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D11. What problems might I expect from a Turbo Esprit?




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This article is from the Lotus Cars FAQ, by esprit@netcom.com (Alan F. Perry) with numerous contributions by others.

D11. What problems might I expect from a Turbo Esprit?

From Douglas Fraser (Douglas.Fraser@Dartmouth.EDU):
There is the rather serious problem in the '86, '87 (+?) where
the primary catalytic converter can set fire to the inner
fender well.

This happened to me in my '87 after a long, slow drive in a low
gear up Mt. Washington. Moderately high engine revs combined
with very little airflow through the engine compartment.

This catalyst is the small one that most people don't even know
is there, about 10" from the turbine discharge. It gets hot enough
to ignite the fiberglass right through the heat shield. Then the
fiberglass burns between the heat shield and fenderwell where you
can't get at it unless you happen to have an extinguisher with a
rubber hose on the discharge. (Fortunately I did *whew*)

From Douglas Fraser (Douglas.Fraser@Dartmouth.EDU):
The relays that operate the headlight motors are conveniently
mounted right where the water running off the hood can soak them.

It feels a bit silly to be driving this beautiful exotic with one
headlight going up and down, and up and down, and up and down,
and up and down, and up and down.... ;-)

From Jon A. Fairhurst (jaf@lotus.gvg.tek.com):
As I was finishing up a number of maintenance tasks and repairs, my
last item before getting the Esprit back on the road was to connect
the tube from the Fuel Injection MCU (mixture control unit) to the
turbo intake. While attempting the re-connect, it simply crumbled.
Right at the turbo connection. It seems that the heat cycles are too
much for the material.

The hose is like a heavy-duty custom-shaped dryer vent hose. The kind
with the spiral wire in it to keep it from collapsing. The only
difference is that dryer vent hose costs about 15 cents per foot and
this part costs $460.00.

From what I can tell, this problem will occur, over time, to every
instance for this part. The cracking on my '86 had started before
I bought the car (30 K mi., Dec '90), and total failure occured at
40K mi.

My solution: 3 in. of 2-1/4" radiator hose, two additional hose clamps,
and a 3" section of 2-1/4" pipe with one end expanded to fit the old
hose after the dead section was cut off. I got the pipe made at a
muffler shop, and the guy only asked "a couple o' bucks" for his work.
I left a fiver and felt like a big tipper!

It may not be original but It only cost ten bucks, and should last much
longer than the original design.

While this was done on a Bosch injected Turbo, it may also apply to
the Delco injection as well as the carbureted versions. The hose is
a black fabric wrapped, wire-reinforced, rubber/plastic hose, clamped
to the turbo inlet. It is critical that this hose have no leaks, or
your injection calibration will be way off.

From Noel Chiappa (jnc@ginger.lcs.mit.edu):

One major problem is the cars weren't always bolted together well.
I had an engine mount come loose on my '85, after which we
retightened every single bolt/nut on the car. Even after that, some
are loose; the bolt in the console around which the shifter
bellcrank pivots backed its way out while I was in Utah, causing me
to disassemble the center console in the hotel parking lot (the
nearest Lotus dealer being about 1000 miles away...)

Another difficult to find problem was caused when a fuel filter
inside the fuel tank (there are a pair, behind the B pillars on the
side) came loose, letting debris into the electric fuel pump,
seizing it. When this happen, the car loses power, coughs a few
times, and dies on the spot. Since the pump is above the belly pan,
you either have to have jackstands, or flat-bed it. I went through
five or so fuel pumps until I figured out why. Since you can't see
into the tank... A regular paper filter inline before the pump
fixed that.


 

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