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How to replace '88 NA exhaust manifold


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So after a fab day out at The Lotus Festival on Saturday, i got home and noticed that there was an 'exhaust blowing' sound coming from my NA Esprit.  Closer inspection and a feel around (and a couple of burnt fingers - ouch) shows that the exhaust manifold has developed a bit of a blow near cylinder number 4.

At the risk of sounding stupid, can anybody confirm if I can replace the manifold without taking the engine out and does anybody have any useful tips covering the process?  I'm particularly worried that the nuts / studs will be seized solid making the job even more difficult.

TIA

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  • Gold FFM

Yup - bit of a nasty, but possible.  Much easier access if you remove the exhaust cam tower.  Maybe seize the opportunity to replace belts and adjust valve clearances?

It helps to have very bendy arms.  Fortunately I am blessed in that department.  :)

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

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Sparky is a magician, he removed the manifold from my SE in no time at all!

IMG_1028.JPG

 

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

For forum issues, please contact the Moderators. I will aim to respond to emails/PM's Mon-Fri 9-6 GMT. 

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Thanks for the replies guys.  Sounds like it's worth trying in situ with the exhaust cam tower removed but being prepared to pull the whole lump if necessary.

If I do have to remove the engine & gearbox, can it be dropped out from beneath or does it have to come out the top?  The reason for asking is I have access to a scissor lift so could raise the car to remove the engine/gearbox assy once unbolted and supported.

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It needs to come out upwards.  But as it's NA, and if you remove the tower, you should get away with it insitu with perseverance and a large box of expletives.  :)

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

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Brian, I'd be getting Sparky to do it to be honest, he's amazing with what he can do with the Esprit and is very tenacious in the manifold department!

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

For forum issues, please contact the Moderators. I will aim to respond to emails/PM's Mon-Fri 9-6 GMT. 

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Interesting reply Bibs...

If Sparky was willing to do it in return for a suitable payment of coin of the realm and large quantities of suitable refreshment, than I'd be more than happy to take up such an offer - Think I'm getting old and past it these days to be trying to contort my less than nimble fingers into tight corners on my own. :) 

No pressure Sparky, but if you were interested in helping me, please drop me a PM.

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1 hour ago, Bibs said:

Brian, I'd be getting Sparky to do it to be honest, he's amazing with what he can do with the Esprit and is very tenacious in the manifold department!

What he said, it worth it for the amusing update texts and your knuckles.

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If you want to do this yourself, here's what I did.

I removed mine with engine in situ, and got a few tips off here.

Take off the cat if in situ, or the tube that replaces that.

Work from both above and below. Nuts are secured with bent tabs. One metal part covers two cylinders. Each end covers two nuts. Or should.

Unfold the bent tabs by getting at them with a flat screwdriver or anything else that suits you, from both above and below.

All right, so off are those securing metal tabs. Now to the nuts ;)

They should also be loosened from both above and below.

Spray liberally with screw loosener spray - any old brand you like.

Get up in the trunk, and from there you can sneak Down to loosen quite many of the nuts.

The rest from below. Sometimes you have to wwitch between these two Lotus Positions a number of times ;)

The idea is to realise that often you cannot turn a nut more than say 1/16'th or 1/8'th of a turn, remove Tool, turn it and then Work at it Again. A lot of times actually ;)

The first trick is that often you cannot see what you are working with, but look first, then reach Down (or up) and loosen a nut. It helps to sit in various positions underneath the Esprit's engine. Sometimes towards the front, some times towards the rear, to be able to bend your arm and reach up. Not difficult, just tiresome ;)

The second trick is, that you have to grind Down a spanner to reach some Places, to loosen the nuts. See my Picture. Works fine.

The thrid trick is, that some times you cannot take off a nut completely, as the casting of the exhaust manifold prevents this. The Idea is just to loosen all nuts, then take off those that are obvious to remove, and then move out the Whole exhaust manifold a Little bit, away from the cylinderhead. That gives you exactly enough room to remove the rest of the nuts.

You may have to move one of the heat shields around the motormount a bit, or just remove one or two. I removed three on my car. Easy enough to reinstall. Look carefully at them, before removing, and take a few snapshots for reinstallation ;) Saves you an hour.

Easy peasy.

Installation:

Well, get an alunox exhaust manifold, and you will feel in Heaven for Space to Work on... ;)  And they give you better performance and don't crack like cast iron.

And no matter what you chose, use fresh K-nuts (the expensive ones) to secure the exhaust manifold back on. They use the same size area to lean against the manifold, but uses smaller socket to tighten. Veeeery clever. They withstand 850 degrees Celsius. And they don't rust.

The fourth trick is to use for example Wera ceramic thread paste to 1300 degrees when reinstalling nuts on threads, like I did. But before that, secure all studs in cylinderhead. I then used fresh gaskets and quality ones. They come in various versions, some longer withstanding than others.

And the k-nuts don't fall off, don't loosen and non't need any other measures to secure. No securing tabs installed now. Expensive but brilliant.

It all sounds terrible, but once you follow these tricks, there should be no real problems doing it yourself. It's one of the okay jobs on an Esprit, once you know how.

I can now take mine off in 1½ hour including the chargecooler moved aside and the turbo off the car.

Some people do struggle a bit with the studs, so be carefull. I didn't have any problems and swapped them all for new ones anyway.

That said, if you don't want to do it yourself, Sparky is the Maestro at Esprits and he live and breathe them.

Kind regards,

Jacques.

100.jpg

Nobody does it better - than Lotus ;)

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Thanks for the detailed description Jacques, still sounds like an absolute bugger of a job.  First thing to do before starting is to gather all the bits together.  You mentioned the Alunox manifold - can you give me a couple of pointers on who can supply?  I have seen some non cast manifolds listed but they are for the Turbo cars and as mine is normally aspirated I guess they are different.  Is there an Alunox manifold available for the NA cars?

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I didn't think Alunox did the NA?

@brianc- I will get back to you mate, sorry!  Certainly over the weekend.  Lots of nasty surprises over the last 48 hours.

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

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Hi Sparky, no problem.  To be honest I'm having problems sourcing a manifold.  SJ Sportscars do a stainless one for the NA but apparently people sent them back as 'does not fit' despite the fact they were used.  So maybe they fit but rub against something.  SW Lotus do a cast manifold but apparently the flange to the downpipe is inverted so I would need to have the downpipe modified.

I have also been told that a new NA manifold is made of unobtainium anyway so my only option is used or the SW Lotus one and get a custom downpipe made.

Not having a good day!!!

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