A great idea or absolute madness?

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soldave
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A great idea or absolute madness?

Post by soldave »

Some of you may have seen this posted up on Facebook, but I'm guessing the majority haven't so I'd like a few opinions.

So, in August my Lotus Eclat turns 40 years old, and I'm trying to think what to do to celebrate the occasion that's not just a drive into the Pennines or the Peak District and a change of oil! Something like the James Bond Swiss Run (https://www.fireballrally.co.uk/james-b ... enge-2019/) came up in my Facebook feed, and I'd love to do something like that, but 1,800 miles in 4 days (providing the Eclat made it to the south coast of England!). The car's made it to Hethel and back with the gearstick only coming off in my hand once but this would be a completely different proposition.

I'd have European breakdown cover of course, but is this idea complete madness? Also, if I did consider it, what spares would I want to take in addition to as many tools as I can get in the boot?

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Re: A great idea or absolute madness?

Post by AndyC »

Driving a 40 year old car, rather than a modern car with similar performance in a modern family car is madness, but we are here for that sort of thing.
If it were me, I'd be worried more about me not making it than the car, that's a lot of tiring driving. As long as you're able to hack that many hours behind the wheel, sleep poorly for a short while, get up and do it again, then repeat a bit more. Go for it.

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Hawaiis0
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Re: A great idea or absolute madness?

Post by Hawaiis0 »

Great idea. How about a Beaujolais run in November. Following Angus' post on Car Club Awards, such trips are made for silverware.

Keep us informed
Umm! What to do next?

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Lotus-e-Clan
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Re: A great idea or absolute madness?

Post by Lotus-e-Clan »

From my time running a 76 Elite 501 as a daily for 10 years I'd be thinking about these spares/jobs that might be necessary.

(in no particular order)
    • 1) spare clutch cable (buy the best fine -dense multi-strand cable - NOT the cheap/coarse less-densely stranded less-flexible items) - they break around the pulley in the foot well.

      2) the long hub pivot bolt that locates the hub to the swinging arm AND also locates the rear tie bars. These will break at some point - especially if going over rough roads. Make sure these bolts are well lubricated (CopaSlip) - so you can get them out at the side of the road.

      3) replace the driveshaft u/js before you go and take a couple of spares in case you are unlucky.

      5) Check the front trunions for wear - if these go your front suspension will collapse

      6) renew anti roll bar bushes - or replace with poly's.

      7) renew the diff oil and the gearbox oil with the best possible stuff. Likewise engine oil (eg Mobil 1 fully synth 15w/50).

      8) Engine wise - take a new rotor arm if you can find an OE one all the better- New Dizzy cap and maybe a spare coil. Do the cam belt and tensioner before you go and make sure the engine breather system is 100% to avoid oil loss through seals.

      9) COOLING - take a new water pump with you or renew it before you go! - If you are not using the car regularly atm the pump seals will micro-tear each time on starting following lay-off periods. The pump will then fail in the first traffic jam in hot weather. Also take an new Otter switch.
      Maybe fit an air scoop to provide more air to the oil cooler.

      10) spare wiper blade - you only have one!
I'm sure others will add stuff I've forgotten about!

Good Luck - if it's any help to morale - I'd definitely do it and (with good prep as above) I'd expect to get through with little problem. I regularly completed 1000 mile holiday trips withOUT issue - but mine was a daily and it had regular maintenance and the failures (as above) became predictable - and eventually, therefore, - preventable!
Peter K

soldave
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Re: A great idea or absolute madness?

Post by soldave »

Thanks everyone for your thoughts.

AndyC - Good point about my body holding up. I'm nearly as old as the car so hopefully both could make it through the ordeal!

Lotus-e-Clan - Thanks for the detailed response. I'll go through them quickly.
1) spare clutch cable (buy the best fine -dense multi-strand cable - NOT the cheap/coarse less-densely stranded less-flexible items) - they break around the pulley in the foot well.
Replaced last summer with a decent one (I hope). And that pulley gets regularly lubricated but I know it's the weak spot.
2) the long hub pivot bolt that locates the hub to the swinging arm AND also locates the rear tie bars. These will break at some point - especially if going over rough roads. Make sure these bolts are well lubricated (CopaSlip) - so you can get them out at the side of the road.
Good call. Not heard of that being mentioned as something that will break so definitely one to consider.
3) replace the driveshaft u/js before you go and take a couple of spares in case you are unlucky.
Replaced mind with the Spicer ones a couple of years back and think I have a couple of spares too
5) Check the front trunions for wear - if these go your front suspension will collapse
Replaced a couple of years back. Reminds me I need to check they're properly lubricated before Spring.
6) renew anti roll bar bushes - or replace with poly's.
Got polys in there :)
7) renew the diff oil and the gearbox oil with the best possible stuff. Likewise engine oil (eg Mobil 1 fully synth 15w/50).
Good call. I've got Valvoline VR1 in the engine but the gearbox and diff could probably do with refreshing if I was doing a really long trip.
8) Engine wise - take a new rotor arm if you can find an OE one all the better- New Dizzy cap and maybe a spare coil. Do the cam belt and tensioner before you go and make sure the engine breather system is 100% to avoid oil loss through seals.
Thanks - might have a couple of those bits around the garage but if not I could get hold.
9) COOLING - take a new water pump with you or renew it before you go! - If you are not using the car regularly atm the pump seals will micro-tear each time on starting following lay-off periods. The pump will then fail in the first traffic jam in hot weather. Also take an new Otter switch.
Maybe fit an air scoop to provide more air to the oil cooler.
Water pump repair kit is a very good call. Car uses a manual switch for the fans so I should be OK with that, and I have the splitter at the bottom which hopefully will get some airflow in. Eclat so no oil cooler.
10) spare wiper blade - you only have one![/list][/list]
It'll be sunny every day ;)

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Re: A great idea or absolute madness?

Post by Pete Boole »

soldave wrote:
2) the long hub pivot bolt that locates the hub to the swinging arm AND also locates the rear tie bars. These will break at some point - especially if going over rough roads. Make sure these bolts are well lubricated (CopaSlip) - so you can get them out at the side of the road.
Good call. Not heard of that being mentioned as something that will break so definitely one to consider.
This is a very poor piece of design work for Lotus - no capacity for lubrication after assembly without disassembly again! I'm putting a grease nipple on my hubs to allow regular lubrication of this critical stud. Something else to consider?

Pete

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Lotus-e-Clan
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Re: A great idea or absolute madness?

Post by Lotus-e-Clan »

Pete Boole wrote:
soldave wrote:
2) the long hub pivot bolt that locates the hub to the swinging arm AND also locates the rear tie bars. These will break at some point - especially if going over rough roads. Make sure these bolts are well lubricated (CopaSlip) - so you can get them out at the side of the road.
Good call. Not heard of that being mentioned as something that will break so definitely one to consider.
This is a very poor piece of design work for Lotus - no capacity for lubrication after assembly without disassembly again! I'm putting a grease nipple on my hubs to allow regular lubrication of this critical stud. Something else to consider?

Pete
Image

For those who are clueless on elite rear suspension the above parts list will help shed light.
The Long stud we refer to is Item 25.
When the suspension goes up and down, the tie rods at the back move in a different (arc) geometry to the long trailing arm (ITEM 1) which pivots well forward on the chassis wall (on ITEM 4). The two geometries conflict. Which means the bushes have to flex /distort to take up and absorb the conflicting planes of movement. It helps massively if this stud is well-lubricated with CopaSlip as it is essentially a pivot point for the Hub assembly.
Peter K

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Re: A great idea or absolute madness?

Post by Gracie »

As Lotus-e-Clan points out, the knack is preparation - preparing for the worst - hoping for the best!


Prepare the car
Fill every available space with spares
Have quality breakdown cover that includes repatriation to the UK
Ensure your car insurance is spot on for the journey and include agreed value cover


Personally, I've taken one of our classics across to Europe for at last one European tour a year (all older than the Lotus) and thoroughly enjoyed it - but I would never say I was racing :D

Go for it

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Re: A great idea or absolute madness?

Post by Hawaiis0 »

I'd be interested in accompanying a fellow Lotus across the water, work and dates being achievable etc. Dont need to blast there and back .

Post in the Event thread if you want try and plan a run.
Umm! What to do next?

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igg-hiss
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Re: A great idea or absolute madness?

Post by igg-hiss »

Gracie wrote:Have quality breakdown cover that includes repatriation to the UK
I was looking for the picture I have of our Triumph Stag being Loaded onto a recovery truck.

I remember waiting to board the dover hovercraft in about 2000 with the Excel, I guy came over and said "where are you off to?" we were loaded with pram, potties, cuddly bears, toy cars and lots of toddler clothes and a change of cacks for me and the Mrs, "Euro Disney" I responded. He then related at leisure about a very draw out recovery from the middle of France in an Excel due to brake failure (master cylinder fault if memory serves me right). Thankfully we made it back home and returned once more on the hovercraft. Since then the Excel and the Eclat have been to France, Germany and Belgium. I have always made it back and had the greatest of fun. However on one occasion we limped in a bit like the "Memphis Belle" but we made it back!

Gallantly go forth, it is something I would like to do again.

Gosh I have just remembered when we got to Disney the lady on the Disney Hotel Parking Kiosk asked what sort of car it was, she did not recognise Lotus as a car brand, so when my wife said like in formula one. she said you can't use this car park you must go to the special parking! wow we though, we had a rye smile when it was us, a Trans Am and the Blue Badge Holders!
The Lotus Eclat, a lot like the English Whisky company: comes from Norfolk and better than you are often told it is.

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Re: A great idea or absolute madness?

Post by don.hasi »

Do it. I am sure there will enough helping hands along the trip, at least on the way back :wink:

The area which is scheduled is awesome. A must see and even bette a must to drive with a proper sports car
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Re: A great idea or absolute madness?

Post by DavidOliver »

If your intention is to fix yourself anything which has gone wrong think about what you need in your toolkit.
You might add in sticky tape and kit for localised water pipe leaks, Radweld.
The rear suspension bolt mentioned in this topic can fail, particularly in a loaded car. Much easier to replace before you travel.

By the way for Forum members possible interest. Trips to Spain using the Santander Ferry, particularly early spring or late Autumn, can alleviate UK winter doldrums. The Cantabria coast has great driving roads, hotels are quite cheap and the food, no pocket screams while you enjoy fresh fish, seafood, or a great steak. Wine is by the bottle, not by the glass. Oh! and there is an alcohol limit before it becomes a fine.

Dave the cog.

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Re: A great idea or absolute madness?

Post by carlp »

We are taking our Excel to three car shows in France this year, two in Normandy and one in Brittany. We have taken our 1972 Elan to numerous car shows in France and Switzerland over the years travelling on our own (and not in a group) and the most important thing is to have have proper breakdown insurance with full recovery. It's a trip not to be missed and I would be happy to share our experiences with anybody who is concerned about going.

Carl
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Re: A great idea or absolute madness?

Post by theelanman »

I have been to Le Mans in all my original elan....and +2
never missed a beat.........
the only problem we did have was my mates S3 Elan (rolling restoration) had had new cooling system pipes........
hed got one pipe that was a bit too short but fitted it anyway......
needless to say is worked its way off the end of the rad and emptied the contents on the road........
anyway as we were in convoy....not a problem........jiggery pokery.......stretched it...refitted it and filled it back up with 'sparkling buxton water'
nothing but the best........... :mrgreen:

part of the adventure (of any classic motoring) is you'll never know what'll happen :mrgreen:

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