Steering Column Renovation 
I'll just let the photos tell the story. Didn't use foam padding, just flexible leatherette from the local sewing supplies store. Dipped into my store of aircraft upholstery supplies for the cement, which is a high-solids, high-tack cement used to finish aircraft interior panels. Seam was tightly sewn to the edge as close as possible then trimmed carefully.

Key is to let the cement flash off completely, and use a sharp razor knife to point the leatherette as you go around curves or inside corners. It's fiddly (no doubt the ladies in the trim shop at Hethel were a lot faster), but if you take your time, it all works out well enough.

Fiberglass base was stripped of all the old cover (which I used as a general pattern...), foam, then sanded lightly to remove the old cement. Luckily it was in good shape and ready to receive the cement. I did one panel at a time, starting with the front, and stretched the leatherette as it was smoothed down on the base after the cement flashed off.

Think it came out OK; it only has one attachment screw in the front face that goes into the switch mechanism metal flange. Thinking, for sturdiness sake (and to give the switch gear a little more stability), I may put two holes in the bottom that align with the base of the dash, and use some #6 black trim screws up from the bottom, and build a short flange out of aluminum and do the same for the top. We'll see when I get back to MA and keep working on the car...

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Shift Lever Bushing Issues 
At the will have (deteriorated) nylon 'top hat' bushings IN the base of the lever. The shoulder bolt will be inserted from the driver side through the base (there's a welded stop to prevent it from turning...when you tighten or loosen the nyloc nut on the other end. Under the nyloc nut is a washer. The whole assembly is (assuming you have a TC or an upgraded S2 that uses the TC parts) is as you see it in the photo above.

You will have to get your forearm IN all the way and do by feel. Yes, things COULD drop into the frame, but a magnet stick works wonders to pick up pieces that may disappear. Just take your time (thinking the factory had a select group of assemblers who either had very thin forearms...or built the whole thing out of the car and pushed it into the frame before dropping the engine in...I've done it both ways...); I've found that it takes about a half hour and much contortions (helps if you pull the seats so you can kneel on the floor) but taking it a step at a time works just fine.

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Euro Tail Lights: Buy or Renovate? 
Got a question:
"That sounds like a major effort for the Euro tail lights! I wonder if just buying Euro lamps wouldn't have been cheaper..."

My response:
They were euro taillights off a canadian body I bought. I just restored them (new ones, last I checked were over 1K USD for a pair, if you can find them); I like the fiddly work of hands-on renovation of the appliances. Especially when it works when you're finished.

Checked my receipts and the rechrome back then cost me 150 for each, and the lenses were 100 or so each from Banks. Had all the internals/springs/etc, so it was just a matter of my hand work to finish them.

Federal cars have a relay box under the dash so that one filament in the solid red lens tail light can work as both the brake and the directional; when your foot is on the brake, and you engage the directional, it allows the same filament to blink while still keeping the other filament on the other side steady on as the brake is applied. That, and the regs at the time, stated that rear directionals had to be red. It's one cares about a 50 year old car as to whether the directionals are the right color...just that they work.

Just adding the Green/purple wire from the brake switch direct to the stop lights (tying back the GP that goes to the DB10 relay box) and moving the green/white and green/red to the top filaments is a simple job.

Just replaced the reverse with LEDs. I usually change out the flasher anyway to an electronic unit that will work with either incandescent or LED...constant flash rate no matter the voltage, and quiet. So, if I wanted to put in LED replacements, it's an easy swap. Anything to reduce the current draw on these old harnesses (I did all the position and landing/taxi lights in my plane under approval with LEDs...they're brighter, and the current draw according to the meter in my plane panel is almost negligible versus the incandescents that were in there before.)

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Euro Tail Lights and Other Stuff 
Euro taillights polished and ready to install. While still ruminating about what to do about the motor...working on other items of interest.

The TC wiring loom for federal cars (versus the S2, which ran a wire forward from the brake switch to the DB10 and left the other brake light wire in place in the loom) does not mirror the S2 arrangement, which made it easy to install the euro taillights after I painted 693R in '08.

So..ordered up some proper color wire (and bullets, etc) from Brit Wiring in the right size and will add the wire into the back end at some point, and wire the car as per the euro wiring chart for the blinkers/stop/hazard/running lights.

For the record...the bases were stripped and replated, new sponge gasket under the lenses, bases retapped for 6/32 to attach the lenses (using stainless hardware), mounting threads cleaned up (1/4x20) and have new base gaskets. All the light sockets were chromed at the same time, but, re-flowed the solder on the light contact bases, new bullets (crimped and soldered) for the light leads, and the reverse light assemblies rebuilt and connectors polished....and LED festoon bulbs used.

Was going to put these on the second S2 that I had thought I was going to build...but...ran out of steam with some medical issues in '09 and never got to it, selling the frame and second body off as time went on.

Thinking of offering the steering wheel I pulled out. It's in perfect shape...but only good for a TC, since 1) I have no idea who manufactured it or where to get the horn button fixings...and 2) that's the model it came out of.

And...spent some time with a buffer, chrome polish, and went after the bumpers. They are 40 something years old...but only a couple scratches and rub marks, but certainly are not something to be ashamed of. Considering the cost to strip, buff, replate...they'll do.

Packed up the seat with the torn seams on the bolster and a piece of carpet (and measurements for the floor on both sides)...and drove to the next town over to the only auto upholstery shop in the Fall River area. Closed due to a positive covid test until April. Sigh. Oh well, the other seat is ok. No rush on any of this, but was thinking of getting ahead of some things. Hope he's ok...and will revisit later.

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Column Stalk Refreshment 
Fiddly is NOT the word. The replacements are for a larger diameter column so...somehow you have to build the column up so that you can clamp it down tightly. First problem. I solved it with a couple rings of large adhesive heat shrink (I use it when I make high-power RF coax terminations on the end of heliax) which makes up most of the difference. I then carefully, with an extremely sharp bit, drilled a pilot hole 180 degrees from the clamp screw, and once the proper diameter was achieved with the heat shrink, and the clamp was tightened down fully, screwed a short stainless #6 sheet metal screw in so that the point pierced the heat shrink and bit into the column. It's tight.

Second problem...the quality of the ostensibly 'Lucas' replacement parts is questionable...I rang out all the leads and except for the horn button, everything was copacetic. Carefully disassembled the new rront plate (which has a different shape than the original... removed the stalk (yeah, there are a bunch of springs, wipers, one ball...I did it upside down in a tupperware container and caught everything), removed the offending stalk from both (the horn worked on the old switch plate...) and thank goodness the old stalk worked in the new switch housing...and the horn button worked, too...reassembled the new switch back end with the old plate (there is a screw hole for the column cover; the new front plate is a different shape, so there would have been no place to attach the cover...) Other issue is that the new turn cancel cam is deeper than the, while reassembling, used the old nylon cam instead of the new one.

third issue: the plug at the end of the wire bundle for the switch is different. So...cut off the old molex (I don't have a pin removal tool for the large .092 pins...only the smaller bad...) with enough wire to splice onto the new wires. Soldered like colors to like color, shrink tube over the splice, and tested before wrapping with loom tape. Everything works as it should.

Put it all together on the column (with the lock screw...), plugged everything in, reattached the ground on the battery...turned the key...can flash the lights, hi/lo beam, turn sigs, horn, wipers, squirters...

Now, to finish with the leatherette cover for the column cover and put it all back with the OEM steering wheel.

I would hate to think about how much it would have cost to have someone do it for me. Lots of fiddling, fitting, and thinking outside the box...

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Interior Cleanout 
Figured during lunch hour...would start to do a few things on the interior of JPS 142 while musing about what to do about the engine...drop and refresh or fiddle around more with her...anyway...stripped out the seats. The passenger side is just fine; driver side seams are torn. Thinking to just see if an upholstery shop can make up a pair (they're mirror images) of the bolsters and replace. I know Europa Engineering ostensibly lists seat cover kits for 95 UKP each...maybe they would just make up bolsters? Anyway...will switch seats for now (and move the sensor and pad to the driver seat when I install on the passenger side...).

Stripped out the nasty insulation from the floor of the driver side, shop vacuumed the carpet vigorously. Came up with some loose change with 70s and 80s dates. Like rummaging through the sofa, right? Will put down dynamat on the floor on that side to deaden the drumming. Looking at the pedal assembly...looks like someone "adjusted" the clutch pedal side to side angle...will take that out at some point and put it back where it belongs...and took out the aftermarket steering wheel. I think the original one looks a lot nicer. Will have to take it off anyway again, and drop the column; the clamp holding the stalk assembly is broken...and RD was able to supply a replacement. BUT, the right side washer stalk is riveted onto the plate...will attempt to CAREFULLY drill out the rivets and attach with machine screws...if not, will just pick up another stalk and be done with it...and probably freshen up the paint on the column and mount. Vinyl covering the stalk cover is beyond use; made a pattern of the old vinyl leaving a generous edge for gluing SO is going to stitch up the pieces, and will recover the fiberglass with fresh 'leatherette'.

And...fiddling around with the center console; I think I'll just leave it original. If I want to add gauges, MOSS sells a radio delete plate with 3 small gauge holes in it that I can use and delete the radio (or mount elsewhere...or not...just replace with an amp and leads to feed from my i-device. Like my selection of tunes better than what's on broadcast anyway...And it will keep the interior as stock as possible.

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Dizzy Issues 
A bit of 'fettling' that needs be done. Getting it started and running would be a start. Right now, it barely starts (with a lot of cranking), spits gas out of the carbs, pops and fluffs...and has a big flatspot from idle to full accelerator pedal down.

Replaced plugs (removed ones are black and sooty...). Thinking of investigating the ignition timing next. And getting the ass end up in the air to get the left tank out and on it's way to Moyer in PA to be sealed.

At this rate, I don't forsee her being ready for the road for a while.


Maybe it would help if the dizzy was timed properly. Just for S&Gs...reached under the carbs (the airbox is off...), and found that the distributor lock plate was not tightened down. Now, Who the F would fiddle with a dizzy and not lock it down when they were done. Not going to blame the PO, since he was a Porsche/Audi man, but, geez, people.

Now, have to figure out where TDC is and get the distributor lined up so I can at least time it. Thinking that was the issue all along with getting it running. We'll see.

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Arrival Insights 
1. Car starts, runs badly. Fluffing, spitting, minor backfiring. Seems real rich. No acceleration when you step on loud pedal. Have rebuild kits, will pick up some plugs and time her. Dizzy had retard capsule removed in the 70s, may pull it out and make sure the advance is working and do the wires, cap, and rotor while I'm at it. Start from known good bits rather than try and make do with what's been in there since who knows when.
2. Brakes. What a complex, too-many-unions, system. Pedal soft, PDWV lit, servos disconnected, but still connected inline. Thinking stripping it all out, smaller bore master cylinder (Triumph Spitfire?) and return it to the S2 configuration which is simpler and less bits to cause issues.
3. Shift lever bushings. The lever rotates a bit. Have Steve's bronze replacements. Fast, simple fix for that (after polishing the tang at the end to reduce friction a bit more...). Bearing on the frame seems ok. Can always get one from Ray, but again, it seems ok.

PO claimed that head gasket was bad, which was why he convinced himself to sell it. Will do a leak down and compression check. Worst is that I have to pull the head, clean it up, and re-gasket properly.

So...not ready for the road, but that's not the point, right? LOL. Too bad Dave has retired...paint is tired. But it adds to the patina. Chrome bumpers polished right up, though. No major pitting or discoloration. So, there is that...

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I Keep Getting Out, But They Keep Pulling Me Back... 
Anyway, moderate the Fakebook Lotus Europa group, was part of the team that digitized all the manuals in '07 that were originally kept on Jerry Johnson's site (and echoed on mine and copied and sold by unscrupulous EBayers for tens of dollars...not realizing there are Easter Eggs in there..;)), and have been a Europa guy since I saw my first one in my buddy's dad's garage (a blue 74 tcs!) in 1975.

Anyway, along the way...have owned 444R (you always remember your first...IIRC, Peter Blackford has her, I think still on the road), 0004R (broken up for parts), 65/2163 (sold so could buy a Jaaaag XJ8), 65/2678 (broken up for parts), 693R, which is the subject of a painfully long restoration journal on my website and was sold in 2019 so I could (stupidly) buy a restored MGB (POJunk).

Got rid of the B. Don't see the fascination, other than you can get most parts readily...but compared to the Lotus (any of them)? Nah.

So...have adopted a 74 TCS, 3291R, ostensibly with JPS #142 badge on the dash, a cert from Andy Graham testifying to same, the original Lotus East documents, and a thick binder of service orders stretching back to the first 500 mile service detailing a car that was, sometimes, ridden hard and put away wet, and others was a garage queen. Not an uncommon story, right?

There should be a 12-step program for Lotus ownership. Hi, my name is Bryan, and I'm a Lotus nut.

Supposed to be delivered this afternoon. Want to publicly thank the previous caretaker...who put a whole 21 miles on the car since he bought it in '19. Needs a bit of fettling...brakes are wonky...that complex TCS boosted system will be simplified back to the S2 formula...carbs are sadly unresponsive...can get it to idle, but step on the accelerator and it just bogs down, perhaps update the distributor and coil to a pertronix rig, and then worry about the interior. That should keep me busy for a while. Been a while since I got my fingernails grimy.

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