Bearing in mind I’d never properly driven an Esprit before and I’d just carried out a major overhaul I was pretty paranoid! Couple that with an ECL that kept popping up for 10 secs then clearing – I was a bit worried! So after a bit more research on the forums and borrowing an ALDL cable from SuperDaveLotus I established it was just a high idle causing the ECL. I cleaned out the IACV and things calmed down a bit. So I started to drive the Esprit a bit….
It’s quick. Very quick! Awesomely quick! I was just starting to trust it a little then, with SWMBO int he car for the first time, I had my first breakdown :wallbash:
During my rebuild the battery was goosed so I fitted a spare battery I had removed from the Elise. While this was OK I removed it from the Elise because it had gone flat too often! I was on my way to buy a new battery and, at a busy crossroads, I ran out of electricity! Pushed it to a nearby garage and they arranged for a new battery to be delivered in about 15 mins! Well impressed! Slightly more expensive that I’d have liked but it wasn’t like I had a choice!
On the road again for a bit… then a puddle on the drive (In addition to the small oil puddles from the gearbox) Arse.
Waterpump was leaking from the weep hole. I suspect that as the car hadn't moved for 2 years previously the coolant was life-ex adn the waterpump had corroded which promptly ate the seals when I started driving it again. What a daft design! That last waterpump bolt took 3 hours to remove! Off to SJ Sportscars for a rebuild and reassembly. Swapped over to new pink coolant too while I was drained down. I also swapped out one of the gearbox seals, quite a fight so I called off swappnig the other one for now.
Then off my first show, also the furthest I'd ventured from home... with SWMBO in the car too! The Norlog guys decided that despite me not having time to wash my car it should have pride of place!
Coming back from work one day and uh oh… temp off the scale and low water warning on (Good job I fixed it!) Pulled over and stopped quick, steam everywhere… oh dear again… There was a big and growing puddle at the front of the car. Radiator had split.
Oh well, phoned my long suffering girlfriend who drove out in the Porsche and dragged me home (No I still haven’t heard the end of that one!) Turns out that the rad had split because the Waterpump belt had gone and the new rad cap I’d recently fitted was enough to pop the rad! Examination of the waterpump showed the pulley was out of line by a few mm which shredded the belt. A handful of washers later it was lined up, so I set about stripping the rad down… aside from having to cut every rotten bolt off, I also discovered how much crud can accumulate in a radiator over 16 years!
The steel inserts in the corners of the rad cowl were totally rotten too, so I replaced them with stainless and re-glassed it all, and overhauled the steelwork too, ready for my recored rad:
I also treated some of the pink bits of engine bay to a lick of paint:
And some of the insides to a bit of 3M Dynoc carbon film, before and after pics:
So after a day or so I realised that it wasn't going to fix itself so I cracked on with it!
Access is 'interesting' for most things as I found out!
First things: Service.
I object to paying people to change the oil and filter, plus I like to know that it's been done!
So I serviced it myself using the lotus service schedule.
All the fluids were changed: oil, coolant, gearbox oil, power steering fluid and brake fluid.
Plugs changed, new belts on and everything else looked over carefully.
So time to start it...! Much procrastination... span it over and it fired up!
Oil pressure OK, everything working as expected...! Phew!
What a state! The bearings were basically destroyed!
Stripped it down and fitted new bearings:
they were a right old mess. Both pods were full of leaves and rotten!
Stripped it all down and, after a bit of research, fitted new stainless steelwork with standard 5 3/4" lamp units.
Motors came back to life with a good clean out and grease up.
Next: Rear body mounts
I knew they might be wobbly but I wasn't expecting it to be held together with silicone!
I cut the mess back and was left with about 3"x4" missing from both sides!
I cut some stainless plate and fiberglassed everything back together.
the dark lines show where the original fiberglass was missing:
Next: Chargecooler impeller
I had no idea if this needed doing but I checked anyway and it was knackered. The impeller was OK but wasn't attached to the shaft!
New impeller fitted:
All that done and off for an MOT.
Failed... but only for a corroded brake line!
Made a new one and passed!
Green ticket in hand and a fresh tax disc and I was off!
So the deal was struck and I was the owner of an Esprit S4!
It did however need a fair bit of work that I knew about, as it had been off the road for around 2 years:
Major service required.
Cambelt 4 1/2 years old, 10,000 miles
Headlights, one stuck down and all 4 rusted beyond help
Drivers seat bolster worn through.
Gear linkage needed attention
Oil leak from the front of the engine.
I had it transported down from it's old home in Moffat to it's new home in Preston.
Not too bad:
(I'd just drained the coolant!)
It has been suggested that I keep track of my ongoing love/hate relationship with my Esprit S4 as a blog so I'm having a go.
I'm an engineer by trade, not a hands on practical engineer, but a jack of all trades master of none fault investigator.
I currently investigate military aircraft component faults and sort them out for a living but with all the current cuts I might need a new job before too long!
Mechanical stuff doesn't phase me particularly but that does mean I get in over my head on occasions, mostly by taking too many bits off at once...
I get bored
I like to have things to tinker with or 'improve' (Or fix!).
My Elise did me well and in the 5 years I owned her I had spent a significant amount of time modding and tinkering. Mostly it was successful and the end result was pretty damn good if I do say so myself. Sadly I can't drive for toffee and couldn't really get the full benefit.
Trouble was after 4 years of modding there wasn't much left that didn't cost £'000s, next step was throttle bodies and an Emerald. 4 years into ownership I managed to get a partial agreement on me getting a toy car... so I promptly bought one, a 1980 Porsche 924 and the set about that.
Now for a couple of years this was fine and the Porker did sterling work getting me to work and for general tinkering but then I swapped the 924 for a faster one, a 924 Turbo, and the Elise was always at the back of the drive and getting neglected a bit...
So I spent some time and resurrected it and it was going quite well until on a NORLOG breakfast run I hit a rock and split a sidewall. No great problem in itself (Apart from a long wait and long trip home on a wagon!) and I even got given a tyre that was similar age and milage to fit... the problem was despite just needing a trip to the tyre fitters it took me 2 months to do it... I had just lost interest.
A plan hatched... I had had the Elise for 5 years, and I figured it was time to change the other one. But what... As a child of the 80's the Esprit was always of interest, I floated the idea on Scottish Elises about looking for an Esprit...
Not long after floating the idea, and going to see Carl's S4 in Leyland, the offer of a potential swap arrived! I had been looking for an SE, I like turbos but I wanted something a bit more modern than the 924 Turbo but money was to tight for anything more modern. But the swap was for a nice looking but neglected S4 that had been dry parked for 2 years and needed resurrecting and it also meant I didn't haev to sell the Elise. Needless to say I couldn't pass this up and a deal was done....