Lotus Elan

Maintenance and rolling re-restoration

PostPost by: AlistairF » Sun Aug 21, 2022 9:08 am

Hi there,

I am just two months into Elan +2 ownership and getting to know the car. I am fortunate in having a fully and well restored car but this was completed about 10 years ago so some elements are now needing attention. This is what I expected but I was hoping to get some good use this summer before delving into heavier maintenance/ongoing mini restorations.

I carried out an engine service upon purchase and had an oil analysis performed by Millers Oils that showed no concerns and I now have a benchmark analysis to compare with in the future.

Unfortunately, the braking was not great with one front disc shiny and the other not, and having checked for sticky pistons twice and finding nothing wrong, it started pulling harder to the left under braking. So with new discs, pads and refurbed callipers purchased, I set about the replacement. On jacking the car I noticed few lumps of blue plastic on the garage floor and realised the poly bushes on the lower front wishbones were in a dire state:

IMG_1969.jpeg and
Polybushes slightly worn!


The nearside rearmost bush on the front lower wishbone had disintegrated entirely and the remaining three had worn and distorted so the bolts were no longer central allowing the wishbones to move away from the centreline of the car. As far as I can tell it is only the lower front wishbones that are in this state but this winter will see a full suspension rebuild. I believe the car has done about 16,000 miles since the full rebuild which is probable not too bad, but these should have been replaced earlier. In hindsight, one clue was the steering weight being excessively heavy and a lot of negative camber, but this will be difficult to detect through gradual wear. I suggest if you have polybushes, a visual inspection for alignment of the bolt/bush centreline is in order every service.

Also, I have fitted a new cam cover gasket and filler seal so hopefully most of the oil leaks stem from this area and there will be fewer drips.

I guess this is all normal for Elan ownership and fortunately I am fairly handy on the mechanical front and enjoy it too!

Hopefully that's if for a few months!

Cheers

Alistair
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PostPost by: alaric » Sun Aug 21, 2022 5:56 pm

Hi Alistair. Welcome to the forum and to having a +2.

I'm in a similar situation to yourself, having acquired a much loved +2 that's in very nice condition, at the end of March, but which was restored some years ago and not used much since. It developed a hesitation on acceleration, which seemed like it was the carbs, but turned out to be more likely the ignition. So I've rebuilt the ignition and carbs. I'm now doing the brake master cylinder to be sure there's no debris in there.

I have a similar braking problem to yourself, in that it pulls to the right a little on hard braking. I adjusted the front wheel bearings and now the pedal travel is a lot shorter, but still have the pull to the right. It may go after more use, but there may be a slightly sticky calliper involved too.

I'm hoping to get the car to the Sherborne classic car show next weekend, but that depends on Eurocarbs getting the top cover back to me on time... and on whether I have the nerve to enter the car.

All the best.

Sean.
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PostPost by: AlistairF » Sun Aug 21, 2022 6:49 pm

Hi Sean,

It’s a new adventure and I am loving it!

My brakes are much better after rebuilt callipers, discs and new Mintex M1144 front pads but the pedal has a lot of travel on the first shove and will lock the n/s front, but stiffens on the second pump and more left to right balance. This indicates air, probably in the O/S front or more pad knock off? I fitted new front wheel bearings too so I shall check the adjustment and bleed again (I have put 1.5 litres of fluid through already!).

I could have m/c issue as there was debris at the bottom which I siphoned out with a syringe and suspect the corrosion is from the sovy unit which was crusty at the top.

So back on stands this weekend for some more fettling. I have registered for the Picnic at Hethel in September organised by the Elan register. So need to get it sorted for then!

Enjoy Sherborne!

Cheers Alistair
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PostPost by: alaric » Mon Aug 22, 2022 9:22 am

Hi again.

I had the same sort of debris in the brake m/c. It made me nervous, so I had a chat with Sue Miller and she sent me a rebuild kit. Annoyingly the master cylinder itself seems quite hard to get now.

I'm now trying to get the fluid level switch to work. Another hens tooth...

Regards.

Sean.
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