The Elan Puzzle

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The Elan Puzzle

Postby kuehjo » Mon 27.02.2023, 05:48

(Sorry - I don’t mean to post twice - just realized this is better here than the engine board.)

So - just for background, I live in Hawaii - on Oahu, to be exact.

I first saw one of these cars in Los Angeles in 1992 - one of the orthopedic surgery residents at USC where I was training as well had a green one - God knows how I lusted after that car.

So fast forward to a different place, different time, and a LOT more where-withal. I bought a 1991 45k miles red Lotus Elan a couple of years ago, in pieces. Well, mostly intact, but the cylinder head (and whole upper half of the engine) were off the car. The back story is that the original owner thought he heard a noise, and pulled the cylinder head, where the shop told him everything was fine. But that’s where the project stalled.

Amazingly enough - a year and a half ago I was traveling on the mainland when I got word from a friend of ANOTHER red Elan for sale on Oahu on FB - and I bought that one sight unseen from somewhere on I-40 in Texas. Yep - so here I am on Oahu with not one, but TWO 1991 red Elans…

Ok - so my brother comes to visit, and we’ve built a few cars, so we dive in. The second car is intact, but a little worn - it’s been sitting for 14 years, and the motor is frozen. Not a big deal - I’ll pull the engine, tear it down, and rebuild it - later. So we turn our attention to the first one. Cleaner, just not sure everything is there. Miraculously, so far it appears almost everything is. The only pieces I CANNOT find are the little triangular cover for the cam belt just in front of the power steering reservoir, and the camshaft cover on the driver side (the cover the closes in the intake cam). We’re redoing hoses, water pump, belts, filters, fuel pump - but all the hard stuff seems to be there.

On the down-side - OMG - this car has fought us at EVERY TURN. What a strange twisted puzzle of hoses, lines, and wires. Almost everything has been on and back off at least once. That power steering pump design is BULLS*%t - and the tensioning system is HORRIBLE. No wonder Mazda killed this car - I’ve had 6 Miata’s, and loved every one. A PLEASURE to tool on. I’m still waiting to say so on the Elan… I’ve had the power steering pump tensioned and detensioned/removed three times now - and I’m not done yet.

I’ve had that pump off three times now because the exhaust pieces need more manipulation. And, I just sheared the LONG stud between the down pipe and the turbo (the one right in front of the oil dipstick tube) - so now I have to see if I can get the other studs out so I can lift the down pipe back up and out, and then try to pull and replace the broken stud. A SMART design would have that lip for the headlight bucket as a removable segment - that would give AMAZING access to the power steering pump and exhaust.

When I go to rebuild the other one I’m going to drop the drivetrain out the bottom. It HAS to be less work (and this is coming from a guy who has done a clutch on a 2001 Mini - and thought THAT was a cluster, too…). Lol - Maybe it’s just me. (My patience certainly isn’t what it used to be!)
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Re: The Elan Puzzle

Postby dapinky » Mon 27.02.2023, 12:07

Hi Jonathan, welcome to LEC.....

..... which, as fortune would have it, is a website/forum which was started up back in the 1990's by an Orthopaedic surgeon from Cali who was the proud owner of a British Racing Green Elan!!!!

The car (and the good Doctor) are still here, but are no longer in a relationship. Doug is currently up north in Aurora, OR (IIRC), whilst the car is still in California under the custody of another well-known member.

Now, unless there are 2 Elan nuts who were ortho surgeons at USC with BRG cars at the same time, I would suggest that your inspiration and this site have a far longer relationship than many of us have been here!

Anyway, back to your car(s)...... the Workshop Manual(s), Parts Lists etc are all available by clicking the "Manuals" tab in the header on this page (or any other page, once you're logged in to the site), should you need them. Many parts are hard to find, but many are shared with other GM cars of the era (Engine/drivetrain in basically the same as Isuzu used in the Impulse, but with some changes..... so it is as used in the Geo Storm/Asuna Sunfire. So you may be able to find the odd bits that you need from USA far easier than the UK!

If you don't already know him (or of him), it is probably worth making contact with John Callahan who lives over in Charlotte, NC - - he has a large inventory of new/used parts and will be likely to have everything you find you need. I know that Hawaii isn't necessarily the easiest place to ship things to, so you may find that UK or EU suppliers are as good as US ones - but may not have the parts specific to the Federal cars.....

Most importantly, don't be afraid to ask - someone will have had the problem before, or know of a source for the part(s) you need.

Good Luck.

Just the one now, but this one's mine! - and it will be finished eventually..... - but also temporary custodian of a project until it is finished enough for Angie to drive it

go on - click this link - you know you want to!
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Re: The Elan Puzzle

Postby Simon_P » Tue 28.02.2023, 23:15

Some of the nuts on the Turbo/downpipe/manifold are one way so you will likely shear the stud when undoing them - see manuals to find out which
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