CLA Build Stories: Part 4 of the Lotus Esprit VQ Build – The Sump


Club Lotus Australia is full of interesting people who are up to interesting things with interesting cars. We think that’s wonderful, so we’re going to share their stories with you here!

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Last time we met Geoff Winder, he was fabricating a flywheel and a clutch to go with the engine and gearbox that he had lined up for the Lotus Esprit VQ. In this post, we rejoin Geoff Winder as he sorts out the sump for his Lotus Esprit VQ project.

Read Part 1 here.

Read Part 2 here.

Read Part 3 here.

By Geoff Winder

Another reason to push the engine forward was to help with the sump clearance. The Esprit chassis rail runs between the engine mounts. Even with the engine pushed forward I would still have to make a new sump pan.

Here, you can see the sump sitting on the cross rail. If I could just run a flat plate across the pan all would be fixed. However, I think the engine would like somewhere to pick up the oil from.

Flat Plate

Here is a flat plate installed with the engine sitting on its mounts. There is good clearance.

People often ask how I make the copy of something like this. First, I rough cut with a jigsaw, then I bolt the aluminium to the old sump pan. Then I get out my trusty router with a ball bearing straight bit and follow the outline of the old pan whilst cutting the aluminium – it comes out a perfect copy.

Just be careful you give the router bit time to cool off every few mins.

Sump Weld

Next I had to weld up a sump. I purchased a cheapy TIG welder and set about teaching myself to TIG weld. This was my first project. Here I have filled it with water to check for leaks. Yep, there were many.

Sump Weld

I won’t win any awards but it doesn’t leak and the back clears the cross bar.

Oil Pickup

The new pan is deeper so the oil pickup was modified.

Whilst the bottom was apart I decided to add a little gate to the sump to help with oil starvation on acceleration.


Random girdle shot.


It would have been easier to just turn the whole engine around, note the big cutout on the other end. Anyway it is all sorted now.

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