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S4s rolling restoration project


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2 hours ago, tomcattom said:

I think that started the moment I bought the car 🤐

I think that comment was directed at me...like your car, I've just received a low blow 😃

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IT RUNS!!!! Chucked five litres of fuel in it and initially it wouldn't start. Was a bit slow off the mark to realise the fuel inertia switch needed resetting. Once it did start I quickly got up

Time will tell how reliable the velcro is @drdoom. It is stiched on so glue failure shouldn't be a problem. Anyway, after nearly two years and two months off the road the Esprit has finally broke

Been a mixture of mechanical and cosmetic work this past week or so. After several trial fits the rad tray is now installed for what I hope will be the final time. The new wiring loom for the fan

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  • 4 weeks later...
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I had a very enlightening visit from @Sparky a couple of weeks ago to go over my car, and while he did find a couple of things to add to my ever growing to-do list, he thankfully didn't turn up anything major which was a bit a of a relief for me. 

All four brake calipers are currently away being refurbished and should be back in the next week or so, sporting a sparkly new paint job :) The inspection report revealed that one of the rear caliper pistons was corroded beyond repair and will require replacement and two bleed nipples had to be drilled out (not sure which though). The new braided brake hoses have also arrived ready to fit when the calipers return, along with replacements for various bit of hardware that looked worse for wear after being battered in the pursuit of removing the calipers from the car.

Norfolk Mustard S4s #1 :)

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  • 4 weeks later...
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Refurbed calipers, new disks and Ferodo DS performance pads fitted to the front end.

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The hard pipe on the back of the caliper wouldn't come out willingly before the refurb so force was required and they needed to be replaced. For my first effort bending brake pipes I'm chuffed :) The new hard pipes have been coupled with some custom made "carbon look" braided hoses with stainless fittings from HEL.

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Rear end is the same again, refurbed calipers, new discs and Ferodo DS performance pads.

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Hard pipe under the trailing arms have been replaced and coupled with custom made lines from HEL. The tatty handbrake cables with be replaced imminently too; I have the parts ready to go but not had chance to fit them yet.

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Sadly I'm not quite done with the brakes yet. Upon investigation I found that the brake pipe from the MC down to the front left corner has been previously "repaired" but its failing further down the line so I've ripped the whole pipe out and started again. I suspect the damage to the pipe might have contributed to the funky braking behaviour.

What a pig of a job it was getting the pipe across the chassis though. Its in, but I ran out of time to bend it properly into place and connect it all up because it took so long to fish the pipe from one side of the car to the other. Next time I'm out in the garage I'll get that sorted and start with the bleeding.

Talking of bleeding, I've read the manual and the DM system seems to have quite a convulated bleeding process. I have a vacuum bleeder for my compressor, is there any reason I shoudn't use it to bleed the brakes on the Esprit. Will it have any detrimental effects on the accumulator for example?

Norfolk Mustard S4s #1 :)

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Oh, I also found my missing air box clamps by chance last night. They were in a Lotus branded oxygen sensor package (of course 🙄) stuffed down the back of the battery tray, of all places! That's one less part I need to source a replacement for.

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Norfolk Mustard S4s #1 :)

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Bit more work this evening. Decided not to tackle the brake pipe tonight; I didn't fancy grovelling around in the muck on the underside of the car.

Instead I first replaced the broken offside tailgate drain tube an re-installed the battery. Then I decided to tackle the gear linkage; I have replacement bearings and ball joints to fit plus the gaiters to replace on the cable. It was semi successful.

Things before I started.

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Translator assembly all cleaned up with new bearings installed.

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Then play was halted upon discovery that the threaded ends of one gearchange control cables has evidently broken at some stage and been badly welded back on; its not even been welded back on straight by the looks of it. Best guess is this is related to the accident damage in 1999. The main issue is that its making it rather awkward to get the new gaiter on without damaging it.

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Norfolk Mustard S4s #1 :)

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Due to two family beareavments at the tail end of last year the Esprit hasn't got a look in since September :( Its a new year now so I decided to get off to a fresh start by spending the day on the Esprit yesterday with the aim being to get the rad pack off to inspect everything.

The rad pack was missing several of its mounting bolts and one had to be ground off because it was seized solid. A couple of the jubillee clips were clearly fitted before the rad pack went on the car and then the body dropped on because they were completely inaccessible which made things just that little but more difficult than it needed to be. The passenger side oil cooler union loosened willingly so it could be swung out of the way which was a big relief too, the driver's side one was less cooperative, but I was able to drop the pack without needing to move it in the end.

This is what I was left with. The cross member looks even more sorry for itself now I can see it more clearly and will be getting some attention while the radiators are out.

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The cowling around the rad pack is in pretty good condition on the whole, but the metal plates in the bottom of it will need remedial work because they've rotted out and caused the GRP to delaminate.

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The radiator actually doens't look to be in too bad condition, but I will be getting it looked while its out since that was part of the reason for dropping it. The frame and fan cowl on the other hand are toast and will be getting replaced in someway shape or form.

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The charge cooler and condensor were only being held into the pack with zip ties :angry: Also I got more proof, if ever any more were needed, that the front end has been quickly/cheaply blown over at some point!

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The chargecooler radiator/condensor looks in half decent condition, but I'm not sure what I'm going to do with them at present. I could get them pressure tested and repaired if necessary but then part of me wants to convert it to the configuration used on the later S4s models from March '95 onwards with the separate chargecooler and condensors because it seems like a more sensible setup to me, but I need to do a little more research on the implications of doing that before I make any decisions. If anyone has any thoughts to offer on this though, I'm all ears.

I shall be getting in touch with a Serck today to sort the radiator and frame since they're local to me and been recommeneded a few times on the forums here.

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Norfolk Mustard S4s #1 :)

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When you get the rad rebuilt - get the nice wing nut thumb turn bleeders on it - makes it a whole lot nicer to bleed out later

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In March 1995, when R134a gas was introduced, the combined chargecooler/condenser was replaced by separate units for MY 95 cars, this from VIN 4035. A different compressor and hoses were used for the new gas. Either yours is a very early car and Lotus had a pile of the combined ones left over, or maybe the chargecooler assembly been replaced at some point. Might be worth checking to see which gas is being used first, I think there's a sticker somewhere on the car, but I can't remember where.

Serck - highly recommended, and so are the 11" Spal fans, they're really good. I don't use a shroud, and despite the prophets of doom, coolant temperatures are perfect.

My refurb thread has some photos and info, page 15. And https://www.thelotusforums.com/forums/topic/79679-s4s-charge-cooler-heat-exchanger/#comments

 

 

Margate Exotics.

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33 minutes ago, Barrykearley said:

When you get the rad rebuilt - get the nice wing nut thumb turn bleeders on it - makes it a whole lot nicer to bleed out later

Thanks Barry, I'll see what Serck say about that when they have responded to my first email.

19 minutes ago, Chillidoggy said:

In March 1995, when R134a gas was introduced, the combined chargecooler/condenser was replaced by separate units for MY 95 cars, this from VIN 4035. A different compressor and hoses were used for the new gas. Either yours is a very early car and Lotus had a pile of the combined ones left over, or maybe the chargecooler assembly been replaced at some point. Might be worth checking to see which gas is being used first, I think there's a sticker somewhere on the car, but I can't remember where.

Mine is an early S4s (pre-4035) so I have no reason to suspect that the chargecoolder/condensor isn't correct original fitment. It didn't look like any of it had been disturbed before I removed it all yesterday.

Part of my logic behind upgrading to the split setup was that my A/C setup isn't currenly gassed and I've no idea how long its been like that. Given the history of the car I wouldn't be surprised if its been in that state for a decade or more. From the experience of others I know I'm going to have to replace all of the seals etc before I can get it to pressurise properly so I figured if I'm going to all the trouble of doing that I might as well take the opportunity to upgrade the necessary components to the R134a refrigerant too (e.g. compressor etc). The only thing I'm not sure about in doing that is if I will need to renew all the hoses too. I think the manual says the hoses were changed, but separate research on the interwebs seems to suggest you can just switch an R12 system to R134a without changing hoses.

Norfolk Mustard S4s #1 :)

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2 hours ago, tomcattom said:

Thanks Barry, I'll see what Serck say about that when they have responded to my first email.

Mine is an early S4s (pre-4035) so I have no reason to suspect that the chargecoolder/condensor isn't correct original fitment. It didn't look like any of it had been disturbed before I removed it all yesterday.

Part of my logic behind upgrading to the split setup was that my A/C setup isn't currenly gassed and I've no idea how long its been like that. Given the history of the car I wouldn't be surprised if its been in that state for a decade or more. From the experience of others I know I'm going to have to replace all of the seals etc before I can get it to pressurise properly so I figured if I'm going to all the trouble of doing that I might as well take the opportunity to upgrade the necessary components to the R134a refrigerant too (e.g. compressor etc). The only thing I'm not sure about in doing that is if I will need to renew all the hoses too. I think the manual says the hoses were changed, but separate research on the interwebs seems to suggest you can just switch an R12 system to R134a without changing hoses.

If it’s original, then you have an early car, and Lotus changed the hoses to suit R134a, so it’s your choice.

The filter drier may be different, too, but check the Lotus service notes or parts manual. That’s a Four Seasons unit, P/N 33403, you’ll need a new filter drier whatever you do if the system has been exposed to air or has any new components. The standard R134a compressor is a Sanden SD7H15.

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Margate Exotics.

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1 hour ago, tomcattom said:

Thanks @Chillidoggy that's useful information. I'll have a read of the parts catalogue in more detail tonight and see if this will be more hassle than its worth to change...

You’re welcome.

Personally, I wouldn’t be without my A/C. I use it a lot, and it’s always a selling point to have an Esprit with working A/C.

Perhaps you could try it with the original hoses first? I’m not sure what’s involved with that, whether the fittings are the same, but that’s what I’d do. Then if the hoses leak, well you know where you’re going.

Margate Exotics.

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  • 2 weeks later...
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Dropped the radiator off at Serck Motorsport this morning ready for it be re-cored and have a new frame and fans fitted. They're also going to pressure test my condensor/chargecooler assembly to see what condition that is in before I decide what route I'm going to take with that.

Was interesting talking to Darren while I was there. They have three separate workshops down there, one dealing with traditional copper/brash radiators etc, another dealing with the ally side of things and the third for inspection and cleaning, F1 teams being a big customer for that. That department is busy at this time of the year in the run up to the new season. Sounds like my radiator will be in good hands 😀 Should see it back in a couple of weeks; I've got plenty else to do in the meantime...

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Norfolk Mustard S4s #1 :)

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Just got back from a trip to Serck with a nice shiny new radiator.

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The guys down there did a top notch job on it and astoundingly they even managed to repair and reuse most of my original rad frame. Just waiting on a large care package of ancilliary bits to arrive before it can be put back in the car.

What's the general consensus on the foam strips at the top and bottom of the radiator. Are they prone to holding dampness and rotting the frames out again and if so is there a more suitable alternative I should be using to replace it? My foam strips are pretty ropey and need replacing. I've got some OE foams strips coming because they cost peanuts, but if there is something better I could/should be using I'd rather put that in.

Norfolk Mustard S4s #1 :)

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Simple, generic view I'd offer is that one wants to ensure airflow does not bypass the core unduly, thus making foam mandatory. Closed cell foam neither absorbs nor holds water of consequence so should be preferred. 

Cheers

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I went to a foam company, and got a piece of fireretardent blosed cell foam and stuck that on with a bit of spray glue and black heat paint. It cost next to nothing.

Kind regards,
Jacques

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Nobody does it better - than Lotus ;)

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Its been a while since I've actually been able to touch the Esprit. I'm slightly hamstrung for what I can do at present because I'm waiting for lockdown to end and companies to get back to work and complete several large orders of parts I'm waiting for. In the meantime I've been trying to complete what unfinished jobs I can while I wait for said parts to arrive. Plus seeing everyone else working on their cars during lockdown I thought I should get my backside in gear too.

 

First job was to try and finish pulling the new front nearside brake pipe through the body to the master cylinder. With the rad pack and various hoses out of the way this job is easier than when I last attempted to tackle it, but by no means a walk in the park. I'm currently stuck on this job waiting for a new pipe bender to arrive in the post because the one I have is too big to reach into some of the more restricted parts.

I them moved onto replacing the handbrake cables because the nearside one had clearly seeen better days and the drivers side one was doing a loop-the-loop under the chassis 🤔

Drivers seat out of the way. Only one stud snapped which was a better result than I was expecting given the state of them.

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Carpet up and cables revealed. Looks alright at this end. Anyone know what that cable on the right of the picture is for? The way its been fitted makes me think its not Lotus' doing, but I've not checked the manuals yet.

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This was the state of the nearside cable.

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A bit of old electrical flex that was lying about in the garage from the DIY in the house came in handy for drawing the cables through the shell in to the cabin.

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Drivers side handbrake cable, old on left vs new on right. It appears someone has previously fitted a passenger side cable on the drivers side, hence it doing loops under the chassis. This has definitely been changed since new, probably after its accident.

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Minty fresh cable to go in.

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Is there anything that is supposed to retain the outer sleeve of the cable to the caliper? I didn't remove anything when I took the old cable off and there is no evidence of anywhere something can clip to it, but given the level of bodgery I'm uncovering day by day it wouldn't surpise me if something was missing.

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Norfolk Mustard S4s #1 :)

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While I was under the car I spotted a few new issues to add onto this list...

This earth strap on the drivers side was just dangling. I assumed it was supposed to bolt to something through that hole next to it, but all I can see is the side of the tank. Is there a bolt hole somewhere on the side of the tank its supposed to bolt to? I'm wondering if the tank isn't quite sat in the right place for a bolt hole to line up, or is it supposed to bolt to something else? I'll get the inspection camera out tomorrow if necessary.

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This also caught my eye while I was under there; what looks like a snapped tensioning adjuster for the power steering pump. Looks like a heavy handed mechanic has been a bit brutal with it 🙄

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Norfolk Mustard S4s #1 :)

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Ooh powersteering tensioner - yes I’ve got an issue with mine - a parts missing I think. There’s some worrying damage to the back of the pulley.

that earth strap fixes to the chassis - and to the fuel tank - I’d just replace them with new ones 

Only here once

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12 minutes ago, Barrykearley said:

Ooh powersteering tensioner - yes I’ve got an issue with mine - a parts missing I think. There’s some worrying damage to the back of the pulley.

I've just checked the parts list and I think its actuall okay in terms of the tensioner. I think there is a nut on the otherside of the bracket that is out of shot of the camera. Will check with the inspection camera tomorrow.

What can you see that I can't about the back of the power steering pulley?

13 minutes ago, Barrykearley said:

that earth strap fixes to the chassis - and to the fuel tank - I’d just replace them with new ones

My fuel tank evidently isn't sat correctly then, because there is nothing for that strap to bolt into as the tank is currently positioned.

Norfolk Mustard S4s #1 :)

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Defo mounting to the tanks - I’ve got a scrap one in the garage I can take a picture of. 

Ill have a look at the powersteering pump tomorrow - but looks like the tensioner has failed and fowled somehow on the back of the pulley. I’ll try and grab some pics

Only here once

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