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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
There has been an ongoing series of videos on youtube where a mechanic channel by the name of Car Wizard is working on a 1995 Esprit S4S and today there is a current progress video released where the owner of the car is actually featured in the video. That car owner's name is "Bill" and he seems to have an ongoing re-occurring problem with head gaskets and states in the video that he thinks the Esprit engine is "fragile" because with 80K on the engine he had had four different tear downs of the engine for various head gasket related issues.

The video can be found at:

Parts finally arrived for '95 Lotus Esprit S4S! The CAR WIZARD goes over next steps to major overall

I wonder if all of the previous mechanics are skipping the step of checking the height of the cylinder liners above the block
BTW, they show all of the parts they have received from SJ Sportscars but they do not seem to have ordered any upgraded head studs.
 

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Sounds definitely like incorrectly rebuilt engine- 4 times in 80K miles? MY late 88 had 80K miles (50K miles by me) and never had a head gasket issue. My current 87 has 78K miles (9K by me) and to my knowledge has never had its head removed. That's the sad part - Esprit is so old the 'tribal knowledge' is required to keep it built correctly.
 

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You would think someone would consult "THE MANUAL". It IS something that guys are accused of ...not reading directions! :rolleyes: The 910 is unusual in it's construction. So Lotus gets a bad reputation .
 

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I should have watched the video before commenting. I remember now seeing a previous video of the "wizard" (mechanic), saying that he asked the owner of the car what the boost pressure was before it blew, and he responded that he wasn't sure and didn't know and was rather evasive. The wizard then said that it was "obviously over boosted". Then they blame the engine design? This video mentions that it's not an original size turbo either. WOW!
 

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The owner admitted to doing a lot of his own work. That can be part of the problem if he didn't do things right. He also admitted to changing the turbo and the "fuel system". Only guessing on this but he probably chipped the car too. Hard to blame the design if you modified things. As for the multiple head gasket failures, IMHO more of an assembly problem or overheat problem than overboost but that can certainly be a part of it. Putting in a gauge won't help because by the time you realize you over-boosted, the damage is done. Because they KNOW this is a repeat failure (and they "improved" the turbo and fuel system) they need to pay special attention to the "nip" and as a previous poster noted, use upgraded head studs. With over 60,000 miles on this motor (they are on the third timing belt) the motor should be pulled and gone over carefully. I guess we will see how good the Wizard is if he can keep the head gasket from popping again. My suggestion to the Wizard would be to drop the radiator and make sure the cooling system is working as well as it can. We all know how well the car can vacuum the road and how bad it can get between the radiator and the condenser coils.
David Teitelbaum
 

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Yeah, the wizard is a brilliant mechanic but not sure he has the experience to work on an Esprit internal motor? Does he likely have the factory service notes?

I think he said in the video the motor was completely re-built previously, but as stated above maybe done incorrectly.
 

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Careful What You Say Boys, the owner of that S4s shows up here occasionally. 🤨

The head gasket failure was in the same place (bottom of #4 cylinder) that many other replacement gaskets have failed.Did ALL those mechanics do it wrong? 🥴
 

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Discussion Starter #9
If the owner does stop by here occasionally then he should know someone here is going to call him out (pistols at dawn) for calling the Esprit engine fragile in the video.
Also I have not been impressed since the Car Wizard has another video where he rates my daily driver Jaguar XJ40 sedan as an undesirable do-not-buy Jaguar for very dubious reasons.
 

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Atwood,

Please clear this up for me:

The head gasket failure was in the same place (bottom of #4 cylinder)

Bottom of #4?? Do you mean at the exhaust side of the cylinder or some other spot. If the intake side is 12 o'clock, this would be at 6 o'clock. Right?
 

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I was thinking about this some more. If the problem was overboost wouldn't it be expected to crack the lands between the piston rings? A head gasket failure is more often due to an overheat condition or not getting the nip right. To fix (set) the nip requires removing the liner to put the correct size seal in and that means pulling the piston and that means dropping the crankcase and that means pulling the motor. Of course it is a whole lot easier to just replace the head gasket and blame it for the failure and hope the car doesn't come back. After all of these failures it is time to examine the car more deeply in an effort to find the true cause of these multiple failures. Just replacing the head gasket and "crossing your fingers" is not a good plan.
David Teitelbaum
 
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