Assembly IV
(July 2003)

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On May 28th, I bought a fuel filter (carquest - one of about 12 cross reference numbers for only ~$5 and that was for the premium filter), a battery (Optima - red top - don't buy any other battery), coolant, 8 quarts of Mobil1 15w-50 (and it's still not enough) and in the evening I put them all in the car. Remembering just in time...I also found the ground strap that goes from the left A-pillar to the frame under the house and installed that. I then removed the 8 original spark plugs and installed 8 new ones. I then took the gas can to the Chevron for some Chevron Supreme with Techron. I came back, and emptied 4+ gallons into the tanks and then, with many wires still hanging down from the dash, I connected the battery. I heard a nice relay click and no sparks or smoke. Wheph! I then turned the key, heard the fuel rails energize and stop, then I turned the key farther. The starter cranked and shortly thereafter (click here for audio) the engine came to life. It even revved.  I was so surprised and thrilled I felt I had to tell someone. Unfortunately, the only one around was my wife so I ran to find and tell her like a kid on Christmas morning. I found her upstairs out in front of her garage and exclaimed "Hey! I got the Lotus running!!!" to which she replied "You know I *thought* I heard a noise".  I can tell you those loving words of happy-for-me encouragement just brought tears of joy to my eyes.

The oil went to the coolers and the filter. It was full with 6 quarts in it but I added two more after starting it and it was still not full. After purchasing one more case of Mobile1, I can report that if you have no oil in your Esprit it takes 10 quarts to fill it. This means that when you change your oil you are are really only changing just over half of it!

I put the car in gear and moved it forward a bit just for fun.

Considering that I set the bare fiberglass body on the frame on March 28th, I was very happy with the progress and reaching this major project milestone just two months later

During the next few days I bled the coolant, verified the fans were coming on and off according to the service notes and fixed up a number of other things under the dash. I set the seat in the car and took it up and down the driveway to the top garage (wife's) under full throttle and got the turbos to spool and the waste gates to open - it was scary - I'll get used to it

Oh yeah.... the brakes work too.

I then had to take a break and work around the house prior to another trip to San Jose, Korea, and Japan  and a day after returning went on a 2.5 week vacation with the family to Maryland (wasting good Lotus building time I might add). I did manage to buy a scanner on the way to the beach and use it to scan in the entire Esprit parts manual and then scan in and OCR all the parts number pages - Is that a great vacation or what??? ( Of course taking that much time off work means there is no time to do anything but catch up on work after you come back in early July for a week but then I got back to Lotus building.

After motivational discussions with Tony Grasso we decided the best thing to do would be to get all the external panels attached to the car and to then paint all of the outside at one time to ensure consistency. Of course this is not how Lotus does it but have you looked closely at their paint?!!??

This led me to a long known issue of the passenger door. The '97 car had been hit in the right front and the door was damaged. In fact, it was split at its seam.

Door Split Open

I will also mention that it does not want to go back. There is also some crack damage on the inside front of the door. I had received advice from Lotus on how to bond it back together but I did not like how it was not fitting well so I then turn my sites on this:

Crispy Critter

What??? Come on! It's not that bad!!!

Crispy? Not really that bad.

Structurally, the door is intact. It has surface damage on the top inside and outside otherwise it is solid . So I decided to fix this door and move over the hardware.

A door able

After cleaning the moss our of the door....the next step is to grind off the burned glass and resin. Oh goody!! Fiberglass dust in the summer again!!!

Ground and Glassed

The top of the door is long and this can pose a problem when sanding it down as you need a long straight sanding bar to maintain the door top's integrity so I made one from an old growth, and hence dense and straight, 2x4 - stapling sandpaper to the edge.

Glass Sanded

Next we add filler to the low spots and have at it again with the sanding bar.


The result is an edge that resembles the original one. See the sanding bar at the bottom. Next steps here are to prime and fill to refine the edge. Also notice how the mirror attach bulges the glass The Gel coat is pink by the way. The filler is light blue. The primer is gray and paint is black.

I also needed to use the right headlamp pod from the Sport 350 but since it burned at night when the lights were on and the pods were up, the surface of the pods are seared. As such, I had to take the Dremel tool and grind out all the popped divots and the fill and sand them. This took a while.

Enough with the Divots

Click here to see the next chapter in the saga.

End of  Assembly IV - July 16, 2003.