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Ben Hunt's 1991

Ben Hunt from Weybridge, Surrey, UK, owns a 1991 SE in Blue with a Magnolia Interior.


Year: 1991
Colour: Blue
Interior: Magnolia
Driving Style: Normal
Miles per year: 5,000
Owned Since: 18th August 2004
Purchase from: Barry Ely
Serviced at: Lakeside Engineering
Other Cars: VW Golf
Previous Lotus': This is the first!!
Why an Esprit: I have wanted one for years.
Upgrades: None yet. 

Problems: Not running right when cruising at speed, car feels lumpy and can feel the turbo cutting in and out.  On a trip to Devon last weekend was only getting 14.5mpg on a journey with driving conditions that I would expect to give higher.  Bell and Colvill had the car for a road test last week, but the only fault identified was a ceased back pressure valve, and apparently this has been wired open so shouldn’t cause a problem.  Something is not right, but as yet I don’t know what!!  Car is going back to Barry’s next week for him to investigate, but any ideas welcome. See below for more.


The car went back to Barry Ely who took one look at it diagnosed the Oxygen Censor as the cause of my grief!!  This was confirmed when the appropriate fault code came up subsequent to some more thorough investigation.  Barry advised me that with the Oxygen Censor replaced there were some additional fault codes that had to be addressed prior to the car being declared fit (after a good road test).  The result has been stunning and the car now drives brilliantly. 
Having driven the car since its repair and realising how bad it was before I am very surprised that Bell and Collvill did not report any fault when they road tested the car previously – it really was driving like a dog when they apparently road tested it!!  (£100 not very well spent in my view.)

Having had the car repaired I took it to the West Country with my mate (Jamie) to collect his Black 1990 Esprit SE, which was purchased from South West Lotus.  

South West Lotus had done a great job getting the car ready for sale and despite some indifferent weather both cars were running well we had a good weekend doing a trip around the area.  Saturday lunch met with a friend (Neil) and his Red S4s, which is a beautiful example – but I don’t envy the prospect of replacing those rear tyres!! 


In the afternoon we to a trip to Exmoor and Jamie’s parent’s hotel Exton House
Sunday morning drive back down the A303 trying to dodge the increasing number of Cameras!!

March 2005
Having now owned the car since August 2004 I had to take the plunge and have a C service carried out.  The car has done very few miles since the last C service, but I think the safest advice is to keep the servicing up to date no matter how few miles the car has done.  The works were undertaken by Lakeside Engineering and I found them to be very good and would recommend them.


The basic instructions were to undertake the C service, convert and re-gas the air-con, investigate (and fix) a leak within the cooling system, and finally the clutch had packed up so there was a need to investigate and sort this as well.
Having left the car I was concerned about the clutch problem and was hoping that the gearbox wasn’t going to need to be removed; I needn’t have been as this was quickly diagnosed as hydraulic failure solved by overhauling the master and slave cylinders.  However the bad news was that Lakeside found a crack on the exhaust manifold, which consequently needed to be replaced.  This item just about doubled the cost – which I was naturally delighted about!!  Given the extent of the works undertaken we also agreed to remove the back pressure valve from the exhaust (this had been wired open) and replace with a spacer.


When considering the length of time that I have owned the car and the amount of miles that I have driven there is a distinct possibility that this manifold crack was with the car when I purchased it.  The car now well out of warranty there is nothing I can do, but learning this added to my frustration at the apparent lack of attention given to the vehicle when I took it to by Bell and Colvill for a check-up shortly after purchase.


The good news is that the car is all sorted now.  The leaks in the coolant system were traced to the front end and also to the intercooler pump.  I am particularly pleased with the new clutch – I hadn’t realised how bad this was before (until it ceased to allow me to engage any gear!!).  Despite the recent freezing weather I have tested the air-con and this will be a big improvement come the good weather.
The only issue that remains is that the battery is loosing charge somehow.  I suspect this is associated with the alarm and have it booked in for some diagnostics and will report further in due course.
I am off to the West Country at Easter so am keen to get things sorted for then.


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