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1981 Turbo Esprit Dry sump Restoration - The Lotus Forums Jump to content
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About this blog

The sun was shining, and the Lotus was, as so many are, looking tired and a dejected on the driveway. I decided enough was enough and give it a bloody good going over.

It's been stood for a couple of years now, as it had a gearbox whining issue, and the last time I started it up there was a fuel leak, not to mention that it is streaming oil all over my driveway. The paintwork is very tired and chipped with the interior leather faded and worn. Along with all these issues there was always the worry that one of the old water/ oil lines would eventually give out while I was in the middle of nowhere. So I've taken the plunge into the murky depths of restoration, or at least semi-restoration..... 

Entries in this blog

 

Engine Clean and Machine

It's been a while since I've revisited the Esprit, I've been trying to get some additional finances together to pay for the engine rebuild. When the sun comes out it seems to motivate me to do things, so I striped the engine down to constituent parts and tried to catalog everything by taking pictures, although my iphone seems to lose pictures all the time, what is with that! Anyhow all the castings were sent off to get vapour blasted and have returned shiny like new, a thing of beauty I can

davetoff

davetoff

 

Blasted Engine - Dry sump

In the beginning there was light and all was good....... Well up until the point when I removed the cam belt to change it for a nice shiny new one. The crankshaft went clunk, dunk, thug, thought that was a little strange, pretty sure it shouldn't be making that noise )-: My heart sank as I suddenly saw money oozing from the galleries and seals of the engine. When I had stopped crying I decided that action would really need to be taken and find out what needs to be done. I checked the e

davetoff

davetoff

 

Status report

Progress report.... Interior trim has come back from the upholsterers and looks fantastic, decided to go for black carpets as all the dirt showed on the old cream ones. And a black binnacle, hated being blinded by the sun on journeys, and considering that most of the journeys I will do in this will be when the sun is shining I thought it a prudent decision. Engine has been stripped of all ancillaries and has been cleaned and painted silver using high temp paint, looks the dogs cahooner

davetoff

davetoff

 

The Engine's in the detail

Engine was looking very shabby with paint flaking off it and corroded aluminium spots all over so I thought that it would be nice to give it a clean and possibly paint the seen bits...... oh how wrong can I be, I've now virtually stripped it down and am now in the process of cleaning and shot blasting everything on it, then on to spraying the bits in wrinkle black and silver and only then to add them all back in )-: Here's a before picture.  And the after shot....  

davetoff

davetoff

 

Scratch the surface

Why is it that as soon as you remove one thing you notice another job needs doing underneath ? Once I had removed the fuel tanks I noticed something leaking under the oil tank. Since it was looking a little forlorn anyway I thought I'd remove the tank and spruce it up a bit. It was a bit of a b*rstard getting  it out but finally decided to remove the bracket that it sits on, as I thought this would make it easier, but it was still stuck. Thinking I would have to remove the inaccessible hose

davetoff

davetoff

 

Seat runners

Seats went up for leathering a few weeks back, but the runners were in a bad state. I decided to get them powder coated but needed to dismantle them in order to do so. I had to grind down the little bumps on the top hat section parts in order to remove the rollers and plastic carriers. Then I drilled out a 3.5mm hole in those parts so that i can add an m3 nut and bolt to hold the runners in place when reassembling. Unfortunately i had to grind off the pin too so that i could remove the pivot arm

davetoff

davetoff

 

Fuel tanks removed

Hip hip hooray, I've managed to pull the fuel tanks from the car, what an ordeal. I was cursing the designer of these tanks all the way through. How could anyone think that they were a good idea I don't know! Anyway they are out. I wanted to inspect them for corrosion and replace the horrible foam with some closed cell stuff. The up side is they are in pretty good condition, I'll sand down the surface rust and respray with satin black shortly. One problem I did find however was that when I remov

davetoff

davetoff

 

Visor Upgrade

Now these visors are a little bit tricky, because while I was pulling off the material the cardboard underneath tore and the whole structure came apart. I decided that the only thing to do was to make new substrates for them, and as I do CAD for work thought that a 3D print of them would be best. Unfortunately although I've done the modelling of the parts, the 3D printers can only just take the size required. The upshot is that I'm going to have to wait until there is a lull in workload at work

davetoff

davetoff

 

Headlining Upgrade

Started to refurbish the headlining and visor today. Decided to recover with alcantara, it's automotive grade, gives an similar colour match to original, hard wearing, readily available and looks the bees knees. Most of the metal brackets on the cantrail trim had surface corrosion on, but there was plenty of meat to work with so I shot blasted them and then primered and repainted with satin black. Stripping off the old material on the cantrail substrate and gluing on the new material was an

davetoff

davetoff

 

Interior Trim removal

So the moment I was dreading, as I'd heard all sorts of horror stories about removing the interior trim. Yes there were a few grazes, cuts and bruised knuckles, but generally it was ok. Removing the dash was a little bit of a head scratcher  but eventually found the screws underneath and removed them with relative ease. Some of the screws were welded with rust, and they were a bit of a b*gger, but I'll replace these with stainless steel screws when I put it all back in so that the next person wo

davetoff

davetoff

 

Rubber hose removal

Removed all the rubber hoses and took loads of photos, I only hope I can remember where they all go! Bought a silicone hose set from ebay, but they are for an S4, most of them will be ok, but the ones I’m missing I will get made up as I go along.... This is turning into an epic, I wanted to have all the water hoses in blue, oil hoses in black, fuel hoses Stainless steel braid and Vac hoses in another colour (haven't decided this just yet). Well it's ok for most of the water as there is plen

davetoff

davetoff

 

Engine and Gearbox removal

I have now removed the engine and gearbox, this is with the intention of changing the cam belt, water pump and all rubber pipework with silicone hoses. Not only this but the gearbox whine needs to be looked at. I've come to the conclusion that a reconditioned gearbox is the best course of action, albeit an expensive one. No real problems here apart from the fact that my crane was only just high enough to get the engine and gearbox over the tail at the back of the car. Even with the load leveler,

davetoff

davetoff

 

Dismantling

Since my original starting statement I have progressed considerably, so will try and break it down into bloggable chunks with photos. But before I tell you all about that maybe some photos to wet your appetite of how bad the car is.  A Lot of photos of the interior I'm afraid exterior ones where taken after I thought about making a blog....  

davetoff

davetoff

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