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slewthy

1986 S3 N/A Project

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This is my 1986 S3 N/A Esprit I bought in Feb 2009.

This Esprit was bought from a seller using LEW but has a sporadic history. Its spent most of its life in Scotland and has been fairly well looked after there.

The service history is, I think, complete but lacking in places if you know what I mean.

Its done 67,000 miles, verified by MOT cert - all present. It had a documented engine rebuild about 3 years ago, at 65,000 or so.

No mods as far as I can tell.

The service history doesnt seem to include a recent major service, so thats right up there in the list of priorities. C service here she comes...

The body work is OK, Gel coat intact in the main. Quite a few stone chips - all badly repaired unfortunately. Patch of crazing on drivers door but otherwise not too bad.

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The interior is fine really. The velour - is that the right term? - is in great condition. Just a couple of cig burns on the drivers door which have been repaired adequately. The usual seams are visible in places but I doubt if they represent a major problem to resolve. The Heater graphic is shot, so will have to source or fabricate another.

The Voltmeter doesnt work but otherwise, all seems dandy.

Windows are very sluggish - I've yet to determine why. Shampoo didnt help! (how do you get smell of pantene out of car?)

Also, strange electric mirror prob (see separate thread) one goes up and down, other goes side to side but thats it.

No petrol smell.

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Engine bay is generally intact but tatty - all carpets need replacing.

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Engine is intact but in need of care. Runs OK but sounds rough - maybe misfiring. No upgrades in here and the header tank and bracket needs restoration. For some reason, the fuel pressure regulator is not attached to anything, and I cant see where it should go. Also, the plastic coverings of the fuel lines is cracked and separating - another urgent task. I've seen braided SS lines in some cars pics. Look good, but any other advantage? Which one to go for?

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Rest of car -

One pod motor failed. Previously 'restored' by someone but lacking oomph. I've replaced this with a

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Edited by slewthy

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A lot (maybe most) Esprit are higher on the passenger side, the springs sag a little after 20 years of use, and most of the time those cars had just one person in them, hence the drivers side is lower. Dampers do look bad, but it's not the aesthetics to worry about, it's how good at damping the springs they are, you could "upgrade", but original should be perfectly fine.

The S3 didn't use the drive shaft as the top link (earlier ones did), so you have a CV joint not a UJ, so it's not the cause of the play, I'd suspect the bearing.

Fuel lines must be one of / your first priorities, we've seen too many Esprits have fuel lines split and catch fire, it's not worth the risk. Replace them asap.

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Thanks Andy - your input is greatly appreciated.

So, rear bearings to look at. Makes sense.

Fuel lines are worrying me aswell. Are there any recommended replacements or upgrades? I really need to find a suitable site for the fuel pressure regulator before I go replacing lines. All the 'loose' cables and lines in my engine bay have been cable tied together on the right side to a chassis tube. Does this sound right? Also, if I'm replacing fuel lines, I would guess I replace the lot right back to the tanks but can I do this without removing the engine? Looks tight in there.

Right, I'm off to hit the manual - arrived yesterday.

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Back to the tanks is a good idea, it's easy enough as the outets are generally accessible, but you may want to also consider reviewing the tanks themselves, with a view to repair/ replace/ re-line with tank sealer.

You can remove the RHS tank with the engine in place, but the LHS is a pig with the engine in place, you can probably do it if you free the engine mounts (remove them completely) and tip the engine (remembering to disconnect exhaust and other bits).

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My TE sagged badly on the driver's side when I got it in 1988..changed the front springs, made no difference..new bushes on the anti roll bar where it goes into the bottom wishbone finally sorted it. As for fuel pipes, Goodridge braided hose is the way to go, Think Automotive in Isleworth will make them to order if you can't find anywhere else, they have a website...

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Hi Simon.

Nice looking S3. WOW that shock & spring is really crusty, good job the frame is galvanized !. Is that kind of corrosion typical for a northern car ?. Good luck with the refurbishments. Keep us posted on your progress.

Side note - My S1 saggs a little to the driver's side, still has the original shocks and springs.

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Thanks Gavin.

I'm going to do my best to keep taking pics as I go - I'm going to commandeer the old digital cam - resolution will be better suited to posting.

Yes, I was impressed by the amount of rust on the springs/dampers. The car spent lots of time in Scotland, so its fair to say its been damp... I'm lucky the rest seems to be surviving though. I now have it in a well ventilated garage. I had pretty much accepted that on my budget I would be needing to replace the suspension, so no great loss.

Unfortunately, the suspension work is falling down the to do list already! Fuel situation more pressing.

After refitting the choke, I managed to flood the engine! Serves me right. When I got it restarted (no easy task), I thought the engine was running poorly at idle. Revving sounds fine. Removing HT leads from cylinders 3 or 4 made it a little worse but most interestingly, on reconnecting them, the engine sounded much better for a couple of seconds. Logic would suggest then that front carb is to blame, maybe poorly idle jets. As the pressure regulator is not mounted, I've been moving it around a bit and I may have dislodged some particles....make sense?

So, apart from fiddling with small items , my main priority is to restore the fuel system. Definately going to cange to proper braided lines - probably from fuel pump forwards. I may go down Andy's suggestion and deal with the tanks at the same time. Seems like I ought to clean out the carbs as well. I've found a couple of sources for rebuild kits but does anyone know of a good online outline of the proceedure? Any good books?

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Hi Simon

Nice looking car, and a pretty comprehensive list! Regarding the carbs - SJ Sportscars will do the kit at around

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Hi Simon,

Welcome aboard, If you send me a PM where you are,or phone number, I have a carb book you can borrow and can tell where the carb kits are half the price quoted above,

Trevor

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and can tell where the carb kits are half the price quoted above

You can't just leave it hanging like that! C'mon - spill the beans. :)

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Nice looking car but with some nice bit you are able to do your self too! Good luck with it all I hope you enjoy it!

I think you can get cheaper after market carb refurb kits but the dellorto ones have more bits in...usually I think :)

Buddsy

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Yes - seen those. They're not as comprehensive as the dellorto kits. Maybe that's what Trevor's referring to...

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You can't just leave it hanging like that! C'mon - spill the beans.

Eurocarb Ltd

Find on ebay or google it

Trevor :)

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Cheers Trevor - I'll get the Eurocarb bits and Set them out like Gary (sparky) did, so the guys can compare and contrast. Looks fine though.

Simon

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Whoops! Guilty as charged.

Edit: I checked out Eurocarb sometime ago - and again just now - and unless I'm very much mistaken, Steve at SJ was and is still cheaper. And he supplies a genuine Dell'Orto kit.

Edited by sparky

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Well, whatever is the cheapest, I bought the Eurocarb one -

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OK, progress,

Both carbs stripped cleaned and rebuilt. Lots of sludge in front carb float chamber, which was the suspect one. Not sure where this came from as all the filters were OK. Corrosion? The Carb lid was a little loose - maybe that was the problem. The rebuild kit from eurocarb was excellent. All the gaskets fitted well, as did the O rings. Lots of spare o rings and gaskets left over, some of which could be adjusted to be new lid gaskets. Seems to have been a kit made for a couple of different types of Dellortos. No springs, but all my springs were fine anyway. Overall, pleased with it so far.

Thanks to Trevor for the advice and loan of his carb book - a great help and reassurance I was doing things correctly.

Header tank removed - difficult access and bolts almost beat me due to rust.

Bracket removed, and same here. Where the bracket attached to the chassis though was pristine - thank god for galvanisation!

An initial go with a wire wheel revealed sound metal and restorable components. The interior of the header tank is difficult to see. How do you think I should treat this, if at all.

It was such a nightmare removing these structues, due to inaccessibility and rust, that I'm going to address this for the future. I have in mind welding something onto new bolt heads to stop them spinning and lots of copper grease.

I can now see the clutch slave cylinder and that infamous red pipe.....seems silly not to deal with them now. The SJ St/st mod seems a bargain from what people have said but I'll see what PNM have got in this line.

So, while I'm there, is there anything else I ought to do?

I've decided to mount the fuel regulator to the right of the ignition/coil box, for lack of a better place. Surely it must have had a home at some point? No holes to suggets it though. Also, I'm thinking of fitting a T junction for fuel pressure monitoring during engine setup - only costs

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Hi Simon,it might be worth changing the in-line fuel filter at this point.Good too hear your progressing,

Trevor

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So, time has passed.

Both carbs now rebuilt and awaiting refit and tune.

Whilst I was there, seemed silly not to replace the clutch control system.

Bought Master and slave cylinders from PNM, along with braided clutch line.

Fitted all today. went fine but the PNM clutch line, beigh slightly larger bore does not fir through chassis holes - the ones plugged with grommets. Fortunately, there are other suitable apertures it can go through. The Wilwood Master seems fine. Clutch pedal feels fine now although obviously havnt driven it yet.

The header tank and bracket is restored and refit now.

Got some 'Rubnuts' from PNM to replace the spun out rivnuts. They are essentially brass nuts within rubber sleeves which collapse on tightening. About

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Progress is superficial at the moment.

Still waiting for fuel lines to arrive, so carbs still off.

I have now refitted the boot upholstery. Couldnt give the precut carpets to my seamstress friend as they were obviously going to need on the spot adjustment, so in the end did them myself. Was lent an old sewing machine which managed just fine. Tricky doing the edging on the tight curves though. Might redo these sometime in the future.

So this is pre...

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And this is post

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And with the tonneau cover in place

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The vinyl on the cover was fine but still needs cleaning up more to get a good finish.

Note that I have dyed the bulkhead carpet and edging as replacing this was going to be quite destructive.

Other cosmetic things completed are realigning the windscreen wiper, rebonding the nearside quarter window which came adrift when refitting the carpet next to it!

Drivers window now works fairly smoothly and quickly. Lubrication failed to solve the problem so in the end, I loosened all the guide track bolts, ran the window up and down a few times and then re tightened them. Did the trick.

Got a new heater panel from NZ via ebay. Identical replacement - very good.

Hopefully, fuel lines soon and I can get it running - just in time for MOT!!!

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Thanks - yes I think they worked out well and close to the original. I think the sewing machine new what it was doing better than I did!

Anyway, I now have a (dirty) set of original boot carpets if anyone needed to use them as a template.

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