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Delco Brakes They Work Unbelievable - Suspension/Brakes/Wheels/Hubs/Steering/Geo - The Lotus Forums Jump to content

Delco Brakes They Work Unbelievable

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I've had this car, Esprit S4, for about 15 years and the brakes were always crappy. I was ready to bin them a long time ago but for a drive of a Delco equipped Esprit a few years ago. Unlike mine and all the other Delco braked cars I'd driven over the years, that car of Bill's had a Delco system which worked. So I knew it was a possibility.

After a huge scare and near head-on crash, I decided to tackle the job. Major work done and been driving and testing them for the past two days and what a change!

I fitted a new accumulator, the Discovery one which is 200 bar vs 207bar for the Lotus one. I changed the O ring seal for one of thicker cross section while at it. I rebuilt the rear Bendix calipers and also the slides on the front TMC ones. I tested the front pistons and they were fine, no leaks and smooth retraction and extension, so didn't fit new seals there (if it ain't broke...). There was some stiction on the right hand front slides, evident by taper wear on the pads and tendency to jam up when I tried to move them manually. A clean, new rubber and grease fixed that.

I believe  though that it was the bleeding that did the trick. I followed the manual procedure which is very involved. And removing  the relay bar to access the isolator bleed nipple on the master, hidden underneath it is a bugger of a job. I took no short cuts but did everything in proper sequence as described from cracking open the front pipe nuts on the master cylinder, bleeding the isolation nipples and the 10x3 secs on and off with the key to sequence  the solenoids. It now requires about 33 presses of the pedal to evacuate the accumulator and the pump runs for about 25secs to re-pressurize it. Great.

The brakes now are normal like any other car with good feel ie not overly boosted and/or insensitive. No longer is there any pulsing or pushing back against my foot when I use them, no lag or delay like I was used to but instant response as they should be. The ABS even though only 3 channel, works a treat. I jammed them on around bends and the car pulls up quickly and without any drama or loss of steering control.

I never had any confidence in them previously but do now and this is a revelation for me. They are quite good, not high performance stuff (think multi-piston calipers and huge rotors), but not lacking in doing a better than reasonable job.

So don't give up on the Delco system. It can work and be normal like any other car.

Also a big thanks to Jon in the US for your help and information.


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Hi Danny,

I completely agree.

I spent a lot of time and effort getting my Delco brakes working as they should - replacement adjustable electronic pressure switch and accumulator - and they work very well and are nicely balanced for the car.

None of the contemporary road tests I have read commented that the brakes weren't up to the cars performance.

In my view it is much more sensible to get the original system working as it should rather than replace it with a mongrel system.   

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