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Buying an S4


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Hi guys not sure if this will be in the right section or not so apologies in advance, 

So there is a possibility that I could become the new owner of a 1969 Lotus Elan S4, not something I had planned on just something that arose through a family situation, I've only briefly visually looked over the car it seems in very reasonable condition. I was really just wondering if there is anything I should especially keep my eyes peeled for, potential future issues. 

I know I've been quite vague there I'm just after as much info as possible, so shoot any questions at me for specifics and I'll try and answer them. 

Thanks in advance.

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First you need to make sure the front of the chassis is good & solid or you'll need a new one, everything is fixable. 

Loads on Youtube, might be worth getting a specialist to take a look over it for you. :thumbup:


John W

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Agree on the chassis checks.

Usual checks when buying a used car such as making sure everything works, particularly the Elan, as a fibreglass car, is prone to electrical issues caused by bad earths.

Is it a soft-top?  On those, the windscreen frame can get bent backwards by the hood so check the alignment between it and the door glass frame.  Not a disaster but something to be aware of. 

The timing chain adjustment is manual and achieved by screwing in a screw on the driver's side of the timing cover, i.e. in front of and below the carburettors.  Check there is at least 15mm left or you will soon need to change the chain.  The timing and cam covers and prone to oil leaks and the water pump bearings are weak so check for play in the pump.  It is possible to remove the timing cover, which holds the water pump, without removing the engine.  I did it in my youth but it's not a quick job.

It is a simple car so not much is difficult to fix, just can be time and knuckle skin consuming. 

Good luck!

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


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