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BrianK last won the day on February 21 2020

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About BrianK

  • Birthday September 26

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    2005 Elise, 1974 Elite
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    Los Angeles, CA

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  1. Minor detail: speaking about that brace, I *believe* it's equally important at locating/aligning the two diff/suspension studs as it is at strengthening the system. If you DIY the brace, I would suggest drilling the holes 400mm apart (on center) - which is the designed distance between the two studs - regardless of the measured distance between studs. (I say "studs," but your car appears to have had them replaced with socket-head bolts). If you DIY it to fit, you may measure the bolts to be more than 400mm apart (at least, they would have been for me), which would cause you to lose the aligning property of the brace because you'd leave the alignment as it is now, sans brace. A slightly long brace is not the end of the world, but if I was trying to get everything right... I would try to make it just like the stock part. I ranted about this in my project thread: While I'm speculating, I wonder about the diameter of those bolts through the diff/chassis/suspension on your car. If they are a smaller diameter than stock (which would make them much easier to install & may explain why they are there to begin with), it's possible that they are allowing the links and diff to float relative to the chassis. Maybe that's causing some of the vibration you're experiencing? That's a just wild guess on my part. FWIW, correctly sized studs are available from SJ here. Final note: If you haven't done the rear bearings yet, I've read that submerging the whole hub assembly in very hot water for several minutes will expand the hub enough that the outter race should come out with relative ease. After which, a new, frozen race should drop right back in without much difficulty. I've not tried this, but it sounds reasonable.
  2. Ahhhh, yes. I didn't realize it was *this* hole you were talking about - for some reason I thought it was some sort of larger hole in the cap itself. For that reason, when ordering these new ones, it didn't even cross my mind to check that there was a difference in seals. In trying to break my pack-rat habit, I threw the old, hole-less seals away. D'oh! If this doesn't end up sealing well after plugging that hole, I'll likely order entire new caps from SJ and replace the filler necks while I'm at it. Thanks for the advice. It's a shame I didn't take it.
  3. Thanks for the kind words, guys. Photography is kind of a hobby & these were some of the first pics taken with a new-to-me camera. Still learning how to use the new camera, but I think these shots came out pretty good. Today's entry is another small curiosity worth sharing: Fuel filler sealing rings. Backstory: fuel was sloshing out of the tanks in tight corners. It was coming out through the fillers, as was evident by dried up streams of fuel on the body below and behind each filler. In addition to obvious signs of spillage on the outside of the car, I was also getting a good bit of fuel smell in the cabin when driving through the canyons (which was especially bad on my first higher speed outing). While I didn't think my filler seals looked *that* bad, I thought I'd go ahead and replace them to try to keep fuel inside the car. SJ sells the sealing ring, by itself; or the whole cap. Caps aren't that expensive, but for whatever reason, I decided to try to save my filler caps rather than get replacements - so I just wanted to replace the seals. Each seal, importantly, is two pieces - the plate/ring that mates with the filler neck, and a gasket behind the seal plate that forms a seal between the sealing plate (on which the seal ring sits) and the cap, itself. My gasket (would you call that a gasket? grommet? stopper? whatever...) was fairly brittle and cracked, so it needed replacing. While SJ sells the seal ring, they only carry the ring - not the plat on which the ring sits or the gasket behind the plate. Our filler caps are shared with the Norton Commando. I was able to find complete filler cap seal kits from a Norton dealer in the UK (I found none in the US). I ordered two sets - installation took all of 5 minutes. It's dead simple - remove the old retaining screw & replace the whole thing. Make sure the spring is turned the right way when you reassemble (the spring won't land correctly if its reversed, but it will still work just fine) BUT! There's a difference between the Norton seal and the Lotus seal. The Norton seal has a vent. Lotus expects the tank to be vented elsewhere. See pics below: Old, Lotus seal: New, Norton seal: Notice the vent hole just below center? I hadn't noticed this until after I put the car in storage for the next month or so. My plan, when it comes back out, is to simply seal the vent hole with some sort of metal epoxy (JB Weld, likely) & call it a day. After sharing this story with another Elite owner in LA, he walked me through all of his fuel system ventilation upgrades. I think it's about time to start paying attention to mine - I recently disconnected vacuum from the charcoal canister because it allowing too much air to the carb (was acting like a leaky carb), so I suspect there's a broken connection or cracked hose somewhere. That might also explain the fuel smell. I also notice my brakes are a little sticky - they don't release right away & squeak a bit for the first few rotations after braking. I think I'll rebuild the front calipers during the next service. Will likely do the master cylinder at the same time & hope I don't have to deal with the rears at all.
  4. A couple more artsy pictures. Same spot, different day. This one (above) is a bit out of focus - it was too dark to see the car to set focus (I didn't think to use the flashlight to help until after I left), so I set to infinity and hoped for the best. Got the mountains in focus, but the car... not so much. The light on the car comes from the flashlight on my phone - without it, the car would have been as dark as the mountains behind it. I kept the camera shutter open for 30 seconds, then walked the flashlight back and forth in front of the car to "paint" light on it (a fun lighting trick - not something I invented). Even though I'm walking between the camera and the car, you can't see me because I'm wearing all black and there's no light on me, but you can see my phone's flashlight reflecting off the car - it's those long streaks that look like overhead lights. Similar here - 30 second exposure, phone-flashlight walked in front of and around the car, and a random passing car driving down the road behind (the red streaks are from the passing car's tail and side-marker lights; and the yellowish glow on the road are reflections from its headlights) In more on-topic news, I've ordered new seals for both filler caps - as they tend to spray fuel when I'm driving up here (the car handles so well, it's hard to go slow ). I almost lost a tail light on the trip, so I'll have to dig into the rear bumper and lighting just like I did with the front - make new mounts, secure everything, make sure wiring is good, permanently fix the in-boot light covers, etc. I put over 250 miles on the car last week - mostly in the mountains. I'm growing to like it more and more with each trip. Maybe that's why I'm taking so many photos.
  5. Thanks for the replies, all. I ordered a couple new seal kits from a Norton dealer - thinking maybe mine look ok, but are too hard to make a good seal.
  6. This is for a '74 Elite. The seal ring and rubber gasket behind the sealing ring plate are both in reasonable shape on my car, but I still get quite a bit of fuel spilling out of both caps in tight turns - and that's with only half tank. Is there a good solution for sealing the fillers, or do I just keep a rag and some water with me at all times? Is anyone keeping fuel the car with stock caps? (I'm somewhat surprised I wasn't able to find a previous topic on this. I thought this was a common problem?)
  7. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.... so time for play. I dusted off the old photo gear & headed out for a sunset shoot up in the mountains just outside of town earlier this week. Mother nature put on a pretty good show. I like this angle (above). Haven't seen too many pictures from this perspective - it makes the car look low, wide, and very angular. Cool. I love how the rear suspension is visible from behind the car. A friend following me once said that he was transfixed by the moving suspension arms.
  8. I went to an all-British car show over the weekend. The Elite was well received - not many "nice" ones in the US, so it was an unusual sight. Several people took note, which made for lots of good conversations. Before the show, I re-hung the passenger door. It was sitting a bit low in the back & was difficult to open/close. Adjustment is time consuming but relatively simple - remove the trim panel in the foot well to give access to the rear of the hinge mounts, then loosen the top and/or bottom hinge mounts to allow the door to rotate up/down. I used a floor jack to support the door, loosened the top bolts, jacked up the rear of the door an inch or so, then re-tightened (an inch of jacking does not equal an inch of adjustment - some slack is involved, so the door will droop a bit after being tightened and the jack removed). I repeated this process several times until the top of the door [mostly] lined up with the body behind the door. After getting the door lined up, I adjusted the door striker so that it would accept the latching mechanism. I ran out of time before getting the angle of the door striker just right, so it's still a little difficult to open, but at least it looks better now. I'll get back to adjusting it this coming weekend. Unrelated, but worth a note for the record: I learned, recently, that replacing the rear wheel bearings isn't nearly as big of a job as I'd thought. Apparently, one only needs to drop the entire hub assembly in very hot water to allow for metal expansion and removal of the old bearing. After the whole assembly is heated, if the bearing doesn't simply drop out, then a couple taps should free it. While the assembly is still hot, a frozen bearing should drop right in. I've not tried this, but it appears to be common knowledge amongst those in the know; so this serves as a reminder to future me, and anyone else who happens to Google their way here.
  9. Almost forgot this little bit of history... I zeroed the trip odometer when I picked up the car. On my last drive, the trip odometer rolled over, which means I've put just over 1,000 miles on the car since I took ownership in 2019. 😎
  10. ... continued from the last entry: Aftermath... I didn't get a chance to properly drive the car for a couple weeks after getting it back (rain + Christmas holidays), so when I got a chance, I headed straight up to my favorite driving roads in the mountains just north of Los Angeles. Oh wow. Being able to shift gears at a whim really improves things. The transmission felt great and its ratios are just right. It should be noted that new engine mounts are fairly stiff - at least until they "break in". My first couple drives felt like I was driving an electric hair clipper. It felt like I was running polyurethane mounts... there was so much vibration that I couldn't see anything in the rearview mirrors. In addition, my glove box and rear ash tray were vibrating like mad, something in the engine bay was making a terrible rattling noise at idle, and it just generally felt bad. I'd guessed that all of that unpleasantness was from the new mounts, so I just grinned and dealt with it while the mounts loosened up. From the previous entry, I mentioned that a few things were unfinished when I picked up the car. The known items on that list were: there was no rubber shift boot (the one that lives under the leather/vinyl shift boot in the cabin) and the reverse light switch needed to be replaced. Unfinished shift boot: The shift boot hadn't been done because its retaining ring was shockingly rusty - so rusty that the screws holding it in place had become part of the ring, itself... all one big mass of rust. To remove the ring, I had to cut new slots in the retaining screws to get a screw driver to engage, then I drowned them in penetrating oil, and finally chiseled the rust out from between the screw and ring. After separating the ring from the car, to prevent this from happening again, I epoxy coated the ring & reinstalled with new hardware. 1 job done. Steering column loosely attached to rack: I'd only driven the car 2-3 times at this point, but each time I noticed that the steering mostly felt great (now that the rack had been re-shimmed), but while turning, I felt an occasional small tick in the wheel, then at 2 or 3 spots, a big clunk... like a worrying clunk. Before my next canyon drive, then, I check the steering system. Turns out that the mechanic had not tightened the splined u-joint between the steering column and rack. The clunk I felt was the u-joint retaining bolt knocking against the flat on the steering rack side (the flat that's there to allow the retaining bolt to pass & likely to prevent the joint from becoming uncoupled in case it loosened up). (in the above video, you can see that the lower nut/bolt aren't tight at all) I'm sure this was an oversight because the car was rushed out the door, but I'm not giving the guy much credit - he had my car for 6 months. This sort of thing shouldn't happen. In addition to that, the u-joint is situated in just the wrong place so that the nut for the retaining bolt in question drags on the engine mount as you turn (which is the "small tick" I mentioned previously). I suspect this will go away as the new engine mounts compress (which will lower the mount "arm" in relation to the steering shaft), but I have a feeling that it could have been avoided by scooting the u-join one way or the other by a mm or two. This is one of those little details that I would expect to be missed by a generic shop, but not by a seasoned Lotus mechanic who charges top dollar. If the mounts don't compress in the next few weeks, I will work on shifting the u-joint ever so slightly to avoid the scrape. Cooling system problems: My next longish drive took me through downtown Los Angeles on a weekend. Traffic always piles up downtown & it was a relatively warm day (high 80s F). As I was sitting in traffic, I noticed my temp gauge sitting north of the 90C midpoint - which is unusual. I had the mechanic replace the water pump when he did the timing belt & he elected to replace the thermostat at the same time. As such, the cooling system should be in good working order, but the needle kept creeping up. Just as I was getting into uncomfortable territory on the gauge, traffic mercifully let up and I and was able to get back to highway speeds where my water temp immediately dropped. When I got home, I popped the hood & noticed only one cooling fan was running. When I checked the connector to the fan, I found it (the connector) was boiling hot - much too hot to touch. After everything cooled down, I came back for a closer look - thinking that the connector might be bad. While checking everything over, I found the fan shroud had been bent during engine install & was preventing the fan from turning. A few adjustments sorted that issue out & my cooling problems were solved. It would have been nice if the mechanic had caught this. Oh well, it was caught early enough that no harm was done. Front of the engine too high: I live on a pretty crowded street. It's much easier to pull out of my garage (which butts up to the street) forward than backward, which means I need to back into the garage. Because it's a tight fit, that means a pretty sharp turn while reversing. When backing into my garage after the 3rd or 4th drive, I heard an unusual whirring sound coming from under the hood/bonnet. As I always do when I hear a strange noise, I popped the hood & noticed that the cam pully had run in to and carved a slot in my hood. From the last entry, I mentioned that the transmission mount had been installed under the trans brace, not above it like it should have been. That means that the the transmission was sitting 4-6 mm lower than it normally would (the thickness of the mount's metal plate + thickness of chassis). Back-of-the-napkin math says that 4-6mm lower at the transmission equates to 2-3 mm higher at the cam pulley. I attempted to relocate the transmission mount to its proper place above the transmission brace, but that doesn't seem possible without removing the engine. There really isn't enough room to remove the engine in my garage, and, to be honest, I just didn't want to go that far with this fix. I was feeling somewhat dejected at this point - thinking there was no way to do this correctly; but then I put on my racing-mechanic hat & approached the problem from the opposite end... If I couldn't make it right, maybe I could make it less wrong. "Less wrong" would mean getting the transmission up where it should be, regardless of where the mount was installed. I figured I could put spacers between the mount and transmission - effectively lifting the transmission into the correct spot. I would also replace the thin washers that now hold the transmission & mount in place with something much more substantial (the washers the mechanic had installed were already bowed from stress). I would need new, longer hardware for this. After some trial and error, I ended up with this: That's 6mm+ thick washers, both top and bottom, to hold the transmission mount on the brace, and 2 2.5 mm washers between the transmission and mount (which you can't see in the pic). Not ideal, but that should put the transmission where it should be, and those washers should last until the next engine-out service. Doing this should have raised the transmission 5mm and lowered the cam pulley by 2-3 mm. Good, but not enough. Moving on, I found that the left engine mount wasn't fully seated in its receiving slot on the chassis - it had another 2-3mm of room to be lowered. A few knocks with a hammer on a broom handle fully seated both engine mounts, so I should now be anywhere from 4-6mm lower on the cam side. While that's likely still not enough room for a cam cover (which my car doesn't have), I think it gets it out of the way of the hood. It should also be known that my old engine mounts were quite a bit shorter due to age, so this "problem" will get better with time. Rattling at idle: By this point, I'd done a couple hundred miles or so on the new mounts. They were starting to soften up - which made driving much more enjoyable, but that rattling at idle got worse. While under the car working on the transmission mount, I saw that there are u-bolts on the exhaust - one of which was rubbing the chassis. At idle, when vibration was high, the bolt was bouncing off the chassis, causing the rattling sound I'd been hearing. There are very few rusty things on this car, but those bolts were caked with rust. I suspect they were added some time after the car was new, and after the motor mounts had sagged. I believe that the new motor mounts, being taller than the old ones, simply put the bolt in the wrong place. I don't believe there's any fault here - just circumstance. Being so rusty & because of the fact that the bolt was physically touching the chassis (making it difficult to fit a tool over), rather than loosen and adjust the alignment of said u-bolt, I just sawzall'd the last 3-or-so mm of bolt after the nut. Job done. Done for now... After all the post-work work, the car is in a good place. The main service item for this ordeal was the transmission, and I have to say, it's a real peach - smooth as silk & silent as a mouse. I suppose the work I've done since the repair has been relatively minor - even so, I've spent more time than I would have liked correcting these small issues. What really gets me is that I waited too long and paid too much money to have to deal with anything after the fact. I still need to replace the reverse light switch. The saga continues, but at least now, while the weather is good, I can go enjoy this thing like it was meant to be enjoyed. Big ticket items that remain: HVAC, interior wiring, and wheel refinish; but I think I'll wait a while before jumping on those. On my last drive, I noticed my speedo has a periodic squeak that changes with speed - I have no idea what that is, but I'll need to address it soon-ish. In the meantime, you can find me on Highway 2 in the mountains north of LA with a giant grin on my face.
  11. I've grappled with this entry since December. On the one hand, I have a very nicely rebuilt transmission that was done by a specialist in Northern California who used to work at the Lotus factory. On the other hand, I paid *way* more than expected, waited *way* longer than expected, and, in the end, was left with an unfinished car that I'm still trying to get right. I've written this entry three times now. Each time has been a novel - there's lots to be told. I'll try to pare it down & add some pictures to break up a wall of text. At the end of the day, I'm writing this post as a piece of the car's history. You, dear reader, may find it a bit boring. You've been warned. Initial problem: When I bought the car, I knew that the transmission wasn't right - the for sale ad said so. It also said that a second "good" transmission was included with the sale. I thought, "no biggie - I've swapped out transmissions on two cars now, how hard could it be?" Well, in the Elite, it's hard. The transmission can't be removed without removing the engine. I thought I might be able to be sneaky by removing the prop shaft and cheating the engine forward, but that doesn't appear to be possible. The engine had to come out & I can't do that at home. I do have a couple friends with lifts, but it would probably be best to have a shop do the whole thing. Searching for solution: I called my local vintage Lotus specialist for a quote on trans rebuild. They said it would be $4K+ by the time they were done and questioned whether the fix was worth while for an Elite (this was before they'd seen my car... they assumed it was a junker, as most Elites and Eclats in the US are). I thought $4K was too much & started looking for other solutions. One solution is a Toyota W58 transmission swap. A company called Conversion Components in NZ makes a kit for the 907 -> W58. While researching this swap, I found that someone in Northern California had done one. I took note of the name and continued with my research. As it turns out, not too many people are comfortable rebuilding the Lotus 5 speed, and even fewer are willing to do the actual R&R. Coming up short of ideas, I called the Northern CA shop & asked if I could ship up my spare, have them rebuild it, then do the replacement myself. The shop owner said that he was happy to do the rebuild, but would prefer to do the whole job. That actually sounded great to me, but he was 400 miles away - so logistically pretty difficult. So far, that was my best option, but I couldn't get an estimate for the work. The owner said he couldn't even speculate on a cost until he saw the car. When I pressed him (I wasn't going to bring the car 400 miles away & write a blank check), he gave me the expected labor cost to pull the engine & trans, rebuild the trans & replace everything. The estimate was $1600. I had him confirm that price more than once, and each time asked for a ballpark figure on parts, but he wouldn't budge. To shorten the story, I did some research and made a guess of $1000-1500 in parts to do the job, which would still save me $1K over the local place. This put me right on the fence of taking the car up north. Over the next week, the owner called me 3 times asking if I wanted to do the job. I figured he was hungry for work & would at least get the job done quickly. I'd also save a grand, and I was somewhat interested in the adventure. I agreed to have him do the work and made arrangements to borrow a truck and trailer to tow the car up north. Because this is an engine-out service, I asked him to replace the cam belt and water pump while access was easy (the cam belt was only 3 years and a few hundred miles old, but I figured replacement would be a snap now, but would be painful later, so.... best do it now). The trip North: The trailer was free to me, so I can't complain, but it wasn't in a good state when I picked it up. I had to re-wire the tail lights and adjust the front wheel stops so that my car would be balanced on the trailer when towing. I did this in a crazy heatwave, with temps over 100 degrees, and it was done in the open sun. When I finally got the car on the trailer, I realized that I couldn't open the car door because the trailer fender was in the way (this trailer had originally been made for an early Rolls Royce). So I set the parking brake, put it in gear, rolled down the window and crawled out. I cut out a piece of corrugated plastic & taped in a "window" to keep the car clean in transit. The process put me a couple hours behind schedule - which is important because I was supposed to drop the car off that evening - before the shop closed - but I had an 8 hour drive ahead of me and it was past 11am and over 100 degrees. Suffice it to say, this was not my best road trip. Arrival at the shop: The shop owner was kind enough to stay open late on a Saturday to wait for my delayed arrival. I pulled into the parking lot completely exhausted, but happy to see an enthusiast garage. The parking lot was riddled with Esprits and Europas - this was my kind of place. Much to my chagrin, the owner greeted me with a written estimate. This was the one thing I'd asked for - several times - before making the trip. The real pain here was that the estimate was for $4500. Why, oh why could he have not given this to me before I made the trip? Not only was I 400 miles from home, but I could have had my local shop do this work for the same money. If I had any strength left to fight, I would have turned the truck right back around and back to my local specialist (400 miles back). But... I was already there, I was *really* tired, and figured the car was in good hands, despite the fact that this felt a little underhanded. Work begins, and seemingly never ends: I dropped the car off on a Saturday. By Tuesday, I was getting text messages and pictures of the disassembly (which I very much appreciated). By Thursday (July 15th, 2021), he had everything apart and had put together a list of needed parts. I was actually a little worried that he would be done in a week and I'd have to make that 800 mile round-trip again. Weeks came and went and I hadn't heard anything more. I understand that it can take a while to get parts, and I understand that I'm not his only customer, so I patiently waited. By mid August, I thought that I should give the mechanic a heads up that my birthday was at the end of September - the same day as our next big race (I race a V8 powered Elite that was celebrating its 10th year of racing on my birthday weekend) - and that I would really like to get the car back the weekend before. I figured he would have had the car for 2 full months by then, which I thought would be plenty of time. He responded saying that he expected all of my parts to arrive by the end of the week & he would try his best to get the car done in time. I called the week I expected to get the car back. It wouldn't be done. He'd mixed up the dates and thought I needed to pick it up on my b-day, not have it in Los Angeles on my b-day. Oh well, no Elite for my b-day or as a companion at the race. Not a huge loss. I figured if he was only a week off, it should just about be done. The week after my b-day, I called again (now the first week in October). The car wasn't done. He said that he was sorry it was taking a long time, but he should have it by the end of the month (October). I thought that was a bit odd to take that long after almost getting it done in September, but so be it. I waited. By the first week in November, I still hadn't heard from him, so I gave a call. No answer; I left a message. Next day, I called again. No answer; I left a message. The next day, I got an email saying that he was again sorry it was taking a long time. He had a restoration that was taking longer than expected, but it should be done that weekend and he'd get to my car right after. I asked if he had any other cars ahead of me... he said he did, but he'd push me to the front of the line because I'd been waiting so long. Without many options, I bit my tongue and waited... December arrived and I hadn't heard anything, so I gave a call. Lo an behold, the car was not done. In fact, it had not been touched since July... it had just been sitting outside, under a universal car cover for 5 months. I was not happy & was having no more of this. After some shouting, I pressed him to give me a completion date. He said he could have my car done by Dec 17th. I agreed, hung up the phone steaming mad, and made arrangements for truck & trailer on the 17th for a Dec 18th pickup December 12th, I found that the truck I'd arranged wouldn't be ready until the 20th, which meant a December 21st pick up. I immediately called the mechanic to let him know that he had a few extra days. He was thankful for the extra time & mentioned that he found that my steering rack seemed a little loose (somewhat expected - I'd only just rebuilt it & hadn't adjusted it since - I expected it would need to be adjusted). Knowing what was likely the cause, I suggested where to look (rack preload shims) and agreed to let him adjust it. Before we hung up, I asked if he needed more time - he said no, he'd still be done by the 21st. On December 18th, I checked the weather - rain was forecasted over the entire state on my travel days. While this may not seem like a big deal to some, you have to understand that 2021 was the driest year in recorded history in California. I think we only had 3-4 days of rain the entire year, but now it's going to rain for my entire 8 hour trip home. Remember how I have to hop out through the window when the car is on that trailer? Yeah, towing in the rain isn't ideal. I called the mechanic and told him my dilemma. I asked his advice on the trailer or if I should delay the trip until after Christmas. He offered a few ideas - all of which involved making towing through the rain. This made me think the car was at least ready in time. In the end, I rented a different trailer - one that has collapsible fenders, and headed north on the 20th - just as we agreed. Pickup: I arrived at a cheap motel near the shop the night before pickup. It was cold and rainy & I'd been on the road literally all day. When I got out of the truck, I noticed a text from the mechanic - he asked if I maybe wanted to rethink the trip because it was raining. "I'm already here." I replied. He said he was just buttoning everything up (which I thought was odd - it was 6pm the day before I was supposed to pick up the car). About 30 minutes later, I got another text saying that the car wasn't running well & that my carbs needed adjusting. He asked if I wanted him to fix it. I replied to tell him that the carbs had been professionally rebuilt just 100 miles before he got it, and that the car was running perfectly when I dropped it off. If there was anything wrong with the way it was running, it was on him. I said that yes, I wanted it fixed, but I had no intention of paying for him to fix a problem that didn't exist before I gave him the car. No reply, but I think I was understood. Another 30 minutes passes and I get another text saying that one of the fuses was popping as soon as he put power to the car. He said it was the gauge cluster fuse & asked if I wanted him to fix that "problem." At this point, I was getting cross. I'd given the guy almost 6 months to do a transmission rebuild. I'd given him several chances to say he needed more time. Now that I was 400 miles from home, with truck and trailer, I find that he's not done with the car & is still ironing out bugs that he caused. Again, I was not a happy camper. If you've followed this thread, you'll know that I rewired this car, myself. I know every inch of the wiring harness & I know there were no electrical problems when I gave him the car. I told him as much and also corrected him: The fuse in question did go to the gauge cluster, but also to the reverse lights. He'd just replaced the transmission, so, again, this was likely his doing and he needed to fix it. Eventually I calmed down and went to bed. The next morning, I showed up at his shop at 8am. The mechanic was already there - he'd been there since 6am (kudos for the effort). Turns out the carb issue was related to the vacuum lines that go to the charcoal canister, so he just plugged the lines. Fair enough, I'll deal with fuel evap later. The fuse was, as I suspected, a problem with the reverse switch. He'd damaged the brand new one I'd installed weeks before I gave him the car, and replaced it with the old one from my spare transmission. That switch had a short & the short popped the fuse as soon as it got power. He tied off the reverse light (leaving me without them) which allowed me to drive the car. (As an aside, he never paid for that switch - that I've since replaced). I then learned of another surprise: He'd forgotten to put the transmission mount in place before putting the engine in. The trans mount can't go in or out with the transmission in place (it's wedged between a brace and the transmission, itself). Rather than pull the engine and correctly fit the mount, he simply bolted the mount to the underside of the brace, using large fender washers to distribute the load. He said, "I installed it from the bottom so it will be easier to replace in the future. The way Lotus did it, you have to remove the transmission to replace the brace." Not knowing any better, I agreed to that. (There's some foreshadowing here) Here it was, 9am or so on the day we agreed to pick up, but he still wasn't done. He'd clearly been rushing and was taking care of items he missed - one of which was an alternator belt pulley that fell off when I touched it. Another was a broken speedo gear. There were a few other items that I've since forgotten. I sat with him in the garage as he completed the job & lent a hand when it was needed. I should say that our visit that morning was cordial, despite all the missteps that got us there. I do think he's a nice enough guy, and in fact, I believe he's a capable mechanic, but he's got a problem with time management and customer service. By around 11am, I was able to take a quick test drive. Unfortunately, it was raining, and I have no windscreen wiper, so it was quick - just to ensure the transmission shifted and there were no obvious problems. I finished the test drive by driving onto the trailer & headed home in short order. Oh, the final bill? Over $5K. :: sigh :: of note: that $5k+ included an additional $385 to re-shim my steering rack. If you're following along, that means I've paid over $700 to rebuild that rack - when I could have paid $300 to have the local company who rebuilt the rack in our race car (also an Elite) do the work. :: double sigh :: Aftermath: There's a good bit to unpack since the repair (including a dangerously loose steering column shaft). I think I'll break this entry into multiple parts to make it more digestible. To be continued...
  12. I'm usually pretty easy-going about that sort of thing, but have been known to change clothes before getting in the car in an effort to keep the seats clean.
  13. Hi Tony, It did get finished. I've uploaded pictures to my project thread, but hadn't done so here. Here's the seat in progress: Here's everything installed: Note that the colors are a bit off between the corduroy and side bolster fabric. I've come to terms with this and don't really notice it anymore, though it was a bit irksome when it was first done. There were reasons for not taking the time to match the fabric at that point, but it would take too long to explain here. Regardless, I'm in love with the interior as is sits & don't at all mind that there's some contrast. You can see in the pictures, that the same fabric was used on the door cards. My headliner had been redone by the previous owner, but it's the same color as the side bolster (though a different material) I live in Los Angeles and had a local shop do it. This shop is a hidden gem - their work far outpaces their notoriety. I know it won't matter to you, but for the googlers, it's called "Julio Auto Upholstery" in the Highland Park area of Los Angeles (near downtown / Dodgers Stadium: I don't know who they used to supply the fabric. I know it wasn't from one of their match books of fabric swatches - so it was a special order. If/when I swing by their shop again, I'll ask and update the thread if I find out, but don't hold your breath.
  14. I took a break from wrenching last week. Sure is lovely to drive. I pushed a little harder through the canyons this time - zero complaints from the car. Handles beautifully. This weekend, I'm towing the Elite up to Northern California to drop it off for a transmission rebuild. Even though the engine rebuild is only 3 years and <1000 miles old, I'm also having the timing belt and water pump done while the engine is out. Any other recommended "while you're in there" maintenance/upgrade work with engine and trans out of the car? The builder suggested new cams, but I don't know if my wallet will support that idea.
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