Esprit Models
Esprit History
For Sale
Other Stuff
Buying & Running
Parts & Specialists
Other Esprit Stuff

Possible Problems
Things will go wrong, know your enermy

This page has information from other owners about problems they're found and fixed. Can be anything, but as long as there's some sort of fix or idea it can be added to the page. Hopefully this will build into something very useful for Esprit Owners. So if you've had a problem that you or someone's solve, write a couple of para's and send it to admin@lotusespritworld.com and I can add it to this page.

Discountinued Tyres
23rd February 2004

Lotus have sourced some new Tyres which they now have at Hethel. They need to carry out handling testing (dry & wet) to ensure they are satisfactory. They are looking at several different Tyres from more than one manufacturer. Assuming all is o.k. they will have them Type Approved for the Esprit.

This should overcome the 'Tyre Problem' that has arisen due to the Good Year Eagle NCT no longer being available.

Oil Filter Fitting

Lotus have been hearing of instances where the Oil Filter has not been fitting 4 cylinder engines. The supplier changed the can (10 mm longer & 1.5 mm larger diameter) a few months ago. The filter was tested on all the engine variants with the different oil pump housings, cooler adaptors and starter motors. The filter fitted all the engine variants. The filter was also checked for flow, pressure drop, filtration area & by-pass operation to ensure conformity.

The problems Lotus have heard about seems to mainly be associated with clearance round the starter motor. There original testing and recent retesting at Hethel confirms adequate clearance from both the specified starter motors (Lucas 3M100 & M80R units).

Lotus have also heard of one instance of the filter rim coming into contact with a bolt head on the housing.(this could be caused by insufficient machining on the casting) The design should give about 1mm clearance. If you have this problem with the filter / starter motor Lotus would be interested to see first hand what the problem is. There may be engines fitted with non-standard starter motors or non-standard oil cooler adaptors that could cause the problem. Lotus have not yet witnessed any problem vehicles first hand.

UPDATE March 2012

On the issue of the genuine Lotus Oil Filter not fitting. The problem will be with the starter motor not the Oil Filter. The Lotus Oil Filter fits with the Lotus Starter motors. The Early Starter is a Lucas 3M100 and the later Type is a Lucas M80R. There are lots of different variants of these starter motors that will fit the Lotus 900 Series Engine. I know some will give problems with access to the Oil Filter
Some of these starters have longer housings and different Shaft Bearings which stick out further than the Lotus specified units.
Lotus Aftersales sell 1000s of the 907E6000 Oil Filters every year. If there was a problem with the Filters we would have 1000s of complaints.

When Lotus do get an enquiry they usually find the car has had a replacement starter motor at some time. If this is the case the only option is to find a shorter filter. This will result in a filter with a smaller filtration area so filter life could be reduced.

UPDATE April 2012

Lotus did not juggle Fuel Pumps. There is a specific fuel pump for each model variant as was required for the type of fuel system used.
It is all detailed in the Service Parts Lists for the Model Range

The N/A Cars.
They all had SU electric pumps with no Fuel Pressure Regulator. (S1, S2, S2.2, S3 N/A & X180 N/A)

The Turbo cars
When the Turbo was introduced in 1980 it required a different fuel system as the Fuel Pressure had to be regulated to cope with the changing Boost Pressure. At this point a Lucas electric pump and a Fuel Pressure Regulator (Mounted on the Plenum) were introduced and continued on all the Dellorto Carburettor Cars . This continued on the Turbocharged Cars until the introduction of Fuel Injection.

The first Fuel Injection system was Bosch K Jetronic which used 2 External Fuel Pumps (Primary & Secondary) and a Fuel Accumulator as per the Bosch requirement for that system. The second Fuel Injection System was a GM Delco (GMP4) Electronic System which used an ‘In Tank’ Delco Pump(s). This system has a Fuel Pressure regulator built into the Fuel Rail. This system continued in production until the end of production of the 4 Cylinder Turbo Engine. For a Carburettor Car it is very clear what kind of Fuel System is used – External Lucas Pump which works with a Fuel Pressure Regulator.

As I said earlier many cars used the Lucas External Type of Fuel pump. If the specified pump is not available in that part of the world there will be an alternative that could be used (Bosch for example). The Fuel Filter should be changed at the intervals identified in the Service Schedule (36,000 miles)

Please contact admin@lotusespritworld.com if this problem arises

UPDATE Late April 2012
Lotus were talking about the fit of the Lotus Oil Filter recently following a complaint from an owner. Attached is some pictures of a Filter on an engine with both the Lotus specified Starter Motors.

It can be seen that the Fitting and Removal of the Filter is ok. The car in question must have some other problem. Lotus sell 1000s of these filters every year. If they had a problem with every one they would know. Hope this helps to clarify the situation

UPDATE May 2012
After all the research Steve Taylor at Lotus Marques provided me with a replacement Bosch fuel pump part number 0 580 464 070 which is a universal replacement fuel pump and replaces the original Lotus Pump which was made by Lucas – Lucas Part Number FDB704 or lotus part number A082L6014F (curtsy of information you provided earlier) Info attached.

This application is for a Turbo hc 1987 carburetor Lotus. Looks identical to what is on my car and will confirm that part number if i can find it (surface corrosion)

Julian Goldacre
Western Australia
1987 hc Carbed

V8 Radiators
Bob Metcalf from Philadelphia PA USA wanted to share this with users. Bob has a 98 V8 which he purchased new. This car has been driven and now has 51,000 miles on it. For some time the car had been running hot, never overheating but hot (110 stuck in traffic). Bob did all the usual stuff, water wetter etc. Anyway a couple of weeks ago his radiator started to leak and he had to get it replaced. This picture is what came out of his car. It's a wonder that it could run at all without overheating. This picture might be instructive as to how bad it can get so that other Esprit owners could be on the lookout for what obviously is a serious condition.

Information from Lotus
This radiator issue mention above is something that Lotus have been aware off for some time and there is a specific item in the Lotus Service Schedule. Under Cooling System the following instruction should be noted.

Inspect radiator, oil coolers & pipework for damage or leaks. Clean all radiator finning.

The radiator fin cleaning was introduced for the reason we see on the failed radiator picture - the core blocked with road debris. According to the Maintenance Schedule - USA Esprit V8 (Section OF in the Esprit Service Notes) this operation should be carried out at every Service.

If this operation is not carried out there is a high possibility that the engine will overheat. This is typical of the kind of thing that can lead to failure of the Cylinder Liner seal.

V8 Wheels on an SE

Handling is better with the V8 wheels on an SE, but the car has to be modified to be able to adjust camber to get the proper alignment.
Take a look here.


Vulcan Grey 89SE

Recharging air con

This may be of general interest to all those contemplating an air con recharge. Guy who did my S4 removed all the naughty stuff and repaced it with Calor type 30 gas. This is an acceptable alternative, environmentally friendly and about half the price of r134a. Done two years ago and is still working fine.

Geoff Moat

Speedo removal

Easy, but Tricky as very Tight, easiest way is get your hand to the back of Speedo from Behind the Dash board this means laying on your back in Drivers footwell and removing speedo cable by turning threaded ring that attaches to rear of speedo anticlockwise.

Then you will fill a locking nut on the speedo thread this has to be removed by turning anti clockwise as well, this will allow a bracket to the speedo back to come off allowing speedo to come towards you through the front of fasia above steering wheel ,you will the notice to bulb leads going into the back of speedo these just pull out.

place i sent it off to is www.jdo1.com/Classic_car_sx.html the clock was back with me 3 days later and only cost me about 35 quid
including vat and delivery, now the speedo works fine.

Remove Speedo
Remove the whole dash pod. Get in the Lotus position (head in foot well). You will see 4 long (75mm ish) 10mm bolts that go into some tubes. Undo these and the pod should lift up. Now with relative ease you can undo the speedo cable. Use a 22mm (I think) to remove the nut (where the cable connected) that holds the U clamp on. Dial can now be remove from the front remove the two bulbs while at it.

If you are getting stuck,eratic needle its likely the magnet on the end of the shaft is rubbing on the needle drum. To fix it remove the outer ring by gently prying out the flange on the back. The glass and the mechs can not be removed. Remove the screw that connects the spiral shaft to the odometer

Remove the screws that hold the back half on. You should now see the magnet and notice it can move back and forth. Tap it back to remove the play. At this point I would give the end a bit of a ding to stop it from comming lose again. (I didnt do this and so as from yesterday need to do it again). Take the chance to lube the shaft and put it all back together.

89 Turbo

Alternative Gearbox

As an alternative to the origonal Lotus gearbox I have been using a Renault 21 Turbo gearbox (UN1-013) and have had now problems so far. These gearboxes I think are still available brand new for considerably less than a rebuilt Lotus box plus second hand values are a lot lower, mine cost £200. The gearbox fits with no problems and uses the rear casing/gear exhange plus bell housing and release bearing guide pipe from Lotus box. Not sure on the availablility of this in the US, was the 21 Turbo ever imported ?

The gearbox is strong enough for normal Esprit driving (mostly standard speeds occasional blasts) but wouldn't suggest this for tracked or raced cars without modifications. Then again the standard gearbox hardly seems up to tracking at times.

Alternatives for the Lotus box would be to look at using a different differential. Quaife do a good range and they do list an ATB differential for the Renault 25 (UN1) type gearboxe, not sure on pricing.

Here's the link for the Renault 21 Turbo club
If you go into Forums & then "sales & wants" there's normally several transmissions for sale for a couple of hundred quid.
And here's Derrick's web page, he's fitted a 21 Turbo box to his S4s.

Oil change on early Cirtroen box.

It differs from the later C-35 Citroen box. One of these differences is that it has two drain plugs. One for the main box and another for the 5th gear extention housing. The box was originally designed as a four speed. Citroen decided to uprate it to 5 forward gears by merely adding the 5th gear in a housing 'tacked' on the rear (Gotta love the French!).

The fill plug is on top, accessible through a rubber plug in the trunk under the carpet. You will see two 13mm plugs on the left hand side of the gearbox. One of these is the fill-check plug and one the blanking plug. You do not want to remove the blanking plug. The fill-check is usually marked w/ yellow paint, but yours may have worn off. In either event, it is the 'lower' of the two plugs.

First open the fill plug, then with the car on very level grouhd and a catch pan with a 3 ltr. capacity underneath, open each of the drain plugs. Allow at least 10 minutes for all the gear oil to drain out, if not, you will overfill the box.

Once drained, refit the drain plugs and add 12 or 1.0ltr. of the total capacity of the proper fluid (2.25 ltr. SAE 80/API GL-5 non-hypoid gear oil). Then remove the fill-check plug and slowly add the remainder of the fluid. I say slowly because the gear oil can only enter the 5th gear housing through the spaces between the ball bearings in the roller bearing which supports the 5th gear shaft, it takes time for this to occur. If you add too much too soon, it will back up in the main box and leak out the fill-check hole making you think it is filled.

Many Esprit owners are unaware of this and are actually driving with a low oil level in their gearboxes.

As you approach the 2.25 ltr. point, you will see some leakage from the fill-check hole, once this happens, refit the fill-check plug and fill plug on top. If you have leakage before most of the 2.25lts has been added, either you haven't properly drained the box, of have allowed insufficient time for the gear oil to migrate past the roller bearing described above.

Having said all that, you could just add the appropriate 2.25 ltrs. of fluid, but run the risk of overfilling, so I do not recommend this approach. Overfilling will cause the gear oil to foam which effectively creates an oil starvation condition which will damage the gears.

Gearlinkage Parts

Just ordered the bits I need to sort the gearlinkage on the Citreon box out so if your doing yours and dont want to type the parts list out, here it is......
1 ??? Clutch SLAVE cylinder
1 ??? Stainless Steel Replacement 4 red pipe
2 A075W4024Z WASHER
1 A075W3011Z NUT, NYLOC M10
4 A907E6284F M8 NUT

Alternators/Starter Motors

Provided belts and connections are ok easiest quick test is to put a volt meter accross the battery terminals with the engine running. Should read 13 - 14 volts. Now give it a fright by switching on a few high current items such as headlights and rear screen heater. Increasing engine revs should keep voltage within the same range. If it drops to 12 or less there is a problem. Any decent auto electrician should be able to sort it out

In C&CS there is a specialists section and the Aug edition has TA Spares in Chatham Kent. They repair and overhaul alternators, starter motors and dynamos. Give them a call as they are well written up 01634 812585 www.taspares.co.uk

My name is Robert Metcalf. I have a 98 V8 Esprit which I purchased new. It so happens that I am the computer programmer for Excel Automotive, Inc. We rebuild alternators and starters. (www.excelauto.com) My alternator went about two years ago, and as it turns out it's from an Isuzu Impulse. We rebuilt it along with a few improvements. Because the unit is mounted so close to one of the turbos we used high temp epoxy on the guts. I have not had a problem since. We would be glad to rebuild your unit for you, as well as anybody else in the group who finds himself in the same situation. The person you want to talk to is Chris Goss (chris@excelauto.com), or myself. Feel free to call if you have any questions, or visit the site.

Bob Metcalf
98 V8
Excel Automotive, Inc.

Leaking Fuel Tanks

I just removed my tanks and sealed them with POR-15's tank sealant kit http://www.por15.com/product.asp?productid=316 It worked well, and I would recommend it. I also beadblasted and removed all the rust off of the outsides. Coated them and repainted them. DO NOT get the glass beads inside the tanks, though if you do the tank sealing kit will get rid of or contain the beads.

My tanks are now indestructable!! :)

You'll need two quarts of the sealant and two quarts of the metal ready for the Esprit's two tanks. Otherwise it'll be hard to coat all the baffles. One thing to note though, my tanks weren't leaking, only rusty. I had no leaks at all, and the rust wasn't near bad enough to cause a leak. Look carefully at what size hole the sealer can fill. I called the people at POR-15 and they were very helpful. I bought one full kit and another kit of sealer and metal ready on sale, total was $90

Vulcan Grey 89SE

www.flashcustoms.co.uk for custom make fuel tanks

Also you can try Fowler Engineering on 01945 585147 they made both my tanks i i replaced them both in my 86 turbo this was for a cost of about £650 if i remember right speak to ian fowler he is a very helpfull guy.

We have been looking into replacment fuel tanks in stainless steel, so far we have a price of £450 + Vat for a 100% stainless tank with stainless fittings, tig welded by an aerospace spec welder, if anyone is interetsed please let me know.
Andy Short

Also try Geoff at Esprit Engineering - He sorted out an Aluminium tank for Steve Wright which weighed absolutely nothing! (I held it!!) really amazing I *think* it was in the £350 - £400 bracket but I'm not sure.....
Geoff: 01725 514449

General Info on Esprit Fuel Tanks
Lotus are well aware of the issue of rusting tanks on the Esprit. They have been over their complete stock of all tanks and check every one. All not up to standard have been rejected. Every tank as been waxed to keep them in top condition and give a longer life once fitted. This was done after LEW spoke to Lotus about the problem. Lotus stock tanks for all Esprit models at present.

The problem was an early supplier of Esprit fuel tanks supplying them with a very basic finish which was inconsistant and prone to problems if the vehicle was not used regularly. The supplier was changed and all V8 should have the new spec coating and should have a good life span in an Esprit that is used regularly. Pre V8 Esprits do have issues with them rusting which has only come to light 10 years after they left the factory and from a supplier Lotus no longer use. Very unfortunate for all owners including LEW.

V8 that are currently having problems with rusty tanks are likely to have spent long periods of their lives laid up. This contributes to
the rusting of the tank, as condensation can build up on the tank and eat away at the coating if not used regularly. This is mainly a mid-
engine problem as the tanks are situated next to the engine bay, which get hot and causes condensation on the outside of the tank. A
regularly driven Esprit V8 shouldn't have any problems with rusting tanks. And by regularly we aren't taking about daily or even weekly.


Baglan Automotive Accident Repair Centre
10a, Seaway Parade Baglan
Port Talbot West Glamorgan
SA12 7BL
Tel: 01639 814300

Garage (recommended)

They are called Lite and Wakefield, chap to speak to is Barry and they are in Enfield, phone number 020 8367 4192. Customer service is excellent, work is top drawer and prices are incredibly good for the quality of the work. I can wholeheartedly recommend them for any Lotus related work, esp on the Esprit!

Electic Window Switches

I have a 1990 NA HC and have had some recent trouble with my electric windows. At first I thought it was a window motor that was faulty because it would go down, but didn't want to go back up.. I called an autoelectrician out and he found the fault in the door switches and said I needed new ones.

I contacted SJ Sportscars and they gave me a price of £34.29 + vat for each switch. Expensive !! so I did a bit of running around with the old switch and after a bit of detective work discovered that the identical switch is from a Maestro and will probably fit other Austin/ Rover vehicles. I do have the part number if you want it.

I thought it would be helpful for a compilation list that we could put together.
David Frost

Window Motors 88 Turbo

Just let you all know that both of my Window motors have seized up in the last twelve months, Symptons window closes Slowly to the point over a few months it just will not work,

Answer in my case was to remove inner door panel, Remove the two Allan Screws Securing the body of the motor (the back ones a real Beast) I had to drill a hole through fibreglass at the bottom of the door to get to this one, Slide Motor casing very carfully down off the Motor Spindle and in both cases the Inner Magnets had come unstuck. I reglued them with Arraldite back into the casing and replaced.

WOW what a difference the windows seem to be running at 8 psi Turbo now.This may save you over 100 pounds for a replacement if your lucky enougth to find one


V8 front tyre wear

I've noticed on previous sets of front tyres on the v8 that the inner edge wears much faster than the rest of the tyre due to the geometry setup. You end up having to replace the tyre much sooner than you'd like. There can be lots of tread left on the outer (visible) edge but the inside is worn right down. I'm trying something different this time.

The fronts I've got on right now I've done about 6k miles on so far, so I've just had the tyres off and swapped them left to right, so what was the inner edge is now on the outside if you see what I mean. I'll see how much more mileage (if any) I can get like this, and if there's any detrimental effect on the handling by having (slightly more) worn outer edges. Oh, and before anyone mentions it, yes I have had the thing checked and the alignment/camber are all spot on :-)

A general comment: I've always had the v8 tyres re-balanced when they're about half worn. I don't recall ever having to do this on any other car, but for some reason (maybe the size of the tyre, or the way the esprit wears the tyres out?) I've found that when they're half worn they will need rebalancing. It's surprising how far out they can get. This is not due to losing a wheel weight either its just the effect of wear causing the imbalance. You only get the tinyest of wheel wobbles on the v8 but the balance can be way out. Drive over 160 and you'll REALLY notice it but normal uk legal speeds you probably wont.

Rob Ellis (V8-GT)

Warm Starting Problems

If your (4 cylinder with GM engine management) car starts running rough when started and really gets rough, then stalls on a warm start, it may be that your Oxygen sensor has gone south. They tend to last about 60,000 miles and on a hotter than normal exhaust, ie on turbocharged cars, it may pack up a little sooner. The fix is easy. Buy your new part, Lotus parts are ok but they can be outsourced, then locate the old one in your engine bay. It sits on the aft edge of the down pipe to the catalytic converter, just after the turbo and has a few wires leading up to the engine compartment/luggage bay wall. Spray a little WD40 on the edge and leave for a few minutes to penetrate. Get a 22mm/ 9/10 inch spanner or an adjustable and pulling a quick Gurny, pop the old sensor off. Disconnect the wires and then its the reverse to put the new one on. Once fitted, the car will run as it should.

Incidentally, when Freescan is monitoring the running engine, the oxygen readout will NOT fluctuate with a knackered sensor, that is the clue to it being kaput. Normally the oxygen levels should vary between 0 and 1 with rpm, mine stayed at about 1 when scanned which highlighted the fault.

Dom (94 S4)

Water Loss (4cylinder)

A 90SE has two water systems, which one is loosing water? If it is the chargecooler system, the small header tank, then it could be leaking out of the weap hole on the chargecooler water pump (next to the oil filter). This would be the chargecooler pump seals, you will also need to replace the chargecooler pump impeller. If not, I suppose the pressure cap maigh be defective, or the chargecooler radiator could be leaking, or the hoses of the chargecooler system, or the heat exchanger (chargecooler box) could be leaking coolant into the air intake.

If the coolant level is going down in the larger engine coolant header tank, then it could be a head gasket, a coolant hose (32++ft of that), the radiator, the water pump seal, the pressure cap, the expansion tank cap, the intake manifold to head gasket, the turbo cooling hoses, turbo water cooled section, heater core under the dash. It could be any one of those things. Since you don't have leaks under the car, you should look at the head gasket. Look for bubbles in the coolant, from exhaust gasses. Look for steam in the tail pipe. Do a test of the coolant for exhaust gasses. Check compression, or do a leakdown test.
Travis, Vulcan Grey 89SE (USA)

Warped or Judding Brakes


Vacum Pumps (4cylinder)

These are no longer available according to my sources. PNM Engineering do an Exchange reconditioned one. Call them on 0151 630 6101 or visit there site for more details.

It is an AC Delco part (part no. 215-103) and you can get it in the UK from O.C.W on 0208 810 4595 or www.acdelco.co.uk. They are OK., got an ignition coil for my S4s for £60, ALL Lotus places wanted over £200 for the complete direct ignition unit!!!

Starter motor part no

In case anyone else has a starter motor give up & does not want to buy through lotus, the part no (at least for a S4s - suspect for most/all 4 cylinder) is Magneti Marelli type M80R (1.7) It also has Lucas 54293567 stamped on the body.

The starter motor is made by Lucas - the alloy housing is a custom part made for Lotus: the starter motor body (magneti Marelli)is I believe a Ford Turbo diesel part. I'm pretty sure you can't buy a pattern part and just bolt it up.

when my starter motor was making odd noises I took it to 3 different motor factors and all 3 couldn't match the body with anything !!! The last place I went to said they could recondition it for me so I had the part's they could match reconditioned/replaced for £60.

S4s Clutch Adjustment

The clutch has got some adjustment on the rear fork that the slave cylinder pushes against but if set correctly (approx 9-12mm of thread showing on pushed side) then it shouldn't be changed else you may risk damaging the flywheel when the clutch finally goes. As to getting into reverse I think every Esprit owner I have spoken too seems to suggest the same, and the standard trick is to engage 1st and with clutch still depressed go for reverse. This should stop any grinding etc. The resistance on change up, is it worse when car is cold or hot ? (let gearbox warm up before pushing car) The problem is it a slight grinding and is it worse going 1st to second ?

Are there any grinding on change down ? (I would suggest always double clutching on a change down, especially when revving hard) Some first checks I would suggest before immediately blaming the clutch itself would be to bleed the clutch to remove any air pockets. The slave cylinder seals can also deteriorate over time (brake fluid destroys the rubber), a reasonably simple procedure to replace and seal kit itself is fairly inexpensive.

Finally is red hose syndrome (as its known), which I would only expect to be a problem in hot weather and after a hard drive, this is caused by the red plastic hose that connects the master cylinder at the front to the slave cylinder at the rear. It expands when hot and reduces the effectiveness of the clutch movement. Braided steel hose replacements are commonly available if not already performed on you car.

Final solution is the oil used in the gearbox, is there enough in the box, and what type. There are many suggestions as to what is the best type of oil to use in the gearbox but if in doubt use the Lotus recommended Castrol TAF-X, definitely not just any 90w gear oil.

Finally is adjustment of the gear selector cables and translator at the rear. The joints can start to seize up over time and may need a good coating of WD40 and some grease. If adjusted wrongly this can mainly effect the changes near reverse,1st and 2nd, more than 3rd to 5th.

Hope that helps out on elements you can check or do at home before getting the clutch looked at by a pro. My did have some of the similar symptoms to yours and over time I have eliminated them or at least reduced the problems. It still doesn't like going into 5th at high revs and into 2nd when the gear box is cold, but it is manageable and I avoid the situations.

If you have anything to add to this page that will help Esprit owners. Please email admin@lotusespritworld.com

S4s ABS Warning Light

I have had a problem with the ABS warning light flashing ,which according to the manual means that the system has detected a fault with in the circuit,so i did all the usual things ,ie: removed all wheels and checked sensors for water ingress which appeared fine ,still the light was flashing ! I then spoke to a very helpfull chap near Cambridge called Gerald (who i was put in contact with by a fellow Lotus owner) he said to check the brake switch on the brake pedal ,which i did only to find it had been knocked and was loose (its only a 45 degree turn to lock in place) so i moved it back and after a quick test drive it works fine and no more annoying yellow flashing light.

Hope this helps someone out and saves a big bill for a quick 10 minutes work !
Best Regards
Nick Fry

LEDs and ABS Warning Light

I have recently found out that if you change your standard rear tail/brake light bulbs with the LED direct replacement you will have an Abs fail light come on every time you switch your lights on (obviously only applies to Esprits with Abs) .

The computer senses the current flowing in the cable, which on a standard bulb of 21W is 1.75A approx.
The LED's will only pull a few hundred mA.  The value resistor that should work is around 6.8 ohm - you will be best with a 25W wirewoud available from the likes of maplin and RS.  RS 160-916 is a 50W resistor that is rated at 20W when not on a heatsink.  Solder it into the loom near the light cluster - one each side - between earth and the live for the brake light circuit.
All credit gos to a fellow Esprit Forum member Stephen Miller .

Nick S4s 1995

ECU Problems

For what its worth..
I have a 4 pot but it was diagnosed with a fried ECU - easily done apparantly. I was speaking to Christopher Neils chaps at Donny last year and they put me in touch with Bluestreak who can triage and repair ECUs.

They're in Hucknall, Notts, and on 01623 753300.

Triage fee was £25 and they send you a document with your diagnosis. I found them quick and fairly cheap. Moreover they weren't given any indication of my symptoms beforehand to give them an unbiased start point and they hit on the culprits quick and problem solved. Mention Club LEW and Christopher Neil to them as well - seemed to work well!

94 S4

V8 turbo: seized wastegate

If it's only the capsules which has gone then that's an easy fix. But if the wastegate flat is jammed that's a lot harder. Regarding non-Lotus capsules I picked up a few brochures at Autosport which look interesting.

First one is Forge Motorsport:

Lovely chromed capsules which can be opened up and you can then insert any spring from 5psi through to 20 psi. Didn't quote a price howerer. Second one was

AET Turbos Motororsport

Again fully adjustable springs, and they did quote a price of 65 quid - hell of a lot less than Lotus's £110 if I recall. BUT these actuator are for T2 turbos, there's no mention anywhere of the T25. However, from the pictures they look absolutely identical. Worth a call if you're in need!

98 V8-GT

Clutch Fork Breakage

Previous investigations by Lotus into clutch fork failure resulted in three causes:

• Fault with the clutch assembly resulting in high release loads
• Incorrectly adjusted clutch travel resulting in excessive movement of release bearing and the resultant overloading of the fork
• Incorrect location of the release fork locating spring on the pivot

If a release arm has broken it us likely that something else is wrong and just replacing the arm is not the solution - it is likely to fail again. Lotus would recommend that the clutch actuation is checked to identify what is wrong.

Another point is that we would not recommend a repair (welding) to the fork We have new parts in stock (approx.£90).

The ASO usage of this part is extremely low which suggests there isn't a major problem with this part.

Removing Manifold Exhaust bolts

I recently pulled my exhaust manifold and turbo. I used a penetrating oil called Mouse Milk. www.mousemilk.com I let it set overnight. It did an outstanding job. The exhaust manifold nuts and both the inlet and exhaust connections of the turbo came off easily. The stuff I had was probably 10 yrs old and it still worked like magic.

Glenn (Esprit SE)

Chargecooler paint
A tip for any of you who like me have small chips in the orange/red paint that the chargecooler + Inlet plenum are painted with on some Esprits - A Halfords 'Ford Sunburst Red' touch-up kit seems ideal as this colour matches almost perfectly.

Bouncing headlight pod or pods
July 2008
On my 1989 Esprit one headlight pod had the annoying tendancy to jounce/bob for a number of seconds after the car rode over a road irregularity. It was especially visible on narrow tree-lined country roads when driving at high speeds. The jouncing headlight pod swung the beam's illumination so much that any passenger (or driver following me) noticed this flaw.

A quick check of linkage tightness was done and all seemed in order, so the headlight motors were removed for inspection. Headlight motor removal is not as straight forward as the manual suggests because your arms are asked to bend into terrific ways in order to undo the motor's clamp strap (a phillips head screw on my car) as well as the two or three 10 mm hex head bolts holding the headlight motor bracket to the body of the car. These bolts thread into rawlnuts which -should they seperate- provide you with an hour of joy abrading the rubber sleeve to expose the brass nut in order to clamp it with self-locking pliers so as to ease out the bolt.

Although many people have repaired their fauty motors by replacing the nylon drive gear or the 3 spacer barrels . . . my car had perfect examples of these. The "problem" turned out to be a simple fix. The GM-sourced headlight motor contains a vertical helical-threaded shaft which rotates on a ball bearing at it's base. The grease-covered ball bearing acts a low friction pivot for this shaft. Once slack developes in the motor shaft the ball bearing can be dislodged, which makes the helical shaft now capable of moving +/- 2 mm (the diameter of the ball bearing) when jarred by a road irregularity. This was the cause of the jouncing headlight pod.

Rebuilding the motor with the ball bearing epoxy-glued to the shallow depression on the shaft's base wholly solved this problem for me.

If this fix doesn't work for you, or you want spare parts for your Esprit headlight motor, consider visiting the auto wreckers. The headlight motor for an 1980's Pontiac Firebird, the early 1980's Pontiac Sunbird (with odd-looking ones with the partly-hidden louvered headlight covers) and all Pontiac Fieros use a virtually identical motor. The "you-pull-it" wreckers charged me $5.99 for one of these motors . . . . about $275 cheaper than the Lotus replacement.

Besides this, I am told that the Chevrolet Corvette use similiar headlight motors, but I have not yet been able to confirm this. E-bay is an onvious cheap source for the Pontiac-supplied motors should no local wreckers has such a car in stock.

Andrew Podor, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

Heater Problems
Q: Anyone had any heater problems on an S4? Where is the heater control valve hidden? How is it activated?

A: I had similar problems with my V8. On time it was a solenoid valve over left hand tank which opens the diverter valve to let hot water into the cabin.

First thing to check is to see if you are getting hot water into your cabin.

On my V8 (which may be different to your S4), look under the driver's side footwell towards the left past the level to the bonnet. The is a 19mm black water pipe going into side of heater. Check this to see if it's hot. If it is then you have one of two problems. 1. Air lock in your water system or 2. Your cable controlling temperature has snapped.

The first happened to my V8 a few weeks back and all I had to do is squeeze pipe several times rapidly. I confirmed this by bleeding system and some aur bubbles came out. The latter happened to my S4s which will be the same as your S4. The cable is like a bicycle cable except the inner is a solid wire so it can push a level as well as pull. This is held in place on a clamp and end had snapped. It was an easy fix, take heater panel off. Disconnect the outer clamp and pull cable through the front. Cut back the outer cable to extend the distance between the two. You can use the snapped piece to work out how much of the outer cable you need to cut back. Reconnect and refit heater fascia.

There are also two pneumatically controlled actuators one to open/close the recirculating vs. fresh air flap and one to direct the air to screen or to your feet. The tubes fall off, the valves stick etc. Take out the little coin tray thingy and / or the radio, then grow two extra long but very slender hands, swear a lot and you should be able to push it all back together until next time. I have done this before, now I need to do it again. The vacuum comes from the little pump in the bulkhead between engine and boot. It's a great system....

Speedo Issues
If your speedo isn't working properly
For a Citroen Transmission where there is a one piece Speedo Cable from the Speedo Head to the Right Angle Drive at the Gearbox End. The problem could be at several places. Check the following :-

Cable connection to back of Speedo head - could be loose and not making drive contact.
Right Angle Drive at Gearbox end - Remove Angle Drive and check that is operational. Ensure the Nylon Bush stays inside the gearbox!
Could be broken cable.
Is both the Speedo and Odometer malfunctioning.
If only one function works the Speedo Head is defective

Removing the cable at the Drive end and check the condition of the cable end - should be a good fit into Right Angle drive.
Driving the Cable from this end with a drill will identify if the drive to the head is operational.
If that is ok the problem is most likely to be at the Gearbox End.
There is a procedure for removing the Driven Pinion and the Nylon Bush.
This is explained in the Service Notes Section FD Item FD.4.
If this is not followed the pinion can fall into the gearbox and the rear cover needs to be removed to recover it.
There is a diagram in this section of the notes that shows the installation.

ABS switch
Parts now obsolete (June 2010)
Q: a Lotus-friend of mine currently can not drive his Esprit S4 S. He is looking for an ABS switch parse in gray No. is A 082J6137S
B 082J6137S Could you help?:-

A: This part is obsolete. The supplier no longer produces this part. Lotus Aftersales Group are currently trying to resource and approve a new part. Many owners have had success in reviving the old switch.

It has been known for them to get ' gummed up' due to infrequent use. Cleaning can revive the operation - not an easy process but usually successful. Soaking in WD 40 or Brake Cleaner has been known to work..

Trouble clearing the Windscreen (June 2010)
Q: Just a bit of an issue I am having with my Esprit X180 ’90 and hoping you may be able to help. All of sudden I am not getting any air coming from the windscreen vent recently when I turn the dial. I here movement in the dash when I turn the direction dial but no air comes from the top, the others are fine. It’s quite unexpected as nothing has been touched at all. Just wondering if you think it’s an electric issue to where I can pull out the small plate and replace something related to the dials or rather something internal in the dash i.e. the vent flaps being jammed? And I guess on that note whether there was a sketch/photo of how the internal pipes work.

A real brain buster this is….Grrrr I have pulled the pipe/hose off where the blower is and no air is being blown out of that particular hole (to where the windscreen hose is fixed). Obviously all hoses connect into the blower unit and air certainly is being blown into all the others. Absolutely bizarre.

I assume there are flaps in the blower unit that block and open the air being blown through any particular hole and hose.
I am assuming that either the flap is jammed, if that is possible, or the switch/dial needs replacing i.e. not switching the flaps in the blower unit to allow air to blow through windscreen hole. Just wondering what your thoughts are, and do you have a picture/photo of the actual blower unit. I’ve looking all over online and can not even find a single picture of the blower.

It has been known for them to get ' gummed up' due to infrequent use. Cleaning can revive the operation - not an easy process but usually successful. Soaking in WD 40 or Brake Cleaner has been known to work..

A: The 1990 Esprit has a cable operated heating vent control. The cable operates a Mode Flap that controls whether the air is directed - Footwells or Screen. You can see if the rod and flap arm are moving. Check the Arm is located properly on the Flap Spindle. The Rod is on he side of the Heater Unit and can be seen from the footwell. If this Rod is moving the Flap Arm the Air Direction should change from Footwell to Screen. There is a Full Description of the system with diagrams in the Service Notes Section PD (19 Pages).

White Smoke
Seeking help for 1984 Turbo Esprit
Q: I purchase a 1984 Esprit Turbo some months ago and was encountering steam/white smoke came out from the expansion tank((hope that a am giving the right name for it) where coolant are normally fill whenever for about 5 mins.Could any one help to solve my doubts on what is going on? At first my mechanic thought is the Head casket blow BUt was not,so we are stuck here on which direction to move. Appreciate the informations and guide.

The fan is working ok.I MISSED out an important point the steam or White smoke came out from the small rubber tube of the expansion tank. I tried idle the car for 20 mins and rev heavily but is ok, the temperature gauge is always in the middle of the dial when the engine is running.THIS is something that i am very particular. Whenever the steam came out the more i rev the more steam produce from the tube,i confirm it came out from the tube because i went into the under carriage to check when the steam is releasing from the car.
By the way (1) What is air log/lock which i read from a book? (2) if the water lever in the expansion takn is too low will it create such steam problem. Am i right to said that this incident is more to do with the cooling system. If i do not know what is the cause history might repeat any time.Your information are very much appreciated as i really love this car a lot.

A: This 1984 Turbo. The water temperature in this car should run about 82 Deg. C. I think a few things should be checked.
The Owner says the Fans are working ok. They should cycle on & off and bring the temperature back to normal - about 82 Deg.
Once that is established the following should be checked :-

Header Tank Pressure Cap. This needs to be checked to ensure it is holding the correct pressure in the system. The pressure should be stamped on the cap (if it is fitted with a genuine Lotus supplied cap). If the cap is not holding the pressure the system will loose water / steam into the overflow tube. Fitting a new cap is always a good idea when checking out the cooling system.

Is the cooling system free of Airlocks? (make sure the heater is turned to hot while bleeding the system. (Also make sure heater is getting hot). The Cooling System can be checked for combustion gasses (from a blown Cylinder Head Gasket). Has this been done? - is there traces of combustion gasses in the cooling system? If there is no trace of Combustion Gas in the Cooling System it is unlikely the the Head Gasket is the problem. Is the car still ejecting steam when running or has this stopped now.

Tension Assembly
Engine Seized (June 2010)
Q: I'am in litigation with a garage they changed The Water Pump and when they finished they forgot to take out the Pin used to hold back the Piston. 2 Days later the Tming Belt came off and the engine seized. The Garage is claiming that if they left the Pin in the engine woukd not start?? Other people tell me that the Belt may not come off immediatley that it could take a Day or Two. I would appreciate if you have any insight into this?? Thanks so much.

A: If the belt was removed to change the Water Pump and they followed the procedure in the Lotus Service Notes the Belt Tension would have been removed by unscrewing the spring seat and the Pin inserted to lock it in position. Following the refitting of the belt the Pin would have been removed and the tension reset.

The engine could be started if the Pin was left in position. The Belt tension would be very low but the engine would run. If the Pin was removed but the spring tension not increased to attain the correct tension the engine would still run. The engine could run with reduced tension for a period before it could jump some teeth and cause problems.

The position of the pin can be seen in the diagram in the Service Notes. The Tensioner should be checked to ensure it is working properly. The tensioner could have been damaged during the tensioning process.

Oil Light
On after storage (March 2010)
Q: The engine warryes me... When start the car the red oil sign came on. But the car stood in a garage for months...

A: If this car has the Oil Light on when the engine started it has no oil pressure and should be stopped immediately. If it has been stored for some time the engine should be cranked over on the starter (probably best with the spark plugs removed) until the oil pressure is generated. It may take some time to get pressure if it has not been used for some time. Suggest Oil & Filter is changed immediately

V8 Water
Miss firing (March 2010)
Q: I am at a loss with my pride and joy of a Lotus V8 1996, I have owned the car for around 5 years and have been experiencing the same problems since day one of ownership. The car has always run as if it miss fires,. the spark plug pots fill up with water and I presumed that it was because the water leaked through the vents in the bonnet lid. I have been to various main dealers who have had loads of ideas and promises of help and after having my car in the garage for weeks and then having massive bills afterwards within a week or so I have had the same problem.

I have spoken to a very helpful chap at Lotus who mention this Porus problem similar to the ones mentioned below and mentioned that there may have been a recall some years ago and it could be that:
I agree there can be many reasons why v8 owners experience coolant loss. Fact remains that in MY case, the problem was diagnosed (with the sump off for visibility) by the lotus factory field engineer as the "porous" / leaking liner problem.

I have never really noticed any real water loss and they have head the Head off below, changed the Head gaskets etc so are sure that there was no head gasket problems.


A: Water will always pass through the Vents in the Tailgate and the Engine Cover. These need to be sealed 100%. If the Gaskets are old and no longer sealing it advisable to fit new gaskets and if necessary seal the cover with a bead of silicone sealer and additional sealer round the spark plug wire seal. Also check for bent / distorted Covers. If the Plugwells have had water in them over a period the spark plug wire terminals could have deteriorated (corrosion) and no longer able to operate properly. Has the car had new plugleads recently?

The issue of the Water Loss is sometimes associated with the breakdown of the Liner Seal.

If this engine has been diagnosed with having water loss due to liner seal breakdown the only solution is to strip down the engine and reseal all 8 liners. Has this been done? The email says the Head Gaskets were changed but no mention of liner sealing. The owner says he is not aware of any significant water loss. Waterloss can either be external or internal. External water loss is usually associated with leaking hose joints or leaking radiator matrix. How old is the radiator? The car is 14 years old so a check on the radiator and all hoses is advised. Internal leaks could either be from Liner seals or casting porosity. Casting porosity would normally show up immediately and would have been diagnosed and rectified on the early life of the engine. Liner seal leaks are usually associated with Engine overheating at some time in the past. The Liner Seal failure will result in Water in the Oil. Is there evidence of this? If there has been long term liner seal leaks there will sometimes be evidence of staining on the block in the area of the leak. If the engine is running with a persistent misfire this will likely lead to catalyst failure due to unburnt fuel getting into the exhaust and burning in the catalyst. Are the catalysts ok?

The first thing to do is to endure the cooling system has no leaks externally by having the system pressure tested and ensuring pressure is held. This should be done with the Pressure Cap on place to ensure full system integrity. Check all hose connections and radiator for signs of water loss. One the external system is checked and confirmed as 100% secure any further pressure loss must be internal. Check for water in the oil as this is the only place for the water to escape to.

As said earlier it is unusual a leaking gasket or plug lead seal that is responsible for water in the plugleads. There was a running change to the Cam Covers to where a drain was incorporated to handle any water ingress through the cover. Engines can be updated to the covers.

Jacking Nuts
Sorting them (Aug 2010)
Also a general point:
All the Jack nuts on my car are knackered so I found an easy way of dealing with them:
If you can't remove the bolt or it's spins and you can't get to the back of it then you need to cut the bolt head off.
This leaves a stud, place a thin drift on the top of this stud and strike firmly with a hammer
The rusty insides then straighten out in the opposite way to how it was installed (Or just snap off!)
Gently prise the remaining steel ring away from the fibreglass and the whole lot can then be removed with no damage to the fibreglass.

I have replaced them with rubber Rawl nuts, while these can be a pain on their own, a dollop of copperslip in each one prevents them seizing onto the fastener and the use of stainless fasteners stops the bolt heads rotting away!
To install Rawl nuts the easiest way is to put a long bolt in and press them into the hole. The long bolt ensures that the Rawl nut is pulled into place by the insert rather than pushed from the top, as they swell when pushed (As designed!) and shrink when pulled!

Oil in Spark Plug Wells?
What can be done (Aug 2010)
If the engine is getting oil in the Plug Wells it can be caused by 2 things :-
1. Oil leaking from the joint between the Cylinder Head and the Cam Housing.
2. Oil leaking from the joint between the Cam Housing and Cam Cover.

The joint between the Cylinder Head and the Cam Housing is a Gasket Free joint. The seal is made using Perma Bond A136.

The joint between the Cam Housing and the Cam Cover is a conventional Gasket.

There should be some sign of where the leak is coming from.

If it is from the Cam Housing / Cam Cover Gasket the gasket should be replaced.

If it is from the Cylinder Head / Cam Housing joint the Cam Housing(s) need to be removed. The mating surfaces of both the Cylinder Head and Cam Housing need to be thoroughly cleaned to remove all traces of the old sealer. It is imperative the surfaces are degreased and dry before any assembly. The assembly procedure is detailed in the Service Notes Section EF.

Care should be taken while assembling the Cam Housing to the Cylinder Head and ensuring the Fixing Bolts (M8 Torx) and Nuts are Torqued properly. Check for any damaged threads in the Cylinder Head before any assembly is started.

Leaks from the Cylinder Head / Cam Housing Joint are usually caused by poor preparation during any servicing. Assembly in cold or damp conditions is not a good idea. New 'O' Rings on the Oil Feed Dowels are recommended during the assembly.

return to top
home email news esprit models road tests buying an esprit running an esprit esprit owners maintenance pictures for sale history Lotus models links