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Lots Of Trouble Usually Serious

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  • Lots Of Trouble Usually Serious

    So finally someone is seriously interested in my Elan. My father and I spent last week cleaning it up, making sure it all works. Car was running great, started right up every time. Today the guy was coming to look at it, so I started it up this morning and drove it over to the local Lotus morning coffee meet and around town. Car ran great.
    This afternoon, I started it and drove it out of the garage to park it on the street for better viewing. Guy shows up, looks over the car, asks to go for a ride and it won't F'n start. Completely dead, not even a click, won't even jump start off a battery box.



    I think the car knows I am trying to sell it and sabotaged itself, same thing happened last time I showed it to someone, went to go for a drive and it decided to run on two cylinders
    Last edited by mopho; December 20, 2009, 08:35 PM.
    www.morgansegal.com

    The funny thing is my wife goes " What is that car a Morgan ? " and I said "No that's a Caterham but there is a Morgan driving it " -delise

  • #2
    Another Voodoo problem?

    Comment


    • #3
      Could of been worse... stranded you someplace other than in front of the house.

      Did you figure it out? Sounds like maybe it was the ignition switch if it wouldn't turn over with a jump (I say with my limited knowledge of things mechanical).

      Comment


      • #4
        After consulting with baby Kai for a few hours (aka a nap), it was discovered that when I washed the car the day before, water must have gotten into the battery kill switch and corroded it. I've since bypassed the switch and all is well. Fortunately, it appears this may not have deterred the buyer.
        www.morgansegal.com

        The funny thing is my wife goes " What is that car a Morgan ? " and I said "No that's a Caterham but there is a Morgan driving it " -delise

        Comment


        • #5
          Morgan;

          Reminds me of my own L O T U S concerns:

          My niece, Rachel, called me the other day. She wanted some car advice. She’s thinking of moving up to a BMW 3 series. I asked her why she wasn’t consulting her father, my brother, for advice? After all, his harem of twenty-something vehicles (vs my modest stable of 10) should qualify him as an automotive expert. She replied that his point of view was sort of meat and potatoes and she thought that my experience was a little closer to her more worldly views. I asked her to clarify and she replied, “You know, my dad is a "Fix Or Repair Daily" kind of guy and you’re more of a Lots Of Trouble Usually Serious type.â€‌ I smirked.

          After we hung up, her comment left me wondering about automotive maintenance stereotypes in general : You know, Fix It Again Tony, Just Enough Essential Parts, Always Unsafe Design Implementation, and on and on…. There’s probably an acronym for every make of car on the road.

          That got me thinking. I’m paranoid about driving the Esprits very far from home. How did I get this paranoia? Is it based on fact or urban legend. I drive a fair amount, I think conservatively, about 30,000 miles annually over the last 40 years. In all of those years I’ve only had a couple of highway breakdowns: the worst being back in my college days coming home from a double date. I was driving my new girlfriend’s 2-year old Datsun 1200 and the engine seized --- oops, no oil in there! No home run on that date! Another time about 15 years ago I lost a timing belt on our Escort wagon. It only had 100k miles on it against a 70k mile service life for the belt (so owner’s manuals do have a purpose after all). There was also a failed Hall-effect sensor that rendered the engine dead on our Dodge Caravan, up north of Bakersfield at noon on a Sunday in August, while on a family vacation to Yosemite. Other than that, the only times I’ve had to use the auto club were for flat tires, running out of gas or transporting a project car to the shop (or home). And just last week my wife had her Volvo V40 towed after the MAP sensor failed about 30 miles from home (she’s moved on from the Datsun …. And learned how to check the oil!).

          A quick look at the log books shows about 5k Lotus miles per year over the last 5. In that time I’ve run out of gas once and had 2 tows . The “gas incidentâ€‌ was the first time I drove my ’77 S1 after completing a total restoration (I guess that E on the gauge doesn’t mean “Enoughâ€‌). Both of the tows were embarrassing and maintenance related. The first was a simple overheat. The adjusting screw on the vacuum pump had not been tightened appropriately by the shop that had installed the water pump belt under the care of the dreaded previous owner . (Note to self: Always check everything when buying a used car. Don’t take the service records as proof of proper technique.). The embarrassing part was that this event occurred on a short business trip with my boss. To this day, he occasionally reminds me of our bonding while sitting 3 abreast with the driver in the tow truck on the way home. At least I got to ride shotgun in the tow truck. The 2nd tow was due to a failed trunion on the right front spindle on one of the ’84 Turbos. And it failed in the parking lot at my office. Embarassing since it was due to poor maintenance on my part. I hadn’t greased the trunions since purchasing the car. And as a mechanical engineer I should know better. The icing on the cake was the public humiliation of getting a couple of my co-workers to help lift up the front end to save the front spoiler while getting it on the flat bed truck while my colleagues watched from inside the office.

          So in my case, all 3 of my Lotus related service problems have been due to poor maintenance or owner error. Over the years, in conversations with other Lotus owners, that’s been pretty much the same experience that I’ve heard from them: if they followed good maintenance practice, they haven’t been stranded either. Why then do I think of my cell phone as my Lotus phone? I don’t think twice about getting into my ’86 S10 pick up and driving 400 miles up to Modesto to pick up an old Bugeye Sprite and tow it home. Yet when I drive one of the Esprits 100 miles up to Cars & Coffee I make double sure that I have the AAA card in my wallet and the Lotus phone is fully charged. 2 years ago I drove to LOG 27 in one of the Esprits. From San Diego to Aspen and back, over 2,000 miles, with absolutely zero issues. The Esprit never missed a beat and was an absolute joy to drive. So why the fear? My experience doesn’t match my own paranoia. Or my niece’s stereotype.

          So now, upon reflection, Maybe I'll leave the cell phone at home next time I drive up to C&C. And just enjoy the drive. Baby steps.

          Oh yeah, one more thing: I’m going to call Rachel back and ask her how she’s enjoying her new Broken Monstrous Wonder.

          But then again, there's this:
          http://www.mjswebgallery.com/lotus_d...Lotus_209.html
          EscondidoRon

          '62 Lotus Seven
          '84 Turbo Esprit (x2)
          '14 Evora
          '77 Esprit S1 (RIP) :(

          "A man must keep a little back shop where he can be himself without reserve. In solitude alone can he know true freedom." -Michel De Montaigne 1588

          Comment


          • #6
            Brings memories back of my first (of two) 1992 Citroen XM V6 24v.


            A two ton French monster that was the coolest and worst car I've ever owned.

            Let's start with the cool parts:
            1. Electrically adjustable central armrest.
            I mean, how can you live without it.

            2. Heated rear seats.
            In -92, mind you...

            3. Divider between rear hatch and passenger compartment to keep the chill out:


            4. The Diravi steering system
            Self centering steering wheel when the car is stationary. Invaluable for parallel parking.


            5. Auto adjusted ride height.
            It was a pretty nice experience in the morning to sit down in a car that had collapsed on its suspension, started it and then felt the entire vehicle rise to its correct height. It took time out of my day, but it was worth it.
            This video shows it

            6. A 13 step starting sequence
            That included a pin code entry on the center console. I lent the car out once (with written instructions), and the word spread quickly after that. It was never driven by my friends again.

            7. A center console mounted 4 way joystick for cruise control.
            It ruled utterly and completely.

            8. The ride quality.
            The hydro-pneumatic setup is still pretty unmatched to this day. If you tuned the radio to 635khz (or was it mhz?), you could hear the relay to the soft-ride sphere switch between soft and hard ride quality depending on how you drove. Again, this was 1992.


            ---

            And now the somewhat less cool parts.

            1. The engine bay:

            What this picture does not convey is that there are belts on both sides of the transversely mounted engine. I have no idea how they did it.
            Let's say that engine removal was a bit trickier than on a Seven.

            2. The electrical system
            Citroen switched to Bosch in -92, but I had the dreaded french system. Just for fun, they did not scrape off the color from the grounding blocks in the engine bay, which more or less guaranteed electrical issues from day 1.

            3. Quality
            Let's just say that when it occasionally ran, it was a beautiful piece of machinery.



            Ah - Sweet memories.

            I still eye this one (bottom of page) every now and then; one of 24 XMs in America. My wife however has forbidden me to even talk to the seller.

            /Magnus F.
            Last edited by magnusfeuer; December 21, 2009, 11:17 AM.

            Comment


            • #7
              Morgan,

              I think your painter missed a big circle size spot on your door... :p

              Best wishes on the sale - and I hope you don't miss your elan too much. I spent the better part of my childhood pretending to drive one and I wish I had the space for one to compliment the 7.

              Comment


              • #8
                I'm convinced that cars and motorcycles have some sort of "spirit" inside them. I can't tell you how many times I, or someone I know, has tried to sell a vehicle that runs perfectly until the guy comes to look at it. It is as if the vehicle doesn't want to leave you. Same thing with cars and bikes that manage to get you home before dying, not leaving you stranded. Juju? Yeah, but I swear it's true.

                --Dave

                Comment


                • #9
                  Then there's the other side of that "spirit" thing. When I was in college I had a series of very inexpensive cars. I was sure that they knew when I got paid as they would seemingly always run when I had money and break down only when I was broke.
                  EscondidoRon

                  '62 Lotus Seven
                  '84 Turbo Esprit (x2)
                  '14 Evora
                  '77 Esprit S1 (RIP) :(

                  "A man must keep a little back shop where he can be himself without reserve. In solitude alone can he know true freedom." -Michel De Montaigne 1588

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Well the Elan has only stranded me twice, once when the throttle cable frayed and jammed up in the housing causing the throttle to stick almost wide open. And the second time was when the hydraulic line to the clutch burst. There was also the time that the car started sputtering on the PCH only to die on the uphill ramp into santa monica. fortunately, I had a friend with me and we were able to push it up the ramp. We got it going again, albeit barely, but enough to get home. Later discovered that something had knocked the fuel pump regulator onto the wrong setting. Of course we only figured that out after spending much of the morning pulling the carburetors apart :(

                    The biggest trip I've done in the car was up to Morrow Bay/Big Sur once for a Lotus meet and it went without a hitch other than the weather (well the headlight vacuum switch did come loose too).



                    To explain the above photo that Ron posted, about two years ago he helped me out on a story about Lotus for 0-60 magazine. Ron brought his Esprit and we drove out to Ojai and did a drive up the 33. During the drive, the throttle return spring on the Webers broke and Ron made a repair while I took photos to illustrate it. ( I now carry a spare return spring in the car)
                    But talk about paranoia, I had just got the Elan back from an extensive engine rebuild (that took 9 months) and this was it's maiden voyage, I spent the whole drive worrying and panicking every time I smelled something or heard a noise. Made it difficult to concentrate on the job at hand





                    I've had a few other inquires about the car in the past couple of days and to my surprise several have asked me whether I think it would be ok to drive across country, or to Canada. I didn't really know how to answer

                    The Elan has actually been more reliable than the Caterham, but I would be more comfortable in the Cat doing a trip for some reason
                    www.morgansegal.com

                    The funny thing is my wife goes " What is that car a Morgan ? " and I said "No that's a Caterham but there is a Morgan driving it " -delise

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      My brother and I were in his Elan, engaged in a sporting drive w/ 2 friends in a TR6. We had just overtaken them, passing on a hairpin :-O (I'd looked up hill prior too and knew there was no traffic coming the other way) when the throttle cable snapped. We got home by rigging the cable to come out under the bonnet on my side of the car. Going home I was the throttle man while my brother did the clutch, brakes and steering functions :-D

                      The guy in the TR6 & his passenger, who had a Series 3 Elan, drove from New Jersey to New Mexico in their cars. In January. Through a blizzard. It can be done.

                      The Elan is simultaneously one of the most elegant and most retarded pieces of automotive engineering ever. I loved mine, warts and all, and find myself at times wanting another. I've often wondered why it hasn't been knocked off like the Super 7 has been.
                      Chris
                      ------------
                      A day you don't go a hundred is a day wasted

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Morgan's quandry:
                        several have asked me whether I think it would be ok to drive across country, or to Canada. I didn't really know how to answer
                        Having seen this car up close and personal, I wouldn't have any concerns at all (other than those I mentioned in my earlier post LOL) about taking your Elan on a cross country journey.

                        and then....
                        I've often wondered why it hasn't been knocked off like the Super 7 has been.
                        While I get your point, I would also remind you that the most successful 2-seat roadster in history, the Mazda MX-5, is a knock-off of the Elan. Just a lot heavier and......
                        EscondidoRon

                        '62 Lotus Seven
                        '84 Turbo Esprit (x2)
                        '14 Evora
                        '77 Esprit S1 (RIP) :(

                        "A man must keep a little back shop where he can be himself without reserve. In solitude alone can he know true freedom." -Michel De Montaigne 1588

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by escondidoron View Post
                          While I get your point, I would also remind you that the most successful 2-seat roadster in history, the Mazda MX-5, is a knock-off of the Elan. Just a lot heavier and......
                          I don't know if I'd call the miata a knock-off.. here's an interesting read:
                          http://forum.miata.net/vb/showpost.p...35&postcount=7

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I've seen that before, I don't buy it. Too many limilarities
                            www.morgansegal.com

                            The funny thing is my wife goes " What is that car a Morgan ? " and I said "No that's a Caterham but there is a Morgan driving it " -delise

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              One of my friends worked at Mazda during the original Miata times (Morgan, do you remember my co-driver on our trip to Ojai?). He says the Elan similarities are no coincidence.
                              EscondidoRon

                              '62 Lotus Seven
                              '84 Turbo Esprit (x2)
                              '14 Evora
                              '77 Esprit S1 (RIP) :(

                              "A man must keep a little back shop where he can be himself without reserve. In solitude alone can he know true freedom." -Michel De Montaigne 1588

                              Comment

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