free hit
counters
1987 Lotus Excel been sat for over 15 years need some advise - Elite / Eclat / Excel Chat - The Lotus Forums #ForTheOwners Jump to content


1987 Lotus Excel been sat for over 15 years need some advise


Recommended Posts

Good evening ladies and gents,

Just like the subject i have the option to get a 1987 Lotus excel SE but for over 15 year possibly even more it has been sat in a garage and left. Its a really hard question to answer but would this be a potential money pit? I know it will need every service item including cambelt and water pump, disc, pads and shoes but i am trying to way up if it is worth putting it back on the road or not. Is there anything that instantly stands out to you guys?

The story is its my dads car and it has been in the family since i was 5 years old i have always loved the car and always wanted to drive it but the last time that car as seen daylight was about 15 years ago. My dad has just messaged me saying if you want it then its mine but with just buying my first house and it potentially being a money pit i can't afford to do it. I know some cars but i dont know much on these.

Thanks guys :).

Nick

Link to comment
Share on other sites


Upgrade today to remove Google ads and support TLF.
  • Gold FFM

Welcome to TLF.

Define 'money pit'. If it were a McLaren F1, a spend of £500k to get it MOT'd is not a 'money pit'. 

The end value is I fear the deciding factor in determining if something is a 'money pit'. The best end value of any Excel is £20k....most are 6k to 15k.

If you took it to LotusBits or Max 500, I suspect you would see a bill for min £3k.....I would bargain a lot more but if you are very lucky, that is minimum to get it running and MOT. Even then, I doubt it would be worth more than 8k, depending on mileage, condition of paint, interior, trim, etc...

Do not on any account give it to a non-specialist to work on it. That is a road to heartache. 

If you really want a good Excel, buy one already roadworthy and lavished. If you want your Dad's Excel...be prepared to pay for the privilege.

Justin 

 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I suspect that you'll find the suspension bushes will all be perished or soon will be as they can go hard through lack of use. I agree with Jep that it may cost you a few thousand to get it all up and together. Can you do the work yourself, that would save some cash?

Coolant pipes can also perish if the car isn't used for a long time. It maybe wise to get someone with Lotus experience to take a look at it. @Sparky might be willing to give it a once over?

🙂

It's getting there......

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Gold FFM

More than happy to check it out - depending on location of course - but I fear if £3k is beyond your scope for a 15+ year non-runner, then it's highly likely to be a non-starter, so to speak!  Perhaps make it a long term project?

  • Like 1

British Fart to Florida, Nude to New York, Dunce to Denmark, Numpty to Newfoundland.  And Shitfaced Silly Sod to Sweden.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Gold FFM

And don't try and start it without expert input. 

My goodness, I adore Lotus but I would not advise anyone to start classic car ownership with one, save possibly Elise and younger. And certainly not one that has sat for 15+years. Lotus lean towards the lunatic fringe. 

Your Pa's car would suit a home mechanic. I would advertise on TLF - depending on history, condition and spec, it could fetch a decent sum as there are very few cheapo Excel around and interest is on the up with the passing of Ollie Winterbottom who designed this wedge and Esprit getting out of reach.

Excel is a brilliant car - I have done 25,000+ miles with mine. 

Justin 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Gold FFM
44 minutes ago, Sparky said:

More than happy to check it out - depending on location of course - but I fear if £3k is beyond your scope for a 15+ year non-runner, then it's highly likely to be a non-starter, so to speak!  Perhaps make it a long term project?

Do this including some gin it will best the money you spend 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Gold FFM

It would be a very nice project to bring your dad's car back to life! But you would need some skills/ experience to do the work yourself or be prepared to pay to have quality work done.

Selling it seems a shame, even if you can't start the project right now. If you can, make it a long term project as suggested, and find someone to help like @Sparky. It will be a steep curve, but very rewarding!

Filip

I have made many mistakes in my life. Buying a multiple Lotus is not one of them.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I sense an emotional connection to this car for you, in which case, if you don't have the funds right now, hold onto her. Whilst it's in dry storage and after 15 years, the work load, or cost isn't going to change a lot over the next year or two. 

If you are where your members location pin suggests, you're not too far from me and I'd be happy to take a drive out when we're allowed and talk shop. I'm happy to give you some guidance on a few items you might need that you could start gathering as finance permit ready for the rebuild. 

BTW, 15 years off road is nothing. My Elites been off the road 32 years, - but maybe next year!!!! 😀. Driving an Excel again now though.😁 Happy days.... 

Drop me a PM if you wish. 

Tony 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

There are a number of us Excel owners not too from Oxfordshire, including one who lives in your county.

So, get one or two of us over to have a look and offer advice based upon their ownership.

Tony

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hello Guys,

Thank you so much for all your help with regards to this. Ok to the update is at the moment i am in two minds weather to take the car on or let my dad deal with the car. I am thanking get it to my house and arrange one someone who could be so kind to come over and take a look to see what they think of the car and what needs doing. The most expensive item currently are new tyres all round which would be a grand on there own. Does anyone use any different size tyres than the 215 50 zr15's? I do have a few questions to you all if you could be so kind.

  1. Is there anyone on here that would be able to change the cambelt at my house as the car will be on jacks until i have finished doing all the work to it which could be a while as the first thing is to change that belt.
  2. What are the problems with the Excel SE's that i need to be aware of? from memory the rear seat belt catch what they attach to have snapped or rusted away so my dad made a new bracket to attach so they can be used. Is this something that does go on these.
  3. is there anything to worry about the frame rusting?
  4. Where can i look to get replacement parts like service bits? 
  5. Is there anything else i need to bare in mind when looking into the project as i am currently thinking 
  • Full service including cambelt and all fluids. What oil does it take and how much?
  • New disc, pads and shoes These are already with the car along with braided brake lines
  • empty the fuel tank now this is going to be a stupid question how do you go about this and where to you dispose of the old fuel.
  • possibly get a rebuild kit for the carbs.
  • possible bushes

Thanks guys i know some cars but with this one i don't know much and want to get as much info under my belt before i say yes or no.

Regards,

Nick

Link to comment
Share on other sites

11 minutes ago, DiMarco said:

Hello Guys,

. Does anyone use any different size tyres than the 215 50 zr15's? 

  1. Is there anyone on here that would be able to change the cambelt at my house as the car will be on jacks until i have finished doing all the work to it which could be a while as the first thing is to change that belt.
  2. What are the problems with the Excel SE's that i need to be aware of? from memory the rear seat belt catch what they attach to have snapped or rusted away so my dad made a new bracket to attach so they can be used. Is this something that does go on these.
  3. is there anything to worry about the frame rusting?
  4. Where can i look to get replacement parts like service bits? 
  5. Is there anything else i need to bare in mind when looking into the project as i am currently thinking 
  • Full service including cambelt and all fluids. What oil does it take and how much?
  • New disc, pads and shoes These are already with the car along with braided brake lines
  • empty the fuel tank now this is going to be a stupid question how do you go about this and where to you dispose of the old fuel.
  • possibly get a rebuild kit for the carbs.
  • possible bushes

 

Hi Nick

205 55 15 are a common suitable alternative, rolling diamter is very close. If yo go 225 you may find they rub the inside of the arches.

 

 2 Those rust like mad, best idea is stainless replacement but if not give a good amount of stone chip protection esp the thhreaded area (so the bolts come out in future).

3, Nothing. They last many decades.

4, many are common to other cars (air filter = jag), but SJ Sportscars have a great online shop, PNM get spoken of highly, Lotusbits you need to telephone.

5  You've probably hit it with "Bushes", they will have deformed and likely not been chnaged, so good to swap them but they are a PITA to do as the old ones will be Metalastic type.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Many of us Excel owners fit Toyo Proxes T1-R 205/50 R15 89V costing around £70/tyre. 205/50 15 on a more modern tyre is a good choice to replace the original 215/50 15.

As you have found 215/50 15 are very rare, expensive, and possibly not as good as more modern tyre designs.

Some fit 225/50 15, but these can rub on the bodywork.

LotusBits sell a stainless steel rear seatbelt brackets which are quite easy to fit. As you have found, the original mild steel brackets rust away to nothing.

LotusBits (www.lotusbits.com) and S J Sportscars  (www.SJSportscars.com) are good sources for Excel spares. They know Excels very well and I've used both over the past 20 years of Excel ownership. Note: LotusBits are slow at responding to emails. SJ Sportscars can get expensive for P&P.

The only bits of the chassis that tend to rust are the door beams and window frames. Spares for both are available. The main chassis was zinc dipped and (almost) never gives any problems. 

I use 5 ltrs of Mobil 1 15W/50, but any good 15W/50 or 20W/50 is fine. It is important to use the correct viscosity, since old engine designs don't work well with the thin oils used in modern engines.

Tony

Link to comment
Share on other sites

17 minutes ago, andydclements said:

Hi Nick

205 55 15 are a common suitable alternative, rolling diamter is very close. If yo go 225 you may find they rub the inside of the arches.

 

 2 Those rust like mad, best idea is stainless replacement but if not give a good amount of stone chip protection esp the thhreaded area (so the bolts come out in future).

3, Nothing. They last many decades.

4, many are common to other cars (air filter = jag), but SJ Sportscars have a great online shop, PNM get spoken of highly, Lotusbits you need to telephone.

5  You've probably hit it with "Bushes", they will have deformed and likely not been chnaged, so good to swap them but they are a PITA to do as the old ones will be Metalastic type.

Thank you very much Andy thats a big help. The tyres are now going to save a good amount of money which is great and the panel that my dad made or bought for the seat belts i have out a link below which is good to know they go and that the chassis doesnt so i have relaxed a fair amount more with the idea of taking it on lol. I am lucky to have my father in law that would be able to do the bushes for me and possible the carbs.

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Rear-Seat-Belt-Mountings-Lotus-Excel-1982-92-/283892050853?var=0&mkevt=1&mkcid=1&mkrid=710-53481-19255-0&campid=5338268676&toolid=10044&customid=EAIaIQobChMIo9Cxjvj27wIVh4XVCh13OA9oEAUYBCABEgIocvD_BwE

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Many of us Excel owners fit Toyo Proxes T1-R 205/50 R15 89V costing around £70/tyre. 205/50 15 on a more modern tyre is a good choice to replace the original 215/50 15.

As you have found 215/50 15 are very rare, expensive, and possibly not as good as more modern tyre designs.

Some fit 225/50 15, but these can rub on the bodywork.

LotusBits sell a stainless steel rear seatbelt brackets (Just seen have a link to the eBay LotusBits shop for these brackets!) which are quite easy to fit. As you have found, the original mild steel brackets rust away to nothing.

LotusBits (www.lotusbits.com) and S J Sportscars  (www.SJSportscars.com) are good sources for Excel spares. They know Excels very well and I've used both over the past 20 years of Excel ownership. Note: LotusBits are slow at responding to emails. SJ Sportscars can get expensive for P&P.

The only bits of the chassis that tend to rust are the door beams and window frames. Spares for both are available. The main chassis was zinc dipped and (almost) never gives any problems. 

I use 5 ltrs of Mobil 1 15W/50, but any good 15W/50 or 20W/50 is fine. It is important to use the correct viscosity, since old engine designs don't work well with the thin oils used in modern engines.

Tony

Link to comment
Share on other sites

8 minutes ago, TonyPoll said:

Many of us Excel owners fit Toyo Proxes T1-R 205/50 R15 89V costing around £70/tyre. 205/50 15 on a more modern tyre is a good choice to replace the original 215/50 15.

As you have found 215/50 15 are very rare, expensive, and possibly not as good as more modern tyre designs.

Some fit 225/50 15, but these can rub on the bodywork.

LotusBits sell a stainless steel rear seatbelt brackets which are quite easy to fit. As you have found, the original mild steel brackets rust away to nothing.

LotusBits (www.lotusbits.com) and S J Sportscars  (www.SJSportscars.com) are good sources for Excel spares. They know Excels very well and I've used both over the past 20 years of Excel ownership. Note: LotusBits are slow at responding to emails. SJ Sportscars can get expensive for P&P.

The only bits of the chassis that tend to rust are the door beams and window frames. Spares for both are available. The main chassis was zinc dipped and (almost) never gives any problems. 

I use 5 ltrs of Mobil 1 15W/50, but any good 15W/50 or 20W/50 is fine. It is important to use the correct viscosity, since old engine designs don't work well with the thin oils used in modern engines.

Tony

Thank you Tony this is even more great news thank you. I am looking into all this as we speak and knowing that i would save 600 on the tyres means more than i can spend on the other items. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

i have been looking online all night and from what i can see the parts service bits and they are not that expensive. which is a plus side.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hello All,

Just to give you an update. So i spoke to my Dad today about the car and i will be going to take a look at the car on Friday. So i will get some more photos of the car but i will more than likely be getting it collected and delivered to my house. 

The biggest thing  i am going to need is someone who could change the cambelt for me and possibly help me take the fuel tank off and empty it out to put new fuel in. My father in law will be able to help me put a rebuild kit on the carbs and push all the bushes out and replace.

I am looking forward to starting the project and getting the car out of the garage and moving to the point of road worthy.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Gonna be a cracking car once sorted :thumbsup:

What's on the cassette?

Just to add to the tyre options, I went for 205/55s

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Chris,

The tyres that are on currently are 205/50s so will probably go for the same. Ow i think it was pink floyd ha ha.

It does need the black trim that is going around the centre. the trim that goes between the bumper and body as you can see from the photo 3rd and 5th from time and from the look of things bushes all round. With regards to the bushes what is everyone's recommendations poly or normal.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 16/04/2021 at 20:20, DiMarco said:

 With regards to the bushes what is everyone's recommendations poly or normal.

Here's the background info., and my advice.

 

There are some bushes where the rubber to steel bond not only acts as the bush but also keeps the arms where they should be and not drifting forwards/backwards. Those are the ones on the inner end of the upper front arms. There are poly equivalents and you can use penny washers with the poly to try and keep things together.

The anti-roll bar to lower link bushes are like two rings glued together to form a bit of the Michelin man, and so rubber is a bit easier to fit (they just through a restricted hole).

The original-style rubber bushes (from the 80s) have had to change the chemicals that make up the rubber (environmental reasons I think), it has resulted in bushes that are no longer the same as they were originally specced. Lotus themselves have developed some poly replacements that have been tested thoroughly to give the same handling characteristics as the original rubber versions gave. Non-genuine poly versions also exist at different shores.

 

 

My advise would be (then others can give their views).

Upper front inner- use rubber Metalastic-type. Not too bad to fit with a press or failing that fit using a good strong bolt and some washers with a bit of brute force.

ARB to lower link- use original rubber, they don't degrade quickly so not really a lot of benefit of poly, and you don't "need" more strength there.

Rest are one type and for those, use an after-market poly. Don't go for ridiculously firm poly, the Lotus specialist will have a suitable version but they are not going to achieve exactly the same as original. After-market poly are so much easier to fit (don't grease them, you want them to stick to the metal eventually, it's part of how the suspension is designed to work). IF cost isn't a concern then upgrade to the Lotus ones (which need a specialist tool to fit) they give the bump absorption but also a bit of spring-like force to resist turning.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

13 hours ago, andydclements said:

Here's the background info., and my advice.

 

There are some bushes where the rubber to steel bond not only acts as the bush but also keeps the arms where they should be and not drifting forwards/backwards. Those are the ones on the inner end of the upper front arms. There are poly equivalents and you can use penny washers with the poly to try and keep things together.

The anti-roll bar to lower link bushes are like two rings glued together to form a bit of the Michelin man, and so rubber is a bit easier to fit (they just through a restricted hole).

The original-style rubber bushes (from the 80s) have had to change the chemicals that make up the rubber (environmental reasons I think), it has resulted in bushes that are no longer the same as they were originally specced. Lotus themselves have developed some poly replacements that have been tested thoroughly to give the same handling characteristics as the original rubber versions gave. Non-genuine poly versions also exist at different shores.

 

 

My advise would be (then others can give their views).

Upper front inner- use rubber Metalastic-type. Not too bad to fit with a press or failing that fit using a good strong bolt and some washers with a bit of brute force.

ARB to lower link- use original rubber, they don't degrade quickly so not really a lot of benefit of poly, and you don't "need" more strength there.

Rest are one type and for those, use an after-market poly. Don't go for ridiculously firm poly, the Lotus specialist will have a suitable version but they are not going to achieve exactly the same as original. After-market poly are so much easier to fit (don't grease them, you want them to stick to the metal eventually, it's part of how the suspension is designed to work). IF cost isn't a concern then upgrade to the Lotus ones (which need a specialist tool to fit) they give the bump absorption but also a bit of spring-like force to resist turning.

Thank you very much for this :). I will be trying to crank the car over tomorrow / Saturday. The car is now up on jacks in my driveway so it should be possible now to start work on it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

×
×
  • Create New...