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Yesterday was one of the best days of my life.

I started the day off at 3:56am. I intended to drive up to Fremont, CA from Los Angeles, CA (about a 300mi drive) to make a 10am appointment to saran wrap Lola. Tired, I had no idea what miseries were in store for me. About 50 miles outside of Los Angeles, I noticed Lola suddenly struggle. I smelled something burning and immediately pulled over. Just missing an exit ramp to get off the interstate, I drove the wrong way down an entrance ramp in order to get off the highway. When I pulled over, she seemed fine. Good boost. Good oil pressure. Everything seemed right. Perhaps I was just tired. So I carried on.

I stopped a few times for breaks and to pick up a 24oz cup of coffee. Ah, the breakfast of champions! Most of the highway was flat with some minor mountain passes. No worries. Lola happily cruised between 80 and 100. She has strong legs to match her shapely body. I then pulled off to a smaller connecting highway where my troubles began. A mere 60miles from my destination, I saw large plumes of smoke coming from behind me. The smoke seemed to get worse when the turbo was activated so I downshifted to keep my revs and power up while climbing mountains. That worked for a few miles. Worried this was a blown headgasket, I pulled over to a store and immediately called Harry Applyby at Viking MotorSports. Though worried, he instructed me to add oil and make it to my destination to diagnose the problem there. . .a 40mile goal I'd never reach.

She stubled along a bit more. Again, thinking it was a headgasket, I pulled over into the sprawling metropolis of Gilroy, CA (proclaimed the garlic capitol of the universe by Doug). I stopped at a filling station to ask for directions to a mechanic. I proceeded the 2miles to find the mechanic. I never made it.

As I pulled off the highway, Lola stopped on the exit ramp. I turned her ignition. Nothing. Cars were behind me. A semi (that's a lorry in American-speak) was behind me. I quickly got out and waved everyone passed me, forgetting 1) I could get run over, 2) turn on those hazard lights! Thank goodness Lola's svelte. I started to push her to the side of the exit ramp. In my excitement, I forgot it might have been easier to push her and steer with the window down. Yes, I was tired. A gentleman in another semi got out and pushed her while I handled the wheel.

I then walked the half mile and found the mechanic. At first, we tried to arrange for a wrecker to pull her into the garage, but I refused to allow Lola onto anything but a flatbed truck. Waiting for about 30minutes, I went back to Lola to see if she'd start. After some hesitation, she did, and I drove her to the mechanic.

Mind you, I'm still thinking the problem is a blown headgasket. My mind was thinking of plans on how to get a new motor in her or to have this one rebuilt. How long was this going to take? Will she need to be rebored? Just how much time can I take off from work? The only thing that stopped me from panicking was knowing that this was a problem that could be solved by throwing money at it. We could fix the problem, and she'd be fine one way or another.

Once I got her to the mechanic, I started to call and text everyone in the area. LGM and Ekapol. Doug is quite a bit further up north. I called Harry to ask him for diagnosis. We kicked around a few ideas. Harry seemed to think it might have been a knackered oil filter since I mistakenly thought the oil pressure was too high. I still believed the worst and thought headgasket. After quite some time, finally, a bit of good news; the mechanics Tim and Duong showed me where the turbo was leaking oil. They speculated oil was travelling from the turbo into the head. Previously, I had noticed oil dripping from the left side of the car. If it had been an issue of the oil filter, wouldn't it have been on the right side?

I was texting Doug, LGM, and Nitroman for their thoughts and advice on the turbo. LGM called me to suggest I look at the PVC valve and that other filter above the CAS. Ok. The mechanics and I went to it. We cleaned them out. We changed the oil. With the trash-can air filter out, we cranked her up on a dyno. Oil spewed out whenever the BOV released. Not the kind of woosh I hoped to see. Now we knew everything. Oil had gone through the turbo, up the intake, into the head. Lola wouldn't stalled out earlier because too much oil had covered her spark plugs so she couldn't spark. The cause of the problem must be a leaky turbo seal. All we had to do was find a kit to rebuild the turbo. Easy, right?

Nothing Lotus ever is.

As I called and texted Doug, Harry, LGM, and Nitroman, the mechanic called around to find a used IHI turbo. You might have guessed no turbo could be found, though the mechanic found someone who could rebuild it - the parts would take 3 days to arrive. . .maybe. Assuming the kit fit. I'm not sure if to reassure me or Lola, but I patted her door while she was on the lift and promised her she was going to be just fine. We'd take care of her now.

Then I had this bright idea. Perhaps LGM still had an unshipped Greddy turbo kit. Perhaps I could persuade one of you gents to allow me to take delivery of that turbo, and I would make up the difference for any added expense to get another kit put together to make you whole. As I kicked this around, Doug suggested that Ekapol or LGM might still have an IHI turbo lying around. Goodness, I couldn't ask that of anyone. And then Ekapol called. . .to let me know I was welcome to his IHI turbo. A little while later, LGM suggested she could install it.

And people wonder why we had to replace Rita when she passed away. And why we got Betty ('05 SY Elise). Until tomorrow, I will never have met LGM nor Ekapol. And yet, people I have never met are so willing to part with their treasure and time to help me. Over time, I have discovered the extraordinary generousity is commonplace in the Lotus family. We seem to be a giving lot when faced with another's adversity. We are all bound together in this Fellowship of Joy and Misery, some of our own doing, some of our cars. Yet we travel this path together, helping each other along the way, knowing it could have been us who needed the hand.

Consider that our first reaction to trouble is likely to be a fellow Lotus owner in general and another Elaner specifically. Consider how extraordinary it is for us not to consider a dealer as our primary source for assistance. Consider the fellowship Ferrari owners will never know, even if they could understand.

We are a happy lot. We let random kids sit in our cars. We enjoy our cars not as museum pieces but as cars. These mechanical beasts have no souls when they sit, yet they develop souls as we and others enjoy them.We give them souls. I like to think of our Loti as our velveteen rabbits. The more people enjoy them, the more they becaome alive. How selfish it would be of us to hoard the joy we know to ourselves when others may smile with us.

I tried to explain the Lotus experience to my sister once. My wife told her she gets thumbs up from random strangers. Kids in our neighborhood cheer as she drives past them. You may awe at an Italian, but you smile with a Lotus. My sister admits she still doesn't get it. It's ok. My nephew seems to be a quick study.

So, at LGM's suggestion, I told the mechanics to undo the wastegate but leave the oil line on. With the oil running, the turbo would survive. With the wastegate undone, Lola would spew less oil into the head and thus not smoke as much. A bandaged Lola limped the remaining 40 miles to Fremont where she sits in the parking lot of a Hyatt Place, waiting for a turbo transplant. Doug just text me he'd grab a spanner tomorrow afternoon. I hope he likes scotch.

I walked from a Korean restaurant about a mile away from the hotel. It was one of the best meals of my life. Yes, the food was excellent. Over dinner, I had time to reflect upon today. Little sleep. Little food. A lot of fear. More anxiety. Some caffeine. Nothing today worked out as expected, and yet, it could not have come out any better.
 

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Fubar1764,

Is Lola an M100? There's lots of help in the Bay Area.

The Hyatt Place is pretty close to Dietsch Werks, perhaps Rob can be of some help.

I'm about 20 min from you so let us know if we can help.

Cheers,
Kiyoshi
 

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Chunky wouldn't be pleased...

Chapman would be spinning in his grave if he knew you named your cars 'Lola.' That's like a Ferrari named 'Lambo.'

After all, Lola beat out Lotus for the contract with Ford for what eventually became the Ford GT40.
 

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:crazyeyes:crazyeyes:no::no:You can't call your Lotus "Lola". Lola is another company that makes race cars and in fact was a competitor of Lotus in years past and probably still is on the engineering front.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
The missus named her. Unless you're just so brimming with wifestock and I can pick the main filly in your herd, the name sticks! rotfl

Kyoshi, thanks for the offer. Several Lotus Elan Central folks wrenched all night to help put her back to fighting form. She's still having issues, so we're back at it tomorrow. Let me tell ya, "Lola" or not, Loti are the only exotics to own. . .except for the Ford GT. . .I'm thinking that's going to be our next sports car purchase, many many years from now. :)
 

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This is America Herr Snowbackian!

:crazyeyes:crazyeyes:no::no:You can't call your Lotus "Lola". Lola is another company that makes race cars and in fact was a competitor of Lotus in years past and probably still is on the engineering front.
We can call out cars anything we damn well please. ;)

This Fubar on the freeways the other day? He was dong good for a spell there.

YouTube - TXH 1138 - Lola T70 Mk III


:cool:
 

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The missus named her. Unless you're just so brimming with wifestock and I can pick the main filly in your herd, the name sticks! rotfl

Kyoshi, thanks for the offer. Several Lotus Elan Central folks wrenched all night to help put her back to fighting form. She's still having issues, so we're back at it tomorrow. Let me tell ya, "Lola" or not, Loti are the only exotics to own. . .except for the Ford GT. . .I'm thinking that's going to be our next sports car purchase, many many years from now. :)
If the missus names her than that's ok. Gotta keep her happy.
 

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what the hell was that.. lol.. movie? some one just made that? i wanna see more..

oh yea OP, happy your getting her taken care of... sucks to see that smoke behind you.. i've gone through it twice..
 

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Kyoshi, thanks for the offer. Several Lotus Elan Central folks wrenched all night to help put her back to fighting form. She's still having issues, so we're back at it tomorrow.
Okay. Let us know if you need any more help. There are a lot of resources in the area. And, yes the Doug and the other Lotus Central folks are awesome! :clap:

Cheers,
Kiyoshi
 

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Discussion Starter #13
And the saga continues. . .posted this on LEC last night.

Well, let me first say that LGM has bigger balls than me. That's right. Those of you who know me, know I'm not one to mince words. I have a healthy respect and disrespect for myself. I've told many folks, I have balls the size of bus tires. LGM's are bigger. You know the tracks on that crawler that sends the space shuttle to the launch pad? That would be about half the size. Huge. Think of a B-52 airbase. That's about right.

With a wrench, she's doing things that makes me cry like a little girl. A couple of times, she told me, "Come on, you're losing to a girl!" Yeah, a girl with balls the size of Sand Crawlers. Things that make her grunt make me scream because my hymen just got torn.

When I got to Ekapol's place, Lola (Doug, Rita was the old car. . .btw, folks on LotusTalk tell me I can't name her "Lola" as they were a competitor to Lotus. I respond that when someone has plenty of wivestock and I can pick the main filly in the herd, they can rename Lola.) smoked everywhere. LGM already had her roll of tools out. She attacked it like banshee. I've been told I make coffee nervous; I'm telling you LGM makes methamphetamines nervous. I tried to do something, anything to scape some scrap of usefulness out of myself. She stopped for a moment to say, "Just sit back and enjoy the show." I hung my head in shame.

So, I went out to get brake cleaning fluid. Ah yes, the chicken soup of the automotive world. Doug drove. Six cans? Can't hurt, I thought. And apparently it was a good idea since Ekapol used some of it to clean off his driveway this morning! We delivered shop towels, brake cleaning fluid, etc. And I was back to my useless state. How about food? Yes, food is always a good. The power of the donut!

LGM ate. Before I could finish eating, she had removed something else that I couldn't identify. "See, we need to remove the plenum to get to the hose that connects the clavicle to the reduction skillet." Gesundheit. Well, back to holding the shattered pieces of what I thought was my manhood. I'd try to ask a question or something to figure out what was happening. At one point, I think I asked LGM why the huge hurry. "I want to get as much done before (sun)light disappears." Oh yeah. Good idea. I was just about to say that. :oops:

Think of Han Solo in the Empire Strikes Back. You know, the scene where Imperial Storm troopers are barging into the rebel base on Hoth. LGM is Han Solo - in a hurry, going to save your butt. Ekapol is Chewie - trusty sidekick, knows what to do and when to do it. Doug is Luke - there's no story without Luke, we wouldn't have our Elaning adventures without Doug putting together LEC. Me, well. . .I'm C3PO - lost, clueless, no penis.

And that was pretty much the entire evening. Luke went off to go see his Jedi Master in Santa Rosa (except she's not wrinkled nor green). Han still knows what he's doing. Chewie's still doing his thing. I'm just there for the ride, hoping I don't pee oil in my golden trousers. Ooops, can you show me the nearest laundry-mat?

Somewhere in the night, I get around to getting underneath Lola and tightening two (yes, TWO!) bolts! Yes, the hair on my balls WILL sprout just as soon as they drop! And then somewhere in the night, I was so tired, I nearly pass out. I think it was right before I remove those two bolts. Let me define pass out - vertigo, confusion, nearly laying head on the ground in an uncontrolled manner. LGM is still turning wrenches. I offer her a drink of water. She bites the neck of the bottle, tosses the water back, gulps, spits the bottle back to me. I'm sure she drinks her whiskey the same way. Meanwhile, I'm tired, cold, and about to buckle.

I ask Ekapol to let me into his place so I can rest. I dream strange dreams. I hear a motor start and run. I hear revving and idling. Please, don't wake up. Let the dream be the only reality I know. And I woke up. "Car's ready." It's 11:48am. We, and by "we", I mean Ekapol and LGM with me in the critical role of "spectator," started working on the car around 5:30pm.

We're still not quite done. Some smoking is happening. We've cut the smoking down by about 80%. Thirty miles of driving only burns up about a pint of oil. That's progress! Seriously, it is progress, it was that bad. Ekapol's old turbo's in Lola now. We're going to flesh out what else we can do on Lola tomorrow.

I'll post some pictures just as soon as I can find a set of prosthetic balls.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
And the latest:

Need a valve job. Basically, the DPO left the car sitting around. Without any lube, the metal bonded. Ouch. Compression tested the car. Bad compression from 3 of 4 cylinders. Spec is 120psi. I got 90, 90, and 97. Not good.

Off to get a valve job tomorrow. Will keep everyone posted.
 

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*phew* wow. What a story, but I love how communities can come together like this. I ended up with two of my closest friends after a story similar to this, stranded far from home dependent on the generosity of others. I'd known them already when the ordeal began, but other than that, it felt very similar.

... and yes, I felt like C3PO as well. :) I'm much better now, but I was well-nigh useless back in the day.
 
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