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1976 Elite 504 Light Restoration


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I got in touch with Andy Graham @ Lotus in the hopes of getting hold of the providence certificate for the car, and it seems like it's a bit of an oddball! There were some Esprits shipped down to South Africa as CKD (car knocked down) format, I imagine for tax purposes. They were then built up by Intermotormakers in Cape Town. The theory is that this Elite was also sold in such a fashion! This would explain some oddities such as the out of spec distributor and a couple of other things.

Does anyone know of any details about the CKD process such as in what parts the cars were usually shipped?

I am going to see if the original owner or the then owners of IMM have any more details.

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No joy yet on the providence info, but will keep digging. I was able to get a value appraisal recently, so now I can get the car insured, which has been worrying me every time I take the cover off.

The next major issue to solve is rumbling in the rear as I get up to about 70 km/h. I'm taking a methodical approach and in order of least expense.

First was wheel balancing all around which I got the results of today. The fronts are okay, but the shop refused to balance the rears as they say the (Bridgestone) tires are kaput, which was really sad to hear. You can only get rubbish tires in this size here in South Africa. In any case, ordered some Powertrac City Tour tires (best of the worst) for the rear, we'll see what happens there.

The next step is the driveshaft UJs which I know are bad - all sorts of clacking and play. I ordered some Landy S3 UJs which are very available here - a win. I am going to attempt to replace them myself, and while at it clean up, plate and paint any bits that come off in the process.

Wheel see where we get with that, and then most likely move on to the wheel bearings.

In parallel, some cam cover sealingware is on the way as well as a belt, so those will probably be done too while the rear is in pieces.

Speaking of which, does anyone know offhand what the cambelt tensioner bearing code is? Would be nice if I can source locally replace those while at it.

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Does your timing belt tensioner have the type with a separate steel outer shell that presses over the pair of bearings?  If so I think I have the old boxes for mine somewhere - should be able to find the number.  If the universal joints you have ordered are a heavy duty type although they are dimensionally the same as the Lotus items the "body" of them is larger and the inner yokes (next to the diff) have to be machined for them to fit.

Pete

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Thanks Pete, I will check the dimensions of the UJs - holding thumbs they are the correct ones, otherwise will have to see what I can find here and hope the ones I have can be returned. I should probably have removed them and taken them to the supplier to double check!

Re the tensioner bearings, thanks for the offer to check. I imagine I will have to take it apart to find this out or will a close up photo do?

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A close up should show the difference - also the bearing with the steel sleeve displays a distinct "crown" on the periphery of the sleeve.  Also the tensioner bearing mount is differently constructed - it's in two parts rather than one, with a different hexagon size on the outside. 

If you can be bothered to trawl through my restoration thread "Elite Restoration Begins" on the Lotus Grand Tourers site you will find more details of the difference between the u/js.

Pete

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UJs have arrived. They appear to be the correct size?

20220112_122747.thumb.jpg.22f83b74de21213b1f5a3bce067c8b18.jpg

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I will see if I can get a decent shot of the tensioner, thanks also for the pointer to the other thread - I'm always willing to trawl, but usually forget where to find things.

Edited by makepeace
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I just had a chat with the original owner. He reckons that after he had propshaft UJs replaced, the vibration started. So that now points in a completely different direction that I was probably going to save for last or 2nd last.

Are there any tips or tricks to work out where a vibration is coming from?

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The propshafts are a "tube-in-tube" design.  If the u/js go out of alignment because the rubber in the propshaft fails then that would lead to vibration.  Worth checking the alignment of the propshaft u/js - unfortunately easier said than done!

Pete

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Thanks Pete. I dug around a bit underneath the car to try and find the ends of the propshaft - it's quite difficult to get at! I was hoping to try and do a manual method of adjustment by adding a jubilee clip and finding the balance point, but doesn't seem like I will be able to get to the centre of the shaft. I got the details of a specialist here, so I think I will do it properly and take it there. Hopefully it's relatively easy to balance. I don't think the UJs will need replacing again as the car hasn't been driven much since they were.

Rear tires were shot, and unfortunately we only have garbage here in the size, but I got the Powertrac City Tour tyres installed on the rear and some noises have disappeared. They don't seem too terrible for normal road use.

In other news, some parts arrived for the cam cover and belt refresh:

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Excited to sort the cam covers out to get rid of this oil leak and also clean them up a bit. Belt also worries me every time I start the car.

Along with these issues, another priority is to get a new SS exhaust made. The current one is very tatty, clogged up inside and full of holes and the configuration is also a bit wrong. There is about half the amount of air coming out the right side outlet than the left.

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More soon!

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Ref the cam belt tensioner bearing, not sure if this would interest you but I used a Ford focus cam belt tensioner bearing with plastic belt wheel.

I had to disassemble the ford (cutting required) unit to get to the belt wheel with bearing and then slightly turn down the two ends of the Lotus bearing carrier to fit the centre boss of the Ford bearing.

Result is a much better bearing set up and the ability to replace it in the future for peanut's!

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  • 2 weeks later...

 

On 15/01/2022 at 10:17, EXCEL V8 said:

Did you know the spare wheel carrier should have a large round fibreglass "board" on it?

Ah interesting, I didn't know! Something I will have to pick up along the way. The spare doesn't seem like it's going anywhere as is - I imagine it's to protect against road grime?

On 15/01/2022 at 17:56, pbharcourt said:

Ref the cam belt tensioner bearing

Thanks for the tip! On the subject, I eventually managed to get a clip of the tensioner (tis not easy with the bonnet installed!).

20220130_145901.thumb.jpg.8ef7042b2b266efb0fca538e9b2dee87.jpg

It seems to be the later eccentric type. That seems like a good thing?! From a quick google, the SKF number is VKM 14300. Correct? Again, seems like an unobtanium expensive bearing :(.

As from another topic, it seems like the vibration in the rear is not caused by the propshaft (I tried to balance it using the jubilee clip method and I could pick up no specific eccentric spot when rotating), but rather by either worn rear hub bearings or the person who came before not tightening the hubs fully.

I decided while here to bite the bullet and do it properly by replacing the bearings and UJs (and also new hub carrier studs in case I messed up the existing ones while getting them off - which I did).

I'm praying that when everything is reassembled the vibration will have magically disappeared, because at this stage I am not exactly sure what the cause is, and still worried it's bent driveshafts, yokes or stub axles.

Driveshafts off and disassembled.

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Hub carrier stud removal was an epic battle that took a couple of days of heat, penetrating spray, washers and anything else I could find and curses. The nut and washer method proved to be really easy in the end, but took a while to arrive at after a bit of heat and bashing and then attempting to install a grease nipple with the studs in situ and bashing. For anyone attempting this in the future, get yourself some washers and anything that will fit around the stud and screw it out with a nut.

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The UJs have arrived, bearings and all associated bits are on the way. But first to send everything for a good clean and possibly a bit of colour.

Speaking of which, in the meantime while I wait for things to arrive I will be attacking the cam covers. They are leaking about 100 ml of oil an hour and are very ugly.

I managed to get at the lower bolts by raising the engine slightly, for which I needed to remove the engine mounting nuts from the bottom, exhaust manifold to 1st section nuts, and the bolt holding the transmission to the chassis (it pokes out of the mounting bush/weird seaweed shaped rubber mount). Then I jacked the engine up with a bit of wood on the sump.

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And covers off, and cam tower covered well to prevent ingress.

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The previous attempt to seal the covers was quite shocking, but the covers do not seem too badly bent. I'm hoping the rubber gaskets will be a workable solution. 

Now waiting for everything to arrive from the mail and cleaning.

While doing so I will be getting some custom washers laser cut to facilitate bearing outer race removal and reinstallation.

Edited by makepeace
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Yep - you have the later type of belt tensioner.  You can readily get both the original SKF bearing and slightly cheaper copies.

What does the inner surface of the hub look like now you've removed it - the bit that abuts the wheel bearing?

Don't forget to warm the hub carriers when reinstalling the bearings.

Pete

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Cool, that's good to hear. Hopefully I can get a bearing locally for a reasonable cost.

I haven't removed the outer race yet, but I can definitely see some pretty ugly marking on both hub carriers on the inner axial face of the boss that constrains the inboard side of the bearing. It doesn't seem unworkable though.

Yep - thanks for the reminder, going to freeze the bearing and put the hub carriers in the oven for a while first.

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On 15/01/2022 at 15:56, pbharcourt said:

Ref the cam belt tensioner bearing, not sure if this would interest you but I used a Ford focus cam belt tensioner bearing with plastic belt wheel.

I had to disassemble the ford (cutting required) unit to get to the belt wheel with bearing and then slightly turn down the two ends of the Lotus bearing carrier to fit the centre boss of the Ford bearing.

Result is a much better bearing set up and the ability to replace it in the future for peanut's!

Do you have the Ford tensioner bearing part number by any chance please?

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I think it was this one...

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/FOR-CITROEN-BERLINGO-PEUGEOT-PARTNER-FORD-FOCUS-Timing-Cam-Belt-Tensioner-Pulley-/123599070357?mkcid=16&mkevt=1&_trksid=p2349624.m46890.l49286&mkrid=710-127635-2958-0

I cut the end cap off the tensioner gubbins and removed it to leave just the sealed bearing and the outer plastic roller.

I had the Lotus semi auto tensioner which comes in two parts and clamps the bearing, so turned down the boss either side to the same diameter as the Ford bearing but only enough to allow the bearing centre to clamp the smaller width.

That way I can still fit the Lotus bearing if I win the lottery! 😂

Please be aware I am just letting you know what I did to mine and obviously can not recommend anyone else does it as I don't want to be responsible for anybody ruining their engine!

 

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Hi Jono, I noticed earlier in the posts you were chasing a driveline vibration. I had a similar problem. Mine would vibrate in 4th and 5th with throttle off. I think I've just fixed it. In the photo's of the rear end of your car the 'C' channel between the lower diff studs is missing. I just fitted this to mine and the vibration has gone. There is modification instruction in the manual. The part can purchased from SJ Sportscars and probably others. I can take a photo of mine if that would help.

Hope this helps, Lance.

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7 hours ago, Lance said:

Hi Jono, I noticed earlier in the posts you were chasing a driveline vibration. I had a similar problem. 

Hi Lance, thanks for sharing your experience!

I am planning on fitting a DIY diff brace while the rear is in pieces. It's at least part of the problem. Thanks for the reinforcement of this idea.

The main issue with that so far as the information yields is most likely a combination of worn wheel bearings, UJs and hub nuts not being tight enough.

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 03/02/2022 at 12:37, Lance said:

In the photo's of the rear end of your car the 'C' channel between the lower diff studs is missing. I can take a photo of mine if that would help.

Hi Lance, would really appreciate a photo -not 100% sure where this is supposed to go. I've seen other cars that have a brace on the rear of the studs, but I read somewhere that it should go on the front on the diff side. Or both?

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  • 1 month later...

Hi, sorry for the delay. Here is a photo of my install. I think this is where it goes. After a few more miles it's clear the vibration has not completely disappeared, but has been well reduced.

Hope this helps, Lance.

IMG20220313192942.jpg

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  • 2 months later...

Thanks Lance, figured it was that one. From what I can tell it seems that there is another device fitted to the forward mounts of the diff. Mine doesn't seem to have that either... Important?

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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.

Edited by BrianK
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