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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi, I am new to this forum. I have a 1996 Esprit GT3 with a water leak problem. Through the chassis, there are 4 aluminium pipes carrying water from the front to the rear of the car. I am not sure what their purpose is as they are not very thick, I would say around 15-20mm diameter. One of these pipe has seriously corroded and a hole has been punched through and another one is beginning to corrode as well. From some searches I did, I understand that in order to replace these pipes, the engine has to come out, which is something I am not looking forward to, mainly because there is no Lotus Dealer in Malta who can do the job, and also because of cost considerations too. My queries are as follows:
1) What is the purpose of these pipes?
2) Would using copper pipes instead of aluminium pipes be recommended?
3) I was thinking whether it would make sense to pass these pipes from outside the chassis, ie revetting clips to the outer face of the chassis backbone and pass the pipes through them. Would this be crazy/stupid thing to do?

I would appreciate any help.

Thank you very much in advance.
 

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I think 2 are charge cooler and 2 are radiator. Are you sure they are all water/coolant? You also have 2 x oil and AC lines and power steering. You can see what all the lines are for in the parts manual. If you move the lines out side the back bone they are more vulnerable, and the aesthetics are meh. Other than that no reason I can think of. You should investigate the properties of plumbing copper, Not sure it will hold up to the movement that it will be subject to in a car? I know the old 911s had oil lines running to the front and they were some brass alloy. I would not do it. If it was temporary I would run a rubber coolant hose designed for automotive until I could change the old pipe out.
 

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Wow, a GT3, that is rare. Congrats on ownership!

As to the pipes, with that diameter and like Erik said, they are probably the 2 for engine/heater core and 2 for engine/chargecooler. All are the same part number (A082P4200F). There are also 2 larger diameter aluminum pipes for engine/radiator. You should take a close look at those as well, if the others are corroded then those could be also. What kind of coolant are you using?

The oil lines inside the chassis are hoses, not aluminum, and the steel power steering lines run under not through the chassis. AC lines run through the body sill, not chassis.

I don't think switching to copper would be harmful. After all, the radiator is copper. But I doubt there's much to be gained with a custom fabrication, plus the issues as Erik noted. And especially since the standard aluminum pipes appear to be (surprisingly) reasonable cost:

There is some info on the pipes at this thread:
Maybe the pipes could be removed from the front with radiator stack and some other parts removed, not sure.

Seems to me that moving the pipes outside the chassis would be counterproductive. You definitely don't want them under the chassis and risk scraping the ground. And running beside the central backbone would result in a hot cockpit at minimum.

Good luck with the project, and if you have a chance post some pics of your GT3. Can't think of many more scenic backdrops than Malta...🙂
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Hi Erik L. Thanks for your reply. Well Im not sure if they are all water, I know the ones that are leaking carry water, because they leak water, The good ones I dont know what they carry and since they are good, I wont be touching those. Its true what you say, that on the outside may be more vulnerable, but at the same time, If it had to break, it would be easily replaceable. As for aesthetics, it wont be visible from the underneath, except when its on the jack for maintenance, so that is not a decisive factor. I am trying to avoid having to pull out the engine.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Hi 71type65. Thanks for your reply. Yeah its quite rare, and even rarer in Malta. I use maintain fricofin by fucks, but I dont know what the previous owner used. The problem with the original pipes is that now that the UK is out of the EU, the shipping and import taxes would most likely double the cost. Regarding pulling them out, as they appear to be bent at right angles at the back, there is no way of pulling them forwards. But I have to double check this. I have not managed to see them properly from the rear. Need to remove the under tray to get better view. Also, since this appears to going to have to be a DIY project (as mentioned there are no Lotus specialists in Malta) I am trying to find a reasonable solution that can work out and yet easily mendable if its damaged again. Maybe I could also look into using stainless steel pipe instead of copper or aluminium, or just go with aluminium on the assumption that the ones I already have are the originals and have therefore lasted for 24 years. I will put up some pictures of the car when I'm home. Thanks for the advice.
 

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Wingless Wonder
1988 Esprit Turbo
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Make sure that BOTH sets of through-chassis piping are intact, and that the chargecooler and heater 'circuits' are allowing coolant flow. (No flow induces corrosion)

The chargecooler impellor pump is suspect, if not already fitted, a separate electric pump is the solution.


+++++++++++++

ISTR that if you can cut the old piping out a little at a time, you can then fit rigid piping with a hose in the middle...
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Hi carbuff. Thanks for your comment. The chargecooler doesnt get very warm but not extremely hot. I can put my hand on it and bear the heath, so that tells me that the pump is circulating the coolant - Am I assuming correctly? Regarding cutting the old pipe a little at a time and fitting flexible hose with rigid ends, I think that is a very good idea. The only problem I can foresee is that the rubber pipe will not pass through the hole in the chassis, since the rubber pipe is thicker than the alum. pipe. Having said that I need to first remove the grommet that holds the pipe isolated from the steel chassis to check the actual width of the chassis hole.
 

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She's a beauty for sure. 👍 I like the carbon trim on the rear panel, do you know if it's an overlay or an aftermarket part?

Must be interesting to live in such a historic/exotic locale. I've haven't been to Malta (yet) but I've visited Gibraltar and that's what it always makes me think of. Driving that car you are the closest we have in this group to James Bond on Sardinia. 😀

BTW unless your car is modified those pipes should be straight tubes, no curves. Rubber hoses attach at either end. They are item #15 in the upper dwg (heater) and #16 in the lower (chargecooler).
1290939

PS/edit: GT3 engine bay heater hoses are items #28 and 29 in the upper left with their attendant parts. Ignore items #16 and 17 with associated parts on the dwg, those are for V8.
 

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Wingless Wonder
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The only problem I can foresee is that the rubber pipe will not pass through the hole in the chassis,
The rubber section can be attached/accessed via the shifter area. For that matter, you might be able to insert a length of hose there and use the existing pipe, once cut.

If you join a coolant hose on a pipe without the flared end, be sure to double-clamp it (and use Blue Hylomar to help seal...a non-hardening sealer).


++++++++++++++++


Good news about your chargecooler temp...the impellers are a known problem area.

EDIT: Some owners have given up and attached the coolant pipes underneath the backbone.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
She's a beauty for sure. 👍 I like the carbon trim on the rear panel, do you know if it's an overlay or an aftermarket part?

Must be interesting to live in such a historic/exotic locale. I've haven't been to Malta (yet) but I've visited Gibraltar and that's what it always makes me think of. Driving that car you are the closest we have in this group to James Bond on Sardinia. 😀

BTW unless your car is modified those pipes should be straight tubes, no curves. Rubber hoses attach at either end. They are item #15 in the upper dwg (heater) and #16 in the lower (chargecooler).
View attachment 1290939
PS/edit: GT3 engine bay heater hoses are items #28 and 29 in the upper left with their attendant parts. Ignore items #16 and 17 with associated parts on the dwg, those are for V8.
Hi, the carbon trim is just a sticker, not real carbon. It was added by the previous owner. And thanks a lot for the diagrams
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
The rubber section can be attached/accessed via the shifter area. For that matter, you might be able to insert a length of hose there and use the existing pipe, once cut.

If you join a coolant hose on a pipe without the flared end, be sure to double-clamp it (and use Blue Hylomar to help seal...a non-hardening sealer).


++++++++++++++++


Good news about your chargecooler temp...the impellers are a known problem area.

EDIT: Some owners have given up and attached the coolant pipes underneath the backbone.
Thanks for the tip. Yeah, in fact I had the same idea to just pass the pipes from underneath the backbone instead of through it. I wasn't sure if it would have made sense, but now that you say others have done it already, I think its the easiest way of going about it.
 

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@71type65 You have a picture of the undercarriage on your V8?
Yellow arrows indicate the heater pipes at the chassis fwd end, with the adjacent PS lines. I assume the red plugs are where the chargecooler pipes would run on an I4. Blue arrows indicate the rubber hose attached to the RH heater pipe at the aft (engine bay) end. LH heater pipe is hidden behind the 2 oil hoses, circled in blue. Engine/radiator main coolant pipes are at the top in that pic. PS lines running under LH side of chassis backbone are circled in red.
1291037

1291038

Looks to me like those heater pipes will not come out the front because they would hit a chassis crossbrace, engine out might be the way to go. I'm tempted to volunteer to assist, would love to visit Malta 😁.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Yellow arrows indicate the heater pipes at the chassis fwd end, with the adjacent PS lines. I assume the red plugs are where the chargecooler pipes would run on an I4. Blue arrows indicate the rubber hose attached to the RH heater pipe at the aft (engine bay) end. LH heater pipe is hidden behind the 2 oil hoses, circled in blue. Engine/radiator main coolant pipes are at the top in that pic. PS lines running under LH side of chassis backbone are circled in red.
View attachment 1291037
View attachment 1291038
Looks to me like those heater pipes will not come out the front because they would hit a chassis crossbrace, engine out might be the way to go. I'm tempted to volunteer to assist, would love to visit Malta 😁.
Hahaha, you are more than welcome to come visit. Although now may not be the best time. We are experiencing a heat wave with temperatures exceeding 40 degrees celsius. Might want to come in a refrigerated truck rather than an aeroplane. Jokes aside, thanks for the pictures. Mine is a bit different, I have four equal diameter pipes going through the backbone. I dont know why in the pictures you send me two of the holes are plugged, becasue they dont appear to be passing from underneath either. Also, I dont have that centre thinner-diameter pipe shown in pic 2. I certainly dont fancy dimsantling half a car, be it from the front or the rear, so I am going to do my utmost effort to simply bypass them from underneath the back bone, next to the pipes circled in red. Necessity is the mother of invention they say haha
 

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Hahaha, you are more than welcome to come visit. ...Mine is a bit different, I have four equal diameter pipes going through the backbone. I dont know why in the pictures you send me two of the holes are plugged, becasue they dont appear to be passing from underneath either. Also, I dont have that centre thinner-diameter pipe shown in pic 2. I certainly dont fancy dimsantling half a car, be it from the front or the rear, so I am going to do my utmost effort to simply bypass them from underneath the back bone, next to the pipes circled in red. Necessity is the mother of invention they say haha
Thanks, maybe I'll make it over there one day.

Your GT3 is an I4 engine and the pics are a V8 model. The 2 pipes missing from the pics would be for the I4 chargecooler, which the V8 doesn't have, hence the chassis holes for those pipes are plugged in the pics, as noted above.

IIRC the smaller dia center pipe is vacuum supply to the power brake booster. Again, the pics are a V8 model but the parts manual doesn't seem to indicate any differences in that area for the GT3 specifically (it does list a different master cyl assy for pre-98 MY). Maybe your car has a mod or different brake system. If you can post some pics of your master cylinder and associated parts in the front trunk that might help sort it out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Thanks, maybe I'll make it over there one day.

Your GT3 is an I4 engine and the pics are a V8 model. The 2 pipes missing from the pics would be for the I4 chargecooler, which the V8 doesn't have, hence the chassis holes for those pipes are plugged in the pics, as noted above.

IIRC the smaller dia center pipe is vacuum supply to the power brake booster. Again, the pics are a V8 model but the parts manual doesn't seem to indicate any differences in that area for the GT3 specifically (it does list a different master cyl assy for pre-98 MY). Maybe your car has a mod or different brake system. If you can post some pics of your master cylinder and associated parts in the front trunk that might help sort it out.
Ohh Ok. I didnt realise it was in relation to the V8 model. I'll try take some pictures of the master cylinder later on. At the moment its on a four post jack and a bit difficult to get to the bonnet
 

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Ohh Ok. I didnt realise it was in relation to the V8 model. I'll try take some pictures of the master cylinder later on. At the moment its on a four post jack and a bit difficult to get to the bonnet
Ah, very good that you have that capability. Pics of the undercarriage would be interesting as well if you have a chance, especially since it's rare to see a GT3. Plus we're pic centric on this site...LOL 😁.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Ah, very good that you have that capability. Pics of the undercarriage would be interesting as well if you have a chance, especially since it's rare to see a GT3. Plus we're pic centric on this site...LOL 😁.
Haha I'm the odd one out then. Haven' t taken any pictures since 2015 when I first got it. I figured now that its in my garage, I can look at it whenever I like. No photos required lol. I will try get some more pics up but to keep up with the forum spirit.
 
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