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  1. I will try, later tonight, to provide you with some digital photos. These were taken perhaps 1.5 weeks ago. Sadly, I am not a strong computer person, so Mrs. Podor is the one I will be asking to preform this -admittedly- simple task. Should things not work out, then at the latest these should appear tomorrow.

    Generally I would say that motivation is the easy part. Getting the proper spare piece . . . now that's the real issue.


  2. Parent-teacher interviews have slowed things for the last 2 nights . . . . so no new Lotus work. Also, I keep forgetting to take the digital camera to school.

    With regard to your transmission bits and a clutch, I may just swing by and see them/meet up with you this summer. I am driving the truck east with a set of new VW rims to my father (in southern Ontario) while also dropping off a set of worn V8 Esprit wheels for refinishing in Regina. It will be a two week holiday in Ontario (also picking up Esprit parts there) before I drive back west. Please be aware that you were speaking to a twin-Lotus owner friend of mine (Francis S. from Edmonton) regarding the transmission shafts. For reasons I cannot explain, he spoke - without my consent or permission - about me needing a set of Esprit input/output shafts. These are not critically required, at this point, as I have no plan to swap an alternative to the original 5th gear.

    The oil coolers have a lower line that does not support anything, plus there is good access to the 30 mm gland nut. The upper lines cover a captive nut that sandwiches the oil cooler top to the base of the fiberglass body. On top of this is the 29 mm oil line gland nut . . . there is rather limited access to this one. Maybe a stubby wrench could work. By-the-way the headlight pods and the electric motors that move them are all out.

    Compared to the 1989 car, this 1991 does not have user-friendly oil lines. The '89 car's oil lines easily unscrewed for me - owing to a cleaner and drier location, perhaps.

    The frail aluminum oil cooler and the steel line coupling on this '91 appear to have galvanically locked. Even with really good support on my feet & legs, my 200 pound/6'1" body (lying on the floor) cannot spin the lower nut free. The fiberglass can bee seen to bow (plus it pops and cracks mildly) when serious torque is applied. I have sheared the 6 mm bolt that holds the oil cooler to the body off. To be fair, it was super rusty. I am thinking I might have to dremel the oil line gland nuts apart with a tiny metal chop-saw blade to free them. I have no doubt that the threads of the oil cooler will be ruined in the process. How the top line is to be unbolted is a mystery to me. If a 2 foot long wrench on the lower line doesn't work, no stubby wrench on the top line could work. Every version of penetrating oil have been applied to these nuts in the last few weeks.

    Beyond this, I believe the 1991's twin oil coolers are Lotus-specific. I have been unable to source similar parts from the typical oil cooler suppliers like Modine, Setrab, or Earl's. Their offerings are all far larger. Does anyone know better about this (i.e an alternative supplier)? At present I am thinking that a custom rad shop might be a cheaper source.

    As to me knowing the entire service manual off by heart . . . that is a bit of an exaggeration. I have only read it 6 or 8 times (cover-to-cover). It lies on the night table next to the bed.


  3. Has anyone tried to update their exterior door handles? If so, how many modifications were required and how did it work out?

    Mine are the out-dated TR7/Morris Marina versions. Hinton-based vandals tested out if they could survive a prying from a large screwdriver. Well, the door handles lost that competition. The pivot pins outwardly buckled and the alloy handles eventually split.

    Has anyone tried to install exterior door handles from a Pontiac Firefly Turbo/Geo Metro? Based on appearances, the later Steven's cars used these (S4 on up to my '97 V8) . . . though this is a speculative suggestion. Just wondering.

  4. Hello to the rest of Canada; especially those other Lotus folks here in Alberta.

    I am the Automotives teacher at Father Patrick Mercredi High School here in Fort McMurray, Alberta. Besides Fort Mac, we also have a residence in Edmonton (where my red '89 Esprit and silver '97 V8 are known to hide out).

    Last summer I had the chance to purchase a really well-used (maybe this should read very well abused?) Esprit Turbo SE from a rather uninformed gentleman in Hinton, Alberta. Some of you might recall seeing this car for sale on Kijiji. It started off for sale at $15,000 but -some 4 months later- I bought it for $4200. Realize it sat outside for 2 years and was mildly vandalized. He said the engine had been rebuilt . . . well, let's just say he was either hoping this or was mistaken. Perhaps the engine rebuilders were just absolute beginners as no Hylomar was used to seal the bores and oil gallery blanking plugs had been left out of the cylinder head. If the car had been run after the rebuild it would have seized from lack of oil. Luckily it couldn't be restarted (for other electrical reasons). Also let's not talk about the clutch which was worked to point of turning the flywheel a vivid blue.

    I asked my principal if this car could reside in the shop as the school "project car" and was happily surprised when he said yes.

    Needless to say, many of the students are now well motivated to learn. We have rebuilt the long block and -most recently- both cam boxes. They (the students) are awaiting me to return to Edmonton in order to collect needed parts for the rest of the cylinder head rebuild. Beyond that, my shop kids have done fiberglass work on the damaged rear valence, the front spoiler and various smaller portions of the rear inner fender wells were stones (perhaps?) punctured the fiberglass. Trust me on this . . . . you have an unmotivated student? Give him access to your Lotus and some fiberglass matt and step back and watch him get interested really, really quickly.

    Removing the under bonnet scoops and variously layered air ducts have been a brutal task. All the fasters have seized to their captive nuts which, then, shear from their fiberglass support. If you have needed to do this in order to replace or clean the rad or oil coilers then you too can repeat the following line. Fun, fun, fun; okay everyone I'm temporarily blind from shower of rust powder . . . where is the eye wash station?

    The interior is raven/black and the next major project will be the refinishing of the elm instrument panel masks which have buckled and heat-cracked. If you ask me wood veneer is an odd choice in an near all-black interior. It just looks "old school" wrong to me. I hope to either refinish with mock carbon-fiber or experiment with creating a fiberglass copy of the masks which can be gloss paint finished.

    I would appreciate input from anyone who refinished their instrument masks. Also advice on removal of the oil coolers without shearing the 30 mm (lower) and 29 mm (upper) gland nuts would be most helpful to me. Soon I can supply photos of the work-in-progress.

    Andrew Podor

  5. Okay, here is my $0.02 on the issue.

    Stock plugs wires are of fine quality, they last usually 10 years (plus), but are still very much over-priced at the Lotus dealer. Magnacor are a premium replacement but they are rather pricey.

    Try this company "Kingsborne". They can be found on-line and are located in southern California if I recall correctly.

    Kingsborne has absolutely first rate customer service (i.e. the telephone was answered quickly by real humans who know the products they sell). They sell virtually every plug wire set for Lotus cars (plus most other exotics like Ferrari or Lamborghini). The Lotus sets are very INEXPENSIVE (yes, I know I am shouting!). . . plus they are of the highest quality. They come 8 mm in diameter and for a $10/$15 option come braided in a black heat resistant sheath that I think they call "fire braiding". All wire sets come in a range of colours (no extra cost), but I think red in the most common stocked. The boots are 100% OEM and at a perfect fit at the plug and at the coil pack; they also seal out water perfectly at the top of the cam tower with a tight-fitting rubber flange. They use black silicon rubber for the boots and brass for the ferrules. When tested for resistance against the old Lotus wire set, my new Kingsborne wires were 2 to 3X less restrictive.

    The red set I bought for my V8 came with the black heat shielding at not extra cost . . . which was odd but I didn't complain. The blue set for my 1989 SE I bought without sheathing. I think the prices were ~$89 for the V8 and ~$29 for the SE, but this was 6 months ago. I just checked and the price of the V8 wire set has gone up; the wires for the SE are still that price.

    Though this is speculation on my part, I believe the high quality aftermarket sets sold by places like JAE or RD Enterprises are 100% exactly these Kingborne wires just with the Kingsborne packaging removed. Other owners have also confirmed my speculation. Buying these wires directly from Kingsborne is a savings of 50 to 75% from the Lotus specialists I have dealt with.

    I have yet to hear an issue with Kingsborne wire sets. I have installed them on a 2.0 NA Esprit, several 2.2 Turbo Esprits, one Elan M100 and my V8. The Elan M100 is a "bugger" to get quality parts for, so Kingsborne saved the day there.

    I have no financial incentive to promote this company. They just sold me a quality product at a more than fair price.


    Here is their web site:

  6. The clocking issue can be easily solved when using the 1991 ('88 to '93) Pontiac LeMans 1.6 SOHC TPS unit. I did not know the Quad 4 one has to be rotated so much for it to work.

    The vertical alloy flange that the Lotus piece bolts to can be marked to fit the LeMans unit and then drilled and tapped (M4 size, I think). I did this when cleaning my intake manifold a few years back . . . it was out of the car at the time. The spare set of threaded holes are invisible when the stock Lotus unit is installed and are blocked by the plastic back of the TPS. No water entry issues here. The stock Lotus holes are mostly covered when the Pontiac piece is installed. I keep one LeMans spare with me so if the original TPS should fail (on the road) I can still drive home. These cost me, maybe, $2 at a wrecking yard.


  7. Keeripes . . . . Baden, Ontario! I grew up 2 km from there. Fisher Hallman Road and Queen's Blvd. in Kitchener.

    I also own a Lotus (or two); a red 1989 Esprit Turbo SE and a silver 1997 Esprit V8. Good to hear another Lotus is so close by.


  8. At one time, I used Pirelli 6000's on my 2007 SAAB 9-3 SportKombi. The car came stock with them but we switched to summer performance tires after 2 months. These are switched every 6 months for winter snow tires here in northern Canada. The Pirelli's are just sitting there in the shed and slowly dry rotting.

    They are good -but not great- tires for dry pavement, with predictable braking and modest noise, etc. Good in the rain. Also good in the dry cold. Poor -at the best- in fresh or hard-packed snow.

    AP Edmonton & Fort McMurray

  9. For 100% certain it is the front wheel bearing from a Renault Fuego.

    A number of unusual American cars were made when AMC and Renault merged. These cars used the exact same front wheel bearing . . . they were all FWD cars that didn't sell too well. So the list extends to:

    Renault Fuego (1987? to 1991?)

    Eagle Medallion

    Eagle Premier

    Dodge Monaco (a really rare car that was made for a max. of 2 years)

    These all have the same bearing that is used on the rear wheel of my 1989 Esprit SE and also my 1997 Esprit V8. I got the bearings for $90 each (I think) at a local Bumper-to-Bumper store. They had to order them in, but it took only a day.

    AP in Edmonton

  10. On a V8 Esprit behind the steering wheel is a thin alloy piece that holds a caged bearing riding on the steering shaft. That same piece clamps the signal stalk switch (L) and wiper stalk switch ® in and bolts to the ignition switch (which lies below it).

    I am pretty certain that piece is off an Opel car; however the only recent examples in North America have been the Cadillac Catera and the Pontiac Lemans (FWD). Both differ in construction . . . the Catera's is made of yellow plastic and the Pontiac Lemans' is a two piece design.

    Does anyone know of where Lotus gets that part from, or better yet does anyone have a spare?

    Once some person tries to break your ignition switch free with a pry bar that thin alloy casting shatters and it isn't easy to repair. Don't ask me why I now know this.


  11. This is what I have found out.

    The Momo hub #4603 is the one that will fit an airbag-equipped Esprit, including the V8. It contains a 15.5 mm outer diameter hole with 28 splines. However the Momo #4603 hub is rare . . . likely because they are out of production. That hub was meant to fit the early-90's Isuzu Impulse and the to-mid-90's Geo Storm. Both these cars came with airbags.

    By visiting a local boneyard I found the Geo Storm comes with an alloy-spoked steering wheel with an intergal alloy hub. This allows me to cut apart the Storm's steering wheel and lathe the Storm's hub into a 1.5" diameter sleeve containing the spline that can be inserted into any modified Momo hub. TIG weld the two together and you have a custom hub with very little machining work.

    This MIGHT be the only easy way to get a Momo compatible hub for the Esprit if model #4603 cannot be easily had. Of course, assuming you have access to a lathe and welding equipment.

    By-the-way the Esprit SE I own (without airbags) uses a Momo hub that matches one off a first generation Mazda 323. The spline count is higher and the diameter lower . . . so it is not match what the V8 needs.


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  12. It's pretty difficult finding a steering wheel hub when the car you own now has no steering wheel (long story . . . had it mail the old one back to the previous owner). I know for sure that the 1989 car's hub (which I have spares of) will NOT work on the 1997 V8 car. Also I'm sure I am not the only V8 owner who needed to replace a steering wheel or hub.

    The PO had a Grant hub cobbled up to a Momo wheel. Though the engineering was a little rough, it did work. According to him the only hub he could find that fit the V8 was from an early 90's Isuzu Impulse. I have no easy way to confirm this and I've been waiting 4 weeks for such a Grant hub to arrived from a local "speed" shop. Grant seems to ship stuff only rarely to that shop.

    Does anyone know of what hub will work on a 1997 Esprit V8? Since the steering wheel is off a late 90's Pontiac Firebird does that car's steering shaft spline # and diameter match the Esprit's?

    Many thanks if you should know.


  13. Yup . . . 95% of the GM TPS "look" like they will fit but actually rotate the reverse direction to the Esprit one.

    These 2 sources rotate the right way and "should" bolt right in and work.

    1) 1988 to 1993 Pontiac Lemans (front wheel drive car from Korea) also sold as the Passport Optima and the Asuna GT but these might be in Canada-only names for all I know

    Either the 1.6 litre engine or 2.0 litre . . . they have the same TPS

    2) Olds Quad 4 engine (years made are unknown to me)

    Really common in auto wreckers where the part would be $2 or $4.


  14. Umm . . . on a new rebuild wouldn't the oil lines and oil cooler(s) be pretty much bone dry?

    If so, add your 7-8 litres and then spin the engine (with the plugs out) for a few short bursts and then re-check oil level. I suspect as the pump primes it will supply oil to the oil lines and oil cooler and, in the process, the oil level in the sump will drop. This process will need repeating a few times to fill all those lines and might require a few extra litres of oil. I recall my 1989 Esprit SE taking over 12 litres of oil to fill the oil supply lines and singular front oil cooler (on a rebuild with new oil lines) yet a "normal" oil change might involve a sump change of only 5 or 6 litres.

    Hope this helps.


  15. Corrosion on the spade of the oil pressure sensor can give an alarmingly low (and wholly false) oil pressure reading on the oil pressure gauge.

    On my 1997 V8, the pressure sensor lies about 2 cm away from the cast iron turbocharger housing. The sensor is next to the boss where the oil filter threads to and can be easily removed with a 16 mm wrench. Likely the extreme heat cyles of the turbo speed up corrosion rates of the sensor terminal and supply wire. My sensor was pretty much uniformly rust covered (it appears to have been cad-plated when new) plus the spade connection was "fluffy" with white corrosion. I chose to cut off the crimped-on wire connection and replace it with a new one (crimped and then soldered on for good measure). I also sanded the spade terminal of the sensor.

    This dramatically changed the reading on the oil pressure gauge . . . from about 0.5 bar at idle (before cleaning) to slightly more than 3.0 bar at idle (post cleaning). Good news because low engine oil pressure is rather alarming and this is such an easy fix!

    I also noticed that Lotus left quite a lot of extra wire to the sensor switch. If loose and un-fastened (like mine was), it is possible this wire could touch the turbo where it almost cetainly would melt/short out. I looped it around the sensor once and zip-tied it well away from the turbocharger.

    Hopefully this info will help a concerned owner.

  16. I noticed that both the coolant temperature and oil pressure gauges on my 1997 Esprit V8 do a "good" amount of on-and-then-off readings. On the highway, with a warm engine, the oil pressure is a steady 1/3 gauge reading (with previous owner installed 5W30 oil), then it falls to just above zero for short intervals, then you hit a rut in the road and it returns to 1/3 gauge reading. It always seems to work well in cold conditions . . . the warmer it is the more likely it is to have these issues. The coolant temperature readings also flicker and move yet the car is travelling at a steady speed in uniform air temperature. I assume it is a faulty sender switch.

    Does anyone else have experience with such a scenario and how was it fixed? Also does anyone know a source (other than Lotus) for these sender switches? Cost as well?

    Many thanks.


  17. I used only the highest quality wrenches with tight fitting closed ends . . . personally I like SK's but I'm sure Snap-On wrenches are fine too. I found Craftsman full-length wrenches (even their premium line) to bow and flex far too much, thus robbing turning force applied to the nut.

    When possible fit a 6 point closed-end wrench to the nut on the turbo to manifold . . . in some cases access is from above, sometimes it is from the left side (remove the SS heat shield for a better view). Break the nut free after a night of soaking the fitting with some penetrating oil. I always buy the cheap penetrating oil stuff and use much of it, though spend your money anyway you wish. I am told "Mouse Milk" oil is the best but it is really pricey. I dry/wipe the oil off the fitting before serious wrenching starts as a slipped wrench = a chewed hex = far too much swearing. After it releases I used the 12 point wrenches for ease of access. One nut on the turbo needs an ultra thin ring 17 mm wrench. I bought such a no-name generic wrench (a 6 point one) at a pawnshop for $2 and ground it slightly thinner. I will NOT do that to one of my prized SK wrenches. That is the only wrench that I found which fits the bottom right nut on the turbo -if I recall correctly.

    On the manifold-to-head nuts first pry back and tap flat the lock-plates away from the fastener. I had good luck with 1/4" drive sockets in both 12 and 13 mm sizes. My engine had a strange mix of nut sizes holding the exhaust manifold on. Seemed 12 mm below and 13 mm upper on the manifold . . . with at least 1 exception. I was surprised at how low the torque was to remove the nuts. Some of these nuts have to be loosened with stubby wrenches as the 1/4" drive ratchet did not have access. I had good luck using professional grade Mastercraft and Craftsman stubby metric wrenches (less torque made for no deflection?) but their polished chrome surface = a rather slippery grip if oil is on them. In some cases the stud unscrewed from the head rather than the nut releasing from the stud but -heck- I was going to replace the studs anyway.

    Two bolts externally stripped on my cylinder head service job. Both were cam box male Torx bolts that looked damaged/over-torqued before the service work began. Vice grips, an angle drill, much time and a flared extractor took one bolt off. The second bolt head had to be cleanly drilled through/off and the shaft was later unwound with vice grips.

    On reinstall I insisted on stainless steel studs and copper-plated Fuji-lock (said to be a brand name) nuts for the manifold to head and hardened chrome moly steel studs with grade 12 nuts at the turbo. I also replaced the Torx bolts with grade 12 allen head cap screws. I used ceramic high temp paste on the external threads/nuts and red loctite on the studs mounted into the head. I just feel that is too risky an area not to loctite in place and once the head is off the block I can heat the stud to release the loctite. I know some people will strongly disagree with this advice.

    All replacement fasteners were bought at specialty bolt supply houses not from a Lotus dealer here in Canada. The nuts were all factory drilled at 3 corners and wired together with twist aviation pliers and stainless steel lock wire. The stop-plates on my car looked re-used and seemed like more of a headache rather than a solution to me at the time.


  18. I'm in the process of doing all 4 Brembo calipers now. Mine were painted (poorly) a bright yellow and I figure that this is just not right on a silver car. I will return them to gloss black by wet sanding the yellow off and smoothing any nicks or burs from stone chips.

    The allen bolts holding the caliper halves together were stupidly tight with blue Loctite. Loosen them 1/4 turn ON THE CAR as it is safe and easy to do this way. Then extract the calipers off their mounts. Expect to replace the allen bolts (I did on mine the hex head looked chewed) . . . they are a common size. Popping the pistons out with compressed air was entertaining and a little scary as they fly rather fast and I had to catch each one. One of the two (per side) pops out easily (into a rag) the other requires much effort with compressed air in the side port and a blockage to the other piston's orifice. It worked though. The pistons are Teflon-coated aluminum so don't pry or use a vicegrip. That will be the end of them in my books. Seals came out easily. Dust boots need a pair of micro screwdrivers to pry them out carefully without gouging the alloy caliper body; but it worked after 1-2 trys.

    This is all do-able with common tools and some time. Don't expect success in 20 minutes. I spent and evening doing it slowly and carefully. The caliper wet sanding and spraying took a week.


  19. With stock horse power I am using 5W50 and worry that it is too thin an oil. The original owner used mineral 5W30 ($14 a jug junk at Walmart) and it was much too thin. Two or so oil changes with 5W50 should clear out that mixture from the oil coolers and oil lines. Mobil 1 is still my favorite.

    With 450 HP I would go for a heavier oil like 10W50 or perhaps 10W60 (this a BMW specific oil) but I'm sure someone will flame up for this suggestion.


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