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My first Lotus any advice?

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Hi All,

I have just bought my first Lotus a 1979 Elite fitted with a Rover V8 engine and autobox i hopefully get the car the end of the week being completely new to Lotus cars is there anything i should be aware of with these cars :unsure: I have owned a couple of Reliant Scimitars if for a short time and they suffered from dodgy elecs ie earths and body crazing/cracking and overheating but i think that was due the Ford lump being in a very tight engine bay :huh: I hope the Lotus will be less troublesome than the Scimitars i have had lots of experience with the bullet proof RV8 lump and know its weaknesses NOT many so any advice or help on my new purchase is very much appreciated ;)

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Hi, your car sounds interesting. I have just sold my Rover V8 Elite to a guy in the Netherlands. You have to watch the chassis on Elites and if your car has been fitted with a galvanised chassis you are laughing. Rear crossmembers go so be sure to check it out well before committing as a new chassis will cost you about £1200 fitted. Nothing else really springs to mind. Elecs etc are tricky on most old cars to be fair. Good luck with your new machine and stick a pic on when you get one! Liam

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Hi, your car sounds interesting. I have just sold my Rover V8 Elite to a guy in the Netherlands. You have to watch the chassis on Elites and if your car has been fitted with a galvanised chassis you are laughing. Rear crossmembers go so be sure to check it out well before committing as a new chassis will cost you about £1200 fitted. Nothing else really springs to mind. Elecs etc are tricky on most old cars to be fair. Good luck with your new machine and stick a pic on when you get one! Liam

Hi Liam,

Thanks for that the chassis is Galvanised and should get the car the end of the week

Edited by badams

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Welcome to our forum!

You will love it. You will probably find it is a bit short geared with the 1:1 top of the BW autobox and the final drive, and consequently hideously thirsty, but you'll have a whale of a time with the V8 in a galv chassis. It's fine as long as it is a weekend toy. I love mine - I'll probably be buried in it.

I saw your car advertised and thought it was a good buy for someone. I was trying to talk a colleague into buying it - he went as far as emailing the seller for details, but he doens't really know one end of a spanner from another, and the realities of owning an older car probably require that you do....

1 hobby horse of mine is front seatbelt mounts. Change them - as it is likely that they will have disolved away to nothing. They are hidden by a cover sill and the MOT tester never pry's the cover back to inspect, so it will always pass the MOT test unless the belt comes away in his hand (which is what happened to my S1). Not worth taking chances with. Lotus bits sell stainless replacements nice and cheaply.

If you need any specific help - just shout out - there is usually someone on here that will know and there are a few V8 cars on the forums.

D

Edited by Dunc

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Hi Dunc,

Thanks for the welcome and for the info must check my seat belt mounts i have been trying to get my Lotus started but no success yet someone had fitted an alarm which was a righ mess :huh: so i have ripped out most of the alarm wiring just hope i have not disturbed some original wiring :help: Its a case of tracing all the wiring back i have never seen so much elec tape on so many connectors surely this cannot be Lotus's doing :cry: i love the car but think the interior build quality is terrible get ready for lots of questions soon :unworthy:

Edited by badams

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The plus side of the interior build quality being terrible is that it is very easy to repair/replace.

Carpet seats are readily available and relatively easy to replace.

Headlinings will always need to be replaced on our cars from time to time, and some of the softer seat items can look pretty shabby after 30 years. On the plus side, there is no shortage of breaker cars which means an opportunity to freshen up a shoddy interior shouldn't break the bank. The interior panels themselves are all fairly flat which means recovering items is a viable DIY job. You might want to buy an interior from ebay then re-cover it at you leisure before fitting?

I've read that XJS front seats are a direct fit, but have no personal experience. If you hate the formica fake wood, you can do what I did with my S1 and buy some burr walnut veneer leaves from ebay. A hot iron and some work with a craft knife, a light sand and a varnish can produce a very good result. Again, most of the bits are flat.

Nothing on our cars are complicated....fiddly yes, complicated no.

NB which distributor/electronic ignition system is fitted? The early OPUS type fitted to some 3.5V8 systems are reputed to be quite unreliable. A swap to something new and proven could be worthwhile. Ebay is your freind! Rover V8 parts are plentiful and cheap.

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Hi Dunc,

I think it would be easier to find a second hand interior prefferably leather :D and yes mine does have the early hopelus dizzy ignition system fitted which will be changed to the later type 35dml8 system :) i actually like the formica sad or what :blush:

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the trouble with second hand leather is that they are generally 30 years old. Rear seats are often good, fronts are usually shagged/split/torn.

Interiors that have been recovered by others appear on ebay from time to time, often from abandoned resto projects. Just a case of keeping your eyes peeled.

Alternately, a second hand black leather interior with good rears could be complimented by a pair of replacement fronts from another car (e.g. XJS?) however the last time I looked, I noticed prices for XJS seats seems to have gone up. No longer available for buttons.

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I don't think as many XJSs are around/being scrapped, my mate paid a couple of hundred for some reasonable items, and he still needs them re-colouring to match (££££s unless you can DIY)

For some reason I don't think the leather lasts as well as the cloth interiors; the S2 cloth is a kind of Biblical hessian sackcloth which looks like it was fashioned by the local goat herder - but can withstand a nuclear blast.

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Once you've got it started you'll be able to better judge the V8 conversion.

You know all about the Rover engine, and your apprenticeship with Scimitars will stand you in good stead with the similar Lotus.

I've an S1, so I'm not really sure my experiences are applicable to your car, but here's a couple:

Door hinges:- they are long heavy (integral crash beam) doors and can wear the hinges. I've fitted grease nipples to mine.

Front suspension trunnions, keep them lubricated with heavy OIL, not grease.

Rear suspension long bolt/stud at the bottom of the hub carrier, needs regular lubrication. (assuming these are std Lotus ones)

Anti-roll bar bushes, especially the ones in the lower link. The AR bar is also used to locate the lower link on a std car ( mine has extra link).

Electrics, you know about, but has the tacho been adjusted to suit the V8?, & is the speedo accurate?

Your engine/box combo probably weighs not much more than Lotus, but front springs may need attention, mine did, but then I'm running the heavy LT77 box.

What state of tune/size engine have you, is the fuel pump adequate?

How's the cooling?, what rad are you running?. You may want to consider modding the number plate mount to stop it interfering with the airflow into the front grille.

Oh, and get a good toolkit, hand cleaner, and plenty of patience pills.

These cars were made for a V8, and properly sorted are quite fun. I've had mine for over 30 years and it's still able to make me smile, and they still attract attention, even more with the V8 rumble. btw, what's your exhaust details?

pps, watch the windscreen wipers don't slap on the body at each end of it's sweep on a wet screen, it could be the wiper rack, easy to replace, or you can re-fit the rack to use the unused half of the wheel that drives the arm, but if you need to change the wheelbox itself, get those patience pills ready.

There's loads of other little things, but you didn't buy this car expecting never to get dirty hands otherwise you would have gone for some boring mass-produced thingy.

Have fun!

Denis

Edited by Denis247

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Thanks guys for all the very useful info very much appreciated indeed like the sackcloth and sheep hearder bit lol :thumbup: now my main priority at moment is to get the bleeding thing started :censored: I have had the starter spinning away brilliantly then the other day NOTHING dont know if its jammed fecked or if its a starter relay/solenoid can anyone please point me in the right direction ie where is the starter sol/rel located please :help:

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Thanks guys for all the very useful info very much appreciated indeed like the sackcloth and sheep hearder bit lol :thumbup: now my main priority at moment is to get the bleeding thing started :censored: I have had the starter spinning away brilliantly then the other day NOTHING dont know if its jammed fecked or if its a starter relay/solenoid can anyone please point me in the right direction ie where is the starter sol/rel located please :help:

Right discovered it is an iffy starter motor/solenoid as a few wacks with a bar got it spinning so that will be replaced asap now i find there is no spark from the coil which does not suprise me really considreing all the alarm wiring i have removed :huh: Its a real mess under that bonnet so its back to square one to route out what should be connected and not :help: why do people have to botch things up when it will obviously fail at some point :realmad: oh and that crappy oplus system is also going asap thanks again guys for the advice and info keep em coming oh Great Lotus knowledgable ones :unworthy:

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The vendor suggested that your car had been sitting idle for a while.

I'd just whip the solenoid off the side and clean it up and lube then refit it if I was you. You might even find it improves with a bit of use.

better than spending money.

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The vendor suggested that your car had been sitting idle for a while.

I'd just whip the solenoid off the side and clean it up and lube then refit it if I was you. You might even find it improves with a bit of use.

better than spending money.

I got a kind mate with lots of second hand V8 bits happy%20dance.gif

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