Elan Static Weight Distribution

Here is what happened here earlier this month. More than a half dozen Phoenix Lotus Owners (David B., Brett E., Clayton S., Chris H., Larry T., Alain B., Wayne V. and yours truly) gathered in my garage to adjust the static weight distribution on my recently rebuilt 1969 Elan. After 30 minutes of just staring at the car, afraid to touch it due to Clayton’s recent paint detailing, we finally got underway, fortified by coffee and Maggie’s freshly baked Apple Cake and an egg dish. The gorgeous new mirror finish on the Elan is really remarkable. Thanks, Clayton.
Weight Dist # 1
David B. had the right tools for this task and began the morning with a brief lecture on what we were trying to accomplish, why it was important, and how we would ultimately find and set the perfect weight distribution for the Elan, give or take a few pounds. Brett E. and Clayton S. were both familiar with the process as well. Little did we know, we would end up getting it nearly perfect.

Some photos of the event are below:
Weight Dist 2
David begins the day with a short lecture. It had to be short, this group has about a 2 minute attention span.

Weight Dist 3
We begin by disconnecting the front sway bar. As most jobs, we’ve got one person doing the work and at least two supervisors, and then two others debating the quality of the work being done. We then went on to get the tire pressures perfect and make sure the car was on an exact level surface, before loading it with driver ballast weight – in this case, Clayton S as he and I are close enough in weight. In essence, you can’t throw either of us very far.

Weight Dist 4

Weight Dist 5
Here is a graphic answer to the question, “How many people does it take to put air into a tire?” In this case, 6 and one to photograph it.
Clayton holds things steady as the weighing begins. Alain records our findings. Larry supervises while keeping the lift steady.

Weight Dist 6
The precise weight at each tire is measured and recorded several times to ensure accuracy.

Weight Dist 7
A good look (photo on left) at David’s measuring tool. How it works? The tool lifts the car by the tire, then a piece of paper is slipped under the tire, the jack is let back down and then the car is slowly raised. At the precise point the paper is able to slip out from under the tire, the gauge is read and the weight recorded. That is the weight of the car on that tire.

Weight Dist 8

All four weights are entered into an online calculator application at cargister.com/calculator-corner-weight. This tells us precisely how far off we are. Our goal is to get the cross weights nearly identical by adjusting tension on the springs. Front to back weight is not a big concern as that is pretty much a function of the cars design geometry, although the Elan is nearly close to perfect, with 53.1% of the weight in the back and 46.9% in front – assuming a driver and full tank of gas.

Weight Dist 9
In the end it takes four complete turns (each turn is 1/10th of an inch) on the driver side front spring perch from “strong-hands Wayne V.” to achieve the perfect weight distribution.

Weight Dist 10
As you can see, when we finished and entered in our final weights, we were off just 0.1% overall in achieving perfect static weight distribution.

Thanks, Chris, for taking all the great pictures.

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