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1990 Esprit Turbo SE - Introduction and Travelogue

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Hello,

Just writing to introduce myself as the exceedingly proud owner of a brand new 1990 Esprit SE, and express my gratitude to LEW and its members for providing so many hours of delightful and informative reading. I harbor the modest conceit that it will in part make up for the possibility that I have very little idea what I'm doing other than having great fun.

The car appeared at a consignment auction in Maine in November, and I managed to bid and win.

1. Ambient 18f/-8c December morning -- after chipping off the ice, all looks well, rear boot stuffed with parts in JAE and RD boxes, ALDL USB dongle, and a full set of service notes and parts list. Nothing dire as far as belts, fluids, tires, etc. are concerned.

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2. Very helpful mechanics razz me at gas station, then helpfully locate gas flap release in collective 10 minute effort. It's in the center console.

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3. Oops! The next morning, a gurgling sound on startup strongly correlates with a puddle of 50W15, garage management not entirely amused, however possibly appeased with cat litter. Spiritual guide/tow operator/race mechanic magically appears at midnight and delicately chucks it into his yard.

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4. Study electrical diagram and local food

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5. Patch ruptured oil line the next day after stops to Walmart, NAPA, etc. Practically everyone has got a Lotus story, which is striking. Curtis, outstanding samaritan, lifts the rear with the tow truck, lets me slide a discarded hood under, and work in his lot for a few hours. Then, uneventful transshipment, and yesterday, getting a new cat fitted by the excellent Harry at A1 Automotive in Temple City, San Gabriel Valley.

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That's it for now!

Glad to be here.

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Welcome. Lotus are very much like pets, they like to mark their territory!  :) 

 

  • Haha 1

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It was actually quite gratifying to put the car in better than new condition in such a short amount of time as it seems to have been an earlier patch that slipped a bit. :zorro:

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Hi Jesse,  

Oh no, what have you done?

French fries with fish, no no no, that's not good, what you need with that fish is a good portion of chunky deep fried English chips and a some mushy peas. Beer looks tasty though.

 

By the way, congratulations, the Esprit looks lovely, you're gonna have some fun with it.

 

 

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That fish does look nice though! 

Welcome to TLF and Lotus ownership! :) 

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Congratulation with this superb Lotus.

I can imagine that you feel very happy with this type of Lotus and I wish you many nice and safe trips with the Esprit.

BTW: conform the car front picture it seems to be a Lotus Esprit S model.

The (side) sills however are of the successive type SE.

Regards, Ruud

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Hello Ruud,

Thank you, and glad to meet you!

The car does seem to be in most respects SE spec: for instance, the chargecooler, oil temperature gauge, and as you say, appropriate side sills are present.

However, ABS and SIR are not (fine!), and my understanding is that these were usually provided on '90 federal cars. The steering wheel is Momo badged 3 spoke -- would that have been stock?

Perhaps some sort of late 89/early 90 model? I'll look into a provenance certificate at some point, and also get further under the car.

Regards,

Jesse

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And pardon, due no doubt to delirious enthusiasm, I wrote 'LEW' for 'TLF' in the original post.

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Hi Jesse,

The Esprit S model has 15/15 inch (f/r) wheels and carbs+ turbo; the Esprit SE 15/16 inch and fuel injection+turbo+chargecooler.

US10-1990-Lotus-Turbo-Esprit-automobile.

The car from the picture seems to have 15/16 inch wheels.......in combination with your present chargecooler and side sills (both typical SE features) it could be that it is a genuine SE with some front collision damage causing the SE front to have been replaced with a typical S front.

The Momo steering wheel is not standard however often adapted as an after market part.......the std. steering wheel is showed in the SE picture; 

The interior; especially the chairs, tunnel and inner door panels could give a definitive indication of the type........

This is a typical SE interior...

640x480.jpg

This is a typical S interior......

640x480.jpg

Regards, Ruud

ADDITION......

I saw another true picture of the car's (partly refurbished) interior (below)........it is a true SE......I also noticed gel cracks around the head lamp area; this confirms my assumption that there has been front damage (which NOT has to be dramatically!)

65943868_7_x.jpg?version=1539875314&form

 

Edited by rudolphwolven

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6 hours ago, rudolphwolven said:

The Esprit S model has 15/15 inch (f/r) wheels and carbs+ turbo; the Esprit SE 15/16 inch and fuel injection+turbo+chargecooler.

In the uk - S definitely had 15/16 f/r - my old one certainly did

 

http://www.lotusespritworld.com/EModels/Esprit_S.html

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Good story and a great car Jesse. They are very special and unique with their very own character, if you look after them, they’ll reward you. When I got mine, the absolutely first thing she did, after picking her up, is blow a fuse and kept the left light pod up. It almost felt like a warning. Well, 2 years later, I’m doing my bit to keep her happy and she’s been great. Happy ownership mate and welcome to the forum.

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Congrats on your new car.

The SE model, in my humble view, is the nicer model of them all, being updated in looks from the earlier Gugiaro cars, but not as sanitised like the S4 onwards, that they lost their "hard" look.

And the SE will have a different instrumentation binnacle, than previous cars, including a gauge to show boost and the super advanced 3-step ice warning system, plus a green lighting digital clock ;) I believe that Lotus called the tacked on little extra pocket on the storage compartment between the seats, a "CD-holder" ;)  USA SE cars will often have a Little "chargecooler" sign attatched to the rear of the car.

I believe from having looked at a friends 1988 Stevens Esprit Turbo (no SE), that the larger fog lights are doing their job better...

But the SE model will have two oil coolers, one each side, behind that front bumper, while the 1988-1989 design non-SE models will only have one, centrally placed, in front of the radiator pack, an dvisible from the front, looking through the bumper.

The connecting oil line between the two oil coolers is in the frunk, right under the front upper edge of the body, just in front of the bonnet. To aid cooling air to the two oil coolers, the SE-cars have a dedicated airguide intake hole in both sides of the front bumper, as well as two, one each side, on the side of the front bumper, to get rid of the heat.

So, I would have a look, and make sure that those two oil coolers get the right amount of air.

And while you are at it, you may think about lifting down the whole radiator pack cassette, and clean all of the debris, mud, old leafs and whot not, out from in between all three radiators. Not really visible from the outside, but once you take them apart, you'll be amazed how the car will run and not overheat with all that crap in there.

Plenty of advice floating around here on the matter. The only possibility for annoyance is twofold: one being the aircon system have to be emptied. Not a problem if it's already empty, like many are. And secondly, that the two oil coolers have to be seperated from the oil lines coming from inside the chassis. Since oil coolers are aluminium, and oil line fittings are steel, they will most likely have corroded together, unless a nice previous owner or a mechanic, have had them undone on a regular basis. Worth doing anyway. Note that new correct Setrab oil coolers with fitting both up and down, are pretty steep from Lotus, but there are British part suppliers who will supply them at a far more resonable price.

Just two more things from the get go beginning of ownership of an SE:

First is to drain the coolant (both systems - engine and chargecooler system being seperate, and look for corrosion in the double bottle in the engine compartment (plus the plastic one on the left side of the trunk, behind the carpet, which can seldomly develop a crack). Either clean and preserve, or get an aluminium double bottle. Sometimes the two bigger connecting pipes to the chargecooler itself are reversed and prevents the system from cooling enough.

Secondly, look at the chargecooler if it's actually doing it's job in cooling it's seperate circulating system fluid, by means of an impeller (black type) located under the induction, left of the middle of engine (look in Service Notes), where the old school ignition rotor was located on the carb models. Often this little impeller will have to be renewed (easily done) on a regular basis. Or remove completely, blank if off and install an electric pump (many good tips on that here). Makes the Whole system a bit more efficient, and I haven't heard of any break down going electric (which I also have). The chargecooler should feel cool to the touch, unless having been standing for a while, and soaking heat in general.

Finally, If you use the aldl cable and connect it to a laptop in the car or in the luggage compartment in the rear, using say Freescan to read out all sorts of data, resetting error codes etc, remember to allocate a specific port in Windows. If not, the program will not start up and run correctly.

Other than that: ENJOY ;) !!!

Once bitten by the Esprit virus, there's no cure known to mankind, so be prepared ;)

Mehr gas geben!

Kind regards,

jacques

 

Edited by Jacques

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Welcome Jesse! Best of luck with your purchase of a great car! Take care of ti, and you will get a lot of fun from it. 😎

Your story reminds me a lot of my own experiences. With my first Esprit I also had to look long and hard for the fuel flap switch while driving it home from the seller. To get the most smiles per gallon from your Esprit, regular refueling is mandatory. 😉 The second one blew an oil line on the way home. Just like in your case, it was a previous bodge that had failed and easy to fix. That Esprit has been my daily driver for almost 4 years now, still brings a smile to my face every time I start the engine and drive off.

Greetz,

Filip 

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Welcome to TLF Jesse. :welcome:

My first drive in a Lotus was in the model just under the SE. I thought that went like a cut cat. The SE was a dream then. Great cars.

Any questions or issues with using the forums, feel free to ask one of us mods. We're here to help. :) 

On 12/01/2019 at 10:30, Steve V8 said:

Hi Jesse,  

Oh no, what have you done?

French fries with fish, no no no, that's not good, what you need with that fish is a good portion of chunky deep fried English chips and a some mushy peas. Beer looks tasty though.

Ya' don't have peas with fish! I thought you guys just did that with those pie floater things?

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