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My new S4s has let me down!

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I had a similar experience with my S4s (although not exactly the same but draw your own conclusions),mine was caused by a faulty fuel pump (in right hand tank) the wiring had melted ,I went through 2 pumps in as many weeks (the first replacement pump was a bad unit direct from Lotus),replaced by them and the second unit worked as advertised. Also worth checking the relay box (in boot r/h side) that all the relays are seated correctly ,mine had a relay that had worked loose which caused the engine to turn over all idiot lights working, but not powering the fuel pump.

 

Nick s4s


Simplest things first.

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Yay! More tips!  Well considering the rarity of Esprits I am delighted there's such a big fan base that communicate via a forum which I have to say is brilliant.  Are there international contributors?  Any Americans in this audience :-)

 

Back on-topic

 

Needless to say I took the trusty Honda to work today.  When I got home I saw the beautiful blue thing waiting for me (her' a 46 year old getting exited about turning the last corner before my driveway like a child in a sweet shop).

 

I turned the engine on and did the test with the exhaust as previously described.  On a cold engine I turned the key and out came..... clear gas! No colour whatsoever - and no spits of fuel.  The gas turned white after a minute but I expected that as condensation burning off fro within the zorst.

 

So - first port of call was the petrol station.  I filled her up plus spare tank - jeez! £100!!!  How do they get away with it?

 

Interestingly there was no petrol smell.

 

So then I took her out for a run.

 

She was faultless in various circumstances (e.g. 40 mph in 4th or 60 mph in 3rd etc)

 

One thing that looked disappointing - On a clear straight I decided to floor the thing (warm engine of course) and whichever way I did it (pulling at low revs or dropping into the 'power band' and flooring that). I could only get 1/3rd on the boost gauge.  I remember my first S4s swung straight to the max when you put your foot down - Try as I did - I could not get the needle above 1/3rd of the way.

 

I want my full boost please !

 

Anyway - I got it home and while carefully parking it I accidentally stalled it.  It would not start until I left it for about 20 secs - I can live with that but I thought I'd mention it incase it was a clue.  Also - bizarrely - the indicators flashed a few times on the failed first start-up attempt.  I guess it could be remnants of the old immobiliser (bear in mind the car hifi guys confirmed that the 'immobilising' part had been bypassed but I guess other bits might still be in there).

 

Three other things - 

1)If I rev the engine in neutral I get pops as the revs settle down.  I quite like the noise but is that normal?  Thy are not massive bangs - just soft pops, usually two

2) The exhaust is blackened on the inside of the pipe.

3)Car history - but I'll tell you about that at the end of this post

 

 

 

Ok - a update to the queries...

 

-- I'll check the fuel sensor next

 

-- Seems like I really must get hold of one of these freescan/espritmon gadgets!

 

-- Would disengaging the O2 monitor rule it out if I get the symptoms with it disconnected?  Similarly - if I get the continual 'switch off' issue could I disengage the O2 thing and get a successful startup if the O2 thing is to blame?  Cheers

 

-- Thanks for the contact 'Bibs' - I will chase that one up!

 

-- To 'advantage'/'bibs'  this was a peculiar sale in the sense that they were doing some sort of 'sell on' thing - Lotus dealers often offer to sell your car on your behalf as a 'go-between'.  There is - however - a 6-month warranty on 'show stoppers' plus the dealer was good enough to say they'll look after me 'properly' (i.e. dealership warranty style) in the first few weeks anyway.  The perverse problem here is I have to wait for the car to fail 'properly' before handing it over.  If they can't re-create the problem then what can they do?

 

-- Hedge End - correct!

 

-- dodge1979, handy tip - I'll see what I can do.  You are correct that in both cases there was a steep incline/decline involved.

 

-- Kimbers - I live near SGT (Taplow) where a chap called Taff works (yep - he's Welsh like me!) at a Lotus dealership.  He has been there for ever but he's a complete magician on Lotuses - esp Esprits - I may well swallow hard and go to him (I was going to try to have him check 'my new esprit' if it was a private sale).  He's totally brilliant - When I asked which oil was in a Caterham that I once owned he tasted - yup 'tasted' - the oil and recognised the type!!  (Only a finger tip taste, not a pint!)

 

-- The Southampton dealer is 80 miles away, hence trying to make it work before resorting to travelling - and (stupidly) I'll miss the thing while its gone!

 

-- The fuel gauge empty thing was a secondary issue - my first experience of the issue had just under a qtr of a tank.  I think the 'low fuel parked on an uphill attitude' was a misleading coincidence.

 

-- I'm updating the dealer with opinions via your kind selves so he's in the know.  I say 'he' - apart from the technicians he is the only worker at the customer end.

 

Ok - the 3rd point that I mentioned up above.  Here is the latest history of the car:-

 

7th May 2008 - 64183 miles

20th March 2014 - 67736 miles

 

I took on the risk and the price was superb - and I don't get too scared by 'self servicers' (if that happened)

 

I noticed rust on things like the courtesy light push mechanism - this goes with the story that the previous owner could not afford to run it so it was stationary for a long time.  Petrol 'goes off' - perhaps a few refills might purge any crap out.

 

What a peculiar history though - thats just over 3 and a half k miles in 6 miles - averages out at 500 miles per year however I suspect its been stationary for a long time rather than ultra low usage per year.

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We have around 10,000 visitors from America each month on the site, out of a total footfall averaging around 65,000 at the moment FYI. 


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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Excellent - properly International then!

 

I was wondering if the U.S. minister for transport has apologised for that big black rubber bumper on the MGB yet ;-)

 

I'm a (real) mini fan too and you'd be surprised at the big fan base that exists in the U.S.

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So - first port of call was the petrol station.  I filled her up plus spare tank - jeez! £100!!!  How do they get away with it?

 

You know there are two tanks but they are connected?

 

Sounds like you are getting to the bottom of things. Hot starting shouldnt be an issue for you as I think this should only affect carb cars. So maybe that points to a sensor issue?

 

Buddsy


 

"Belief is the enemy of knowing" - Crrow777

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Yes - I know about the saddlebag tanks - I have them in my mini too (although 'somewhat' smaller!!)

 

I should have said - by spare tank I meant one of those green 1 gallon containers.

 

I need to get out and drive it a bit more (and try not to worry!) and test it out over and over.

 

It's an awful thing to say - but I need *it* to happen again to see if there is a fault still there.

 

When *it* happened it took almost an hour to get to the point when the car started again (ager many failed startup attempts).

That extreme hasn't happened again (apart from on a low tank on the sloped drive when it started after using the spare tank).

 

The fear that there may be something lurking behind the scenes obv worries me but maybe the fact that the car hasn't been used for years before I bought it could have something to do with it (crap petrol / muck in the 'arteries' being blown through with a 5k rev burst).

 

So - without further ado - time to jump into the 'spree'

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A good run sounds like a cure to me. Never know whether the stuff really works but you could try a bottle of redex injector cleaner just in case the injectors are sticking. 

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Ok - a update to the queries...

-- Seems like I really must get hold of one of these freescan/espritmon gadgets!

Yes! It'll make ownership that much less painless. We mostly fear what we don't know. Espritmon will let you know.

 

-- Would disengaging the O2 monitor rule it out if I get the symptoms with it disconnected?  Similarly - if I get the continual 'switch off' issue could I disengage the O2 thing and get a successful startup if the O2 thing is to blame?

Start the car from cold and let it idle for like 2 minutes or longer. If it doesn't die, it's unlikely the O2 sensor is your culprit (I say this fully aware you currently don't have Freescan/Espritmon so it's guesswork). If it dies, let it cool down and disconnect the O2 sensor. Start the car, let it idle. If it doesn't die, you have your answer. A faulty O2 would result in consistent stalling when left idling from cold though so if your problem is more sporadic the problem could lie elsewhere.

 

-- Hedge End - correct!

Cool! I mailed them about the black S4s as I'm currently looking for another Esprit. Asked them why it was so much more expensive than the one you got despite higher mileage (75000!!!!) and whether it had any rust beneath. Never got a reply.


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

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Really? That's odd. I figured Mustard Yellow would be...


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

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Azure blue with magnolia :wub:

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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 had something similar with mine as it would cut out all of a sudden without any warning. It could be started after some time,however after acouple of those embarrassing moments starting was not possible anymore. Of course I tried to solve the problem everytime it had happened but without any result.

In order to cut a long story short it turned out that the Fuel Cut Off Switch (Crash Switch) was the offending part, it looked okay on the outside (ie it had not been triggered etc) and on the inside (opened it up after replacement). My temporaly fix was unplugging the connector on the switch and using a paperclip as a bridge (some minor remodelling of the paperclip had to be done), and fixing the connector / paperclip assembly in place with an elastic band. Ordered a new swich and everything was fine again.

So Darren's (dodge1979) long shot could be right on target.

 

Freek


Esprit Freak

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

 

 

Assuming nothing is wrong with the fuel level indication system...

 

The fuel level sensor (sender) in the left tank and the fuel pump in the right tank are at the forward ends of the tanks, so, what you see is what you should be getting to the pump.... PLUS a bit more: The fuel pump pickup (pump entry point) is below the level of the tank. The pickup sits in a cylindrical cavity below the right tank, so, all in all, you should have plenty in reserve.

 

As you suspected, topping up the fuel may have other effects not related to level. I don't do much driving, either, so the fuel does go a little stale and water gravitates towards the bottom of the tank. Old tanks may also have a bit of sediment in them, but the pump inlet is not sitting right on the bottom of the tank, so that shouldn't be a problem. Removing the pump and shining a torch into the tank will give you a good idea of what's sitting in the bottom.

 

Does the Check Engine light (CEL) illuminate before the engine dies? Usually if you have a serious problem with a sensor, the ECU/ECM detects it is out of tolerance and puts the light on. This is usually a good time to plug in Freescan. The ECM can deliberately reduce power to the engine if it detects a problem (one of your other problems), but, again, I would expect the CEL to illuminate.

 

Sorry, at the moment, it's still a little hard to pinpoint the gremlin, so we'll have to keep sending you tips on the easier things you can do, such as tapping relays, checking vacuum hose connections, etc. Rubber vacuum hoses can go soft and collapse when heated up (heatsoak after the engine has been shut down, can be a problem). There are hoses sitting on top the engine.

 

By the way, when was the fuel filter last changed?

 

Cheers

Ian.

Edited by Qavion

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Azure blue with magnolia :wub:

Word. Actually, anything with Magnolia.


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

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A good run sounds like a cure to me. Never know whether the stuff really works but you could try a bottle of redex injector cleaner just in case the injectors are sticking. 

Erm - freaky

And scary! - Have you been following me Mike6?

 

This is EXACTLY what I thought up yesterday and bought the most expensive of the injector cleaner/ fuel system conditioner / etc.

 

Yes - I'm sceptical like you whether it works.  For example - if you have a tank of 10 gallons, say - and you drop in half a pint of stuff that claims to do a load of magic stuff to makes one think a bit.  I mean - its VERY diluted.

 

Anyway - I'm going to wait until the fuel is low before putting the stuff in.

 

My 'plan of action' will be posted after I've answered all the kind people who are trying to help since my last post.....

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-- When I get a moment I'll look into the espritmon thing - it seems to be the gadget to have !

-- Thanks for the O2 sensor info - When starting from cold it does not cut out after 2 mins of leaving it alone.  Although Ive never tried it purposefully - so I'll try this experiment in about 20 mins (after posting here!) and let it idle for over 3 mins and check.

 

-- I have your answer re: Black Esprit.  I asked exactly the same question - the result is - there is no service history for 5 years and only 3700 miles have been covered in that time.  The black one has a full service history.  It's also had a 'ceramic coating' btw - which basically means you can clean the car b rinsing it and it shines again.  If you believe the claim (it's by g3-tech).  Currently the black one has been harvested for a head lamp lifter and expansion bottle ....... for my car!  It looks very nice though but I don't like black or yellow on Esprits (have I just alienated myself !?!?)

Azure blue with magnolia :wub:

On the S4s they made less than 50 in that combination

I had something similar with mine as it would cut out all of a sudden without any warning. It could be started after some time,however after acouple of those embarrassing moments starting was not possible anymore. Of course I tried to solve the problem everytime it had happened but without any result.

In order to cut a long story short it turned out that the Fuel Cut Off Switch (Crash Switch) was the offending part, it looked okay on the outside (ie it had not been triggered etc) and on the inside (opened it up after replacement). My temporaly fix was unplugging the connector on the switch and using a paperclip as a bridge (some minor remodelling of the paperclip had to be done), and fixing the connector / paperclip assembly in place with an elastic band. Ordered a new swich and everything was fine again.

So Darren's (dodge1979) long shot could be right on target.

 

Freek

I like this idea!  

I guess the unit is just a switch so bridging the cable in - to the cable out - would act as a bypass as you mention.

That's really worth a go if its that easy to try.

Cheers!

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Assuming nothing is wrong with the fuel level indication system...

 

The fuel level sensor (sender) in the left tank and the fuel pump in the right tank are at the forward ends of the tanks, so, what you see is what you should be getting to the pump.... PLUS a bit more: The fuel pump pickup (pump entry point) is below the level of the tank. The pickup sits in a cylindrical cavity below the right tank, so, all in all, you should have plenty in reserve.

 

As you suspected, topping up the fuel may have other effects not related to level. I don't do much driving, either, so the fuel does go a little stale and water gravitates towards the bottom of the tank. Old tanks may also have a bit of sediment in them, but the pump inlet is not sitting right on the bottom of the tank, so that shouldn't be a problem. Removing the pump and shining a torch into the tank will give you a good idea of what's sitting in the bottom.

 

Does the Check Engine light (CEL) illuminate before the engine dies? Usually if you have a serious problem with a sensor, the ECU/ECM detects it is out of tolerance and puts the light on. This is usually a good time to plug in Freescan. The ECM can deliberately reduce power to the engine if it detects a problem (one of your other problems), but, again, I would expect the CEL to illuminate.

 

Sorry, at the moment, it's still a little hard to pinpoint the gremlin, so we'll have to keep sending you tips on the easier things you can do, such as tapping relays, checking vacuum hose connections, etc. Rubber vacuum hoses can go soft and collapse when heated up (heatsoak after the engine has been shut down, can be a problem). There are hoses sitting on top the engine.

 

By the way, when was the fuel filter last changed?

 

Cheers

Ian.

More excellent idea - and more thanks to you!  I don't know the answer to your question but they did a 'C' service prior to letting me have it (including the cam belt).  There was quite a lot to do - the dealer said that it cost £5k of work - if it was a 'customer requested service' it would have been more than £7k.  The check engine light has stayed off.  When I test drove the car prior to buying it was on all the time and they replaced a sensor.- ditto ABS light

Word. Actually, anything with Magnolia.

I had the Stag 'magnolia'd' !

 

Weird - the Stag was marketed as a luxury GT with .... wait for it .... electric windows!!! (not many cars had electric windows in the early 70's).  

 

So that - with wood dash, PAS, alloys, sound to die for was accompanied by?

 

Plastic seat.

BLACK plastic seats.  (Imagine that i the summer).  So I got the whole lot done in magnolia leather - the interior makes sense now.

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SO.....

 

Thanks again for all the updates.

 

I have made a plan of action.

 

No service and 3700 miles in 5 years MUST have left some crud in the tanks - surely?

 

So my plan is.....

Take on some of the suggestions above that I can understand :-)

 

Use an additive and drive it through 3 tanks of petrol (each time running it low and adding the cleaner prior to driving and refilling).

 

If - on the 4th tank - it's still misbehaving then I'll ask the dealer if he can help.

 

I guess I should make an update regarding yesterday....

 

It stalled on me twice and required a wait of at least 30 seconds before a restart and high revving and then driving ok.

 

The BIGGEST symptom so far is as follows:-

 

The first time it happened it took almost an hour to get going.  Multiple attempts at a restart then eventually a working car.  It was seriously 'near-AA' territory.   

Every subsequent occasion has only required me to wait half a minute and start up (maybe 3 fire-ups max).

 

So the first time it was 'near fatal' whereas subsequent occurrences have been a PITA but working,

 

I hope to God what I have just said doesn't tempt fate.

 

Thanks again folks - I really must get around to trying ALL your tips however various things have kept me from doing stuff recently - except for making time to post here (you might have seen some ridiculous post times).

 

Anyway - thanks to all of you.  I have other questions for other threads but they can all wait while this biggy is in the way.

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"<<<<<<<<< Erm.......... Silk Red with Magnolia (one of two made)."

 

 

Show off!  :-)

 

Actually - one of the things I want to do (actually 'have done') sometime in the future - is to have the interior re-covered in magnolia with blue piping (that's what's on the stag).

 

​But - common sense head firmly in place - need to sort out a certain mechanical problem out first ;-)

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-- Hedge End - correct!

Cool! I mailed them about the black S4s ....<snip>.. Never got a reply.

 

 

Don't take it personal - I think I mentioned - I was totally surprised that 'Ken' is the only customer facing representative there.  Personally I could not handle that - I like having 'colleagues' .  The best method of contact is phone - he even takes phone calls 'out of hours' on his personal mobile.  TBH he's the best used/new car salesman I've come across. When I decided to buy the car we discussed things that should be done - and we made a list of things as long as your arm! The tyres had plenty of tread but he didn't like how old they were (claiming they would be 'dried up' due to age) - so he decided to add 4 new tyres to the list!  So far I would say 10/10 on Ken (wow that rhymes).  If my car issue continues that may test aftercare - we'll see.  I really wish the place wasn't 80 miles away!

 

SGT (my nearest Lotus dealer) is less than 5 miles away - but due to the autonomy of the dealerships they can't ask SGT to do the work on behalf of them.  With a bit of joined up thinking (and remembering where all the money goes) you'd think the warranty would be mobile within dealers.  Ah well

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Nice of you to stick up for Ken. I might give him a call when its time to head off to the UK for a new Esprit. 

 

Did you get round to investigating the fuel cut-off switch yet?

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

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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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Nice of you to stick up for Ken. I might give him a call when its time to head off to the UK for a new Esprit. 

 

Did you get round to investigating the fuel cut-off switch yet?

 

I shall do it tonight!   I seem to be a bit busy for the moment.

 

Yeah - Ken seems to be a decent person.  I can always 'sense' bullish*t and insincerity and both are missing from Ken.  Right - he has to sell the car to make his salary but every now and again people get the balance right between the importance of a sale for salary and for pleasure.  He was actually saddened by the number of Esprits disappearing from the UK (euro being cr*p and all that) and obviously wants the marque to stay on british mode.  He told me there was someone else interested in my blue Esprit and you could tell - after he mentioned he was coming from Germany - that he didn't want the machine to emigrate! 

I thought SGT had lost it's Lotus franchise years ago??

They did

I may be wrong but I think they earned it back again.

Anyway - if you ever have something done on any special car - check out Taff from SGT - he's a genius.

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