Sunday, September 20, 2009

Lotus back on the road

Next Sunday is the Honolulu Century Ride so I won't be working on cars. All the more reason to get the Lotus back on the road today.

After putting the rear wheels on I decided the LH brakes were a bit too tight so I removed the drum and turned back the adjuster a couple of turns. The wheel turned easily after that, but it will take a lot of handbrake pulls to adjust it back. I miss the old MG way.

With the rear finally back on the ground it was time to lift the front and repair the peeling tape. The best place to lift the front is at the frame. The trick is to get under the anti-roll bar. The shop's floor jacks are pretty standard, too high to get under the bar. The solution is to use two jacks. Use the first to lift the nose just enough to slip the second under the anti-roll bar and under the frame cross-member.


The tape was easier to repair than I thought. After cutting away the damaged tape and washing the area with a wet rag I just tore off strips of 200 m.p.h. tape and stuck them lengthwise to cover the brake lines. While doing that I noticed that I need to get some Rustoleum on the frame nearby.


The car started right up and passed its safety check with flying colors. Nice to have it home again.


Sunday, September 13, 2009

Lotus license plate lights

I almost got the Lotus back on the road today. What I did get done was repairing the two rear license plate fixtures and getting the brake lights working again. That all needs to get done in order to get a safety check.

Both license plate light fixtures had a lot of corrosion and dirt. They really need more intervention. I would like to try POR-15 only it should be white -- heat from the bulb might be a problem. All I did today was clean the contacts and the case where the ground wire touches, and that took quite a while.

When the painter installed the lights he did not get the grounds right, including here. The ground connectors were under the plate nuts, making a very unreliable ground path. The right way is to put them between the case and the body, which means they are on the outside of the body. That is why they are bent so strangely.

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The problem with the brake lights turned out to be a connector at the brake light switch that had fallen off. Now the question is why it fell off. Time will tell.

Next week the duct tape business in front gets fixed, then this car goes back on the road.

As I was writing this, CSI: Las Vegas had a BMW coupe like mine. Sure dies look glamerous. Way cool!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Lotus odds and ends

The wheel bearings are done so I am not including this in the series, however I still spent the entire day working on the Lotus. Nothing that warranted a picture, so no new pics today.

The reason I decided to replace the drive shaft u-joints was a broken nipple. I think the grease gun was the culprit. The first order of business today was greasing the four new u-joints. Rather than take any chances I used an odd-looking adapter the shop has. It does not clip to the nipple. Instead, you just press it really hard against the nipple. Sort of like an aircraft style needle fitting only the tip is concave. It did require a lot of pressure, and a lot of grease leaked out, but it worked.

During the time the car has been up on jack stands it leaked some oil onto the floor. Today I checked and it was transmission oil (the smell is the give-away). I still had a fresh quart from when I switched to Redline 70W90, and I was surprised that it took more than half to top off. I need to keep an eye on that. After the oil was in I washed the transaxle, first with solvent, then with a strong batch of POR-15 Marine Clean. Now maybe I can tell where it is leaking. After that I mopped the floor.

With the wet and messy stuff out of the way I could hook up a battery charger. At that point I thought I might be taking the car home at the end of the day, but it had been raining all morning and I hate driving the Lotus in the rain. After lunch it was still raining, more than ever, so I decided to install the LH rear side marker light assembly and get the RH one, which I had already installed, wired into the harness. To get these after market pieces to fit required cutting away some of the brass that forms the receptacle for the ground wire and filing the holes in the body to get more clearance.

There are two more things I really ought to do: fix the rear license plate lights and repair the loose duct tape at the front of the brake line access bay, which runs under the car right down the center. Lotus used some really sticky, wide tape here. Good old duct tape is the best thing that is readily available. I wonder if there is any difference between duct tape, gaffer's tape, and 200 m.p.h. racing tape?

The rain never stopped, so the car is still there. Next week, for sure!