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1986 S3 N/A Project - Page 5 - Esprit 'Project & Restoration' Room - The Lotus Forums Jump to content
slewthy

1986 S3 N/A Project

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Simon,

Sterling work chap on the the rolling chassis, looks like its coming together really well, glad you have taken the opertunity to paint/restore the chassis and tanks etc, and not just throw it all back on. You will end up with a fantastic esprit, Whats the outcome on the bodyshell as you said you may repair it, personally i would replace it. different matter if the chassis was not damaged but as the bodys of already it seems to be easier to replace. regards danny

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Mike - the chassis is painted with POR-15 chassis paint and since its not UV stable, an overcoat of Sterling Silver paint. This has to be put on at a set time, of the chassis paint needs to be keyed again. Havn't had any problem of the Sterling silver rubbing off yet but I think this has been a problem noted with it before.

Danny,

I'd like to have the body repaired but I intend to ask about available replacement shells.

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I had occasion to speak with the POR-15 people the other day and they told me it was fine to use the POR-15 silver without a topcoat on chassis and engine block parts that were not exposed to direct sunlight.

I also used it on some front suspension parts about a year and a half ago and they still look like the day I painted them.

Also not being UV stable does not effect the durability of the finish, it just turns yellow after prolonged exposure to direct sunlight.

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..looks really good, great job !!

sometimes wish i'd started my Esprit this way but probably would have ended up single by the time it was finished !sad.gif

a thought for the future maybe.

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"a thought for the future maybe" - what, being single???!!

Really, I'm finding the time from family the hardest thing at the moment.

Its not easy getting enough time to make effective progress without upsetting people left in the house.

So far, I have found that thinking about the next tasks, completing them the next day and then stopping, fairly efficient if the tasks are relatively small. Eg 1-2 hour long. I get more done for the time available/allowed.

Can be very frustrating though.

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So, its been a while since I posted here - ref "its all gone abit quiet here" - Wayne, I bet you wish you hadn't said that now!!!

Anyway, weather and work plus lack of light has been a major obstacle but as previously said, body is off now, exposing this

DSCN1717.jpg

and then, engine lifted out...

DSCN1766.jpg

Note snow, front end work progressing. Also note the discrepancy at the front due to the impact at the front nearside.

So, to be fairly brief, I've gone from poorly suspension components like this

DSCN1774.jpg

to restored and replaced front as so

DSCN1772.jpg

I know, nothing ground breaking here, trying to keep things fairly original, barring bushes.

simon

great looking project

i have a couple of questions:

i was curious if you knew what year the "extra" lower suspension link on the front suspension were added on the S3 G-bod cars. mine is an early 81 NA S3 and dosent have the lower extra trailing link were the roll bars plug in.

this looks like a lot better solution to the early S3 set up. Can these later lower arms with the extra link be adapted to the earlier cars? the lower lateral link looks the same. I wonder if i fabricated a pickup point to the front subframe i can run these newer suspension set up. is the backbone chassis and front subframes of the early S3 same as the later S3?

do this late S3 cars handle better than the early S3 cars with the updated front suspension arms. seems like the front ends of the truimph based S3 left a lot to be desired. I hear many prefer the early S1 and S2 front ends over the S3's

please keep em pics coming!

cheers

PP

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simon

great looking project

i have a couple of questions:

i was curious if you knew what year the "extra" lower suspension link on the front suspension were added on the S3 G-bod cars. mine is an early 81 NA S3 and dosent have the lower extra trailing link were the roll bars plug in.

This was introduced in 1985 and has been used with various minor adjustments (mostly antidive configurations) through the end of the Esprit run.

this looks like a lot better solution to the early S3 set up. Can these later lower arms with the extra link be adapted to the earlier cars? the lower lateral link looks the same. I wonder if i fabricated a pickup point to the front subframe i can run these newer suspension set up. is the backbone chassis and front subframes of the early S3 same as the later S3?

There are significant frame changes between the lower A arm and the earlier lower control arm setup. It can be done, but there is a bunch of welding to be done.

do this late S3 cars handle better than the early S3 cars with the updated front suspension arms. seems like the front ends of the truimph based S3 left a lot to be desired. I hear many prefer the early S1 and S2 front ends over the S3's

please keep em pics coming!

cheers

PP

Responses in bold...

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Responses in bold...

mike

i was hoping to just getting pair of the updated lower arms and hub/spindle assembly and weld on a bracket to the front subframe for the front lower link. but since there is anit-dive in the geometry mean the axis on both upper and lower members are on a diverging axis. so i reckon the early set up is a parallel non anti-dive set up? i wonder if there is some sort of techinical drawing of the S3 chassis avalible.

not to say you are incorrect about this spec change....i dont always have alot of faith in the typical lotus PR spin is on many of the changes. often times they make changes because they are at the mercy of their sources providers for that particular component. spec changes within the company happens for better or worse when the avalibility has dried up. in this case 3 cheers for getting ride of that awful triumph upright.

many thanx

pp

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No, I've not been idle, just not posting.

Progress is slow but sure.

Front end now complete, barring final torquing at ride height. Only one siezed bit - lower wishbone to chassis bolt (front) - stuck within the bush.

One side of the rear suspension done. I must remember to tighten the hub nut - cant do this until engine in.

I've now dismantled the other side and encountered a well and truly stuck lower stud in the hub carrier. Not unusal I hear. Had to cut in situ and then drilled out of the split spacer. Otherwise, no breakages or stripped threads. Lucky I think.

New oil cooler and feeds have arrived and I'm figuring a way of attaching it to the chassis tube - no brackets.

Next will be to tidy up the engine, do the obvious - timing belt, tensioner rebuild, but I've decided not to go for a complete rebuild - this is documented as having been done 7000 miles ago. The engine didnt run perfectly but I just want the car together again and then I'll get someone to do this.

Havnt been able to find reasonably priced rear discs and mine are too thin to be skimmed. £200 a pair seems steep but if there are no others, so be it. SJs have none. Lotus have no estimated date for more (if any?)

We are planning to sell our house and want to get it on the market by April, so I'm told I have to get all the car bits off the drive and grass!!! I think that gives me license to spend some more time out there to meet this deadline. Need to remount the body and deliver it to the bodyshop again. Then its interior time. I did some extra work last week to help pay for that, so, fingers crossed....

I'll try and post some pics later today.

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Havnt been able to find reasonably priced rear discs and mine are too thin to be skimmed. £200 a pair seems steep but if there are no others, so be it. SJs have none. Lotus have no estimated date for more (if any?)

I have got a pair of S3 rear discs in reasonable shape sitting on a self in the shed.

Need to get shot of some of the stuff I have lying about as I am in the process of moving house as well, PM me if interested.

Hilly

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Well, work is progressing, even if I havnt got the pics to prove it yet!

Pretty mach all suspension done, barring torquing things up and dealing with the geo.

Most of the chassis brake lines are also in - what a satisfying job that is! I'd recommend it to anyone, yet get some decent tools for it.

One rear caliper now fettled and resealed. I didnt separate the cylinder from the iron holder in the end - no corrosion, perfect dimension across the aperture in 3 planes and was worried about knackering it for the sake of it. If I'd bagged those ebay calipers, I might have tried but...

Went to see Mike at Lotusbits today - what a worthwhile journey!!!!

He has several front end rebuild options in terms of replacement noses, long front ends, etc. His fiberglass guy seems the business too. Saw some of his work and its very impressive. Recons about 30 -40 hrs to do the job. They also have a paintshop and quote about £2500 for a respray. I think thats about the going rate. Fabulous array of old Lotii there aswell. Saw the Essex he is breaking - Has a nice looking nose.....

So, engine is as clean as I can get it without being silly. It still looks like its been rolled in the dirt but its going to get filthy fairly quickly anyway so,... Cam cover repaint soon. Timing belt and tensioner near the top of the list and then back in she goes.

Re rear discs, Hilly kindly offered me his old ones but they are pre '85 so probably not OK with my calipers. I've DeoxC'd my old ones and they are much more convincing now. Also, maybe they are not badly grooved after all. Back on they go and I'll just keep looking.

Anything else I should do now the engine is out? Remember it had a rebuild a few years back, albeit badly documented.

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DSCN1826.jpg

DSCN1827.jpg

So, this weekend saw my new chassis and suspension see the first light of day! Very proud.

I've set up the geometry as best as I can for now, barring castor assesment.

After measuring, remeasuring, remeasuring, and remeasuring, I think I've all the relevant toe-ins to 1mm. Its certainly moveable like this - I'll get a proper geo check done professionaly at some point. It was reassuring that the rear wheels required minimal shim washers only. The original chassis needed all washers and up to 6mm of spacer plates!

Started to strip down the other rear caliper and the piston was stuck fast in the cylinder. Took alot of coaxing to get out. There was corrosion at the cylinder to winged holder, so I have separated this one. I had to make a little tool for this, so if I can put on some images tomorrow, I will.

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Looking good Simon, but you are not yet ready to set up your alignment, It will change when the car is at ride height. Good practice tho and nice to know your chassis is straight! Likewise, you should not finally bolt up any rubber bushes until the car is at ride height.

cheers Steve

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Simon,

Loks great mate, you will have one very fine esprit after the completion of the rebuild! very well done on the work so far and its glad to see that that you made somthing good come out of your misfortune with the bump :thumbsup:

Good work and looking forward to more pictures,

Regards danny

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Looking good Simon, but you are not yet ready to set up your alignment, It will change when the car is at ride height. Good practice tho and nice to know your chassis is straight! Likewise, you should not finally bolt up any rubber bushes until the car is at ride height.

cheers Steve

Quite right, Steve. Just easier to get things 'roughly' right now. I've not tightened any of the susp-chassis bolts yet for the reason you state.

My list of "don't forget to..." is getting quite long!

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Well, caliper done.

Here is a view of the cylinder removed. You can see the simple tool needed to gently separate the wings to allow the cylinder to slide out.

Unfortunately, the 'spring pin' which locates the cylinder at the correct place along the wing, well, sprang. So I had to make another from an odd bit of steel - not easy without a lathe.

DSCN1829.jpg

Ignoring the mess of my bench, you can see the white corrosion on the wing, about 0.5mm thick! This chipped off easily with an old chisel.

The seals on the cylinder all replaced, the piston was in good condition but still quite tight. Hope the cylinder hasnt been permanently deformed by the corrsion. I'm now considering doing the other caliper to prevent this occuring - after all, I now have the tool.

Pretty much everything ready for body lifting onto chassis. Will try this weekend if weather permits.

Separate topic, on removint the tailgate, the enevitable happened which will come as no surprise to anyone who has done this - ALL the bolts sheared. On investigating, turns out the corner of the tailgate top (nearest the roof) had split - its made in 2 halves, letting in water. I had to open the split all along the top inorder to extricate the 2 bars with captive bolts -

DSCN1833.jpg

You can see that the bar also is captive for the gas strut ball end thing. Oh, that also sheared.

The bar is just abit of angle iron with one short side with 3 welded M8 nuts.

I've replicated these as shown. Welding skills stil not great but getting better!

DSCN1835.jpg

I think anyone planning to undo their bolts or the gas strut fixing will need to plan on another apparently simple job expanding to fill all available time!!

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BODY BACK ON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Well, the weather held out today and was just planning to remove the doors to allow an easier day tomorrow, but I could hear friends in their back gardens, so went for it.

Only cost 4 beers aswell. Bargain.

Went almost unbelievably smoothly! Once agian, engine crane at the front (dont do this with an unbroken bodyshell BTW - damages the arches) minimum 2 people at the back, 4 needed at times and slid the chassis back under. I remembered to undo the front top wishbone nut and tap the stud back to allow clearance.

It all fits!!! Remember this is a new chassis chaps, and I've been worrying about 'fit' for weeks now.

Even the pedalbox mounts I had to swap over fit perfectly! Incredible.

Chuffed to absolute bits. Now its just a matter of financing the body repair, the respray and the interior refit. Oh, and I may have some electrical issues... more about that in a month or two.

BTW, I recently bought a pair of light pods on ebay but they are different to my old ones in the light fittings - different lights aswell. Therefore they must be either pre 1985 or maybe even S2??

Usable of just get the proper ones? Yep, I know, you need some pics....

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Simon,

Well done on the car mate, glad to see its going back together alright, As for the light pods give lotusbits.com a shout, Think they are £20 for a used pod!

Good luck on the rest and keep us all updated on the progress with pictures etc.

Regards danny

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Fiddling around in the engine bay, refitting the tailgate release. Hey, much easier without an engine!!

Here is the newly met new-chassis and old-body. They seem happy enough.

DSCN1848.jpg

The engine surround is sat there, yet to be tackled. Just needs some tarting up I think.

Tailgate refitted.

Almost ready for transort.

I'm thinking full respray? After all, the front end will need total repainting. I'm guessing a full respray would be appropriate at this stage? Be a shame to have to do it later.

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