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Busted Engine

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The worst has happened. My engine exploded :) (caught on fire for a minute) at only 1500 miles on the odometer. Not sure what the cause is but it happened 5 laps after installing the triple bypass radiator and laminova oil cooler. I need a new engine any suggestions on where to source one and if possible any suggestions on stronger internals if available. I found some on Monkeywrenchracing.com but heard of a few horror stories on the lotus forum so im not sure weather to trust them or not. Any other suggestions or options are welcome.

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Firstly glad you're ok - any kind of fire in a car is not the most plesant experience.

However there's "fire" and theres "FIRE".

The fact you just fitted a oil cooler does initially (without any other evidence) point the finger of blame towards an oil leak in or around the oil lines. If this is the case and you shutoff the engine quickly before most of the oil could leave the engine then in all probability the engine will be completely fine.

Oil fires always look more terrible than what they usually are as they generally burn at a very low temperature but with big yellow flames and clouds of black smoke. Get the rear clam off to have a look and cleanup the smoke damage from the bits you can as the chances are that all you need to replace are a few rubber hoses and plastic wiring harnesses. I'd be very surprised if an oil fire could cause any damage to the metal structure of the engine.

Do you have any pictures of the engine bay? Also a picture from under the car to see the oil cooler would be good too.

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I'm with Mr Green on this. Being a marshal I've seen a good number of cars on fire and it would take a serious fire for a decent amount of time to damage the engine more than a few pipes and hoses.


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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+1 to all the above. What makes you think the engine "exploded"? Did smoke come out of the exhaust? Visible block and/or head damage? Or was there just an oil fire due to an oil leak?

I suffered an oil leak followed by a quick fire a couple of weeks ago. There was no damage to the engine, and minor damage to the rear bodywork and assorted plastic bits.

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Sorry i must have not explained the details of what happened. On the lap of the incident a few turns before I was forced to stop the car kind of stuttered mid corner/corner exit while on throttle . I thought i should come in next lap to check. 2 corners later on the pit straight under heavy acceleration i heard a pop, looked in the mirrors to the site of white smoke from the engine, a few seconds later it was on fire. I parked flicked the electrical cut off switch and went for the extinguisher. Luckily the fire died off immediately before even using the extinguisher. After cooling the car off and using a pressure washer to inspect (mechanic on hand) he found the block cracked and the pin holding the Con Rod to the Piston actually outside the block (it was as clean as a brand new part with not heat stains or abrasions).

The Mechanic i use is very reputable in Bahrain and is the mechanic used to support several racing leagues including the Porsche Cup. That off course does not mean hes immune to making mistakes. Since i need to replace the block and good % of the internals i was looking to go the direction of improving the complete package for more reliability. I dont race the car but its strictly a track car which is used at least once a month for open trackdays and timed competitions.

Hope this clears things up. Sorry for the misleading first message.

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Conrod through the block isn't a good sign, I think you were right when you said you needed a new engine... :)


1995 S4s

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Ok yeah, thats a bit different :)

A broken con rod is pretty rare - It would be interesting to see a picture of the damage.

Do you running any oil pressure monitoring? I'm just wondering if there was an oil problem that caused it to overheat and fail.

If you get the engine apart a decent inspection should be able to give an insight as to the cause.

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Won't Edika on here have a spare 2Eleven engine since he dropped a Honda lump in his car?

http://www.thelotusforums.com/forums/index.php/user/7946-edika/


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

Evora NA

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That's a good idea bibs.

The 211 engine is pretty much stock - the only bits different that I know of are the flywheel and larger injectors.

I don't think there's mileage in building a stronger bottom end - yours is the first I've heard let go in this way. I still can't help but feel that the modification to the engine oil system could have been a contributing factor - just a bit of a coincidence that 5 laps after it's done it goes pop but been fine for 1500 miles of track usage (even then that's only about 6-10 trackdays)

If the rid has failed worth looking at the cylinders and piston rings- if there is an oil problem then these will heat up pretty quick and expand more than they should. This has a seizing effect that could very easily break a rod (something would have to give and that's the weakest point) . I'd then expect the piston to be rock solid in the block

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Sounds like oil starvation or overheating because on the whole the engines are very capable. You absolutely must find out what caused the problem before wasting money on a new engine because thats an instillation or application issue you've got there. Ours will be exactly the same internal spec as yours but with more than 270bhp and its on over 26hours of pure 8200rpm race use with slick tyres, so maximum stress and still (touch wood) going.

Some things for you to think about with your mechanic then....

Are you sure the Laminova was correctly plumbed with the accusump and sandwich plate and just in case......did it have enough oil?

Do you run a standard steel oil sump or a Moroso, what tyres were you on and how long are the corners you were driving.

Did the car feel sluggish before letting go?

The missfire you describe would suggest that maybe a fuel or ignition issue maybe to blame so don't just assume its oil starvation related either.

Mail me if you want to run any possible grey areas through.

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I'm not an expert on engine internals or failing engines so i cant comment really on the cause of failure. I'm going to take some pictures of the failed parts and post them here to see what you guys think.

Simon

I agree with you 100% that i need to find the cause before attempting to go back on track with the setup i have but regardless i need a new engine.

To answer your qustions

Is the laminova correctly plumbed? I'm not sure but the mechanic claims it was. Before installing I asked him to call Russel Gibbons at Lotus just to make sure he has the right instructions and avoid any pitfalls. He has called him and seems confident he installed it right.

Did it have enough oil? I trust the mechanic to have done this as he is highly experienced racing mechanic.

I run stock oil sump with standard Yoko tires. The track i use is the Bahrain F1 track it has one long sweeping left then right high speed corner.

The car was pulling strong up to the point when it blew.

I agree it might be fuel starvation but it blew half way down the main straight does that make sense?

Bibs

thanks for the suggestion I'll PM Edika to see if hes interested in selling.

I'll PM

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If your man is that good he will trust nothing and check everything so should find the cause. Fuel starvation or poor quality fuel could cause the problem, it would make the engine run hotter but then there are so many permitations. Best of luck with it, I'd like to know what you find as the cause if you don't mind.

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