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Newbie - what do you know/make of this S4?


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I'm a newbie here - I was recommended to come here by some members of another Lotus forum that I frequent. You guys are reputed to be the Esprit experts. I've been browsing, and I hope I'll fit in OK, apart from the Esprit expert bit!

I used to be the proud owner of an S2 Elise and am desperate to get back to Lotus ownership. So I'm seriously considering this:

http://www.hiltonandmoss.com/cardesc/lotus-esprit-s4-75

I've been reading extensively on the web, and I've spoken at length to a friend with one, but I'm open to help with Esprits in general. In particular however, do you know anything about this car? Or given the description, is there anything weird that springs to your mind, good or bad?

Finally, from Cambridge with a car in Stansted, can anyone recommend an independent whom I might get to look it over before I sign my life away?

Thanks in advance for any help.

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The car has been for sale for quite a while but looks great. Personal of course while the silk red colour is great but I'm not so taken with the grey interior.

As for inspections 'the man' is Gerald Turner who is "GST Performance" fortunately for you he happens to be based in Newmarket.

Oh and forgot to say, welcome on here.

Edited by Bazza 907
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Welcome to TLF Tim. :welcome:

Nice looking car, but always difficult to tell from photos.

May have had front end damage or simply a repaint. Indicator/park light assemblies are reversed. Indicator should be inboard.

Anyway, any questions or issues with forum use, feel free to ask one of us mods. We're here to help. :)

All we know is that when they stop making this, we will be properly, properly sad.Jeremy Clarkson on the Esprit.

Opinions are like armpits. Everyone has them, some just stink more than others.

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May have had front end damage or simply a repaint. Indicator/park light assemblies are reversed. Indicator should be inboard.

Michael, you have the eyes of a hawk !

I have CDO, it's like OCD but all the letters are in alphabetical order, AS THEY SHOULD BE !

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That's a very early S4 and is keenly priced from the seller, however it's relatively low mileage and you're looking for a main dealer car, Castle have a very good reputation plus you'll get a warranty with it so it's not all bad but you can find cheaper, newer cars no doubt but with perhaps more miles and a private sale. Horses for courses.

Gerald at GST being local will make Esprit ownership a much more pleasant experience but a good idea for him to give it a once over first. :)

Welcome to TLF :thumbsup:

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. 

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BUY IT!

I've been hoping someone on here would snap that one up. Years ago when owning an Esprit seemed an impossible dream I used to go and make nose-prints on the glass of a local dealer who had a silk red S4 in their window for over a year.

IMHO it's the best colour for an S4, which is a very fine bit of kit. The grey interior is a bit 90s though, but at least it escaped the polished wood of later and earlier models. Have a look at some of the old road test reports on Lotus Esprit World to see how much Lotus improved the S4 over previous versions thanks to massive injections of GM cash.

PS the indicators/side marker lights look like USA bumpers.....maybe it was an export spec that got diverted to the RHD market at the last minute?

In the garage no-one can hear you scream 

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Thanks, everyone. I'll be checking on the front bumper story - seeing it again tomorrow. I'm interested in this S4 partly because of the quality improvements that GM brought. I saw this first hand when I toured Hethel some years ago.

So do these facts from when I first saw it change your views? SHould they change mine? I present them without comment:

• They said it had been in storage, so it needed a jump start when I arrived.

• Fuel gauge occasionally read correctly, but would intermittently (perhaps 25% of the time) flicker wildly from full to empty several times a second, with the light coming on too. I'm aware of the RHS fuel sensor issue, but this seems different.

• Mirror control switch perhaps duff - both mirrors respond to the left button, but to nothing else.

• Door locks strange. Took some messing about to get it to lock or unlock, though it could have been finger trouble operating the key.

• Brakes incredibly heavy. I was very familiar with the non-servo brakes of the S2 Elise, but this was much heavier still. Dealer said it was due to lack of recent use, and would scrub off, though it didn't seem to improve over ~5mi of driving.

Thanks very much for all your help. Bibs, apparently, you met my JPS Esprit-owning friend when he cut you up in London, and you stopped him and gave him a flyer for here - the Lotus world is truly a cosy one.

By the way, if anyone wants my 350z, it's on PH! Want to shift that to make space in the garage and money for this...

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Much of that sounds commensurate with lack of use. Fuel gauge, maybe a stuck float? The GM mirror switches get a corrosion film over the tiny contacts, wears off with use. Perhaps the same with door contacts. Need some expert advice on the brakes though.

In the garage no-one can hear you scream 

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Is all the brake system in place? No mods by PO to remove bits as 'an upgrade'? Get someone that knows epsrits to go along with you and check the brakes. That should give you an indicator as to whether something is going on.

What system did that year run?

All we know is that when they stop making this, we will be properly, properly sad.Jeremy Clarkson on the Esprit.

Opinions are like armpits. Everyone has them, some just stink more than others.

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So I drove it again today. I had none of the nerves of the first time, and was able to settle in, connect some bends, and feel the wonder that is Lotus. I confess to being a bit smitten. I still need to get the thing inspected and to come to a deal with the dealer, but I hope now to make this work. Thank you all for all your help.

As for inspections, I spoke to Gerald at GST, and he would like the car brought to him. The dealer isn't very interested in that. I'll have to think again. Anyone got any ideas?

Specific problems:

• Either I or the brakes have sorted themselves out, and it was great. That problem seems to have gone away.

• No resolution on the fuel gauge yet - dealer says TADTS, and everyone else says it's the sender that's faulty.

• Weird lights in the bumper- lots of conflicting stories, none convincing. It was a press car - a really early S4, and there's a file full of magazine articles in which it was reviewed. The lights were normal then, and it hadn't the US set of lights (which also includes a third brake light). Apparently, it wasn't crashed, because you would be able to see where the GFRP had been fixed to replace the front. The bumper definitely hasn't been replaced. And the paint is matched too perfectly anyway. On the other hand, apparently the factory changed the bumper and the lights together when they were scrubbing it up to give to some press thing. It's an inconsistent story, and I've yet to get to the bottom of it.

• They had it running and warm when I arrived. That's a bit worrying. Perhaps it really doesn't start.

So there's a few things wrong to get fixed, but no showstoppers yet. And the Castle boys will undoubtedly do it brilliantly, because that's what they do. So far so good. Cautious optimism. But I do want it!

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The brake problem my have been sticky caliper pistons if it has not been driven regularly.

I remember the first esprit I test drove at a dealers. They had to jump start it in front of me. I asked why and the reply was that no-one ever asks to drive it.

If everything with the bumper looks ok, changing the lights the right way round is no biggie.

What is the dealers issue with taking the car to GST for inspection? If it's just the logistics of getting it there, maybe you could pay Gerald to come to the dealers. No doubt Gerald would like to get it on a hoist etc though.

Gauge could be the sender or an earth.

Does the car still have its plastic undertray bolted on underneath? Doesn't seem important, but stops a lot of road crap blowing into engine bay. Someone on here didn't have an undertray and a bolt flicked up into the belts I think and caused a bit of grief.

What sort of pipe goes from the clutch master cylinder to the slave? Red plastic or something different?

Ask for another drive, but tell them you want to be there when it is started. If it still has its EBPV in place, it should idle higher than normal until it warms up, then the idle should suddenly drop to normal.

When was the car last serviced and what type of service?

Do all the fans kick in when the temp gets to 95 deg? Or do they all kick in when the aircon is turned on?

Lastly, the S4 is a lovely model. I thoroughly enjoy mine. :)

All we know is that when they stop making this, we will be properly, properly sad.Jeremy Clarkson on the Esprit.

Opinions are like armpits. Everyone has them, some just stink more than others.

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I would offer to pay the dealer his time to take it to GST. It's not far and if he's not willing to do that (it has been for sale for quite some time), I'd walk away.

Agree completely, it has been for sale a bit, they should be keen to proceed.

In the garage no-one can hear you scream 

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The car in question looks loverly and i saw it in the flesh when i went for a sneaky peak at this:

http://www.hiltonandmoss.com/cardesc/lotus-esprit-s4s-25

Silk red looks superb!

I would echo the sentiments above. With Gerald at GST being "just up the road" in newmarket it would be foolish to not have the car inspected. Any reasonable cost associated with this is well worth it as he knows esprits better than i know internet pron.... :harhar:

DO IT!

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Well the front indicators being the wrong way round isnt something to worry over, palmergeddon's 93 s4 also has them that way round for some reason..maybe the very first few did? Side marker lights...maybe fitted if the car was a promo one, due to use abroad? Brakes will be down to either lack of use, as mentioned, or as they will be the delco system they would probably need work on them to get the system back functioning as it should...not difficult or expensive, but a common problem ive tackled a few times now.. Also, in the service file when was the last major service? Regardless of its mileage, if its 3 years or more its overdue and you should be negotiating a drop in price based on it...most thorough specialists will take a grand off you for it...its not just a cam belt...waterpump rebuild everytime too along with all ancillary belts, and the usual fluids etc..

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The car in question looks loverly and i saw it in the flesh when i went for a sneaky peak at this:

http://www.hiltonand...s-esprit-s4s-25

Silk red looks superb!

I would echo the sentiments above. With Gerald at GST being "just up the road" in newmarket it would be foolish to not have the car inspected. Any reasonable cost associated with this is well worth it as he knows esprits better than i know internet pron.... :harhar:

DO IT!

Thanks - I spent quite a lot of time deliberately not looking at the S4s. It looked lovely, but I really mustn't spend that much. Good luck to you, though.

Well the front indicators being the wrong way round isnt something to worry over, palmergeddon's 93 s4 also has them that way round for some reason..maybe the very first few did? Side marker lights...maybe fitted if the car was a promo one, due to use abroad? Brakes will be down to either lack of use, as mentioned, or as they will be the delco system they would probably need work on them to get the system back functioning as it should...not difficult or expensive, but a common problem ive tackled a few times now.. Also, in the service file when was the last major service? Regardless of its mileage, if its 3 years or more its overdue and you should be negotiating a drop in price based on it...most thorough specialists will take a grand off you for it...its not just a cam belt...waterpump rebuild everytime too along with all ancillary belts, and the usual fluids etc..

Their offer is to do the C service before sale. So that will help. Gerald should be seeing it today, so moments of reckoning are approaching.

Sorry I've been slow on replying. I'm doing work things this week that mean I'm only intermittently able to communicate. Back to normal soon, though, and hopefully see Gerald's thoughts.

Cheers.

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Update time - Gerald's review was largely favourable, and a deal is done! It will be mine...

Thanks everyone for your help. In a couple of weeks, I'll possess the thing. I'm grinning already. I confess to significant excitement.

No doubt I'll have lots more questions in due course, but I might learn some answers too. In the meanwhile, can anyone recommend somewhere cost-effectively to pick up a workshop manual? I want to be able to rip out the radio and install a GPS, so I'll need some clues to help me.

Thanks again, and I look forward (hugely) to being a deserving member of your ranks.

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Congratulations!!

You'll get a free parts manual as a full forum member, service notes are available from any Lotus dealer :)

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. 

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Well done! Congratulations! :thumbsup:

All we know is that when they stop making this, we will be properly, properly sad.Jeremy Clarkson on the Esprit.

Opinions are like armpits. Everyone has them, some just stink more than others.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Many congrats! I alwaysliked the Silk red, in fact it was the colour of the car Nelms of Romford took me for a spin in on an open day about 20 something years ago! and now look at the trouble i'm in!

You will love it. ......although you should have looked harder at the S4s ;)

Twitter @radioRedwards

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Thanks, Rick. I'm hoping you're wrong about the extra power. I'm trading in my 313-horse Nissan for this, and frankly, it felt much better, and plenty more poke. If I get carried away, I'll just kill myself in it. It's really the connection with the road, the feedback, and the reward the Lotus gives for co-ordinating bends properly that I want back. That's certainly ruined with too little power, but it's not much enhanced by more. And all this is just as well, because I can't afford an S4s, so I'm lucky, really. Might get it by the end of the week, though. More hoping and waiting...

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