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OK so I now have an engine although it only partially resembles one that may be of any use.

This is what I have


Im seriously considering an attempt to put it back together again. I'm not a mechanic but I am an engineer and although acoustics and engines have little in common I'd say Im quite 'practically' minded. At this stage it looks like a very daunting project so Im after some advise on what order I should do things. It would be best if the things were in

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I'm pleased you've got your engine back Ambrose, not in ideal condition but at least it's in your possession again.

Good luck, I can't offer much advice but I'll watch this thread with interest, fingers crossed for you! :no

88 Esprit NA, 89 Esprit Turbo SE, Evora, Evora S, Evora IPS, Evora S IPS, Evora S IPS SR, Evora 400, Elise S1, Elise S1 111s, Evora GT410 Sport

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Hi Ambrose,

I'm no mechanic either - just interested amateur with a practical streak...

You up for a visit sometime to compare notes?

That's two silver G Esprits in and around Aylesbury that need re-assembling - I feel a work party coming on! :no

John O helped with my wheel bearings last month - am sure the three of us could make progress on yours and Johns over a weekend (well - perhaps a few)...


Edited by Iain

"... the Lotus Turbo (Esprit) owner will not only be comfortable in fast company, but will find, more often than not, that he has no company at all!" Road and Track magazine

1983 Turbo Esprit - Silver - 'Lottie' Featured in Classic and Sportscar Aug 2008 and Wheeler Dealers.

1999 Elise - Norfolk Mustard - 'Liz' Daily driver - 221,000 miles and counting!

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Is that the engine out of my old esprit or some parts bin you've bought?

Clearly I've missed something along the way because I don't understand the comments from Bibs about "glad you've got it back". What's been happening?

I thought Richard (Mr Stainless Steel) had worked his magic on the engine. The pictures suggest otherwise though. I'm intrigued. What's going on with my old Esprit?


Wing Commander Dibble DFC<br /><br />
North Midlands Esprit Group<br /><br />
NMEG "the formidable squadron"<br /><br />
"probably the most active Esprit group in the world" Andy Betts, Castle Combe May 2007

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Hello mate - great topic. I'm and engineer too, so don't feel bad taking on the job.

First up, given you have had a over-heating event, I would have the head tested professionally. This is flatness, hardness and pressure check (and maybe other things they do too).

You need to clear all of the cooling system (of the whole car eventually), but start with the water pump - impeller clearances etc.

After that, it's just checking and fitting components as per the workshop manual (you do have one right?). The right sealants list is available, and the torque values are in the technical section of the manual.


ps. On pressure cleaning - it's ok for anything that doesn't have an installed seal or gasket as you can penetrate it with the high pressure water (there is a topic on this I think).

Edited by iainskea
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Aha - even though it looks a state (probably looks worse than it is) a massive relief that it is back under my control. I can dribble money into it and see some progress. I'll probably get away with using a bench in the Lab so it is in a relatively clean environment where I can spend a little time everyday trying not to break it.

Yes Iain, perhaps we should meet up at Johns and prepare the chassis for his very shiny engine. I need to dig out my rivnut tool and get it round to him soon. He's pretty close to getting it all together really and has some renewed vigour to push the 'project' along.

Well, Graham, it's a long story but yes that is the 910 engine from your old car. The work that Mr stainless did on it was excellent but engine wise he never really went further than setting the shim tolerance on the followers. He never needed to I suppose since the engine was fine when he had it. Anyway...Lotus engines break... a fact you have to accept when owning one and along with that you have to realise that it will bite you to the tune of

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If it was mine I would resist the temptation of stripping any further. Its been correctly stored with liner clamps. The actual combustion chambers in the head suggest to me that the engine was running well. There is good even combustion with no evidence of burning oil. However the lower edge of the cylinder head looks to be where you have been losing water from.

Get the head skimmed by the absolute minimum possible amount (preferably with the cam towers bolted on for rigidity) regrind your valve seats and put it back together! I reckon you could have that engine running well for less than

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Hi again Ambrose - what are the cylinder bores like?

It could well be that it won't need major work - apart from head skim.

Crankshaft endfloat and bearings worth checking - but if within tolerances...

New oil seals/gaskets an imperative - but bearings/liners/crank may all be fine...

May be worth replacing some of the ancilliaries whilst engine out - water and oil pumps for instance.


"... the Lotus Turbo (Esprit) owner will not only be comfortable in fast company, but will find, more often than not, that he has no company at all!" Road and Track magazine

1983 Turbo Esprit - Silver - 'Lottie' Featured in Classic and Sportscar Aug 2008 and Wheeler Dealers.

1999 Elise - Norfolk Mustard - 'Liz' Daily driver - 221,000 miles and counting!

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Hi Iain,

I had a quick look at the bores today, there is virtually no step at the top other than ring of carbon. I'll take some detailed pics of the insides on Monday and post back here. Im not really sure what they are supposed to look like but I didn't notice any deep scratches. I'll read the section on the crankshaft in the manual but wouldn't that involve striping it down even more to inspect bearings, the endfloat - that's side to side movement along the axis of the shaft isn't it?. Thinking back now mr Stainless reconditioned the water and oil pumps about 4yrs back (~10k ish ago) so hopefully they might be OK.

Im beginning to feel optimistic about this project now

1) Head : Pressure,Flatness, Hardness Check (hoping bigsi's head people will deal with the whole head assembly)

2) Water Pump : Clean, Impeller Tolerance, Shaft play?

3) Oil Pump : Clean, Inspect tolerance

3) Block : Flush coolant jacket (pressure wash)

4) Bores : Get condition assessed (take photos, measure)

5) Oil Seals : Replace all

6) Crankshaft : Measure endfloat (Dial guage)

One extra thing, I noticed that one on my camshafts felt like there was a grinding metal contact somewhere when I turned it, the other felt smooth so at least one of them needs some attenton. Looks likely that some swarf from a drilled out bolt has found its way somewhere unhelpful




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If you need a camshaft Ambrose, i have a brand new boxed one here, i paid

Edited by Dodgy

Лотос - для тех которые знают разницу

ENIGMA for those who are paranoid or download one :)



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With 70K on that engine I wouldn't even consider not replacing all the rod and main bearings, bearings are cheap. The engine is almost completely torn down at this point so don't skimp on anything. I would completely strip it down to the block and have a competent machine shop check the tolerances of the pistons, liners and crank as well as magnaflux the block to make sure it's not cracked.

Rebuild the water pump as it will never be easier to do than now. There is no way to check the condition of the seal in the pump by looking at it or measuring it. Just rebuild it.

Check the specs on the oil pump and replace the annulus if necessary. Rebuild or replace any other ancillaries that you can afford to such as the alternator, vac pump, a/c compressor (if applicable).

If the clutch is not fairly new, replace it along with the release bearing and check the flywheel.

These are all items that are so easy to do now but are a big pain later. Even if it takes a little longer and costs a little more than you'd like, it will still be cheaper and you'll be happier in the long run.

This is all of course IMHO. :lol:


1995 S4s

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Standard bearings are cheap..change them now and the shaft will tend not to wear. Once the shaft has to be ground, the undersize bearings are quite expensive, iirc..another good reason to change the bearings now. A bit of valve grinding wouldn't be a bad thing, either...shouldn't take much. I'd be a bit worried if that is swarf around the camshaft..once you have the engine stripped properly, crank out etc., you'll be able to see if any swarf has penetrated the shaft any event, you will have to spend enough time on ensuring all the oilways are squeaky clean, flushing through with paraffin and compressed air is can take all the screwed blanking plugs out of the oilways for access. Once the head has been machined, if you're doing your own assembly, once again make sure all the swarf etc. has been removed and all is clinically clean. Machine shops tend to do machining and that's all the passages takes time and will cost you money if you don't do it yourself. Pipecleaners are useful, although pipe smoking grandfather's are getting rare!!A friend once rebuilt a 350 Matchless..had it all back together when I persuaded him to take a trip to the local garage airline to check the oilways were clear..took some dismantling, but the muck that came out would have lunched the motor in seconds!!

Scientists investigate that which already is; Engineers create that which has never been." - Albert Einstein

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the guys who did my head do all the wrc rally cars also, the owner is a real oldfashioned guy and engineer, when he did mine he replaced and upgraded the valve guides with the broze guides with the small oil catch pits in them, mike sek has the same in his gt car also, they are very good guides, he checked every valve face and stem, checked springs for load and tolerance, re did all the shims himself on one of his machines. did all the lapping etc checked the mating surfaces etc and skimmed the main head by a very small amount, bearing in mind that when skimmed there are two pins that stick up on the head which go into the head, locators, these will also need a fraction taken off, then the gasket was supplied by paul matty its a multi layer gasket which took up the difference, but you have to measure the liner lip also and give them that reading so you get the right gasket from them. now the guys who did mine are not overly cheap, but they do what they do to a very very high standard. so you would need to send your towers, and head along with the front and rear new seals for the cam shafts and a few other bits also as they will fit them all for you. the units are then wrapped up and greased up a little and ready for collection.

also one thing to consider is taking the block etc to an engine specialist and getting them all hot steam cleaned in a proper engine cleaning unit, a bit like a massive dishwasher but for engines, have this done a few times this will seriously clean the engine and parts up as good as they will get. you can then take your time and inspect everything properly with all the crap cleaned off.

i spoke in great detail with the guys who did mine as to what they would normally do with a 24 year old engine prior to rebuild, and the one thing they stressed was getting it steam cleaned correctly for assesment and rebuilding.

if you want to talk further and want thier details etc i have pm'd you my number.

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lotus4s said "as well as magnaflux the block to make sure it's not cracked." you can not magnaflux an aluminum block mate....

if you sent the block out for cleaning, make sure they do not do it in a standard engine hot tank. for iron, they use highly caustic heated solution, that will darken and make the aluminum block porous.

you can do a lot with soap and water, and a few bore brushes to clean the oil passages, they are pretty simple, and accessible.

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lotus4s said "as well as magnaflux the block to make sure it's not cracked." you can not magnaflux an aluminum block mate....


You're correct, I should have just said have it checked for cracks. I was thinking back to when I did mine and had my crank magnafluxed...

1995 S4s

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I did think it was a bit too good to be for real i.e. 250 quid to put it back together. Perhaps if I took a short term view then that would be the right thing to do but I'd like at least another 30k miles before the engine has to come out again. Then again there may be every chance it would make 30k if it were simply reassembled but I just don't know that it would, for this reason I'll attempt the full rebuild with its associated cost/time...

OK, first of all I took some close-up pictures of the bores, can anyone spot a potential problem? I notice the crosshatch pattern is pretty much intact but also some areas with vertical scratches. I can hardly feel any step below the carbon ring at the top of each bore.






With all your comments in mind I've updated the list

: Pressure,Flatness,Hardness Check,New guides (BigSi's wrc guys - I'll start saving)

: Measure Nip on liner

: New head gasket from Paul Matty

Water Pump
: Get reconditioned

Oil Pump
: Clean, Inspect tolerance, Recondition if required

: Split to remove Crankshaft

: Remove plugs and clean meticulously with pipecleaners + parafin +air (consider pro steam clean [not caustic hot tank] if not good enough)

: Obtain new bearings throughout (crank,big and little ends)

: Get condition assessed (measure)

Oil Seals
: Replace all

: Release bearing (already have new spring and plate)

: Replace dented/broken turbo oil drain

: Skim manifold mating face

: Check condition of wastegate diaphragm.

Machine shop tasks (find one near H.W.)

a) Measure Pistons and Bores accurately

B) Measure Crankshaft bearings and inspect for cracks

c) Clean block surface ?

d) Grind flywheel, fit new pilot bearing + pegs

Dave, thanks for the kind offer, we'll see what the the WRC guys make of the condition of the camshafts and if mine is buggered then I'll certainly take up up on the offer. Perhaps I should see what if anything I can get from the sale now, if it is still going?

I'd always thought you should normally have been super clean around the insides of engines and Im a little surprised to find quite as much crap in it, I hope it will all wash away without harming anything else. Im pretty sure something has got into the bearings of the camshaft, time will tell on that one.



Edited by _ambrose_
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Ambrose, don't discount the option of simply fixing the problem that took it off the road, thats all a garage (apart from one!!!??) would have done if you had paid for the repair. (I'm assuming the swarf was introduced after the motor was dismantled).

However, the preferred, money no object approach, would be to dismantle, check and replace anything & everything. Bear in mind that simply 'normal' things like a flat face clutch release bearing will cost possibly upto

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Hi Steve,

It is tempting to take that approach certainly, but Im paranoid that if I do then something that I could have fixed for the sake of 1-200 pounds puts me off the road for another year. Whether I would have the same will to fix it up again would also be a risk.

Interestingly the original quote for the work was over

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OK, I made a start this lunchtime, not much it feels good to getting on with it...

Big Ends

The caps popped off with the aid of an extension bar on the socket OK


Wiped the worst of the grunge off and stored safely


I noticed that the two outer bearings showed signs of significant wear compared to the two inner ones. Is there a reason for this and is it to be expected?



My next step is to get the oil pick up tube off and split the block to get the crankshaft out...

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