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Everything posted by TrapperJohn

  1. I've recently acquired a new project, a 1985 Mercedes 190E 2.3-16, with the Cosworth engine. Picked it up for a song (well, USD$1500) because it's previous owner, a fellow interesting car collector, had passed on and his widow needed it gone in it's non running condition. (engine not getting any fuel) The more I dig into this little jewel, the more I come to appreciate the Lotus philosophy of 'keep it simple'. The Merc has a most interesting FI system on it, a semi-mechanical continuous injection system specific to that engine, but is it ever complicated... same for the self leveling rear s
  2. I went the granite route. Expensive, USD$4500, but it's the last countertop I'll ever buy. My wife is quite the pastry chef, so this gives her the largest possible surface for rolling dough. It would seem that is best done on a cold, hard surface. On the other hand, I look at that countertop on occasion and see a respray and set of Saturn wheels... oh well.
  3. One big objection I have to texting is, you're getting royally stiffed on the price right now. Maybe it's the onset of old geezerness, but personally I find the abbreviations appalling. Technology is dismantling this beautiful language, and I suppose it's doing the same to other languages as well. But, we will find a way to adapt. We always have. The flush toilet was a radical change from the earth closet, and not a moment too soon. Email seemed to be an impersonal substitute for a handwritten note when it first came out, now it's almost old school itself. Even the Elan and Europa owne
  4. A little OT, but the dizzy problems... I was having an issue with feeling woozy after physical effort. Used to be I could ride my bicycle all day and just get tired. In the last year, I started getting dizzy after a few miles, long before I got sore. Same for sawing up fallen trees on my farm for firewood, was getting dizzy, not a good thing when you're holding a large running chain saw. Finally found the problem - caffeine overload. Granted, I was hitting it pretty hard in my day job, but when I gave up caffeine, the dizzyness went away. After a bit of experimentation, I found I could hav
  5. All fine and well, until an adversary figures out how to jam the signal to control a UCAV. Remember that the drones in use over Pak/Afghan are not autonomous when used for attack, a human is in control, and actually fires a missile once another human has confirmed the target. And even then, they don't always get it right. Autonomous attack capability is a long way off, if for no other reason than what could happen if it goes wrong. And it will go wrong. If the RN is going with the naval and not STOVL version of the F35, that would explain retiring the short deck carriers - the naval varian
  6. FWIW: I went through a cam belt change for the first time last summer on my 90 SE. Wasn't really that hard to do, nothing that can't be done on a weekend with hand tools and colorful use of language. Get one of those little 1/4" socket sets, you'll need it to get into tight spaces. Grind down an 8mm hex wrench to loosen the vacuum pump, one of the hex bolts is right behind a pulley. Some instruction sheets recommend putting a wrench on the crank pulley and bumping the starter to loosen the bolt, but that scared me - might break the starter, and if the wrench comes loose, it can flap around
  7. I spent a delightful afternoon tooling around in what was called a T Bucket - back half of a model T Ford body, with the engine and radiator out in the open. Steering wheel was almost straight up and down, just like the original. It was... a challenge. Bags of power, instant response, very slow steering, a real snarl from the small block Chevy engine, and the 'personality' of a live front axle. Hitting a bump in the road became an adventure. Which way will it go, and how much wheel jitter will you experience? Just don't try to turn quick at anything higher than jogging speed because it wou
  8. What I remember were those clear plastic seat covers with the bumps all over them. Uncomfortable, hot, sticky, and when a little boy fell asleep on the back seat during a long drive, his face looked like it had been worked over with a waffle iron.
  9. Don't hold your breath. Mexico is sitting on some pretty fat crude reserves, but a culture of corruption has insured that it hasn't contributed measurably to a stable life for their citizens. Already, China is all over those Afghan mineral reserves. And they have no qualms about greasing whatever palms they have to, or leaving behind whatever environmental or governmental wreckage they have to, to get what they want. It would be a shame to see that happen, after both the US and UK have sacrificed so many of their young soldiers to try and stabilize the place. Sad fact is - democracy is mor
  10. My 1 ton diesel truck (Ford F350) has backup sensors and a rear camera, and needs them - it's 24 feet/7.5 meters long. But when I think of enhancing the Esprit, backing up and parking aren't the first things that come to mind. I also use the 'raise the headlamps' method for pulling into the garage.
  11. I've had the same thought myself, as my poor SE looks sunburned with the clearcoat peeling off. Good spray jobs aren't cheap, cheap spray jobs aren't good. Don't know if this holds true for Esprits, but with the Europa, if you sanded past the gelcoat you'd expose the fiberglass and have all sorts of pits forming in the paint if you didn't reseal. And practice, practice, practice. There's a fine art to getting the 'wet spot' going, and keeping it going without having it run. Practice moving the paint gun in a straight line while maintaining the same distance from the target - first tim
  12. Okay, it flashed three codes at me: 24, 35, and 42. 24 - might be the speedo disconnected, I have the slipped magnet problem so I just pulled the cable. 35 - it has been exhibiting an iffy idle for the last few months. Some times it idled fine, some times it was low to the point of occasionally stalling, and I had to keep a foot on the pedal to keep it going in traffic. Thanks, computer. I already knew that. 42 - That must be the problem. Says it's running on ignition module timing, and isn't kicking over to ECM timing after starting. Unless the Esprit has a different meaning for t
  13. My 90 SE isn't feeling well at all. It started with the check engine light coming on after startup, but it went out after about 15 seconds. Was like that for about a month, but nothing else seemed wrong. Last week I notice a brief stumble at low throttle, just the one chug, on the way home. Yesterday, it did not want to start. Not hitting on all cylinders, eventually warmed up and ran fine. Today, it is properly sick. Same startup: crank, splutter, feather the throttle, eventually warmed and hit on all cylinders, sure felt like fuel feed problems. but... after warming, it went sick aga
  14. The best Esprit is the one sitting in your garage. It's the perfect blend of performance, style, and especially... price.
  15. Another US Esprit owner here. Honestly, they're not that hard to work on. You just have to learn the sequence of pieces to take off to get to what you want. I find the 4 cyl's engine easier to service than my 2001 Mercury Sable wagon, where all the accessories are stuck on the bottom of the engine. The key is being able to service it yourself. An Esprit will eat you out of house and home if you have to pay someone else to do everything. If you do the service yourself, it's fairly inexpensive. In general, the Stevens Esprits are reliable considering what they are, but they are also high str
  16. Spotted this on ebay last night. It's in California. 12k miles. Wish I had the funds...
  17. Only one cam belt change a year? A bit more involved than changing plugs, but good lord, it wasn't that hard to do. Took me two weekends, and I was taking my time. I had no choice but to do it myself, here in central KY I couldn't find a mechanic I trusted. Frankly, my Mercury Sable wagon's engine is harder to service, all the accessories are buried on the bottom of the engine. Biggest headache I had was getting the new water hoses on - the JAE hoses are sticky, and the one that goes on the top of the water pump was the devil to get in place. Just can't get your hand on it to pull in t
  18. My 90 SE hasn't been near that to keep going. It's been on the road for about six years, was parked for four years, and I've spent maybe 4k (USD) total. However, that's with me doing most of the work, and having ready access to cheap GM parts. Cam belt change was involved, but I did get it done. Ended up taking four weekends, though I did a lot of other things and it had been sitting for a few years so there was some hibernation decay to address. If you have an interest in how your vehicle works, and don't mind some online research and greasy hands, maintenance isn't that bad. Actually
  19. Pretty happy with my iphone. Bought it when they first came out, still have it. It's survived a couple of drops (fortunately in the case) with just a few scuffs and dings, the screen didn't break. Easy to charge, all you need is a USB port. With wi-fi turned off, the battery life is impressive. Smooth operation, you can learn how to work it very quickly. I like it for the bright clear screen, and the magnify feature. You can actually read emails on it without a magnifying glass. Keyboard works well, though it takes a bit of getting used to. Got some fun games. One of my favorites is Wa
  20. Their track is a fairly low speed one, not really to the Esprit's liking. Granted, this wasn't the Stig, but they had trouble with the Elise until someone from Lotus came by to show them how to drive it. BTW - did you catch the 500hp Seven? Now that was a lap...
  21. Here's one Esprit that isn't gone. I was at a Chevy/Saturn dealer to get some parts for my wife's Oldsmobile van (which shows you how mixed up the company is). Was offered a new Saturn Sky (the 260hp version) for my 90 SE. While the Esprit is in top running shape, the clearcoat is peeling off, headlights won't come up, and there's a rip in the driver's seat, so that was actually a pretty good deal. Nice little car, cozy and comfy. But, it had no soul. No pizazz. No... something. I couldn't stuff it's nose into a turn, roll on the power, and hang on for dear life. Nah, just coul
  22. Maybe I'm just a dumb old resident of the USA, but... Couldn't you solve that speed camera problem with a balloon full of paint and a well aimed toss? Paintball gun would work even better, unless they've been banned, too.
  23. Wow, from the nation that authored the Magna Carta, the basis for all modern democracies. Perhaps you should suggest that your government review that esteemed document. I think they're losing sight of its intent.
  24. Forget acceleration, sucker them in a turn. That's what I do. Nothing humiliates a Schumacher wannabe like leaving them behind in a turn. Someone in a jazzed up econobox was doing the 'inspect my tailpipe' thing on the way into the parking lot at my office. Oh dear, not again. Wicked little ramp coming up, the T1R's should be heated up nicely by now... okay, you can push on the pedal, let's see if you can turn a corner. He couldn't. Dude, that's why it's called a Lotus. A co-worker caught up with me at lunch a few days later, and said - I didn't even see a car, I just saw a white s
  25. Back when Woody was genuinely funny, and before he got just plain weird. Long time ago. Note Tony Randall and Burt Reynolds in the control room. There were some other hilarous clips in that film, Gene Wilder and the sheep, the mad scientist whose silicone experiment got out of hand "we need a bra, size 4000!".
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