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B.Kling

Possibly buying an Esprit

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Hello all. I'm new here, just registered and started looking around a couple days ago and have been taking in the knowledge before going to look at this Esprit which I saw today.

About the car (as it was listed), it is a 1990 Esprit SE. It's got 43,000 miles on it. Owner listed it as average condition. Asking price was $15,900.

So today I went to take a look at it. First thing I noticed is that the mileage was off. It had 53,000 miles. Second thing I noticed immediately after he popped the hatch and pulled the engine cover off was that there was an obvious coolant leak somewhere as there was steam rising from the around the resevoirs. Also, as the owner told me during phone conversations, there were a few cosmetic flaws. The drivers side front bumper had a crack that had been previously repaired. The passenger side rear fender had a crack in it. The rear bumper had been hit and the owner repaired/painted it himself and it looks horrible. Other than that the body looks to be in pretty decent condition for a '90. Wheels and tires looked great. Suspension was good, said he had replaced with adjustable aftermarket of some brand, don't remember. Said he had a "100,000 mile" timing belt rather than the 30,000 mile one... don't know about that. Also said the motor was overhauled around 25,000-30,000 miles. Interior looked pretty good, the dashboard wood was peeling off. We went for a ride in it, he drove it first then I drove it. It rode smooth and quiet, responded well. Motor seems to be really strong. One thing I'm concerned with is that the owner doesn't give the car time to cool down after use, he immediately turns it off rather than letting it idle for a few minutes. I'm worried he may have worn the turbo needlessly. That's about all I can think off of the top of my head. Think his asking price is too high, right on, or too much?

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Wow 100,000 timing belt. Can't say I've ever heard about that belt. Maybe someone else here can comment. Has the car ever had a C' service?

Regards,

Peter.

Edited by Kimbers
Tidy post

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Welcome to the forum mate.

100,000 timing belt (I'd say he's pulling your plonker).

Bigger worry should be giving it some stick whilst cold as the Turbo is oil cooled.

Coolant leak could be anything.

Add in the mileage difference etc, just be careful. Sounds ok at that price though. An SE over here in average condition would make a couple of thou more ($15k is more like N/A money).


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Brandon, Where do you live? Maybe somebody could have a look for you. Finding an Esprit with minor cosmetic issues could be a great way to find a good bargain. On the other hand, finding one with some "minor" issues that turn out to be "major" is quite common. Do you have any pictures of the damages?

With the info you've given us so far, I'd stay away from this particular car.

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Wow 100,000 timing belt. Can't say I've ever heard about that belt. Maybe someone else here can comment. Has the car ever had a C' service?

Regards,

Peter.

Don't know what you mean by a C service.

Welcome to the forum mate.

100,000 timing belt (I'd say he's pulling your plonker).

Bigger worry should be giving it some stick whilst cold as the Turbo is oil cooled.

Coolant leak could be anything.

Add in the mileage difference etc, just be careful. Sounds ok at that price though. An SE over here in average condition would make a couple of thou more ($15k is more like N/A money).

Thanks for the welcome. As far as the belt, I've heard its recomended to change 25-30,000 miles.

He said he lets it warm up before running it but he doesn't let it cool down.

Brandon, Where do you live? Maybe somebody could have a look for you. Finding an Esprit with minor cosmetic issues could be a great way to find a good bargain. On the other hand, finding one with some "minor" issues that turn out to be "major" is quite common. Do you have any pictures of the damages?

With the info you've given us so far, I'd stay away from this particular car.

South East PA. I just don't want it to disappear, I'm the only one inquiring about it. :thumbup: What makes you say I should stay away? Edited by B.Kling

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I change my belt every two years/24k miles regardless of mileage.

I've changed a two year old belt with less than 6000 miles on it.

Sounds flash, but it ain't, i've had one engine rebuild and it cost

a lot more that a rubber belt, so it's 2 years/24,000 miles for me

everytime.

:thumbup:

A good SE in the UK is not worth much over

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Yes Paul but he's talking around


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I'd be concerned since it sounds like this owner is very Lotus saavy/knowedgeable or maybe even knowledgeable about the mechanicals. It could be this guy picked up a cheap supercar and doesn't treat it properly. Esprits are great cars, but IMHO require a knowledge owner who is willing to look after it. The Lotus community is fantastic, both locally and internationally. A few guys in the US walked me through a purchase and I'm deeply greatful in their helping find the perfect car.

I wouldn't worry about fiberglass damage since a good body shop can fix that. You didn't say what color the car is, but some colors are more easily matched that others (the worst being pearlescent white like my Esprit). The water leak should be an easy repair, only the water pump is a bear to replace in-situ. I'd replace the timing belt if you do buy it, it's not a bad job or particularly expensive....esp. if you dont know when the timing belt was last replaced.

If your anywhere near Boston, you more than welcome to drop by and take a look and drive a properly sorted Esprit as a comparison or if you have any questions I alway found a phone call to be helpful. You've already found the best support group for Esprits on the internet, though there is a US Yahoo group that might be helpful also.

-Chandra

91SE

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Ask the guys from Lotus club in your area if they know the car or can take a look at for you. The ywill know right away if it is worth the money. I think they are based in NJ and they hang out on the turbo list.

Calvin

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What ever you buy get it checked buy a knowledgeable Lotus mechanic!


Paddle Faster, I hear Banjos!

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Warming up is more important than cooling down, unless it's been driven really hard (like mine is.....everytime we go and dance together).

Have to disagree Tony. The cooling down is no less important. If your turbo is still spinning at 100k plus revs and you turn off, your oil supply to the turbo bearing is non exisitent. Mucho wearo. Its a fools game if you dont let it idle for at least a minute.

:thumbup:


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hi,do yourself a favour and walk away get one with good history,lots of bills including belt change.pay a lotus expert too inspect the car?that way you can keep on smiling,remember what you pay is what you get good luck cheers lostu.

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Brandon,

Although the price is pretty fair for what's running in the states, be prepared for spending a couple more thousand to really make it top shelf. Be sure to have it checked out by a trained professional.

I know the cars are pretty and this one might sing to you. Do what you can to see/ride/drive a couple more. I know it's challenging here in the states to find them, but it can give you a good idea of how this one rates.

Have a great time in you search. I'm right there with you.

Timothy

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It doesn't sound like a well cared for car to me. He obviously hasn't replaced the cambelt and there's no mention of full service history. The fact that he doesn't let the car warm up / cool down and is talking about 100k cambelt changes indicates he doesn't know much about the car. And who sells a car with coolant leaking! I'd wait for a better car to come along.

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Dashboard cracks are typical, a lot of cracks usually indicates that the car has been outside a lot and exposed to excessive heat. A leak at the reservoir is an easy fix if it is a hose...if it is the reservoir itself (which are prone to rusting out with poor coolant change frequency) that is a $250 fix for new ones. Fiberglass can be fixed, but depending upon the severity of the cracks, you might be better off with a complete repaint to hide the cracks. Parts for SE's are getting harder to find for replacement bumpers, and they can be VERY expensive to ship from England. The shocks are likely Spax, which are ok. Cool down isn't as bad as no warm up, as the SE has dual oil coolers up front...so unless it is shut down after a hard flog, letting it sit at idle may even elevate oil temps. You'd be able to see what I am talking about as the SE has an oil temp gauge.

As far as the cam belt, the short change interval is related to the inferior belt quality that was available at the time. There has been some advancement in the quality of belts since then. Lotus recommended that interval based upon the technology at the time. The thing is, if a belt breaks you could be looking at $1000's for replacement pistons, liners, valves, etc. So the philosophy is better safe than sorry on here. But if the better quality belt is on there it can provide a longer service life. That the belt is exposed compared to other cars also exposes it to the elements like heat and cold, so make your own decision on that.

Things that would be very important to know....

1. Are there any cracks in the exhaust manifold? You're looking at a $1500 part plus labor if you're not into doing it yourself. Welding it is typically a band aid fix only, especially if it is not welded by a cast iron specialist.

2. Transmission seals leaking where the half shafts meet the transmission? $75 parts plus a day labor. Has the transmission oil ever been changed?

3. Transmission shift ok, with no grinding? Transmissions are $3000 min unless you're lucky.

4. Power windows move smooth? $250 to fix unless you find a used one.

5. A/C work ok? Finding a leak in an Esprit is difficult, as the lines run the length of the car. R12 is not cheap, and retrofit is difficult as there are many o-rings to replace. FYI, heat is only on defost...check that heater functions as heater core is a nightmare to replace.

6. An Esprit is a lot cheaper to own if you are handy with your hands and comfortable working on cars yourself. Paying to have an Esprit maintained is expensive. Not maintaining the car ends up being even more expensive.

If you are seriously considering this car take some pics and show us here.

Edited by Kimbers
tidy, tidy

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I didn't notice any obvious cracks in the exhaust manifold from my quick inspection.

Transmission didn't leak that I saw either. As far as repairs go I have my father, who is a certified mechanic (though he usually deals with GM) who is always willing to lend a hand and experience.

Transmission was smooth, I was actually impressed how nice it felt.

Both windows work fine. Owner said that the drivers side doesn't move sometimes due to the bad grounds the cars are known to have. If that is indeed the case, an easy fix for an electronic engineer like myself. :thumbup:

Owner says the A/C did workbut he never put the compressor back in after having the motor overhauled. He has all the parts for it, it would just need to be installed and recharged. Heat, on the other hand, did work.

I'm fairly handy, and like I said, my father is a mechanic.

Mechanically, the car looks to be in very good shape. It's going to need a little bit of maintenance since the owner didn't drive it often but that is fine with me. Gives the car a bit of personality. That, and I can't afford one that is perfectly mint. :sick:

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