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Elite : Kaizen, those small manufacture changes.

Posted: Sat Mar 28, 2020 10:44
by MetBlue
My rebuild is (was ) intending to use some donor parts from an early 1976 elite, on my April / May 1974 car.
I keep coming across small design differences that were implemented by Lotus and thought they would be interesting to share on this thread.
To kick off, lets look at the rear hatch window. I've known for a while that the earliest cars had alloy hinges, that were changed to Chrome plated steel certainly before 1976, but recently spotted following on the Anodized surround trim.
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74 model on the left, 76 model on the right. Note increased horizontal on top corner (hides joint under the hinge), the different radius to the lower corner, and one you can't really see on the photo, but the inner corner trim is simple flat plate on the 74 car, but 3 dimensional (dished) on the later car. - No wonder you couldn't keep water out of the boot !!! :(

All : feel free to add "continuous improvements" you may come across. I have a few others I know of which I'll post in due course

Tony

Re: Elite : Kaizen, those small manufacture changes.

Posted: Sat Mar 28, 2020 13:43
by Pete Boole
I hadn't noticed the difference in glass trim but I do have some early -1974, like yours, aluminium hinges. I suspect the later ones may be brass, because they just don't corrode in the same way steel does, but I haven't had any re-chromed yet. I understand the aluminium hatch trim is a nightmare to get off! Haven't tied yet - keep putting it off!

Good thread!

Pete

Re: Elite : Kaizen, those small manufacture changes.

Posted: Tue Mar 31, 2020 21:47
by MetBlue
You're right Pete. Non Alloy hinges are brass - just did a small test spot drill on the hidden area of one. Hadn't realised until your post.
Here's a couple of changes Lotus made to the inner Door mouldings.
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Would seem this went along with a shortening of the window frame channels :
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Given the state of the blue door (and good condition of the Red), you can see why I had originally intended to use the later doors. For other reasons, I've now changed plans, hence my other thread on rebonding fibre glass panels ( I'll post picture tomorrow of the extent of the repair needed on the other thread as requested)
Tony

Re: Elite : Kaizen, those small manufacture changes.

Posted: Tue Mar 31, 2020 23:08
by richardw
That's very interesting about the window frames. They clearly evolved with part numbers D075U0700W & 701W in the Elite parts list and G075U0700F & 701F in the Excel list. There is also a manually crossed out B076U0716ZB & 715ZH which would appear to have been introduced for the Eclat then withdawn and superseded by the Elite part numbers.

From what I can see the illustration in the Excel parts list looks to have shorter legs than the Elite/Eclat illustration.

Would the length of the legs have any impact on the fitting issues with the new frames widely discussed here?

Cheers, Richard

Re: Elite : Kaizen, those small manufacture changes.

Posted: Wed Apr 01, 2020 10:48
by Pete Boole
I decided against using my original doors - like the blue one in your photo - as the shape of the inner door mouldings on the trailing edge is such a terrible fit against the B pillar. Not only was the front part of the moulding changed - the rear section was changed to fit better - not well, but better.

The original doors had a fixing point near the very bottom, front and rear, for the lower part of the window frame - hence the frames being longer. The longer frames - I'm using my originals - fit the later doors - the lower part of the frame is just left waving about!. I suspect when they were shortened it was more to do with the window going up and down than anything else.

What a lot of people don't know is that the Elite/Eclat frames have a small "file-to-fit" steel bar brazed to them at the point where it touches the top of the door beam above the latch. This is the way it is adjusted to fit at the top of the door aperture - the fixing on the door skin near the top is for the benefit of the door skin, not the frame - it is only about 1-2mm thick here! The Excel is completely different at this point. The new replacement frames do not have this feature, so some means of adjusting the fit is needed.

While we're on about doors - another thing I've noticed and sorted on mine is the fixing point for the door skin/window frame at the top/front inside. On early cars there is a fixing point for the door skin onto the window frame at this point, but the skin fits nowhere near the frame!! So people tighten the fixing and the fibreglass breaks - I've not seen an unbroken one yet!

I spent days and days sorting out the doors! :roll:

Pete

Re: Elite : Kaizen, those small manufacture changes.

Posted: Wed Apr 01, 2020 13:18
by Zag
My 86MY excel had the longer legs fitted in the passenger side, I have not looked at the drivers side so don't know if it has been replaced at some point. All points were bolted to the door beam apart from the front which had rusted off.

Re: Elite : Kaizen, those small manufacture changes.

Posted: Thu Apr 02, 2020 18:45
by bash
ive got a couple of photo's showing the frame differences from Elite to Excel. the main differences are the length of the legs, not very adjustable holes for the mounts on the legs and an extra rear lower mount on the Elite. The excel frame is on top but dont take any notice of the boxed in lower frame on the Excel frame, thats just me tig welding some extra plates in to add strength.

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Bash

Re: Elite : Kaizen, those small manufacture changes.

Posted: Thu Apr 02, 2020 18:58
by MetBlue
richardw wrote:That's very interesting about the window frames. They clearly evolved with part numbers D075U0700W & 701W in the Elite parts list and G075U0700F & 701F in the Excel list. There is also a manually crossed out B076U0716ZB & 715ZH which would appear to have been introduced for the Eclat then withdawn and superseded by the Elite part numbers.

Cheers, Richard
Richard : What's your reference source for these part numbers? Main reference I know of is the RD enterprises web site, which agrees with your part number for Elite, and gives B076U0715ZH &716ZH for Éclat series 1. The Éclat series 2 then reverts to the same frame as the Elite Series 2. ( The RD site doesn't appear to have heard of Excels !!!)

Tony

Re: Elite : Kaizen, those small manufacture changes.

Posted: Mon Apr 06, 2020 08:06
by MetBlue
Here's a change that would suggest original type approval tests on SIP were not just passed, but smashed.

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Upper beam is the MY74. It has a 47mm deep top hat section in 1.6 mm material, with the bridge plate in 2.5 mm material. By comparison, the 76 MY is made entirely from 1.6mm material and the top hat is 40mm deep. You can see in the picture the original beam had to be fabricated to taper down at each end, not needed on the thinner beam. The 76 beam is a whole 2.7Kg lighter at 5.3Kg c.f. 8 Kg. !
Needless to say, the earlier beams I have are in much better condition and definitely the ones I'll be re-using.

Tony

Re: Elite : Kaizen, those small manufacture changes.

Posted: Mon Apr 06, 2020 13:10
by richardw
MetBlue wrote:
richardw wrote:That's very interesting about the window frames. They clearly evolved with part numbers D075U0700W & 701W in the Elite parts list and G075U0700F & 701F in the Excel list. There is also a manually crossed out B076U0716ZB & 715ZH which would appear to have been introduced for the Eclat then withdawn and superseded by the Elite part numbers.

Cheers, Richard
Richard : What's your reference source for these part numbers? Main reference I know of is the RD enterprises web site, which agrees with your part number for Elite, and gives B076U0715ZH &716ZH for Éclat series 1. The Éclat series 2 then reverts to the same frame as the Elite Series 2. ( The RD site doesn't appear to have heard of Excels !!!)

Tony
Sorry for the delay Tony - I have my own copies of both parts lists (as my car is a hybrid!)

Richard

Re: Elite : Kaizen, those small manufacture changes.

Posted: Mon Apr 06, 2020 13:18
by richardw
MetBlue wrote:
Upper beam is the MY74. It has a 47mm deep top hat section in 1.6 mm material, with the bridge plate in 2.5 mm material. By comparison, the 76 MY is made entirely from 1.6mm material and the top hat is 40mm deep. You can see in the picture the original beam had to be fabricated to taper down at each end, not needed on the thinner beam. The 76 beam is a whole 2.7Kg lighter at 5.3Kg c.f. 8 Kg. !
Needless to say, the earlier beams I have are in much better condition and definitely the ones I'll be re-using.

Tony
Confirmed in the parts list Tony. Looks like the thinner beams were introduced in the Eclat and used across both cars. I wonder if someone was told to 'add lightness?'!!

Re: Elite : Kaizen, those small manufacture changes.

Posted: Mon Apr 06, 2020 17:20
by Pete Boole
The early beams are known as the "federal" version, so maybe something to do with export requirements. I've also kept my federal beams but had to increase the "taper" at the latch end to suit the later door skins. Don't know whether that's just my car or not?

Pete

Re: Elite : Kaizen, those small manufacture changes.

Posted: Mon Apr 06, 2020 18:17
by richardw
Pete Boole wrote:The early beams are known as the "federal" version, so maybe something to do with export requirements. I've also kept my federal beams but had to increase the "taper" at the latch end to suit the later door skins. Don't know whether that's just my car or not?

Pete
Yes, there were specific Federal (+Australia) beams which follow on in numerical sequence from the original Elite door beams.

Re: Elite : Kaizen, those small manufacture changes.

Posted: Thu Apr 16, 2020 18:23
by MetBlue
Two more detail changes.
First very obvious and I'm sure most are aware, the very early cars not having the badge ID on the B post trim.
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I was re watching the 30min M50 development video on youtube again recently, and even the Elite CC was driving off the assembly line, supposedly before release, already had the badge !!!!.

This next one I need some help with please, as I don't remember which shape I took off my 74 MY car :( :!: . The sill trim strip has two different shapes between 74 and 76.
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The fitting side is the same, but help needed please on which shape is the earlier --- and also which way up it goes :D :D .
Tony

Re: Elite : Kaizen, those small manufacture changes.

Posted: Thu Apr 16, 2020 19:28
by Pete Boole
Mines also a '74 and the trim I took off was the same as the one on the right of the photo. I'm assuming it was original - it was held on with wood screws drilled straight through it! :roll: I didn't know there were different styles though.

Pete