(February 2008)

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Yes, unbelievable as it may seem, I started working on the cars again for the first time in years. The interspersing of home improvement and Esprit work has begun as pledged.

Fix me

Initial Plan:
1) Remove body from frame
2) Procure the additional parts that I need as they reveal themselves
3) Prepare new frame
4) Remove parts from bent frame, clean them, paint them, and attach them to the new frame
5) Fix bottom of body
6) Put body on new frame

Removing the body gets easier the more you do it. This is the fifth time I have removed an Esprit body but it is the first time I have done it leaving much of the body assembled.

- Bumpers & valances
- Radiator and lines (unless they have already been ripped away from the collision with the: a) other car, b) other two cars, c) bridge, d) ravine, e) magic car that disappeared
-Two bolts under the bonnet
- Brake line connections
- Clutch line
- ABS electricals
- Brake booster line
- Pedal box

The pedal box is tricky as it is secured to the frame first with these locking clip washers that cannot be removed and then via four Allen head bolts that apparently cannot be reached. The trick to getting to them on one side is to remove the fuse panel. The other side is reached by removing the fan box and plate that seals the box from the passenger compartment.

Left-side Allen bolts removed

Allen Bolts Revealed!

The locking clip washers are not removed. They magically remove themselves as the body is lifted. On the right hand side there is a single bolt that goes through a dash support rod down into the frame. Access to this bolt  (and others) can be impeded by the installation of certain equipment whose aim is to impede the drivers auditory input of the melodious Esprit V8 engine.

Bass Kicker Removed

Some brilliant person installed a bass kicker speaker box in the passenger foot well. I guessed correctly that it was attached to the body from within the box itself - requiring the removal of the grate, speaker, and stuffing to access the drywall screws that attached it to the body. The bolt to the frame is easily removed with this box out of the way.

Removal Continued:
- Heater hoses - access from inside the bonnet (see two pics above)
- Ground strap Left side to frame (don't forget this)
- Two bolts attaching the body to the frame in the foot wells - peel back carpet (be careful not to puncture yourself with the drywall screw in the kicker box (twice))
- Two bolts on each side of tunnel bolting body to frame - peel up carpet
- Two seatbelt bolts one on each side
- Four bolts connecting the rear bulkhead / firewall to the frame - peel up carpet and cut foam  with razor blade
- Two bolts in the trunk, aft of the engine compartment near the top of the shocks - peel back carpet and silicone.
- If ground straps to frame from seats have not been ripped off by the impact, remove those as well

Unless you are a member of the Fantastic 4, a slave boy may be required to hold wrenches or twist ratchets for 6 of the bolts. I used him for four of them.

In the engine compartment there many things to forget to detach, which prove quite entertaining when trying to lift the body including:

- Power steering lines (and hose to engine)
- Hand brake cables (detach at calipers and fish through frame)
- Water recirculator hoses
- Ground strap (got you again!)
- Air conditioning lines
- Turbo intakes
- Electricals to oil pressure sensor and AC compressor - Oil filter must be removed to access (can be difficult if oil  filter has been crushed by a ravine)
- Small black vacuum line to accumulator over left fuel tank
- Fuel rails (depressurize first - or you may regret this)
- Throttle cable
- Radiator expansion tank
- Wiring harness to engine (please trust me that this can be removed and piled on top of engine without removing the plenum - fishes through area above right fuel tank near ECU)

Speaking of fuel tanks, there are hoses that run from the bottom of each tank to a steel interconnecting pipe that passes through the frame. These hoses need to be removed and doing so can be quite an exciting part of the project as all the gas left in both tanks will rush out of two openings simultaneously when either hose is disconnected from the pipe. The fun includes guessing how much fuel could be left in the tanks when the car was wrecked and whether the capacity of your catch basin is more or less than that, which may require you to have to switch in the middle. I recommend two of Special Tool #G27 for this task and no sparks or open flames.

Special Tool #G27 (pay no attention to that blue car in the background)

There may be a few other little items that I did not mention that need disconnection but what fun would it be if I listed everything? Remove the muffler and rear bumper and valance.

Acid Damage

At this point you take a a moment to look at how the battery acid spilled during the wreck has eaten the metal brackets under the rear bumper. Then you screw a 8' 4x4 under the rear of the body.

Special Tool #G28

You then attach your cherry picker to the front and hope that you can repair the additional body damage that you are inflicting.


We then start lifting.

Hoist Away Mateys

This is where I like to play a little game called what the fu** is making the frame rise in the air with the body???!!!!?? Something I forgot to disconnect again? Or could it be the dreaded - the ravine bent the frame into the body so now it is stuck to it and can't come free scenario?

Right Clear

The right side looks ok. So let's check the left.

Left Stuck

It is for this very reason that God invented large heavy pry bars and curses to say when wielding them. And after the battle is over....

Thar She Blows!

Guy Gets It Up

Movin' On Out

Way Out

All The Way Out

Frame Out

Deja Vu all over again. The damage to the right rear included loss of the spring, shock, and a broken hub carrier. As such, the chassis wanted to squat in the right rear and lift the left front so the jack was needed to lift the right rear and walk it out.

I guess the next thing to do is to clear some space for the new frame.

New Frame

That's enough for now.... Back to finishing the kid's bathroom.

That's the end of the update as of February 17, 2008.

Click here to see the next chapter in the saga.