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MD355

Serious trouble V8

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The other night I was returning home after a nice drive... 1 miles away from home I slow down to exit the highway and immediately I see the low oil pressure light and start hearing some metallic noise from the engine...

I stop to a halt and switch the engine off immediately... As I am close to home I park the car and return the next morning... As I start the engine immediately I hear some metallic banging, so I call road assistance and take my car to the mechanic..

The verdict : the bearing from one of the conrods failed due to lack of oil pressure... fortunately the crankshaft was not damaged and there is very little and almost no metal shavings... The reason for low oil pressure is assumed to be the oil pressure release valve (most likely) or the oil pump itself (unlikely).. We will find out soon...

In the mean time, my mechanic found that the liners of the engine are leaking water... My car is 2001, but still the sealant probably failed..

Has anyone experience either of the 2 problems I am describing : low oil pressure , failed liner seal ?

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I would say that those two issues are unrelated.  If you have not observed a major coolant loss, then most likely the coolant has evaporated away.

Have you observed any overheating in the past?

If you have a rod bearing failure, then you are likely to need some re-work to the associate crankpin.  If you are hearing the metal-on-metal contact you will have some marks/scoring to address.

 


1996 Esprit V8, 1998 Esprit V8 GT, 1999 Esprit S350 #002 (Esprit GT1 replica project), 1996 Esprit V8 GT1 (chassis 114-001), 1992 Lotus Omega (927E), 1999 Esprit V8SE, 1999 Esprit S350 #032, 1995 Esprit S4s, 1999 Esprit V8 GT (ex-5th Gear project), 1999 Esprit V8SE ('02 rear)

1999 S350 #002 Esprit GT1 replica

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Thank you for your reply !!

I agree 100% that these two are unrelated.

The story goes like this...

I bought 9 months ago this Lotus Esprit V8 with 31000 miles.

I knew it needed some update / fixing.

I took it to my mechanic where we completely replaced all suspension items & shock absorbers with new, and rebuilt both turbos and did belt service.

After that the alternator failed and needed replaced.

Next my car started overheating and losing significant amount of cooling.

I replaced the header tank with metallic, but the problem continued.

Next while driving on a cover, I heard a metallic sound and the rear differential ring and pinion was broken !!!

At the same time I decided to replace the cylinder head gaskets to address the coolant leak.

Since I was there, I completely rebuilt the cylinder heads with new guides and gaskets.

I also replaced water pump and oxygen sensor.

And then the incident happened !!

My mechanic had a quick look and told me I was probably lucky that the crankshaft was not damaged... He also showed me cylinder heads leaking...

So now, I need to remove cylinder liners and apply the correct sealant.

I will also need to find the cause of the oil starvation... probably stuck oil pressure release valve...

Too bad my mechanic told me I need new cylinder head gaskets...

Lets see...

Anyone replaced sealant on liners ??

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That's a lot of unfortunate events. It gives birth to a bunch of questions:

- Did you determine why the car was overheating in the first place?

- When the heads were rebuilt, what was done regarding flatness checks and inspection of the mating faces.  It reads that is was just rebuilt and put back together with fresh head gaskets.  Do you know if they were Lotus OEM gaskets used in the rebuild?

- Was the engine turned over at all when the cylinder heads were off?  The V8 does not have liner clamps specified, so it is essential that the engine is not turned if the heads are removed.

- if the PRV stuck open, you would have lost oil pressure throughout the engine, meaning that you would need to check all bearing surfaces.  Once you have an event that resulted in audible knocking - it is not feasible that there is nothing that needs to be rectified there.  But, you are right that the cause needs to be determined before the engine get put back together.

I would suggest that you should consider preparing for a fresh complete rebuild, having suffered sealing failures at both ends of the liner and oiling related issues.  Get each component checked and replaced if showing signs of wear.   No point in just having your mechanic re-assemble it.

 

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1996 Esprit V8, 1998 Esprit V8 GT, 1999 Esprit S350 #002 (Esprit GT1 replica project), 1996 Esprit V8 GT1 (chassis 114-001), 1992 Lotus Omega (927E), 1999 Esprit V8SE, 1999 Esprit S350 #032, 1995 Esprit S4s, 1999 Esprit V8 GT (ex-5th Gear project), 1999 Esprit V8SE ('02 rear)

1999 S350 #002 Esprit GT1 replica

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Today’s update !!

My mechanic removed the engine and dismantled all pieces!!

When he replaced the gaskets, we used OEM lotus gaskets and sent the cylinder heads for machining to make them flat.

Today he told me the cause of the oil starvation was indeed the oil pressure release valve !! Attached is the photo he sent me of the engine in parts.

Tomorrow I go see his to decide what parts we need to order.

How are the liners sealed with the block ?

where do I find Hylomar 3400 ?

Feel free to make suggestions.

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P.S. It is too bad that I recently purchased a set of OEM head gaskets for GBP 700 and now... I will need to buy a set again !!! My mechanic said that we cannot used the same gasket. It is true ?

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You mechanic is correct - head gaskets are single use.  You simply cannot reuse them.

It's not so easy to see in the image, but one crankpin looks to have one big-end with some marking.... it could just be shadow, but I would be amazed if you don't need any work to prepare that before re-installation.

Regarding the other parts:

SWLC sell replacement PRV kits

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/LOTUS-ESPRIT-Pressure-Relief-Valve-Kit-Esprit-V8/291929981164?hash=item43f86200ec:g:u5kAAOSw4GVYGJFW

Hylomar 3400 is available UK and Germany - example here (but check with Gonzalo Mendoza at Panchos Speed Shop, as I believe that he uses a US substitute)

http://www.landy-scheune.de/dichtmittel-hylomar-3400-300-ml.html

The liners are a push fit into the block, so a small bead of 3400 on the sealing shoulder and a small smeer up the liner is sufficient.  Once one bank is installed, the cylinder head should be torqued down with in a few hours of application.

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1996 Esprit V8, 1998 Esprit V8 GT, 1999 Esprit S350 #002 (Esprit GT1 replica project), 1996 Esprit V8 GT1 (chassis 114-001), 1992 Lotus Omega (927E), 1999 Esprit V8SE, 1999 Esprit S350 #032, 1995 Esprit S4s, 1999 Esprit V8 GT (ex-5th Gear project), 1999 Esprit V8SE ('02 rear)

1999 S350 #002 Esprit GT1 replica

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On 20/06/2019 at 16:07, MD355 said:

I recently purchased a set of OEM head gaskets for GBP 700

(£700 for a pair of head gaskets?! Is that the normal price? Oo)

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1 minute ago, Giniw said:

(£700 for a pair of head gaskets?! Is that the normal price? Oo)

I think the price is something like GBP 635 for the head gasket pair, but once you start adding the other auxilarygaskets the kit is close to GBP 790.

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More updates !!!

I will let the photos do the taking !!! 

Fortunately there is minimal scratches on only one point where the conrods connect to crank !!!

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My mechanic explained to me that it was the furthest way point from the oil pump that failed...

He showed me the oil pressure release valve that was stuck !!!

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That looks terrible - as do the shells. Hope they can fix them.

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Only here once

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As mentioned, those BE shells are very badly worn and that one crankpin will need some work.  I'm really not convinced that polishing will be enough. You may need to resort to the first level of reclaim.  

The main journals are also looking marked/scored, but maybe they can be polished and still be within the size range for standard.

Best of luck with a good rebuild this time around.

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1996 Esprit V8, 1998 Esprit V8 GT, 1999 Esprit S350 #002 (Esprit GT1 replica project), 1996 Esprit V8 GT1 (chassis 114-001), 1992 Lotus Omega (927E), 1999 Esprit V8SE, 1999 Esprit S350 #032, 1995 Esprit S4s, 1999 Esprit V8 GT (ex-5th Gear project), 1999 Esprit V8SE ('02 rear)

1999 S350 #002 Esprit GT1 replica

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Wow that looks bad !!! I wonder what happened there ? 

I was having a discussion with my mechanic and I asked him if after rebuilding both top end (new valve guides, gaskets etc) and bottom end (new bearings, new oil pump components etc) if  my car will become more reliable.... His response was that he doubts it, because he says Lotus used cheap components and they will fail again...

He is a good mechanic and I trust him !! That’s why I am a little frustrated to hear that after all the trouble and money spent on this car, I might still have issues in the future... Besides a straight pipe and free flow air filters my car is stock. So why would it break again? Is the V8 really such a bad / cheap design ?? Thanks !!

 

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4 hours ago, MD355 said:

because he says Lotus used cheap components

I would be curious to have a few examples from him ... Maybe a few trimming accessories could be cheap, but I am not even sure when it comes to the Esprit. As for the engine bay, there is the engine which is specific obviously, but the accessories are not made to Lotus specifications so they are mostly regular components and they are not worse than when they are put in an other engine car, so ...

I can't comment specifically on the V8 but otherwise they are pretty reliable in my opinion, once they are sorted after you buy it. In my experience it's always like that with classic cars, not very reliable at first when you buy it, but so very often because something has been made by a moron: after you fix it properly as per the workshop manual instructions, it won't fail again. The very last example I have in mind is a 1932 car owned by someone I know: a previous owner put telescopic dampers at the rear instead of friction ones. The telescopic dampers did "fit" indeed, but when the car was on its wheels, there were less than 1cm of compression allowed!! No wonder the car was apparently a bit "firm" ... Anyway, it's pretty much always like that. Something insane has been done or just badly done (missing bit, ridiculously wrong torque, ...).

Now, of course sometimes one can be out of luck ... and any car may break down.

But I don't think our cars are that bad, really.

Good luck!

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I think his comment was based on the fact the engine was built initially to be 500bhp. Due to it smashing gearboxes it was tuned back to 350bhp. When they did this they changed internals.


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I would echo what Mike said from my limited experience.  

‘My engine had only covered 2000 miles since a lotus dealer had fully rebuilt it due to a knocking bottom end that was a spun bearing on the crank.  There was no ‘upgraded’ thought or parts put in, just a crank and one rod, everything else was the same as when it failed the first time.  The bill for the previous owner was £14000.  It then blew on me 2000 miles later as they had made a mess when rebuilding the engine and put black silicone sealant everywhere which eventually dried and blocked the oil paths so it wasn’t so much a component failure than a human cock up.

 

when rebuilding mine the only reason I went for a billet crank was that there were no ‘new’ original cranks available and the cost difference of upgrading the internals to forged rods, pistons etc was not so much greater than standard parts .  

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From what I've been able to ascertain, the only thing more terrifying than a blown V8 engine is a rebuilt one. There aren't many people who know how it's meant to be done, and I daresay I've now read more horror stories of rebuilt engines failing than original ones failing.

Hope you guys get them sorted. If it's not impossible, it's advisable to have it shipped off to someone who was trained on the 918 engine. According to a friend of mine who has been tasked with rebuilding several 918s there are certain bits of info not present in the shop manual - critical information "between the lines" than only trained personell are party to. And according to him, these folks aren't too willing to share their valuable knowledge. 

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Vanya Stanisavljevic '91 Esprit SE | '91 Elan SE | '04 Maserati Coupé Cambiocorsa

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5 hours ago, mike_sekinger said:

With any engine, there are typically design elements which could have been different of perhaps even better.  Decisions on sourcing of parts is a juggling act or delivering something fit-for-purpose within budget constraints.  Some of the perceived weaknesses have been addressed by creative solutions (e.g the Scotch key for the primary drive).  As the car is out of production for many years, there are also issues introduced through aftermarket parts that are not produced to the precise specifications (e.g aftermarket head gaskets).

As Barry mentions, the 918 engine has potential to develop a great deal more power but that cannot be achieved reliably with the components selected for the road car.  If the engine is serviced correctly and quality components used in any maintenance, then you can expect a reliable unit.

Many problems are caused by either owners tinkering with performance or incorrect servicing/parts or poor rebuild procedures.  Your engine has been rebuilt and there was still no explanation as to why the head gaskets failed in the first place.  Did you have the ARP head studs installed?  I only ask, as it is difficult to determine what previous owners have done with the cars prior to it being your turn to enjoy.  Looking at the state of those BE shells and the unexplained head gasket issues, you may find that you engine has been tweaked with in the past.

Sorry to sound harsh, but I think you need a new mechanic.   If the person you have entrusted to rebuild your engine doesn't have the confidence in it being reliable in stock form, then you need someone else !

 

That is exactly what my mechanic thought about my car... He said we don’t know what the previous owner tweaked / tuned in this car !!

My mechanics opinion is that my engine was rebuilt some time in the past because the sealant was applied very hastily...

I trust my mechanic with my other supercars and I even asked him before I bought mine... His opinion was to stay away from the Esprit...

Of course I did not listen to him and bought my Esprit dream car.. And now he complaints / [email protected] to me (always jokingly) begging me to sell the car so he no longer has to fix this car !! Lol

But I am convinced that with his experience, new parts and complete upper and lower engine rebuilt, everything will work out fine !!

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Suspected engine failure !

Car not used this year as other projects to do. Sunday finally got around to the driveshaft oil seal replacement debarcle which seems I may have cured. Car off the jacks, ran up to operating temp on driveway and all good.

Just returned from a very brief low speed run no faster than 50 mph so I can recheck oil seal and temp gauge just past 90 degrees.......bit warm today so thought nothing of it. As I parked up noticed oil pressure low and heard a rattle from the engine bay area bit like the exhaust heat sheilds loose.......infra red thermometer shows 85 degrees  on near side alloy coolant connector hoses and off side approx 70 degrees. Coolant rad cool or at least best I could determine with laser gauge pointing through rad grill.

Not sure if there is a heater valve ( near the rad somewhere ??) but seems if there is one, this is blocked or the thermostat or water pump has failed. 

Anyone had this unfortunate experience .......cooling down just now....... both me and engine and will start engine when fully cooled to determine.......... 

 

 

 

 

 

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I'd be less concerned about the coolant temp - since the thermostat is only opening at 82deg.

The low oil pressure and apparent noise needs clarification - did you have a very low idle?

 


1996 Esprit V8, 1998 Esprit V8 GT, 1999 Esprit S350 #002 (Esprit GT1 replica project), 1996 Esprit V8 GT1 (chassis 114-001), 1992 Lotus Omega (927E), 1999 Esprit V8SE, 1999 Esprit S350 #032, 1995 Esprit S4s, 1999 Esprit V8 GT (ex-5th Gear project), 1999 Esprit V8SE ('02 rear)

1999 S350 #002 Esprit GT1 replica

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Hi Mike

Nothing untoward with the idle speed and apparently the lowish ( 1.5 BAR)  oil pressure is typical of these engines with the less than accurate older gauges ( apparently the newer cars had the oil pressure oil gauge delete to prevent worried customers). Rattle is not a hydraulic tappet noise which would suggest a low or zero oil pressure.

The noise is not that different to a loose heat sheild  but it appears to be every engine revolution. Been advised not to run the engine until the intermediate shaft bearing is checked as this can cause the belt to go slack and cause those potentially expensive nasty sounds.......and  an engine out to rectify.  

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Bit bewildered ......

Checked belts and best I could idler bearing, (not what I said above) and nothing untoward.

Start engine (cold)  and just over 3.5 BAR on the oil pressure gauge and no rattles in fact...... engine sounds sweet.

Kind of euphoric or lets just say very pleased there are no obvious issues but answers on a post card if anyone can fathom that metallic rattle as I wouldnt have thought the heat shield could make such a din but there again ...........

 

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Hi Paul,

That's encouraging news after cooling down and checking things through.  Have you checked the heat shields?  When they split, they do make an awful racket - like shaking an aerosol can.


1996 Esprit V8, 1998 Esprit V8 GT, 1999 Esprit S350 #002 (Esprit GT1 replica project), 1996 Esprit V8 GT1 (chassis 114-001), 1992 Lotus Omega (927E), 1999 Esprit V8SE, 1999 Esprit S350 #032, 1995 Esprit S4s, 1999 Esprit V8 GT (ex-5th Gear project), 1999 Esprit V8SE ('02 rear)

1999 S350 #002 Esprit GT1 replica

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Rattling cat ??


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