Saturday, March 26, 2011

Lotus spring compressor

The goal for today was to experiment with the cargo tie down spring compressor idea recommended by several list members. I picked up a pair of 1,000 lb. ratchet cargo straps from Home Depot -- I chose the ones with hooks thinking they would hook onto the springs. Well, that didn't work out. The hooks are too big to fit between the coils, as well as the gap between the spring and the shock body. Besides, even if the hooks fit the springs are too short. So, I tied the straps to the springs. Easy on the long end, just use the end without the hook and use a double half hitch. The short end took some creative threading, with only enough room for s single half hitch.

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The ratchets worked, but not quite enough to get the collar off. I think the knots were pulling into the take-up winch. I could compress the spring enough before reaching the next click, so I asked a buddy -- Mike, working on his Miyata -- to help out. He pulled and I grabbed the collar with pliers. My advise: do not grab the collar with your fingers.

The ratchet worked well enough compressing the spring. When it comes to uncompressing this technique leaves something to be desired. All you can do is fully rotate the ratchet and pull on the release. Bamb, it lets go all at once. Good thing I had the end tightly clamped in the vise.

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The result: my front springs are 10" long. I plan to get shorter, stiffer springs to get the nose down where it belongs.


I got the upper links off last week, so after the spring was done I pressed out the bushings. I was going to press in the new ones but the paint needs touching up. I also wanted to get a second coat on the anti-roll bar, and a first coat on the steering arms. I did the bar and the arms, but ran out of time to finish the upper links. Next time.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Lotus anti-roll bar

I got my Moss Motors order this week, tie rod end bearings and upright rebuild kits, so I was going to take Friday off to work on the car, but things got complicated. A bunch of folks heading to Japan, and they need laptops and BlackBerrys. Not only did I have to come in, I had to work late, which blew away my chance to attend the First Hawaiian Bank Auto Show. Oh well, at least I felt like I was doing my little part to help Japan.

Would you believe it takes longer to set up a BlackBerry than a web server? Four hours minimum!

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Today began with taking pictures of the Lotus fuel lines, something I promised the mailing list. The Europa Twin Cam has two fuel tanks. Lotus ran 1/4 in. hard plastic lines through rubber grommets in the frame, with press-on rubber fittings. Those fittings eventually deteriorate, causing fuel leaks. Many a Europa has met its doom from fuel fires. I replaced the plastic hoses with stainless steel brake lines, connected by short lengths of fuel line and clamps.

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The consensus of the mailing list was that I should be able to straighten my bent anti-roll bar. It took longer to set up the press than it did to straighten the bar. I did it in many small steps, moving the support blocks to avoid too much stress at any one point. Piece of cake.

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I spent the remainder of the morning between painting the bar and disassembling the LH suspension. Before painting the bar I had to remove the remaining drop link. I cut away as much of the rubber bushing as possible, at which point the link practically fell off. The picture only shows the bar painted primer, but I did shoot one color coat before leaving.

My goal for the suspension was to measure the length of the spring, so that I can order shorter replacements. I bought a pair of rachet tie-downs to use as spring compressors (another list recommendation). Maybe I can cut out at lunch time next week and see if this works.

posted from Blo

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Lotus lower links, part 4

What a week. A bunch of parts arrived for the Lotus so like I mentioned last time I put in for some leave, the idea being to bring the car in, put it up on jack stands, and get it done without it becoming a permanent shop fixture. On Sunday I hurt my back replacing a toilet, and was not up for working on the car until Friday. Then Thursday night the tsunami hit Japan, setting off Civil Defence sirens all over the island to get people to evacuate low-lying areas. The whole family stayed up to watch the outcome on TV. So Friday did not get started much before noon. I did spend what was left of Friday at the shop.

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After putting the car up on jack stands and removing the front wheels I got to work disassembling the suspension to see if there were any surprises. There were. Getting the anti-roll bar off was a challenge typical of crash damage, the bottom end of the damper is bent aft so much the bar would not swing down.

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Upper bolts are 1/2 in., bottom two are 9/16. Bottom forward is long and takes a nut, the other three tap into the upright and take split washers. Note seal on inboard side of caliper mount.

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Trunnion threads onto bottom of upright until just snug. Washers and bushings are a maze. Rubber boots missing from the ball joint and tie rod end. Not a trace.

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Removing the ball joint is easy on the bench. I painted the caliper mount and the ball joint before deciding to order new ball joints.

Saturday was the usual three hour run.

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I started out taking pictures of some parts to ensure the LH and RH versions do not get mixed up during painting.

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The caliper mount is positioned with raised bosses and gasket inboard, felt seal outboard.

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With the anti-roll bar finally off the car I could tell it was too bent to re-use as is. Could not find a way to get rubber bushings on and off. Just for fun I split open the damaged drop-link, its bushing was already split and unusable.


Looks like I'll need a new anti-roll bar, the bushings, and new front shocks. Might change the springs while I'm there, to lower the ride height.