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Owen's Lotus Esprit GT3 Restoration

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Dunno what your plans are, but I spoke to Gary Kemp a while ago, he told me he can get the original Nikasil liners.


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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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On 21/10/2019 at 10:47, Chillidoggy said:

Dunno what your plans are, but I spoke to Gary Kemp a while ago, he told me he can get the original Nikasil liners.

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.

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Owen, I've rounded my fair share of those hex bolts.  On every occasion (except one that required grinding the head then turning out with locking grips) I've succeeded by tapping in a larger torx bit.

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15 hours ago, OwenGT3 said:

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.

Assuming they're the originals liners, there is some cross-hatching visible, but they do look worn and scuffed in places to me. As I understand it, Nikasil should not be honed like cast iron liners. @CHANGES?

I'm interested in this rebuild, as I'm currently mulling whether to take my engine out and refresh it. After all, it hasn't been out for a couple of years, and I'm getting bored.


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23 minutes ago, Chillidoggy said:

Assuming they're the originals liners, there is some cross-hatching visible, but they do look worn and scuffed in places to me. As I understand it, Nikasil should not be honed like cast iron liners. @CHANGES?

I'm interested in this rebuild, as I'm currently mulling whether to take my engine out and refresh it. After all, it hasn't been out for a couple of years, and I'm getting bored.

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.

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29 minutes ago, OwenGT3 said:

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?

A good wire brushing & a couple of coats of something like POR15  is what I'd go for. :thumbup:

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Cheers,

John W

http://jonwatkins.co.uk

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1 hour ago, OwenGT3 said:

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.

Where do you stop? I ended up spending a bloody fortune, and I still haven’t stopped!

If your tanks are good, then reuse them. I say this because the chances are the car will live a much better life in your hands post refurb. Unless you use it as a daily driver, it probably won’t see any rain, unless you get caught out.

What I do know is if you don’t have the correct finish on the cylinder liners, then the rings will struggle to bed in, that’s where I’m coming from. That’s the case with cast iron liners. I understand that Nikasil is a coating, and once it’s worn through, then the rings will be running on aluminium, but I freely admit I don’t know enough about them, having never used them before. Hence me asking others more knowledgeable than me. I wonder why Lotus used them, weight saving, perhaps? Or durability? Or both?


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1 hour ago, jonwat said:

A good wire brushing & a couple of coats of something like POR15  is what I'd go for. :thumbup:

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.

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Be very very careful blast cleaning them tanks - media will go everywhere and be very difficult to get out - wrong media will blow holes in the thin plate work.

find a place who will acid dip them for you

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On 23/10/2019 at 17:43, Barrykearley said:

Be very very careful blast cleaning them tanks - media will go everywhere and be very difficult to get out - wrong media will blow holes in the thin plate work.

find a place who will acid dip them for you

Is a better option.

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Yes acid dip is. It will strip the paint and the rust. It does need to be done properly - most powder coating places will have an acid bath hiding out the back

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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.

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Edited by OwenGT3
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2 hours ago, OwenGT3 said:

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.

Neat idea 😀

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Cheers,

John W

http://jonwatkins.co.uk

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6 minutes ago, jonwat said:

Neat idea 😀

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.

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I believe @temple has a charge port there, courtesy of previous owner @Advantage.


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1 hour ago, Sparky said:

I believe @temple has a charge port there, courtesy of previous owner @Advantage.

That’ll be for his Mobility scooter, then?

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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.

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Edited by OwenGT3
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