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Out Of Hibernation - 1990 SE

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Not really a restoration thread in the truest sense, but I thought I'd catalogue the work I'm doing to my 1990 Esprit Turbo SE to get it out of hibernation and back on the road. The aim is to drive it a bit, shake the niggles out of it and sell it early next year.

The car has been hibernating in my garage for what I thought was 4 years, but a glance at the last tax disc states it was 07/07, so that's 5 years! Shame on me. Back then it wasn't hibernated for any particular reason, but then time became short, weekends occupied, mot expired etc. It was easier to just close the garage door...

Not now though, it's time to awaken this dormant Esprit!

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A little history from the "should I sell" thread before.

I knew with the surface rust on the brake discs that the car wouldn't be pushed easily out of the garage; it had to be driven out. After connecting up the battery and jumping it to turn it over with the ignition leads off, I was happy to start it for the first time in 3 years (I had at least moved it out of the garage twice in the 5 year hibernation).

She started fine, and I thought I'd let her heat up for a bit before putting load on the engine. I checked under the car to make sure there were no discover a pool of oil underneath and a constant drip. Turned the engine off pretty sharpish and checked the dip stick again - clean. Oh dear. Completely scunnered I closed the hatch and would inspect the next day.

The next day on inspection, the only source of oil I could find was in the area of the oil filter. Could it be the oil filter failed?


Evidently so! This filter is so rusty the paint is flaking off. Not sure where it failed though.

I inspected the hardware the oil filter mounts to for a bad seal etc, and cleaned up the faces.


Becareful taking the part out in the image above like I did, it's a bitch to put back in place! I took it out to make sure the seal was good and to also inspect the pipes. Thankfully all good.


With a new oil filter in place and 5 litres of Castrol Edge 10W60, I turned the engine over a few times again with no ignition leads to get the oil circulating. Checking the level at intervals etc. It was time to fire it up and hope. After running for 10 minutes, no sign of a leak! I can now get the car out of the garage!

So this weekend with the car able to move, it's time to sort out a few issues. It's out of the garage :thumbsup:

Look at this mess...


That's 5 litres of oil with 30kg of kitty litter on top of it! Does a good job of soaking it up. Does look like there's a lot of cat sh*t in it too. Neighbourhood moggies :cat:

First job on the list - get the exhaust off as the off-side bracket has broken. I managed to shear 2 of the 3 bolts that hold the exhaust on to the cat bypass pipe. Not a bad start... At least it's off.


Once off I spent a bit of time polishing it up, very shiny now. That mark in the middle is a sticker that has been baked on. The broken bracket is the one on the right side. Zoomed in...


The bracket with the other piece...


Then time for a wash...washed_01.jpg

That was all for the Saturday....

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So for the Sunday I wanted to check the gear change and inspect the brakes. Not many pictures I'm afraid but progress for sure.

Before the car was laid up so many moons ago my gear change was bad and I changed the ends of the gear linkage cables. I don't think I set it up correctly as reverse was especially difficult to get. So referring to the manual I thought I'd check the translator's position. I dismantled the rear boot floor to get access to the translator and gearbox. I should have taken pictures...


The 4mm offset shown in the image above didn't match mine, it was more like 1 - 2mm. So I adjusted it slightly, and then tried to get reverse. Adjusted again, try again etc. I shouldn't be surprised but the manual was spot on. At the 4mm mark I can now get reverse on the first attempt each time. Result.

Now the brakes. I wanted to inspect the discs to see how much was left, their condition etc. After jacking the car up and trying to rotate each wheel, only 1 of the 4 wheels would rotate freely. Not sure if it's a case of seized calipers or the rust on the discs. It's immaterial anyway as I've decided to change the discs due to their remaining thickness. The manual states the discs:

Front: Thickness, nominal - 20.0mm, minimum - 19.0mm, mine - 19.6mm

Rear: Thickness, nominal - 12.0mm, minimum - 11.0mm, mine, - 12.9mm

I put the car back together again and drove it up and down the close to see if I could clear some of the rust from the discs and perhaps free them up. However driving the car without an exhaust is pretty damn loud! So I gave up and I'll try again once the exhaust is welded and back on the car.

Good progress made so far.

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The exhaust bracket is now welded and fitted back on so I can move the car without waking the dead!

Due to the weather the next job is an indoor one - the coolant header tanks:


Thankfully it's only flaking paint and surface rust, the tanks aren't leaking. I have removed the sensors from both tanks. Hopefully someone can help me here - how easy is it to remove the rubber sensor grommets? They should be removed before sanding but have a feeling they will be very stuck and may be destroyed on attempting to remove them! Not sure If I would be able to get new ones either.



Time to get sanding then painting.

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glad to see the car getting the love and attention it deserves....keep going


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I did that job on my coolant tank, actually I bought a new one from Lotus for £55 and removed the sensors and put those in new grommets in the new tanks.

Here was mine




Grommet hole





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Tim - yeah it's long overdue!

Travis - I knew you would have done something simillar! Thanks for the pics. How did you get a new tank for £55? To be fair I only looked at SJ's and it was over £400 incluing vat, hence the reason for the refurb. I didn't try for long to remove the sensor grommets as looking inside the tanks the grommets were swollen. So I cleaned up around them, masked them and spray painted with them in situ. Not ideal but harmless as they weren't leaking.

Between coats of the painting I started removing the pipework for the chargecooler pump - going electric and about time too. Unfortunately one of the pipes is practically welded to the pump and on forcing it broke the tee piece that the cc tank feeds to. Not a big problem.

What's the consensus on the old chargecooler pump - do folk just leave it in situ, remove it, blank it off etc? When I last removed it the biggest problem was getting it back in but that's not an issue this round.

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That was a bargin Travis! I've missed out on a few of these sales it seems, the last bargin I got was the S4 wheels. I called Lotus today to see if I could get rear discs direct but the number on LEW is now their racing division and Lotus won't sell parts direct anymore - you have to go through a dealer? That adds delay as I don't have a dealer close to me. Still don't have rear discs! I digress...

I've painted my tanks in my specially made painters booth:


I masked off an ikea rotaing kitchen table thingy so I could rotate the tanks while spraying. Turned it over to spray the top of the tanks. Put it back in, closed the box, let it set for 5 minutes or so, then sprayed again. Did this several times to get a good coating. Just need to remove the masking tape on the threads and spade. Looks good but I wonder if I should have done a different colour like black or red. It's done now!

Here's the pump I'm going to use for the chargecooler pump:


It's an old pump I used to watercool my PC years ago. It's 1200 lph, 12V and the barbs are the right size, but the 60C max temp is a small concern, it shouldn't get that hot. It's spare and if it fails I'll fit another more suited to the job.

Here's the reducing tee I broke earlier:


It's a Norma TRS 15-6-15 and I've sourced a replacement from ebay. It's acutally a good thing this broke as the 6mm end was almost completely blocked with gunk and the downpipe from the chargecooler header tank not much better. The chargecooler circuit is going to have a serious flush!

Just waiting on parts to arrive now.

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Yea I had to go through a dealer in the aftersales sale too. I used Bell & Colvill and received my parts in 3days (in Colorado)!

Blanking the chargecooler pump and going electric is a good thing. My install was easy. I used the EBPV connector to supply power and used the built in fuse and realy. My pump turns on when starting the car (so I can hear it and bleed) and then turns off again until the care is warmed up. Works great.

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Nice install Travis, I like where you've put the electric pump, is it safe enough there? I've been thinking where to place mine and thought about attaching it to the newly painted header tanks. However I think the pump needs to be lower than the tanks as pumps of these sort aren't self priming, What do you think?

I'm very interested in how you used the EBPV connector, any more details you could share? My EBPV was removed a long time ago so it makes sense to use that. I was thinking of installing an override switch for the pump to aid flushing/bleeding instead of using the ignition for that.

Instead of using a blanking cap I'm going to put the old pump back in but with a short hose loop in and out of it, probably remove the impeller from it too. Not ideal but atleast the next owner still has the pump should they want to revert (pointless imo).

I wish I had a full size garage, I don't think I would be out of it.

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Problem with leaving the old pump is that the seals may go bad and then you'll spring a leak of oil out the weep hole in the middle of the pump... The blanking plug is the way to go.


My location does seem to be stable and work well. Pump was clean after 6k miles. It kinda makes the speedo cable have to do a little jog though.



The hose routing makes the pump at the lowest point, so it is self priming


This one is my friend's car, but you can see the wires from the pump coming up to a connector that pulgs into the unused EBPV socket. That is the only wiring needed for my 8A pump. The wiring and connector support 15A, and the EBPV and THrottle jack have a built in 10A fuse and 40A relay that is activated by the ECU.


I bought some of these Metri-pack 150 connectors, to solder my pump wires to.


The EBPV circuit is energized with the ignition, before the engine starts, and then off until the car is warm, and then it is always on once the car is warm. Perfect for a chargecooler pump.


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Travis thanks for the heads up on the pump's weep hole, I had forgotten about that. Now, where to get a blanking plate? Had a look on LEW and except for WC, nothing. Anyone help on this?

Looking at the EBPV as you suggested..


A1 and A2 = pump only runs when engine warm

B1 and B2 = pump runs when ignition is on

Still thinking of the override for the pump, it's a matter of switching to main earth rather than ECM controlled earth. I'll have a play...

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I bought my blanking plug from WC. I could have made it myself, but it was easier to just buy it from John. I did use a larger o-ring though, his was a bit thin to seal properly.

Actually A1 is energized as the key is turned to the first position, and energized for cranking the starter, then it is de energized until the engine is up to ~80C, and then it is on until the car is turned off. I think that is perfect for bleeding and normal running, no need for a separate switch.

I always like to hear my fuel pump and chargecooler pump running just before I start the car.

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I know what you mean about hearing the fuel pump run before you start the car, like a pre-flight check! I think I will wire my pump as you did, thanks for the help Travis. I've found a good spot to mount it on the rear boot tray, it's just another thing to disconnect before removing the tray, not a big issue.

Removed the mechanical cc pump and the impeller blades are in as new condition, but the impellor doesn't rotate when I turn the shaft, so no movement of water at all.


The impellor has separated from the shaft it seems:


Once I cleaned up the gunk and refitted back in the pump housing it seemed to turn okay. Perhaps some crap in there jammed the impeller and caused the separation. Doesn't matter as it's not going back in.

Refitted the painted tanks and fitted a new cap to the main header tank as the old one was shot.



The iphone camera is wierd, takes a crap pic one minute then a good one the next!

The front discs and caliper refurb kits (for front and rear) arrived today ready for the weekend.


Just waiting on the tee piece to arrive now as I can't refill the cc system with coolant without it.

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BTW, I noticed that you replaced the blanking cap on the coolant tank. Did you check the pressure cap on the overflow bottle behind the left rear wheel? Mine failed recently and was releasing at 10psi (the spec is 15psi) so I lost a gallon of coolant on the race track and blew my head gasket and water pump seal. I checked the cooling system and everything held 15psi except the pressure cap. Replaced it with a new one last night and tested the system. Everything now holds 15psi.

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Ouch Travis! I've just checked mine and the spring is actuating and the 2 rubber seals look good. Any other indicators of the pressure cap's condition? Looks to be the same as that on the chargecooler header tank.

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My pressure cap looked fine, I cleaned it and greased the seals with silicone and tested it again, and it still leaked at 10psi. So it was just a weakened spring... No way to tell other than to pressure test.

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Thanks for the pressure testing information Travis, not sure if that is something that is checked at service? I think I'll be checking my levels for a bit anyway.

After the conversation about the coolant overflow I thought I'd check the condition of the overflow bottle and it was about 1/7th full of cruddy coolant. So took it out and cleaned it up.




Next on the list was fitting the electric chargecooler pump. Now the placement and mounting might not be as others have done, but it works well. I redirected the existing pipework and cut it to size. The new pump sits perfectly, cable tied to pipework. Not perfectly ideal, but it works and is easy to get to.


In case you are wondering, the computer power supply is there to give me 12Vdc so that I can run the cc pump continuously without the need for the car's battery, (on the main psu plug, short out the green wire with a black wire to jump start the psu).

I let it run like this for a few hours to get all the air out of the system. I could see them pop in the open chargecooler's header tank. I also used a different colour of coolant in the cc system to that of the main header tank/system - that way if I spring a leak I can tell by the colour what system is leaking.

Despite flushing the cc system before fitting the pump the coolant has discoloured (mucky brown, coolant is red) so I'll be flushing it again soon. Running it for so long like I did must have been better than the quick flush I gave it.


With the car back together again, it was time to take it apart again and do the brakes. I didn't take many pictures at first because my hands/gloves were so dirty and I wanted to get on with it with so much to do: old discs off, new discs on, calipers to be refurbed...

Some mild dissassembly. New disc on the hub. Spot the old disc to the bottom right. That air operated wrench really paid for itself. The adjustable grips were great for separating the brake lines (see trials and tribulations later).


Both front brake calipers removed. Had to keep the brake pipe brackets on as the allen head screws were rounded. Need to drill and tap them later.


Brake caliper disassembly. You really need the compressed air to get the caliper piston out, and it makes an impressive pop/bang when it ejects! As per the manual - keep your hands well away when fring the caliper piston out, putting something soft on the opposite side (and cover it all to, brake fluid goes everywhere). The piston in this first caliper popped easily, the other not so easily.


The pic below is the piston from the "good" caliper! It collected some rust debris on exit, but it still has some on the exposed end where the seal fits. Cleaned up well.


Next caliper, and this piston didn't pop right away. I used a g-clamp to wind it back in (iwth much effort) and then used the compressed air to fire it out, which it did eventually. This one isn't in such good shape but it did clean up well too.


The caliper itself below. Rust has crept in past the outer seal and got as far as the inner piston seal. The bore also had a high spot that can be seen in the image, probably what it was catching on.


So all seals replaced and greased as necessary and now have two working calipers. :thumbsup:

As with most jobs on an old car it's the taking apart that is the pain, due to rust or seized components. The first issue was the brake line bracket - the hex heads were rounded. Then separating the brake pipe from the bracket took ages, due to the rust on the threads. The next issue was getting the brake pad holder off. Must have been a tub of thread lock used on that as not even the air wrench would remove those bolts. Eventually got them off with a 2lb persuader :wallbash:. The calipers took a while as I was taking my time cleaning them up and making sure the seals were fitted properly and adequately greased.

Next to do is to fix the issues with the brake pipe brackets and clean up the brake pipe threads by running a die down them. Then I can refit the calipers and bleed the system. Damn rust just causes such delay.

I hope you enjoy the pictures and following my progress.

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I sorted the problems with the brake pipe brackets and re-threaded the pipe connectors, then refitted the brake calipers. Time to bleed!

I used an air compressor powered vacuum to suck out the old hydraulic fluid from the reservoir, the old stuff didn't look very fresh.


Filled up the reservoir and placed the top-up tank so when the brakes are bled the master doesn't become empty.


This uses the same vacuum powered system. Placed the end over the bleed nipple, started the vacuum then opened the bleed nipple. The vacuum sucks the old fluid out and the tank on top of the reservoir ensures that the system is replenished. Very easy to use.



It's starting to get colder and the nights darker, so not so much time to work on the car sadly.

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Great to see the car out of the garage.Good on you...Fab car......Mike

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