V8 Esprit Gauge Update
Extra gauges for the V8 dashboard
by James R. Petrocik
from Sneads Ferry, NC
I was not happy that the factory saw fit not to put an oil pressure and boost gauge in my newest Esprit. After all they put them in my 86. So I set out to correct this oversight. Although, I did not want them hanging on the pillar or stuck like some add on wart in the driver compartment. I wanted them inside the instrument cluster and not look like an after thought. I originally started with plans to add 3 gauges, oil pressure, boost, and amps or oil temp. I wanted to keep everything has OEM looking has possible. I had already replaced the steering wheel with one more fitting the Esprit. Now all I had to do was layout a new cluster, with instruments, tell tales, and design it in such a manner that it was a drop in, direct replacement for the OEM cluster.
Removing the OEM cluster is straight forward and only takes a few minutes. 2 screws to remove the cover and 2 bolts and 2 screws for the instrument cluster. Unplug the instruments and remove the entire cluster(picture). One of the first things I noticed was that 3 of the tell tale spaces are not used in US models. That caused me to look more closely at the other tell tales for much needed space. I decided to do away with the low fuel level, low screen wash level, and seatbelt tell tale. I decided to go with 10 tell tales vs the original 16. So at this point the layout would consist of temp, fuel, boost, oil pressure), tach, speedo, and 10 tell tales. I went through several drawings before I moved to mock-ups. I had to move the gauges around a few times so they were not obscured by the steering wheel. I drew everything to scale and sent it to Petro-Tech Racing North in St Clair Shores, Michigan (my little brother Mike). In about 2 weeks I had an aluminum face plate. I had to make a few changes and it went back for a final go. Shortly after that I got back 2 face plates and 2 back plates.
I now had to set up the enhanced cluster for installation. I ordered the VDO gauges (oil pressure and boost) from an online source for $85, and hoses and fittings for about $100. I also got 2 additional tell tale bulb holders for $16 to support this new layout. I had to tap in 7 mounting studs for the tell tale bulb holders on the back plate. Sandwiched between the aluminum face plate and the steel back plate is the graphic panel, with the tell tale pictures. I cut out the needed graphics and secure them to the back plate in the selected locations. I decided to go with a carbon fiber face place and installed the gauges in the new cluster. While the face plates and back plates were being made I ran the pluming for the 2 new gauges. The oil pressure switch in on the left side of the block just above the oil filter housing. I decided to remote the pressure switch away from the block to a more service friendly location. I used all Earl’s fittings and hoses for the oil pressure gauge. Running the stainless steel line from the engine compartment up to the instrument area actually took the most time. Taking the center counsel loose and working under the dash in the Esprit, or any Lotus is a pain. I ran the line for the boost off the front of the plenum and along the same route has the oil line.
The layout of the new cluster is boost top center, oil pressure bottom center, fuel lower left, temp lower right, tach on the left and speedo to the right. The tell tales are laid out has follows: top center to the left and right of the boost gauge check engine and battery; center between the oil and boost is oil and coolant; center lower to the left and right of the oil pressure gauge is turn signal and beam; on the far left are parking brake and brake;
Far right are the SRS and ABS. (See the pictures)
I feel the pictures speak for themselves and I am very pleased with the final design. The results were well worth the effort and cost. This modification was completed about 18 months ago and I have had no problems with it.
This mod was performed by James R. Petrocik on his Espirt V8
If you have any comments, feel free to e-mail LEW at firstname.lastname@example.org