100 or more Tips on Rebuilding a Twin Cam Europa

by Geoff Searle


1. It will cost you twice as much and take four times as long as you originally estimated. (Married men should double this estimate, married men with children multiply it by ten).

2, Find a garage which allows you to walk all the way around the car. Mains light and power are a big help. (So is long underwear on winter evenings).

3. Somewhere warm with a workbench is terribly useful for cleaning, painting and sub-assembling. (Unless you live alone do not use the kitchen table or else expect irritation, bad food, arguments and assault by flying frying pan).

4. Don't hurry. (Especially towards the end).

5. If you're doing a total rebuild, renew/recondition/service everything that might be worn as well as every piece that is, if necessary wait for the spare money to become available. (I bitterly regretted not following this maxim).

6. Form a close relationship with your parts supplier(s). Especially the Lotus specialist. I think face to face chat can save a lot of time and money. Don't expect to do this on a busy Saturday morning.

7. Find someone with knowledge and, if possible, experience to help you,

8. If you're picking a professional's brain buy things from him, or get him to do the specialist tasks you can't.

9. Have a friend to provide brute force and ignorance, to hold things, make tea and encourage you. (Actually two friends would be ideal, one of each sex. Unless you aren't choosy).

10. The chance that everything you want will be available at the time you want it is infinitesimal. Order things as soon as you discover you need them.


11. Start by ordering the relevant Workshop Manual.  

12. A torque wrench.

13. UNF taps/dies 1/8 inch to 1/2inch.

14. A tin of copaslip.  

15. A trolleyjack and four axle stands (Unfortunately, the cheap ones are a little too tall to slip neatly under the front of the car and you have to lift it a little with a scissor jack) .

16. A variety of wire brushes. Hand and power drill types).

17. Washing up bowl and five to ten liters degreasing agent. Or a cheap parts washer.  

18. A small spray gun, (I didn't, but in hindsight it would have been a big help).

19. A large roll of tank tape in a light colour and an alcohol based felt tip.

20. A variety of nylocs and washers. It is worth "wasting" money on buying these in trade size packages. You might also want to replace some bolts so that the shank goes all the way through and you arenít left with the threaded portion bearing loosely on a location hole.

 21. A jar of barrier cream. (If like me you have soft white collar worker hands). Or rubber surgical gloves.

22. A gift certificate for your local osteopath, (or faith healer).  

23. A large tin of paint stripper. (Only to be used on parts).

24. One hundred 3 inch nylon wire ties.


25. Beg, borrow or hire a steam or pressure washer and thoroughly clean the engine bay and suspension.

26. I was lucky and had nothing to do to the interior or bodywork. However, I think the only way to approach it is to inspect everything extremely closely. Ideally ,if the car runs, try out everything and make a comprehensive fault list. This is especially true of the electrics. Anyway, when you start to take things apart, I would take out the interior first, then strip out ancillary mechanical items and as much electrical gear as necessary, leaving a rolling chassis. Then I would start on the bodywork.

27. You will not remember where things go, so make notes. I made notes on the tank tape and stuck it to loom, etc, A year later, notes like "lower outer terminal starter motor" attached to a wire would prove invaluable.

28. While you are at it, take photos you can refer to before you derange things (an ordinary 35mm compact camera with a flash and colour print film works}.

29. You should be finding more and more things to replace and making a note of them.

30 Supermarket plastic bags are excellent for storing items in, and you can write on them in felt tip. Small bits go well in old margarine containers, larger ones in ice cream boxes or any plastic box with a clip on top. Don't use jam jars.

31. I also put the bags into strong cardboard boxes, which I tried to make into logical groups, like fuel system/ carburettors, front lights, etc. That made it easier to lay my hands on things after they had been moved around a few times.

32 Don't throw anything away until you have the replacement in your hand. And then check they are identical first.


33. Wishbone bushes need a 15 ton press to remove them, a vice isn't enough.

34. Don't paint the wishbones until after you've changed the bushes.  

35. Be careful which wishbone goes where, the upper links are marked left and right,

36. Check the trunnion if you wish by grasping it in a vice and trying to waggle the vertical link in it. Although the manual says oil, the pro's pack the trunnion with grease.(Whatever the pro's say, T.O.C. Technical Advice is only to use oil, unless ,you want to rebuild the front suspension every 1000 miles or So!)

37. The vertical links and hubs are late Vitesse, early GT6. (see also rear suspension).  

38. The upper chassis/wishbone bolts must have their nuts at the front, or you can't change the shocks without removing the body.

39. With a new chassis there should be space for a penny washer either side of the shocker's upper mount. When you torque up the chassis distorts a little and brings things up tight.

40. Reassembling and torqueing the suspension is very important. Thc bushes provide significant springing and so you mustnít tighten up the nuts until the car is sitting on the suspension.

41. You can't get a half-inch drive torque wrench on the passenger's side upper wishbone nut.

42. Fitting new anti-roll bar rubbers is murder, you need 2 or 3 men, a lot of silicone lubricant spray, a vice (well bolted down)), and a piece of wood with a hole just big enough to go over the end of the anti-roll bar. (Sounds like equipment for an orgy). .Put the rubber in the mount first and then sweat and strain using the wood to push the mount along the bar, Finally, apply liniment to your aching body.

43. You need an optical gauge to adjust the tracking. Don't go to the usual place as they often use gauges which assume your rear wheels are parallel which they arenít & shouldnít be.

44. The horizontal links between the steering rod ends and the vertical links have their heads covered by the brake discs, so ensure they are tight before you put the bake discs/hubs on.

45. Itís easiest to fit the anti roll bar to the shocks with the suspension compressed.

46. I found the tips 0f the upper wishbones rubbed against the wheel rims on full lock. After checking the ride height I resorted to "dressing" the tips of the wishbones with a hammer (i.e. hitting the bits that touched the rim). No further problems.


47. The steering rack is not a straight swap from the Herald, it has long extensions. The gaiters are not the same both sides.

48. Putting the steering rack on isn't difficult if you remember that the two lower mounting holes don't have fixed nuts behind them. The builder before me had very sensibly brazed nuts onto narrow strips of steel of just the right length to reach from the access apertures.

49. Make sure you have the correct steering joint, which is a disc joint with very little movement. The alternative Triumph universal joint is a pig to fit and gives two or three degrees of play at the steering wheel rim.

50. The horn earths down to the rack, so you have to fit an earth-strap across the disc joint.

51. To simplify matters it :is best to mark where 'straight' is for the rack using along straight edge on the hub or disc face, marking on to the body /wheel arch, then you can get close to zero toe straight off when you reassemble things.

52. Thus to ensure the indicator cancel and steering wheel are in the right place: First set the steering 'straight', and then fit the lower column with the disc joint attached so that the flat at the upper end of the column is horizontal. Then with the steering lock off arrange the spring clip on the upper column which operates the indicator cancel to point to the right, with the notch in the upper column in the correct orientation to the lower column.

53. Don't forget to fit the steering wheel and then adjust the column length using the impact clamp, so that the rotating horn contact is lightly in contact.


54. The rear wheels run toe-in and you adjust this by adding penny washers between the swinging arm and the rubber mount. The very large washer you should have goes on the inside of the mount.  

55. The rear lower Iink bushes are also difficult to remove and press in & although I doubt a 15 ton press is essential, but if you have to do it for the frontÖÖ.

56. Check the bolt on the gearbox end of the horizontal link is long enough to engage the locking nylon of the locknut, mine wasnít.

57. If you are using a "new' gearbox, you may have to grind off a fin or two to get the small supporting bracket beneath the gearbox to fit.

57a. You should need a washer between the bell housing and the inner end of the lower link.

58. Remember which of the bolts holding the gearbox casing together have to be longer to accommodate the bracket mentioned above.

59. Getting the shafts out of the hub bearings needs a press, or the special tool used on TR4ís (which is where I think the shaft comes from). The manual says loctite them in to the bearings; I donít think this is possible unless you have a press. I didnít and it seems OK. The hub nuts must be loctited and tab washered. You should check their torque loading at every service. The passenger side hub had fallen off my car at some point chamfering the lower link and scarring the previous owner, no doubt. Putting a dab of paint across the hub nut allows a quick visual check that it hasnít moved. 


60. No-one remembers to take the pads out and use the hydraulics to push out the front caliper pistons. So, fools like you and me put the calipers horizontal in a vice and strain with a couple of screwdrivers.

61. Putting the pistons back is a breeze if you cut a piece of wood too push them back with and lubricate them with rubber grease.  

62. Assuming you use copper kunifer tube, the only difficulty is the short length between the flexible hoses and the caliper. Don't forget you need space to allow you to loosen/ tighten the upper caliper bolt.

63. Once you have tightened a brass male brake union it 'flares' slightly, and if you undo it again it will not go back unless you file gently around the nose

64. You can get the master cylinder at any kit car supplier.

65. You cannot reach the output from the master cylinder to tighten

or loosen it with the steering rack in place.

66. Servicing the old servo is possible, but I ended up replacing it. I removed the plug in the chamber end of the piston assembly by briefly superglueing the head of a bolt to it and then quickly knocking the bolt off the plug (none too clean surfaces are a help on this occasion). To put the two halves back together, I jammed it vertically under my bench and pressed with a car jack. (I doubt the service kit is still available though)

67. The causes of a brake judder are many here are a selection:  

Runout in drums or discs; wrong grade of lining material on pads or shoes; cracked drums; broken servo one way valve; collapsing/ kinked servo hose; unevenly operating calipers; looseness in the steering or suspension.

68. The rear slave cylinder is a very common Ford part, however, there are two identical looking alternatives of subtly different diameters. The simple way to check you are getting the one you need, is to take the cogwheel of the self adjusting mechanism with you to the dealer and check it fits into its recess properly.

69. I threaded a wing nut to fit the rod on the intermediate handbrake cable which passes down the chassis. This makes it a great deal easier to adjust the free play in the handbrake.

70. Donít over tighten the handbrake, or you will find there is insufficient travel to allow.

The automatic adjusters of the brake shoes to work. Be very careful you put the adjusters in the right side!

71. Inspect the drums closely ,as many nowadays have cracks running round between the stud holes. For those who are desperate Avenger/ Morris Minor drums work, but need machining and work on the hubs.

72. Copaslip the hub/drum join, as it easily seizes.

72a; You need more than a litre of brake fluid to bleed the brakes; buy a big bottle.


73. If you do change the gearbox, don't lose the spacers on the output shafts.

73a. You have to shim up the yokes to the output shafts as they take suspension loads. Youíll almost certainly have to have the shims made. Donít forget theyíre running inside the oil seals. The rollpins are still standard Renault size, although double pins would be stronger. The holes are off centre so the yokes only go on one way round. Buy a roll pin punch; itís a big help.

74. Use the universal joints with grease nipples as they last longer.

74a. The gearbox is the only part of the car with metric bolts; suprisingly this includes the chassis to gearbox bolts.  

75. If the universal joints in the linkage are knackered and you aren't changing chassis, just change the joints which are available separately. Try and check the ears of the yokes for ovality with a caliper, mine actually had visible gaps between the UJ cups & the ears. I didnít notice this until Iíd shimmed up the gearbox to the knackered output yoke (aaargh!)

76. If you do have to disassemble the linkage, it is best to leave the UJ beside the flywheel free to alter the gearstick to gear selector length and the lateral position.  I then fiddled with things in the 1st/2nd plane working the gearbox from the back to select the correct length & had a friend hold the gearstick vertical whilst I drilled holes for the roll pins. In retrospect, it may well be better to have the 1st/2nd plane slightly offset towards the driver, as the gate from 1st/2nd plane to reverse seems longer than that to 3rd/4th(352gearbox). This is something to consider before taking the car apart, if you can. Do all this fiddling about with the exhaust in place to check it doesn't foul the linkage.  I found some slop in the pivot bolt holding the UJ beside the fly wheel; a longer shafted bolt fixed it.


I shall not comment on engine building as I am no expert.

77. It is easier to put the engine in without the head on, but with the gearbox on.

78. When you put the engine in, it is extremely easy to break the brake light switch on the nearside, so be very careful; or move it during the rebuild.

79. The engine mount 'wings' are of unequal length and point slightly forward.

80. Don't forget the earthing strap.

81. The gearbox mounts may need penny washers between them and the chassis, (be careful not to bend the mounting plate). Metric bolts remember.

82. l am told sometimes the heater tubes in the chassis are perforated by poor welding, so check before starting to fit up the chassis.

83. I was careful to ensure I could reach all the jubilee clips with everything assembled.

84. Hoses go on easily with silicone lubricant.  

85. Lotus engine grey is Ford tractor engine grey.

86. The carburettor  mounting plate has a cork gasket which falls out of position easily. You can spot weld in a couple of tabs below the upper rim to stop it drooping down. Or use silicone sealant to form a bead and let it dry.

87. A I also found a gap between the airbox and the air cleaner trunking, (the two had different diameters), bridged it with old inner tube held on at each end by screw clips  


88, Check the chassis carefully to see that it has all the holes it should,

and that they look in the right place (they sometimes aren't).

89. The body and chassis are held together by eight bolts, but don't forget to pull off the heater hoses inside as they will stop the two separating

90. I renewed all the felt supporting the body. There should be a piece on the nearside chassis leg underneath the battery.

91. Don't drill the holes in the chassis corners until you have checked the alignment of the body bobbins and chassis holes on the spine. But look at the alignment of the wheels in the arches, you may need to move the chassis bobbins & re-glass them in

92. You really need someone with long thin arms to take the oil pressure sender tube and speedo cable through the spine. Tall women are best, if you can charm them into it.

93. .The rear cross member has two luggage strap supports. They are not the same height, the short one is on the offside beneath the luggage box heat shield.


94.Leave the windows up or the interior gets filthy.

95. Check all the insulation is well stuck when the body is off.

96. Check the seat belt mounts in the sills for corrosion.

97. I cut new wheel arch dust seals from birch ply after making up a

cardboard pattern. But apparently without them thereís less high speed wander.

98. It is very difficult to fit new door courtesy light switches with the doors on.

99, You can't see the nearside door mirror unless you move it. I did so using a piece of shaped wood to replace the base, so I haven't drilled new holes in the door

100. The ventilation is useless, so coat the windows with anti mist liquid or do something radical (such as put a Cavalier fan in).


Pay a debt of thanks to your friends and partner, and don't forget to drive the damn thing as it is made to be driven. Don't forget the real reason you own a Lotus is that something is always wrong. If you look hard enough.    


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