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My new S4s has let me down!

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I recently bought an Esprit S4s (actually I had one back in 1999, and loved it).  Ive only had this one for 2 weeks,

 

It's been driving beautifully for days then suddenly today - driving down the exit of a car park - the engine just turned off.  No amount of starting word get it going.  

 

Then I noticed a pattern.  If I left it off for a few minutes I could then turn it on.  But then it would switch off for after less than one minute.  

 

I managed to get the car into a clearing and was going to call the AA.  

 

I tried restarting but the same pattern happened - it would start fine then completely switch off after less than 1 minute.  This happened about 10 times/attmpts

 

Then I had a good idea - I turned the engine over and kept the revs up at 5k revs.

 

It stayed on!  I kept the revs at 5K for about a minute to make sure

 

In a semi panic state I made my way home (A40 from London),

 

I fell in love with my new toy but now I've fallen out with it - and I'm NOT happy.  :-(

 

Do these symptoms mean anything to anyone?

 

In hope.....

Steve

 

 

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Upgrade today to remove Google ads and support TLF.

Might be the IACV, the Idea Air Control Valve. You can use Espritmon or Freescan to reset it, it's what keeps the car ticking over, temperature dependant.

 

Hi btw. Blue one?


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

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Welcome to TLF Stephen. :welcome:

 

Pity that your first post is an issue. I'm not able to shed any light on your problem, but some of the other guys should be able to offer some suggestions. Does sound odd.


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 dont know the S4s very well. I dont know about engine management systems but could it be an old fuel pump not supplying enough fuel?

 

Im sure the problem will get sorted after a little bit.

 

Buddsy


 

"Belief is the enemy of knowing" - Crrow777

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start simple..look at  fuel. Could it be a dicky fuel cut out switch, or poor fuel supply.did it cough splutter and die or simply shut off dead as. Did all the electrics still work...any warning lights to begin with..more details are needed I think.

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tumblr_m8m6i1bhlF1qzbqw1o1_400.gif


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

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Does it cut off from outta nowhere, or does the engine shake violently just prior to giving up?

 

What you've described is the same issue I had when I bought a crap O2 sensor - it starts up fine, but when it switches to closed loop (receiving feedback from the O2 sensor which is warmed up after 30-60 seconds) it was being told to dump more and more fuel into the engine until it just drowns. 

 

I too had to rev up to 5000 rpm to keep the damn thing alive on drives before being able to borrow a genuine sensor.

 

An easy way to check whether its the O2 is to stand behind the car with a piece of paper, start the car (from cold!!!!), and check whether the exhaust is spitting black filth (unburnt fuel). If so, new O2 sensor it is. If not, then maybe fuel pump?

 

I wouldn't worry too much. Problems like these are seldom serious.


Vanya Stanisavljevic '91 Esprit SE | '91 Elan SE | '97 XK8

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Car can still spit unburnt fuel even if the o2 sensor is good hence popping in the exhaust on the overrun as the cars run rich.

Would be a good place to start. If you can get the old one out i have a spare that you can loan to try to see if it is the o2 sensor.

All the best


It's Oogies turn to boogie

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I get plenty of popping after switching to the right O2 sensor but nothing like this:

 
Look at the bin as well as the floor between the bin and exhaust - they were both clean prior to turning the key.
I can confirm I don't get anything outta the exhaust anymore.

Vanya Stanisavljevic '91 Esprit SE | '91 Elan SE | '97 XK8

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It sounds like possibly a sensor issue that comes into play when the ECU switches from Open Loop mode when started into Closed Loop mode after warming up for a short period of time.

 

Check your MAP sensor connections and pressure line, along with the IAC, TPS and O2 sensors...


1995 S4s

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Oh my Lord! I never expected such a deluge of help and advice! I am completely and utterly thankful to all o your responses.

 

I'll try to answer some of the questions posed...

 

Firstly - It's a shame that Ren can't help (this will only make sense to people of about 40 years old!)

 

-- Yes, it's blue - azure blue.  Essentially the same car as I had 14 years ago but without the bank owning it.  Oh and a different number plate!

 

-- 'IACV' - can I buy a 'freescan' (I presume it's some form of hardware) and if so please could you advise where to get one from and whether it's Mac friendly?

 

-- ramjet - thanks for your comment.  It took about 15 minutes of driving the car to reignite the love I have for the thing! I have had an elise in-between but the experience of driving an esprit is something else!  I absolutely love the look, the sound and - of course - the drive.  I am now scared to drive it which is a tad upsetting.

 

-- I can hear the petrol pump doing its stuff (I presume one of the noises of the pre-ignitioning stage is petrol delivery) - and re: sorting itself out - there's a perverse outcome to this - If the fault was constant then it will be able to be fixed.  The fact that it started working again means that maybe something is lurking around - ready to cause issues again.

 

-- No warning lights, no splutter, or coughing.  I put premium petrol in (but of course I don't know if there's muck in the tank or poor supply, except that when it's working it's smooth, aggressively quick and ticks every box).  The effect at the time of failure is exactly the same as someone turning the key to the 'off' position - i.e., very 'definite' with no 'carry on', slow death etc - it really is as if the engine key has been turned to 'off'.  No warning lights though.

 

-- The alternator is fine, and doing it's job very well

 

-- no violent shake before cutting out.  Well, apart from a violent shake from *me* as I started to form a queue of people trying to get out of a London car park....

 

-- The O2 sensor is an interesting thought.  Is there a way of temporarily disabling it?  I'll do the test you mentioned.  One vital difference with your experience - once I did the 5K rev start it behaved properly thereafter - i.e. I didn't have to hold the revs high at red lights and the inevitable stop start traffic jam journey on the Western Avenue ( I really didn't want to be the 'queues all the way back to the hanger lane gyratory due to a broken down vehicle' on everyone's radio traffic news!!!)

 

-- From the description, it sounds like the O2 sensor is easy to exchange and relatively cheap(?) to get hold of (correct me if I'm wrong please).

 

-- The car does not pop much, very rarely

 

-- The picture is very revealing - not subtle!  I WILL try the test.

 

-- The 'event' happened within 1 minute of starting the car. I started the car in the car park space - reversed - drove towards and down ramp - then stalled on the second ramp down.  I did check all the various connections - pushing everything together etc.

 

I did not realise I would get such a great response so - hoping that I won't bore you - I'll reveal more detail incase I missed anything out.

 

-- The car was driven to me from the dealer in Southampton (to Ealing, London).  It had previously had a proper hundred+ mile test by the dealer.  In fact the dealer, to be fair, has been very helpful including being someone to talk to on his mobile well after the store closed.  I don't think you'd get that sort of response from your average dealer (ford, vauxhall etc)

 

So I drove it to Ealing and back around 8 times with no problems at all.

So - Tuesday - I started her up in the car park and drove out - no signs of a problem.  

Then between floors the engine stops as if someone had turned the engine off

I tried to push the car out of the way but being London absolutely NO-ONE helped me push the damn thing out of the way.  So I got back into the car and hey=presto - it started.  I drove down the next ramp and the car turned off.

This time I used the momentum of the car to let it cruise down and into the disabled area.

It was there that I tried starting it about 10 times.

..and the 5k revs start - which worked.

I drove home

The nest day it started well from cold and I drove it to an ICE store to have a new stereo fitted.  I asked them to check to see if there was an old immobiliser or similar that could cause the issue.  They found an old immobiliser but it had been professionally rewired to bypass it.  The chaps also started and stopped the car several times in the day while they were fitting the new stereo (I explained the situation).

I picked the car up and drove home.  No issues at all.

So - I parked the car on my neighbours drive last night and used the trusty Honda diesel for work today!

When I came home the neighbours had come back from holiday (I used their drive to alert would-be thieves that someone was at home).

So I reversed the car back and drove it up my drive,

And guess what?  After parking I let the car idle and after a while it switched off!  I switched it on - it stayed on for a couple of seconds and switched off.  It did this about 5 times.

Now to add some confusion.

The petrol was low on the gauge (but no light) and the car is parked facing upward on a moderately steep hill.

I got into the boot and took the spare tank out and emptied it in to the car.

The car started and stayed started.

From your combined knowledge is the petrol feed near the front of the tank?

What i mean is - despite the tank having petrol in it, could the upward angle mean the petrol gathered at the back of the tank therefore starving the engine?
Before using the spare tank the car would stay alive for 2 seconds before stopping (each time I started it).  I would normally expect no action at all if the petrol wasn’t making it.

I can’t rule out that this occasion could be low petrol combined with steepish upward parking so my next test will be to fill up and monitor the situation.

Once I put the spare tank in there was no way I could ‘provoke’ the engine into failing - e.g. switching off and on fairly quickly - switching on with some pedal force - high revs - low revs etc so this could either be:-

- True petrol starvation and a total coincidence that the effect mirrored the problem yesterday, the addition of petrol ‘cured’ a different problem
- The same problem as yesterday - then after doing a refill - the fault went away DESPITE the addition of petrol - i.e. a confusion of new petrol and coincidentally the car righting itself
- I’m having a very long nightmare !

There is a smell of petrol when using the car so I don’t know if that is of concern - perhaps there’s a link with the issue I had yesterday, although 'petrol smells in an esprit' tend to be one of two other issues (reading the forum)

I must admit to being a bit upset because I bloomin’ fallen in love with the car, despite it being a ‘petraholic’ and I was in a state of not wanting to be out of the car for long periods of time!
However - now I’m scared to drive it.

I will fill the car up and see what happens.  I’ll update the thread regarding  the petrol smell and - of course - update you if I have the same issue again.

I wonder if there is something IN the tank that might be affecting things - however there are 2 tanks, in effect (although one supply).

 

 

 

 

Again  -thanks for the fast and helpful responses.  I have a Stag and I thought their forum was amazing but this forum is just as good.  I guess there's the 'pride and help' thing.

 

P.S.  It's amazing the noise that comes out of the Esprit and the Stag V8 (true triumph!) - totally different music but absolutely addictive in their own ways 

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Fuel Starvation:

I've never experienced fuel starvation before so can't help you there - if it simply turns off without coughing violently this could be the issue. I would strongly suggest getting Freescan/Espritmon and checking out whats happening - it will help demistify the problem at hand. But from what I've heard running out of fuel can be quite undramatic - perhaps try engaging the fuel cut-off switch and see if this results in the same thing.

 

O2 Sensor:

Evidently your fuel pump works since the car starts every time but dies shortly thereafter. It could also be that you're having the reverse problem that I had - an O2 sensor that runs far too lean once it engages and simply starves the car. You can run the car without an O2 by unplugging the sensor. This is done by removing the cover on the left side (behind the quarter glass, inside the boot) - you'll see the O2 sensor going from the catalyst with the wire disappearing behind some bodywork. I think you'll get a check engine light but its not gonna be more harmful than that - the car will simply run off pre-programmed fuel tables.

 

On top of the above it could just be a bum ECU although at this point that's questionable. When hearing hooves, think horses, not zebras as they say..

 

I really wouldn't be scared of the Esprit. It's such a basic machine once you get to know it. Plus, once you've sorted this out you'll simply laugh at it next time it occurs because you'll know exactly what to do. And you'll be able to help the next poor bastard who is stumped and tearing their hair out in frustration.

 

Petrol Smell

The smell of petrol is either from the breather hose running across the rear window, or as was the case for me, the short length of pipe running from the fuel filler pipe to the roll over valve on the right hand side (remove the quarter glass cover from the boot and you'll see it). If you have a bit of hose terminating to nowhere from the fuel filler neck, that's your culprit.

 

Get back to us with your findings, and don't worry too much. There's always someone on the forum who has experienced EXACTLY the same problem before, whatever it may be.


Vanya Stanisavljevic '91 Esprit SE | '91 Elan SE | '97 XK8

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You can find out about freescan and espritmon here...

 

http://www.thelotusforums.com/forums/forum/85-ecufreescan/

 

both are free pieces of software, Espritmon is better but newer. You can ask a member on here called Chris (internets is his username) if he'll be able to make you a cable :)


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

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I'm not sure I'd bother with any of that. Call the dealer, tell them it's broken and let them know from where they can pick it up. Leave a phone number so they can ring you when they've fixed it under warranty and to tell you when they're delivering it back.

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^ True story. It must have come with a warranty, or it will at least be covered under the sale of goods act. 


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

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I wouldn't trust a dealer - especially if the problem is even remotely sporadic. They'll likely take the car, not find anything wrong during the time they have it and return it later saying either that it's fixed or that it's perfectly fine to begin with.

Unless the dealer knows Lotus cars in which case they MIGHT know what to look for. You mentioned a dealer in Southampton - blue S4s... I'm guessing Lotus Hedge End?

I'm not trying to come off as a masochistic prick but from my experience with dealers and non specialist workshops they'll likely screw your car up more than anything else :(.

At the end of the day when the warranty is up something else WILL happen as it does on old cars, so knowledge never hurts. Might as well start from day one....


Vanya Stanisavljevic '91 Esprit SE | '91 Elan SE | '97 XK8

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Long shot, but from what your saying it seems to happen after or during the vehicle being on a slope. Regardless of the amount of fuel in it. I had an issue a couple of years back when my esprit intermittently wouldn't start after being on my parents steep slope drive. It turned out to be the emergency cut out switch was starting to go faulty. Swapped it over to a spare i had off a rover 800 and never an issue since. as I say its a very long shot but you have to start with the basics and go through things methodically otherwise its wild stabbing in the dark. Without being there at the time to see or notice things that perhaps you may have missed so far, it could be a number of things really.

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Even cars sold as seen can be returned under the sale of goods act, but you don't want to return it correct?

 

IF it was bought from a dealer and not sold by a private seller then it should have had a warranty and you can return it to get it sorted but ensure they use a proper repairer (if they aren't experienced in Esprits themselves).

 

With a fuel starvation issue the engine tends to die, splutter and cough a little. It doesn't sound like that is the issue here. It sounds like some sort of cut off?

 

I'm not mechanically minded so that's the sum of my advice, but don't worry. They take a bit of time and money getting them right (it took me £3000 and 6 months to get my Esprit perfect and reliable) and they need regular servicing and care, but it'll happen! Keep the faith! :thumbsup:


Possibly save your life. Check out this website.
http://everyman-campaign.org/

 

Distributor for 'Every Male' grooming products. (Discounts for any TLF members hairier than I am!)

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He's had it two weeks, bought from a well known and reputable dealer in Southampton which has already been made aware of the issue. Jeeze, just get them to fix it. All the tosh about about not trusting dealers is forum based paranoia perpetuated by anyone who once had a poor p/x offer on their 20 year old Fiat.

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It could be a crank sensor and/or ignition module issue. At low rpm the crank signal is pretty weak and may be too small for the ignition module to recognise it. This would mean the ecu does not get the reference signal and does not know the engine is running and it kills the fuel delivery. At high rpm the crank signal is much stronger which is why the engine remains running.

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He's had it two weeks, bought from a well known and reputable dealer in Southampton which has already been made aware of the issue. Jeeze, just get them to fix it. All the tosh about about not trusting dealers is forum based paranoia perpetuated by anyone who once had a poor p/x offer on their 20 year old Fiat.

 

In this case, yes, if it's Lotus Hedge End or similar, hand it over, let them fix it. If not, I really wouldn't farm the work out. 

 

I get where you're coming from regarding the paranoia, but when I bought my Esprit, being young, stupid and naiive as I was back then I entrusted a reputable Bentley and Ferrari workshop to change my cambelt and solve my issue with a flashing ABS light. They mounted a Giugiaro belt (trapezoidal tooth) which they didn't even tension properly, and wrapped the ABS bulb in thick black tape to make it look like it had stopped blinking.

 

So I'm burned for life. Ain't nobody touching my Esprits but me.


Vanya Stanisavljevic '91 Esprit SE | '91 Elan SE | '97 XK8

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Well let's look at the alternatives offered so far by (well meaning) people who haven't even seen so much as a photograph of the car.

The OP can replace, at his own expense, in a process of elimination either one, some or all of the suggested causes - of which none are guaranteed to be the source of the problem:

 

IACV

Fuel Pump

Fuel cut off switch

Alternator

O2 sensor

MAP sensor

Throttle sensor

Ignition module

Breather hose

 

 

Or, he can pick up the phone and get it fixed for free by experts and most likely a profusion of apologies and rather good coffee. 

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I just skirted through this quickly so apologies if I'm a little off mark.

Fuel guage showing empty. Won't start.

Put fuel in and it is now running.

Seems a little extreme to call the dealers if it just needed topping up.

Why not fill it with fuel, drive it around with your AA card in your pocket and if it does fail again just ask them to take it to the garage to get fixed?

Simples

Oh and +1 add me to the not trusting dealers thing. I've never had to use a lotus dealer so can't comment on any of them, but my historic an current dealings with main dealers, most recently Evans Halshaw Citroen in Cardiff, they are all a lying bunch of rip off assholes.

The thought of visiting a servicing dealer fills me with dread every time!!


Chunky Lover

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Well let's look at the alternatives offered so far by (well meaning) people who haven't even seen so much as a photograph of the car.

The OP can replace, at his own expense, in a process of elimination either one, some or all of the suggested causes - of which none are guaranteed to be the source of the problem:

 

IACV

Fuel Pump

Fuel cut off switch

Alternator

O2 sensor

MAP sensor

Throttle sensor

Ignition module

Breather hose

 

 

Or, he can pick up the phone and get it fixed for free by experts and most likely a profusion of apologies and rather good coffee. 

You're quite right except a few of those (like the O2) can be tinkered with at no personal expense prior to having the car picked up by the dealer which will probably require agreeing upon a time and a bit of a wait. :)

 

The good news is, there are so many options available. All will result in a running S4s, which is good for all mankind. 


Vanya Stanisavljevic '91 Esprit SE | '91 Elan SE | '97 XK8

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