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Getting black Elite back on the road


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HI, I have recently joined the forum, but I worked out I have had my Elite for about 22 years! but it's been about 10 years since I drove it. It's black 1975 501. I have done some small jobs over the time I've had it. Unfortunately the paint is not very good, lots of cracks and some of it is flaking off. The last 5 years have been spent changing the vacuum headlights to Mazda electrics. I know this should have taken 5 days, but life kept getting in the way. Once the all the lights were working again I discovered the brakes had seized. This led to me becoming alarmed at how thin the discs were! So with the help of the forum I went down that rabbit hole trying to find out where they came from. I think the consensus is they are specific to the Elite / Eclat. Given that existing calipers would need a full rebuild it turned out the 4 pot WIlwood upgrade from PNM was not much more expensive, even allowing for freight to Australia. So I have just finished getting the brakes to work, sort of. Everything went OK with the bleeding. A quick test drive proved the car was mostly working., but I have always thought the  brakes were not as good as I expected them to be. I also used have the ticking sound coming from the brake booster. I fixed this by running the vacuum line from 2 of the vacuum ports on the manifold. After making the headlights electric there was a spare one. I know this is supposed to do something with the heater, but I'll cross that bridge (much) later. I used 2 non return valves from a couple of Hondas I found at the wreckers. This eliminated the tick, but did not cure the under lying problem that the booster will not hold a vacuum. I managed to remove the booster with the invaluable help I found in these forums. It took a bit under an hour to get it out, I suspect it will take MUCH longer to get it back in. How did they do that in the factory? The other issue the test drive brought up was the rear brake cylinders are leaking as witnessed by the puddle of brake fluid under the car. So while the booster is off being rebuilt I will drop the diff and replace the cylinders, once again with much help from the forum. I'll definitely be cutting access holes under the rear seat.

So once again thanks to everyone for the valuable hints and tips so far.

Regards, Lance.

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Great to hear you are getting your car sorted - any photos!?  Your car will have the Delanair HVAC system - quite complicated - have a look at my thread about simplifying it!

Pete

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Good to hear from a fellow black Elite owner! Pictures very welcome of course.
Best of luck with the rear brakes, let us know how you get on. 

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Quote

Elite for about 22 years! but it's been about 10 years since I drove it. 

That barely registers on my time line. Owned 35 years, off road 31 years 😭. - but we have a plan..... 

Tony 

 

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Thanks for the replies. I'll check out your heater post Pete, but I think that problems a long way down the track. Michael, I am bit used to cars that are nightmare to fix. I also have a Triumph Stag and a PT Cruiser. It's hard to imagine a much worse job than a cam belt on a right hand drive PT. 

I have attached a photo of the car just before its test drive. As you can it's still dusty from its time in the shed, but at least the headlights stay down. Also you can see when the dust was removed the cracks in the paint were revealed. I hope you have an easier time keeping your car clean Dion. We live on a dirt road. When its dry its always dusty and muddy when its wet. I hope your plan comes together Tony how far have you got? We are about 25 years through a 5 year house restoration plan.

Anyway the booster is out and has been taken to be rebuilt. I have been quoted A$480. I hope they don't get half way through and realise it's not what they thought it was. So while its stationary back in the shed I'll take out the diff and do the back brakes. I hope it does not get too thick a layer of dust in the process. I think I have done this before and don't remember it being too hard. I'll let you know how bad my memory is.

All the best Lance.

FirstTimeOut.jpg

Cracks.jpg

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Although the bolt pattern for the bulkhead/pedal box is slightly different certain Land Rover brake servos are the same size and (in the UK at least) far cheaper - I think I paid about £80 (~A$153?).  I've fitted one and can probably find the part number if you're interested.  The matching master cylinders are equally cheap (although there are different piston diameters so you have to be careful).

Pete

Edit - sorry, just realised your car is a series 1 Lance.  The land Rover servo is the same size as the series 2 cars and will not easily fit the series 1 without moving the throttle cable attachment point on the bulkhead.

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Good to see the car pictured!
Quite dusty indeed. Cars I have in the shed stored for a longer period always had multitudes of old bed sheets on them, until I discovered cheap car covers (€20). These are now on the cars as my shed is very dusty. Also this keeps cats, birds and possibly other animals (do not want to know) out of the cars.

Paint on my car possibly is worse compared to your car.

Interesting door mirrors! Electric I presume? 

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I think I now all the bits to make it drivable again. The local brake specialist was able to rebuild the booster, so I don't have to worry about finding a replacement. Thanks for the advice Pete. I had read about the Land Rover option but had missed the series 1 series 2 fitment issue.

Dioln, I had found a bit more of a rodent problem with car covers. They seem to like dark places. Also I had not thought it would stay still for so long when I parked there! The mirrors have a mechanical remote control system, well at least one of them does. One it would be nice to make that all work again. Are they not the normal mirrors? The paint is flaking off in other places. I bet if I tried to remove it all most of it would be well attached. Once its moving again I'll wash it and see if I can get good photo.

So this weekends job is to fit the parts in the photo (optimistic?). I'm still not sure how to get the nuts back on the booster studs. I did find the holes I cut under the back seat essential in getting the rusted clevis pins out of the hand brake. Somewhere in these forums it was suggested to use a clamp and a small socket to press them out. I got lucky and managed to do it with a pair of multi grips, see photo. I glad I not try that from underneath. I'll try and replace them with stainless steel.

RemoveClevisPinsm.jpg

NewPartssm.jpg

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Hi Dion, that's quite funny. Years ago, before I got my Elite I read an article in the English Lotus Club magazine that suggested the type of people who buy Elites are the same type as those who buy Stags!. It seems to be true. I wonder how many others there are?

I got the diff out on the weekend. Unfortunately the drums where very wet inside and the shoes soaked. I am trying to work out if it was only brake fluid or if there was diff oil as well. The diff only had a little bit of oil missing and the cover gasket is weeping. I damaged a remote bleed line while taking it out and the other one would not come out of the cylinder, so I'll have to make a pair of those. Perhaps I should run them up to the drivers seat so I can bleed it by myself :) I have also had to order a set of shoes so it's not back together yet.

I've tipped the diff on its side to see if any oil comes out of the seal. I don't know if this will prove anything. I guess I could prove there definitely is a leak, but probably not that there is not.

Yuk.jpg

TipDiff.jpg

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On 31/08/2021 at 13:42, jep said:

Stag is such a classy vehicle. As is Elite. 

Also they are still bargains and the parts are cheap and easily available. 😀

Until you find out how many you need🤣

My 2 year house build only took 10. (Ignoring the running repairs list)- maybe the "bargain" building project is the third piece of the personality puzzle. Does this all necessarily involve a long- suffering wife or partner?

Black is the best colour,  and of your stand far enough away the paint can look quite good.

20210903_092414.jpg

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37 minutes ago, tom kilner said:

Also they are still bargains and the parts are cheap and easily available. 😀

 

Stags certainly are no longer a bargain. It's been 4 years since I sold my Stag and got an Excel for the same price. The Excel was in better condition and now prices for a Stag have more than doubled it seems, up to €15k for one requiring a bit of work. Which makes the Lotus a real bargain! Mind you, I still miss my first Stag, even the Jag XJS-C doesn't entirely scratch that itch...

I have made many mistakes in my life. Buying a multiple Lotus is not one of them.

 

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1 hour ago, Escape said:

Stags certainly are no longer a bargain. It's been 4 years since I sold my Stag and got an Excel for the same price. The Excel was in better condition and now prices for a Stag have more than doubled it seems, up to €15k for one requiring a bit of work. Which makes the Lotus a real bargain! Mind you, I still miss my first Stag, even the Jag XJS-C doesn't entirely scratch that itch...

I was lucky to be able to buy my Stag from someone who was a bit sloppy when advertising it. He did not take off all litter that had grown over the years in the garage, on the car, in the car, near the car. As a result the pictures were bad (only show the car in the packed garage) and did not show the car much. I put in a very low offer and as it was the only offer he received, was accepted.   

A.jpg

R.jpg

Edited by Dion
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On 02/09/2021 at 04:19, EXCEL V8 said:

Where is the breather located on your diff Lance?  If not on the cover is it on the axle tube?

Pete

Breather, what breather? I can't say I have noticed one Pete. What does it look like?

It turns out I do have an out put shaft oil leak, so off the shops again. This is going to take longer than I thought. It will be awhile before I can get far enough away from it to not see the cracks.

It seems to me all 60's, 70's and some 80's cars are going for stupid money now. I bought my Stag in 1989 as my daily driver. It needed a bit of work and has been a rolling restoration. When I first got the idea to buy a Stag I thought; great a V8 convertible to tow the boat to the beach. The problem was back then it would over heat on hot days (fixed now) so the now wife ended up driving it on weekends while I took her car.

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The diff should have a breather.  It is either on the diff cover as a short vertical tube or on the diff output shaft tube - usually on the right.  Without a breather oil can be forced past the seals as the temperature increases.  If there isn't a breather on the axle tube itself (also look for an open hole on there in case someone has removed the breather) then you may have a cover from a Morgan fitted - they often didn't have the breather on the cover.

I'll try to get a photo later.

Pete

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Now this is taking much longer than I first thought (surprise!!) I'd like to move the car back a couple of meters. The diff is out and the rear of the car is supported on jack stands. What happens if I put the wheels back on and lower it back down on the ground and push it back a bit? Will I break something?

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The drive shafts are also the suspension upper links.  I think you may damage the lower damper mounting with nothing else to keep the hub carrier orientated.  I use a heavy duty wheeled platform under the chassis for that sort of thing - have a look at "dolly truck platforms" on Machine Mart - some of them are 300kg capacity.

Pete

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If you don't need to move it far a (decent) trolley jack will do. Ideally with a helper, someone to push the car and someone to pull and steer the jack. We often have to resort to this trick to maneuver cars around the crowded Workshop.

I have made many mistakes in my life. Buying a multiple Lotus is not one of them.

 

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  • 3 weeks later...

I think it's the trolley jack if I have to move it.

This afternoon I put the refurbished brake booster back in. I wish I was a bit more flexible! I ended up taking the drivers seat out. After seeing how rusty the bolts were I was pleased how easily it came out. Laying on the floor made putting the booster in at least possible. It took me so long to find the hole in the brake peddle for the clevis pin I was worried it had healed up. Getting the R clip back in was very satisfying. Putting the accelerator peddle back in was another trial. I could not get the nylon bush on the transmission side back in place at all. I ended up making a new one that pushes in from the outside. It pushed against the transmission tunnel and the peddle shaft stops falling out the other side. If anyone has any hints on how to use the original bush I'd be pleased to hear them. It's still captive between the peddle box and the tunnel.

The diff seals should be somewhere between the UK and Australia now. Once they arrive I'll start to reassemble the back end.

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1 hour ago, Lance said:

If anyone has any hints on how to use the original bush I'd be pleased to hear them.

The pedal box has to be out to fit the bush on transmission side.

Pete

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  • 3 weeks later...

Thanks Pete, from what I can see the brake booster needs to be undone before the pedal box can come out. If so this makes it a bit of a "catch 22". I had to remove the accelerator pedal to get access to the booster nuts. I think I have worked out a way to get the plastic bit back in, but then shaft on the accelerator pedal is too long go back in with one plastic bearing in place, which is why I took it out in the first place. At the risk of becoming a member of Dodgy Brothers Inc. I am going to leave my custom nylon bearing in place for a while. It properly supports the accelerator pedal shaft and can't come out with the accelerator pedal in place.

I am about to put the output shafts back in the diff with new bearings, seals etc. Should I pack the bearings with grease first or put them in straight out of the bag?

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