“It was an Elan. A delightful little thing famously made of Kleenex and unicorn farts.” ~ Sam Smith
DAY THIRTEEN – We made a strategic decision last night over beer and food, that the rational thing to do is to replace the left side strut insert, Lotocone and bump stop before it fails and we have to do major surgery as we did to the right side. Theoretically, the job should be a lot simpler since everything is intact. But before we could start the left side we still had a lot of work to replace the hub assembly on the right side. To help me, since he has a parts business to run, Ray enlisted a friend of his whom he had already scheduled for other work on Friday. When Bill arrived about 10:00 his credentials were fully on display as he went right to work assembling the right side. We had to re compress the spring as the compressors had slid around to the same side resulting in a spring with a significant curve, not suitable for reinstallation. I barely got enough compression on the spring to get the nut on the top to start on the threads but it finally took and Bill tightened it while I kept the pressure on with a floor jack. Then the job of uncompressing the spring began with such limited space to move a wrench I could only move one flat at a time. It took seemingly forever to get the compressors off the springs. Then I reattached the brake caliper and the hub and the right side was done except for the reattaching of the C/V joint which we held off on until we finished the other side.
We finished the right side about noon and then began the left side, hoping to finish in a couple of hours because it was simply a replacement of the strut cartridge. Once Bill had dropped the strut, it became clear that the other Lotocone would need replacing as well. No problem, just undo the two bolts and replace with new, except the one bolt was even more stubborn than its brother on the right. We tried all the same tricks without success and finally Bill used a cutoff wheel and simply cut the head off the bolt. Then the problem was how to get this little threaded stub out of the captive nut without ruining it. After much consultation, Ray and Bill agreed that the best thing to do was weld a nut to it and back it out. The only problem with that was we had no welder. Bill says he has one at home and will go get it. 2 ½ hours later, he gets back with the mig welder and the first try is a failure…the nut breaks right off and the bolt doesn’t move. Finally he gets a solid weld and backs the bolt out. I have kept it as a souvenir as it cost $180 for all his time to go get the welder and get it done. Our new target became by the end of the day.
It was a good thing too, because we found a failed C/V boot on the left side which added another round of complexity. When we had all the components fixed we had the same reassembly process as the right side which you may reread from above if you want the details. We finished at 6:15 and I took a joyous little drive down the street. She’s baacck!
Impressions from the thirteenth day:
- As with every project I have done with any of my cars, it always takes longer and costs more than the original estimates.
- What if this had happened after I left here, or before I was close, or almost anywhere for that matter. To have the parts, the expertise, the shop and all the right tools was simply a miracle!
- The respite was good and now I am ready to get back on the road with renewed confidence in my little green gem of an Elan. We are both rejuvenated, indeed.
Hi, I’m Ross and I’m a tripoholic. I love driving especially in my old cars and then writing about the adventure that always follows. I’m old enough to know better but that doesn’t stop me. If you like stories of the road, every word true no matter how far fetched it may seem, then grab a beer or a cup of coffee and join me!
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