Lotus Elan

Body down, but is it down enough?

PostPost by: berni29 » Sun Jul 07, 2024 9:20 pm

Hi Guys

I have a Spyder Zetec chassis and have just dropped the body down onto it today. The body has had a new nose at the front (previous owner). The original chassis was bent, and one of the damper tops used to poke through the inner wing. I was confused at the time as to whether it was the chassis that was bent or the body badly aligned. There is a thread about this a while back here viewtopic.php?f=36&t=49995

Thankfully it looks like the body is nice and straight, however, a reality check please.

This is my first actual chassis change and I expected to need to shim the body. At the back there is almost no clearance between the body and any of the bobbins, so thats fine. The frontmost two at the steering rack have zero clearance and both touch perfectly. The two front ones at the dashboard though have approximately 7-8mm clearance, and the ones in the front footwell more. But those ones are not so important. Its the dashboard ones that worry me. Is 7-8mm a lot there?|

If I chopped out the two frontmost bobbins at the steering rack then I think I could probably close the dashboard bobbin clearance by 5mm. The saddle would probably prevent more. Maybe not though.

What do we all think?

As an aside, the standard Spyder springs at the front are ridiculously long. Car looks like a whacky racer 4x4. And thats with the spring perches at minimum. Why do Spyder do that? Ditto the rears really, but I got ahead of that a bit by chopping off the upper spring perches. I will have to dig out some old standard springs and get them powder coated.

All the best

Berni
Zetec+ 2 under const, also 130S. And another 130S for complete restoration. Previously Racing green +2s with green tints. Yellow +2 and a couple of others, all missed. Great to be back 04/11/2021 although its all starting to get a bit out of control.
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PostPost by: rgh0 » Sun Jul 07, 2024 10:43 pm

Be careful dropping the front of the body on the chassis to low as the cam cover can hit the hood.

cheers
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PostPost by: alan.barker » Mon Jul 08, 2024 12:01 am

+1 when the body is resting in place the first thing i check with some plastercine is clearance between Camcover and inside of Bonnet.
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PostPost by: berni29 » Mon Jul 08, 2024 6:58 am

Hi Guys

I tested with a bonnet in place and it looks like I will have enough clearance even with the body a bit lower. The engine in this car is a 2.0 Zetec blacktop, and I could steal some more clearance if I needed by removing sone plastic gubbins.

Many thanks

Berni
Zetec+ 2 under const, also 130S. And another 130S for complete restoration. Previously Racing green +2s with green tints. Yellow +2 and a couple of others, all missed. Great to be back 04/11/2021 although its all starting to get a bit out of control.
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PostPost by: gus » Mon Jul 08, 2024 1:00 pm

When I installed my spyder 30 years ago, my body fit in a similar way. My car has never had significant damage and the nose was intact as factory
It is my assumption that as the stock chassis rots away, the nose droops from lack of support.
I shimmed the body and it has been fine since.
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PostPost by: Donels » Mon Jul 08, 2024 8:05 pm

I’ve not fitted a Spyder chassis but have fitted a couple of Lotus chassis. With the body resting on the chassis you need to check where no shimming is required, then shim all other positions such that they are all a snug fit. A 6 - 7mm pack of shims is not unusual and may be different side to side. What you trying to achieve is chassis supporting the body equally at all positions, The difficult positions are the two in the engine bay to front turrets and the two into the rear turrets. You may need to cut the bobbins out and reglass in the required positions. These are critical as they stiffen the turrets.
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PostPost by: berni29 » Mon Jul 08, 2024 8:56 pm

Hi There

Thank you for your thoughts on this. Fortunately the rear and front turrets seem to line up well enough. My car used to be raced so it has a fibreglass firewall in between the bobbins and the boot area sealing it off completely. I guess that will add some stiffness although the Spyder chassis are reasonably stiff anyways.

Its very interesting to note that the amount of shimming that I need under the dashboard is not unusual. I am still considering cutting the front bobbins and reglassing them if it means the body will sit closer to the chassis though. Its not a job I will be doing again on this car, so I might as well have it as I think it should be. Having said that I do not want to carry out a pointless exercise.

Thanks again

Berni
Zetec+ 2 under const, also 130S. And another 130S for complete restoration. Previously Racing green +2s with green tints. Yellow +2 and a couple of others, all missed. Great to be back 04/11/2021 although its all starting to get a bit out of control.
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PostPost by: Donels » Mon Jul 08, 2024 9:06 pm

If you drop the body you will also need to reposition the turret bobbins, also as mentioned earlier you move the bonnet closer to the engine, so think it all through before acting.
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PostPost by: berni29 » Mon Jul 08, 2024 10:00 pm

Hello

Yes I will certainly measure very carefully before any chopping. The body coming down the amount I am expecting won't affecting the front turret alignment as the chassis mounting plate extends downwards a fair bit. Its a new chassis so as yet undrilled.

Thanks again

Berni
Zetec+ 2 under const, also 130S. And another 130S for complete restoration. Previously Racing green +2s with green tints. Yellow +2 and a couple of others, all missed. Great to be back 04/11/2021 although its all starting to get a bit out of control.
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PostPost by: wsmempson » Tue Jul 09, 2024 10:11 am

I think that one of the main reasons that the Spyder front springs are so long is because the original Zetec installation had the exhaust exiting below the front anti roll bar, so the only way to get sufficient ground clearance was to have the front end very high.

I recently had my plus 2 back at Spyder cars to have the exhaust system changed for one that now exits above the anti roll bar, and this involves relieving the block and gearbox casting, as well some fibreglass work.

This now allows the car to sit normally, but the spyder supplied springs are FAR too long now.
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PostPost by: berni29 » Tue Jul 09, 2024 5:43 pm

Hi

Yes I have seen some pictures of the ill thought out original exhaust. One problem leads to another hence the springs issue. Rather than fix the problem. Also they like to use wheels with a too low ET (offset) resulting in a stick out cartoonish appearance to go along with the 4x4 stance. Thus killing the elegant look of the car. Oh, and also a poor choice of tyre with too short a sidewall. Perhaps I am being unkind. Apart from that they are great.

Actually I was very careful to get wheels (in my case minilite style 14" 6J rims that would be acceptable to me. Originally from an Alfa Junior, the ET is 38 (vs the Spyder choice of 22) and along with 175/70 tyres I though that would be enough to bring them close to standard, but now they are on I think they may stick out a shade too much for me still. I will have to wait until the car is rolled out of the garage and at the correct ride height before I decide.

All the best

Berni
Zetec+ 2 under const, also 130S. And another 130S for complete restoration. Previously Racing green +2s with green tints. Yellow +2 and a couple of others, all missed. Great to be back 04/11/2021 although its all starting to get a bit out of control.
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