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XE ESP Turbo ute 

 

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 Post subject: XE ESP Turbo ute
Posted: Wed Jun 23, 2010 10:52 pm 
Parts Gopher
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Age: 39

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Joined: 17th Jun 2010

Ride: XE UTE

Location: Melbourne
VIC, Australia

Few months ago i went shopping for a cheap ute as i was building my house and needed a ute for all the dirty work. I was after any XF ute in average condition as it was only going to be a work horse and was not going to be driven daily (i had an EL Ghia for that).

I only had max $2k to spend but could not find anything that was in my opinion worth that much and the good ones were above my budget. After a couple of months of looking all over VIC and even interstate i saw an ad in trading post for an XE ute 5 minutes away from my house. I thought an XE would be good as i know the cars well and have lots of spares for them already, but i knew that there aren't many in good nick left either so i was prepared for a rust bucket but went anyway. The seller wanted $2k.

I got there and as soon as i saw it i thought here we go, the thing was sitting in near waist high grass and you couldn't even see the tyres. The mirrors were both broken, same as both door handles, the windscreen cracked, the door locks didn't work properly, the rear view mirror missing, engine was covered in thick grease all over from a leak somewhere, tarp was ripped, rear lights cracked, one rubber bumperette was ripped and nearly falling off, and it was a 3 seater with a 3 speed manual on the tree which was less than ideal. It was also unregistered, and has been sitting in the grass for 3 years. It wasn't looking good.

The interior was surprisingly in good nick though, and it had an s-pak dash but no tripmeter (?). It also had LPG with the tank mounted underneath and the LPG was installed 3 years ago just before it was laid off. It had the 14 inch steel wheels with good tyres all around and was sitting up high like a 4x4. I moved all the grass out of the way and inspected the whole car for rust including tray, doors, fire wall, rear and front quarters and ..... nothing. I spun out, and when the seller saw how surprised i was he told me that she had been rust treated regularly, whatever that means, but it worked. The thing had next to no rust, couple of bubbles on the roof of all places, one dot under the rear screen, and a bubble near the back of the driver's side door down the bottom....AND THAT'S IT. I poured buckets of water on the windscreen and nothing leaked inside. Got the battery jump started and the engine fired up straightaway! I was impressed.

After a bit of negotiation i bought it for $1k! Next day i picked it up and took it home, spewing i never took any pics of it when i first got it but i think i've painted enough of a picture. On the same day i had a new windscreen put in and the rearview mirror put back on, bought two new side mirrors, two second hand genuine rear lights, outside door belts, new battery, two new door handles, a new antenna, new tarp, new rocker cover gasket and lots of degreaser. Then i installed the whole lot, on the same day. I washed the engine bay, taped the bumperette with black tape for now, replaced the huge factory steering wheel with a sports one i had lying around and fixed the locks. Those simple things already made a big difference.

I had a set of genuine tickford wheels, so i got some bridge stone Turanzas put on them and put them on the ute, looked much better. Then off to get the RWC done and she passed with flying colours, every single bush and balljoint on that car looked like it had been replaced recently and the brakes were near new. Two days later she was registered. It owed me just over $2k by then including rego.

It should have stopped there, but one day i was looking at the ute next to my ESP and thought, i actually have everything to turn this ute into an ESP replica, except the interior. It's certainly a good base to start a project with, I already have a V8 and used to have a an XR6T and loved it so the plan for a Turbo ESP ute was in place and i decided to give it a go.

Then the hail storm happened and my EL was written off so the ute became my daily which was sort of not what i was planning, oh well it'll just have to be a slow build, better for the budget anyway.

After about a week of driving it with manual steering and three on the tree, i got the s**t big time, so started shopping for a T5 and a power steering setup. Found a whole running XF with a T5 and power steer for $500, bargain! It was perfect because everything i would need for both conversions was right there. Got everything out of it and got rid of it for $150, worked out well.
A couple of days later the ute was sporting a 5 speed and power steering, much better to drive.

Next was the interior. Here's the bench seat which is now sold.

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Found a nice grey manual console out of an ESP, so that meant the whole interior would follow the ESP grey interior theme. Out came the factory brown coloured kick panels and plastics.

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As the ESP scheels are impossible to get for a realistic price it kind of put me off them and i reckon i can get something nicer anyway for less money, i managed to get hold of a couple of SAAS buckets black and grey in colour...price? $250 of a friend. And they look awesome!

Got a Sony head unit and a couple of four inch Sony speakers to replace the factory speakers, and that gave me some kind of sound as i had nothing before that! so i'm happy for now, won't win any prizes but i ain't done yet.

Bought the grey kickpanels and interior plastics and fitted them, got a nice AC fascia and gave the whole dash a quick clean, the interior is coming together nicely. No pics of the interior yet will take some on the weekend.

Still need to get grey ESP door trims, they are real hard to get for wind up windows, but i'm patient and in no hurry. Also need to get new door seals with the grey pinchweld, and ESP grey carpet (has rubber at the moment). Car is also booked in to get the ESP velour roof lining fitted next month.

Got a set of second hand but hardly used front and rear pedders shockers and front springs and will get them put in when the cash is there to also have the rear springs reset, wont worry about putting in lowering blocks.

That's it for now, here are some pics of the car as of yesterday. As you can see it's a bit HIGH and is bit dirty too, been to the tip a few times last weekend..

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 Post subject: Re: XE ESP Turbo ute
Posted: Wed Jun 23, 2010 11:06 pm 
Getting Side Ways
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Looks like you got a bargain there dude! 8-) I got a mate that has an XE ESP (six pack though) and was going to do a matching ute and panel van at one stage, good luck with it! have you got any shots of interior?

 

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 Post subject: Re: XE ESP Turbo ute
Posted: Wed Jun 23, 2010 11:16 pm 
Getting Side Ways
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Very tidy ute there.
A goo dute is so hard to find now days. You have to be happy with the price.
Nice work and looking forward to seeing it unfold.

 

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 Post subject: Re: XE ESP Turbo ute
Posted: Wed Jun 23, 2010 11:29 pm 
Parts Gopher
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Age: 39

Posts: 95

Joined: 17th Jun 2010

Ride: XE UTE

Location: Melbourne
VIC, Australia

Thanks for the comments guys, interior shots tomorrow.
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 Post subject: Re: XE ESP Turbo ute
Posted: Thu Jun 24, 2010 10:21 am 
Smokin em up
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Age: 28

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Ride: Hanni - BA XR6T

Location: Rosedale
VIC, Australia

Hey mate

Nice xe buddy - as has been said before - what a bargain!! You've got it looking pretty nice at the moment - what v8 will you be using?
I will be watching with intrest . . .

Good luck . . .

Cheers
Grant
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 Post subject: Re: XE ESP Turbo ute
Posted: Thu Jun 24, 2010 11:17 am 
Smokin em up
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Ride: Hanni - BA XR6T

Location: Rosedale
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Ah sorry my bad I misread when he said that he already had a v8 - I thought he meant motor not car :oops:

Still, very interesting - look forward to seeing how you go with it all :)

Cheers
Grant
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 Post subject: Re: XE ESP Turbo ute
Posted: Thu Jun 24, 2010 9:04 pm 
Parts Gopher
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Age: 39

Posts: 95

Joined: 17th Jun 2010

Ride: XE UTE

Location: Melbourne
VIC, Australia

Yes the plan is for a straight LPG Turbo 4.1 (did i mention she is currently a 3.3).

Here are some interior shots taken today, like i said she's a bit dirty in and out but you get the idea.

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The bottom section of the centre dash with ashtray and cigarette lighter will be going and an ESP clock will be in its place, this will be done when i take out the whole interior to put the carpets in.

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The AC fascia and panel around the centre vents are unmarked, unlike the ones they replaced. The headunit completes the look.

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Replaced the factory oval speakers with four inch sonys.

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Interior light lens was missing, got a NOS one. Not sure if the ESP interior light assemblies are a straight fit but i'll try one on and see what happens, they look much better so i hope they fit.

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Roof lining is immaculate but will be replaced by ESP velour in a couple of weeks. Sun visors are in great nick too but they also have to go once i find grey ones. Seals will be replaced with new grey ones.

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Pedders suspension waiting to be slapped in.

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Last edited by XESP351 on Thu Jun 24, 2010 9:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: XE ESP Turbo ute
Posted: Thu Jun 24, 2010 9:09 pm 
Parts Gopher
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Age: 39

Posts: 95

Joined: 17th Jun 2010

Ride: XE UTE

Location: Melbourne
VIC, Australia

Thanks fellas

ashcook wrote:

Did you ever find out what his "special" rust treatment was?


I did ask the seller but he didn't know what the treatment was, he said the bloke he bought it of told him that he treated regularly. When she gets a respray it'll be rust proofed anyway but that's going to be a long time from now.
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 Post subject: Re: XE ESP Turbo ute
Posted: Fri Jun 25, 2010 9:35 am 
Getting Side Ways
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Ride: XH Ute / EL Wagon

Location: Bris-Vegas
QLD, Australia

Tidy ute you have there, should clean up nice.
Before you get too involved with the interior, have a good think about doing the cab extension. It makes a huge difference, and will help a lot with those trick seats you have.

A mate of mine had an XE DJR Grand Prix Turbo, and I still have one of the original blue wheels. It's rooted, but still cool to have lying around. Nice cars, but get rid of the carbs and use XF EFI and it would be a lot nicer.

 

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 Post subject: Re: XE ESP Turbo ute
Posted: Fri Jun 25, 2010 10:12 am 
Parts Gopher
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Age: 39

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Joined: 17th Jun 2010

Ride: XE UTE

Location: Melbourne
VIC, Australia

sooty72 wrote:
Tidy ute you have there, should clean up nice.
Before you get too involved with the interior, have a good think about doing the cab extension. It makes a huge difference, and will help a lot with those trick seats you have.

A mate of mine had an XE DJR Grand Prix Turbo, and I still have one of the original blue wheels. It's rooted, but still cool to have lying around. Nice cars, but get rid of the carbs and use XF EFI and it would be a lot nicer.


Yes the cab extension is a good idea but i'm not handy with fabricating stuff, i'll propably leave that until she goes to the panel shop, and see if they can do it while it's there.

The DJPT's are beautiful cars but are rare and very expensive, I'd rather spend the money on a T3 TS50 to be honest if i had it. I'm going with straight gas, gas research system, not cheap but very effective and with the right setup, will suit the turbo very well.

Last edited by XESP351 on Thu Oct 07, 2010 7:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: XE ESP Turbo ute
Posted: Fri Jun 25, 2010 11:12 am 
Getting Side Ways
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Ride: 5.0lt NF /351 ZD Fairlane

Location: Wattle Grove
NSW, Australia

XESP351 wrote:
Yes the plan is for a straight LPG Turbo 4.1 (did i mention she is currently a 3.3).

Ah yes the mighty 3.3! A lot of company vehicles had those as at the time a limit of 4lt was put on company purchases for one reason or other, I knew of some people that bought the 4.1lt models and had the dealer put on a 3.3lt air cleaner to keep the bosses happy! :lol:

 

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 Post subject: Re: XE ESP Turbo ute
Posted: Fri Jun 25, 2010 11:52 am 
Parts Gopher
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Age: 39

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Ride: XE UTE

Location: Melbourne
VIC, Australia

fairlane6970 wrote:
XESP351 wrote:
Yes the plan is for a straight LPG Turbo 4.1 (did i mention she is currently a 3.3).

Ah yes the mighty 3.3! A lot of company vehicles had those as at the time a limit of 4lt was put on company purchases for one reason or other, I knew of some people that bought the 4.1lt models and had the dealer put on a 3.3lt air cleaner to keep the bosses happy! :lol:


Lol, interesting info. Makes sense as this car was a government car in the country somewhere, the old owner was telling me this as i was looking over the car, so i didn't really pay too much attention to the excat council or location.
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 Post subject: Re: XE ESP Turbo ute
Posted: Sat Oct 02, 2010 12:19 am 
Parts Gopher
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Age: 39

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Joined: 17th Jun 2010

Ride: XE UTE

Location: Melbourne
VIC, Australia

Ok so it's been a while but it's a slow project. I've had to delay getting the roof lining done due to cash flow reasons but have been collecting parts and materials etc for later stages of the project. Today after a thorough bath i thought i'd take some pics and post an update, here is what she looks like now.

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So obviously i have had the pedders springs and shocks put in and new rear leafs to match the front height but still be able to carry around 800 kg without dropping too much so as you can imagine she's a bit stiff in the ride. I also had the idler and pitman arms replaced and because all bushes/ball joints were near new already, now she handles and steers better than my ESP! It's amazing what a lowering job and a wash does for the looks, the car is transformed and actually turns heads now. As you can also see from the pics i've also fitted XE Ghia locks and had a lock smith key them to the ignition key so now i have one key for everything whereas before i had three keys as they were all different! The Ghia locks obviously don't illuminate yet but that can wait until all the electrics are installed.

I replaced the locking mechanism on the inside of both doors with NOS units from Bayford (last ones they had apparently) and now the doors lock and open properly.

You'll see in this photo the interior corner trim panel is in pretty bad shape and looks crap anyway

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So i went out and got second hand ones that aren't cracked

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And some black velour material

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I'll wrap and glue the trims in the material and that should look much better against a grey roof lining when it eventually goes in.

The panel behind the seats also looks crap and is just metal painted black

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So i got some charcoal thin carpet-like material to glue and cover that entire panel with, i won't do that until the carpet is in as i still have the rubber matting in there.

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And finally, i got sick of the two speed wiper stalk so i managed to get hold of a near-NOS three speed stalk and i'll be fitting it as soon as i get a chance.

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The car is booked in to get alarm/immobiliser/central locking installed next week, so now that it looks half decent and it attracts the wrong kind of attention at least it'll be protected.

I'll try to do another update soon.
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 Post subject: Re: XE ESP Turbo ute
Posted: Mon Oct 04, 2010 7:11 pm 
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Location: Southern Sydney
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oooh awesome!

this looks like its coming along nicely, i've always liked the XE's, and a Turbo straight LPG 6 sounds cool, different and workable. The FTR's look nice on it too, goodluck with it!

 

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 Post subject: Re: XE ESP Turbo ute
Posted: Thu Oct 07, 2010 7:07 pm 
Parts Gopher
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Age: 39

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Joined: 17th Jun 2010

Ride: XE UTE

Location: Melbourne
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Thanks mate, it's starting to take shape now, i'm concentrating on the interior for now then the engine will be next and finally the spray job. It's slow but still satisfying.
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