Memorial Day weekend 2003 was a good weekend for Lotus building. Just when you think you are done with a task, you realize why you are not and such was the case with my radiator. I neglected to make the anchors to attach the horns and it was not possible to make the anchors without removing the radiator so... I took it down once again (sigh). Lotus uses collapsing threaded anchors in a number of places. Unfortunately, these are not easily re-usable - translation: I have broken every one I tried to remove from the wreck and re-use. So rather than wait for a shipment to arrive I went to... Home Depot. I took my 7 year-old daughter, Hilary, in the TR250 with the top down. She loved it. At Home Depot, the collapsing anchors were not suitable so I bought threaded anchors that you might drive into a piece of wood, flattened them, drilled 4 holes in the flange of each one and riveted them to the car. It worked great - horn bracket is installed. I then re-installed the radiator.
With the radiator installed, I attached all the lines this time including the water lines and the routing of the wiring to the fans. Next, I installed the oil coolers. Since the '89 body had oil coolers in different places than the V8, I had to determine placement and drill the holes for the coolers, which I installed from '99 Sport 350. There is an air shroud and a bottom plate that also need to be installed as the oil lines route through them on each side. But... with these installed you can't get to the headlamp motor bolts so I installed the headlamp motors and then the oils coolers.
I had been dreading working on the vacuum systems for some reason. I had to remember how all the lines routed and I think this had me worried but between the pictures and then parts manual, things went together. Inside the left rear wheel well there is a canister mounted behind a plastic cover. The body section that this cover mounts to was grafted from the '97 car as the early cars have air here. Most folks never take this cover off (it is riveted on) so here's what it looks like off.
With the lines attached, I installed the cover (rivets and silicone).
I then tackled reassembly of what's above both of the gas tanks including bolting down the top plates themselves. On the left this entails routing a slew of vacuum lines and on the right we have the ECU and bunch more lines (fuel, wiring etc). I also routed all the lines from these areas to the engine compartment. The pictures on my lap top were invaluable here. I still had to call a few folks like Jeff Heald and Larry Marsala to get some hints but it's really tough trying to talk folks through to the exact thing that I can't quite figure out where it goes and get them to tell me where it goes on their cars. I also mounted the radiator expansion tank within the right rear wheel well and routed all the coolant lines in the engine compartment.
I need an exhaust system on this baby to keep it quiet. It turns out the '97 cats are in OK shape but the muffler was damaged in the collision cracking off the pipe from the muffler to the cat on the left side. The '99 muffler looked like hell as the car burned down around it and the pipe leading to the left tip was cut off during the salvage process (prior to me taking ownership). To get things rolling along without going to the welder, I decide to clean the '99 muffler. I had to wire brush the hole thing to remove the carbon black etc. (a mess). Then I attached the cats and the muffler using the hangers that I had previously bonded to the body.
Wow! We are getting close. What's left to do to start this puppy? Instrument cluster! Again, the pictures are priceless.
I need oil, antifreeze, a fuel filter, a battery, the ground strap from the left post to the frame, and the new plugs installed. Then I need to turn the key.
End of Assembly III - May 26, 2003.