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Discussion Starter #1
Are there some good semi-step-by-step directions for dropping the radiator out of a 1990 Lotus Esprit? The radiator in my wrecked Esprit needs to come out so I can repair the damage to the fans and radiator from the wreck. I am looking at the photos posted today of the radiator & chargecooler stuff and it got me to thinking about how this assembly is supposed to come out of the car.

Anything around anywhere?
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Steve
 

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you really just remove the oil cooler ducts, loosen (remove one top bolt) and swivel the oil coolers out of the way, and then drop the entire fiberglass shroud with the 3 radiators complete. The oil coolers stay up and attached to the car.

I think i also removed my air horns and part of my fog lights to give the shroud room.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Well everything on the right hand side of the car including the oil cooler, ducts, and one third of the lower valence are already removed from the car. Also I have the sway bar off the car already as well. So I guess I just have to work on the ducts and cooler on the driver's side of the car then.

What holds the fiberglass radiator shroud up? Just a series of bolts along the sides or what? If so what do these bolts screw into? Captive nuts or regular nuts that are inside the front trunk somewhere?
 

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My car is an '87 G so I'm not sure how similar they are. But for any G-Car owners reomve the oil cooler and A/C condensor, the hoses should have enough slack to swing them aside. Disconnect coolant hoses, fan grounds, etc. Loosen the bolts in the bonnet, around the head lamp pods and a little farther back, they're not hidden. Be sure to have a floor jack under the "pod" assembly because it is very heavy. After you've removed the bolts lower the pod and pull it out.
 

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Steven,

There are 3 bolts on either end of the radiator duct assembly that are bolted through the body. You have to access the nuts underneath and the bolts from inside the front storage area under the bonnet. On the left side they are kind of under the abs pump and the fuse/relay bar. Similar locations on the right side. They are a bit of a pain to get to on the top side. I usually unbolt the abs pump so I can move it enough to get my hands under it.

There are also the two y-shaped metal braces bolted on from underneath.

The assembly is fairly heavy so have some support or an extra pair of hands when you drop it.

Don't forget to disconnect the fan wiring and if you're going to remove it completely, you'll need to disconnect the coolant lines for the cc and refrigerant lines for the condenser once you drop it enough to access them.

Jim
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
Yeah, the y-shaped braces were somewhat tore up during the wreck so I already have those off of the car. Plus since this is a 1990 SE, it does not have ABS.

So I am going to be forced to loose any freon-like gas when I do this? There is no way to swing that AC condenser out of the way at all?
 

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It's a little more difficult to do but you can separate the cc/ac unit from the main rad while you support the whole assembly and wire it up somehow and then just remove the radiator.

The only problem with that is you really need to clean the fins on the cc/ac condenser as well as there will be plenty of debris in them also and that will improve your ac cooling and chargecooler performance.

Catch 22 there as you will need to evacuate and re-charge the ac system but R134a is cheap which is what your system has now right?

You can try cleaning it out without disconnecting it but it will be a challenge and quite messy if you have to do it under the car on jackstands. If you have a lift, the whole job is much easier.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
No lift in my poor garage. Just jack-stands. I don't know if the car has R12 or R134.
 

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Radiator Duct Removal

I have done this a couple of times on my 89 turbo Esprit (non-chargecooled) - both without a lift and with a lift. If you have no lift a good way to safely lower the whole assembly is to get some threaded rods and cut them to an appropriate length - then you can (one by one) replace the four bolts which hold the assembly to the floor of the forward boot with the long rods. You wil also need to remove a series of smaller bolts along the front edge of the duct which holds it to the lower front valence. You can then progressively lower the whole duct/radiator assembly by releasing the weight as you rotate the nuts on the threaded rods. If you have a lift it is a whole lot easier but this technique will work safely if you are working solo and without the advantage of a lift. I lowered mine on to a dolly so I could roll it out from under the car, which I had up in the air about 24" off the ground. I was working alone and it went smoothly and safely.

Also pay attention to what you need to disconnect and think ahead of time. On my 89 "non-SE" turbo one of the AC hoses is routed through the fiberglass shroud - one either has to disconnect the AC system or else release the hose by cutting a path and fabricating a replacement plate. If you are removing the duct entirely you may have to remove the oil cooler lines (you do on my car, anyways) and there are some electrical connections also routed through the duct. As Jim pointed out you need to disonnect the fan wiring. And obviously you need to drain the radiator and disconnect the rad hoses. Once the duct is on the ground the rest of the dis-assembly is pretty straightforward. I also found it useful to remove the fan motors (which cumulatively are heavy) before I lowered the duct down. While you have it apart you may want to look over the fan shroud - they are ABS and they crack as they get old. You can repair them with an ABS repair kit quite readily.

These comments are based on my car, which may be somewhat different as they did alter the front ducting when they added chargecooling. However, the "long bolt lowering" technique I am pretty sure will apply well to most Esprits.

Tom Mieczkowski
 

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Discussion Starter #10
OK, this begs the question, how heavy is this whole assembly anyway? It sounds like it must be fairly heavy. Are we talking about 200lbs or so?
 

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I would guess that it weighs 50-60 lbs but it's bulky and a little awkward to handle.

Any of the above options will work but the easiest is grab a buddy and promise him a beer if he'll help you for 5 minutes...:D
 

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Radiator Duct

It's probably 60 lbs or so but the problem is it is "tipsy" because of the angle of the radiator and condenser A floor jack will easily handle the weight but the duct will have a natural tendency to go horizontal as the radiator tries to tip backwards from the position it holds when installed. As I mentioned I lowered it on a dolly and had set the dolly up with some braces to hold the duct from tipping. Holding it in that position is also handy when re-installing it, since you will need to lift it so the four top bolts which fasten it to the boot floor are approximately level.

Tom Mieczkowski
 

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Any of the above options will work but the easiest is grab a buddy and promise him a beer if he'll help you for 5 minutes...:D

My car required TWO buddies the second time I had my radiator out. And SIX beers (which might have been part of the manpower problem) rotfl

(The first time, I only needed the help of my wife, and she never lets me forget that she did the work of TWO men! ) :D
 

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Radiator tipsy! Not assistants!

Hey, I said the radiator is tipsy because of the angle - having the help tipsy will not expedite getting the job done. No beer until after the rad is back in! How else you gonna motivate 'em?

:D

Tom
 

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Anyone out there have a write up on a V8 Radiator removal. I have a 98 and it does seem to be a pain. I have started the process and will probably have the front half of the car forward of the windshield removed to get the radiator out!!!!!!!!
 

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A local owner of a 98 took his out (completely) by himself. So I don't know if he could have done it the common way: just unbolting the 'cooling package' tray at the rear, and letting it hang down by two of the forward bolts.
@jtrealty ?
 

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If all of your hardware is rusted out (mine was) then you will probably have to go at it with a dremel (there is no room for a grinder in there). All of the rivnut things were seized and would spin (sucks) and I had to cut them all out.
Just start by draining the oil and coolant as you have to remove the oil cooler lines and of course the rad.
Then start trying to undo the front lip, and all of the bits that make up the undertray. Almost all of mine were seized and had to be cut out.
Once you get all of that out of the way I was able to move the AC components out of the way and tied them up with some cord.

As I mentioned in the other post, I cut the cross connect hose between the oil coolers as the line is run through the rad assembly (of course not slotted). That was the only way I could get the oil coolers out of the way as I couldn't get to the top fitting to remove oil cooler line. You have to get the oil coolers and hoses out of the way or you can't get the rad assembly down. Cutting the hose made all of the difference because that allowed me to get the oil coolers out and then I could remove the lines on the bench (both were saved). I then just took the two hose pieces to a hydraulic shop and had a union installed in the hose. Made it so much easier and the union was small enough to fit back through the grommets in the tray.
Once I got the oil coolers out then you can start to work on the rad ass. itself. When you get close to having it loose make sure you have a buddy to help you lift it down. It is pretty heavy and quite awkward to lift out.

Radiator assembly was cracked in several places where the fans bolt up. I just repaired this with some fiberglass and resin and gave it a lick of paint.
I then took rad and had it re-cored at local shop. I have read that the aftermarket aluminum radiators do not last long so I opted to rebuild original (I don't want to have to do this any time soon...it sucks). The rad shop told me that after the rebuild I should see a huge improvement over the original (which was undersized to begin with).

I also had the oil coolers cleaned and pressure tested because...... I DON'T WANT TO DO THIS AGAIN.
Once you have all the crap hardware out and everything cleaned up it wasn't bad to put back together. You will want to try and source some new hardware (stainless if you can find it, not as easy as you would think in Metric.....google/amazon), it makes it so much easier to put back together.
While you are at it, contact JAE and get a new set of hoses for the rad and install those while you are in there.

Not a step by step, but should help I hope. I think every ones experience is a bit different depending on how rusty the hardware was.
 

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Short version: Jack the car up and remove the front tires. Remove all of the covers under the front and spoiler lip. Disconnect and remove the oil coolers. Remove the fog lamps. Remove the W/W bottle. Disconnect the wiring to the horns. Disconnect the hoses to the radiator. Remove the supports from the frame to the bottom of the radiator duct. Unhook the A/C hoses from the plastic clips above the condenser coils. Disconnect the plugs to the fans. Remove the ducts to the oil coolers. Place a jack under the center of the radiator package to support it. Undo the 3 bolts on each side and lower the rad package. You can disassemble the condenser coils from the rad package without losing the refrigerant. Expect a fight with the corroded hardware, especially the small bolts. To replace the threaded nuts in the fiberglass that you will destroy you can get them from Mr G's Hardware. Figure on doing an oil change and coolant flush "just because" you will have taken most of it out anyway. Wash out the W/W bottle and refill with fresh. Be careful not to bend the fins on the rad or the A/C condenser coils. When reasembling you must really crank on the oil cooler fittings to make sure they don't leak. This can be done by one person but having a helper makes dropping the rad package and rasing it back up, easier.
David Teitelbaum
 
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