Engine joy...

My engine’s been getting more and more rattly over the past few months, I thought it sounded like tappets, so the chaps at Nick Whale’s are having a look at it. They said that a couple of valves on the same cylinder were quite a way off spec. Unfortunately with that sorted they reckon it’s still making a knocking noise, so they’re going to investigate the bottom end. Maybe big ends or little ends going?


Just wanted to share my pain

I thinks it started to sound a bit rough after my big HGF in France last year. The motor was hydraulically locked by a cylinder full of coolant. I wonder whether trying to start it may have done some damage at the bottom end

It gets worse…

They’ve got the sump off, and there’s bits of metal floating around in there Obviously a bearing or big end or something is falling apart.

I could do without expensive engine work, but she’s my baby so I’ll do whatever it takes to make her run sweetly again.

Anything else (reasonably affordable) I should get done while it’s all in pieces?

Sorry to hear that Brendan, but I don’t think it necessarily will be expensive.
Definitely go for a remote thermostat this time (no more HGF), have them spec carefully the stand proud of the liner tops, and have the crank and all rotating thingies balanced.
Ah, get a new AP clutch BTW.

If you need to go for a new crank, I would be VERY tempted to install the stroked 2.0 crank, or if pistons, I would go for the 1.9 conversion.

AFAIK, PTP sell these, Simon Erland knew of somebody else that had them but I can’t remember.

But whichever way, have the engine built properly this time (by properly I mean better than from factory).
And don’t worry, it’ll be ok (at least you didn’t miss half a year of driving it)

Thanks Uldis.
Remote stat is being fitted, and I’ve already asked them to check the stand-proud. I already have the AP ‘racing’ clutch. It was fitted at the same time as the UCR gearbox.

Getting everything balanced seems a good idea. I guess I should use Vibration Free? Do you have contact details? Do they have a fast turn-around?

What do you mean by having the engine built properly? Do I need to send it to an engine specialist, or do I trust Nick Whale’s? They seem very good, but they obviously don’t specialize in rebuilding engines.

Contact details are on his website: http://www.vibrationfree.co.uk/

Living up here, I don’t know Nick Whales, they may be very good, but having seen the standard of performance of many Lotus dealers I would be very careful to choose one.
Not even the warranty that the dealer jobs carry is attractive to me, since if they did it wrong to start with, it’s very unlikely that their warranty fix would be ok, something about work quality.

But if you hear good things about them, go for it.

Also, if you knackered the bearings because of oil starvation (I did) fit a sump baffle while you’re there. Note, the Eliseparts one is not a baffle but a windage tray. Plans Motorsports sell a proper baffle, on exchange.

Thanks for your help, Uldis

On the subject of balancing, I seem to remeber that the flywheel on the VHPD is supposed to be crap. Is there a good, resonably priced alternative available?


I lost about 6 weeks waiting for the Helix one and when the day arrived that he promised to have it ready, he goes off on holidays and said that he’d return in 2 weeks, so he’ll START building them after he was back.

It’s safe to say that I won’t be buying anything from Helix, even if they’re great.

OTOH, my original one was properly “bushed” (some holes are too big and have the effect of the flywheel kind of loose, being able to tighten it in different positions) and lightened even further by Stu (from MutsNuts) so fits perfectly now.
Did a very good job and then it went to be balanced to Vib free.

I suppose you have Stu’s details.

Sounds like Helix are just great

Nope, I don’t have Stu’s details. It does sound like a bit of hassle sending it off to two different people to get it modded before sending it back to a dealer to refit it. Lots of potential for time wastage. Do you really think it’s worth it?


Hasn’t the K got a baffled sump!?!?!??!!?!!?!?!?

This really does surprise me as even my MkI MR2 had a baffled sump and that was anicent!

And Brendan, bad news mate! Hope you can get it sorted OK

Hasn’t the K got a baffled sump!?!?!??!!?!!?!?!?


Hasn’t the K got a baffled sump!?!?!??!!?!!?!?!?


Holy cr@p on a holy stick with holy bells and holy wistles on!!!

Is getting the sump off a pain due to the long bolts that go from the head to the sump? Or can you get it off pretty easily? May have to get a sump baffle just for peace of mind

The sump is held on by lots of short bolts, exhaust manifold needs removing along with the engine steady mount (the one that keeps breaking ).

Its a pain but it can be done from underneath the car.

Well, the results are in: Knackered big end shells on cylinders 1,3 and 4

The good news is there’s no sign of further damage, the bad news is there’s no obvious clue as to the cause of this problem. Does anybody have any suggestions?

Oil starvation seems unlikely as the car has never been run low on oil, and I’ve only ever done two track days in it.

I guess I should look into the baffled sump. Seems a good precautionary measure.

My SC knackered it’s shells (pretty easy job thank god!!! Well relatively speaking ) from the oil pump being worn and so low pressure and then probably some of the track action didn’t help

Will be a pain to check I’d imagine…

I understand from Steve Smith at Vibration Free that Eliseparts have had a new batch of flywheels made with the right size holes. HTH


I wonder if Steve can balance the crank with the fly wheel still attached The bolts are apparently pretty much fused in place.

Air impact wrench will shift then using a good 6 sided impact socket…failing that grind the heads off the bolts


sorry to hear this bad news… regarding cause… it might be a bit obvious, but i’d say there is a fair chance the source relates back to having the cylinder bores full of water and hydraulic’ng as you mentioned… also maybe getting water into the bearings, not being totally cleared out and then running the car ?