Lotus Elan

Replacing the water pump - Lucky or not?

PostPost by: BabyDriver » Sat Nov 15, 2014 8:56 pm

Just recently I had a bad leak from the water pump of my 1969 Lotus Elan S4. I read various posts and reviews and the advice ranged from yes the pump can be removed and replaced in situ right through to having to remove the engine and taking the head off etc etc. Not wishing to take all the car apart to replace the pump I thought I'd have a go at removing and replacing it with as little disruption as possible. So I started by removing the parts as necessary. The radiator was first followed by the fan belt drive pulley. Next was the oil sump. This was the first and only problem I encountered the blogs were right the chassis cross member gets in the way and needs to be modified to make it detachable. Not a difficult exercise with the use of a hacksaw a handful of nuts and bolts and a little bit welding the job was done. The starter motor needed to be removed to give access to the rear sump bolts and minutes later the sump tumbled off. The cam chest cover was next and then the bolts securing the front waterpump housing. With a small amount of gentle persuasion the plate was carefully removed and the offending water revealed. The pump was removed from its housing and sent off to the very helpful man at E P Services in Wolverhampton for complete refurbishment with stainless bearings and ceramic seals together with a lifetime guarantee. So far so good.

Within a few days the pump was back in all its splendour ready for refitting. Everything went back together as easily as it had come apart. I topped up the radiator and to my surprise not one drop of water to be seen from anywhere. I left it overnight just to make sure and the following day went off for a test drive. On my return my heart sank. Horror of horrors oil was pouring from the engine. Up on the ramps to investigate. It was a silly mistake the cork gasket at the front of the sump was not seated properly. The sump had to be taken off and of course the paper gasket tore as I removed it so another kit needed to be ordered. This time I used gasket goo to stick the gaskets to the sump and left it to set overnight to stick the gasket to the sump before refitting the next day. This made the whole operation much easier as the gaskets were held in place. Fingers crossed I went off on a another test run and I'm glad to report not a drop of oil or water to be seen anywhere.

Now was I just lucky or what? I can see that the head may need to be removed if the rear plate becomes dislodged during the removal of the front plate but with care this should not happen. In any event if it does then nothing has been lost as you can then take the head off remove the engine or whatever else is necessary.

Overall a great result!
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PostPost by: rgh0 » Sat Nov 15, 2014 9:58 pm

It appears you managed to not disturb the front cover back plate to block join and also the cork gasket between the front cover and back plate and the head. The problems and solutions you adopted for fitting the sump in situ are pretty much what I have experienced and done also.

The risks you face are that the back plate seal may have been disturbed when the periphery bolts were removed and overtime a water leak develops into the sump or an oil leak develops externally. Similarly the reused cork gasket from front cover to head may develop a leak overtime. But it appears so far that none of these have occurred so you may be OK.

cheers
Rohan
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PostPost by: elansprint71 » Sat Nov 15, 2014 10:13 pm

rgh0 wrote:It appears you managed to not disturb the front cover back plate to block join and also the cork gasket between the front cover and back plate and the head. The problems and solutions you adopted for fitting the sump in situ are pretty much what I have experienced and done also.

The risks you face are that the back plate seal may have been disturbed when the periphery bolts were removed and overtime a water leak develops into the sump or an oil leak develops externally. Similarly the reused cork gasket from front cover to head may develop a leak overtime. But it appears so far that none of these have occurred so you may be OK.

cheers
Rohan



Agreed- it really depends where you are on your "Elan journey" :wink: . I've done it exactly like Baby Driver, got away with it once, not the second time. Also have left the sump on and removed the head (the head had to come off for valve work); which the books seem to indicate will not work... but RTV is a wonder of modern science, in the right hands. :roll:
Given time, a decent-sized garage and all the kit, it is probably best to take off the top and bottom but leave the engine in place, imho.

You were lucky not to disturb the back-plate, keep us posted and a belated welcome. :D
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PostPost by: Europatc » Sat Nov 15, 2014 10:47 pm

Welcome baby driver and well done. Hope it all holds together.
all the best
Stuart
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PostPost by: billwill » Sun Nov 16, 2014 1:46 am

I don't reuse the cork gaskets, If I do a font-cover-off, I cut the relevant parts from a new cork gasket fasten them on with clear silicone and add a little bit extra clear silicone at the cut point.
Bill Williams

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