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OwenGT3 last won the day on December 31 2015

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    Lotus Esprit GT3, R56 Mini Cooper S

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  1. 2020 was a very quiet with regards to my Esprit restoration. Basically nothing has happened to the car, although I did manage to sort one job out during the year. My wiper arm and wiper blade have never been great on my car, juddering and not cleaning as well as expected. It was a modified Lotus arm fitted, as the head unit that holds the blade had broken, so it had been repaired before my ownership. I have modified the original arm myself several times to sort the problem, but it's never been great. My first complete change of arm was to use a Citroen C1 wiper arm and blade, again modified to fit the Esprit. This mostly involved shortening the arms length, plus cutting some of the shoulder off the neck of the bolt taper. The blade fitted OK, going up from the Lotus 24" to a 26" blade, also a spring steel blade as well. This arm worked a lot better than the previous one, so was on the car for a while, although I still felt it could be improved. After some searching, I finally found a wiper arm and blade setup that was a lot better than all the rest. This arm comes from the Toyota Aygo. Not the recent face lift model, but the previous face lift. The arm is the right length for the Esprit, so doesn't need cutting down to fit. The wiper blade is 26", so fits the screen OK with the sweep of the blade. The only mod that needed doing was to replace the arms head unit that bolted on to the motor shaft, plus a new base plate with relocated position of the sweep arm control pin. After some testing and redesign, I finally came up with the head unit design. Jonathan Edwards kindly 3D printed me my prototypes, the first fitted quite well, with only a minor modification. The second versions with the mods done fitted perfectly. The control arm just slides onto a cut down 8mm bolt with shank. In the end I cut a groove, then fitted an O-ring, which holds the arm on, simple as that. The biggest problem was getting the arm to miss the Esprit Bonnet, something it doesn't do with the original Toyota head unit. So I now have a wiper arm and blade setup that will work very well with my Esprit, plus a modern arm that is still available. I will in time make a full alloy version, and maybe make this available to purchase for other owners, as I know other owners have issues with their wiper arms. Here is a video of an early test of the arm. The base plate is wood. So hopefully this year will really take off with regards to my restoration. I have my project all planned out, what is being worked on in what order, so by the end of the year I should have a rebuilt chassis, ready for the body to go on maybe the following year, see how it goes. The plan is to be completed by the end of 2023. Some photos of the first head unit made.
  2. I fitted Falken FK453 Tyres on mine, all round. Not too bad a price from what I can remember, about £100 - 120 a corner.
  3. Mine is also like Ian's new pipe, no loop ever since I've owned the car. I think at some point the pipe on my car got damaged and the original hasn't been available for some time to replace it, so your only option now is to make one up. Personally if the engine is getting tugged away from the baulk-head to allow the loop to straighten out, I wouldn't want to be in the car at that point! 😆
  4. I've moved operations back to the front of the car and have now started to strip the front suspension (08.11.19). I started on the N/S suspension and generally it came apart reasonably easily. Most large bolts needed breaking with a strong-bar, but then removed with a ratchet spanner OK. The only problematic bolts were the suspension arms, upper and lower arms. The front lower arm bolt has seized in the bush, so the head of the bolt may need to be cut off to drive the bolt out, or using an angle grinder cut down the sides of the arm in the housing to remove the bolt. The shock-absorber and spring assembly came apart OK and was no problem removing from the car. It will be nice when it all goes back together, being all nice and cleaned up and painted.
  5. Today's (30.10.19) task was to remove the crankshaft rear seal housing, allowing me to remove the crankshaft engine main bearing housing. The bolts wouldn't come out using the hex heads, so some other method was required. I decided to weld some nuts to the head of the bolts, which would give me better purchase on the bolt with a bigger spanner, plus the heat from the welding would help free the bolts. I have to say this method worked a treat and all the bolts were easily removed, I just had to protect the engine from weld sparks so as to not damage any surfaces. With the seal housing now off, I was able to continue to remove the crankshaft main bearing housing. This came off with ease, gently tapping it to remove it from the studs. With the housing removed I was able to inspect the main journals, which like the con-rod main bearings, are in a really good condition. I checked the end float which was within specification. With the engine block totally striped now, the final items to strip were the cam carriers. These again were not too bad to strip, with only the camshaft sprocket and end float nuts being the worst items to remove. To do this I used the old cam belt around the sprocket and held in the vice. With a strong bar the nuts cracked and were removed. With the sprocket off, I just had to remove the camshaft seals to withdraw the camshafts from their housings. The engine is now totally dismantled.
  6. Today (21.10.19) I finally removed the last rear shock, spring and upper suspension link. The top nut on the shock had to be cut partly to get it to move. This was done with a cutting disc and Dremel, removing a face on the nut. With the part removed and some WD40 the nut started to move with a spanner and was removed. The lower nut came undone without any need for cutting. With the shock and spring out of the way, the upper suspension link was finally removed. I then moved on to removing the passenger side fuel tank. Similar process to the drivers side, but with less items to remove from the top of the tank. The fuel filler neck was removed along with the passenger side air-duct. Finally with all the bolts, nuts, brackets and seatbelt removed out of the way, the tank could come out of the car. This side was easier than the drivers to remove, it may have been the boot release cable on the drivers being in the way causing problems, but the tank was out. This tank has weathered better than the drivers side, with just a small patch of powder-coating paint lifting from the tank metal. Even so both tanks will be stripped of coating to have a fresh coat of paint and protection if used again.
  7. I finally removed all the valves from the head today (17.10.19). This wasn't too bad a job as I had a valve removing tool and they came apart really easily. All the guides are worn, with one inlet valve being very sloppy on number one, but the valves don't look too bad a condition generally. Some ports you can see blow by on the inlet valves, which obviously would be contributing to low compression. Seats on the exhaust valves were very thin and looked like they were not creating a good seal. I think once all the faces have been machined, new guides and the valves lapped in, the head will be A1 again. Another job I did was to dismantle the pistons and con rods. Again the pistons are in very good condition as are the rings for the mileage of the car. The pistons came apart easily and are now ready to be cleaned up.
  8. It is a good idea, I have heard others have considered this as an option. I don't know whether to buy the actual release if you can still get it, but if not a good set of strong magnets will do. Can't be worse than Lotus sikaflex method, I know it's good stuff for bonding, but not what I would expect on a £50k car.
  9. The job I did today was quite a small one, but needed to be done. As the fuel flap on a GT3 on the drivers side is blank, Lotus glue them shut with bonding agent. The flap needed removing for when the car gets painted, so I had to get a scalpel behind the fuel filler flap and cut the glue. Luckily this was not as bad as I thought it would be and the flap opened. When this goes back together I am going to fix this with powerful magnets, as I might put a trickle charger socket in this blank fuel filler.
  10. Today (12.10.1) was spent stripping the engine some more. I removed the turbo from the exhaust manifold, this required the nuts being removed with a grinder, but I did manage to save the studs. I also stripped the inlet manifold down to it's component parts. As well as the engine parts, I did remove the drivers side fuel tank. I can see now why this job is so bad with the engine in, as even with easy access the tank was still tight getting it out. Once the top board, seat belt, cross-over fuel pipe and earth strap was removed, the man issue was the seat belt mount. The tank needed to be forced past this, but once past the tank came out OK. The fuel tanks are actually in very good condition, even with all the powder coating removed, with just surface rust on the tank. I think with a good soft shot blast and paint the tanks will come up well. The passengers tank doesn't look as bad as the driver side for powder coat removal.
  11. I'm thinking of some light shot blasting to remove rust, then pressure test them. A good coat of red oxide paint and then a nice enamel top coat paint, two coats. Foam replaced with proper non-porous type.
  12. This is my understanding, that they shouldn't be honed @andydclements. There is the odd mark, but I would expect some on an engine that's done 97k. If there were no honing marks then possibly they would need replacing, but from first look I think they still have a good amount of life in them. I am going to measure them to see how much they have worn, but this engine I have never seen it burn/smoke or use excessive oil consumption. Also with a restoration like this, where do you stop? I'm already way over budget so if something can be saved and used a bit longer, then I will keep it. It's the same with the fuel tanks, they are both out now. One all the powder-coating has flaked off, the other just one small little patch. The tanks are really good condition. So do I add nearly another £1k to the restoration and buy alloy or stainless replacements or just restore the originals? I'm more than likely not going to be the next person who will have to remove them, having sold the car on by then, but if they last another 22 years, then it won't be all bad.
  13. Looking at the condition of the liners, they are very good. The whole bottom end of the engine is very good, so I will just replace shell and rings. All of the problems are in the head with the valves.
  14. I've continued with stripping the pistons out of the engine. All the bores and pistons are of the same condition as piston one, so really pleased the engine is good. The next stage is to remove the crank from the engine block, so the lower section of the engine needs removing. This shouldn't be too bad a job, but the rear crankshaft oil seal housing bolts are corroded in. I've applied loads of penetrating fluid, but they are not moving. Also being hex head bolts, it doesn't take long for them to ring round and then you are stuck. I am thinking of welding a bolt to the hex head dome bolts. The heat might help as well, but it's mostly to get a better purchase on the bolts to remove them. I will need to replace them all.
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