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What tricks have you got for making an Elite reliable? - Elite / Eclat / Excel Chat - The Lotus Forums Jump to content
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What tricks have you got for making an Elite reliable?

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The type 75 Elite, like the S1 Esprit, soon got a reputation for not being the most reliable car ever produced. With the benefit of experience owners have made modifications to their early Esprits to make them perfectly reliable as long as the regular maintenance is carried out.

While I'm sure the reputation and stories have been exaggerated and much the result of neglected cars, there were stories when the cars were new. Obviously Lotus managed to develop the car into the Excel which became known as the reliable Lotus but it was very different under the skin from the early Elite. Have Elite or Eclat owners, a smaller, more eclectic band, come up with similar tweaks for their cars to make them usable as daily drivers? If so, what were these tweaks?


S4 Elan, Elan +2S, Federal-spec, World Championship Edition S2 Esprit #42, S1 Elise, Excel SE

 

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a couple from the excel which i believe are transferable, please correct me if wrong.

- replace the fuel pump with an electric / solid state one (correct carburetor model), the points based mechanical ones are known to have the points go, an cheap easy fix but can let you down when u don't need it.

- the otter switch for the fans are known to fail - these can be replaced with modern items that plumb straight in place.

however i've had no issues with either of the above! (yet)

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Don't know, still restoring

:lol:

But keeping the electrics in shape, especially the grounds, helps. New fans, better thermo switch, maybe an uprated radiator, no, definately an uprated radiator, water pump and timing belt service, frequent grease to all the important zerks.

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Guest saraphee

I'll write here only of what I've done to make a reliable daily driver, rather than the general job of making the car look good and preserving it's various metals & fibres. I also cannot speak of engine or transmission as my location did not make it easy to source a 907 engine & gearbox, so I replaced the Toyota 1600 which was nestling in the front bay when I found it and installed a BMW. Some cynics may say that this is part of improving the reliability.

I have not altered the rear suspension, beyond following the Mike Taylor tips as well as replacing Springs & Shockers all round. The conversion from LHD to RHD was a matter of self preservation as was the overhaul of all other components with moving parts and/or seals.

So here's my DD list of changes.

Change all wiring. Change all relays. Create improved grounding. Change to uprated fuel pump. New radiator. New Fans & Motors. Convert headlights from vacuum to motors.Up rate headlight bulbs. Change other bulbs to LED where practical. Remove anything bearing the name Lucas. Fit Rear Fog Lights (a "stay-back" precaution) Keep the side repeaters as US spec.

Paint the thing Lotus Yellow so the locals might notice it. Fit a bull horn, reason as before. Up rate brake pads. Fit new wipers, motors and washers. New glass in door & interior mirrors. New stainless steel exhaust system. Fit new bushings throughout.

Fit double aluminium coated foam to interior roof before installing new roof lining. Improve cabin sound proofing. Fit premium quality carpets - and in the tailgate area. Refinish all upholstery, including dashboard in black & gray leather. Replace crappy plastic and chrome interior fittings & trim with custom made stainless steel copies.Upgrade the wood finish on centre switch panel, glove box lid, gear knob etc. Replace window winder mechanisms & motors with Japanese products. Fit custom made stainless steel seat belt mountings. Fit new sound system. Fit uprated A/C unit.

I'm sure there's more .............................

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I'd really like to see some pictures of your car, Rex. Sounds like it's been very well done.


S4 Elan, Elan +2S, Federal-spec, World Championship Edition S2 Esprit #42, S1 Elise, Excel SE

 

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Guest saraphee

I've just remembered something else!

(I told you there'd be more)

Fit 'fail safe' bonnet and tailgate releases. I'd heard of cars where the cables had snapped or worked loose and it seems to be the devil's own job to crack either end open without causing damage.

So now I have release levers (changed from the flimsy Lotus pulls to recent Japanese releases) on both sides of the car.

Not many recent photos available I'm afraid - this taken as 'the flying custard' was about to leave the paint shop for the second time - Yes, there'll be a third return trip shortly to right all the wrongs.

post-9228-0-73003900-1305078597_thumb.jp

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Hi all, I`m about to "take the plunge" for the first time (unless you count the Dinky toy) and get a Lotus Elite 2.2....I do expect some problems but deliberately went for the 2.2 and (possibly) the best within my budget to avoid nightmare territory, so fingers crossed .

With the 2.2, I am looking to take it for examination by experts asap after purchase (if it gets there) --apart from the brakes (which I understand have been sorted), any obvious stuff I ought to be on the lookout for to get done on the assumption it will shortly pack up / explode/ burst ?

Thanks

Dan

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Dan

They really aren't so bad, IMHO. Most of the checks before hand are pretty obvious, I would suggest. Has it been sitting a field, in a dry store, or regularly used? Cars that have been in a field at some time are best avoided - everything will be dodgy.

Is the engine burning oil? Best to leave it idling for 1 minute then welly the throttle and see how much smoke comes out. Ideally the answer is none. If not, the engine is wearing out. Does the engine pull well, generally?

Are the rear wheels nice an vertical. If they are point in at the top the UJs are going.

With a galvanised chassis, it should be rust free. If not, worry it has been abused or is a real 2.2

Do the electrics all work? Will the fan kick in? All of this is fixable, but gives an idea of how well maintained it it.

Check the brightwork is in good nick, especially the top and bottom strips on the windscreen, which are v hard to get in good condition.

When idling out of gear, clutch out, do you get a lot of noise, which goes if you depress the clutch? If so, bearing are on the way out. On the move are the syncros strong, or can you rush a change and crunch the gears? This is more noticeable when hot, since the oil thins. On the overrun is every thing smooth and quiet? Is there any clonking when moving from reverse to first gear et al.

Most crucial thing after buying is the cam belt and tensioner, since a failure is costly to fix. Water pump while you are at it. People have problem with rear trailing arms failing, and door bushes seizing. The rest is standard stuff, really. I wouldn't take anyone's word for anything. Change all the fluids, filters etc.

A car that has been left standing will doubtless need most of the relays changing too.

Herc

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Welcome Dan!

Seat belt mounts inside the sill cover - change them as soon as you can. Unless they have been changed I will almost guarantee they will be shot.

Check the car stays in gear on the overun. The getrag is strong, but its expensive to replace if its knacked NB all getrag 265's are a bit noisy by modern standards...

A new thermostat is a good idea in any car hasn't seen much use recently and look at fitting an overide system to the cooling fans with a relay and an under dash switch straight off the battery. Don't be tempted to take the thermostat out completely - bizarely the lotus 907/912 overheats without on in the hole to divert some flow. A remote switch means you can put the cooling fans on manually without worrying about otter switches.

Check the pods rise ok and check that the wiper works if you are making a day trip of it, and post some pics so we can all have a look at your new purchase. Herc's right - theyre not that bad. Very little is beyond a half decent mechanic, the problem is that they have often fallen into the hands of someone who doesn't know which end of the car is which.

I assume you are taking it up to see Mike and Co. at Lotusbits for a once over? They are the only elite/eclat/excel specialists that are worth bothering with IMO. The amount of garbage I've heard other so called Lotus specialists offer about these cars shows up a real lack of knowledge.

Have a read through this thread - I was supposed to write up a proper buyers guide, but haven't gotten round to it yet.

http://www.thelotusforums.com/forums/index.php/topic/41779-elite-eclat-excel-for-sale/

D

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Thanks guys...I`ll be bearing all that in mind. The car has been dry-stored for some years. By all accounts it was well-maintained. My worry No. 1 is the cambelt

-can`t tell when it was last replaced. It "looks ok-not cracked or perished " . Hmmmm........anyway I don`t want to give it hard time / rev the nuts off it straight away.

If all goes well I have already "warned" Lotusbits that I want to drop in on them on the way back for a once-over -(or maybe I won`t get a choice in the matter !)

I`m told the rear wiper`s packed up but if that`s all the immediate trouble, I can`t grumble.

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Dan

most will tell you that you really should get the cambelt changed come what may.

Any photos of the car ? It might be one no one has seen for years - and that is always exciting !!

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Hi, picked the car up today. It was the dark blue one on ebay (and I`m sure many have seen the ad), in Telford.

Well, all I can say is, I was gobsmacked. It was a really lovely car and more than lived up to the description. Even the vanity mirror light worked-not that I intend to use it ! No question of any doors hanging down...

Drove it 150 miles back to London on maybe the rainiest day of the year, didn`t miss a beat. Certainly didn`t thrash it as worried at still no new cambelt (or maybe that`s down to luck). Lovely stability, although I`m used to that with the hydraulic Citroens.

I was absolutely shocked however- NOT: to see the temperature needle climb (to 120 no higher ) when the M1 traffic slowed....might just be the fan however as the needle did a weird back flip for a few seconds later on in town ...the needle never actually touched maximum but ..maybe all this is obvious stuff to seasoned owners. I do suspect a manual cut-in is the answer.

Will try to post some pics but anyway it was the one on ebay.

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Dan

Many people have problems with the 'otter' switch on the radiator. I had problems with the relay for the fan, located on the offside wheel arch. Both available from SJ Sportcars on line. Delivery speed is touch erratic so order a few days in advance. If you are gettin overheating, best to look at it sooner rather than later, since they do seem to get hot very quickly when stationary.

If you are going to do any work at all on it at all, I'd recommend a workshop manual - there are a lot floating around on eBay.

Enjoy!

Herc

PS Photos are always appreciated by everyone.

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Hi, picked the car up today. It was the dark blue one on ebay (and I`m sure many have seen the ad), in Telford.

Nice one Dan. I've been thinking about that same car for a couple of months now, even arranged to go see it once but it never worked out. Really glad it's found a good home.

Keep us up to date on how you get on with it. I really ought to take the plunge myself... :wallbash:

EbayMar11e.jpg

EbayMar11b.jpg

EbayMar11g.jpg

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Thanks for the pics- that is my one above by the way.

Just a quick update on fettling work : replaced :-

fan relay

otter switch

air filter hose

cambelt and bearing, (I was told old one had about 2 days use left on it as the bearing had seized ...gulp)

power steering belt

alternator belt

got new rear hatch gas struts which I can fit myself (wow).

Now....I wait to see if a new custom unit to carb fuel line has arrived. Yes, I would like to drive it one day quite soon !

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Update on GON 5W:

Had starter motor overhauled (engine started first time after a week , then left car to be worked on- it went dead !-motor / solenoid jammed/corroded)

Fuel line from 2.2 Excel (unused) fitted-thanks Andrew.

Secondhand flowlock valve fitted.

Bonnet gas strut fitted.

New battery (should`ve done that minutes after buying car !)

Front suspension strut tops greased.

o/s brainteasers : one headlight not rising (electrics probably-2.2s did not have the vacuum arrangement).

Rear wiper not moving. The motor ? / connections?/ relays/ wiper arm link? / God knows.

Air con recharge

One tyre quick to deflate-sealant round alloy rim ?

Bulb for underbonnet light

A Jack.

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