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Trunnion 74

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Roland, that's amazing! Really love digging up history on anything one ends up owning. Did a similar thing with our house when I stumbled across the fact that it had been lived in from 1900-1922 by quite a famous artist. Never the less, I digress! You must be chuffed to bits - well done for making the effort.


Cheers Ant


Is the price for that bit in Yen or £?

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  • 4 weeks later...

I have just read this thread and have really enjoyed it. Hats off to you for contacting all the people involved with the history of this car and to all who responded to you requests for information especially the first owner. Look forward to some pics of the restoration.

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  • 8 months later...

Hi guys!

It’s been a while since my last update, so what has been happening?

Firstly,  I have recently completed my probationary  period in my new job.  When I was unemployed I had loads of time but was watching the pennies, now I’m employed again I don’t have a lot of time, but I have not been idle!   Who am I now working for?  Well, the initials of the company are MM and they sell tools!  I took over as branch manager of their Barnsley store, so if you happen to be in the area pop in and say hello.


You may recall from a previous update that the first owner mentioned that the cartoonist Giles had produced, in 1974/5, a cartoon which included an Elite towing a caravan.  Well, so far I haven’t found it, but after many hours a searching I have found this.


Not in the correct time frame , but made me laugh.

Remember the problem I had with the final drive?


well I got it fixed and moved on to fitting the new driveshaft bearings and collar.  We managed  to press both the old bearing and the collar off (without damage) the driveshaft and fitted new bearings and collars.  They fitted into the final drive ok but I had a problem.  When I tightened the bolts the shaft would lock solid!  After some head scratching the problem presented itself.  As you can see from the pic (below) the new bearing collar was a different profile and a shade taller. Good job  we hadn’t destroyed the original collars. These were pressed back on with the new bearings and all is now good, tightened and leak free (eventually!)


Hats off to Steve at SJ for his customer service when I told him that the parts wouldn’t fit.

Just need to rebuild the rear brakes now, all parts cleaned up and ready to go.

Parts delivery!  


That was one expensive box of parts!!


The ARB is in position as is the steering rack both suitably refurbished  Ordered new washers and distance tubes, only to discover that my ARB has the inner washer and distance tube built in already!



Onto the rear hubs. I have often wondered why, when you can press the old bearings out, that it is common wisdom that you should never press the new bearings in.  Well this is why.



This is what I found when I got the old bearing out, part of the lip had disintegrated (left).  Still coming across this metallic green paint as well??

I decided to use the heat and freeze method to put the new bearings in.  The wrapped, greased bearings were placed in the freezer for a couple of days while I waited for SWMBO to go out for the evening.  While I had the house to myself I put the hubs in a preheated oven, 120c, and “baked for 20mins (don’t tell the wife) Took it out and got the frozen bearings and unwrapped.  What I hadn’t considered was the interaction between the skin on my fingers and the VERY cold bearing. After the initial shock the bearing left my fingers and slid straight into the hub. Success!!  It was so easy, worked a treat.  So the rear hubs are now sorted and have been pressed onto the drive shafts, ready to be bolted onto the final drive.


“My Life in Car Design” 

Bought a copy of the recent book by Oliver Winterbottom “My Life in Car Design”  found it really interesting. I was intrigued by some comments he made in the book about the Don Trophy, so I decided to send him a letter.  Only problem was I didn’t have an address.  Several internet searches later and all I had was the village where he lived and part of a post code.  I decide to put the Post Office to the test.  The letter was duly posted with the following details.  Oliver Winterbottom. Car designer (retired) and the Village.

To my surprise a few days later I received an email….

This is an extract from it.



This has now gone into my history file.

Naturally I replied with details of this build blog/diary and a few days later I received another email…




My history folder is getting bigger by the day!


The front hubs are done and now have new bearings and are ready to be fitted when the front suspension goes on.  While I was checking the other suspension components I noticed that the trunnions are already fitted with poly bushes!

So, I have lots of parts ready to go on the chassis. All I need to do now is fit the shocks and dampers and the final drive then rebuild the suspension.

Question before I go.

Q: The inner oil/grease seal on the front hub.  I know which way round it needs to go, but do I need to pre-soak the felt in oil or just smear it with some grease before I fit it?


There you have it.  After a lull, progress is finally being made!


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  • Gold FFM

Well done Roland, great progress and fantastic history to add to the build. As for the felt pads, I always left to soak for a couple of hours.

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1 hour ago, johnpwalsh said:

Well done Roland, great progress and fantastic history to add to the build. As for the felt pads, I always left to soak for a couple of hours.

Thanks John.  Is it just soaked in normal engine oil?


1 hour ago, Testdriver said:

well done, brilliant, thanks for posting! And congrats for your new job, what an achievment 🙂 

Thanks Daniel.

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  • Gold FFM
9 hours ago, Trunnion 74 said:

Thanks John.  Is it just soaked in normal engine oil?


Thanks Daniel.

I use gear oil, but I can see no issue with using engine oil if you don't have the other handy.

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  • 5 weeks later...

Thanks guys, appreciate the comments.


Remember this?



Well it has made it to the bench of my engine whisperer, my brother-in-Law (we will be doing the work together).




The strip down starts.

 Firstly, apologies for the absence of pictures of the cylinder head.  He was so excited at getting his hands on it he took it off and sent it off to have work done on it.  Nothing major, (I hope),  just the usual, strip down, clean, new seals, valve guides, checking it’s straight etc. More on that when I get it back.

So with the head off we get our first look at the pistons since its last rebuild in 1984!

The eagle eyed amongst you will know that in one of the previous pictures from that re-build sitting in the background is a set of new liners.  So, how have faired in the last 34yrs?

As you can see, looking ok.   There are one or two rust spots in cylinder 3, but nothing to worry about.  There is some surface rust on the outside of the liners, but it doesn’t look as much as the liners taken out last time.  As you can see we clamped the liners while we stripped it down.  We do plan to take them out and check them more closely.



Piston crowns look ok.



Close up of pistons.  You can see just see flecks of rust on the inside of cylinder 3.



This shows (top) the timing belt tensioner.  has seen better days, one for the parts list.



On to the cam covers.  Looking ok apart from the gaskets, which were so ridged that they could be classed as fossilised!  You can see on the bottom one the remnants of gasket sealer.



This is where the oil pump sits on the engine.  Just in case there was any doubt who made the engine they have very kindly told us.  At the bottom you can just see the opening for the top of the oil pick up pipe.



Some more numbers.



This is the rear oil seal housing.  Not to sure why there are two types of fixing?  I'm sure someone will be along to tell me.



Cover removed.  The spiky thing that is sitting directly behind the flywheel mount is a spray shield



Oil seal cover and seal, which is quite large



Onto the nitty gritty.  The sump.  Which is held on with 24,10mm assorted nuts/ bolts.    In the bottom photo in the right “box” the oil was old, thick and a little lumpy.  In the left hand box it had a gritty feel, but no signs of “silvery” metal deposits.  However I did find some tell tale signs of sealant in it.




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19 hours ago, soldave said:

Good writeup and pics showing the state of play with the engine. Do you have a timeline for it getting rebuilt or is it just a case of when it all gets done?

Hi Dave,  I don't like putting deadlines on things, mainly because if I miss them it frustrates me.  However, what I can tell you is this

Long answer.

The head has already gone over to W.S.Bates in Nottingham to have a thorough overhaul.  That should be ready by the end of next week.  The crank will be dropped off when we pick the head up.  Once the crank has been re-ground (about a week) I will then know what size bearing shells I will need to order.  I have aready spoken to the guys at Lotusbits and they have everything I might need.  Once we have the crank back and have cleaned everything we can then start to put it back together.   

short answer.  sooner rather than later

Tha's assuming, of course, there are no major issues.


21 minutes ago, tom kilner said:

After looking at these excellent photos I  will definitely get my sump off and clean out forty years of tar!

Don't forget to check your oil pickup filter while you're down there.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Another engine update.

This is the water pump, which, after much debate,  will be sent away to have new internals fitted. 



Oil pump, which sits at the bottom of the distributor drive.  Another example of Colin Chapman’s philosophy of making parts do more than one job.



Take the cover off and we see the rotor and annulus. A closer look at the annulus reveals scoring to the top



There is also some scoring to the inner part of the housing as well (left)




Looking at the rotor you can see some gouge marks. 



The annulus also has some scoring on its inner edge.  Although the rotor and anmnulus could be re-used I’m not going to, it will be replaced.  Two reasons for this, one, it is responsible for pumping the engines oil and crucially maintaining oil pressure, and  two, we’ve come this far, it may well be foolish to start penny pinching now.




This is the sump now.  That baffle you can see has two other bits which sit next to the “wings” to stop the oil surging from one side to the other when giving it some round corners.  They make it very hard to get the cleaning agent into and the crap out of the wings.  Took ages to do!



And some more numbers revealed in the sump



Now you will recall the “Monster from the Black lagoon sump” (above)  It was mainly blocked with sealant.  Several goes in the parts washer  made very little impression.  Time for some lateral thinking.

Burn it off!!

After several goes with the blow torch this is the result.  You need to be careful that you don’t put too much heat into it as the gauze is bonded with what looks like some sort of resin to the plates, then clamped.  Pleased with the results, means I won’t need to fork out for a new one.



Inlet manifold.  Just needs a bit more cleaning.



Carbs.  These will be sent off to the carb whisperer for a full rebuild.



The crank has been taken to the place that is doing the cylinder head.  When we took it in, told him it was the crank from the Lotus.  He took one look at it and said " hmm, that’s a Vauxhall crank that. Bedford CF."  It didn’t surprise me, given Lotus used to dip into the parts bins of other manufacturers.  When I asked if the shell bearings were readily available for it he said “certainly are, and not expensive either”.  Another parts  scource.  Result!

Managed to get a look at the cylinder head.  All stripped and cleaned, has new valve guides in.  Should be ready soon.




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  • 2 weeks later...

Managed to get some bits back on the car today.

Decided to make life a little easier and made a spring compressor. 


Works well, but takes time to wind it up.

Stage two


And finally, from this



To this!  One corner almost complete

    _DSC0522.thumb.JPG.06f4994caf8f4c246fa2e7393b7b5d56.JPG   _DSC0521.thumb.JPG.22d43455598bcaa458255e019ec9872f.JPG  

  The eagle eyed amongst you will have spotted a couple of things.  One, the steering track rod end is the wrong way round, and two, I have decided not to paint the chassis.

Engine news.

The head has been done and is back at the workshop, haven't seen it yet.  And the crank is also done, and it didn't need grinding just a good polish, which is good, as it costs less to do.  

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Suspension looks fantastic, nothing better than when everything gets refreshed and will last years without needing any further work,   home made spring compresser looks brilliant   :thumbup:   May take a while to use, but main thing is its safe, so no flying springs lol.

Shame about not painting chassis but the factory finish looks nice also. :thumbup:


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