View Full Version : Alternator Conversion

10-01-2005, 02:02 PM
I'm currently restoring my Elan S2. Chassis and power train are all done, and body goes on this week! I'm converting over to an alternator. What are the issues, techniques and tricks of doing this from everyone's experience? Particularly converting the tach.


10-01-2005, 09:16 PM

I seem to recall an article at the Golden Gate Lotus Club web site on this. https://www.gglotus.org. Might just be my bad memory though.

10-01-2005, 09:49 PM
There's an article on this at

This was originally on the GG Lotus site but I think it's been removed.

Lotus Ltd (the club) published some papers years ago on fitting Lucas, Nissan, and Ford alternators and I think these are still available from them as reprints. These were largely concerned with fabricating brackets. I've seen somewhere that Dave Bean has a kit for this. That'd be the simplest way, if not the cheapest.

The tach needs changing, although I think this is due to the change to negative ground rather than to an alternator. You need to remove the case & swap some leads. I presume the link above covers this.

Hth - good luck.

10-03-2005, 09:52 AM
Go to: https://www.rdent.com/pages/parts.html and halfway down the page is a picture of this little beast...
<font color="blue"> Elan Alternator Conversion
Elan and Elan Plus 2 LHD
Kit includes a modern 55-amp mini-alternator (only @ 4" diameter, weight 7.5 lb.), turnbuckle style adjuster link and fabricated stainless steel alternator mounting bracket and hardware, instructions and wire.
50E0501 $275.00 </font>

I put one in my Super 7 about 5 years ago and it works like a dream. I don't recall having to mess with the tack, since it's mechanical, but I did have to customize the bracket as it is configured for the Elan. Works like a dream and sure beats the 1-ton Lucas generator. Call Ray, RD Enterprises at 215-538-9323 if you have any questions. Elans are his specialty.

10-03-2005, 12:03 PM
Thanks guys. I'll check those links out. I got a working Lucas alternator at Carlisle for 10 bucks. Then I welded a third "ear" onto the generator bracket and used machined spacers to line up the pulleys. Not as light or efficient, but just a little cheaper than the kit! My car is RHD (originally from the UK) so I have a lot more space to play with.

05-29-2007, 09:36 PM
OK, so my tach hookup is one of my final tasks. The above link does not deal with it in any detail.

Basically, there is the power wire from the ignition switch en route to the coil which loops around some kind of signal receiver on the back of the tach. It was wound counter clockwise around the receiver. I have taken it off and wound it clockwise.

Second, there is a terminal on the back of the tach, I assume for power in. Wire diagram shows a white wire from the fuse box to the tach, so I assume this is a power lead. What do I do with this one? Just power it like before?

How is the tach grounded? Was there a ground wire under one of the small screws that hold the guts inside the casing?

Do I have to reverse the power flow to the tach (not the coil circuit) by powering the casing and grounding the terminal on the back of the tach? Sounds dangerous...

Sorry, I'm on the road and can't post pics.

05-30-2007, 03:49 AM
The power lead goes to the same terminal as before, the case is the ground; there is a black wire which has a lug on it to be put over one of the hold-down studs. It is common to all the instruments. The looped signal wire is an induction trigger.
At least you don't have to deal with electric windows. /bcforum/images/%%GRAEMLIN_URL%%/jester.gif

05-30-2007, 06:22 AM

Was I right about reversing the direction on the looped wire?

05-30-2007, 07:25 AM
If you cut it an inch or so from each side of the loop and reversed the orientation, yes.

The internal connections (can't recall for sure) need to be reversed as well. There's a detailed instruction of this procedure somewhere here... I'll hunt it down. Doug (dklawson) is the author, IIRC.

05-30-2007, 08:14 PM
Hmmmmm... I hope you find it. I didn't see any "obvious" connections to reverse inside. Other than powering the case and grouding the terminal on the back...which is dangerous if something touches.

06-18-2007, 07:25 AM
Thanks everyone for the tips. Got the tach working properly over the weekend. Now that I've got the tach needle to read higher than zero, I need to put the same effort into the speedometer... /bcforum/images/%%GRAEMLIN_URL%%/smile.gif