Why install solid CV driveshafts in your classic Lotus Elan?
Ever since the Lotus élan S1 was released to the public in the early 1960s, it soon became apparent that the driveline would not withstand vigorous driving habits, many stories abound of Élan’s intrepid driver stranded miles from the shop with a broken rubber. donut or metal joint, and swapping a donut on the side of the road is not the way to spend time with your friend at the lotus élan … no sireee.
There have been several driveline replacement alternatives to the donut, some have offered a half and a half deal, where a universal joint was used in conjunction with a donut, the thinking behind this idea is that the donut provided an effect of damping within the driveline, while the idea is sound in theory, the system was still prone to failure.
Another idea put forward was to use two universal joints and a sliding slotted yoke to replace the rubber donuts on each half axle, at first this seemed like an ideal solution, but unfortunately due to their design, the sliding slots will lock under certain conditions, and Universal joints also produce variations in rotation speeds, that is, they momentarily accelerate and decelerate with each rotation, the phenomenon is known as “cyclical variations in speed”, it is unique to universal joints when they operate at more than a few degrees from the centerline to which they would, of course, be attached when used on the rear driveline of a lotus élan, movement in the rear suspension travel will produce various degrees of movement on both hit and rebound. Moments of cyclical variation occur only for milliseconds, but the phenomena can be unsatisfactory in the motive line of an élan lotus.
The constant speed joint is designed so that when the drive angle varies, the balls are always positioned midway inside the joint. This eliminates the cyclical speed variations mentioned above that a universal joint produces when operating a few degrees off center, if the operating angle is extended too far, the UJs will have a tendency to lock up.
A rubber boot, which keeps grease and contaminants out, protects the constant speed (CV) joints. CV joints require only periodic maintenance or greasing, they are designed to last 100,000 miles (160,000 km) or more.
The upfront cost of converting a Lotus élan to a CV drivetrain is high, but the upfront cost is fully offset by the long run on donut maintenance and replacement.
The elantrikbits CV driveshaft system produces 100% reliability, because the system is well designed and is known for providing many years of trouble free service.
Another important factor to consider when installing a solid CV driveshaft in a lotus élan is ease of assembly, a well designed system will only require the removal of the old intermediate driveshafts and donuts, the new system is simply offered up to the Inner and outer drive flanges, normal wrenches and tools are all that should be required to tension heavy duty fasteners.
If the driveshaft kit you are considering requires more than normal shop tools to install and requires disassembly of the rear suspension from your élan, the total cost of installation will be much higher than the initial purchase cost, due to having to pay for the services of a professional installation mechanic.