Lotus Elan

ELAN PLUS 2S130 Restoration, Before and After

PostPost by: mjbeanie » Thu Nov 02, 2023 3:30 am

Hello fellow Lotus enthusiasts.

I have posted many technical inquiries lately. For this post, I just thought it might be fun to put up the before and after of my 71 Plus 2S130 project, otherwise known as the Lotus Elan "Ebay Potluck Special", that I've been sorting for over a year..

The backstory: This was a disassembled, abandoned, restoration project, AS-IS, posted as a "Buy it Now" auction on Ebay back in February 2019. I didn't know if it would ever run, what condition the mechanicals were in, if the engine would even rotate, what was beyond repair, or what bits were present- in the parts boxes that came with the car. I had no idea as to the chassis condition either. There was no time to ask questions. I had just 6 photos to draw from and make my decision. I am an engineer, and the only "data" I had was "it looked pretty". Seemed reasonable to me. The body looked nice, the red paint looked good, and I loved the design. (the car was originally white.) I had not seen this model ever before. The body shape got to me but the rest was a complete mess. The interior was a miserable empty shell. The wiring was just hanging disconnected, and fragmented, like spaghetti. The engine bay had been riffled thru, with lots of bits missing in the auction photos. But an engine was generally present, along with a transmission that may/may not work properly. The only feature that worked on the car was inertia. (It would roll if you pushed it.) I kept wondering if buying a inoperative project car, sight unseen, was a cleverly conceived decision.

Given all that, and my impulsive nature toward life sometimes... I hit the "Buy it Now" button and it was suddenly mine. I was the proud owner of a crap-storm of unknowns. As well the proud owner of an Ebay invoice to pay, for $10k. I was in it- for better or worse. Made my way to Pensacola, to push it up on a U-haul, and get it home. (My daughter traveled with me which made it a very memorable trip:) Once on the trailer I loaded 6 big tubs of unknown bits that were said to go somewhere on the car, along with two big boxes with the uninstalled forward and aft windscreens.

Its been quite an adventure, as everything needed to be sorted, reviewed, fixed, repaired or replaced. It was one big puzzle. Went out and got the tech manuals, parts book, and got started. Been going thru it system by system. Started with the electrical and fuel system. Then came hydraulics, cooling system, Ignition, exhaust, steering, suspension, and then I started some of the interior work in parallel. The worst "assigned task" was the wiring the car from front to back with 3 new harnesses. The dash was a miserable time, but now I can almost joke about it -almost. I've posted 2 or 3 threads bitching about it. (I mean asking for technical advice while enjoying putting the pieces together.)

Still have the CV joint upgrade to begin next, and will need an electrical headlamp lift conversion kit.

Hope to have the car ready for a test drive, just up and down the street by Christmas. If folks find these pictures interesting, I'll post some others before/afters. The photos are just siting in my phone. -And I love seeing other members projects and results. I thought I would just share these and see what happens...

Cheers guys,
MIke
Attachments
IMG_1798.jpg and
IMG_1801.jpg and
Last edited by mjbeanie on Sun Nov 05, 2023 2:45 am, edited 10 times in total.
'71 Lotus Elan Plus 2S130 (Type 50/0179)
'70 Opel GT
'67 Sunbeam Alpine
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PostPost by: h20hamelan » Thu Nov 02, 2023 4:50 am

Ambitious, fast moving you.
Impressive passion, good work!

There is no cure.
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Find out where the limits are, and start from there
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PostPost by: Stagmatt » Thu Nov 02, 2023 12:09 pm

Congratulations! I have an inkling what you´ve been through and I love the spirit.
I did a similar thing with a rotten Triumph Stag, 73, many years ago. Took me seven years to completion, but I have a perfectionist leaning. With the car back on the road in 1974, it has been a joy ever since. But this here is not about Triumphs.
I have just bought a ´73 130/5 in quite a decent state (well, you never know), so expect some comments soon.

Matthias
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PostPost by: The Veg » Sat Nov 04, 2023 7:57 pm

Good stuff- yes, show us more!
1970 Elan Plus 2 (not S) 50/2036
2012 BMW R1200GS
"It just wouldn't be a complete day if I didn't forget something!" -Me
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PostPost by: mjbeanie » Sun Nov 05, 2023 1:29 am

Hello again guys,

Thanks for the kind feedback! Here's a second installment-

Engine bay:

The ever expanding engine bay recovery list is below. Started with the leaking water pump and ended with the leaking exhaust header. During first engine run, we were leaking all three fluids: oil, fuel, and coolant! Fun stuff. List of major components repairs & replacements is below. (The car was Cirrus white, and repainted just prior to the auction by the seller.)

-Stromberg carbs rebuilt, K&N airfilter system installed
-Water pump replaced (very painful)
-New Cooling fan, Radiator refurbished.
-Timing chain replaced
-All engine bay wiring replaced
-Relays replaced
-Brake Master cyl rebuilt, pedal box mod completed (4" hole saw not included)
-New clutch master and slave cylinder
-Exhaust system replaced from headers to tailpipe

(...Will post the front suspension and brake work in the next installment.

Stay tuned..Same Bat time, same Bat channel.)

Cheers,
MIke
Attachments
Engine Bay before.jpg and
Engine Bay after cropped.jpg and
Last edited by mjbeanie on Sun Nov 05, 2023 2:47 am, edited 1 time in total.
'71 Lotus Elan Plus 2S130 (Type 50/0179)
'70 Opel GT
'67 Sunbeam Alpine
mjbeanie
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Posts: 61
Joined: 29 Mar 2019
Location: Raleigh NC, USA

PostPost by: mjbeanie » Sun Nov 05, 2023 2:08 am

Thought this was a bit out of the ordinary and worth of photo...holy pedal box
The reservoir needed replacing as well due to an unfortunate dropping incident inducing a large hole!.. ugh.
Attachments
IMG_1049.jpg and
IMG_1164.jpg and
'71 Lotus Elan Plus 2S130 (Type 50/0179)
'70 Opel GT
'67 Sunbeam Alpine
mjbeanie
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Posts: 61
Joined: 29 Mar 2019
Location: Raleigh NC, USA

PostPost by: rgh0 » Sun Nov 05, 2023 5:50 am

Be careful when fitting the bonnet. The radiator has been pushed forward to fit the electric fan behind it and the filler cap may hit the hood.as the clearance is normally tight when this is done

cheers
Rohan
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PostPost by: mjbeanie » Sun Nov 05, 2023 5:38 pm

Thanks Rohan.
I was a bit concerned about that.
Appreciate the heads up !
'71 Lotus Elan Plus 2S130 (Type 50/0179)
'70 Opel GT
'67 Sunbeam Alpine
mjbeanie
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Posts: 61
Joined: 29 Mar 2019
Location: Raleigh NC, USA

PostPost by: Rob1n » Thu Nov 09, 2023 11:12 pm

Mike you are putting me to shame! It seems like you have gone past where I am with mine and I have been doing mine for... shall we just say a lot longer!! The wiring on the +2 130 is a night mare and I am in electrical engineering!! I have change the connections on switches etc on the dash 3-4 times but have it all working correctly now all with the superb support from the guys on this site! My excuse is I am still working in our electrical contracting buisness and still have to make sure I keep the wife happy with repairs to the house!!
Any way I have made good progress but probably like you keep finding that parts that I did have are now missing :cry: The plan is to have the car back on the road next year with a trip to Scotland planned. There I have said it in public so watch this space. I see you have the original steering wheel I have losses the plastic boss rare as hens teeth apparently so possibly a new replacement for Christmas. Hope to see your on the road soon and hopefully I will post pictures of my progress.
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PostPost by: mjbeanie » Sun Nov 12, 2023 3:50 am

Thanks for the reply Rob1n. Yeah the dash, along with the aftermarket harness mistakes was a terrible mess. Old harness did provide some help but the new harness wasn't remotely close to the Lotus wiring diagram in many aspects! Also the aftermarket switches available don't always function as the original switches. I retained the 50 year old Lotus Park lights switch, Heater switch, and 3 Pole Hazard switch. They were ugly looking, but worked as intended. It took forever to get about 60% of it sorted on my dining room table. Another 20% was sorted with the dash lightly positioned in the car, but uninstalled for testing.

Then I had to go back to the drawing board to crimp flag connectors on all the connections, since there was that awful clearance problem, with the heater. I needed to recover about 3/4" in overall "width" of the assembly. A photo is below.

Then came the last 20% integrating with all the accessories, engine bay and body harness, DIP switch, indicators and the infamous DB 10 relay box. It was a dark time literally and figuratively. My wife was delighted when she got the dining table back for eating, versus soldering.

Decided to add some photos from those days....Look forward to hearing about your progress Rob1n.
Cheers all,
Mike
Attachments
dash front.jpg and
dash testing.jpg and
Now with new connectors.jpg and
'71 Lotus Elan Plus 2S130 (Type 50/0179)
'70 Opel GT
'67 Sunbeam Alpine
mjbeanie
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Posts: 61
Joined: 29 Mar 2019
Location: Raleigh NC, USA

PostPost by: Ginettaman » Mon Nov 13, 2023 6:22 pm

looking great at least you will know its been done by someone you trust! Are those original Lotus fitted rocker switches still available? Window switches etc? They often look worn out on some cars?
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PostPost by: mjbeanie » Tue Nov 14, 2023 2:25 am

The original switches are hard to find for sure. Once in awhile they surface on Ebay but they're pricey, and sometimes Dave Bean in CA, has some laying around. The OEM switches are best, and mesh much better in functionality with the aftermarket harnesses, than the aftermarket switches. The original hazard switch is a rare 3 pole switch 10 amp! The replacement offered by RD enterprises is only a light duty, DPDT switch, and will require an additional diode to be wired in. I tried it and while it did work, the diode fried in a short time. It was a mess. So I got the old tired harness out of the box and robbed the OEM beefy switch from it. It worked great. Same for the heater switch. For higher current loads I opted the old, faded, original factory switches.

I also had to use a dremel tool to adapt the aftermarket switches as they are a bit to fat for the slot and may bind. They also sit back in the slot which is also discouraging, since the mounting tabs are also different. The reality is the aftermarket switches are not high quality, but there are not many choices available. Good luck with your efforts and hope you find some Lotus switches!
'71 Lotus Elan Plus 2S130 (Type 50/0179)
'70 Opel GT
'67 Sunbeam Alpine
mjbeanie
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Posts: 61
Joined: 29 Mar 2019
Location: Raleigh NC, USA

PostPost by: mjbeanie » Thu Nov 16, 2023 2:03 am

Front end work completed: Disassembled, degreased, cleaned, and repainted the all front suspension hardware and wheel well. Installed new calipers, pads, discs, brake lines, New lower A arms, boots, tie rods, stabilizer bar bushes, steering rod links, and trunions. I think that's most of it. I didn't take a "before photo" but the hardware was pretty ugly and tired looking.
Attachments
IMG_0268.jpg and
IMG_1988.jpg and
'71 Lotus Elan Plus 2S130 (Type 50/0179)
'70 Opel GT
'67 Sunbeam Alpine
mjbeanie
Second Gear
Second Gear
 
Posts: 61
Joined: 29 Mar 2019
Location: Raleigh NC, USA

PostPost by: Ginettaman » Thu Nov 16, 2023 8:51 am

It's a shame somebody hasn't reproduced good quality replacements to match.
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PostPost by: mjbeanie » Fri Nov 17, 2023 3:54 am

Hello fellow Lotusians,

Today's update includes new improved door card effort.

The fun part about this restoration is that you can switch between technical troubleshooting one day and "arts and crafts" the following day. I like the variety-always interesting. And sometimes the arts and crafts is very therapeutic, instead of mechanical or electrical work each day.

In any case, my door cards had disintegrated. The backboards were trashed. The lower "carpeted portion" of the card was beyond help. However, the original upper vinyl section was salvageable. I always liked that part of the door panel since it meshes nicely with the console. (Didn't love the shag carpeting used on the lower half much anyway.)

I purchased heavy cardboard stock from an aftermarket performance car place for 15 bucks. Cut the panels as best as I could and fitted the metal door cap to the card. The vinyl was attached using contact adhesive and clamps. My wife is working to stitch some comparable black vinyl together which I plan to glue to the lower half of the cards. I will probably investigate another method to attach the cards to the door and may avoid the original clip method altogether. Another update will follow. Stay safe and be well.

Cheers everyone,
Mike
Attachments
IMG_1998.jpg and
IMG_2009.jpg and
'71 Lotus Elan Plus 2S130 (Type 50/0179)
'70 Opel GT
'67 Sunbeam Alpine
mjbeanie
Second Gear
Second Gear
 
Posts: 61
Joined: 29 Mar 2019
Location: Raleigh NC, USA
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