The Lotus Cars Community banner

1 - 20 of 153 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
163 Posts
Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
This thread will follow the trials and tribulations of getting a fire-damaged S1 back on the street.

The origins of this car is discussed in another thread here: http://www.lotustalk.com/forums/f164/esprit-series-1-sad-274657/

I am the buyer of said fire-damaged car. This is her new home, at least for a while. The car on the left is my 1979 Lotus Esprit S2 JPS 24. Charro has displaced my 73 Mustang convertible to the other garage.



My purpose in this thread is to help those that might find themselves doing some of these tasks, or just are interested in what is required to restore an Esprit.

I originally bought this car with the intention of making her into a convertible, like the St. Tropez cars produced in the early 1980s out of Turbo Esprits. Convertibles are in my blood. In all the old family pictures, there's always a convertible or two in the background. When Charro got to me in Orlando from Michigan, I discovered that the body wasn't too badly damaged, and I couldn't see myself removing good fiberglass to do my project. However, if you have a fire-damaged Esprit tucked away in a barn somewhere, maybe we can talk.

From the opening, let me clarify something. I am NOT restoring this car, as one thinks of restoring a car to factory original. The costs involved with that would be huge, and there is just not a payback on that. Instead, this is a recommissioning. I want to get the car back on the road, and make it a reliable driver. I have owned my JPS for over 25 years, and have fixed just about everything at one point r another. That car requires that things be done to a particular standard, the way it was done from the factory. Charro, on the other hand, doesn't require the same standard. For instance, the rear glass is not available, and engine covers are difficult to find and expensive. Getting all the bits and pieces to put the glass back in, with trim, and engine cover, with an air box, ducting, blower motors, etc. would be a huge financial hit. However, putting in a set of louvres donated from another Esprit owner and leaving the engine bay partially finished seems like a better way to do things.

Strap in. It's going to be a long voyage....

Bill
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
163 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Of course, one of the first tasks was to clean up all the glass from the engine bay, along with everything else that was burnt. That was about an 8 hour task. The little pieces of glass were EVERYWHERE. I am writing this 5 months after I cleaned her up, and I found another little piece of glass on the driveway today.



She actually was in pretty decent condition (okay, except for all the fire damage). The previous owner (PO) had taken pretty good care of her. He started her up a couple times a week in the winter in Michigan, and she saw a mechanic on a regular basis.

 

·
Registered
Joined
·
163 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
The fire had damaged obviously a lot of things in the engine bay, destroyed the engine cover, broke the bulkhead, rear hatch, and rear quarter windows. The interior suffered a little damage. The bulkhead is charred, but appears to be relatively intact.



 

·
Registered
Joined
·
163 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
The carbs were completely toasted. there were melted pieces of aluminum that had dripped onto the engine. One would think they were beyond repair. More on that story later:

 

·
Registered
Joined
·
163 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
I decided that the best thing to do was to remove the body. I was going to be spending a LOT of time turning wrenches (sorry, SPANNERS) on the engine, and had to repair the wiring harness. This was a VERY wise decision. Yes, that picture was taken Christmas Eve, and the garage door was open.



I found very little information available on the net about how to take the body off, like a step-by-step procedure. So, I wrote one. You can find it here:

http://www.holycows.net/LotusTutorials/BodyRemoval.pdf

It took me about 10 hours to get the body off. However with this guide, I think it could be done in maybe 3 hours. It really helped that I have a MaxJax two-post lift. It certainly made it easy to get the body off the car and onto a Harbor Freight trailer that has served me well.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
163 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
This was the front of the engine. Note that the timing belt had been reduced to a couple of strings. I was able to still turn the engine over slightly to get it to Top Dead Center (TDC).



 

·
Registered
Joined
·
163 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
I had to get a timing belt onto the engine, and get a couple things resolved, so that I could run a compression check, just to see if I was going to have to take the head off. I was expecting to have to, but a compression check was a good idea. I got the engine reassembled enough to do that, and decided to record a video on how to install a timing belt. It's difficult with the body on, but pretty easy with the body off. I could not have recorded a video with the body on.

http://www.holycows.net/LotusTutorials/907CamBeltInstallation.mp4
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
163 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
Once I got the timing belt on, I found out that the compression SUCKED (wait, that doesn't make sense. Head had to come off. Inside, I found what looked to be quite a mess




Amazingly though, a lot of this stuff just wiped out of there with a paper towel. I'm not sure what caused it, but it came out of there like chocolate pudding (although didn't taste like it).

Still, as long as the head was off, I wanted to clean up the intake and exhaust ports and the valves, so they had to come out.



They have been cleaned up and the head is ready to go back on.... eventually.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
163 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
I rebuilt the water pump. This was typical of the stuff tht I wanted to do. It might not have needed it, but it was a simple thing for me to do since it was already out. The next owner of Charro won't have to worry about this for many years.

 

·
Registered
Joined
·
163 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
The valve covers were pretty nasty looking, so they wee glass-bead blasted and repainted with crinkle-finish paint. That was a really satisfying job, and came out looking great.


 

·
Registered
Joined
·
163 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
While refurbing the coolant pipe that houses the fan switch, an abnormality was discovered.



The original Lotus part is a push-in bulb, that leaked. Lotuses solution was to safety-wire the bulb in. Apparently, someone along the way solved the problem in a better way. This port was weled into the aluminum pipe, which accepted an 18mm threaded fans switch, such as found on Saabs and some other cars of the day. An appropriate switch was sourced.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,240 Posts
As we say in the South, "Bless your heart"

Fighting the good fight.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
163 Posts
Discussion Starter #15
Thanks for the nice words. Others have graciously contributed parts and labor to this project, and I am thankful to them. I won't call them out by name, because they might not want the attention.

Oh, and the link for the video is fixed. Sorry about that.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
460 Posts
You have my respect, but I don't know where this lands between courage and crazy! That heat damaged body might be good money and effort going after bad. Clearly you know what you're doing!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
163 Posts
Discussion Starter #18
You have my respect, but I don't know where this lands between courage and crazy! That heat damaged body might be good money and effort going after bad. Clearly you know what you're doing!
CLEARLY??? I'll accept a combination of courage and crazy. No, it's an adventure. My investment is pretty safe, as if I run into the impossible, I can always part her out and reclaim any money invested. I'd rather not do that.

I will try to draw a map, so that others may follow... or not.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
163 Posts
Discussion Starter #19
Always good to get out to 'the shed and turn some spanners". I removed the rear springs and original shocks over the weekend, painted the springs and replaced the shocks with some gently used Spax units. The green and yellow stripes were repainted as well, having dozens of hours researching the exact color, and spending hundreds of dollars for a color spectrum analysis of the paint chips (okay, maybe not so much), I came up with the exact color that it originally had. They are called "living room green" and "garage door yellow". The green wasn't close, but the yellow was pretty close.





Nice to start putting parts back on for a change.
 
1 - 20 of 153 Posts
Top