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1998 GT3 loud tapping noise from engine

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Post  bassettndf on Sat Feb 20, 2010 4:57 pm

Hello Everbody, My name's Nick Bassett; I've just joined the Forum and am about to join the Club too. Bought my first Lotus a few days ago. Esprit 1998 GT3 immaculate condition 36,000 miles, from a dealership (Hollingworth's in Kidderminster). On the first day of use, after 100 miles, the engine developed a loud, intrusive tapping sound. The engine power is fine (read: excellent!) and otherwise also sounds great. It's just this tapping sound which I know is not right at all. I'm an engineer by proffession, but not a mechanical one.

The noise sounds like when a child has taped a playing card to his bike so that it makes a flicking sound as the spokes strike it as the wheels go round. The dealer mentioned something about hydraulically lubricated valves and that one of them may have lost its oil. The dealer has asked me to check the oil level. I did and it was 1 cm below the minimum level, so he's asked me to top-up and then check it. I'm away this weekend, so cannot check it ... but ... any ideas / warnings / reassurances from anyone? I'd like to hear. Regards, Nick.

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1998 GT3 loud tapping noise from engine Empty Re:

Post  Trigger on Mon Feb 22, 2010 10:18 pm

Hello and welcome Nick. I'm not sure if this is indicative of the GT3 Esprit but hopefully someone can help you find the solution if the oil level has not proved itself. I know that the hydraulic valves can sound very 'tappety' when cold. I have read about oil additives curing this type of thing but I have never had to try. Something like Wynns Hydraulic Valve Lifter Treatment could be worth a try along with some fresh oil.

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Post  GrumpyBodger on Mon Feb 22, 2010 11:06 pm

Valve hydraulic lash adjusters (tappets) can make a noise on cold start up or due to drastic oil surge in dynamic cornering, keeping the oil topped up should prevent the latter.

There is the possibility that one or more of the lash adjusters has/have developed a fault causing permanent softness.
This however highly unusual & could disappear with higher engine speeds & the associated higher oil pressure.

Try some self diagnosis:-
Under what conditions does the noise become apparent?
Does it go away, if so under what conditions? (i.e. hot/cold Engine etc.)
Are you using an Oil of lower than recommended Viscosity?
How old is the engine Oil, could it have been degraded due to Petrol thinning?
If your Workshop is worth its Salt it should be able to pinpoint the noise source with a Stethoscope, part of any good mechanics Tool kit.

Good luck
John
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Post  A7ESK on Mon Feb 22, 2010 11:50 pm

I would just take it back to the garage and get them to fix the fault as you just purchased the car from them at their cost.

Eddie.
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Post  Mattwatts on Tue Feb 23, 2010 12:20 pm

Hi Nick
I don't think any Lotus 9 series engine had hydraulic tappets so its not going to be that
It could still be a valve problem.
If you have just brought it a few days ago take it back to the dealer and get them to fix it under your guarantee

If you really want to try yourself maybe first look for something outside the engine like, is there any damage on the timing belt, are the water pipes rubbing on the belts or pulleys (a common Esprit problem)

If you place one end of a piece of pipe to your ear and move the other end arround the engine to try to find the sounds source

I would not use the car in this state how ever tempting it may be

Hope this helps

Matt
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Post  GrumpyBodger on Tue Feb 23, 2010 12:46 pm

Ooops, how right you are Matt,

that Engine was designed way before European manufacturers adopted Hydraulic lash adjusters.
Working on the basis of what the "Dealer" has said, I agree totally with the recommendations already made & that is bung it back at him & get it fixed or walk away from the Car.
Sounds like a case of "pulling the Wool over the Customers Eyes"; not good practice.
I'm afraid I drifted off into practicalities & overlooked the "reality".

Cheers
John
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Post  TimS on Tue Feb 23, 2010 3:10 pm

Hi Nick,
I second the comments from Matt & John, (I'll send you a PM- I know Hollingsworth garage).
Cheers,
Tim.
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Post  A7ESK on Thu Feb 25, 2010 1:03 pm

Hi Nick
Any update 1998 GT3 loud tapping noise from engine Icon_bounce
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Post  bassettndf on Thu Feb 25, 2010 3:43 pm

Hi everyone,
I'm really impressed and very thankful for all the replies so far. I do read and re-read them all. So far, I've been getting home every day in the dark, so haven't been able to top-up with the oil, yet, and see if that has done the trick. I know this isn't ideal, as time is ticking by, but I want to do it when I can see what I'm doing and also when the engine bay won't get wet (by the constant rain we're having). I'll be home early tomorrow (Fri) so I'll definitely get it done then. Fingers crossed, it'll work. Thanks all.
Regards, Nick.

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Post  Mickey Bull on Sat Mar 13, 2010 10:03 pm

Sounds bad but if you have no loss in power!!! 1998 GT3 loud tapping noise from engine Icon_smile I had a ticking noise and it turned out to be the exhaust manofold, may be worth checking it out
Mick
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1998 GT3 loud tapping noise from engine Empty Tapping sound from GT3's engine

Post  bassettndf on Sat Mar 13, 2010 11:09 pm

An update for you all. The dealer (Hollingworth's aka Midland Sports Cars) have decided to collect the car on a transporter and take it back to look at. They were apologetic, and made no attempt to 'argue' at all. They say that, unless something unforeseen should occur, then I will not incur any costs for this at all. That includes no costs for it being transported there and back, and no costs for any repair necessary. Let us hope this is the case. So far, so good. They're collecting it on Thursday 18th. They do indeed seem genuinely decent about this, but I will of course be on tenterhooks until the car is back with me, in proper working order, with no costs incurred by me. ... Thanbks for everyone's interest, help and advice.

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Post  Mickey Bull on Thu Mar 18, 2010 10:09 pm

Good luck!!
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Post  A7ESK on Fri Mar 19, 2010 6:45 pm

Hi Nick.

Whats the latest have they fixed it .
I must say when i was down with Tim to pick his Elan i saw the Esprit it looks a very nice car .

Eddie. cheers
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1998 GT3 loud tapping noise from engine Empty Update - the saga continues...

Post  bassettndf on Tue Mar 23, 2010 2:13 pm

So just when I was being optimistic and praising the dealer...this happens. The night before the Esprit was due to be collected on the truck to be looked at, the owner of the franchise (Roger Hollingworth himself) rang me and bluntly said I will be charged for the collection of the car! He spent 15 minutes moaning to me that he hadn't been kept informed by his own staff; that he hadn't known anything about this problem over the last six weeks. He said he couldn't collect a car everytime a car that they'd sold had failed. The fact that it failed within 150 miles and within 2.5 hours seemed to mean nothing to him. He tried to implicate me (as the cause of any lasting engine damage) by repeatedly mentioning the fact that I continued to drive it after the noise had started. Again, the fact that we were on the first day of our honeymoon, and were travelling to catch a flight seemed to mean nothing.

As for driving it back to Portsmouth from Penzance, it was a Saturday afternoon. In a bitter cruel twist of fate, the journey back went like this. We detoured onto the old A30 in Cornwall/Devon to look for the fabled Lotus dealer near Lifton. We couldn't find it (it's listed in the worng village!). We then detoured further to Crediton in Devon and found the Lotus dealer SJ Sports Cars, but they were closed. We then rang another Lotus dealer in Devon to detour there, but their tech guys had just gone home. So we did evrything we could've done.
And you know what? During his whole phone call, he never once said 'Sorry' for any of this.

I rang back the next morning, spoke to Grant and Adam, who are more proffessional. They apologised to me, re-arranged again, to have the car piggy-backed up to Kidderminster, but a few days later, as the transporter had been re-tasked since the previous afternoon.

They've since rang back and, still apologising for Roger's call to me, have said that they can not piggy-back the car back to me free of charge. I will either have to pay 180 for the diesel usage of the transporter, or spend a day and a train fare collecting it myself.

So that brings us up to yesterday. I phoned Hollingworths in the morning to confirm the arrangements. A few hours later, the driver still managed to go to the wrong address, based on what someone else in their office had told him.
I've never dealt with a company where such a small group of people (four!) seemingly communicate so little. The onyl guys there who are reliable to deal with are Grant and Adam.

Thankyou to those of you who've said they think they've seen the car and it looked nice. Yes, thank you for your compliments. I do adore it! I just want it working in proper order. I think my only fear now is that the engine may need whatever work it needs. But that Hollingworths will try to make me pay for it, under the guise that any damage was done because I continued to drive it (for another 400 miles), even though that will be complete rubbish.

The sound is just the same now as when it started ie no worse at all. There is no loss of power or any other symptons. To be honest, I've always suspected it is a minor fault only. But I'm certain that the driving we did (HAD to do) did not make anything worse. In other words, I'm certain that any damage occurred only at the instant it started and therefore I should not be liable for any costs.

I'll update again when Hollingworths have spoken to me about what they find...
Thankyou all for your interest.

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Post  Mickey Bull on Tue Mar 23, 2010 9:44 pm

sounds an complete pain! 1998 GT3 loud tapping noise from engine Icon_cry best of luck keep us informed!!!
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