Lotus Elan

anyone ever install a/c?

PostPost by: mini64 » Sun Jul 04, 2010 12:44 am

Has anyone ever tried to install air conditioning in an elan (non-+2 or +2). If so, details please....
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PostPost by: robertverhey » Sun Jul 04, 2010 4:49 am

Have done to a couple of Lotus cortinas (including my current one). Had to convince my partner it was a good holiday car somehow....

Here in Australia, mid '70s Mk2 Escorts with 1600 Kent blocks had an A/C option, involved a big mounting plate for compressor and alternator and dual groove crankshaft pulley. That's the starting point, lots of fettling needed to get it to fit around the T/C front cover. Then you need to source condenser, evaporator, piping....lots of wandering around the wreckers. It's a big job and and not for the faint hearted.

I did see listed on Ebay USA once (and once only) the bits to fit A/C to a +2, so it may have been a dealer fitted option in USA (as it was in the Europa T/C).

Real rocking horse stuff however

I think the Elans from memory actually have more room than the Cortina around the exhaust side of the block to fit the compressor and move the alternator up.

Can provide some pics if it would assist
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PostPost by: 1964 S1 » Mon Jul 05, 2010 4:24 am

I worked at a Lotus dealership in the USA, in the early '70's and we installed "factory authorised" AC on quite a few Europas.
I remember an AC unit on a +2 back then but I'd describe it as "after" after market. Clunky with cheap lousy fitting plastic vents below the dash.
In the end I gotta ask,,, why in the world would you want to put AC on an Elan?
I guess if I HAD to I'd go with some lightweight rotary compressor and modern evap and condenser...
I'd rather just drive faster and lighter with the windows down.

Old fashioned, Eric
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PostPost by: msd1107 » Mon Jul 05, 2010 8:16 pm

An Elan at 30 MPH requires less than 4 HP. A hydraulic A/C compressor will require a substantial percentage of that, decreasing around town available performance and decreasing fuel mileage.

A new generation electrically driven A/C compressor will improve on this. Look for the smallest car with an electrically driven A/C compressor and use that to make your A/C system. Something from a wrecked Honda Insight or maybe a Toyota Prius might be a possibility. Or see if something can be sourced from an Evora or a Tesla.

This path might be more expensive than desired, and require suitable engineering and integration.

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PostPost by: richard sprint » Mon Jul 05, 2010 10:10 pm

Is the answer why?
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PostPost by: msd1107 » Mon Jul 05, 2010 10:41 pm

mini64 asked the question.

Let us give him some pointers and let him answer the question as to "why?" Many of us would not try, but the world is filled with interesting people with interesting and different views.

If he wants to install A/C, then it is between him and his pocket book. The next owner can decide on whether they want to retain the A/C.

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PostPost by: mini64 » Sun Jul 11, 2010 12:01 am

Thanks for the sympathy and sarcasm guys. Thankfully this forum has far less smart-a$$ useless reponders then the average ricer forum.

I completely understand those that say a/c in an elan is going against the basic grain of what the car is about. And I'm not against going without a/c, despite living in Bryan, Texas where we laugh at the northerners complaining about 100degree temperatures. My first car was a mini. No a/c of course. Then I bought a "big" car for my highway travels, a susuki swift gti, whose a/c was broken. Then I inherited my wifes '86 honda as a daily driver. Guess what, the a/c quit my first summer with it.

But now that I am a bit (BIT!) older my wife and I are looking for a car that we can take on any british car run (yes, we have british car clubs here - see ours: www.brazosbrits.org ). A no excuses kind of car. I really believe I can build up an elan for such a purpose. I'm not set on a/c yet, but it is something we are considering.

I'm working with a company called vintage air (vintageair.com) who has small units and does a lot of custom work for rods and such. Whether I do this or not I'll let you guys know what I learn.
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PostPost by: CBUEB1771 » Sun Jul 11, 2010 3:17 am

mini64 wrote:Has anyone ever tried to install air conditioning in an elan (non-+2 or +2). If so, details please....

When I bought my +2 in 1977 it had an AC system developed and installed by Lotus East in suburban NYC (Millerton)?. It was developed as well as they could but caused hugh engine temperature problems for me. Imagine a small importer organization trying to improve on a design from an also small and underfunded automobile manufacturer. I threw the whole system in the trash. I guess my response should just be classified as rant. I understand the problem in Texas but I don't think there is a quick answer.
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PostPost by: robertverhey » Sun Jul 11, 2010 4:33 am

Hard to get a photo, probably easier to see if it was on a ramp and took some shots from underneath.....but the way I did it required a double groove pulley on crank (from the aforementioned Escort 1600) and also on the alternator (available on ebay). No weekend job, it took me a few months to source and adapt all the bits and then about three-four attempts by the air-con people to commission it so it wouln't leak. But now works well. Pretty sure the +2 has more lateral room down there (ie no chassis rail). Also (not in pics) has electric fan on the condenser and an idle step-up solenoid for when it's running.

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PostPost by: gordont » Sun Jul 11, 2010 11:12 am

As per Richard Sprint I think the the answer should be why bother????

I use my S2 as a daily driver here in Sydney and yes it gets warm in summer but isn't that part of having a convertible?

sorry....

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PostPost by: gordont » Sun Jul 11, 2010 11:14 am

the other options would be take the roof off and put the windows down! :) 8)
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PostPost by: robertverhey » Sun Jul 11, 2010 11:20 am

I wouldn't do it to a baby elan, but on a +2 it might be a reasonable "modernising" mod. My '87 Excel has A/C and I wouldn't be without it! Means we get to take it on hols. Not everyone understands the beauty of the T/C roar......
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