1973  Lotus  Europa  TC  Special  74-3115R
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Aug.  29,  2005.
3115R doesn't start. Turn key, nothing. Battery won't charge. Dead. Bought a new battery, AC-Delco 26R.

Aug.  20,  2005.
I don't understand it, really I don't...

These idiots in the local government got the weight wrong on 3115R. They seem to think it's 1650 kilograms, (3630 pounds). It's this metric-imperial system that we are so fond of here in Canada. Most things are metric, but some still imperial. I had them correct it last year, but when I went back last week, it was wrong again. I give up, still passed the emission test though. Good for another year, then get to repeat the farce.

I didn't bother with new sparkplugs (seemed ok), didn't change the oil, didn't run on methanol blend like last year. Just replaced the muffler with the catalytic converter.

9AM on Monday, had the strombergs leaned out at the specialist. Drove to the emission testing facility. Pay $23.00, and onto the rollers. The technician sticks the sniffer in the tailpipe, he gets in behind the steering wheel, I warn him that because he is not familar with a Europa, he may have trouble finding 1st and 2nd gear. Yeah-yeah, sure.  He looks for the pedals, seems to find them, pulls the seat forward a bit and pops it in gear.

I'm standing there watching him. The rear wheels on the rollers look like they are going backwards. Yup, they are. For sure. He gives it a bit more gas, the monitor he's watching can't get a speed reading. Surprise!!  The Europa slides sideways to the right on the rollers, another technician watching behind screams, I run to the Europa, reach in the side window in front of his face and shut down the engine.

He gets out and looks at 3115R, it's sitting at about 30 degrees and almost off the rollers. This would have been interesting. He gets paid $25 an hour to do this fancy driving. All he has to do...  is get in, take it up to 40 and hold it there for 60 seconds.

So I ask him...  do you want me to do it?  He sort of nods his head.  I get in, straighten up 3115R, 1st, 2nd, and hold at 40 for 60 seconds. Done. Drive up to the exit, get handed a printout, Pass.  Thank you.  Ohhh..   by the way, seeing as I did the test myself, is there a discount?

Drive back to the specialist, he richen ups the needles in the strombergs, pay him and I'm off to work. 10:30AM.

Tomorrow, remove catalytic, re-install muffler.  Isn't this fun?
Driving test Aug. 15, 2005
(catalytic + B1AF needles)
July 12, 2004
(catalytic + B1AF needles)
Allowable  (based on incorrect weight  of 1650 kilograms) Allowable  (based on correct weight  of 750 kilograms)
Hydrocarbons ppm 10 19 267 520
Carbon Monoxide % 0.00 0.00 2.20 5.14
Nitrogen Oxides ppm 1193 455 2560 5608
Idle test Aug. 15, 2005 July 12, 2004 Allowable Allowable
Hydrocarbons ppm 401 208 698 698
Carbon Monoxide % 3.69 2.65 5.54 5.54

Aug.  06,  2005.
3115R is due for its annual emission testing, I hate this crap. Seriously considering dumping the Europas and just buying a new Elise.  Anyway pulled off the muffler and replaced it with the catalytic converter. Owww !!!, this thing is loud now, wasn't exactly quiet before, but for the next week or two... I will have to be extra quiet around the my police friends.

Next have to clean up the engine, remove air filters, change oil and filter, new spark plugs...  then go see the specialist to get the carbs leaned out. quick dash over to the emission testing facility, pass hopefully, the back to the specialist to get the carbs riched up, replace airfilters, remove catalytic converter and replace muffler.  Arrgghh !!!

No new tires yet, got annoyed with the salesguy... so walked out.  Will try someplace else... or not.  Hmmm.

July  31,  2005.
Redid the rear gearshift universal on the transaxle shaft. It was getting rather sloppy changing gears and I went looking why. The universal was moving, but the shaft wasn't. So went searching for John White's notes on gearshift linkage improvements. Yup, did that, did that too...   Ahhh, I didn't do that...  Sliced the universal as he instructs, used a 1/4" bolt and nut, squeezed the life out of it and Wow!!   Now why didn't I do this little step a year ago when I rebuilt the damn linkage?  Lazy, I guess...   But it only took 30 minutes.   Very worthwhile.

Also it's that time of the year again. Emission tests, due in two weeks, gotta get 3115R to pass. Dragged out the catalytic converter, did a mock up to see what clamps I need to fit it, instead of the muffler. Going to install next weekend, then have the carbs leaned out, they still have the adjustable TR6 needles, do the test, pass I hope. Then have the carbs riched up, remove catalytic and reinstall muffler. One afternoon only, just to pass emissions. What a farce.

Looks like I will be buying Toyo Proxes RA-1 tires and using the Lotus alloy 13" rims.  185/60x13 and 205/60-13. Nothing else fits with the same width or same diameter as the Yoko AVS. And don't feel like spending $900 US for 6x15" Panasports.  I think the wheels will be acceptable (balance wise), I'm positive the majority of the bad vibes I feel are due to the flat spots on the front tires.

And I have some creaks somewhere in the front suspension, should go hunting to see where it is coming from. Later.

June  07,  2005.
YeeHaw !!   It works, it clears the curb.  Nice.

June  05,  2005.
Sunday, shortened the droplinks for the front swaybar; cut off the upper mounts, threaded the rod, and installed Heim joints. Raised the swaybar up one inch. Next time I pull into my driveway at work, hopefully I will clear the curb. That brake master cylinder looks a tad rusty, eh?


May  21,  2005.
Went to the Vancouver "All British Field Meet" at the VanDusen Gardens. Weather was so-so, people were great, had a good time.
Pictures are here...  abfm05.html


May  15,  2005.
Waited for a break in the rain, then took 3115R to the DIY carwash and gave the engine-transaxle-underneath a steambath. Of course some of that grime and oil ended up on the nicely waxed body, so gave that a wash too.  Hey!!  Where'd my wax go? Whoops.  Back home, dried it off, ran the engine for half an hour to dry it. Started to rain again, quick back in the garage. One wheel I scrubbed with an SOS pad, looks pretty good. Guess I have to do the other three now, blah. Done.  So what's left?  Clean the glass, buff up the vinyl? Done. That's about it I think.  And I didn't hit the curb at the end of my driveway or at the carwash, guess cranking the front perches up 1/2" is good.


May  14,  2005.
Cleaned up the splines of the axle, hub and the threads of the large nut. reassembled using Loctite 680 on the splines and Loctite 272 on the axle nut. Also re-used the tabbed D washer with the bent ears. Don't think it will move again, but if the bearings or spacers need replacing at some point in the future, it will be hell to get apart. Everything feels ok, but you never know. I may be kicking myself in a few months for not changing the bearings and the spacers, but I have to get this TCS back on the road. Then I moved to the front end and raised the AVO perches 1/2" inch. I have not shortened the droplinks yet, I have the heim joints, but if I raise the swaybar, I can only move it up 1 inch before I touch the closing plate. Right now the droplinks lower eyes are 3 inches from the ground. I'll drive it for a bit before I cut the droplinks. Front bumper to floor is 15" now, was 14.5" before. Also about 3.5" under the sill behind the front wheels. Next, cut a pice of carpet for the driver's floor and waxed the car. She ain't no prom queen, but looks ok. Tomorrow, the engine gets  a bath, and wash the K+N's.


May  08,  2005.
My left rear hub seemed a bit loose, side to side play. Took it apart to do some investigating, thought I needed new bearings...  but no.   Just some Loctite and tightening. Off the road until I can pick up the correct Loctite. Should be back on the road by Wednesday. Going to shorten the swaybar droplinks and use heim joints to connect them to the upper a-arms.  Still not convinced that I have to raise the front end.  Then need to pretty up this beast, so it doesn't look like the ugly duckling for the upcoming ABFM show at VanDusen Gardens in two weeks time. Also need to renew the insurance and source new wheels and tires.

May  02,  2005.
More pics...


May  01,  2005.
Today was the day to switch 3115R over to AVO shocks and springs from Banks. Took me about 4-5 hours, the rears were easy..  but the fronts, took forever to get that damn swaybar back on the studs. But did it eventually. Then another hour or so tighthening all the bolts and nuts, and torquing the wheels. Looks ok, but no drive yet. Gosh, this thing is low in the front, maybe too low. The rear is about where it was before. I'm 1.5" lower in the front end, and I wasn't exactly boat nose high before. I used to be able to lift the front end with one hand, now I can't even do it with two hands. Front bumper to floor was 16 inches, now 14.5". I only have 2" of clearance under the droplink eyes for the swaybar. And behind the front wheel well, under the sill, 2.75". This is tight. We had guests for supper, so had to get cleaned up, but afterwards went for a quick drive to do a system check. It's low and hard and feels great. This is good and bad. That swaybar definitely has to be moved up. I touched ground three times. As for camber changes due to the lowered suspension, well...  it's looks ok. I will take some measurements and more pics later.


Below pic;
Top, new rear AVO.  2nd, original rear 3115R.  3rd, spare rear 3115R.  4th, original rear S1-46/0363


Below pic;
Top, new front AVO.  2nd, original front 3115R.  3rd, original front S1-046/0363.


Apr.  23,  2005.
Weather good, dry, warm. Driving everyday. 3115R parked in it's reserved double spot at work, visited by a friend.
3115R looks pretty good from 20 feet away, and the red Esprit looks even better ;-)


Apr.  10,  2005.
Did some measurements, want to lower the front end of 3115R, but not sure I can. Seems kind of low at some points already.

Mar.  19,  2005.
It works !!  Woke up and realized that I have a spare set of droplinks for the swaybar somewhere in the garage. Found them and they look perfect. Went to the kitchen, grabbed a bottle of liquid dishwashing detergent and squirted it all over the new rubber bushings. Push, pull, twist, curse... finally get the bushings into the eyes of the droplinks. Real proud of myself, stand back and admire my handiwork. Damn, the droplinks are on backwards !!  How did I do that?  More pushing, pulling twisting and more soap, get them off eventually. This time I'm really paying attention and checking what I'm doing, and of course now I used a socket the same size of the droplink's eye to press it over the rubber.  That was easier. Hmmm...   Yup, it's correct this time.  Put the wheels on the front and lowered the front  down, Wow, is she ever nose high!  But I had left all the nuts loose to let the suspension settle, so jumped on the front end, nose comes down to where it was before and now tighten all the nuts. Struggle to get the swaybay on, again new bushings. Check all nuts twice, torque wheel nuts. Open garage door, it's raining. hmmm...  Start engine, let it warm up.  Move other car off driveway. Go for a test-drive. Seems good, lot better, no play, direct, tight. Thought I might have do an alignment afterwards, but she tracks quite straight. I'm impressed. No shake, even seems less vibration. Hit the highway... yup, this is good. All the pain, frustration, anger, swearing was worth it. Nice.

Pics here..

Actually I thought about completely redoing the mounting for the swaybar, but after a week of tossing the idea back and forth in my head and looking at two different solutions and coming up with a third solution which was a combination of both other designs, I decided to go back to the original Lotus way for the immediate future. When the shocks and springs are updated, I will rethink the swaybar, but for now...  it's fine.

New upper balljoints, new tierod ends, new trunnions, new shock rubber (polyurethane), new swaybar rubber, new Grade 8 bolts, washers and nuts. About $250.00 Cdn.  Part two; new 14" wheels and tires, will be later. Part three; new AVO shocks and springs, will be later still. 3115R is back on the road. Good.


Mar.  13,  2005.
Thinking I have to redo the swaybar mounting. Need to replace the droplinks and would like to get rid of those dumb studs at the bottom of the shocks. Because of this, I'm not finished. Damn. Have to figure out some way of doing it, then finish next weekend. Another week off the road. Blah...

Mar.  12,  2005.
I know a place close  to me that sells english car bits, so called him up. He had everything that I wanted, but his price was the same as the Lotus guys.  So I called British Parts Northwest in Oregon and ordered two upper ball joints, two tie rods ends and two trunnion kits. 24 hours later, the parts arrived via UPS. Less that half the price of you know who....   I also visited my local auto parts guy and asked who stocks Grade 8 bolts UNF. Indufast, would you believe I pass by this place every morning on the way to work? So stop in...  and pick up four 1/2-20 x 10" grade 8 UNF bolts.  Later I went back and picked an assortment of other sizes.. I wanted to get the springs shortened, buy don't have a spring compressor and everyone I asked wasn't interested so... forget that idea.  I also wanted to replace the rubber bushings on the a-arms, but they are like impossible to get out, so...   And I needed to do something about the blown rubber bushings in the shock eyes. So bought some polyurethane from McMaster-Carr, cut it down on the lathe at work, but was too small afterwards. Then searched the internet, googled a phrase, and up pops the exact polyurethane bushings that I need from Energy Suspension. Back to my local car parts place and picked up a set. Was hoping to sandblast the arms, and paint some bits, but because I couldn't get the bushings out, I didn't bother. Next time.

Mar.  06,  2005.
I ordered the parts last Monday, I sort of expected them to arrive in a couple of days. They didn't. The next day, nothing. Finally on Friday I called to see what was up. They didn't ship because they only had one upper pivot bolt and not two. So, I decided to cancel the entire order. Now after spending the weekend doing the usual errands and searching the internet, I see that I can locate the parts I need at less than half the price of what the Lotus specialist was asking. More phone calls tomorrow morning. Also I broke my 4" vise trying to get a rubber bushing out of the first a-arm. That was interesting. But I did manage to separate the ball joints from the uprights with a giant pickle fork and a hammer, thanks Frank. Maybe I can use the pickle fork to do marshmallows on the barbeque later.

Feb.  26,  2005.
I drove 3115R every day last week, beautiful and sunny, was good...  but I knew the ride could be improved. The weather guys say rain for most of next week,  so today I dismantled the front suspension. Yup... metal on metal, lot of the rubber bushing are shot and the upper balljoints, trunnions, tie rod balljoints all need replacing.  And I want to shorten the springs by 1.5 coils, from 13 to 11.5 coils. should give me 10.5 inches. Eventually I'd like to install new AVO shocks and springs...  but not this month or next.

Feb.  19,  2005.
What tires ??    I have Yokohama AVS Intermediates...  I need new ones.
  front width  dia. rim    rear width dia. rim     utqg  tread depth
FACTORY  S1-S2 155/80-13 6.1 22.7  4.5"   155/80-13 6.1 22.7  4.5"      
FACTORY  TC-TCS 175/70-13 7.1" 22.7"  5.5"   185/70-13 7.5" 23.2"  5.5"      
CURRENTLY ON 3115R                        
avs intermediate
185/60-13 7.1" 21.9"  5.5"   205/60-13 7.9"  22.7"  5.5"   160 10/32
avid t4
175/70-13 7.1" 22.7"     185/70-13 7.5" 23.2"     420 10/32
V700 race
175/60-13 7.5" 21.1" 6.0"   215/50-13 8.9" 21.3" 7.0"   50 6/32
A032R race
175/60-13 6.9" 21.2" 6.0"   215/50-13 8.5" 21.5 7.0"   60 6/32
RA1 race
185/60-13 7.5" 21.7" 6.0"   205/60-13 8.3" 22.9" 7.0"   100 8/32
avs es100
185/60-14 7.4" 22.7     205/60-14 8.2" 23.7     280 10/32
avs es100
195/50-15 7.7" 22.7"     205/50-15 8.2" 23.2"     280 10/32
advan a043
185/55-15 7.5" 23"     205/50-15 8.2" 23.1"     160 10/32

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