Late Excel SE - Search steps up. - Mission Accomplished.

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MetBlue
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Late Excel SE - Search steps up. - Mission Accomplished.

Post by MetBlue »

My XK8's been liquidated and there's a space on the drive just itching to be filled by a lotus, so I'm stepping up the search for a fun car.

Took a look at a J plate Elan last week. What a fun drive. :D So planted on the road. How much of this was down to it having Poly bushes and some adjustable shocks I don't know, but it was enough to add an Elan to the search list. This one was a bit pricey though and at a trader. It had just been resprayed and seeing as what ever I get will need to live on the drive, (and therefore being a Lotus WILL let water in), my car cover will be getting a lot of use. Despite it being a good quality one, I know from experience that over time it blooms the paint, so I'll be happy initially with something that has less than perfect paint.

Friday, took a look at an Excel that is known on the forum. Must say was tempted, despite being an early Excel, but for now at least it felt like it compromised my "wish List" in one too many areas. - Who knows though - watch this space. Thanks to the owner for your time and chat if you're reading this. I have a couple of further questions that I'll PM you about.

A few Excel questions please to the wise of the forum :
Is there a "time line" any where on the forum about how the Excel model range developed between 82 and 91? I've got my head around the major changes like door mirrors moving to door tops etc. but would like more detail.
When did the cam covers change to the flatter top? - Was it coincident with the 180 bhp coming in with the SE?
I've read a lot about VDO gauges on the forum. I presume you can tell just by looking at the gauge? Were they Smiths gauges before? Ironically, you rarely read about Smiths gauges not working :!: :!:
One thing I know I'll find is that most cars will have had parts donated from both earlier and later models, so I'm keen to learn what i can so i know what I'm buying.

Wish List ( I wonder how different this looks when I find something :lol: :lol: ):
* Later the better.
* Manual
* Light coloured leather interior trim
* More Original the better ( less messed with)
* Must be a runner, but I don't mind the inevitable smaller jobs needed to keep it running - I can't afford it to become a total distraction to getting the Elite back on the road.
( I know those last two bullets are conflicting :lol: )

Tony
Last edited by MetBlue on Fri Jun 19, 2020 21:54, edited 1 time in total.
What goes together.... Must come apart.

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DavidOliver
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Re: Late Excel SE - Search steps up.

Post by DavidOliver »

I don´t know of a timeline list.
Do you have the Mike Taylor Improving the Elite, Eclat & Excel document , dated 2007. It is mainly engine development.
A couple of answers. Cam covers went red with the HC engine in 1986. Black saddle covers can be made oil tight, just preform
and best silicone in two stages. Good for Elites also.
My 85 Excel has VDO guages. I think the guages are OK, it is more wiring connections. However I only trust mechanical oil pressure guages.
My water temp and fuel guages no longer flutter. I imagine no-one reports bad Smiths Guages as they may not even be Eclat vintage.
You will know about headlinings, water ingress to footwell, but check chassis jacking damage, rear body to chassis fixings, and UK rustings.
All can be fixed easily, except chassis.

I hope this little helps.

Dave the cog.

richardw
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Re: Late Excel SE - Search steps up.

Post by richardw »

MetBlue wrote:
Mon Jun 01, 2020 08:26

A few Excel questions please to the wise of the forum :
Is there a "time line" any where on the forum about how the Excel model range developed between 82 and 91? I've got my head around the major changes like door mirrors moving to door tops etc. but would like more detail.
When did the cam covers change to the flatter top? - Was it coincident with the 180 bhp coming in with the SE?
I've read a lot about VDO gauges on the forum. I presume you can tell just by looking at the gauge? Were they Smiths gauges before? Ironically, you rarely read about Smiths gauges not working :!: :!:
One thing I know I'll find is that most cars will have had parts donated from both earlier and later models, so I'm keen to learn what i can so i know what I'm buying.
There isn't a timeline but what a good idea!

The best source of more detailed info is the parts list which better reflects actual Lotus production rather than model years. However, very generally, these are my contributions to a timeline:

82-84 model years are known as 'narrowbodies'. These cars had the same wing profiles as the Elite and Eclat; later cars had blister arches. This early Excel also used the 912 LC engine, but I don't know about the cam covers. It also had the Guigiaro styled dash from the Elite/Eclat, together with Smiths instruments. Later cars (MY85 on I think) had restyled interiors with VDO gauges, although there are a few blister arch cars with the early dash - with a curved top to the instrument binnacle (cf Mr Windwood's car)

There was a period around 85 model year when you could have the Excel in LC or HC (SE) versions, I believe.

Mechanically, the car remained pretty much the same through its life, apart from the introduction of the HC engine - and, of course, more and more emissions related kit as time went on.

MY87 saw the introduction of the Excel SA.

Cheers, Richard
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Lotus-e-Clan
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Re: Late Excel SE - Search steps up.

Post by Lotus-e-Clan »

Also, a deal-breaker for some but not others, the middle period Excel production had "Wickens" squashed triangular badges, the very early and late cars (89-on at least) had the Chapman roundels. One of the reasons that the Wickens badges are shunned by some is the fact that Wickens said he wanted to 'move-on from' (could read 'erase') the Chapman era ... he misjudged the mood within the factory and within the customer base. On the other hand, the Wickens badge doesn't really make the cars less Lotus - depends how much love you have for Chapman.... mind-you, you don't hear about anyone who had much love for Wickens at the time!
Peter K

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Re: Late Excel SE - Search steps up.

Post by Pete Boole »

The '89 MY cars had slightly revised camber on front wheels (upper arms different), the upper link on the rear suspension got an extra bracket on the chassis so the bolt was in double-shear and an extra bracket was added to the body/chassis at the front of each footwell (on the outside - in the wheel arch).

Pete

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MetBlue
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Re: Late Excel SE - Search steps up. - Mission Accomplished.

Post by MetBlue »

Long day involving trains and other means of public transport (and face coverings), but pleased to report the search is over. She's home :D :D :D
Image
Yes : regular forumers will probably recognise her.
Wish List ( I wonder how different this looks when I find something :lol: :lol: ):
* Later the better.
* Manual
* Light coloured leather interior trim
* More Original the better ( less messed with)
* Must be a runner, but I don't mind the inevitable smaller jobs needed to keep it running - I can't afford it to become a total distraction to getting the Elite back on the road.
( I know those last two bullets are conflicting :lol: )
How did we do against the wish list ?
It's 15 cars from the end of production - So definitely a Tick there.
Manual - Tick
Light leather interior. It's described as "Gold Leather" - Another tick.
Runner - Tick. Small jobs - UHMmm Come back to that one

Performed well on the drive home, but most critical job is to adjust the clutch and hope it makes gear selection easier (bites as soon as foot leaves the floor). At beginning of journey was going up the box nicely but awkward coming down ( but that may have been me getting used to it). 150 miles later, engaging first was very difficult and resorted a couple of times to selecting 2nd.
Other jobs:
Near side door exhibits "Hinge Pin Lag" - The beam is completely shot !
Steering judder around 60 ( or was it 160? - see next point).
Speedo spent most of the journey hitting the wrong side of the needle stop pin ( trying to go around a second time)
Various electrical glitches, including the undocumented feature of Headlights raising after a short time, or when you lock the car!!
Oh yes - Paints seen much better days and some interior trim stitching is in need of attention and usual drivers seat wear.

All in all though, a happy chappie, just hoping i can get the Clutch / gearbox in better harmony without too much trauma

Tony
What goes together.... Must come apart.

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TrevorK
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Re: Late Excel SE - Search steps up. - Mission Accomplished.

Post by TrevorK »

Congratulations, Tony. Those little jobs shouldn't take a skilled man like you very long.

Pete Boole
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Re: Late Excel SE - Search steps up. - Mission Accomplished.

Post by Pete Boole »

I expect the door to be done by tomorrow now you're so experienced at fitting them! Looks like a great find. Clutch might just need bleeding.

Pete

richardw
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Re: Late Excel SE - Search steps up. - Mission Accomplished.

Post by richardw »

Lovely car Tony - well found.

I second Pete'es remark about the door beam!

Richard
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AndyD
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Re: Late Excel SE - Search steps up. - Mission Accomplished.

Post by AndyD »

Lovely car and well bought.

I hope it brings you pleasure and doesn't distract too much from the Elite... :evil:

Andy

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Re: Late Excel SE - Search steps up. - Mission Accomplished.

Post by kkv444v »

Good luck with the old girl, Tony. I am glad she has found a great new home and owner.

I guess I was just used to pressing harder on the clutch pedal! The thought of assuming the position to adjust the clutch didn't entice me into trying it again...

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Re: Late Excel SE - Search steps up. - Mission Accomplished.

Post by CHRISYD »

I would get the speedo sorted ASAP. Sounds the same fault as mine (internal cogs for the tripometer were jamming also stopping mileometer recording which used to make my needle shoot around the dial at break neck speeds in trying to push past the little prong that the needle usually rests on until it broke the tip off the needle). Had to buy a replacement speedo. I was going to send old one off for overhaul until needle broke off.
I REALISED YOU CANT LIVE WITHOUT A LOTUS!!!

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MetBlue
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Re: Late Excel SE - Search steps up. - Mission Accomplished.

Post by MetBlue »

Thanks for the heads up on risk of permanent damage to Speedo.
First attempt yesterday of clutch adjustment. My that clevis is difficult to reach. Slightly better, but think it can take a bit more adjustment, but I need to get an old 17 mm ring spanner I can butcher before I go there again.
I have an update on the undocumented feature of headlights, but I'll add that to the ghostly thread.
Tony
What goes together.... Must come apart.

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Re: Late Excel SE - Search steps up. - Mission Accomplished.

Post by DavidOliver »

As posted some time ago, the clutch (and brake) master cylinders can be better accessed if you drill a large hole in the fibreglass bulkhead
inmediately above the cylinders. This does not affect body strength.

Dave the cog.

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Re: Late Excel SE - Search steps up. - Mission Accomplished.

Post by shaunw »

DavidOliver wrote:
Mon Jun 22, 2020 10:26
As posted some time ago, the clutch (and brake) master cylinders can be better accessed if you drill a large hole in the fibreglass bulkhead
inmediately above the cylinders. This does not affect body strength.

Dave the cog.
Any chance of a picture of that mod Dave?
Shaun

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