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Glyn Rowling's 1986

Glyn Rowling from Littlehampton, England, owns a 1986 Turbo Esprit in Essex Blue with a Tan half leather Interior.


Year: 1986
Colour: Essex Blue
Interior: Tan
Driving Style: Normal
Miles per year: 4– 8,000
Owned Since: April 2001
Purchase from: Private
Serviced at: So far myself been to lakeside once
Other Cars: Fiat panda - nice and cheap & nissan 300zx - just sold
Previous Lotus': None
Why an Esprit: When I left uni with no ties I wanted a fun sports car as I had no real need for a boot so I started looking. I didn't know what I wanted looked at a number of things the first lotus I looked at was actually an Elan but I found this much to small and the A pillar obstructed my view, so the search continued after looking at a few other makes and models I went to look at a 1986 Essex blue Turbo esprit as the garage door lifted and there she sat low slung she looked a million dollars and then she started with a growl I was instantly hooked!
Upgrades: Nicorcil pistons and liners fitted by QED second hand bottom end including reground crank to +20 Whole bottom end built by QED all brake calipers refurbished recon turbo new OEM exahust uprated earth strap to engine alloy fuel tanks
Problems: See below!
Info: Things left to do top half respray is needed due to laquer lifting on the bonnet and rear quater. Wheels refurbished and interior retrim

Roll mouse over pictures to see more!


The problems started verry shortly after purchasing the vechile and in hinesight I would not have purchased this esprit due to a rattle at 3k revs which now we know was due to the car having some serrious problems.

Having not discovered LEW etc untill well after the purchase I was not as clued up as I could of been and failed to notice the fact that the car had been over boosting and as a result was already well on the way to death! On the first drive that I had allowed my dad to actually drive the car it blew up in spectacular formula 1 style with plumes of smoke out the back every time the throtle was pushed.

As a result the car was booked into my closest lotus dealer (frosts of shoreham) for an inspection. I left the car with them and was then very quickly called back to the garage to disscuss the car with their chief mechanic who's first words to me were I thought I recognised this car!

The car was sold to me with the belief that it had had a 2k service done not long before I purchased her, however what was missing from this service report was the last page that frosts kindly showed me and this warned the previous owner that the car was over boosting and if it wasn't solved could cause a catastrophic faliure.

So the final diagnosis, after a compresion test was that the car had over boosted and infact blown a hole straight through the rings of piston 4. So I asked them to quote on the repair with the knowledge that sourcing a set of the cast iron pistons and liners was virtually mission imposible. I opted to uprate to the nicorcil pistons and liners from the HC these are a few thousands of an inch bigger than cast versions and as a result the block needed machining to fit. I was a bit concerned when the quote from frosts materialised and the figure quoted was £15k. So I started to explore other options including fitting a TVR V8 all of which came out far and above what I invisaged I could afford.

So after some deep consideration my Dad and I decided to jump in with both feet and undergo the full rebuild our selves! The first challange was to remove the engine, and here lies challange one. A normal engine host was hired and then found that it didn't have the reach! umm problem! So after some hunting I found something with a suitable jib length, this was found at HSS lift and shift hire company and was described in there brochure as a 2.5 tonne floor crane (if anyone ever needs the catalogue number I have the reciepts).


With this sourced and delivered we removed the engine at this time with the surround in I now know that this is simple to remove and would make engine removal much easier. The parts of the rebuild that we could not undertake I decided to outsource to a company called Quorn Engine Developments or QED. In my case this was the machining of the block and reasembly of the bottom end. They are an incredibly good company and I chose them due to the fact that they generally work on race engines and had no worries about machining the block.

A few weeks passed and they called me with some bad news the crank was actually bent ummmmmm the rattle at 3k revs when I brought the car suddenly sprung back to mind, so a second hand crank was sourced by Paul in the parts department of Christopher Neil (this guy was an absaloute star).

This was sent straight to QED who when received again called me, they needed 5 main shells with a grove and a hole at +20 and could source them anywhere so one call to Paul and that after noon he had sourced a set. However the guy wanted £35 a pair, Ouch! But had to be done. So Upon recipt of the completed bottom end we continued the rebuild even to the point of setting up the cam follower shimms our selves which we were told was a 6hr job for a mechanic (that would hurt on labour costs) so lots of blood and sweat and 8k later the engine was re built with anything that could be replaced, replaced and she was running again for about a week when on a journey home again plumes of smoke out that back and a verry worried owner.... could we have done something wrong??


Anyway on inspection this was the head gasket due to the thermostat failing. So again at this time we didnt know the engine surround was tottaly removable so out came the engine again head gasket and thermostat replaced and engine back in. Since then the engine has run so sweet but I have had petrol tank problems with the car being starved of petrol so again we jumped in with both feet and decided to remove the tanks to see what happened.

On first inspection lotus had installed a filter in the passanger tank (this feeds the pump and hence engine) which had become dislodged and was floting around the tank so I had a local engineering shop cut off a pipe and remove the filter and weld the pipe back on. After this I could flush the tank with ease but as soon as I fitted the tanks in the car nothing. So I tested the car to see if it would run from the petrol container which it did fine so no problems there. So I orderd a set of tanks fabricated in alloy to avoid the potential that all esprits have for corroding tanks and installed those and she was ready in time for the ace cafe meet Feb 04 at which she was the only G car to attend.


The only other big problem I have had is the light mountings breaking resulting in the lights sitting low when up and uneven when down. To fix this I made a couple of simple brakets to reinforce the broken areas and bonded them to the housing with chemical metal to hold the mountigs in place solid.


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