My Series 3 project before the modifications started……..
This will never do! Time to fit a V8!
I have done a massive amount of mods already, just wanted to do a thread to show my project, the engine install was done over a year ago.
They do say “don’t meet your hero’s” well I was very disappointed with the 4 pot engine, it really does not fit in with the look of the car.
My old series I that came with the rover v8 conversion parts, the engine was an old P6 lump, I was going to do some major upgrades but the s1 chassis, rear suspension. Drive shafts would never cope! So I pulled the engine out and sold the s1 and kept the conversion parts.
I brought the s3 with a cracked exhaust manifold, it had a really nice body and paint work, but it was a horrible driver, no problem I had big plans ahead…… my new engine, TVR 4.5 v8 built by Rovertec (V8 developments) stage 3 heads, cosworth pistons, etc, fitted in a ex hill climb car.
New Input shaft to fit the esprit gearbox to rover v8
Longer input shaft fitted in gearbox
Alternator is a tight fit, has to go down low
Front housing was way to close to bulkhead, so the cutting begins!
From under the car you can see how close it fits, you have to use a remote oil filter and a P6 crank pulley
Made the exhaust from scratch, TVR manifolds (reversed) and the rest all big bore stainless steel, had to redo it twice as It was very, very loud! So had to fit some extra baffles, may take them out latter!
Lots more cutting……… I may be a sinner in the eyes of some Lotus Purest!
Still need to finish the rear floor, but its taking shape
It works! and the sound of a V8 is Awesome!
Some more work on the boot floor, I don`t plan on hiding the engine, but I will have a carpet boot.
This was what I had to work with, she`s not seen many spanners or love….
Wheels brought online, 17 inch, 9j rears and 8j fronts. 3 piece split rims made in japan from a Mercedes. The offset for the fronts were perfect.
The hubs had to be re-drilled to correct PCD for the new wheels. The rears needed spacers.
Now have a much better choice in tyres, and no longer stuck with the sad 225 width rears.
not content with using the spacers, I didn`t like seeing them through the wheels. Pulled the rears apart, and got some new outers made with image wheels.
That`s 11 ½ j wide! and now I have 315/35/17 rear tyres! again another ebay find, the chap I brought them from also has a Rover V8 esprit (twin turbo) and I got a full roll cage from him, I may need it!
Yes I am running air suspension, more on that latter………
Lets do the brakes then, as the ones fitted are hardly man enough even with the stock motor. The rear discs were very worn, and are very expensive to buy. My solution Ford Mondeo rear discs. They are near the same size and offset and a little thicker, plus you can get them very cheap. I had to re-drill for the 3 lug fitting.
Carriers had to be ground wider, but as you may know now I`m not afraid to hack away what`s not needed!
The rear calipers I rebuilt, the hand brake mech was sticking, all fixed now and a lick of paint.
Fronts are much bigger 312 x 30mm from a Audi, I cross drilled them, god that took for ever! and the hubs machined to fit.
Front calipers from a Porsche 996, don’t think this setup would fit inside those little stock 15” wheels….
Many hours have been spent searching on the internet for parts which I can use, I have a small budget and little spare time to work on the car, so its been a long and stressful time.
Ok so lets look at the rear suspension, the shocks/dampers were rusty and old when I got the car so time for some upgrades. I had already wasted time by cleaning and painting the old dampers, but they really needed changing. I got some Protec units from sjsports cars, They looked nice but as you can see they are made wrong? They are longer and have less articulation, you can not lower the car by much and that was very disappointing. I was planning to use air springs/bags and wanted to lower the car very low when parked.
The bags are easy to fit with some work to the lower spring seat.
I have hacked the top spring mount off to allow the bag to bolt direct to the chassis.
That’s the rear bag sorted.
That’s with about 30 psi, should be able to get it drive like a dream with some final tweaking with pressures, and of course can adjust the ride height to what ever I like. well that’s the plan.
anti-roll bar all painted up, new poly bushes and hardware at ends
Mine is a 1981 model so had the horrible trunion upright, all fixed now with a Canley classic setup. Still not perfect as the lower mount has issues of rocking in the lower arm, and no rubber boots to protect the bearing. Can`t say I am 100% happy with it but it will do for now until I fit the latter arms and uprights. I have the uprights so if anyone has some lower arms going cheap?
Ok so lets get to the ball ache of the front suspension, lost lots of pics so will have to make do with what I have. Front lower arms, I cut the lower rubber spring seat off to mount the air spring direct to the lower arm.
So far things are looking good, platform perfect size this is going to be too easy, or so I thought.
Still looking easy, all though top mount looks tricky as no access to bolt the top mount.
Here is when it all starts to go pair shaped, raising the lower arm to check suspension travel things go to shite!
This pic you can see the angle is all wrong.
Even the dampers clashed with the lower spring seat.
Even cutting access for the adjuster don’t help as the air spring also hits the adjuster.
I also found the front Protec dampers still longer than my original front items, Steve at sjsportscars was great in taking these back, and a Special set was ordered. This took ages and when I did get them they were still wrong! hassle I didn’t need, Gaz sell them on ebay so brought some. These turned out to be wrong again!!! They were not the type or size I ordered!! Fcuk wits! Ok so lets get them fitted regardless, wasted way too much time. Near 2 months.
Top spring seat again had to be hacked off, and inspection hole cut in chassis to gain access to top mounting bolts, this was a total and still is a nightmare to do the bolts up. I am not happy with it and will look into a better solution another day. Loss of photos again so gaps again.
Lower arms, cut the spring seat off completely and now using the coilover to mount the bag, cut hole to gain access to anti-roll bar nut. Ever fitted the anti-roll bar to a 81 Esprit? If so you know what a total sod it is! This hole makes it a piece of cake.
Canley classic lower joint tacked in place, she`s not going to move now, also helps put some strength back into the arm.
I also welded the top of the lower arm to box it up to make it stronger as seen in the arrow highlight.
Top arms just touched the air bag, this again was a lot of work to fix. They are pressed plate steel. First I boxed the outside.
Then had to cut the inner section out, hence why I welded the outside first. I welded some tube half into the arm. They are now double skinned and boxed so should be stronger than the originals in my opinion, no doubt some people sure to chime in if they disagree.
Not pretty but they work, new bushes fitted. Not really happy with the homemade look. Will get some custom made latter.
Some heat shielding from the exhaust, twin 3” bore is not easy to route in a small space.
No photoshop this is her sat on the deck with no air.
Still have massive amount left to do, when will it end………..
Ok got the switches wired up, I made this panel to go in place of the stereo I won’t need one my entertainment will be bellowing out the tailpipes! I have one switch for each air spring, and one master which will do all four, and compressor on/off. I also have a digital display panel for tank pressure, and each bag so will be able to fine tune the system, I know this has caused a lot controversy and people to believe this is going to handle like crap? But to be honest I really don’t know? Never done it before and it looks pretty cool to me. I like a challenge and to learn new stuff. Some people have said that they ride crap, some say they ride fantastic, way too much hearsay on the internet so wanted to find out myself. I don’t plan on driving it really low like some do, that’s the most likely cause of them riding crap as they are probably riding on the damper bump stops. Also some are not set up right with all four springs separate; some have them in pairs like front and rear, essentially making an independent suspension like having two live axles (backward tech in my eyes and never going to handle right?) I have changed wheels on cars many times over the years and going up a wheel size has always made the ride harsh. I have adjustable dampers and adjustable springs it has a chance of being a good drivable car, if not I have never closed the door to going back to the springs it came with. You never know it may be epic! Or drive like a dog like when I first got it. Had a little play with raising and dropping the car today was great fun and looked cool! It gave me a bit of a boost to crack on, as I am struggling with motivation with many things not going right at the moment, and taking too much time to do. Especially in the hot weather. also forgot how low the cars is after having it on stands for ages!
This is such an epically cool build - so much amazing stuff going on. The suspension - is super cool idea and out there. Then the wheels are super cool and out there on an Esprit! To top it off that bad ass V8 just makes this build blow my tiny little head!
Bookmarked for sure - any chance this might be at the Gathering?
Slippin, Slidin, Glidin, Lowridin'
1964 Rover P5 i6 1987 BMW 525e - The Rusty Streak 1996 VW Golf GTI 1999 Audi S4 Avant
Have a look at GS Autoworks Facebook page, it's more amazing than Sexual Healing!
Don't worry about what the haters say. If you want air suspension on your Espirit, then you do it… It's YOUR Espirit after all, not theirs! Plus, that stance with the bags down… OH MY LAWWWD!!! Gorgeous motor!
OOh me likey. I've always loved the shape of the Espirit. Keep up the updates. I'm off to window shop for Espirit's on evilbay. Screw what other people say about the ride quality. Have you ever driven a lowered Beetle? It's not built for the track so handling shouldn't really be too much of an issue.
Post by charliecroker on Jul 19, 2014 14:23:38 GMT
Hell yeah, there seems to be a series of slammed Lotuses developing and gaining pace, may have to create our own club, 'The Low-tus Crew'! Seriously though another sweet Lotus hits the roads, doesn't get much cooler IMHO. Greeeeat!