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About iambadgerous

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    1984 Esprit S3
  • Modifications
    Backdated to S2 styling
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  1. Thanks for the info, is the clearance tighter due to the repositioned alternator?
  2. Hi All, There hasn't been much progress on the Esprit while I pondered what to do about the engine. I roughly priced up rebuilding my NC motor to HC spec and it got very scary very quickly, so I wondered if I could find a factory HC engine at a decent price. The result of that search landed on my drive a couple of days ago... It came out of an Excel and I ended up paying more for it than I'd hoped, but still only about a third of what the rebuild would've cost me. I saw it running before committing to buy it, so I hope a quick clean up and service will see it ready to go into the car. I'm sure there will be some parts that will need to be swapped over from the NC engine to make it fit the Esprit but I haven't had a proper look yet. I can now legitimately have red cam covers... I haven't been lazy though. I pulled the NC engine apart just to have a look and as I'd suspected it is actually in really good condition with no real wear on any of the bearings or bores. I only had cut off one bolt from the rear crank seal carrier, apart from that it came apart like a dream. However there was rusty crap throughout the cooling system and the thermostat looks like I've dug it out of the garden, so I'm pretty sure now that the head gasket failure was due to cooling system neglect, probably something as simple as topping up with water rather than coolant. Possibly the thermostat became jammed (although I haven't tested it) leading to overheating. So longer term (and subject to funds being available!) I'd like to build a strong bottom end using the NC block (to keep the engine number with the car) and mate it to the HC head, but that's a long way off if it ever happens. Unless the HC engine turns out to be another boat anchor of course.... Cheers Darren
  3. Thanks Dan, I've been careful not to rotate the crank since I pulled the head off but I'm pretty certain the liners will be coming out anyway... Thanks Giorgio, I'd seen his listings on eBay and wondered about his credentials so it's nice to get a recommendation. I'll drop him a line!
  4. Hi All, I haven't been able to spend any time on the Esprit for a few weeks but yesterday I summoned the courage to get the engine onto a stand (again) so I could get the head off in order to investigate the poor compression on cylinders 3 & 4. Prime suspect was the head gasket. I've done a few head gaskets in my time but I wouldn't claim to be an expert, however I think it's quite clear that this one is past its best... ...removing the gasket revealed a nice coating of rusty deposits on the water jacket... ...I guess this is the result of a previous owner running coolant without a rust inhibitor? There is a fair amount of carbon on the piston tops but the bores appear to be nice and smooth, so I think this is a case of neglect rather than abuse. The head looks OK too, again apart from the carbon buildup... So what to do next? I think it'd be rude not to rebuild the head now it's off, but as I've come this far I'm considering a full engine rebuild. Problem is, if I do that I'll want to build a better than stock engine. I just can't help myself. My immediate thought is HC pistons and some head work but I'd welcome any advice... I've read that the factory HC head is 'better' than the non HC but I'm not sure how, is it just bigger ports or are the valves bigger too? Can my non-HC head be brought up to spec with some port work? I've also read that Sport 300 inlet valves are bigger than earlier 4 cylinder Esprit's, is that right and can my seats be machined to accept them? Is it worth the effort? My understanding is that my engine has 107 spec cams, and the HC spec is 104 inlet and 107 exhaust? I've already got a more open system with 4-into-1 headers, and the engine already has the later style cam carriers. I'm also thinking about changing to the later, round-toothed cambelt and manual tensioner. Cheers Darren
  5. Hi All, I sorted out the suspension today, I mentioned before that I'd fitted the front coilovers some time ago and Lotusbits reckoned I'd used the spring retainers designed for the rear at the wrong end of the car. There was only one way to find out. I think the car-tinkering Gods were punishing me for failing to take pictures at the time. I remembered that getting the fronts in was a bit of a nightmare. There was no room for spring compressors so the only way to gain the room required was to undo the bottom suspension link where it joins the trunnion. I also had to undo the anti-roll bar mounts to get enough 'droop' on the bottom links, but for that the fans had to come out... ...once that was done I could wrestle the spring retainers out. So I now had three parts for each side of the car (the spring retainer removed from the front is at the bottom)... My thinking when I assembled the fronts was this; the black spring retainer fit nicely inside the black spring cup... ...but the other one didn't... Both spring retainers would sit in the factory front mounts but the spring cups wouldn't, so because the spring cups and black retainers fitted together they must be for the rear, right? Wrong. It turns out the spring cups are not required on my car. The rear retainers slide nicely over the factory mounts but these welds sit proud and would cause a problem... ... but the tops of the spring retainers are chamfered so not an issue... With everything reassembled the fronts look like this... ...and the rears look like this... I'm planning a full suspension rebuild and tidy up as a separate, future exercise. So for now, sorted. In other news, with the new cambelt in place I could safely do a compression test, but both the starter motors I have are knackered so I had to wait for another one. I bought an aftermarket high-torque one from SJS but more on that later. Things started well with a healthy 170 PSI on 1 and 2. 3 was a bit down (but still within spec) at 150 and I could live with that if the other 3 were OK, but 4 is only at about 100 PSI. That, coupled with the amount of water in the oil, makes the head gasket the prime suspect. As the car has been sitting I'd hoped that the water in the sump could be blamed on condensation, but realistically I thought that condensation would be sitting in a separate layer to the oil. The mayonnaise effect pointed to the oil and water being emulsified, and that means the water must have been in there when the engine was running. So it looks like all the new parts (belts etc.) I put on the engine will have to come off again so I can pull the head. Still, at least it'll be easier with the engine out of the car! Cheers Darren
  6. Hi Dan, I'm afraid not, the rubber is sized for the original spring which has a larger diameter than the new one. I got hold of Lotusbits though and they reckon I've used the rear spring platforms on the front, but the front spring platforms won't fit at the rear, so it looks like this one is down to me... I'll have take the front apart and have a look but fingers crossed. Cheers Darren
  7. Hi All, A little more progress. I've degreased and cleaned up the engine bay and the chassis is thankfully in really good nick so no problems there... foam padding under the new alloy tanks... ...and they're now in place... The gearbox mounts were OK but there's no point going this far and not replacing them, so... The engine mounts were shot so they'll be replaced too. I also started to fit the Lotusbits coilovers on the back. I did the fronts some time ago and they were very straightforward, however I can't see how the spring cup and retaining ring (at the top of the photo) are supposed to work with the standard spring mount which has its own retaining ring sized for the standard rubber top mount (at the bottom in the photo). Any ideas? I've been in touch with Lotusbits but no response to my phone calls or email, not for the first time ... I may just get a new top mount machined up to fit onto the exiting spring retainer, sized down to take the new spring. Cheers Darren
  8. Hi All, A while ago (quite a while!) I bought a coilover kit from Lotusbits for my 1984 S3 NA. It didn't come with any instructions but they talked me through it at the time and it all seemed very straightforward. Fast forward 18 months or so and I've just got round to fitting it(!), the fronts have gone on OK but I must admit I'm struggling to work out how the rears go together. Here's what I've got: The part at the top is a spring cup, next down is a flat disk with a flange. The disk is the correct size to fit snugly in the spring cup and the flange is the correct size to retain the spring. So the way it looks like it should work is the flanged disk should sit inside the cup to make up the top spring mounting. Unfortunately I can't see how that arrangement could possibly work with the standard top mount, which itself is a flanged disk but welded to the chassis. Note: the part at the bottom is the original rubber top mount. Can anyone out there offer any advise and/or photos? I've been in touch with Lotusbits but from experience they can take a while to respond... Thanks in advance Darren
  9. Hi All, Today I attacked the one remaining nut that was preventing the nearside tank from coming out. Despite copious amounts of WD40 it still refused to turn and started to round off so I gave up on being nice. There was no room to get a nut splitter but my grinder did the job. Undid filler hose, breather and fuel line from the tank, moved the seatbelt out of the way and out the tank came... I also pulled out the fuel pump and all the hoses, so basically the whole fuel system apart from the hard line which is clipped to the chassis under the bulhead and the flowlock valve... ...As the car has been off the road for who knows how long I'm replacing everything in the picture just for peace of mind. Next job is a clean up of the engine bay including sorting out that dodgy wiring
  10. Hi All, Made a start on the fuel tanks today. There are four fixings holding the plyboard covers in place on each side, these were all pretty rusty and with hindsight I should've soaked them in WD40 a few days ago. The ones that needed to be undone in this picture are the rusty ones in the background on the vertical, not the less rusty ones ones in the foreground on the horizontal... As it turned out I managed to get them all undone apart one on the nearside, so I've doused it in fluid and I'll have another bash tomorrow. If that doesn't work I'll try a nut splitter, and if that doesn't work it's out with the grinder. I'd normally hit a rusty nut like that with a blowtorch, but I'm not sure burning a nut with carpet covered fibreglass on one side and wood on the other is a good idea. Oh, and the petrol tank. I managed to get the offside one off though, exposing the tank... Disconnected the hose from underneath and the filler and vent pipes, and cut the wires to the sender because I'm going to replace the crappy blue connectors anyway. Unbolted the seatbelt and wrestled the tank out... Hopefully I'll get the other side out tomorrow. In an earlier post I mentioned the dodgy wiring that I need to sort out, here's what I'm talking about... ...but here's my favourite bit... ...uninsulated wiring next to the fuel pump in a fibreglass car, what could possibly go wrong? Hopefully more tomorrow. Cheers Darren
  11. Hi All, Today's effort, new friction plate.... ...old pressure plate... ...then I mated the engine and gearbox back together, which seemed to go well, however no matter where I put the gear selector I don't seem to be getting a gear. When I turn the engine by hand there is no movement at the axles, and there is no resistance from either brake disc when I turn them. So either (1) I have a gearbox full of neutrals (but it was fine last time I moved it under it's own steam), or (2) the input shaft is not properly engaged with the friction plate (but then I assume the gearbox wouldn't bolt up properly, which it has) or (3) there's something else I'm missing, any ideas? For example is it impossible on these boxes to get a gear without operating the clutch? I may have to pull the gearbox back off to take another look... Anyway, I thought I'd take the opportunity to bolt up the exhaust. A couple of reasons for this. First I'd heard that it could be tricky to get the four individual header pipes into the collector and I wanted to know what I was letting myself in for. Turns out everything I'd heard was true, even with everything very loosely in place it was difficult. The only parts that can remain fixed to the engine when I drop it back in are the header pipes so I'm predicting plenty of swearing and skinned knuckles when that comes around. Second reason for fitting the exhaust is that I'm not going to be able to see it in all its glory once it's in the car... I also bolted up the rebuilt carbs for no other reason than to see what they'd look like with their new braided and anodised fuel lines... I'm now contemplating rigging up a fuel supply and running the engine on the bench (and when I say bench I mean trolly). It would certainly be easier to set the timing while it's out of the car. Anyway, that's all for now, it's on to the fuel tanks at last! Cheers Darren
  12. Hi All, Didn't get a lot of time today but made a bit more progress. New timing belt and V belt fitted and tensioned... Inlet manifold refitted with a new gasket... Next job is the clutch and mating the engine and gearbox back together. Cheers Darren
  13. Hi Rick, Yes, it's the earlier spring loaded type. I did think about changing to the later type but it's not a bolt on swap as far as I understand it; I'd need to drill and tap an extra hole in the front of the block. I think (hope!) as long as the tensioner is in good nick and the belt is properly adjusted then I shouldn't have any issues. Cheers Darren
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