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Elite propshaft bolts - Engine & Ancilliaries/Gearbox - The Lotus Forums Jump to content
Steve Latham

Elite propshaft bolts

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I'm trying to remove the propshaft to diff bolts from my 81 Elite Auto. Does anyone know what size they are and is there a special type of spanner as access is very tight. I think they are 7/16 but would like to confirm.

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If there are no differences between auto and manual they should be like mine and should not pose any problems...have they been changed for a different size?

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I don't think the bolts are a different size, although I do know the prop shaft is shorter to accomodate the longer gearbox. My problem is I can't get a spanner round the nuts as they are so close to the shaft. I was wondering if anyone could suggest a special tool or particular make of spanner that they know will fit. This is an annoying setback as all I want to do is replace the wheel cylinders, but access is impossible without dropping the diff.

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This is an old problem and everyone one with an Elite or Éclat have had to endure the torture of ding the rear brakes, A simple modification is to remove the rear seat bases and cut a 6" x 5" hole in the floor at either side of the tunnel which will give you access, once done cut a plate which can be fixed over the hole again for future use, I fixed my plates in place with a silicone bead which also stops any water ingress.

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Will certainly consider that if I can't get the right spanner to undo the propshaft bolts,

 

I'm looking for a straight ring spanner which is long enough to get some leverage but with a thin ring which will fit in the very narrow gap between the bolt head and the body of the propshaft. Would really like to remove the diff now as it's looking a bit tatty and the backplates could also do with a clean and some paint.

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TBH if all you want to do is change the cylinders, John's suggestion is best.

 

Dropping the diff is a whole new world of pain which will make you forget the propshaft bolts completely (perhaps why I don't remember an issue with them?), and not care about rust.

 

If you are determined to get them off (with an open ended spanner, rings won't fit IIRC) consider replacing them with allen headed high tensile bolts. A previous owner of my old elite did that, as well as the driveshaft to drum bolts, and it was much easier.

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I removed the  propshaft on my '79 manual about 6 weeks ago .  I think I just used an open-ended spanner without any drama at all, from underneath with the car on stands.

 

My car has the under-the-rear-seats mod to access the rear brakes.  Who ever did it was a bit messy, but doesn't seem to have any nasty side-affects.

 

Herc

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The only way to get the spanner on the bolts is to rotate the shaft to the best position for each bolt, you will find that one position gives a little more space than others.

 

John.

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I like the advice regarding the allen head bolts - probably the what would be fitted these days anyway. Will have another bash at these bolts at the weekend. Guess it's just my bad luck that I have the car with the super tight bolts. I've had this car since 1986 and this is the only thing that's ever stumped me,

 

Next job is going to be to find out why the power steering fluid is leaking onto my garage floor!

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WOW, owned since 1986 and never had to remove the propshaft, one luck lucky man, I have had my Éclat for 6 years and presently removing the shaft for the third time due to engine and gearbox replacement, previously removed to replace rear diff and once again to replace the clutch.

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Thanks for the interest. I've created an album in the members gallery called Steve's Elite ATU150W.  I've had this car so long I'd forgotten that others might be interested to see it. This picture was taken a couple of years ago before the brakes failed. I left it for a while due to lack of free time but am now keen to get it back on the road. Cars like this don't like to sit around for too long.

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A small caravan. The towbar was custom made for this model. I bought it from a chap I met at one of the Club Lotus events about 25 years ago. There are three parts to it. Two brackets you fit to the car then you offer the bar itself up to the brackets and fit it with clevis pins. That allows access to the spare and means you are not carrying around deadweight when you don't need it. Still comes in handy from time to time.

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I was hoping it would have towed something like this!

 

8025179423_1226ec66e6_z.jpg

 

Inspired by this and other unlikely towcars by Corgi toys (Fiat x1/9s and Ferrari Daytonas towing powerboats etc) I've often pondered how a costom towbar would fit. There are 2 handy chassis points but the third contact point would seem to be the body which is bit off-putting

 

Anyway back to your problem, when refitting my driveshaft-to-drum bolts I intend to use these, which should be OK for your prop bolts too (haven't sized them yet).  As mentioned a previous car used them and a hex drive in a ratchet made lighter work of them.

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/181150757279?var=480241685680&ssPageName=STRK:MEWAX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1438.l2648

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If the bolts are a real pain to get off then sawing through the nut parallel to the bolt is an option.

 

I've not looked for imperial versions but for metric ones in similar situations (Excel driveshafts) flange nuts meant for exhaust can be good, for example a 8mm nut would normally be a 17mm head nut but you can get 15mm flange versions.

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Ah yes. I've got one of those models and the handy little plastic towbar was probably what inspired the original idea of the Elite as a towing car. The rear bracket which you can see on the photo of my car is for support only and is indeed attached to the body which was achieved by removing the rear bumper, bolting the bracket in place and refitting the bumber after cutting a small slot to fit round the bracket. The load is taken up by the front fixing which is bolted to the bracket which is under the diff. All very secure and never caused any problems. To remove the spare you only have to remove the pin from the rear support bracket.The towbar will them pivot down and actually allows you to drop the spare onto it and slide out. You can also use it to raise the spare back into position.

 

I've ordered a new 1/2 AF ring spanner, the only one I didn't have! If it's too fat then I should be able to grind a little off the head to fit in place. I agree it should be a simple job, but when they haven't been touched for such a long time.....

 

If that fails, then sawing is the final solution. Pain and sweat will follow, but this diff is coming off.

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Only just seen these pictures, very nice indeed.

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Hi Steve

 

It's always nice when a previously unknown car pops up, especially something as rare as an S2 in good condition! Rocking horse poo springs to mind. Why not log the cars details with Dunc at the Elite/Eclat register;

 

http://www.thelotusforums.com/forums/topic/55322-the-elite-and-eclat-register/

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Good idea. Over the years I've only seen a couple of S2.2's and never another automatic. Be interesting to see what's still out there. I do know that Lotus only sold 12 Elites in 1981. Can't remember how or why I know that, but I do have a lot of literature including things like the original bill of sale and some nice correspondence from the factory which the original owner passed onto me.

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I've got an auto S2, sitting in the queue for restoration. By a strange fluke it is the very next chassis digit to my (also knackered) Elite Riviera! So between you and me we own 25% of the production from 1981!

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That's pretty inspiring when you think that means in the whole world. I've thought about selling it from time to time as it's hard to find the time to keep working on it. I've had a few unsolicited offers, but once you start it up it's hard to let go! I had a Europa thirty years ago and always regretted not hanging onto it as it had always been my dream car. Can't believe how much they go for now, I struggled to sell it in 1983.

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