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V8 Interior Into 88 Turbo.

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Hello all.

I've purchase a full interior from Espritism out of a V8, to go into my 88 Esprit turbo.

I'm expecting it to be a tricky task, but has anyone done this before and therefore offer any advice?

the key problems I envisage so far, are the following.

1. The steering column on my car won't accept the later style indicator stalks, and I don't think the V8 upper column will integrate with my universal joint.. the lengths are probably different. As well as this, the horn push on the V8 is on the centre of the steering wheel.. on my car, it's on the indicator stalk.

What's the best way to tackle this? cut and shut a V8 steering column to fit my steering rack, or get something fabricated for the horn and the later style indicator stalks?

2. The windscreen vent for the V8 is on the top of the dash bit that is part of the car.. on mine, it's in the instrument binacle. I suspect I'll just have to get a new vent and cut into the top dash.

3. Wiring!!! The buttons for all the lights and stuff are currently on my binnacle.. whereas on the later dash they're different type buttons, in the centre console. A lot of wiring is going to be needed.

Espritism are sending me the interior wiring loom, so I may be able to minimise the wiring I need to do that way.

4. Heater controls.. On the V8 they are electronically operated, on mine, it's cables. Any ideas how easy this will be to convert over?

5. Electric window switches.. These need to move from the doors to the centre console.. Again, loads of wiring. But I am swapping the doors over as well.

I'm attempting to tackle the job in three or four stages.

Stage one, swap the doors and rewire and temporarily fit the electric window switches.

Stage two, fit the new dash, buttons, wiring.. etc..

Stage three.. sort the steering column issue.

So, a bit of a job?! If anyone can offer any better advice than 'don't do it' I'd love to know!!



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Good luck Glyn,

I can't offer any advice but can't wait to see it when you're done!


89 White Esprit SE

...a few little upgrades....

93 RX7.....Silverstone

....slightly modded...Muahaha...

New Addition:

1990 300ZX TT......Hmmm

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David, I think that Glyn and you are bith right insomuch there was a changeover in the heater controls from cable to electronic activation, however the physical parts of the heater system are still driven by vacuum.

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I've got a funny feeling that the steering column is one of the few unchanged items from the first S1s through to the last V8s. Not sure if I'm right though........................




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Your not looking at your biggest problem, the centre tunnel is much wider on yours than the V8 or post 93 highwings. This means that all the centre sections won't fit either unless you start to get a grinder to the GRP?

The heater controls are in fact non cable from post 98.

Wiring will be a little tricky but Iam sure we can all lend a hand. It's just a time consuming task of cutting your wires and splicing them onto the new switches.

Speedo is electric not cable driven so you'll have to try and fit your old speedo.

If it were my car, the dash dials I would keep and fit the Speedo and tacho to the new binicle. I would then mount either a centre or pillar mounted GRP/carbon pod and fit your other gauges in there.

From my memory, there's about 2 foot of loom on you old dash for you to enable you to remove the dash and be able to rest it on passenger side. Use this extra wire to fit your old dials into the new dash. For the time being, leave the surplus dials, only fitting the essential ones until your dash is properly fixed and functional correctly. You can always fit the voltage, oil pressure stuff later.

I think the steering column trim will fit!

As for face vents etc, they are all on flexible tubes so they will relocate.

As for heater controls, you'll need to make single brackets to hold your cable operated knob in place. You may be able to hack your old heater bracket and split it? There's enough flex for these to be reloated too!

What you need to do is lay your new dash out and make a complete list of the electrical connections followed by the heater and so on. Then spend a few hours taking your old trim off and seeing what modifcations you need to make. Then draw up a schedule of bits you need and what needs modifying.

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Thanks for the advice guys..

Dave, I do remember now the centre tunnel is narrower. However, there was a shed load of insulating stuff on either side of mine. When I took that off, it must be half an inch skinnier on either side. I'm hoping that this will account for the difference I need.

The heater controls, as I'm getting the loom and bits from Malcolm and Espritism, I'm hoping I'll get the electronig to vacuum modules as well. I think he said that the actual heater main unit is identical.

My instruments are already different to the standard ones. I have the original lotus Taco, but it's driven from my Emerald ECU, so that should work on the new one. I also have a digital speed sender as currently I have my standard lotus speedo, and a digital LED one in the middle of my dash.

I agree about fitting the extra dials in a seperate pod. I'm tempted not to bother with the oil pressure gauge though. Mine flicks all over the place anyway so I don't think it's that accurate anyway.

If the steering colums were the same, that would be fantastic.. I don't think they are though sadly. :wallbash:( If anyone could confirm this though, it would be appreciated.

I could get a V8 upper column, but it's about

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Hi Glyn. Can't offer much detailed advice to this but it sounds like a challenge! :wallbash: But Dave's idea of laying the dash out and working things out sounds like a good one.

What I wanted to say was I would recommended just doing the whole job in one go - do some prep work on the new dash then go for it. Having pulled most of my dash out to get an alarm and stuff plumbed in, I would say it is easier to just pull it apart then build it up bit by bit sorting the issues out as you go, that's what I did. Even then I found I had done a few things in the wrong order and had to take things apart again!

Good luck, well worth it though.

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I would love to come over and help, the only downside is your location and my weekends are pretty tied up.

Do you have the parts manual with the wiring diagrams etc? This way you can do some homework and draw a splice plan. I did this when doing my round light conversion. I know this was a simple job but it was made even simpler by having the wires already worked out and only took me half an hour to make two looms up.

If you don't have the parts manual then drop me a line.

Iam going to see Malc Holmes this Sunday to pick up some bits so I'll have a look at the wiring loom if he hasn't already sent it if you wish?

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Saw this before : - so it has been done ! -

How did the guy do this :thumbsup: ?

Looks to be a BIG challenge !

Keep us updated Glynn upon your progress !

- Nulla tenaci invia est via -

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Again, thanks everyone for the advice.

It is tempting to do it all at once, but I'm worried that if I do that, I may end up with my car in complete bits, and an almost impossible task putting it back together.

Where possible, I like to go for the work in smaller chunks, even if that does end up having to re do some bits I've already done.

That said, I may tackle it all in one go as that solves a few problems with door trims mis matching and not fitting and stuff.

Dave, I like the idea of doing a wiring map first. I've done a few smaller re wire jobs in the past (round lights being one of them) and I'm quite good with actual soldering and heat shrink, etc.. I have my old wiring diagrams off the original instruments I have, and I have the CD parts manual for the later cars.. I suspect it's going to be a mammoth task though still.

I suspec the hardest things to re wire are going to be the switches for the lights and stuff.

Although, with the later interior harness, it may be easier.. I then (in theory) just need to find the splice points into the main loom. As I'm not using a standard Lotus ECU I don't have as much wiring to worry about.

I'd love to know how that guy with the US spec one did it.. Although he is probably one of those lucky people that could just afford to put it in a body shop, give them a few thousand $ and come back a year later with it done.

It will be done though! One way or another..

It's a shame in a way that I do live on the Isle of Man as we're a bit isolated here when it comes to other Lotus owners. Stuart Peters lives here, but I'm not sure whether he's a wiring expert :(

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Hi Glyn,

Buy a set of coloured markers and make your own colour coding diagram from the two Lotus diagrams to make it easier or stick them toghter and draw colour lines from one to other. This will make it easier.

If it were me, I would forget about the heater as it's summer and get the electris sorted. Then take your car off the road in winter and address the heater controls.

Job 1. Fitting the doors, dash and bsic electrics (Now).

Job 2. Heater plumbing and controls, other electrics (winter).

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Re the sterring column, I'm sure the column changed, being approximately the same all the way though to the early 90s then, it changed dramatically.

The universal joints etc all changed, so you may find to swap to a V8 column you's have to swap the UJs as well, and they may differ due to the power rack.


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I'm probably not going to start the whole job until the end of summer now to be honest, as I just can't bear to put my car off the road for anytime when the weather is so nice! That said, I may fit the door in a couple of months time though, as these shouldn't be too bad. I think I have to carve a bit out of my old dash to get them fit, but that's coming out anyway.

Wiring the new electric window switches shouldn't be too bad.

Bad news about the steering column. I may try and get just the top bit and do a bit of a 'cut and shut' with it, with my old one. Or, just adapt my old one to take the new trim and controls. (can't be too difficult!) Luckily, I've got a pal who's an engineer..

I really do think the wiring is going to be the pain. But I'll follow your advice Dave, and pre draw as much of my own wiring splice as I can. That will take most of the work I reckon.

I'm really hoping that when I see the loom for the interior, I will only need to join a few wires into the front, and a few wires into the rear.

Perhaps not though!!! :P I'll let you all know how it goes though.. although it will take some time!

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  • 5 weeks later...
  • 10 years later...

Just realised, I never replied to this. Time flies!!!

I did manage to get everything in. Took a couple of months spending the odd evening here and there.

The wiring was pretty easy. I just chopped my loom in the area just behind the drivers seat in the sill, and re joined that to the later full front loom. Was only 10 or so wires to trace and join! The wiring diagrams helped.

When you remove the original dash, there is a cutout in the fibre glass for the bigger original cluster. I just patched this with fibreglass, filled it, then painted it with some textured paint.

Steering column ended up being a cut and shut with the original, which worked a treat. It’s since been cut and shut again to fit a Vauxhall Cross B power steering motor which transforms the car! Especially with my wife Sport 350 wheels.

Swapped the scuttle bean which was a straight swap.

Fitted a brand new Cobra immobiliser as this matched the front loom I fitted.

Heater controls weren’t as bad as I thought. Just fit the electronic control unit, and it’s servo operated rods connect onto the original air distribution box.

Centre tunnel trim wasn’t a problem. After removing the soundproofing it all fitted.

I swapped the doors at the same time, as these were needed to have the correct door cards to match and meet the newer dash.

Massive difference between the old style window motors and the new ones. My windows actually work now!

I remember hearing at the time that the later doors don’t fit the ‘88 shell. Well they do. No issues whatsoever.

If anyone else were to attempt this, I’d say it’s perfectly possible as long as you get everything from a donor car. That is

Scuttle beam, dash, instruments and cluster (100mm speedo and tacho instead of 80mm), centre trim and switch panel (and switches), A pillar trims, Doors and door cards (old doors will fit with the new dash but the door cards won’t blend together), front wiring loom, steering Column, cowling, ignition components, heater controls and control unit.

You’ll need to do a bit of meddling with the wiring, like fitting a relay for the ignition circuitry, but nothing major.

I’ll post some pictures when I get a sec. 

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