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Lotus Elan Central
Wheels

Alloy wheels provide superior strength and dramatic weight reductions over traditional ferrous wheels. Your Elan comes with high-end alloy O.Z. wheels. Nowadays, aftermarket wheels have become a huge industry; and like myself, you may be interested in purchasing some new wheels for your baby!

Before you purchase new wheels, be sure to educate yourself. You need to understand wheel dimensions, specifications, and proper fitment in order to find the right wheel for your car.


Wheel Size / Dimensions

Stock US and UK Elan wheels are different sizes!

US wheel = 16" X 7"

UK wheel = 15" X 6 1/2"

You can read on innumerable websites about wheels and sizing concepts. You may want to retain the original wheel dimensions or you may choose to "plus size". Remember that tire considerations may help you determine wheel choice as well. Please educate yourself about tire sizes--there are many great sites around the web to find info.


Offset = Elan wheels are "+60 mm"

Wheel Offset: The offset of a wheel is the distance from its hub mounting surface to the centerline of the wheel. The offset can be positive, zero, or negative. The Elan uses a "positive offset," where the hub mounting surface is toward the front or street-side of the wheel. Positive offset wheels are generally found on front wheel drive cars and newer rear drive cars.

**If the offset of the wheel is not correct for the car, the handling can be adversely affected! A change in offset can cause increased wear on the wheel bearings, since the wheel forces will no longer be "centered" around the bearing. From what I have been able to read, it is recommended that the offset not be changed greater than 20% to minimize these consequences.

Also be aware that online places like Tire Rack will advertise wheels as "fitting the Elan" but be wary as these wheels ALL have only a +40mm offset !!

Offset

Weight

Of course wheel weight can be a consideration. Increasing wheel mass will increase the energy required to turn them and can change acceleration specs a bit!

Bolt Pattern

The Elan bolt pattern is "4 X 100". Four is the number of bolts, and 100 is the diameter, in millimeters, of a circle scribed about the bolts.


Center Bore

A.K.A. : "bore circle," "center hole," "pilot hole," etc. Every wheel has a bore hole in its center! This circle is used during wheel manufacture to true the wheel and is used to center the wheel for tire mounting and balancing. This circle size is NOT the same on all wheels, in fact it can vary between manufacturers and even among the same maker's wheel styles. This may not be a consideration for you but if you aim to keep your Elan Emblem Wheel Centers you will need to find a wheel with the same center hole size!

The other "real" function of this hole is to center the wheel on the car's hub for proper wheel mounting to the car. A normal wheel rests about this hub such that the main weight of the car is taken on the hub, and less weight is distributed to the individual lug bolts--this is referred to as "a hub-centric mounting". If you increase the hub circle size, the weight will then be shifted completely to the lug bolts and this can cause improper wear here. Even worse, the wheel will NOT be hub-centric and this can cause suspension vibration to happen--ask Seamus about this! Some wheels use high quality, forged centering rings that lock into place in the back of the wheel. This is the only acceptable alternative to adjust for a change in center bore size.


Other Considerations:

wheel width and tire size: the tire size you crave may NOT fit on your wheel. Be sure to verify proper matching before investing on tire size upgrades.

galvanic response: a steel hub and an aluminum wheel will cause a "galvanic response" that, over time, will lead the rusting of the hub--ask Carl about this one. This response can be kept to a minimum by placing a barrier (like a thin grease film) between the hub and the wheel.

lug bolts: Elan lugs are bolts--the thread length is 24mm. Don't put on lugs too tight and avoid air wrenches if at all possible! Have the bolts tightened manually with a torque wrench ( 80-88Nm / 59-65 lbs/ft ).

repairing wheels: if your wheels get a nick, ding, or bend in them, there are many places now which specialize in wheel repair. This usually runs about $100 per wheel to refurbish them to factory specs. Further polishing and painting will cost more per wheel. In the US, check out these two companies online:

www.rimpro.com = 1-888-2-RIMPRO

www.fixarim.com = 1-800-FIX-A-RIM

Good Luck in finding the "right" wheel for your Elan. Be smart and understand these terms and their meanings--this way you will be able to find wheels of the proper specifications for your Elan.

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