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Mechanic in San Diego / LA area  Rating:  Rating
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 Posted: 05-19-2006 10:00 pm
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Joel
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Location: San Diego, USA
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I talked with an 'older' fella up in the LA area a while back but I can't find his contact info.  I'm looking for someone to help me put some crap back together.  I have just too many projects and this one's not getting the attention it should.

ANyone have any good mechanics in the area for me?  I'll be damned if I can remember this guys name!  And he was really helpful too.


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 Posted: 05-20-2006 05:39 am
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Jim DeClerck
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Could it have been Walt Kelly at Britalia Import Auto Service?  He's said to be a good repair resource.  1121 E. Elm Ave., Fullerton, CA 92831.  (714) 879-7531.  Usual disclaimers.  Good luck.

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 Posted: 05-20-2006 01:51 pm
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Rick Willard
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I just had an extensive rebuild of my engine completed by Viking Motorsports - Costa Mesa, CA.  The owner, Harry Appleby specialized in all things Lotus.  During the time my engine was being done, I saw three other JH's come and go out of his shop for minor repairs.  I highly recommend them.  Same comment as Jim...all the legal disclaimers.  Their number is (714) 979-1020, and their website is http://www.vikingmotorsports.com.  Good luck!

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 Posted: 05-22-2006 09:25 pm
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Joel
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Thanks guys. 

I talked to both of them.  Britalia charges 80 bucks an hour and Viking charges 105. . .But, the guy at Viking kept me on the phone for 20 minutes BSing about cars.  I'm going to drop it off to them in the next week or so.


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 Posted: 08-02-2006 05:49 pm
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Joel
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OK, I'm going to give you a quick synopsis.  I just picked my car up from Viking MotorSports yesterday.  I've been really happy with them (no affiliation, unless you consider what I've paid them to be an equity investment. . . .).  They're not cheap but Harry knows his stuff about these cars.

I took it in with the intake manifold and distributor off the car and the oil pump apart.  I wanted to put on the rebuilt Dell 40's I have.  I had an over heating problem and wanted to investigate the oil pump clearance, etc, etc.  Anyway, I've been way too damn busy with work travel and have not had time to put everything back together.  So, my buddy has a car trailer and off to Viking goes my baby. If I did all this myself I might be able to drive it next summer. . .

I get the car to Viking.  Harry puts everything together for me and changes the timing belt.  The car idles like a champ and runs smoooth as silk.  First time ever since I bought the car about a year ago!  The only real problem he ran into was a frozen adjustment screw that they had to have made at a machine shop.  No big deal.

The front Carb (stromberg) was just dumping gas into the engine and it wasn't firing.  So, I had gas in the oil.  I was told I was lucky that I didn't burn it up.  Fortunately, when I noticed a problem (overheating and then a big drop in oil pressure) I shut her down and started to investigate.

On the way home from Viking it overheats!  Shit!  I limp back to Viking after only going about 10 miles.  It was a hot day and it was a big hill.  Anyway, I limp back to Viking.  It turns out the radiator is all crudded (technical term) up.  It's Friday and no one can recore the radiator until the following week.  I'm leaving on a business trip - yet again - the following week and will be out of town for a while.  So, I tell Harry to put in the new Radiator, do front and rear sway bars, front bushings, shocks and brakes.  Harry also installed a REAL temp guage.  Now I can see exactly how she's running.  Ouch! This is gonna hurt but I planned to do this stuff in the next year or so anyway. . .

And when Viking took the car for a drive - the brakes failed.  So, I got a new master cylinder too. 

Also, despite the new radiator, the car was running hot.  With the thermostat it ran too hot - and without the thermostat it ran too hot.  So, they ended up taking the middle out of the thermostat and using the 'housing' as a restrictor.  Now she runs ok.  Apparently, the H2O pump pushed the H2O thru the radiator too fast and doesn't allow it to cool down.

Yesterday I picked up the car.  The front end doesn't bounce around at all.  90 mph and it's smooth as silk (ok, ok, I did hit a 'leetle' above 90. . . .).  Those Dells have a bark - a very very nice bark.  Anything below 3,000-3,500 rpm is just lugging the engine.  She begs for 5 grand.  I have an overdrive installed and at around 80mph I can get a little over 3K - but, it sounds like crap.  She wants 4K.  I love the whine.

After hard acceleration, cruising at a steady highway speed, there's an occassional pop from the carbs.  I understand this is normal.  The sway bars and and front shocks (and wheel bearings) make a HUGE difference.  No discernable body roll.  I took a 90 degree corner at about 30+ mph and that's what it took to get the ass-end to feel a little unstuck.   Around town she runs about 185 deg.  On the freeway about 200.  Going up one big hill she hit 210-220 deg.  I might replace the electric fan with a more efficient one - as I'm not convinced the one on the car is up to snuff. 

I just hope she keeps running well for a while.  I've put more $$ into her than anticipated but it was really worth it when I downshifted and roared by the Miata with the shiney wheels who thought he was 'oh so cool'.  I know it wasn't a fair fight but you've got to start somewhere. . . .

Thanks to everyone for the good advice (including info on mechanics).  Of course there's still plenty to muck around with on a 35 year old car but in general she seems to be running pretty well.  The comments I got from you guys regarding what my problems were  were spot on.  I'm sure I'll be asking more questions soon.  I just hope I can keep her running for a bit - and keep out of trouble - I'm afraid the latter may be the most difficult. 

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 Posted: 08-02-2006 09:00 pm
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Mark Rosenbaum
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Congratulations on getting your car running again, even though it was expensive.

I do have a couple of comments.  First, if your radiator was filled with 'crud' then there may also be some remaining in the block, and if so this would restrict heat transfer and result in a hotter running engine.  Using water wetter might let the engine run a little cooler.

Second, the JH uses a special dual-action thermostat that forces the coolant to bypass the radiator when the engine is cold.  If the wrong thermostat design is used, the engine will run hot because some of the coolant gets fed back to the block and never runs through the radiator at all.  From your description, this might be what's happening with your car.  The attached drawing may help clarify this point.

Attachment: Coolant flow diagram.jpg (Downloaded 20 times)

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 Posted: 08-03-2006 01:38 am
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Joel
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We did use water wetter - highly recommended by the mechanic by the way.  And, I'm assuming (we all know what that means) that Viking knows about the thermostat - they get most of their parts from Delta. . .

The car actually didn't even have a thermostat in it before. 


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