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No oil pressure on S1

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Typically on the Veglia gauge, the point where the red zone meets the green zone is somewhere from 15-20 psi.    As a general rule, if an S1's needle stays out of the red at idle on a hot summer day w

Before I got to the bit about the olive in the pick up pipe that was what I was thinking.  I know its a pain but its got to be worth looking at  first off.

Its not something weird like the pump needs packing with a  very thick oil/grease  for first run up to work.   Is there a good diagram in the service notes for the oil route sump to head you could che

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Always nice to see the oil pump pumping before you try to start it. Sorry I didn't see the thread before you'd torn it all apart again...the old drill trick would have fixed the problem straight away, I think. You must now have the World's Best Oil Pump; mine's never even been apart!

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Scientists investigate that which already is; Engineers create that which has never been." - Albert Einstein

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Yes once again thanks for the comments and Support guys, John your drill trick is one that will stick forever as very effective.

I followed advice of fellow members and got the results needed, I am looking forward to getting her running now so need to temp fit the radiator so I can check the water pump etc. I also plan to get the clutch connected and run through the gears with rear supported.

Hopefully it will make setting the car up much less painful once the body is in place. I have been given a contact for another bodyshop tonight about 30 miles from me, the guy only does a maximum of 2 cars at any time so plan on contacting him this week, fingers are crossed! :)

I really want to get on with my S2 as this car will be usable this year which will be nice as not driven an Esprit for 5 years nearly, hopefully get a few meets in too!


Dave :)


Did a little more with the accelerator pump tool today, hope to try it tomorrow then post a topic mate.

Edited by LOTUSMAN33

Do or do not, there is no try! 


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Anyone Help???

Just connected up the starter motor on my engine and cranked the engine over and getting no oil anywhere :(

History- engine bought after bottom end rebuild with new liners by fellow Lotus owner, I went down this route to save costs as he had all the receipts for new shells, liners, pistons and rings. He showed me photos but the sump was on along with the water pump and oil pump. The head was sent to PNM for new seats and a full rebuild. I since removed the oil pump and fitted a new annulus and seals, the water pump was done too, both kits came from QED.

I have removed plugs and turned over the engine and got no oil pressure, I then removed the oil sender pipe and found it to be dry, looking in the oil filler oil was present although it seems like this was from when I filled the engine. I then removed the filter and filled it then removed the oil cooler hoses and cranked again. Still no oil so decided to quit as don't want to wipe the bearings! :(

What to do next?

It looks like I need to remove the carbs, air box, alternator, and timing belt then remove the pump again and check all is ok which I think it will be...

My fear is if the last owner correctly installed the oil pick up pipe with the seal?? :(

I knew I should have removed the sump but trusted his abilities, the alarm bells should have rang when I checked the head and found the shims were below minimum thickness hence the top end rebuild. This is what made me look at the pumps later in the build which in the oil pump case was fine but the water pump impeller clearance was wrong hence a new rebuild kit.

What are everyone's views?

Can I remove just the engine while in the chassis or is it a full strip down again? :(

Looks tight so fear the worst!


hey guy just dropped on here looking for some info and if he did the rebuild himself i would look at the plastic seal for the oil pick up tube if it is there make sure its tight <big nut on the pick up tube - i found usually it is missing and the motor sucks air - good  luck 



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Hi Richard

Yes the oil pick up olive may have been part of the issue but replaced and fully secured with a 19mm Allen key now. As you said I have no doubt it was sucking air as only nipped up when I removed.

Happy days as all sorted now and ready for the next problem...

Dave :)

Do or do not, there is no try! 


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  • 5 years later...

This thread is old, but can anyone tell me how the oil pressure reads during use?

Ideally an S1, using the Veglia gauges as a visual guide.

Mine has very strong pressure at cold idle (mid-gauge), but when hot and at idle the pressure falls to the bottom of the green (just above the orange).

I've had very little road use (just town on an early shakedown run), so haven't had the nerve to rev it harder once it reaches this stage. I assume the pressure will rise again, as per my other classic cars?

BTW I've been told that this is normal by an original owner of 40 years, so just trying to get a feel from other owners.


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On my S1.....startup cold...takes about 3 seconds to register, needle goes almost to maximum. Once warm and at idle the needle sits mid way between minimum and halfway. Driving....the needle sits just under maximum pressure.  

Cheers, Gavin

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High oil pressure readings when starting in truly cold conditions are not unusual. Tony Rudd wrote of cringing at the thought of oil cooler lines bulging on the early, dry sump Turbo's in such situations. A mate who has equipped his S1 907 with an aftermarket dry sump set-up split apart a remote mounted filter unit casting despite rigorous care in operation, using Valvoline 20w-50 oil as spec'd by Lotus. Synthetic oil was used subsequently, and he fabricated an oil-water heat exchanger to good effect overall as well. Idle oil pressure readings are generally expected to be low when oil is hot, Lotus have presented sensible operating range values for these engines from the beginning in the Service Manuals.

Sorry if of no specific use for those Veglia equipped chaps, my rare drives in S1 long ago had me focused on careful gear changes as much as anything.😃 

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@drdoom read my comment. I'm not talking about when cold. 

The 907 seems to operate on quite low pressure readings. Then again, the Veglia gauge is arbitrary at best. It being just a graphic.

I've not had the road tests to check a rising oil pressure indication when hot, due in part to the town environment, and lack of balls on my part!

I think I'll rig a proper gauge in the car as a test.

Edited by Fridge
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Just had another brief run. My third since this complete rebuild. Oil pressure does go up with revs when warm. There is green in front of the needle at idle when hot. I'll get used to it.

Thanks for all your comments. Really useful when sorting an unfamiliar car.

It's been a long haul these past 3 years.

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If you are really concerned, disconnect the electrical sender unit and connect a manual gauge. If it reads good then you can adjust the way you read the dash gauge accordingly.

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Cheers, Gavin

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  • 1 month later...

Typically on the Veglia gauge, the point where the red zone meets the green zone is somewhere from 15-20 psi.    As a general rule, if an S1's needle stays out of the red at idle on a hot summer day with the engine and oil fully heated up, then I don't worry about it.  If the needle dips into the red, I look into it.    

On a hot sunny day (85F degrees or higher), oil fully warmed up, driving on an expressway, the needle should be at or close to the middle of the gauge.  Maybe a little higher, maybe a little lower, depending on vehicle speed, outside temperature, and engine RPM.    If it is much higher, you either have a really tight engine (unlikely), a massive oil cooler, or a minor electrical issue affecting the reading.

On a cold startup, I have seen the needle be anywhere from 3/4 of the way up to all the way at the highest point.  Readings I have taken were around 80psi, but that was only a few times and it was a long time ago.   There is a pressure relief valve on the oil pump, and I think variances in the OPRV might be what is allowing some to go higher than others (but tolerances also could play a part).

I once had an S1 whose oil pressure gauge readings varied depending on whether the lights were on.  Somewhere it must have had a dirty connection or ground.    It was a federal car, and if I had the headlights or just the parking/running lights on, the gauge reading would change noticeably;  I don't remember which was higher or which was lower, but when you are driving around, you should turn your lights on to see if it makes a difference.

I would definitely get a mechanical gauge.  I connect one to my S1s about once per year as part of their "annual checkup".  

Also, on the topic, if you feel like a little project that might be verify gratifying and will pay dividends over the long run, drain your oil and remove the sump --  unless your engine is recently rebuilt, I can almost guarantee that you will find all kinds of crud  -- bits of gasket and sealant, etc.,  -- stuck to the screen around the pick up tube.   Removing that stuff makes it worth the effort, and you will feel so much better the next time you start the car.   Be sure to loosen/tighten  the sump bolts in an order similar to how you would do a head gasket, and don't overtighten them - Workshop Manual gives the spec, I think it's only about 5 ft-lbs.


David, just read your post more carefully (what I wrote above was a general response, didn''t notice who it was that had posted the question)  -- if you have a sliver of green (let's say a needle's width) between the needle and the red zone, that's probably 20psi, maybe 25.  Right where it should be on a new, tight engine.   Get used to that needle almost touching the red at hot idle.


Tony K.  :)   

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Tony K. :)


Esprit S1s #355H & 454H

Esprit S2.2  #324J

1991 Esprit SE

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