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about to purchase a 99 lotus? Questions


boostinfd

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I'm about to purchase a 99 Lotus esprit with 52k miles on it... The car looks like it's in good condition however i haven't yet seen it up close as i'm 1100 miles away.

Couple of questions... is the price ok of 28k for it with that mileage?

The owner said that since he didn't drive it often, if he lets it sit the battery dies... that's kind of strange unless it's sitting for months??

And another thing that is weird.. he said every 2-3 months he has to take it to a authorized dealer to tighten some bolts on the turbochargers as he feels like it looses torque? What's up with that? Why would the bolts on the turbo get loose... makes no sense?

OTher then checking and making sure everything works... any other tips guys? Also will it be ok for me to drive it back home that far?

Thanks a lot.

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Funny, there's another post about someone looking at a 99 with ~50k miles on it - same car? Anyway, I'm not certain how it got 52K miles if he doesn't drive it often, but his battery story is plausible. Investing $5 in a cheap battery tender will solve this issue, but figure on replacing the battery as it's probably shot after being charged/drained numerous times.

I've not heard of anyone having to tighten up bolts on the turbos every few months, at least I've never had to do this to mine in the 3 years I've owned it - sounds very odd. The price is a little high with that mileage (depending on condition) and the current economy, and even if you get it cheaper these cars do have the potential to eat you alive in maintenance and repairs so be prepared, the cheapest cars don't always make the best deals!

Bottom line - whatever you do get the car inspected by an Esprit specialist. Other things to check; when were the cam belts were changed last, is the 1-2 shift smooth, when was the clutch changed, does it have a full service history etc etc

Good luck!

Edited by fmxa
Paddle Faster, I hear Banjos!
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I'll check the normal stuff when i see it... So you're saying i should try to get it cheaper then 28k? The guy was asking 35 for it at the begining...

The turbo bolts do worry me and as much as i know about turbocharged engines and cars in general... that was never the case nor have i ever heard that this needs to be done.

There is also a 99 yellow one with 20k miles for 30k. I mean the mileage difference is huge... but is it worth extra 2k? I kind of like the silver one better then yellow... I feel I will be attracting cops in every town. :wine:

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If you need worry about $2K then these are not the cars for you (no disrespect intended) . Get them professionally inspected and buy the best one; personally in the current climate I wouldn't pay more than $25K for a 99 with high miles. Keep in mind, just because you get the car cheap it will still cost you $$ to maintain - these are not cheap cars to run!

Edited by fmxa
Paddle Faster, I hear Banjos!
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You guys consider 50k high miles?

The thing is 2k is not that big a difference... it's just that I prefer silver over yellow... 20k miles or 50k shouldn't really be high miles... but maybe it is with these types of cars...

Also, what is the whole thing i hear about rebuilding engines when they are 50k etc? Is that normal? I've owned Porche 911 turbo, m3 and Rx7 in my past... Never had any issues with engine or turbos... and these cars were/are modded.

Thanks

one more question... where do you guys buy parts for these cars in the states? Like Brakes, hoses, alternator etc... or any other maintenance things?

I've checked autozone, advance auto parts etc... they got nothing for them.

Thanks

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Well, it is only an opinion, but I don't think $28K is too much to pay for a post '98 V8, even with 50K miles, assuming the car is in good condition and properly maintained. I don't understand why we talk down the value of these cars so much. Frankly I don't think we should ever pay less than $30K U.S. for a V8 that is properly maintained and in good working order; more correctly, I guess, I would be happy if no owner or dealer ever allowed a V8 to be sold for less than $30K. And yes, I know this is totally unrealistic.

I will add that I recently looked at a 2003 V8 with 14K miles on it that was in worse condition than my 20K mile 2000 V8 was when I bought it. Mileage is a poor indicator of condition. Having said that, I would not use pictures as an indicator of condition: the car must be seen in person and thoroughly inspected.

Auto parts from JAE in California.

Edited by 73JPS

"At home, I have a King Sized bed. Now, I don't know any Kings, but I would imagine if one were to come over, he would be comfortable." -Mitch Hedberg

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Also, what is the whole thing i hear about rebuilding engines when they are 50k etc? Is that normal? I've owned Porche 911 turbo, m3 and Rx7 in my past... Never had any issues with engine or turbos... and these cars were/are modded.

If you are looking for Porche / Mazda levels of reliability then Lotus is not the way forward.

Twitter @radioRedwards

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Ermm, check the Porsche and Mazda forums for tales of woe. They too have their own foibles, (rms, inter shaft failure, oil coolers etc - there's 35 page thread on PH with almost 700 contributions detailing Porker 996 issues) it's just that they're not as publicly ridiculed for them.

A well maintained V8 Esprit will do many years of service covering many thousands of miles.

Yes, it will be expensive to maintain - most 175 mph cars are, but there's a mine of information available on here plus details of sources for parts which will all help keep costs to a respectable level.

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As with most any vehicle, maintenance is the biggest concern I would have with ANY car, be it a Honda or certainly in this case a Lotus. There are plenty of deals to be found and although milage is something that is frequently in the back of any Lotus owners head, I tend to feel that moderate to high milage (20-50K for a late 90's model) is a good indicator that the vehicle has been reliable enough to drive and enjoy, and that the past owner(s) did not neglect the car with worries that every time they drove it, it would break. I would be very worried to consider a vehicle of that age that had less than 10K on the clock as it indicates that the car was not driven and likely is lacking regular annual servicing which will frequently show up as being a "money pit" when it finally does get frequently driven.

I would also stress along with other posters that an inspection be performed. Also request any service records or parts receipts (if the owner was competent enough to do their own work) that the owner has to get an idea as to how well it's been maintained. If the vehicle has been serviced at a Lotus dealership, I'd suggest giving that dealership a call. They may not be able to give much information due to privacy laws, but it's possible that if you identify yourself as being interested in the car, they may give you some information on work that has been performed, suggested to be performed, etc. This may be especially true since they are not going to lose a deal by telling you what information they can.

Good luck in your search, and keep in mind that this forum is a wealth of information and we're always willing to share our experiences in taking that first plunge, and in some cases suggestion on what NOT to do. hehe

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Thanks for all replies... I don't want you guys to think i'm dissing the lotus or something... I love this car and i can't wait to get one... Nor was i really comparing it to porsche, mazda etc... I'm just curious, why is 50k considered high mileage and why were there already engine rebuilds in plans (not this car but i read on the forum). I always considered anything under 70k low mileage... But every car is different... What is the major failure point in these v8's? Also... i tried searching and i can't find what is the stock boost on the 99 since there is no boost gauge, i won't be able to know that.

I got an email from the guy and he said the Big service was performed 2 years ago, but he doesn't know if that included cam belts etc... Clutch is original, no problems with tranny etc... I mean it doesn't look like he knows much about the car or something is kind of fishy... How can you not know if you did the timiing belt change etc.

Also on the whole turbo bolt thing... this is his reply: The bolt needs to be moved to a tigheter position every few months to get the best performance.

I don't understand why would it get loose in the first place, but hey... what do I know.

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Well, here is a current thread regarding mileage:

http://www.lotusespritforum.com/forums/ind...showtopic=25994

"At home, I have a King Sized bed. Now, I don't know any Kings, but I would imagine if one were to come over, he would be comfortable." -Mitch Hedberg

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If the clutch really does have ~50K miles on it, budget ~$4K for a new one in the near future, and if no one knows of the belt history add another $2K for new belts .... What I'm trying to illustrate is the cheap cars are not always the best deals. As someone else said it's a $100K car and comes with associated $100K car maintenance costs.

The best source for the really good cars are the local Lotus clubs/owners groups - let us know where you're located and we'll try and put you in touch with some groups.

Paddle Faster, I hear Banjos!
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I would agree: the person you are communicating with doesn't even know if the timing belts were done on a major service, just to cite one example. Probably better to look at cars (pricier if neccessary) with sharper owners.

"At home, I have a King Sized bed. Now, I don't know any Kings, but I would imagine if one were to come over, he would be comfortable." -Mitch Hedberg

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just one last question... Is it possible to work on these cars by yourself like every other car? I hate taking it to the dealers as all my cars i preformed all the maintenance and work by myself. Oil changes, valve adjustment etc...

Where would i get parts for it in the states?

Thanks guys.

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Hi Robert,

Many people on here work on the car themselves. They are not complicated: its just a bit of a bugger to get at lots of things.

Many sources for parts, but you can start with JAE in California.

JAE Parts link

"At home, I have a King Sized bed. Now, I don't know any Kings, but I would imagine if one were to come over, he would be comfortable." -Mitch Hedberg

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