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Everything posted by OwenGT3

  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.
  15. Very good, I've just done a quick test, but this seems to show minimal movement. I will conduct a full measured test before removing, I just need to check the manual for specifications and tolerance.
  16. Today (05.10.19) I removed the sump from the engine, as I wanted to remove one of the pistons to check the bores of the engine. The sump came off relativity easily, but all bolts are showing some corrosion between the two types of materials. With the sump finally off, I removed piston one from the cylinder. Luckily Lotus dowel the big end caps, so you don't need to mark them. With the piston out and a wipe of the bore, I was able to see they are very good for the age of the engine. The bores are not heavily worn and you can still see the original score marks. The crank was also very good with no scoring on the journals. Knowing this now, I should be able to rebuild using standard replacement rings and shell caps.
  17. @Stuart Monument You could try asking the Jim Clark Museum if they are interested in buying it. They know it exists as I had to seek their permission to use the helmet design. I would be quite proud to have that on display in his museum. If they bought it, I could touch up any repairs needed so it was mint for display. 😀
  18. @Buddsy Scott Budds made some of the component parts for me, with CTL also contributing loads in help, parts and services. The £10k original price was in two parts, the owners sponsored the dragon, paying £4k to be part of the whole interactive art event. They then paid £6k bidding on the dragon at auction, they bought their own sponsored dragon back. Some more photos of the dragon IndyGoGo500 @Stuart Monument Have you tried Caister Castle museum, he might consider buying it, beings it is quite unique, I have the guys number if so. Would be nice to keep it in the local area and on public display. Me giving it a dust at it's location in Chapelfield Mall during the event.
  19. Day 20 (26.09.19) of my restoration and I finally took the head off the engine. To my surprise the head, pistons and bores are all looking remarkably good for 97,000 miles. The pistons are still a nice fit in the liners, which have a minimal wear step at the top, although bores will be checked to see if in tolerance. The piston tops are clean, just covered in a layer of oil residue. I did do a leak test on all the valves and compression chambers, as I was expecting number two cylinder to be possibly damaged with some wear, as this was down on compression so much when I tested it. Actually all the valves are really good, number one and two did drain in the leak test, but the damage just looks to be carbon build up, so I think a good clean, reface the valves and seats, all should be fine. Three and four did leak, but only minimal. As long as the valve guides are still a good fit, with indications that they are, then the head needs minimal work to put right and has saved me some money, always a good thing! The rest of the engine is coming apart reasonably well, with only one bolt head shearing off so far in the water pump thermostat housing, but that should still be possible to remove. Hopefully the bottom half of the engine will come apart as easily as the top has.
  20. I haven't worked on the Esprit for a few day, but decided to get back on it, so today (14.09.19) I stripped the rear hubs down. Again as they haven't been to bits in possibly 22 years, bolts were seized, so first thing all fixings required a good squirt of releasing fluid. I started to release the bearing hex head bolts, but these were seized solid, so decided to cut them off as it was easier. The lower link arm pin was also solid in the hub, so having heard the stories of cracked hubs, I decided to cut these off as well. This required cutting the pins down between the link arm and the hub pillars. Not much room for the cutter, but I was using the 1mm cutting discs. With the link arm out of the way one side of the pin just fell out, but the other side had to be worked out. The steel to alloy side was the easy removed side, but the steel on steel side was rusted tight. Able now to be able to hold the hub on a solid surface, I was able to drive the pin out with a punch and releasing fluid. The last item to be removed was the ABS sensors. Although I didn't need them when the car is rebuilt, I did want to remove them and save them, but I'm afraid this didn't happen. The sensors were corroded in the hub tight, so the only way to remove them was to break them out. This required removing the connection top, then drilling down the side of the magnets. This slot made the body of the sensor loose, so I was then able to hammer them out with a punch. With everything removed from one hub, it was the same process on the other hub. Another item stripped ready for the big clean up of parts.
  21. Well today (17.09.19) the engine finally came out. I don't know when the last time it was out, but never in my 12 years of ownership. It wasn't too bad a job to do, some fiddly pipes to disconnect at the front of the engine, awkward in true Lotus fashion, but once they were off, the lifting was relativity easy. I'd removed the inlet manifold to make fixing the lifting strap easier to go around the engine, which was actually nylon rope as that's all I had to hand. Putting it in I will use something better. The car was at the lowest point on the jack system, but once the bolts had cleared the engine mounts, the engine lifted with ease, with just a little guidance near the rear of the car so it cleared the panel, Lotus don't give you much leeway in the engine bay. Once cleared of the bodywork, it was just a matter of wheeling the lifting hoist back to clear of the car. I placed the engine and gearbox on a trolley with a wood sheet on top, luckily Lotus engine sumps are nice and flat to sit on. With the engine and gearbox out, I finally separated the two parts. The bell housing was quite dry, so no rear oil leaks, but release bearing was dry as hell. It's surprising how heavy the gearbox is just on it's own. The plan now is to get the engine on an engine frame to start stripping the head off. Other items on the engine and gearbox will follow the same for inspection.
  22. Today I dismantled the rear suspension. Most of the bolts came undone with relative ease, just a quirt of WD40 and the nuts could be removed. There were a few nuts that needed cutting off to remove the part, shock absorbers being one of them. The lower link arm was taken off with the hub, so as to remove the lower pins on the bench. The pins will be cut off so not to crack and damage the hub. Brakes were OK to remove, but new handbrake cables will need to be fitted. I also got the screw holding the clamp bracket out for the two injectors in the plenum manifold. A better screw will be fitted when assembling this item. All items will be reconditioned, painted etc. before being refitted.
  23. The remaining items at the front of the car were removed. This includes the charge cooler radiator and the main water cooling radiator, along with the cowling. Some bolts had to be cut off, with a few coming undone by spanner. The core on both radiators are beyond repair, so will need to have new ones.
  24. Today (24.08.19) was spent stripping a lot more parts from the engine and engine bay. The engine is almost ready to remove, with just a few components attached. Both sides of the engine bay were also stripped, exposing the petrol tanks. Most components that sit on top of the tanks were removed. The exhaust system and the rear hanging frame was also removed. The loom was removed from the side panels and is now tucked up to one side. Again lots of reference photos were taken for rebuild time.
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