby » Sat Jan 01, 2022 11:23 pm

Hi Alistair,
I would recommend the drive shafts from Sue Miller or Kelvedon., same thing, The australian ones have a good reputation, but as I have not heard a complaint about the kelvedon ones I do not see how they are worth the extra cost. After fitting you will not have to see them again.
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PostPost by: Alastair.hazell » Fri Jan 21, 2022 6:00 pm

Thanks for all your further comments.
Does ther fuel tank come out through the interior or the boot?
What is the best way to disconnect and drop the rear suspension legs please?
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PostPost by: mbell » Fri Jan 21, 2022 6:47 pm

Alastair.hazell wrote:Does ther fuel tank come out through the interior or the boot?

Either. Boot is tight but can be done.

Alastair.hazell wrote:What is the best way to disconnect and drop the rear suspension legs please?

What do you mean by legs? The struts?

If so disconnect/remove the doughnuts/cv joints and brake calipers. remove the two lower bolts to the arm. Place a jack or other support under to support the strut/upright. Remove the nut on the top of the shock, there is a access cover under the parcel shelf, then slowly lower the jack to release the tension on the spring.
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