Sorry for the silence guys - Been a bit busy with Lotus 2011 (our biennial National Lotus Meet over Easter) and since then preparing the car further.
Apart from the suspension (all new bushes, balljoints and steering rod ends, rebuilt and resprung Nitron shocks) I then took the front clam off (first time in 12 years !!) and fitted the new alloy capped radiator (which had been sitting on the bench for several years waiting for the original plastic cap unit to leak, which it won't ever get the chance to do now !!) and new fan and new silicone rad hoses. Also fitted a nice set of airhorns so the RV's and trucks on the Dalton Hiway can hear me even if they can't see me !! They are that loud I nearly had a heart attack first time I used them as I had forgotten I had fitted them !! Mended all the lower front clam damage suffered over the years, and took all the headlights out and cleaned up and de rusted the mounting brackets etc, and also fitted a new windscreen as my original was peppered with gravel rash and getting hard to see out of when driving into sun. (Once again, new windscreen had been under my bed for a few years, waiting for the broken windscreen that never happened !!) Also did some fettling to the springs in the wiper blade to pull the blade onto the screen slightly harder, improving the "wipe". While in the front, cleaned up all the heating unit, and ancilliaries, and ended up fitting a new heater fan as the fan speed resistors had become so brittle one actually broke while I was handling it. Also fitted a new battery while I was in there, and changed all the screws and bolts to stainless. If nothing else, I now feel totally confident that if I have to replace ANYTHING on the front end, I can now do it relatively easily on the road with the few key tools I will be carrying. I am certainly not scared of anything breaking and me not being able to fix it now.
Currently the rear clam is off, and the engine being refurbed - Engine is one thing I don't trust myself with, but happy to do it if I HAVE to !! And am I glad we took the engine out and took the head off. Found exhaust gasket shot and leaking (luckily found before it caused any head or valve damage), and a tiniest coolant leak when the head gasket would have let go in due course. Cylinders all good. Head lightly skimmed to ensure it was flat, and fitted a new MLS gasket plus the new bottom engine oil rail, without which has now been found to be the cause of MLS gaskets failing (like mine was about to !) so that should take care of that. New through bolts of course. Took off the water pump and found the bearings were shot and it had a tiny leak, so that was replaced. Also fitted a remote thermostat (PRRT) which on the Rover K series is designed to reduce the thermal shock of water temp changes caused by the original thermostat location, and also fitted a second bracket which minimises movement of the clutch master cylinder which has been known to cause metal fatigue failure on the original mounting. And of course new cam and alterrnator belts as a matter of course. Also fitted a new clutch and throw out bearing - Interestingly after 11 years and 50,000 miles, including a LOT of standing starts as my hobby is Hill Climbs and Autokhanas (Solo to you, I think ?) as well as numerous trackdays, the clutch was still OK (although needed replacing soon) but the throw out bearing was totally shot, and could have gone at any time !!
All work now completed, and engine run up no problems, and in the next day or so I will be putting the rear clam back on.
And have decided to run Yokohama Advan Neova AD08 tyres - Good wear rating (190, vs about 60 for a road legal sticky tyre, or about 400 for a "normal" road tyre. So far am very impressed with them, and they have relatively deep treads, so hoping a new set will last for the whole US trip.
So the car is virtually ready !! Now fiddling inside. Having a box made that will fit down in the front of the passenger footwell that will replace the original footrest, but will be taller, enclosed, and have a lockable front/ As this will be bolted in, it will be a safe spot for passports, and other important papers ! Also having the boot box (that will fit on my boot rack) designed at the moment, and have full Australian sheepskin seat covers made up for a little more warmth and comfort. Have also found some tremendous click-on brackets in Europe that fit on an S1 dash and to which you can mount iPods / phones etc They solve an old problem regarding storage space for a phone, especially since mine must be in line of sight as I am as deaf as a post, especially when the roof is off and my music is playing loudly ! And my new stereo and speakers are unbelievable - Could never hear it before, now everyone else on the freeway is also listening to my music !! (Heavy Moody Blues fan !!)
Now looking to ship the car in January 2012, with me to meet it in LA in late Feb 2012. I then have until late May to get to Seattle, so it will all depend on your next winter - If it is anything like your US winter just gone, I may be sitting in a lot of bars waiting for snow to melt !!
In 3 weeks I am off on a holiday / business trip to Seattle (will be checking on camping equipment etc !) and then on to Europe and West Africa for a couple of months, before getting back to Aus in September, and making the final preparations for the trip. I am SO ready to hit the road - This time next year I should be well up into the Yukon by now, and pushing into Alaska - weather permitting !!
Will update this as more details become available.