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Next up, how to pick a Lotus Esprit. The initial prospect of an Exige or Elise was daunting enough with regards to the fear mongering. The Esprit took it to a whole new level. This was hard core.

After 4 years of Esprit ownership it feels like it's about time to start a blog for my Turbo SE. Since taking the plunge in 2012 I've been on an arduous yet fulfilling path which has seen me develop f

Thanks everyone for reading! Time for the next installment of this epic tale: The Journey Home (and how I almost totalled my new Esprit 5 miles from home). Prior to collecting the car in May I'd

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You need to get your woman on that cam belt.  She's a goddam expert!

British Fart to Florida, Nude to New York, Dunce to Denmark, Numpty to Newfoundland.  And Shitfaced Silly Sod to Sweden.

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2 hours ago, Sparky said:

You need to get your woman on that cam belt.  She's a goddam expert!

Indeed. We're doing the belt change together!

So, a couple more pics of bygone projects performed during the first couple of years...

The ole boot-floor refurb. After we were done Dremelling all the old nuts off so we could get at the translator from above (oh yeah, changed the translator and master unit too. Good times), we couldn't put the floor back looking the way it was. My brother did a hell of a job. 4 years on, it's still clean and shiny. 

Unacceptable:
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And after my Brother Alex had worked his magic with it:

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Vanya Stanisavljevic '91 Esprit SE | '97 XK8

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The turbo eventually got the same treatment as the boot floor after I decided it was time to change the gasket due to a farting noise coming from the joint. I was really dreading this task. By the sounds of it, separating the turbo from the manifold, two components married by a toxic combination of time and rust, was going to be a pain in the ass. But it had to be done.

Luckily, someone in the past had gone and done a botch job. This is probably the only time I was thankful for incompetent labour. Lying on my back under the turbo, I realised that a) there were no locking tabs on there and b) the nuts, presumably once Kaylock nuts, were not doing such a good job locking anything anymore. What's more, whoever did the job, decided that it was too tough a job mounting all four nuts back, so they just skipped the ones toward the front of the car. The nuts could be removed by hand.

The turbo too was of course, filthy:
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and the heatshield as well:
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Some spit & polish later:
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Ironically, this turned out to be one of the easiest jobs on the car, and was quite relaxing. The hardest part was bending the locking tabs against the nuts. But I can't understand the argument that the nuts toward the front are too hard to fit - they should simply be wound on while a minimum amount of stud is protruding through the turbo (someone can hold the turbo up) - thereafter it's just a matter of getting a ring or quality open ended spanner around them and tightening up....

Vanya Stanisavljevic '91 Esprit SE | '97 XK8

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Your brother did a cracking job on the engine cover. ! regarding the turbo nuts missing pretty terrible someone not bothering to put those back on.  Regarding nuts been awkward i suppose some spanner monkeys have hands like shovels and little dexterity, so they find hard. :P

 

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A

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Good news Vanya :) Yes it can be a little awkward to get at bits when doing the belt, but think of it as testing your body as to what  angles the human form can make when trying to squeeze around the esprits engine bay.:P  Just think of the money it has saved you and also it is really nice to see that your partner helped you complete the task also. :respect:

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Dan.

Sorry - I just can't help myself. Why do you always post in Italics - it reads as if you are whispering. The opposite of capitals - THATS WHEN YOU WANT TO SHOUT.

Absolute classic!

sorry Vanya - back to your excellent thread...

:lol:

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1 hour ago, Rolls said:

Dan.

Sorry - I just can't help myself. Why do you always post in Italics - it reads as if you are whispering. The opposite of capitals - THATS WHEN YOU WANT TO SHOUT.

Absolute classic!

sorry Vanya - back to your excellent thread...

:lol:

I have no idea, i suppose i just must like the way it looks more like handwriting :getmecoat:   :)

1 hour ago, Kim.Poulsen said:

Great blog Vanya! Be glad that you have a flexible Mercedes!!

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/Kim

 

Kim, she must trust you with her life, if that broom stick gives way with the tailgate supports hanging like that, those tailgates are heavy, poor thing would not know what hit her if that came down. :)

A

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1 hour ago, Kim.Poulsen said:

Great blog Vanya! Be glad that you have a flexible Mercedes!!

IMG_20150703_121739.jpg

/Kim

 

 

Sparky's idea of car maintenance - leaning on it and pointing. The gloves aren't actually required; latex gets him excited.

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Margate Exotics.

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7 minutes ago, silverfrost said:

 

Kim, she must trust you with her life, if that broom stick gives way with the tailgate supports hanging like that, those tailgates are heavy, poor thing would not know what hit her if that came down. :)

I guess thats why Sparky is so close !

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/Kim 

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That broomstick has a Lotus part number, and is far more sturdy than a dodgy hydraulic strut.  Anyhow, redundancy is built in, in the shape of my head.  Which, to be fair, is significantly more robust than the broomstick.  And Mercedes is, like, well hard.

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British Fart to Florida, Nude to New York, Dunce to Denmark, Numpty to Newfoundland.  And Shitfaced Silly Sod to Sweden.

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Hmmm...well, if you're unaware of the risks, you're invincible. You see, had any of us considered how dodgy that setup was while working on the car, the outcome probably would have been different! Good times though. We gotta have another beltfest this year. This time with beer and hard liquor as a handicap for those who are experienced to level the playing field. 

Later tonight I shall be back with a short instructional on how to replace Turbo SE front fogs with the lower bumper in-situ. It involves swearing, a dremel, poor welding skills, some electrical tape and a handful of blown fuses. Stay tuned.

Vanya Stanisavljevic '91 Esprit SE | '97 XK8

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Update time! 

So, while doing the cambelt I had a whack at replacing my left hand side front foglamp. Here's how I went about doing it, in case anyone else finds themselves in the same pickle. Before I begin, here's an exploded diagram of the assembly (itll come in handy later):

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Like many a Turbo SE my foglamps were worn out when I got the car - years of grit and dirt had dimmed the lenses making them milky and there was a big stone chip in the right side lamp. A couple of years ago, before I'd mastered the patience of cross-referencing, I obtained a lamp from a genuine Lotus outlet. Rather, I received it (rather gratefully) as a birthday gift. I was well chuffed, considering I knew what had been paid.  

To change the right side lamp, park the car on your drive, mash your face under the front lower bumper (this can be difficult, especially if you're working on the driver's side where the cars tend to lean, making clearance even worse), undo the electrical bullet connectors from the harness, and unscrew the two bolts. I was lucky, despite the rust, the captive nuts were still captive and they came free. 

At this point, withdraw the old beat-up light, and have a pint of lager/paint thinner/favourite beverage. Enjoy your life. 

Now the other side, well that's a different story. 

Firstly, save yourself a few bob by looking up the Hella part number. I did, and I paid like 25 quid for mine from German eBay, (thanks Google translate!):

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Simply search for the part number 1NL 004 840-071, trawl the internet for hours, and Bob's your uncle. Your patience will be rewarded. Now you might notice that this variant differs in a few small ways - the electrical connectors are not the same, and there's some extra small bracket at the adjuster. The former can be replaced by the "loom" or connectors from your existing lamp (so don't slaughter them) whereas the little bracket can be Dremelled off. The bonus in this case was that the lamp actually had an adjuster integrated making it very easy to adjust height on the fly, or at the MOT where they give me grief about some lamp every year.  

Time to withdraw the old lamp:

Once you've unscrewed the air-horn (time to paint those trumpets!), undone the electrical connections, and unscrewed the two bolts you'll realise that the metal bracket at the top of the foglight through which the bolts that affix the assembly to the upper bumper pass (#12 in the exploded diagram),  is too wide for the unit to be withdrawn. Crap. I tried manoeuvring the lamp around a hundred ways, flexing the fibreglass, but nothing. Not possible.  

No problem, I'll just undo the two screws holding the bracket to the lamp from the front of the car. Unfortunately, it was at this point that I studied the diagram, and realised that the screws pass through uncaptive nyloc nuts which simply spin, if you should somehow have the luck of not mashing the rusted screw heads. 

At this point, (in my view) the choice was binary: cut out the old lamp, or remove the bumper. 

Now, knowing the slow pace at which my flesh regenerates, I try to limit myself to one skin-shredding job a year on the Esprit, and bumper removal doesn't have a good reputation, so I decided to try and "disassemble" the lamp in situ.

I tried removing the metal clips which hold the lamp to the front lens assembly by prying them off with a flathead. This let me withdraw the rear, but the front wasn't going anywhere thanks to the plastic housing which terminates in the bottom at the adjustment screw. This part had to be Dremelled off:

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I cut the part with the adjustment screw off, and then broke off more parts with a pair of pliers until the lamp was compact enough to be withdrawn through the front of the car. That's that done. Huzzah:

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Now, to mount the new lamp. Obviously it wasn't going back in the way it came out. I decided to salvage the original (very VERY rusty) bracket and modify it slightly:

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I figured if I replaced the nyloc nuts with some captive spot-welded ones, I could mount the bracket from the front of the car once the lamp was in place. Now my brother made me promise never to show this image to anyone who welds for a living, but I can't resist. This is straight up Gangsta-welding 101 with a welder which, I believe, was bought from Lidl:

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Refitting the lamp was still tough, but it could be done. Before attaching the bracket, I got the lamp into position from behind - it was too big. This might be due to compression in the fibreglass (too many sleeping policemen) but I found it necessary to gently pull on the adjuster screw bracket (downwards) and push upwards on the upper bumper fibreglass, allowing enough flex for the lamp to "pop" into place. At that point I put the bracket in place from behind, and holding the whole shebang with one hand, fed in screws from the front into the captive bolts. The result:

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After that, I decided to fire things up and see how it all looked. Ended up blowing 3 15A fuses until I realised I had wired the other foglamp incorrectly at some point in time. *facepalm*

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Vanya Stanisavljevic '91 Esprit SE | '97 XK8

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  • 2 months later...

Update time. 

What a weird year this has been thus far. I've hardly been working on the Esprits, with the exception of the cambelt on the SE earlier this year and the V8's B-service which I farmed out to an Esprit Master. The Jaguar XKR I bought a month ago has also kept me busy (and with a permanent grin on my face) so I've been relatively distracted.

Anyhow, I've grown tired of my SE feeling like it's got steel rods between the chassis and the lower links so I've decided to switch out the suspension, beginning with the rear. While at it, I'm going to be overhauling the brakes, changing the seals, new pads and disks and so on and so forth. 

So, rear suspension:

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Looks like ass! Apart from the rust, and the fact the dampers are probably shot; the brake pads were crumbling, the discs scored (albeit not as bad as the front) and the calipers were quasi-seized.

 Now I've heard the front springs are downright dangerous in terms of tension. Figured the rears would succumb to a regular spring compressor...and they did. How dangerous is this exactly? I've heard all sorts of stories....

IMG_4801

The discs were siezed properly. I got them off by running a nut and bolt through the caliper fixing on the hub. One side let go with an almighty bang, while the other came off without too much fuss...

Much better:

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 After I've rebuilt and cleaned the calipers and refitted, the real fun begins: bedding in and setting ride height with the GAZ shocks. I was unable to source original SE gear so I got this kit. The springs seem to be S4 spec (much much stiffer than the SE originals....) but surely this must feel better than what I just removed? 

The astute will probably notice that I haven't had a whack at the links and bushes yet. That's for another time....

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As per usual, the lower links are siezed SOLID. I'm genuinely looking forward to getting medieval on them with a pair of pliers and a blowtorch. They WILL be removed, come hell or high-water.

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Vanya Stanisavljevic '91 Esprit SE | '97 XK8

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I can recommend oxyacetylene - or if your feeling cheap oxy and propane. Getting enough heat in fast is the key :thumbup:

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Only here once

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Nice work Vanya! Always a pleasure reading your blog!

I recently changed the rear dampers on my SE as well. I had to, failed the MOT, the right one did little on bump and poor at rebound. But I never really noticed, nor did my mate who joined me on a weekend of spirited driving a few weeks ago. He only commented how well the car handled... I told him he deserves a second go with the new dampers. :-)

I didn't even use spring compressors, the old ones could be levered off without much problems after I had taken the top pin out off the chassis mount. The new ones (ProTech) went on easily with the spring seat at the lowest setting. So using a spring compressor to make life a bit easier shouldn't be dangerous at all, as long as you make sure the spring remains straight(ish) and you don't apply shock loads that could make the compressor jump off. The fronts are a different story. When I did those on my previous SE, I put the assemblies in the press to take the load off the springs when removing and refitting the dampers.

I still have to check the adjustements. I set the ride height the same as before, but I think she settled a bit lower after the first 100km. The dampers are at 7 clicks (out of 13) and are doing very well. Not sure how much there is to gain, at the moment it's not too bouncy and not too hard/rattly either. And as a daily driver, I encounter all kinds of roads with my Esprit. Very few with a smooth surface...

Filip

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I have made many mistakes in my life. Buying a multiple Lotus is not one of them.

 

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Perhaps a little over cautious but I use welding gloves and never put my fingers between the springs, always on the outside. 

 

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3 hours ago, Rolls said:

Perhaps a little over cautious but I use welding gloves and never put my fingers between the springs, always on the outside. 

 

The problem I find when using gloves, is if they're thick enough to actually give some protection, I lose so much feel it probably increases the risk. Sound advice keeping your fingers out of harms way, valid for a lot of situations!

I have made many mistakes in my life. Buying a multiple Lotus is not one of them.

 

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  • 5 weeks later...

Hopefully the repaired thread is fine (you'll be better placed to tell than looking at an image), however if not you can probably obtained a thread repair kit and so tapped the hole out and inserted a thread coil (such as helicoil) to salvage the old unit.

Those adapters are a PITA, I ditched mine as part of moving to early V8 style rear brakes, but at least Steve had some else it could have been a custom piece by a local engineer.

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