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Clive59

Elite '76 502 questions as I am looking to buy

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I have just driven a 76 Elite which was fun, and I will probably buy it, but I have a few questions on what is normal and so forth.

It lives in Australia, and so I have very little to choose from. The engine seems fine, settled down to a smooth idle when warm. It does hesitate a little when taking off, but not a problem, probably carb adjustment. No smoke at all, oil pressure is good, even at idle. There is a fair bit of noise from the gearbox when the clutch is released. Apparently been there since the current owner bought it 14 years ago. I did notice that noise changed when i moved the gearstick a bit. Gear selection is a bit odd, 1st, 3rd and 5th are easy, 2nd a bit hard to get easily, 4th has no feel at all and feels like it isn't in, but it usually was fine. I did notice that in 1st, 3rd etc that the lever was very close to the air/heater lever and I had to move the heater lever to the left to be comfortably out of the way of my hand when gripping the gear knob. Is there an adjustment which changes the angle of the gear lever, and this may affect engaging 2nd and 4th? Driving along and every gear seems to have a different tune. Reverse was difficult to engage on one occasion. There was no crunching of gears however.

The brakes seem to have long travel. They are definitely not up to modern standards. The handbrake lever was quite high when engaged, so maybe the rear drums need adjusting and this will fix them? They did work, but seem fairly hard. Is this normal?

It was very comfortable, seats nice, good for a long drive. I was greatly relieved I must say as I am 6'3" and had sat in an Excel previously and it didn't feel comfortable at all. Not driven as it had a flat battery!

Steering was fine, no slop, but quite heavy at low speed, which is no real surprise. A respray will be required, but that can wait, it looks ok if you don't look too closely.

I couldn't see if the chassis was bad, but I couldn't see any evidence with a look underneath of any problems. Possibly not such an issue in Australia?

Any comments, advice or other words of wisdom welcome. Am I insane, or just rose coloured glasses firmly attached?

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g'day clive

funnily enough I am reading your email from a beachfront cafe in terrigal NSW and head back to the cold on thursday. I dont suppose the car is on the central coast? If it is I would gladly view it with you. brake travel is normal, brakes are good, but travel is excessive. an acquaintance is playing with different lengths of rod in an effort to improve this, but I'm not sure how much su cess he has had. been years since I drove an s1, so my memory of the beans box and linkage isn't freash, but I do recall a bit of sloppiness, though perhaps not to the degree you describe. I wrote a sort of buyers guide a few months ago, which you should be able to find using the search function, sorry I can't link it for you but I'm using my childs nabi tab. if you do buy it' please be sure to send me an email so I can add it to the elite and eclat register which is about to be relaunched. If you want a bit of a chat and sanity check, call my brother in laws mob on 0410547030 and ask to speak to duncan or txt me on +447732721566

cheers' Dunc

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Hi Duncan,

Well, there's worse places to be than Terrigal for sure! We're up in the Blue Mountains, so not far away. Unfortunately the car is in Hobart, so not easy to view. Glad to hear brakes are probably normal. I am planning to drive it up from Hobart, so I am trying to make sure I don't buy any major problems. That being said, replacement gearboxes are not that expensive it seems, but shipping from Lotusbits might be a bugger! Do you recall the S1 gearbox being very noisy?

Enjoy the rest of your holiday in paradise.

cheers, Clive

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Hi Clive and welcome to TLF. :welcome:

You should head over to the introductions thread and say hi there as well. There are quite a few guys in NSW that get together for runs etc so hopefully they will make themselves known. Probably more likely to respond to the intros thread and if you finish your profile off to show where you live.

Any other questions or issues with using the forums, feel free to ask one of us mods. We're here to help. :)

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I had a 76 Elite but I've changed everything except the body itself.

That gearbox never was strong and sounds like it's on it's last legs. Sometimes they cant't be repaired because the ally bearing housings break up, I had this happen to my first one.

The handbrake could just be a case of adjustment, but it could also be a stretched cable. Which are a bit of a b*gger to replace. Ask yourself why the owner hasn,t adjusted it if that,s all that,s wrong.

One major chassis point is the rear beam. This is a common rust point and isn,t helped by Lotus fitting moisture retaining foam rubber around it.

Don,t underestimate a respray, if the gel coat has cracked its not an easy job.

These cars are good if they are maintained well and constantly, otherwise they can be a pain and expensive.

Tread carefully and try to get a Lotus person who knows this model to take a look if you're not confident yourself.

It might be cheap to buy but if it needs spares they can be very expensive.

Sorry to be a downer, but poor examples are only good for breaking, it,s a shame because they look good, but I,ve found they are either very good or very bad.

Good luck on your decision.

Ps excuse typing, combo of ipad and weak eyes.

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The clutch noise is fairly common. A few of my previous elites have had this but didn't seem to worsen at all. It's a clutch release bearing I was told and as far as I am aware it's an engine out job. People tend to drop the engines out from below rather than above as its meant to be easier, I guess so that you can leave the gearbox attached. Anyways. Welcome to the forum, and if the cars body/ chassis is good then just go for it. Worry about the box when it falls out ;-) they are getting rare and good ones rarer! Enjoy the rest of your hols also Dunc, the weather north and south are equally poor so grab as much sun as you can! Say hi to the family. Liam, Lyns and baby Max.

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Thanks for your feedback guys. I think it sounds like I'll take a gamble, it seems to be in pretty good order, and I couldn't see any signs of rust on the chassis when I got underneath. The door hinge hole is no longer round either, so there is movement, but surprisingly doesn't seem to droop when the door is closed. some welding and redrill should fix that. Roof lining is still up and looks good, rear upholstery is virtually mint, front is pretty good, very usable and comfortable, front dashboard is a pretty horrible brown material, so I think a black leather refurb there is in order. Body has some craze marks, and some bubbling, scratches and cracking, so at some stage a respray, but not for a while. From the plate it was originally done in L05 which is Carnival Red, and can see original colour in the engine bay. I think they must have done a bad matching job. The bumpers are same colour too, which I think is not normal, any comments on this?

The cam belt has just been done, has a stainless exhaust. There are electrical issues like no working fuel gauge, rear wiper is intermittent, radiator fan switch is now manual, but works very effectively when needed, so I better put my electrical engineering to use.

It is shod with 185/70 tyres too, so I guess the proper 205/60 are hard to get. Will look at that later.

Would a gearbox oil change do anything to help? Not sure when it was done last.

And I guess I better get a workshop manual, haven't seen any on ebay yet, anybody know how much for a new one? Of does anybody have one I can buy, beg etc..I saw someone selling CD's of scanned manuals, I gather rather frowned upon.

Any 'must do's' before I drive it home?, approx 1200km, so I don't want to break down. I will certainly take tools with me.

And I do need to make sure I have Narrow footware, hitting brake pedal is easy to do!

While I think of it, the Aircon is removed, but I will want to put aircon on, but I am sure there is a better, lighter more efficient option, especially as we have to use newer refrigerant gas. Any suggestions on that front?

Thanks again, and I look forward to joining the Lotus clan as an owner, looks like a lot of fun and new friends to be made.

cheers,

Clive

Here is a photo of the car too...

http://www.seraphina.com.au/Elite76.jpg

cheers, Clive

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Clive

Good luck. They are quite simple engineering really.

My tips are:

- If it has sat for a while, the water pump seal is prone to go when you next give it a long run. It can be replaced without removing the cam belt is you are careful, and have a set of slim ratchet spanners.

- The footwell room issue is often made worse by the interior panel not being fitted properly. There are a lot of wires behind it and it they are not folded into place properly, they push the cover nearer the accelerator pedal (RHD only of course!) and your foot nearer the brake pedal.

Enjoy!

Herc

Edited by Herc

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Car looks good. Very nice chrome work. Bumpers should be black but a lot have been colour coded by now. Good luck with it....

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