free hit
counters
4 Pot life expectations? - Esprit Chat - The Lotus Forums #ForTheOwners Jump to content


4 Pot life expectations?


plakey

Recommended Posts

Hi Guys,

I'm currently going through the "I'm getting older and about time I realised the dream" stage of my life..... i.e own an Esprit.

I have come to the conclusion that I would like to get my hands on a low mileage S4s or maybe 2002 V8 although funds would be very stretched to realise either of those right now. I have considered Graham Pilkingtons GT3 and am still thinking about it.

I have a "how long is a piece of string" question, I do know and understand engines (I am on paper at least a fully qualified mechanic, but I've not used that particular skill set for 25 years!) but I know nothing about Lotus engines.

My question really is about what life can be expected from a 4 pot turbo Lotus engine and box without a major overhaul being required?..... Grahams GT3 has done 70k+ and can't help think that a highly tuned turbo 2litre would be coming up for a rebuild soon. Is this a fair assumption for me to make?.....I understand the whole how well it's been serviced argument etc. but there must be a general feeling amongst Lotus people about what would be reasonable to expect.

I'm not naive about the potential running costs of expensive cars, had M3's for years and currently running a BMW 335d and Range Rover 4.2 SC which have all been main dealer maintained but I'm trying to understand what to expect from an Esprit and what to avoid.

Thanks

Paul

Link to comment
Share on other sites


Upgrade today to remove Google ads and support TLF.
  • Replies 25
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

Top Posters In This Topic

Posted Images

On the V8 vs 4 pot I think its a 50:50 thing. The 4 pots are highly stressed but by the time of the S4s they were a well proven reliable design. The V8s do not have the same benefit of years of evolution / experience but are less highly stressed. There are also 2 x as many bits to go wrong on the V8.

IMHO given these cars are now all more than a few years old I would focus more on condition than no of miles. Given the choice of an S4s with 80K that has been well maintained and regularly used or one that has been sitting in a garage for a few years (seals drying out etc) and not getting sericed but only have 40K, I would go for the high mileage one.

Even as a mechanic I would still arrange to get any possible car inspected by a marque specialist or at least bring along a long term Esprit owner with you. Buy the right one and you will not regret it be it 4 pot, 8 pot, high or low mileage.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

These engines are much more durable than you think. These are not cheap motors and are very capable of going to higher mileages than 70K reliably without a full rebuild. What I would be concerned about is if the car has had timing belt changes and other regular maintenance jobs done.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My engine had good health at 74k miles, but the compression was on the low side.

I took it apart to do a rebuild, and found that the bearings and journals were good, but the lead had just worn off, and the bearings were getting close to the copper layer before the steel.

I think I've heard of a few others needing some refreshing around 74k.

If you can do it yourself, a rebuild isn't really very expensive. Finding somebody else who is capable of working on them has been very difficult here in the States. Should be easier over there, I would hope.

Travis

Vulcan Grey 89SE

My Lotus Photo and Projects Album

Link to comment
Share on other sites

These engines are much more durable than you think. These are not cheap motors and are very capable of going to higher mileages than 70K reliably without a full rebuild. What I would be concerned about is if the car has had timing belt changes and other regular maintenance jobs done.

Agreed, 100%. They are made with premium components and with careful maintainence & regular use they can go 100K easy. My '87 Hci has 55K on it and uses no oil, makes great power, and runs like a top. Absolutely NO reason why I cant expect 100K or close to it. Frequent oil changes and proper warm up/cool down procedures are the major items. I do a drain and fill(oil only) every 1500 miles and then do the oil and filter every 3000 miles. Shes always got clean oil! :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for all the input guys:

1. What are cambelt change recommendations on these units?, I'm thinking about the GT3 2 litre at the moment.

2. Any thoughts on the gearbox?..... do they have a tendency to wear out or simply break when you over do it? :-)

BTW Alan is that a yellow S4s in your profile?..... very very nice!!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Paul, welcome to the wonderful world of the Esprit. First off, try www.lotusespritworld.com, there is lots of documented information there that you are seeking. As for Cambelt change intervals, it's also posted there, but relatively minor work for a mechanic such as yourself. I've done mine 3 times without any problems. Second, the gearboxes are good reliable units, however, I don't recall reading about many wearing out, just breaking due to over stressing. I've flogged my car pretty hard at times without issue, and it is far from stock.

89 White Esprit SE

...a few little upgrades....

93 RX7.....Silverstone

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

New Addition:

1990 300ZX TT......Hmmm

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I agree with most of what has been said although I prefer and would recommend a good late model 4 cyl. over a V8 for a first time buyer such as yourself who has the ability to do his own work. The 4 is much easier to work on and maintain and parts are cheaper.

Agree that these engines are very durable and can run over 100K miles before having to rebuild but in my experience, after about 50K miles they start to get a little tired. An untouched engine at 80K miles will not be as strong as a properly rebuilt one at 50K although most will never know the difference.

I also don't subscribe to the theory that low mileage cars should be avoided, particularly for the DIY owner. Most low mileage cars are owned by collectors who in general maintain their vehicles better than the average person. You may have some parts that need to be replaced due to lack of use but will also have others that won't have to be replaced due to wear. A well maintained low mileage car will always be worth more than a comparable high mileage car, at least here in the states.

Good luck in your search. thumbup.gif

Edited by lotus4s

1995 S4s

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The 1993 SE I bought this past June had 29k on the clock. It needed: All suspension bushings, 4 shocks and springs, C service, Alternator belt shot, clogged radiators and head light drain holes, A/C leak, thermostat stuck open, clutch had minor issues and other assorted non-functional things like back up lights not working, so low mileage is not a criteria to rely on IMHO. The engine however had great compression and no oil out of the tail pipe! Get an Esprit evaluated by some one in the know before purchasing...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

BTW Alan is that a yellow S4s in your profile?..... very very nice!!

Yes - "right car, right colour" someone at Lotus once said to me.. Touch wood and all that its been amazingly reliable over the years. Mechanically its been well looked after, but could do with a re-spray soon due to stone chips, fading on door handles etc.

I must be honest though and say that since getting the Tesla the Esprit has not done many miles. They are very different cars to drive, the Tesla beats the Esprit upto about 60mph and the Esprit does better after that. Perhaps the Esprit is more of a drivers car, more skill needed but the performance of the Tesla is 100%, 100% of the time which gives it the edge.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

MikieP has summed up well. The works he listed are typical of what is needed on an Esprit as it gets older and not what happens with mileage. As said, after 50k miles the 4 pots start to get a little tired but can easily go on to 100k if regularly serviced. None of the works listed is particularly expensive in parts so if you can DIY and are keen then no problem. If on the other hand you have to take it to a specialist then get in a couple of tubs of Vaseline.

Trevor.

I'll get around to it at some point.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Mine has around 98K on it, and touch wood is ok, engine sounds and feels good.

Since buying on the engine side I have adjusted the timing as it was out, replaced dizzy cap, HT leads, spark plugs, replaced an o ring and spring on the mixutre screw to balance the carbs, OIl and Filter change.

It's just a car, people make far to much fuss out of it being a Lotus as if that makes it made out of paper, the block is an old Vauxhall lump, it's been around since the first coming of Christ, most of the issues have been ironed out. Treat it sensible let it warm up don't slam it through 1st and 2nd, let the turbo cool down (although mine is 23 years old so god only knows how its been treated in the past)

When I bought this one I had been tyre kicking for ages, and just looked at this one, ignored everything you should do and took it for a mile drive and bought it, it just felt genuine.

I am not a mechanic, but dont mind learning things and mucking about on the car, and I have learnt a lot about cars.

Other bits on the car I have sorted are cosmetic: Recoated the leather, had can't rails and header trimmed in leather, Regassed the A/C, Fitted newer GT3 wheels, new front hubs, Hispsec front calipers, had rear calipers rebuilt. replaced seals on Slave and master clutch cylinders, fitted braided clutch hose. fitted S300 Blip, Fitted New fog lamps

Due for a Cam belt change and a service. Other than that I just put fuel in and start the thing up.

Amateurs built the Ark

Professionals built the Titanic

"I haven't ridden in cars pulled by cows before" "Bullocks, Mr.Belcher" "No, I haven't, honestly"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm amazed at all the feedback here, does give me a lot of confidence with such an enthusiastic community around.

I understand Chris's point too..... it is only a car and as we all know if it can be built in the first place then it can be fixed.... although the story I found on the net of someone spending £8k+ on a 4 pot rebuild did make me twitch just a little huh.png

Although I trained as a mechanic for 4 years and worked as one for a further 4 years I moved into the marine industry 24+ years ago and haven't really touched cars much since, doesn't scare me though I still use spanners (or is that a wrench to the US members here? :-) and test meters regularly. And as far as I can tell the Esprit is not riddled with unfathomable specialist electronics?

Just remains to be seen if I can find a suitable car for my budget in the coming months.

Big thank you to you all for responding to this.

P.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

No worries Paul, those of us Americans who've been here for a while have learned the "real english" spoken here! Spanners etc are understood! Good luck on the search, hopefully we'll see a picture posted up soon of the new acquisition!

Artie

89 White Esprit SE

...a few little upgrades....

93 RX7.....Silverstone

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

New Addition:

1990 300ZX TT......Hmmm

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well for what its worth...my quick synopsis.i bought my first esprit last September in need of work. Broke all the rules, id never seen or driven the car.bought over the phone..but id looked at a few already and people wanted top money for dogs.this was priced a lot less, and id already made a list of what I wanted to do to whichever car I ended up buying so I took the plunge...basically ive completely rebuilt mine over an intensive9 months.i do believe that the less you use them the more you spend...and importantly I dont believe a full history...and mine had an absolutely watertight lotus only dealer maintenance record....is a guarantee of a perfect car.i found a few bodges on mine that made me wonder...

Keep an eye on the important things that will more take time and effort than money.if the fuel tanks are leaking or corroded, viewable from underneath with the undertray removed, its an engine out to get tyem out.and while your at it you may as well fully service the engine to the max as its easier out.and check the chassis for corrosion near the exhaust manifold..do any repairs to the rear body mounts...

Now thats just an example of how one job leads to many others that are logical to do at the same time as your already doing most of the work in taking things apart...

If you want to change bushes, then do bearings as well..theyre not expensive and youll know theyre good for many years to come..even if theyre not needed yet..

Bottom line, expect to spend money even on the lowest mileage, best recorded car.unless the engine is lame as mentioned before, a high, low mileage car will cost the same to maintain really.but once the bugger jobs are done and done right, they wont bother you for another ten years....

At the end of the day its a car...its just a pity its difficult to get a spanner in certain places..hence the high labour charges from dealers etc

Darren

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Am I not mistaken in saying that for the S4s, or possibly S4, improvements were made to the engine block to make it stiffer? If any 9XX series engine is going to go well over 100k miles without a major overhaul, I would expect it to be something of that vintage or newer (i.e. late 2-ltr turbo GT3).

Quick seat-of-the-pants check for worn bearings on 9XX 4-cyl engines: When the car is sitting and has not been started for the past couple of days at least, start the engine and listen for bottom end noise just in the first few seconds of the engine running; watch the oil pressure gauge as you do so -- if you hear a dull knocking that goes away after the first few seconds when the oil pressure jumps up on the gauge, that could very likely be worn main bearings.

Another thing to look at is oil pressure during normal running; when the engine and oil are fully heated up (i.e. after 1/2 hour drive), a tighter engine will have 1 bar or greater oil pressure. If the pressure is dipping into the low double digits in psi in normal operating temperatures, it will probably be falling below the minimum during a hard run that heats the oil more.

P.S. Being barely a hammer man, I have no idea what the hell most of the above means since Tony K actually posted it from my Mac and didn't realize I was already logged in.

1983 "Investor's Special Edition" Turbo Esprit (#43/50) | 2012 Evora S

Link to comment
Share on other sites

laugh.png I did wonder!!

88 Esprit NA, 89 Esprit Turbo SE, Evora, Evora S, Evora IPS, Evora S IPS, Evora S IPS SR, Evora 400, Elise S1, Elise S1 111s, Evora GT410 Sport

Evora NA

For forum issues, please contact the Moderators. I will aim to respond to emails/PM's Mon-Fri 9-6 GMT. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

...and here I thought I could get him some mechanical tools for Christmas as opposed to a single malt whiskey...

With original topic in mind I had almost 80,000 miles on mine before the dealership fiasco. Prior to that I had strong compression on all four cylinders and unlike many on here I read about, my oil pressure was always good. During the engine rebuild I replaced the main bearings not because they needed to be rather to do it while it was stripped down.

I also believe it is how you care for it. I have a work vehicle that has 300,000+ miles in 7 years that still runs fine.

I am to understand ( correct me if I am wrong ) that the coolant jackets were improved on the S4 and S4s engines.

Edited by cjtpb13
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Rick,

Live in sunny Wembury just outside of Plymouth...... seems a long time since I last laid eyes on an Esprit in these parts too!!.... although I believe a few make it to Lifton occasionally?

It's quite a tough decision for me at the moment on exactly what to get, the balance between newer/older, what I can afford with or without a trade in etc., especially with the way things are at the moment with the economy. However I'm almost certain that I'm looking for something post 93' as I do like a certain amount of reliabilty and fuel injection is a big plus to my mind.

I would find it very hard to resist an S4s at the right price/mileage/colour/correct wheels and I'm a little miffed I missed the Mica Yellow one that Dulford sold recently too, although that would have been over the budget that I told the wife I would ever spend!! whistle.gif

I do know of a "barn find" Red S3 Turbo locally (I think an 1985 model, been sat there at least 6 years unused) but attempts to contact the London based owner have failed so far, that would give me a totally different sort of project to consider!

Any idea on what to offer for something like this?.... pretty certain it would not have been properley serviced for at least 12 years, nothing else known about it but I suspect very low mileage.post-13582-0-97738200-1323529115.jpg

Edited by plakey
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.




×
×
  • Create New...