free hit
Lozza74 - The Lotus Forums - Official Lotus Community Partner Jump to content


Basic Account
  • Posts

  • Joined

  • Last visited

More Info

  • Name
    Richard Knowles
  • Car
    1983 Excel
  • Location

Recent Profile Visitors

The recent visitors block is disabled and is not being shown to other users.

Lozza74's Achievements


Contributor (5/14)

  • Conversation Starter
  • Dedicated
  • First Post
  • Collaborator

Recent Badges



  1. One of the other problems I found after the MOT was that the radiator had a slight leak. It was not bad, but just enough to be annoying. Looking at prices I saw that an exchange radiator from the usual lotus places was more than a new aluminium one from China. After a bit of reading around of the mixed opinions of the 'Winner' aluminium radiators from eBay I decided to give one a try. The new radiator arrived about 10 days after placing my order. It was very well packed with lots of foam protection. Whilst I had the coolant drained out I decided to fit it. The radiator itself looks well made, but is slightly different from my original. The mounting studs are M10 instead of the original M6 It is 50mm deep instead of the original 35mm It is about 5mm wider than the original These differences made it quite a pain to fit. In my 1983 Excel the radiator is mounted to the upper duct at the top, and on to the undertray at the bottom. I believe later cars have a steel beam, but this isnt on my early car. A trial fit showed that the extra width was an issue as the radiator didn’t fit into the duct. To resolve this I took the duct out and trimmed away some of the body shell next to the wooden crash panels. This allowed the ducting to flex outwards more, and accommodate the wider radiator. While the duct was out I also wanted to enlarge the holes for the studs. This was the second painful area. The holes are in the right place for a 35mm deep radiator. The extra depth of the new one meant that it fouled the reinforcing strip in the duct, and so didn’t sit tight against the duct. To resolve that I re-drilled the holes far enough back to allow the radiator to clear the duct indentation. I made the holes large enough to accept rubber grommets to 'soft' mount the radiator (at first I tried Defender mounts, but they were too deep, in the end I used generic 'top hat' grommets from ebay). In the picture you can see the grommets and also the reinforcing rib in the duct I loosely fitted the duct back to the car using the mounting bolts at the top, but leaving the sides free to flex. I fitted the fans to the radiator - captive nuts are already welded in the right places. Then I lifted the radiator into the duct and fitted the top mounting bolts. I wedged packers down both sides of the radiator to push the duct out wide, and then re-drilled the mounting bolt holes and fitted them. This meant the duct was now wide enough not to rub on the radiator. Finally I had to fit the lower undertray. Again I found that the original mounting holes held the radiator against a strengthening rib in the panel. However if I moved the holes backwards then the fans hit the oil cooler hoses. Instead I moved the holes forward far enough to put the radiator in front of the rib instead of behind it. Again I made the holes big enough to use rubber grommets to mount the radiator. The picture shows the original holes (red) and the new ones (green). I am hoping that all this work means the radiator lasts a long time. Some peoples experience shows these radiators failing after a few years, but they have also put that down to the tight fit and therefore flexing of the radiator in use. I hope that the rubber mounts and clearance work I have done prevents that flex. In the mean time im keeping my old radiator, if this one does fail I will get the old one re-cored.
  2. Once the smell of petrol had gone and I was happy I wouldn’t suffocate in the garage I bit the bullet and got on with the next 'small job'. In fact this was three jobs. The heater fans didn’t work any more, the fuel and temperature gauges over read, and the windscreen wipers no longer auto parked. I was pretty confident that the fuel and temperature gauges were due to a faulty voltage stabiliser. I must have thought that a while ago as I had a new stabiliser sitting on the shelf. Once the instrument panel was out it was easy to swap over the old regulator for the new one, and with that both gauges started working properly. With the instrument pod out I then carried on and removed the full dashboard. Having only put it back after recovering it a few months before this was fairly easy, if frustrating. With the dashboard out the heater box could then come out. All this in order to get to the two heater fan motors that live inside the heater box. I really shouldn’t have tried to save time and money last time around - I knew it was a risk not reconditioning the motors last time, but I didn’t spend the time to do it properly, so ended up back here again. The heater fan motors are from an Opel Manta B, or Vauxhall Cavalier Mk1. There are a couple of facebook groups for the mk1 Cavalier as well as a buy and sell group for the Manta. From those groups I was able to buy two old fan motors, and I actually rebuilt those before pulling my dash out. To rebuild the motors I removed the squirrel cage fan then removed the circlip from the end of the shaft and bent open the metal tabs holding the rear part of the case on, to open up the motor itself. Be careful with the tabs, they are very easy to break! This allowed me to remove the armature. Then the circuit board holding the brushes needs to be removed from the rear part of the case. Depending on the state of the bearings I either just cleaned them up with an 8mm drill bit, or pressed them out for replacement. Finding new bearings for these motors is not easy. I tried a few different varieties from different places, none of them are ideal. The original bearings are spherical oilite bushes, they are retained in the case with star type washers. I found getting hold of these washers equally difficult, as the ones I found hold the bearings much tighter than the originals. In the end I bought new oilite spherical bushes that were too large, but had the correct circumference and too small a bore diameter from ali-express. I then turned these down on the lathe to the correct bore and width. My advice is that cleaning up the original bushes is preferable. The armature needs to be cleaned up - this is where most of the corrosion is, on the axle where it passes through the bearings. I put mine in a drill and cleaned them up with emery paper, including the commutator. It is then a case of putting the motors back together again. If any of the tabs holding the case together broke then a small bolt can be used to hold the case together. Keep checking that the motor spins freely, and if not figure out where they are rubbing. With the motors renovated I put the heater box back together and set about reinstalling everything into the car. Heater box, dashboard and everything associated with it. That left just the wiper parking to fix. This ended up being harder to track down than I thought. Firstly I thought it may be the wiper stalk, so I pulled that apart to clean up. Then I thought it would be the park switch in the motor itself - but that didn’t help. Finally in desperation I bypassed the wiper control module by plugging the stalk straight into the loom - and the park function returned. Luckily there was a NOS 6DA wiper control module on eBay, so that was quickly bought and when replaced full park function worked again. With the car back together I then moved on to the next job - while all the coolant was drained.
  3. Once again I have let this thread get behind. After getting the MOT I set about the little jobs to make the car nice to drive, rather than just legal. One of the first things was investigating the strong smell of petrol every time I put the car back in the garage. Taking a look in the boot to work out why the fuel gauge suddenly stopped working (that’s a story for a later post) I realised that the fuel filter and flowlock valve were both slightly damp with petrol. It looked as though they were both fine while the engine was running, but weeping once the engine was shut off with the residual pressure. I originally had a glass see-though filter and on looking closely the glass had a crack in it - underneath where it was not visible. The flow lock I had to remove from the car before I found where it was leaking from - the fuel pipe union at one end was rotating on the main body, and the petrol seeping out from around the union. I decided to change the filter for one in a solid aluminium canister. I cant remember the make, but I bought it from a random online motorsports vendor. For the flowlock valve I didn’t fancy the £80 odd that a new one would cost, but I have heard of people using the fuel cut off valves sold for LPG conversions. I bought one from Amazon and though I would see how it worked out. I was a bit surprised how small it was when it arrived, and more importantly the bore of the pipe the petrol would flow through was pretty small. I measured it at 3.5mm. Looking at Car Builder Solutions page their 'normal' flow lock valve also has a bore of 3.5mm, an I think claimed to flow about 6 gallons per minute. Looking up the Lotus fuel pump that can only flow 1 gallon per minute - so that gave me confidence to fit it and try it. I used more AN-6 fittings and some short lengths of hose just to connect to the valve. If the valve fails in the future I can connect the AN-6 fittings together and by-pass the valve for a short term fix. After fitting the new flow lock and filter a road test showed no more leaks, and no fuel starvation issues after about 100 motorway miles.
  4. Ive just found this thread, and mentally linked it to a problem I have (1983 Excel). My temperature gauge is reading consistently high (~110, when the real temperature is around ~80-90), and my fuel gauge just stopped working all together - although after re-seating the connection at the back of the gauge it now works, but I suspect it is reading high (the tank is full, but the needle is off the dial) I have a new voltage regulator but have not fitted it yet. What should the output from the regulator be - is it 10v, or is it just a stable 12v?
  5. Ill take this as success. MOT passed. The initial failure was just the bleed nipple being a bit loose. I had the garage tune it up properly and adjust the caster angle too. Now I have to get it working nicely. The heated rear window only has 2 or 3 lines working on it so I need to take a look at that. I also have a feeling I may have to take the dashboard out again. The heater fan motors are back to squealing horribly. I think I may need to actually do the replacement I bottled out of last year. Given our motors are out of the Opel Manta has anyone signed up to read these, or even done the work (bearing replacement, or full replacement with VW Polo motors)?
  6. Hi Brian, Im afraid my boot carpet template was just the original carpet ripped out of the boot. Since making new carpets I have chucked the old ones away, and of course the new ones are now glued into the car. Regards Richard
  7. When putting my car back together I had to replace the engine earth strap - there wasnt one! I used the flat plate on the chassis behind the engine mount (red circle on the picture), and one of the engine mount bolts on the engine itself (yellow circle).
  8. My efforts to focus on getting the engine back running did not go so well. When I bought the carpet set I also bought an additional 3 meters off the roll. This was sitting around in the garage and getting in the way. I thought the best way to clear the space would be to fit it to the car. I had already used a corner of the 3 meters to cover the lower dash side panels on the prop tunnel, but the other pieces for the boot fitted easily on to the rest of the carpet. After a while with a can of spray glue the boot looks like this. I didnt have quite enough glue so at this point the tank cover panel was on the floor waiting for me to buy another can of glue. But this gives you the idea of what I have ended up with. After fixing the boot carpet I really had to get on with the final pieces for the MOT. I checked and adjusted the tracking using the string box method, checked the castor - which was way out, however after 2 attempts to adjust it made no difference I decided to get the garage to fix that. I also bought some LED stop/tail lights and front side light, as the bulbs were really dim even though they were new. Finally I had a go at bodging the peeling lacquer with some spray cans on paint/lacquer. There were several patches on the car where the lacquer was peeling badly. These got rubbed down, then painted with some not very well color matched paint, very lightly rubbed down again, then lacquered and again lightly rubbed down before cutting back with T-cut (since thats what I had), and then a light polish. This sounds quick, but it was going on between other jobs over a few weeks. That brings me up to date. The car is currently at a garage for a few final jobs, including the MOT and tuning the carbs properly. They put it through an MOT before touching anything else, and I was quite pleased to see that the only failure was a slight leak on one of the brake calipers - I expect that is just a union I had not done up tightly enough. Its always very nerve racking putting a 39 year old car through an MOT, especially one I had completely pulled apart and put back together.
  9. well after another days work I have put the interior back together properly. New 13cm pioneer speakers fitted from and rear, and the under dash panels re-trimmed and fitted. Then the seats re-fitted. The drivers side is really rather heavy! Time to move back onto getting the engine running properly and maybe getting an MOT.
  10. Part way through recommissioning the engine I got distracted by replacing the rest of the interior trim, including the carpet. I think my logic was that the front seats were out of the car and it made sense to replace the trim and carpet before putting them back in. I wanted to get them back in the car as they were sitting directly behind the exhaust pipes and starting up the engine would probably cover them in rubbish from the exhaust. Or something like that. I decided to buy a carpet set from Coverdale, and I had already bought most of a trim set that has been languishing in the loft for a year. Swapping the trim over is just a matter of unscrewing the old pieces and attaching the new one - however the carpet is a bit more involved than that. To replace the carpets the first thing to do is remove all the existing trim panels, and then the old carpet can be taken up. That includes the rear seat back and bases, the side panels, the rear cant rails and the front side panels. Stripping out the old carpet was a dusty job. I must have got wet and dried out countless times as much of it was degrading into dust. Under the carpet is a lot of sound proofing, and that all stayed. The carpet set from Coverdale arrived after a few weeks (as advertised, they make it to order). It arrives as a large number of pieces, and you have to work out what goes where. As has been said before their set uses separate small square bits of carpet to cover the hump under the front of the seats. Not the most pleasing fit, but it will not be visible once the seats are back in. A few pieces need trimming to fit, and I did have to have the drivers side toe panel remade. The rear parcel shelf piece comes edged all around, but is too large for the space. I used the old piece as a template and cut the new one down to size. All sides of this piece are tucked under other trim pieces, so the lack of edging actually makes fitting it easier. The drivers side toe piece comes with a heel protector, on my car this was too wide and prevented the carpet being creased to fit properly. Generally the toe pieces are a little too wide, but the passenger side can be trimmed to fit. However the heel panel meant I asked Coverdale to remake the piece. This is the original piece and alongside it the remade one (with a cut out for the steering column). I should say that Coverdale were excellent with their customer service. At first I thought I would need 3 or 4 pieces remaking, but they gently pointed out that I had got the toe pieces confused with the front floor pieces. Once that was pointed out the fit was much better. When it came to remaking the drivers toe piece there was no quibble and I had the new piece about 3 days after sending in a template. This is how the passenger side should fit - the main floor piece has a cut out for the side panel, and also fits around the raised hump for the seat mount. I did cut slots into the toe piece to allow it to bend up without creasing. (how do I rotate that image so its the right way up?) As I had bought extra carpet (to use in the boot) I decided to carpet the trim panels that fit under the dash alongside the tunnel. I have since found these pieces with the grey leather, so I may change them in the future - but for now I quite like the carpet. As you can see from this shot of the passenger side completed my new trim is light grey leather, which goes fairly well with the dark grey dashboard and carpets. The only down side is that I didnt get any seats with the new trims. I will be putting the RX8 front seats back in, but Ive had to use the original rear seats. Ive promised myself I will get the car back on the road before making any attempt to re-trim those!
  11. The answer to the alternator wiring question came from SJ Sportscars (who supplied the alternator) within a day of asking a question. The large wire from the starter motor goes to the large terminal within the black shielding at the bottom of the picture above, and the small wire from the ignition goes to the small terminal within the black shielding. I had to swap a flag connector on the ignition wire to a ring connector, but otherwise it was a simple job.
  12. Back in August 2021 I asked if anyone could recommend an engine rebuilder. I didn’t get a lot of response but decided to use a local Lotus specialist. Towards the end of the year I took the engine over to him so he could rebuild it as winter work. That turned out to be a bit of a mistake as some 5 months later he finally admitted he would not be able to do the rebuild for a few reasons. However he did help arrange with a different but still fairly local specialist to do the work instead, and even took the engine over to the new person. As it happens a friend had already recommended the second specialist, so I didn’t have any real concerns, and had just lost a bit of time but nothing more. Talking to the rebuilder we agreed just to rebuild the engine to the standard LC spec. upgrading to HC spec seems to involve replacing lot of parts at pretty significant cost and effort - many of which were unlikely to need replacement due to wear. In the end we found that the interior of the engine was absolutely filthy, which corresponded to it sitting for many years before the previous owner recommissioned the car. We also found that 2 of the liners were pitted beyond use, probably from having water sitting in them - so all 4 were replaced. However the crank was OK as were the pistons, so new rings and crank bearings were all that was needed. I collected the engine in about June, and put it back into the car over the hottest weekend of the year in the middle of July. It must have been in the low 30's in the garage which mad for hard work. The bearings in the alternator were pretty grumbly, and since the resin from the regulator was also leaking out I decided to get a replacement. That also looked a lot nicer with the now clean engine. A question though - can anyone tell me how the new alternator needs connecting up? The terminals are labelled differently to the original Thanks!
  13. For a while I was waiting for the engine to be rebuilt, so I ended up deciding to tackle some of the interior. I had originally planned to put as much of the car back together before starting on the interior, because the garage was getting to the stage where there were more car parts on the floor than attached to the car. However I had a few spare weekends, and the offer of some help with the sewing, so went ahead with trying to replace the headlining. Removing the old headlining was fairly easy, most of it was pretty robust material that I could just peel off the panels. Scraping the foam backing off the roof was a bit of a pain but didn’t take long. However I found it impossible to scrape the foam from the front part of the roof without also removing the foil insulation/electrical insulator - so it all came off. I cleaned up the trim panels with solvent to remove the old glue residue. I had some foil backed dynamat left from a previous project (and under the bonnet), so stuck a layer of that to the front part of the roof. I also put some copper tape over the arial cable to replace what was there originally. Unfortunately I could not remove all the creases from the dynamat and it was only after I had stuck the new material over it I realised these creases were visible. Only 4 seams need to be sewn for the bulk of the headlining, and getting someone who knew what they were doing to do that for me saved a lot of hassle. The sun visors also need some sewing. These are made as 'pockets' with three sides sewn together inside out. The top edge is left open. The visors themselves are pretty simple, a bar across the top, and a wire around the edge. The interior of mine were decayed beyond re-use, so I striped everything off and glued 2 bits of closed cell foam (camping mat) to the bar/wire. I then wrapped some 4mm scrim foam around this to allow it to 'give' a bit. This was then inserted into the sewn pocket. I then had to sew up the top edge of the material by hand - a curved needle made that easier than it would have been, but Im not the best with a needle and thread (my willing helper had left by this point). Luckily the top edge isnt really visible when its all back in the car. My A-pillar trim was in a bad way. The sun/water had got to it and the bottom of the posts were all curled up away from the dashboard. I removed the material from these and realised that in true lotus style they are very simple - a layer of closed cell foam glued to one side of the a-pillar, and then material glued around all sides (including between the windscreen and the a-pillar). I managed to glue the original foam back to the pillar and left it a few days. I then used some leather to match the new dashboard to cover the pillar and foam - simply gluing it to the body. I obviously couldn’t get it all the way between the windscreen and a-pillar, but did manage to feed it a long way in, so the edge of the new leather isnt visible. With that done I put all the trim pieces back in the car, and of course the rest of the interior now looks horrible.
  14. Its time for another update to this thread, and once again this is going to cover work that took place over an extended period. This time mostly whilst the engine was out of the car. As part of stripping down the car to remove the engine and then lifting the body off the chassis I drained the brake system. The fluid that came out was fairly clean indicating that it had been changed recently, but it was also full of bits of dirt and rust particles. This made me decide to replace most of the parts of the system that had not already been replaced. The external state of the servo and master cylinder made it clear that both of those would benefit from replacement. Looking at the usual sources both the servo and master cylinder are pretty expensive - the Lotus tax again. However several forum posts suggest that Land Rover parts can be used, and may even be direct replacements. I decided that for the £30 for master cylinder, and £60 for a servo it was worth finding out for myself, so I duly ordered a Master cylinder (part NRC8690) and Servo (STC1816) The master cylinder swap is quite well documented, and the only real change is that the Land Rover item has different sized ports front and rear - since I wanted to renew the brake pipes that wasn’t a problem. The servo swap is less well documented As can be seen in the pictures my original servo was very rusty. What can also be seen is that the pushrod that attaches to the brake pedal is very different. However less obvious is that the mounting studs are exactly the same length and separation, meaning no modifications to the Excel body are needed. After buying the servo I kept looking at it for several months trying to work out how best to modify it. The push rod on the LR servo is shorter than the Lotus servo, and is obviously a different end so the clevis would not fit. I have seen some people simply bolt plates either side of the 'loop' to make a new clevis, but I didn’t like that as there is a possibility of movement. I decided to cut the loop off and extend the rod itself - and to do that by cutting a thread into the push rod and using an extension piece. To cut the thread I had to remove the push rod from the servo, which luckily cam apart very easily with just a bit of wiggling (Im actually worried it was too easy). Since my original servo was very dead I decided to see what the original pushrod was like. Getting that out required a fair degree of brute force, but let me compare the two. The Land Rover pushrod is perfect for an M10 thread, so that was easy to cut. I started off using an M10 to M8 adapter - as shown, but that was a little too short. The final version uses an M10 to M8 internally threaded bar, and a length of M8 rod to go into the clevis, with a lock nut. I was happier with this as the length was better, and the threads were a tighter fit. This was fitted to the car with a new gasket, along with the new master cylinder (and for some reason I cant rotate that picture) This all took several months, and during the time the brake system was empty the rear bias valve - or 'G' valve completely seized up. It got to the stage where it was not letting any air, let alone fluid pass in either direction through it. I can only assume that the old brake fluid had lots of water and rust in is, and the internals of the g valve rusted solid. I bought a replacement part, and being me took it apart to see just what they are. For some reason I don’t appear to have taken any photos which is a bit of an oversight. However I can confirm that just inside the end cap is a rubber seal (square profile). The valve itself is a cylinder inside which a piston is free to slide up and down. The cylinder has about 3 more seals around it, but a small hole through the middle. Behind the piston is a large, heavy ball bearing and a weak spring. The spring pushes the ball against the piston. The angle the valve is mounted in the car mean that under heavy breaking the ball will push forwards against the piston - and I presume stop the flow of fluid to the rear brakes. Without the heavy braking the ball falls away from the piston and fluid can flow freely in either direction. So these really are simple devices, and the only challenge to rebuild them would be to find the correct size seals. However in my original there was no way the piston was coming out of the cylinder, hence it now being in the bin.
  15. To finish off the gearbox before fitting it I needed to replace the rubber mount. These are still available from lotusbits, SJ Sports cars and I'm sure a few other suspects, however the £120 wanted felt a lot to me. As with the rest of the gearbox the mount is a standard part. It is 'Toyota 12371-34020 - insulator, engine mount, rear. Looking online rockauto in the states have pattern parts for about £5, but I kept looking for a genuine part. claimed to have several available so I gave them a try. The part was £22, but shipping and import taxes were another £40 (from Japan). There was a cheaper but slower option that I didn't use. 10 days later the new gearbox mount arrived. £60 Isn't cheap, but it's a lot better than £120! From this picture you can see why I needed a new mount.
  • Create New...

Important Information

We use cookies to enhance your browsing experience, serve personalized ads or content, and analyze our traffic. By clicking " I Accept ", you consent to our use of cookies. We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.