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BrianK last won the day on October 12 2022

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About BrianK

  • Birthday September 26

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    2005 Elise, 1974 Elite
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    Los Angeles, CA

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  1. Scott: your front suspension looks great! I'm happy to have been a bit of inspiration that helped get the job done! I do recall the rack requiring a very specific set of angles and rotations to remove, and that's without the extra supports for your EV conversion. having to disassemble/reassemble the pinion in situ sounds like a real pain. Speaking of pains, if I need to get to the wheel cylinders again, I might try your access hole idea. That pic really shows how useful they could be. That said, I hope to not have to do that again any time soon - by the looks of it, the last time anyone was back there on my car was in the 1980s, so here's hoping it's the 2050s or 2060s before the next service. While I'm here, not much has happened with the Elite in the last several months. I've taken it out of storage a couple times just to keep the fluids moving, but it's always gone right back in. Because I only have a one car garage at home, I can only work on one project at a time, and another car has taken center stage for the last few months. As of last weekend, that car is ready to go, so the Elite will be coming back home shortly. First jobs on the list are to inspect an issue with the starter relay (it appears to be an aftermarket add-on), and diagnose the newly broken speedometer.
  2. Thanks for the kind words. An EV conversion?! Fantastic. I can imagine that the Elite's slippery body lends itself well to EV cruising. Love the wheels too. I get my parts either from Dave Bean here in the US (in northern CA) or SJ Sportscars in the UK. There are other suppliers, but those are the ones I've found to be quickest/easiest. My trunnions were part of the initial build, the parts of which came in a giant order from SJ (I mention "giant order" to say that shipping didn't come into play as much as if I'd ordered the single part. Had it been just the trunnions, I probably would have called Dave Bean.) On SJ's site, https://www.sjsportscars.com/, in the "Search for parts" box on the right, leave the first field (description) blank, then choose the "Elite/Eclat" for model, then "Front Suspension" for section, then "Trunnion" for component, and you'll get a list of trunnion parts available. I got the top dust seals, left and right lower trunnions, and the lower trunnion bush kits. Alternatively: https://davebean.com/, but you have to call in your order - no online tools.
  3. In this entry, I'll share some pictures, but most of the text will be about our Elite race car -- with a little self-congratulating to boot. If you're interested in story time, read on. If you want to learn anything, then maybe skip this post. I've had the car out of storage and at the house for some time now. I've been monitoring coolant leaks the entire time, but haven't seen a drop. Maybe the drips I saw before were from the overflow? Being that I've been monitoring closely for leaks, I'm happy to report that this car is excellent at keeping all of its fluids inside, much to the chagrin of the vintage Lotus nay-sayers. The only drip I've seen over the last months have been from the diff, and even that is just the tiniest of trickles - though I'll admit it's a little disappointing considering I had the diff professionally resealed just a couple years ago. At least the leak isn't so bad that it's causing issues with the brakes, as it was before. Aside from that, I haven't done much work on the car. The left silencer likes to lose its rubber donut hangers, so those have been replaced, but that's about it. This has allowed me to enjoy the fruits of my labor a bit more. To start, I finally drove the Elite to the race track to join its race-prepped brother. I wish I'd gotten better pictures of the two cars together, but I'll get to that point later. The trip to Buttonwillow Raceway goes from my house in Los Angeles (elevation 650ft) through the "grape vine" (elevation 4800ft), then down into the central valley of California (elevation 270ft). It's about 140 miles each way. I chose to make the drive because the weather was being cooperative (high 70s/low 80s F, or mid 20s C), but even so, I was very pleased with how well the Elite made its way over the mountain. I would have made the entire uphill trek in 5th gear, had I not been slowed by other traffic. On the way up, the car passed the 40,000 mile mark. Very cool. I arrived at the track before the race car (or any other team, in fact), so I grabbed a couple solo garage photos: When the race car finally arrived, I grabbed just a couple photos of them together. Of note, the race car is in desperate need of a new paint job. It's a little ratty here, which I'll explain later: A bit off topic, but the race car required a hell of a lot of work for this race (hence the lack of new paint). In fact, we did more work between this and the previous race than we've done at any time in the car's history since getting it marginally sorted. We did a mild engine refresh (new cams, pushrods, roller rockers, hydraulic lifters, and oil pan), re-positioned and replaced the seat, remove the jag IRS to replace its diff, added a video system to replace the analog rearview mirror, replaced a good portion of the engine harness, made some suspension modifications, and then, of course, regular maintenance... all in addition to items I've since forgotten. All of this took quite a long time, so we got it back together just two weekends before the race. When we fired it up for a test run, it ran like hot garbage. We were down at least 3 cylinders and couldn't figure out why. Suspecting it was ignition, we replaced plugs, plug wires, distributor, etc; we checked fuel flow/pressure, timing, carb metering/jetting. It was getting dark, we were tired, so we called it a day and left final test to the weekend before the race. At this point, we were uncertain we'd even make the race. That following weekend, I picked up a compression tester to see if we'd damaged the engine at the previous race (as an aside, what ended our last race was a couple of broken rockers). We tested cylinder 1 & got 0 compression. #2, also 0. #3, also 0. At this point, we were suspecting a broken tester. Then we tested #4 and got good compression. Same with #5, then 0 on #6 & 7, and finally good compression on #8. How it was even running is beyond me, but we had a serious problem. On a hunch, or maybe as a last ditch effort, we questioned our method of setting the hydraulic lifters, and tried simply backing them off of #1. Much to our delight, we got good compression. Again for #2. Apparently, we'd done the procedure incorrectly, so we redid everything & had a running race car. We then packed everything up and headed to the track four days later. On test day, I took the car out for some shakedown and break-in laps. Because we were breaking in the new cam, I was taking it easy. After we'd done a cumulative hour-ish, we did an oil change, then I went back out to put down some fast test laps. Within a lap, we lost a cylinder. After coming back in, we found that two of the pushrods had slipped out of their receiver on the rocker side, leaving the valves closed (the problem cylinder was the same one that had its lifters broken at the last race). It appeared that adjusters on the rocker arms (there's probably a better term for those guys) had backed off. After inspecting the pushrods, adjusting the rockers, and re-tightening the adjusters, we went back out. This time, after 3 or 4 laps, the same rods popped out again. Once again, it appeared as if the adjusters had backed out enough to free the pushrods. This time, unfortunately, the rods were bent. We had no spares. Calling around to parts stores proved fruitless. We were about to throw in the towel when we made a last-ditch effort to call an engine builder in a town about an hour away. They not only had the pushrods we needed (not an exact match, but close enough), but they also gave us a wealth of knowledge on how to properly adjust them. We sent one of our team off to fetch the rods while the rest of us started pulling the valve train apart in prep for the new set. We got the car all back together with about 30 minutes left in the practice session. I went out, again, and hammered on it with great success. We rolled the car through tech just before they closed and were ready to race. With the pushrod ordeal taking most of the day, we still had plenty of prep to do & ended up staying at the track until 9 or 10pm when we decided to call it for the night (we were all beat) and get an early start before the race the next morning. The next morning involved a lot of frantic wrenching, but everything was buttoned up in time to take the green. One of my teammates started the 14 hour race & happened to catch the green flag in 27th place (out of 83 cars). During his session, he slowly worked us up the field. By the end of the the first session (about 2 hours in), we were leading the race. Our car is fast, but thirsty, so we would need one more pit stop than most of the other teams, which meant we dropped out of the lead during the pit as the other cars kept going. I took the second stint just as it started to rain. The Elite is predictable enough that we can move pretty well on a damp track -- as such, I was moving quickly back up the field. After a few laps, as the rain let up, I noticed that there was a little more play in the throttle pedal than when I started. The dead zone quickly grew & I knew exactly what was happening - our throttle pedal was bending! FFS!! I brought the car into the cold pits where we confirmed the problem, then we started on repairs. If you've ever worked in the pedal box of an elite, you know there's no good way to do anything quickly, so removing then fixing the pedal (by welding in gussets) then replacing the pedal took an hour out of the 14 hour race. We were out of contention, but not out of the race. There was still plenty of time to get some positions back, and our car is lightning fast, so back out I went. My third lap out was the fastest of the weekend for any team. Later in the session, I did one better. Going by lap times, the 2nd through 10th fastest cars were separated by 2 seconds - mid 2:15s through mid 2:17s. My lap, in the low 2:12s, was 3 seconds faster than the second fastest. The Elite is a monster on the track! I put together a video of the first fast lap - just after the pedal repair. This includes a lap of traffic to show how we are able to weave through the competition, then the fast lap (fast because there was very little traffic). Please excuse the silly titles - I like to have a little fun with this sort of thing. Unfortunately, we ran into a few other problems related the throttle mechanism (clearly, we need to rework that whole system), and had some pretty heavy contact with another car - so we didn't finish well. To add insult to injury, while I was driving the last stint, I started getting low oil pressure warnings. Being out of contention, we made the call to come in for a splash and dash of oil. For whatever reason, after the stop, we had some sort of internal engine failure. With only 2 laps left in the race, I just limped it to the finish line so that we could at least take the checkered flag -- never getting above about 40 mph. Exhausted, we packed up, drove the car on to the trailer, brought it home, unloaded; and haven't touched it since. We'll do a proper tear-down in the coming weeks, but I think we all needed a break. So while I *really* wanted to get some better pictures of the two cars together, those above are the only ones I was able to get before trouble started. I even brought a real camera with me, but never took it out of the bag. The trip home in the brown Elite was pleasantly uneventful. I enjoyed every minute of it. To wrap up this entry - because there's no reason to make a second - I attended a car show last weekend in the mountains above Los Angeles. This was about an hour's drive away from home & at 5300ft elevation. The Elite was a hit, as always. I gave a few people rides (including a back seat passenger - my first!), allowed a friend to take a spin in the Elite (my first time in the passenger's seat!), got a ride in a freshly restored Lancia Fulvia, and drove a friend's manual Ferrari 355 GTS with an absolutely amazing sounding exhaust (not pictured). As icing on the cake, photographer grabbed a great shot of the car while I was driving back home. This trip, however, wasn't without its faults. The speedo stopped working on the way up. I suspect the cable either worked its way out of the back of the speedo, or simply broke. I'll investigate soon.
  4. I have been enjoying the car a lot lately. The only real service I've done since the last entry was to move the crank case breather. Previously, the breather that would normally run to the airbox had been capped off and just left capped (done by the previous owner). This didn't seem like a big deal to me, but I noticed oil coming out of the dipstick tube. I thought maybe that's how air was getting out of the block, so I thought I'd open the breather to give it a better route out. I didn't have a good way to connect it to the airbox, so I just vented it under the car through one of those little crankcase filters. I'll probably make a pipe for the airbox in the future to try to keep smoke/oil in the engine. Just for fun... There's a spot in Los Angeles called "Race Service" that's a little hard to describe. They are kind of a car-culture lifestyle brand that are deeply connected with a lot of high-profile racers and influencers. While that sounds a little cringey, they're a good group of people with good relationships and, importantly for this post, they put on pretty good events. Race Service has a monthly gathering where they feature one make or one style of car - for example, one event might be all Porsche, and another might be all vintage rally cars of various makes. Last month, they were planning on doing an "All British" event, but it turned into an "All Lotus" event. Because of their connections, they got one of the only Lotus Emiras in the country to attend (A press car. If you're from outside the US, you might be surprised to hear that there are close to, if not exactly, zero customer cars in this country at the moment), then a few classics: an early seven, an NA S2? Esprit (it's either an S2 or S3 - the one we didn't get here), a couple V8 Esprits, an Elan, and then, to get one more odd-ball, they gave me a call to display the Elite. For whatever reason I got a pretty prime spot in the show, which made for some good pics: Another bonus: they have a car detailing service that comes by in the morning to shine the show cars, so... free car wash. ...and because Race Service is well connected, Magnus Walker stopped by. If you're not familiar with Magnus Walker, he started a clothing company in the 90s, then bought up a good bit of inexpensive real estate in downtown Los Angeles. That cheap real estate turned into very expensive real estate over the next few years and he made a mint. He then invested heavily in what would become highly desirable vintage Porsches which have also proven to be both very profitable and made him very well known in the Porsche world. He's quite a character & an all around good dude; and as a result, he's got a large following. Anyway, he took a liking to my car - making a beeline to it, then found me to talk shop. He posted several shots of the car to his Instagram - giving me my 15 minutes of internet fame : That's all for this entry. I had the car at home for nearly 6 months while working out the braking system, then taking some time to enjoy the car. Just last week, I put it back into storage for a while. Still haven't determined the next project, but I did notice a little bit of coolant dripping off the engine before going into storage. I suspect tracking down a water leak may be in my future.
  5. In this episode: brakes, redux. I now have a fully functioning braking system... all it took was replacing or rebuilding everything. It's been a while since my last entry - I spent a lot of time chasing the problem I was having with my rear brakes. Going down that path lead to, as is often the case, many "while you're in there" tasks. I also built a deck, bought a car, took a couple trips - life stuff. Sooo... brakes. After my last entry, I thought I had my brakes sorted. After replacing the wheel cylinders, I drove the car from storage to home (~15 miles), then a car show (about 50 miles round trip), then back to storage - all without a hitch. When I went to get the car back a month or so later, I thought I felt the rear brakes binding again as I left the storage facility - which seemed unlikely, considering all the work I'd put into the braking system over the previous months. As I got closer to home, however, it became apparent that the rear brakes were still binding - even locking up as I came to a stop. Sometimes a stab of the brakes would release them, other times I'd have to roll backwards a few inches to get them freed up. Fresh out of ideas, I decided to just throw money at the problem & called up a specialist to ask if they could have a look at the brakes. They said they could, but not for another 3-4 months. They asked if I'd turned the drums yet - which I hadn't (This is the first set of drums I've ever owned & I simply missed this basic reconditioning step). Rather than wait the 3-4 months for the specialist, I decided to have one more go at it - I'd have the drums turned and replace shoes while I was at it. I thought I'd also replace the brake hardware too - leaving no stone unturned. I ordered shoes and brake hardware from Dave Bean here in California (they didn't have the little H-shaped spacer for the parking brakes, so that tiny little part had to be ordered from SJ in the UK). The shoe return springs were noticeably different from the ones I took off the car. Not only a different shape, but they were *much* tighter & more difficult to install. In hindsight, I believe that the return spring was at the heart of my braking problems. Putting on my detective hat: I believe the old return springs - which were pulling the shoes together with *much* less force than the new ones - weren't able to overcome the friction of the shoes sliding on the backing plate and/or the wheel cylinders sliding in their slot(s). As such, a shoe could/would drag on its drum, which would eventually overheat and warp the drum, which, in turn exacerbated the problem by giving the shoe a "high spot" on which to bind. I think that all the work I put into replacing the wheel cylinders was worth while, but something tells me that if I'd replaced these return springs and turned the drums as step 1, I'd have solved this problem months ago. I guess this is why I'm not a mechanic. Moving on, after replacing the shoes and return springs, I brought the drums to a shop to have them turned. Sure enough, they were about as round as my foot. After a few minutes on the machine, however, they were back in spec and I was ready to test them out; but not before drilling holes in the drums to make it easier to turn the parking brake adjuster. I ended up doing two holes on each drum - directly across from one another. One hole is 3/4" from the outside, the other is 1-1/2" from the outside - the thinking being that I can tighten the adjuster through one hole and/or loosen through the other. During my troubleshooting, I disconnected one of the bleed lines from the diff - I did this just to be sure that the hard bleed line wasn't interfering with the wheel cylinder's front-back motion (turns out that the bleed lines, if bent, can impede the forward/backward motion of the wheel cylinders by clocking it in such a way that it binds in the slot, though this was not my problem). After determining this wasn't my problem, I reattached the bleed line to the diff, but I guess I didn't tighten it all the way. When I came back to work on the car the following weekend, I notice all my brake fluid had leaked out through that line, so I needed to bleed the whole system again. Drat. Having no helper that day, I did a quick gravity bleed just so I could do a brake test. The test went well - I was all but certain that the rear brakes were now sorted, but I was going to have to do another, better bleed. On my quick test drive, however, I noticed something I'd noticed before - the brake pedal sinks to the floor if constant pressure is applied. I figured it must be leaking fluid past the piston & that the way to solve that is to rebuild the master, so before I did a proper bleed, I thought I'd go ahead and do the rebuild. For whatever reason, someone in the past decided that there needed to be a gasket between the master and booster, and, more egregiously, decided that the master should be *glued* to the booster. Removing the master required considerable time/effort: I eventually got it off and got to replacing seals. I should note that I was never able to remove the reservoir completely - I only disconnected the screw-on side. The press fit wouldn't budge. I didn't want to crack the reservoir and I don't believe there's anything serviceable in the front section of the master, outside of the reservoir seal that wasn't leaking. The master was in a pretty sorry state when it came apart. Lots of rust where the master and booster meet; and where the reservoir mounts. After replacing the [very worn] piston seal, I noticed that the cylinder bore was pitted. I managed to find a master cylinder hone at the local parts shop & went to town trying to clean the bore, to no avail - the pitting was just too deep. After asking around, I found a shop that would sleeve the master cylinder. As I've been told, our master cylinder is a little difficult to sleeve being that it's graduated - two different bore sizes. This means that the sleeve has to either come in three pieces (one for each bore and then a third piece to join them), or the sleeve, itself, has to be graduated. Lucky for me, there's a company in the area that performs this one-piece sleeving service. Unfortunately, like all things Lotus-service related, they take *ages* to do the work. I dropped off my master in February & asked for an approx ETA - they said they were busy, so it would take 2-3 weeks. I called the following week to check if they'd received the replacement piston return spring I'd sent them and to ask for an updated ETA - they said they'd call me when it was done. Giving them the benefit of the doubt, I didn't call back until week 7. It still wasn't done, but I was assured it would be done by the following Tuesday. I called back the Thursday after that Tuesday & it still wasn't done... or even started, for that matter. So I raised hell, and wouldn't you know it, the master was done the following day. Wonderful. Unfortunately for me, they also "rebuilt" the master in addition to sleeving it (and charged me for the rebuild). This was wholly unnecessary, as I'd just rebuilt it myself - which is how I knew it needed to be sleeved. I didn't catch this until I'd gotten home. I figured that I'd already yelled at them enough (and was given a fairly convincing sob story as to why it took so long), so I just ate the cost of the second rebuild & will do my best to avoid doing business with them again. Picture of the bore and piston with the sleeve visible between the two: While waiting on the master to be sleeved, I took the opportunity to replace the worn front brake lines and calipers. (Early in my braking woes, I thought that the problem was a sticking caliper, so I bought new calipers & had them waiting on a shelf). Caliper install is straight-forward. Not much to mention, but they look nice: Again, while waiting on the 5-week-behind-schedule master cylinder, I started ticking off other items. My car is a '74, but it's running S2 bumper and tail lights. Those lights protrude further into the trunk/boot than the originals. The previous owner did the conversion, but never *really* finished it. There were interior covers for the tail lights included with the car, but they hadn't been mounted. When I tried to come up with a mounting solution, I saw why: in order to cover the lights, the covers would have to sit between the trunk floor and the lights, but the trunk floor was too big - it left no room for the light covers. Looking through my cast-offs from previous projects, I found a good quality piece of 1/2" plywood that would make a good trunk floor. I bought some automotive carpet from amazon & got to work... Test-fitting the new trunk floor with recesses cut for taillight covers (the covers are installed in this pic, but they are hard to see): ...and after carpeting: Now, at least, I no longer have to worry about something rolling around in the trunk and taking out my taillight wiring. While waiting on the master, I decided to spruce up the booster, considering how visible it is in the engine bay. After some cleaning and sanding, I hit the booster with some satin black "roll cage paint" that I had lying around. It came out pretty nice. (I would eventually re-sand and repaint to try to remove the dimples on top) By this time, I finally had the re-sleeved master back in my possession, so I got to final install and bleed. In the past, I've used Motive Power Bleeders to pressure bleed brake systems, but the early Elite has a reservoir that uses a 46mm cap. Motive does not make that size cap, so I instead went with the tried and true Gunson Eezibleed. The Gunson relies on tire pressure to pressurize the system, but it wants a maximum of 20 PSI. Rather than going through the trouble of deflating, monitoring, then reinflating a tire, I just made a coupler that would allow me to hook my air pump directly to the power bleeder. This may or may not have been a good idea. On one hand, I had endless 10-20PSI available. On the other hand, the Eezibleed vessel wasn't air-tight enough to hold more than 5psi from my pump (or my pump wasn't fast enough to maintain 10psi). Regardless, even with 5psi, I was able to push fluid through the system better than a gravity bleed, so I went ahead and did a full flush and bleed of the system. With that, I have a lovely, fully rebuilt master: Braking feels different. I think this is because it wasn't working well before, but it's working well now. The strangeness is that you get some brakes in the top half of the pedal, then when you hit about 50% pedal travel, you get into "full" brakes. I'm guessing this has something to do with the proportioning valve, how/when fluid travels to the rears, and the nature of the graduated master. I may try another, manual bleed, just to be sure there's no air in the system. During my inspections, I saw that the fiberglass next to the exhaust was cracked and brittle - presumably from heat. I got a sheet of aluminized fiberglass heat shield & made a quick heat shield for the body next to the manifold/header (which goes deeper down into the engine bay than you can see in this picture): After a few shakedown runs, I decided the car was finally in a good spot to take it on a real driving tour. I live in Los Angeles, which, like all of Southern California, is in a desert region. California is proud of its poppies (it's our state flower) - which are desert flowers that bloom for a couple weeks in spring - right around now. The Lancaster area - about 70 miles north of me - is one of the prime locations to see vast fields of poppies growing the in wild. Because of our unusually rainy first few months of 2023, the flower count is pretty spectacular: Getting there was equally enjoyable, as I drove up highway 2 through Angeles Crest (where I've taken most of the other scenic pictures in this thread) which gets you 3/4 of the way there. As luck would have it, I only encountered 2 other cars going my direction for the entire drive - both of whom pulled to the side when they had a chance. Driving home took us down a less enjoyable canyon - likely only less enjoyable because of traffic - that eventually dropped us off near Six Flags Magic Mountain, at which point we took regular freeways back home. By the time we got back home, we'd done 140 miles - double the longest trip I'd taken any time before this. The car drove flawlessly, but I still have an issue where it won't start, or even crank, when hot. In fact, when it wouldn't start when we tried to leave the above location, my lovely lady started getting really nervous. I said "Don't worry," popped the hood, jiggled a few wires around like I knew what I was doing, then hopped back in and started it right up. For this, I received a "hero" award, but I really just fumbled my way into a solution. I'll have to look into this more in the future, though it's difficult to replicate, therefore difficult to solve. I think I'll start by checking my grounds, and maybe adding another ground strap or two. At this point, I think I'm done with all the major mechanical work. I'm deeming this car, "ready to drive anywhere," though it's far from "fully restored". I still want to replace the full interior wiring harness, replace the stereo with one that works, and - the job I dread the most - rebuild the D'aire system so I can have both heat and, importantly for this area, working AC. I may decide to remodel our kitchen first - it seems like less work.
  6. As a follow-up and to keep the quality of archives here high... I was incorrect in assuming the retaining clips should be snug. As @Gray14 pointed out, the wheel cylinder is meant to slide back and forth in the backing plate, so, in fact, you want it to be retained as freely as possible without losing the clips. So the replacement clips I mentioned here may have actually helped in my case. I also found that the bleed extensions - which are hard lines on my car - can be routed ever so slightly incorrectly so that they are putting a force on the wheel cylinder that prevents it from sliding (or at least makes it more difficult to slide). It's easy enough to bend the line as needed to ensure that the wheel cylinder has free fore/aft motion. I simply pushed the line in one direction, tried to slide the cylinder back/forth by hand, then pushed in a different direction, & tried again (and repeat) until the wheel cylinder moved as freely as possible. At the end of the day, the problem that started this thread was the result of a variety of issues, the most egregious of which was out-of-round drums. More info here:
  7. While there's still work to do, initial tests seem to show that the locking problem has been solved. First principles and all... I think the primary problem was out-of-round drums. They certainly made some rhythmic noises while being turned. I also believe the springs between shoes were old. I replaced them as well, and the new ones are 3-4x stronger/stiffer. To be thorough, the shoes were also replaced. While at it, I added the H-shaped spacer between the parking brake lever and shoe. I don't think it was related to the initial problem, but it should make the parking brake more effective. I still need to do a proper bleed and get some real heat into the brakes, but, as of today, all signs are pointing to the problem being solved. Thanks for all the input.
  8. Hi Michael. Sorry for the delayed response - I haven't been back here for a while. My car was resprayed long before I purchased it, so I don't have any better info than what you can find online. If you manage to find a good formula, I'd love to know as well.
  9. Both leading edges are chamfered. I did this just last week. Granted, I say "chamfered," but they are more beveled - a round-ish edge because I'm not very precise with my file. Don't know if that matters? The little H-shaped piece is not there. Never has been. To further the story: the specialist I normally use is backed up until late January, so I'm back to working on it. They asked if I'd had the drums turned or shoes replaced - I haven't. So, as a next step, I'm going to replace the shoes, all the springs, re-introduce the H-shaped piece and have the drums turned. The saga continues...
  10. To answer your questions: Is the backplate flat where the shoes sit? Yes. To be sure, today I cleaned off the 3-per-shoe contact spots, then ensured flatness by running a finger sander over each spot until the metal was shiny smooth. I then re-greased them before reassembly. Interestingly, one of those spots did have a nick, but it was for the front shoe - one that seems to have always worked as expected. Regardless, even that one is butter smooth now. How flexible is the brake pipe connected to the cylinder? Flexible line between cylinder and hard line that goes to the front; hard line between the cylinder and the bleed valve that lives on the bottom side of the diff. Today, I made an adjustment to that bleed valve hard line, only to find that the cylinder would NOT slide when the line wasn't adjusted correctly. With that knowledge, I bent the hard line until I had very easy movement on the wheel cylinder - much better than it had been before today. To be absolutely certain, I disconnected the bleed valve from its chassis mount so that there was no way it would interfere with the wheel cylinder sliding. I really thought this would solve the issue (spoiler: it didn't) I also absolutely loaded the wheel cylinder mounting location with lithium grease - so much that it was coming out all around the wheel cylinder dust boot. I also slid the cylinder fore/aft probably 150-200 times to work the grease into place. It was relatively easy to slide. I then verified that the re-centering of the left shoes were on par with those of the right shoes by taking video of both sides. Even with that, after putting everything back together & spinning the wheel in the air while someone else lightly rode the brakes, I could get the shoe to stick. To confirm, I did another drive around the block & the binding persists. I've been chasing this problem since June. I'm still open to ideas if anyone has one, but I think it's time to throw in the towel. I'm going to call a specialist in the morning. 🤬 I'll report back when it's sorted in case anyone else has the same experience.
  11. Background: Not too long ago, I had no rear brakes on account of a very leak differential. Since fixing the diff, I've been running into rear brake problems (which were probably always there, but I never noticed until the brakes actually started doing something). Previously, I'd found that one of my wheel cylinders was sticking, so I replaced both wheel cylinders. I completed that job in September, then drove about 100 miles without issue. I then put the car in storage until last weekend. The first couple stops out of storage went fine, but then I started noticing the rear brake sticking again. By the time I got home, it was a real problem - the left-rear would lock as I came to a stop. Sometimes it would release on its own, other times I had to back up a couple inches, and on a couple occasions, I found that tapping the brake pedal freed it. Problem: I verified that it's the left brake that's sticking. No problems with the right. I rolled back the parking brake adjustment to make sure it wasn't an adjustment problem. I verified that the wheel cylinder can move fore/aft. I double-checked that the cylinder and shoes had white lithium grease between them and the backing plate; but I haven't been able to stop the brake from locking/binding when coming to a stop. Today, I made a video of the problem & hope someone can offer a suggestion for fix, as I'm running out of ideas: In this video, I partially blocked the front shoe because I was interested in what the rear shoe was doing. You can see that the rear shoe is not returning as quickly as the front. I think this is my problem, but I don't know how to fix it. I suppose one option is to use thinner retaining clips on the wheel cylinder (the replacement clips I got were thinner than stock, so I opted to stay with the stock part because I didn't realize the wheel cylinder was designed to slide back and forth, so was looking for a more snug fit). This is something I'd *really* rather not do as it involves dropping the diff. Any tips on this - that don't involve dropping the diff - are greatly appreciated. Another option might be to load the retaining clip with grease. I'll admit, I don't think I greased the back of the backing plate - I only greased the front/outside. Not quite sure how to do this with such limited space. Again, tips appreciated. Another option might be to try a newer spring between the shoes - maybe mine is so old that it's lost some of its spring force? (the date stamp says either 1983 or 1993 - it's hard to read. either way, they are old) Thoughts on these options? Other ideas? Maybe I'm barking up the wrong tree entirely?
  12. I need to stop saying these things. In an earlier entry, I said, "I didn't replace the rear wheel bearings - I hope that doesn't come back to bite me." well... it did; and so, too, have the sticky rear brakes. TL;DR: I was surprised by a sticky wheel cylinder. Replacing wheel cylinders is a pain. Quick background: I have a very small one-car garage at my house. The Elite isn't the only car that gets to live in the garage, so when it's someone else's turn, the Elite goes into storage. I don't like leaving anything sitting for very long, so I'll often hop over to the storage facility to drive it around the block every few weeks to keep it limber. Back in June, the Elite was in storage, so I did my usual - one trip around the (very long) block then back to park. Parking takes a bit of time, so I shut down the car while I open the giant hangar door & prep the space. When I finally went to pull the car back into its spot, it rolled forward a foot or two then the car stopped on its own. Odd. I reversed a few feet then tried to move forward, but again, the car stopped - it felt like it was hitting something. I got out, looked for a loose bolt or something of the sort in the drive line, but found nothing. I took it out of gear, pushed it backward, but when I pushed forward - it stopped. To make a long story less long, after jacking the car up and testing both wheels, I found that one wheel had free motion, but the other would stop after rolling a foot or so forward; so I put the car up on wheel dollies, rolled it into the hangar, and put it away while I tried to figure out what was going on Luckily, the collective knowledge of this forum came to the rescue: ... it was suggested that I look at the wheel cylinders. Sure enough, one of them was sticking. The rusty/stuck cylinder was allowing the drums to rotate backward, but not forward (which is an interesting attribute of our rear brakes - @Gray14 has a good writeup in the above thread as to why that is). It was obvious, then, that the wheel cylinder(s) needed to be replaced. In the above video, I press, then release the brake pedal, but you can see that the wheel cylinder doesn't retract. Some background: The Elite came with two flavors of wheel cylinder - 3/4" bore and 7/8" bore. For reasons I don't know, the smaller bore was used on cars with automatic transmissions, while the larger bore went on everything else. Unfortunately, the larger bore wheel cylinders are NLA, so I bought two smaller bore cylinders from SJ so that I could have a balanced pair. Wheel cylinders are cheap - something like $15/side. Unfortunately, replacing the cylinders is non-trivial. There's not enough access to the back side of the drums to remove the cylinders in-situ, so the diff had to be dropped... again. 🤬 I'm well-practiced at this horrible job, so, as they say, "nothin to it but to do it." The big difference this time, however, was that the car is no longer in my garage - it's in storage. I have no tools at the storage facility, and no way to get the car home. So, I loaded up a working car with ALL the tools and set up shop in the storage hangar. (I very much enjoyed the extra space in the hangar. The view was pretty nice, too ) I won't bother going into the details of rear suspension removal, as we've been through that twice already in this thread. I will say, however, that I ran into a couple unexpected snags along the way: Two washers decided to become one with the threaded rods on which they were mounted - one on the diff side and one on the hub carrier side. It took several "why isn't this working" moments before I realized the washers were stuck - which made the process of diff removal take a lot longer than expected. Some large channel locks on the washer and another set of plyers on the rod freed the washers after a couple twists, which allowed the rods to finally be pulled through and out. The biggest sin-of-the-past that came up, however, was that I used regular cotter pins on the parking brake clevis pins rather than hairpin cotters. Regular cotter pins are those that go through, then are bent back on themselves to prevent them from backing out... as opposed to the hairpin style that retain their shape & their shape holds them in place. Unbending the "regular" cotter pin so that it could be removed from the parking brake clevis pin was a test of patience because how inaccessible they are. I was able to mostly straighten them with long-handled needle nose plyers, but one of the two would just not come out. I eventually tore the ends off to force the issue. Top tip: always use the hairpin style cotters on the parking brake clevis pins. With the diff out, the wheel cylinders are relatively easy to replace. You will, of course, need to block off the brake hard lines while the diff is out of the car. Previously, I'd used fingers of rubber gloves stretched over and rubber-banded to the hard lines, but that wasn't a great seal & still allowed fluid to leak. This time, I got a "master cylinder bleed kit" from the local parts store that had "close enough sized" threaded, barbed fittings that would screw into the brake lines, then a couple vacuum plugs over the barb kept brake fluid from leaking: This was the first time I'd ever serviced drum brakes - so there was a bit of head-scratching during this phase of the project. For future me, or the otherwise uninitiated, here are my notes: Brake shoes are installed/removed fully assembled - meaning both the top and bottom springs are attached to both shoes before/during installation and during/after removal. To remove the shoes, you remove their retailing spring clips - a simple push through and rotate to release. The shoes, without retaining clips, then fold outward like a taco, then slide downward to come off. Easy peasy. Originally, I thought the springs had to come out (as is standard on some shoes). I fought the springs for several minutes trying to get them out. I did manage to get the top one out to remove the shoes, which works well enough, but I'd say it's impossible to put the spring in with the shoes mounted. The taco method is the way to go. With the cylinders out, it was easy to see the problem: mine had simply gotten rusty: New wheel cylinders... It should be noted, there is an H-shaped spacer that goes between the shoes and wheel cylinder - you can see it in the above pic just below and to the right of the parking brake lever. Presumably, this spacer will ensure the self-adjuster lever will have the correct range to adjust the shoes with the parking brake handle. I didn't have the spacer, I can't find it to reorder, and my shoes appear to be adjusting correctly without it; so if you have it, keep it & reuse; but if you don't, don't sweat it. Wheel cylinders are held in place with two, interlocking clips. I ordered new clips with the new wheel cylinders, but ended up reusing the originals, as they were made of more stout material. It should be noted that the wheel cylinder is designed to shift back and forth in the slot through in which it is mounted. For that reason, you should apply white lithium grease around the slot. Grease should also be applied to any part of the backing plate that comes into contact with the shoes. With that, repair is complete... time for reassembly. Luckily, this went smoothly. A couple points worth mentioning: After the diff and suspension are back in place, you have to reinstall the brake drums. Because the wheel cylinders are new, they are nowhere near properly adjusted. The self-adjusters will eventually wind out all of the slack, but they are painfully slow for large adjustments. The correct initial adjustment is done by winding out the wheel cylinder adjuster by hand until the drum *just* fits over the shoe. With the drum installed, actuating the hand brake several times should finish out the final adjustments. I wanted to be sure my self-adjusters were working, so before installing the drums, I made a quick video: ... working well! I found that I could hear the clicking of each adjuster until both sides were out as far as they could go - which let me know when adjustment was complete. To bleed the system, being that I was solo, I just opened the bleed valve on each line and let the system gravity bleed for 5 or so minutes per side. That was certainly good enough to get me going. I will do another manual bleed later (the pedal is still a little soft). As has been mentioned before, you're not supposed to tighten any bolt-through-bushing until the car is properly weighted. In the past, I've done this by rigging up a contraption in my garage's inspection pit below the car. This time, however, I didn't have the pit, so nowhere mount a contraption to load the suspension for tightening. The next best thing, then, was to load up the boot with as much heavy crap as I could find. Luckily, I was in a storage shed, so... a tool chest, a couple jacks, various metal sundries, and a wheel/tire got shoved in the boot for ballast. That might not have been enough to meet the workshop manual's requirements, but it was certainly better than nothing. I'll loosen then re-torque when it comes back home. With that, it's finally back on the road. As expected, the rear brake issues have been resolved. In hindsight, I can see that the signs of the cylinder going bad had been there for a while - I just didn't understand what I was hearing/feeling. Brake performance has improved, once again. There's still more work to do with the braking system, but it's getting better with each iteration. Because of my schedule, this repair took 3 months - in which I had all of 3 days to work on the car. To celebrate its return to roadworthiness, I took the car to an "All British" car meet in Rancho Palos Verdes, CA - which is right on the coast between Los Angeles and Long Beach. I drove down with a buddy of mine who owns the very last legally imported Mini Cooper - that's been tricked out with lots of period Paddy Hopkirk bits: ^^ that car was purchased, new, by my buddy's father, so while it's technically a two-owner car, it's been in the same family since new. Pretty cool. Interesting anecdote: I followed the Mini to the show. The road to the show meanders through an area that's experienced heavy erosion & has made the road really bumpy with lots of sharp hills. The Mini had to slow to take the bumps at lower speeds, but the Lotus just gobbled them up. I become more and more impressed with the suspension on this car each time I drive it. ...and a special treat: two generations of Elite in the same place at the same time 😎: Next on the TODO list: new front brake calipers and master cylinder rebuild. I also need to fix the squeaky speedo. There's also thoughts of getting the wheels resurfaced & powder coated... hmmmm...
  13. Another update related to this: The replacement retaining clips I got were made of thinner metal than those that I removed. So thin, in fact, that they didn't "latch" as well as the old ones, so I ended up reusing the old ones.
  14. Thanks for the tips, guys. I naively thought that changing jets was all that was needed. I already own a Colortune, so I've got some homework to do. Will report back after I get a chance to tune...
  15. I'm running DHLA 45D on my 907 - they are from an Excel HC. Being from an Excel, they were running a calibration that was ill-suited for the 907, so I had them rebuilt to Spec 5 calibration a couple years ago. Spec 5 uses size 50 idle jets. Word on the street - and my own driving - suggest that 50 is a touch too small. I've read that 55-58 is the way to go. I just installed 55s all around and my idle went south. It sounded (and almost assuredly was) running on 3 cylinders at idle & would pop on overrun. When given a little more than idle throttle (say, 20%), it would run smoothly & had great power, but would fall back to a stumbling idle. To make sure it wasn't just a fowled plug, I drove the car a good bit, but no change to idle after that. I pulled the idle jets and re-seated them, but no luck. I then went back to 50s and she purrs like a kitten. Any idea why 55s would idle so poorly? Is it possible I got a bad jet? Any way to tell? Worth noting: the new jets were a very snug fit in their holders - so snug that I couldn't fully seat them, so I got them 80% of the way in, then just installed them and allowed them to fully seat as I screwed them in. Could that have anything to do with it?
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