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Heater Panel & Controls

The new Esprit Heater control controls have been designed to fit the 88–92 MY Stevens Esprit, although they may well fit the S3 Turbo as they share the same heater control panel. Lotus saw fit to carry over the Guigiaro heater panel, even though it still used the wrong (lower case) typeface to the Stephens cars in 88-92.

The existing heater controls consist of two small controls for the Blower and the A/C levels. The two larger controls control the Heater temperature and the Vent Direction. The new controls are only available in sets of 4 (2 large and 2 small).

The new style heater control panel was designed to fit the 88-92 MY cars, to replace the original with more modern graphics and a colour scheme more befitting a contemporary luxury sports car. Furthermore the backlight colour has been updated to a pale blue shade as used in cars of recent years. Two types of control panel are available, one for the Turbo with AirCon and one for the N/A car without A/C

Removing the old controls and panel


Remove the centre console as described in the Gearshift Surround install guide, then if you have a HiFi system with removable front panel, take this off to avoid scratches. Throughout this install be careful not to scratch or scuff the leather on the panel either side of the heater controls. Old leather is not easy to match if you need to replace it.


Using a fingernail or thin bladed screwdriver, carefully prise off the front face cover of the small knob. At first glance, no cap will be visible, but careful scrutiny will reveal all. Once the cap is removed, you will see a nut holding the knob in place. Undo the nut and remove the plastic knob. This should reveal a brass collar surrounding a 6mm ‘D’ shaped shaft. Remove the brass collar to access the 6mm shaft.


The large controls fit onto a 7mm hexagonal shaft and are held in register by a small spring pin built into the shaft. This pin locates in a hole in the knob. The hole in the knob is diagonally opposite the pointer on the knob. Insert a small watchmakers screwdriver in the hole and feel around for the head of the spring pin. Press the pin inwards, then pull the knob off the shaft. This is how it should work, however it is not unknown for previous owners to have glued the knob in position rather than buy new controls to replace worn ones.


You will then see 2 small screws in the face of the heater panel. Unscrew these, then carefully prise the panel away from its mounting. It will be held in place by a spongy kind of material. Whilst removing the panel, great care should be taken not to damage the leather of the surrounding console.


Remove the release paper from the self adhesive material on the reverse of the new heater panel. Carefully slide the panel into position over the knob shafts and press down firmly. The modern day self adhesive material means there is no need for the 2 small panel face screws. The material provides a good light tight seal around the edges of the panel.

Using a small, flat bladed watchmaker’s screwdriver, slacken off the screw in the side of the new small knob to allow the 6mm shaft hole to slip on to the 6mm shaft. Position the knob so the small grub screw aligns with the flat face of the 6mm ‘D’ shaft, then tighten the screw with your small screwdriver. Tighten until the knob is held firmly in place, then test the fit by rotating the knob. Tighten further if necessary. Align the spring pin hole on the large knob with the position of the spring pin on the shaft and push it firmly home. The original Lotus controls were ‘wiggly’ and not a good fit. The new controls have been made to provide a snug fit to help remove the ‘wiggly’ effect and give a more positive response to movement of the knob.

Once all 4 controls have been fitted, refit the centre console panel and any HiFi control panels. Admire your handywork.

This mod was performed & supplied by Alan Paterson on his Stevens Esprit.



A set of 4 controls is available at £35 +£5 UK p+p. The new Heater control panel is available at £45 + £5 UK p+p

Overseas customers should email Alan for an accurate price for delivery to their country Alan.paterson5@ntlworld.com

To place an order or register an interest you can either email alan.paterson5@ntlworld.com or telephone on +44 (0)1252 663064. Payment will be by cheque or paypal.

Cheques payable to Alan Paterson to be sent to 13 Littlefield Close, Ash, Aldershot, Hants, GU12 6TH United Kingdom

If you have any comments on this page, feel free to e-mail me with your Verdict at admin@lotusespritworld.com

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