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Artie

What would you do?

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Okay fellas! This is enough! If you all remember, I had my engine completely rebuilt 2 years ago. Used all uprated components, new pistons, rods, bearings, Liners were stripped and fresh nikasil put on them then engine assembled. AFter about 2200 miles, the head gasket went. I pulled the engine, returned the whole engine to the builder and they reinstalled a new gasket(Lotus part) and paid them another $600 or so to do the work. I reinstalled the engine and about 10 months later now, the gasket has failed again! My boost is set with an electronic controller and peaks no higher than 1.2 kg/cm2(or about 1.1bar. I'm starting to consider the fact that perhaps the builder did not bother to check the nip height properly, or at all and thus once bedded in after a while, starts to dance and fail. The symptoms are classic head gasket failure symptoms. Starts from cold fine, up to temp and runs fine. If I stop at the store and come out in 10 minutes or so and start it, white sweet/antifreeze smelling steam/smoke. Rev the engine a few times, and clear the residual water from offending cylinder and runs fine to home. This is getting really annoying and quite frankly am considering just selling the car as is and buying another RX7 since I never have problems with them(although everyone else can't seem to keep them alive!) What would you do? I have well over $12000 Usd invested in the engine alone! The car is a beautiful car and I love her dearly, it just seems as soon as I fix one problem, another arises. And it's not from lack of proper maintenance or neglect. I am a mechanic and know what I am doing. I just find this car too frustrating anymore! What say you?


89 White Esprit SE

...a few little upgrades....

93 RX7.....Silverstone

....slightly modded...Muahaha...

New Addition:

1990 300ZX TT......Hmmm

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In the UK that would be going back to the engine builder for him to fix at his own expense if it's his fault the problem is occurring. As you know, HGF on an Esprit engine is very, very rare so there's another factor contributing to this for you Art.


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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I don't think that selling the car makes sense ! As you explained youself, the problem is not the car nor the engine, it's just that the rebuilt was not done by someone competent enough !

So just find someone who knows what they are doing ! You said you are a mechanic, so why don't you do it yourself ? Or at least dont let a single shop do the whole rebuilt process, but split the process in pieces, give each one to a specialized shop and control their work step by step. This way when you put the engine back together, you can have confidence in the parts that you are assembling...

Worst case scenario : get you engine shipped to by boat to an Esprit specialist in the UK, like Garry Kemp for example.

Well I say "worst" because of the shipping costs, but actually they won't be that great compared to what you have already lost/paid/wasted, and you would have confidence in the quality of the work,, and this is priceless I guess...

Edited by Vince

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Things do seem to be pointing to your head at the moment. I would be taking a critical look at both sides of the gasket as I dismantled it and of course both mating faces. If I was putting it back to the shop where it was last worked on I would be wanting a full written report, a list of rectification actions undertaken, including the depth of any skimming performed and of course all work to be done at their expense. It does seem that the solution lies in their court unless you just say "sod 'em" and do it yourself.

Good luck and stick with it... It would be a shame to let this force you back to an RX7.

EDIT:- Wot Vince said too.....

Edited by wookie

In theory there is no difference between theory and practice.<br />

<br />

In practice, there is!

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Okay, I didn't address a few important points I guess in my original message so I'll add them in. The head was skimmed and is completely flat and was done by a very competent head shop in KC that has done head work on many local SCCA champion race cars, so I don't think the flatness or trueness of the head is the issue. The shop sent out several items to be done by other specialists as they understood the importance of this being done properly. They shipped the crank off to a specialty aircraft crankshaft refurbisher to cut the grind the shaft and magnaflux it.

And Chris, sorry for the misconstrued statement about an RX7, I love RX7's in fact I just rebuilt my 3rd FD3S for myself and I use them for track cars, I am an instructor for the regional Porsche and Audi club for driving school events. They are quite beautiful cars and very well capable of far outperforming any esprit in every aspect except looks, so tread lightly please, they are magnificent cars.... I'm sure you meant no offense by the statement, just understand that I love my RX7 as I do my Esprit, albeit for different reasons. Take a look at the attached picture, I think you'd agree she is a magnifcent car.

Finally, I originally planned on shipping my engine for the original build to Michaels' Motorsports in Massachussetts USA, but after shipping it to him and it sitting for almost 4 months, I had it shipped back to me and found the local builder to do the job, which they came highly recommended by several of the local Lotus club owners. I probably will just pull the engine soon when I make some time, but will ensure the nip is measured and adjusted properly. If it is out of spec or not high enough, what is the rectification? Do I need to get new liners? Jeez! What a pain!

post-1055-0-52712800-1297535639_thumb.jp


89 White Esprit SE

...a few little upgrades....

93 RX7.....Silverstone

....slightly modded...Muahaha...

New Addition:

1990 300ZX TT......Hmmm

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They are quite beautiful cars and very well capable of far outperforming any esprit in every aspect except looks, so tread lightly please, they are magnificent cars....in!

Not to get off-topic, but I would argue that the FD is a more beautiful car than the Esprit. The Esprit may be more unique (debatable), rare and aggressive, but in terms of beauty I think the FD has it.

Anyway...


Luke Colorado, Super Spy.   -  Lotus Owner No Longer

1987 Zender Widebody 560SEC | 1994 Lotus Esprit S4 | 2013 Honda Fit EV (#269)

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If the nip is insufficient, then I'd suggest having the block skimmed accordingly, assuming it's only a small amount it's not really an issue, keep in mind, skim block + skim head = pistons getting closer to head and valves....

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Glad to see that no offence was taken as none was intended... It's a personal thing really and we'll have to agree to differ on this one..... I prefer my Marcos, but suggesting that (humourously) on the forum nearly sent someone one member into public fits of apoplexy. One day I'll have my own Esprit instead of just working on other people's... in fact, one day I'll get to drive one further than just backing them onto the drive and I'll find out what the mystique is all about (I'm sure I won't be disappointed)!

The new info does seem to put a different complexion on your problem. Good luck, let us know how you get on with it.


In theory there is no difference between theory and practice.<br />

<br />

In practice, there is!

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Well Chris I have never heard of a Marcos much less seen one and if the cars in your avatar are them, I would love to see them up close. I love all sorts of cars and my "wish " list is long and eclectic. I am planning on calling or visiting the builder come Monday, to attend to the situation at hand. I will keep everyone abreast of the situation and I'm hoping I don't have to disassemble the whole engine. I am considering having the head O ringed if the nip is within spec.......Perplexing!

Artie


89 White Esprit SE

...a few little upgrades....

93 RX7.....Silverstone

....slightly modded...Muahaha...

New Addition:

1990 300ZX TT......Hmmm

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It shouldn't be a cylinder liner nip issue, assuming that the liners were fitted to their original bores. Are you sure the first failure was down to the head gasket? i.e. as Chris said, did anyone confirm that damage was seen?

Also, do you know how much material was taken off the head? Has so much material been removed that the dynamic compression is just too great for a stock head gasket at 1.1 bar of boost?

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I've seen the remnants of an Esprit Turbo engine that had too much boost which is nearly the same as 1.1 Bar and increased CR, it wasn't gasket failure, they eat pistons, that's why I've avoided that area of concern.

The liners could have been "cleaned" over-zealously where they go into the block, ditto the block area where they go in.

The liners could have been placed in a different sequence, causing one to have too little nip, and one too much, heightening the reduced nip even further on that one with too little.

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Well, the head was skimmed just slightly but not enough to change the static compression by more than .025 or so. The liners were sent off to be renikasiled so there is a chance they were not placed into the appropriate bore in the block, but I guess I assumed they would have checked the variance and adjusted if the heights were off. I'll be having the entre engine looked through again when I bring it to them. It's clearly an issue of a mechanical malfunction. I have not beaten her up, nor run her hard at all! The plugs are all black with a light grey on the electrode indicating a good clean burn. My AFR gauge always shows about 12.3 max at boost around 1.1 or 1.2! I'm wondering if the head bolts are stretched in addition to the nip issue. I will replace the original head studs with ARP pieces.....


89 White Esprit SE

...a few little upgrades....

93 RX7.....Silverstone

....slightly modded...Muahaha...

New Addition:

1990 300ZX TT......Hmmm

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Artie you ARE the man

You have no idea the fun, pleasure and education I have had following your threads, (loved the exhaust)

You can't sell it, you have to fix it and post it all so we can learn more.

If and when mine goes pop ! I shall spec one like yours. :devil:


Life is like a sewer, what you get out of it, depends on what you put into it. (Tom Leahrer)

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Hi

Really bad luck...you say you're a mechanic, why don't you rebuild the engine. That way you can be sure of the critical points?

Best of luck

Buddsy


 

"Belief is the enemy of knowing" - Crrow777

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Roger,

Many thanks my friend! I have decided to keep the car. I'll pull the engine out this next weekend. I'll deliver it to the shop that did the work and have them reinspect everything and document all of the nip and head specs. The bottom end isn't the issue so I'll leave that intact. I'll have the head checked over again, possibly send it off to WC or someone else to ensure it's RIGHT!!!!

Buddsy,

I am a mechanic...However, the tools required to measure these specs I do not have, to buy them would cost me as much as having it done by someone with the appropriate knowledge about setting these specs! I will ensure that it all is documented this time, perhaps even have the head O ringed to prevent any ingress of water or walking cylinder liners in the future!


89 White Esprit SE

...a few little upgrades....

93 RX7.....Silverstone

....slightly modded...Muahaha...

New Addition:

1990 300ZX TT......Hmmm

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Glad to see you are keeping the car as you would lose more money on the price of the car than it would cost to fix, I would think. I would say there is a good chance of the liners having gone into the wrong pots but this would imply that the assembler didn't measure the nip. Good luck.


S4 Elan, Elan +2S, Federal-spec, World Championship Edition S2 Esprit #42, S1 Elise, Excel SE

 

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Art,

Having follwed your car project from the beginning its sad to see you are having dramas with such a great looking car that has had so much effort put into it :dizzy:

I would suggest a different option on making sure the job is done correctly, As the saying goes if you want something doing properly do it yourself, I find this way with most of the lotus engines that people have had problems with on this forum, What some lotus enthusiast lack in mechanical knowledge they make up with attention to detail and that comes in pretty handy with your current problem.

Strip the cylinder head yourself its not hard, the dramas with the headgasket ciould be many reasons even the cylinder head may not of been bolted down in the correct sequence or desired torqe, Buy a decent head gasket set from sjs in the uk that has the up dated head settings, measure the head to make sure it has not been skimmed in the past before the recent skim to make sure your using the correct gasket size, As said by everyone else check liner nip, Also inspect everything else including the dowels in the block to make sure its sitting exactly where it should be,

Workshops rush stuff to get the jobs out the door, your time costs nothing other than a bit of a hinderance, Do it yourself and you will feel a lot happier knowing everything has been done to best of your knowledge and at the same time knowing you have the knowlegde of the members of the forum 100% behind you for information as you go :thumbsup:

now get the spanners out! regards danny


A

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For what it's worth I had an S3 that blew it's head gasket a few years back & I put it into Paul Matty to fix. Without removing the engine they removed the head & measured the nip & then as the liners were too low in the block they used scrapers & straight edge to skim the block so restoring the nip.

Ran the car for a few years after that & the problem never reoccurred.


Cheers,

John W

http://jonwatkins.co.uk

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Artie,

Are you seeing coolant in the oil or water out the exhaust, or is it weeping out the side of the block where the head mates to the block.

Regards,

Jeff


www.espritturbo.com

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Good luck with the tear down, Artie. I'd be interested to hear comments on the use of the stock turbo head gasket versus, say, Cometic gaskets which are out there for our cars. No argument from me about the FDs. Only 40k miles on my 94 with stock engine and still a ball to drive. :thumbsup:


77 Esprit S1

Rebirth in progress

"the $6 m. car!, we can rebuild it, better, stronger,.....faster!"

94 RX7 R2, Mazdaspeed bits

2016 NB Focus RS

1944 Willys MB rescue

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