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My Winter Project for the Lotus

July 10, 2003 Finally has some time to play with the engine management system. I reprogrammed the ignition curves for the various load sites. Wow! Big difference on the motor. Still needs some additional work with a passenger and a lap top. Then I can work with the jetting of the Weber's. The fun factor continues to increase!

June 14, 2003 Of all the Winter Project updates I have written, this one is the most difficult. Today I installed the drivers seat, topped off the coolant, added a gallon of fuel and adjusted the shift linkage in anticipation of driving the Europa for the fist time since last November. Well, the Weber's still need work. The linkage is not right, as I can't get into 1st gear - the others are OK. There is a noise under the car, a slight vibration and I'm still using the Ford cylinder head temp sensor so I have no idea how hot the motor is getting. But on the plus side: IT RUNS UNDER IT"S OWN POWER!!!! I had forgotten how fun the car was to drive! That's why this update is so difficult, I want to go drive some more! After the first short trip (about 1/2 mile), I'll have to rethink the gearshift linkage and the missing 1st gear. It starts off so good in 2nd, I may never use 1st again! I hate to say it's Miller Time, but after nearly 8 months, my project S2Z (sometimes called Frankenstein) lives and it really is MILLER TIME!

June 9, 2003 While the coolant is out of the engine, I decided to replace the thermostat housing with one from a 1998 Contour. The 2002 Focus housing does not have a mounting hole for a coolant sensor. I initially connected the coolant sensor lines from the ECU to the cylinder head sensor. This works, but at 100c coolant temperature, the head is only 20c according to the computer. I can make the computer deal with this number, but decided to try an actual coolant sensor. Should know by this weekend if all is well with the clutch and the coolant sensor.

May 31, 2003 Well, bad news. I finally put tires on the car and discovered that the clutch will not release. Well, that's not exactly true. After failing to identify the problem I pulled the engine to inspect the clutch throwout bearing and clutch operation in general. I discovered that as the clutch is depressed, the clutch releases, but if the clutch arm at the bell housing moved in excess of 1 3/8" forward, the the clutch disk comes in contact with the fingers of the clutch pressure plate. It appears that the TC bell housing allows for more throwout movement than the Ford Zetec pressure plate will tolerate. Now I just have to re-install the engine and properly adjust the clutch...

May 26, 2003 After playing with the idle jets on the Weber's and the closed throttle advance in the ECU, the engine runs much better. I looks like I need an idle jet (actually 4 jets) that's richer than my lean jets and leaner than my rich jets. I have 50F11's and 55F8's. I think I need a set of 50F8 or F9's. Now I need to find a friend with LOTS of Weber jets so I can try them out...

May 17, 2003 Well, it still runs like a tractor, but "It's ALIVE!" (Did I already mention that?) One thing that I have discovered is that the original TACH will work with the Zetec! The original wiring takes 12v from the key, loops through the tach (inductive, no actual connection) then out to the coil. I decided to try using that 12v to feed the Zetec coils. Works perfectly!

May 17, 2003 To quote that famous scientist Dr. Frankenstien, "It's ALIVE! It's ALIVE!" The replacement computer arrived today from Emerald. First crank - green LED. Added fuel to the tank, cranked a few seconds to geet the oil pressure up, turned on the fuel pump and BANG! It started! Pretty impressive when it works right. Of couse it currently runs like a tractor, but with a little work on the Weber's and adjusting the timing, I suspect it will sound a lot better. Can I say it one more time? "It's ALIVE! It's ALIVE! My creation has LIFE!"

May 5, 2003 Not much has been happening. Still no replacement ECU from Emerald although their lastest e-mails says that it was to ship last Tuesday (April 29). I'll be busy with work until the weekend so that will not help anything. I did post three new pictures of the installed engine. One from the back and one from each side. I hope these answer some of the questions a number of people have been asking me. From Transaxle, Exhaust, Webers I hope someone notices the new cermanic coated header...

April 9, 2003 Well, not too much progress to report, except, the new exhaust header is in! Everything is ready for that trial start but the ECU does not recognize the cranksensor pulses. It seems to recognize the input signal when set to "digital Distributor", but not when set to rear the inductive crank sensor (or inductive distributor). Emerald has been great at helping to locate the problem and they are shipping out a replacement ECU this week.

March 15, 2003 Then engine is in and bolted in place! From the RH cornet it looks like this - Check out the clearnance on the Webers. From the LH side it looks like this - Just gotta get that exhaust pipe snaked up into there. I have just starter on the coolant lines and the electrical is about 50%. Hopefully I can find everything I need and start the car sometime this week!

March 13, 2003 Discovered interference between a weight on the clutch disk and the Lotus TC bell housing. The area to be concerned with is the recessed aluminum in the bell housing with the TDC pointer. I removed about 1/16" of thickness for about 1/4". Everything seems to turn freely now. Degreed the stock Ford Focus cams on my engine (anybody know how close these readings are to manufacture specs?):
Intake: Total lift: 0.349", duration: 251o at 0.010" lift (215o at 0.020" lift)
Exhaust: Total Lift 0.341", duration: 243o at 0.010" lift (217o at 0.020" lift)

March 1, 2003 The ECU arrived to day from England. But work will have me out of town until March 10th. Argggg!

Feb 24, 2003 All of the parts are finally coming together! Here is a picture of my custom built HiTorque starter. It works with the Zetec Flywheel and the Lotus TC bell housing. The clutch throwout bearing carrier extender and the Oilite pilot bushing are complete and installed. The clutch seems to work perfectly. (photos at a later date). The ECU was shipped from England last Tuesday.

Jan 23, 2002 While verifying the clutch throughout bearing prior to replacement I measured the distances between the clutch and bearing. Seems that there is a little problem: when fully depressed the clutch bearing ALMOST touchs the clutch release fingers on the pressure plate. It looks like I need about 0.75" extension on the T/O bearing carrier. The carrier appears to be pressed onth the rear of the bearing, so I will have that removed, an extension piece machined and all three pieces pressed back together. Just need to get the exact lenght of the extension!

Jan 10,2003 New 4-way brake union arrived from Dave Bean. This will give the alternator clearance. Emerald will ship my ECU probably by the end of next week. Here is a picture of the Water pump & alternator drive belt installed. Here is a picture of the various clutch disk's: The one on the top is the original Renault, Left is original Focus Zetec and lower right is the special hub to mate the Zetec to the Renault input shaft.

Jan 2, 2003 Engine is sitting in the car!. Motor mounts have been tacked together to support the motor. I need to get a starter motor to make sure that there is no interference between it and the RH motor mount. Placement of the engine (moving backwards about 2") gives plenty of room between the front of the engine and the fire wall. This week the new fire wall will be installed. I have decided to all one layer of fiberglass mat to the existing wall and one layer of 0.070" aluminum to face into the engine compartment. At this time not sound deadening material will be added.

Dec 24, 2002 Alternator mount is complete, but the alternator will not work and will need to be returned for a replacement. Removed iron stub on LH side of motor to provide clearance for motor mount. Fashioned plates to bolt to side of engine for motor mounts. The ZX3 timing belt cover that is directly in front of the water pump included a large aluminum piece that is used as the front motor mount in the Focus. Obviously this will not be used in the Europa, so I cut off a large portion of the cover. When complete this will allow the multi-V belt go from the top of the alternator to the top of the belt tensioner that will mount above the water pump pulley. This cover also includes the mounting hole for the idler pulley below the alternator at the edge of the motor (this pulley will keep the alternator multi-V belt from hitting the frame).

Dec 20,2002 Alternator mount is nearly complete. With this mounting height and using a Geo Metro alternator there is almost enough clearance between the alternator and 4-way brake line connector, almost.. I plan to replace the single 4 way connector with two 3 way units. You can also see the engine from the Left, Center or Right side. This location is centered in the engine bay and will actually give more clearance for the air filters on the Weber DCOE's than I had with the 807 Renault motor.

Dec 18, 2002 The new intake manifold from Burton Power (part# IM4286) arrived today. Nice manifold, 95mm in length, runners were smoothed but not polished. Fit was OK, but interferes slightly with the cylinder edge of the head temp sensor. The big problem is that the intake ports on the engine side are much smaller than the intake ports on the head. These will have to be enlarged approximately 1/16" of material around most port edges to match the engine. Hopefully there is a better manifold out there for others who are interested in this swap. BTW, this was the longest intake manifold that I could find. The short 65-70mm units would require the alternator to be mounted lower on the block.

Dec 11, 2002 Reworking the engine bay electrical "nightmare by Lucas". Hoping to have a much improved electrical system when this is complete. Tried fitting a 70A Geo Prizm alternator. This unit is a little larger than the Geo Metro unit. Actual fit will depend on the intake manifold (once it arrives from Burton Power in England). Here is a picture of the access see pichole that was cut by a PO to get to the deck lid hinges. I think I'll wait to close the hole until after I paint the car. The cracked and broken GRP (fiberglass) bulkhead will be cleaned and a new layer of fiberglass on the inside and an aluminum panel in the engine compartment. IF the noise is objectionable I'll add some sound absorbant material.

Dec 4, 2002 Trial fit of the Zetec coupled to the TC bell housing and stock 336 transaxle. There is a LITTLE Clearance at the front of the motor using the stock transaxle mount. This will need to be address via a revised transaxle mount to move the enginer rearward at least 1/2" or the fire wall will need to be modified to clear the cam pulleys.

Dec 3, 2002 TC bell housing arrived. The alternator mount on the bell housing interferes with the Zetec thermostat housing. Will need to replace housing or cut away about 1" of material on the alternator bracket (which will not be used in this installation).

Nov 21, 2002 Installed modified water pump. Looks about right, but I should have reattached the inlet closer to the center of the pump point rearward about 20 degrees and downward about 60 degrees. Maybe I'll change it before the final assembly.

Nov 18, 2002 Replacement parts for the oil pan and windage tray/lower girdle arrived today from Kansas Racing. Gerry and the folks at Kansas Racing are good people to deal with. Delivered the water pump to the welder to have the inlet pipe changed for point to the side with a 20 degree angle rearwards to point nearly aft (15 degrees to avoid oil dip stick).

Nov 14, 2002 The journey of discovery continues. Preparing to remove the Renault 807 motor I removed the exhaust header, coolant plumbing, alternator and manifold for the Weber carbs. Discoveries tonight: 1-the black lead for the alternator was broken at the connector but still making contact because of the tight binding of the wire loom. 2-When the header was removed I discovered that one of the PO's had notched the frame near the front of the 807 motor, probably to allow use of the original 807 exhaust manifold and header pipe. 3-The small red wire to the started was not tightly crimped in it's connector. In fact, the connector has never been crimped! 4-The forward manifold for the Webers was completely fractured at about a 45 degree angle from the middle of the runners (see pic). The bottom bolts were extremely tight while the upper bolts seems about normal. So who says these Lotus cars allways break down? I have found a number of reasons that this car should not have been running, much less running well enough to win it's class in the Utah SCCA SOLO II competition this year!

Nov 12, 2002 Gerry from Kansas Racing called to say that Ford had send my replacement engine parts to him rather than to me. He will ship them to me. Gerry and Kansas Racing seem to really be GREAT people to deal with.

Nov 11, 2002 --- Drained fluids from the engine and transaxle and radiator. Removed 40DCOE Weber carbs. Discovered my first Lotus 'features', the "journey of discovery". There is a large rubber O-ring under each choke in the Weber carb mounting system. Seems the last 'mechanic' forgot to install one of the O-rings. Also, when I purchased the car I found a burnt wire under the dash board and replaced it. Now, with the Weber's off the engine I found some loose tape around a wire loom and guess what? Now I have two white wires that appear to have been hot enough to melt the insulation. This Lotus journey of discover has been well documented by other owners - start out to do a little and find a lot that needs to be done.

Nov 9, 2002 --- Completed engine swap, Zetec fits with minor mods to upper rail of chassis. Will NOT be able to retain original shift linkage. We search for parts for cable linkage per Griff's Europa S2. Ooops, the swap was using a cyber model of the engine and the chassis rails. Real conversion will likely take more time!

Nov 8, 2002 --- Car passed safety inspection for 2003

Nov 4, 2002 --- Gerry at Kansas Racing called to say that Ford will replace the damaged items. Purchased TC bell housing from Brent in Texas. Should arrive in about a week

Winter activities (restoration/update) log:

Nov 1, 2002 --- Received 2002 Ford Zetec engine (see pics for shipping / packing damage)

What the car needs:

  • Engine Opt #1 - Rebuild existing 807-02 Renault motor
    • Replace pistons & liners w/Gordini spec units
    • Regrind cam to Godini specs
    • Replace intake & exhaust valves w/Gordini units
    • Verify that hear is reusuable (0.060" mill by PO)
    • Verify con & main bearing sizes (under size?)
    • Balance moving parts for 7000+ operation
    • Rework Weber DCOE's if required
    • Reassemble Gordini 807 motor to correct spec vs PO assembly
    • HP - With Weber's ~ 135-145HP
    • Estimated cost: $1500 in parts plus $1500 in machine work
  • Engine - Opt#2 - 2002 Ford Zetec ZX3
    • Replace the 807 Renault with a Ford Zetec motor
    • No engine work required
    • Weight approx 80-100lb more than Renault
    • HP - With Webers ~165HP
    • HP - With FI ~ 175HP
    • Need Lotus TC Bellhousing
    • May need NG3 transaxle to handle increased torque
    • Estimated cost: $800 engine, $150 Bell housing, $350 Ignition, $150 manifold
  • Suspension
    • Car has new AVO shocks all corners
    • Car has 250# springs on front
    • Car has 140# springs on rear
    • Car has new brake pads front and rear
    • Needs upper arms on passenger side front
    • Replace passenger side trailing arm bushing
    • Check rear hubs
    • Repack front bearings
    • If using Zetec motor, change rear spring rate (make also increase front rate)
    • Replace rims with 13x7 fronts and 13x8 rears (NOT YELLOW!!!)
    • Replace Rear upright with units from a Lotus 59?
  • Body
    • FRG body has many stress cracks
    • Remove old paint
    • modify front and rear fender panels to accomadate wider tires
    • Remove "warts" from nose
    • Install new turn signals below front bumper
    • Remove front & rear bumpers
  • Paint
    • Prime body and smooth all panels
    • Paint body in two tones (BRG over white or Red over white)
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