Lotus Elan

alternative engine for a plus 2

PostPost by: tower of strength » Wed May 07, 2008 7:30 pm

D.J.Pelly wrote:"Properly built and maintained K's dont have head gasket woes"

Pity that Rover never found that out :lol:

OK I'll get my coat.
John


I was involved with the durability testing of K series engined cars and there was rarely a problem, however they did have a marginal cooling volume and only needed to loose a little water to cook the engines. This was deemed to be "abuse" at the time, one of the official modifications was a larger header tank where it could be installed and/or raising the hight of the header tank.

A lot of cars are labelled as having design problems, when in reality it is owner problems/lack of maintenance that is the real issue. On the K series the plastic head to block dowels go soft allowing the head to move causing gasket failure if the engine gets too hot (usually due to lack of coolant) the cure is to rebuild with steel dowels, but not educate the owner to check the coolant level weekly!! Other well known "design" faults are the porous red top GM 16valve engine, the finger is pointed towards Cosworth doing a poor job, however the truth is that a few did fail due to a casting fault and were replaced under warranty, in later years when onto the eleventy third owner the ugly spectre of porous heads resurfaced........ Basic chemistry will explain that the by products of combustion are acidic, due to differing expansion rates between alloy and steel you get a bit of blow by on start up of all ally head/steel block engines, i.e.exhaust gas into the water jacket. This gradually turns the coolant acidic over time and alloy heads aren't very acid resistant, hence the loss of coolant into other areas of the casting.....RTFM (read the f... Manual) change the coolant every two years or x many thousand miles and this is a problem others will have..... I have many of these stories but here isn't the place ! Sorry for the rant/ramble

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PostPost by: GrUmPyBoDgEr » Thu May 08, 2008 7:36 am

Rant justified Mark,
I'm not surprised, my posting was very provocative.
Fundamentally the "K" was a great design.
I understand that things went a bit pear shaped when they took it up to 1.8 Litres when it was originally only meant to be 1.4 Litres.
Appologies.
John
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Editor: On Sunday morning, February 8th 2015, Derek "John" Pelly AKA GrumpyBodger passed away genuinely peacefully at Weston Hospicecare, Weston Super Mare. He will be missed.
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PostPost by: Elanintheforest » Thu May 08, 2008 11:09 am

Sorry guys, but it still sounds like a design problem to me! If the engine had a marginal cooling volume and plastic dowels in the head that would eventually cause movement, how does that fragility get translated to owner abuse because they don't check the water level every week?

I understand that these engines would let go at about 35,000 miles, and usually during a long and hot motorway drive....even starting off full of water wouldn't seem to improve their chances of survival beyond this sort of mileage.

Perhaps the Rover management expected the owners of their products to check out under the bonnet for levels, under the car the leaks and run a complete pre-flight check every time they got into the car? Unfortunately, the rest of the world had introduced different standards by the mid 1990s.

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PostPost by: GrUmPyBoDgEr » Thu May 08, 2008 11:13 am

Got a bunker somewhere out in the Forest Mark :shock:
John
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Editor: On Sunday morning, February 8th 2015, Derek "John" Pelly AKA GrumpyBodger passed away genuinely peacefully at Weston Hospicecare, Weston Super Mare. He will be missed.
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PostPost by: jono » Thu May 08, 2008 3:37 pm

The K is fundamentally a very good engine with an undeserved reputation for HG failure.

Provided the liner heights are correctly set at 4 thou and steel dowels used with the latest Payen gasket, they are fine. I had Dave Andrews of DVA Power, the acknowledged K series guru, rebuild the K in my Seven and it ran an absolute treat and is a very sweet and lightweight motor. Rebuilding the engine in this way Dave said he has never had a single hg failure and all his engines are usually thrashed on tracks.
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PostPost by: types26/36 » Thu May 08, 2008 4:12 pm

I don't doubt that the K series is a good reliable engine probably more so then a T.C.(once it has been modified as outlined) and let me say I know nothing about the engine (never even been in a car that had one) but it would appear from what has been written that Mark has a good point , it seems that it has a weakness built in during the design phase weather it be the engine or its cooling system and I don't see how it can be attributed to owner abuse.
(ducking and getting into my nuclear bomb shelter) :roll:
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PostPost by: tower of strength » Thu May 08, 2008 6:51 pm

During durability testing a VVC powered MGF was subjected to hard acceleration/deceleration and WOT (wide open throttle) or flat out conditions for several months, this duty cycle wracked up 1500 odd miles a day, as it was run 24hrs,7 days a week. It topped out at around 145mph and despite a penchant for tyres, suspension bushes and the odd roof the engine gave no problems, as far as I recall, the damn thing was deafening flat out( wind noise) and if you werent driving it, it was constantly lapping you! The fluid levels were checked 3 times a day at shift change and any additions recorded. Had there been an issue with water loss, it would have been picked up.

If there was a fault with this engine, it lay not in the design, but perhaps in the manufacture and installation (I've seen a few Rovers with ineffective fans, siezed, wired up wrong or not even connected! from near new).

My opinion is that it was a victim of the fashion that our press has of knocking our home grown products, a classic example of this was when VBH tested the soon to be defunct Rover range when BMW were looking at closing the company down...... after years of deriding the products she admitted that they were a lot better than she remembered and were in fact very good cars and competitive in their respective classes.

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PostPost by: Elanintheforest » Thu May 08, 2008 7:38 pm

Good on you for sticking up for it Mark, but I think your view is a little clouded by personal involvement.

The media aren?t interested in the engine now, but owners and trade forums are. There still seems to be a massive problem with head gaskets letting go:

Head Porosity
http://www.elise-r.co.uk/category/rover-k-series/

Head Gasket failure on the MGF (a German site):
http://www.mgfcar.de/hgf/index.html

MG Rover Forum?the inevitable head gasket failure:
http://forums.mg-rover.org/archive/inde ... 64994.html

An Austrailian sire on the Freelander headgasket failure?and this points to a UK site specifically set up about the failure:
http://home.austarnet.com.au/edwardsonl ... eadgasket/


And so it goes on?a 5 minute cursory search on Google comes up with pages and pages of this stuff. I never realised just how bad it is!!

So Mark, is it user abuse of the car, or the media rubbishing our great products, or is it simply that the engine wasn?t (isn?t) fit for purpose?be it a design or production problem? The customer doesn't care what sort of problem caused it, they just care that they are left with a steaming wreck on the side of the road...sometimes for the 2nd or 3rd time.

There seems to be an overwhelming weight of evidence that on this particular occasion, the media aren?t to blame.

Is it not just symptomatic of the short term executive practise at MG Rover to bleed dry the remnants of the British car industry? Zero investment and zero interest in the customer and the long term consequences of their inaction, because by then they?ll have taken the money and ran?and flogged off the ghost to the Chinese. Wonder if they?ll use the K series engine?

Mark
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PostPost by: garyeanderson » Thu May 08, 2008 7:43 pm

Hi Mark

So , OK its a nice engine where is the sump located and how long is it. What else are they put into. We never got new Rovers (since the days of the 3500 and 2000 TC ) over here other than the Range Rover, is this the engine in the Freelander?

Gary
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PostPost by: tower of strength » Thu May 08, 2008 8:58 pm

Mark, I'm one of the few patriots left over here that still fly the flag in the face of adversity, I'm sure that had the internet been around in the 70's, the venerable Ford Pinto engine would have had its production life terminated due to the camshaft wear issues that this unit suffered (again due to deviations from maintenance/use on the whole).Like wise the ring wear issues on the CVH would have devastated fleet sales of sierras!
Also, do you think that Lotus would have survived as well after the original Elite ? I doubt it!

Other favorite "horrors" are rover 827 engine failures,Cavalier 3 lower arms snapping,a watchdog pet subject for a while (i was very involved in the tests of these!) and Alfa Twinsparks throwing rods (whole sale neglect, this one!)

Gary, yes its the same basic engine as used in the Freelander, not the finest use of a light weight/high specific out put engine! And this application exaggerated the head gasket 'problem'. I believe the sump is at the wrong end of the block compared to a Twink and is a structural part of the engine, its also cast aluminium to add to the grief factor!

For a retro fit application as we are discussing here, known modifications would obviously be used so any issues, real or imagined shouldn't arise :lol:

I've had a couple of K series cars and I cooked one of them slightly and thought I'd got away with it, the head gasket blew about 2 months later in the cooler weather..... I wasn't overly impressed at the time, still it was my fault! The other was fine for many miles(lesson learned).

Mark
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PostPost by: davidj » Fri May 09, 2008 11:45 am

Hi,

I must confess to being a bit of a fan of the K series. Lotus were as well, which is why it was fitted in the Elise.

However, I read that it was originally designed for small FWD cars doing short runs, so it was designed to heat up ASAP. When the engine was fitted to the MGF with the Rad in the front and engine in the back and consequently more water in the system, the thermostat was not opening fast enough, resulting is overheating for a short period. This eventually let to failure. I guess this is why the problem was not picked up by the high stress testing mentioned by Mark, because the engine was already warm!

After ignoring the problem for several year, which lead to all the bad press, the Rover management changed the design.

David
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PostPost by: jono » Fri May 09, 2008 12:32 pm

In answer to a few of the preceeding questions, the K engine was used by Caterham in all their seven models (and the short lived 21) from 1993 until last year when they switched to Sigma.

The engine was of course also used in the Elise S1 and early S2. In the caterham R500, it produced 240bhp in it's final incarnation and set the lap record at the Nurburgring.

The Caterham installation uses a bespoke shallow sump and the engine is slightly canted to clear the bonnet. The sump is not structural per se being a conventional pan but the lump is a clever design with head bolts running through the full height of the engine and which clamp the head, block and crank ladder together.

I could lift my K lump off the floor complete with clutch assembly and put in onto the workbench single handed so it's a light engine, circa 85Kg all up. In comparison the twink feels like a boat anchor :lol:

I have not measured the engine but my impression is it would fit into a Plus 2 and make a nice conversion. It is lighter than a Zetec.

I still maintain the HGF issue if overblown if I can use that unintended pun. In my years in Caterham circles I don't think I heard of single HGF except for some of the early 1.4 engines with nylon dowels. As said the risk of HGF is an easy fix with proper attention to building.

The main weakness in the K is the ability to tune to big power as the combustion chamber are small, the engine being designed originally as a 1.4. The 1.6 and 1.8 versions and increased bore and stroke respectively but use the same head as the 1.4 expect for certain VHPD designs which had special heads.

There is certainly a history of some poor head castings which entered the supply stream but a hardness test weeds them out.

It's another case of a brilliant British concept which was never developed to it's full potential I'm afraid
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PostPost by: desprit dan » Fri May 09, 2008 8:25 pm

I had a 2 litre version of the K series, might have been an L series? fitted to a discovery MPI; a really powerfull engine, but suffered the same fate, in this instance, the sensor for the electric fan failed, and a 5 minute wait in traffic was all that was needed!

The pinto should have never made it to production; the 1600 was way too heavy, and what idiot thought the cam journal arrangement out? Fords were notorious for soft camshafts, but to design an engine where the camshaft is removable from the rear only, on a conventional north south layout .....I did hear a story that the plans got muddled and it was supposed to be removable from the front, but who knows.

The CVH in my opinion was a good engine, much maligned, but basically the belt needed changing every 30,000 and the water pump (that run off the same belt) as well.
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PostPost by: tower of strength » Fri May 09, 2008 11:17 pm

desprit dan wrote:I had a 2 litre version of the K series, might have been an L series? fitted to a discovery MPI; a really powerfull engine, but suffered the same fate, in this instance, the sensor for the electric fan failed, and a 5 minute wait in traffic was all that was needed!

The pinto should have never made it to production; the 1600 was way too heavy, and what idiot thought the cam journal arrangement out? Fords were notorious for soft camshafts, but to design an engine where the camshaft is removable from the rear only, on a conventional north south layout .....I did hear a story that the plans got muddled and it was supposed to be removable from the front, but who knows.

The CVH in my opinion was a good engine, much maligned, but basically the belt needed changing every 30,000 and the water pump (that run off the same belt) as well.


the 2 litre engine was the T series(If my memory serves me right) as fitted to later 400,600 and 800 rovers, it was also available in turbo form, where the slightly deranged have extracted well over 500 bhp and fitted them to MG Maestro's :shock: In my yoof i was party to these kind of stunts but only ever saw 420BHP when we had our car dynoed!! It was mad and slightly hairy to drive!!
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PostPost by: andyelan » Sat May 10, 2008 8:04 pm

Hi everyone

It seems that I've been mis directed.

I thought this was Lotus Elan Forum :wink:

Andy
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