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Chip Reviews

"The Hi-Torque upgrade is *not* new software like some people think. This is *not* a performance upgrade that produces more power. Its still 350HP but with more torque and a more refined boost buildup.

The Hi-Torque ECM was first introduced on the European Sport350 for the 99MY. At the time of its release, Lotus conceded that horsepower did not change on the car. They said that this was simply a "re-map" of the fuel/boost delivery tables to shift some of the torque curve towards lower RPMs. The fact is that once they discovered that they could use better values in the table, they chose to keep the older, lesser performing values in newer versions of the car and then sell the better values as an "upgrade". This is only true for all US models !!! The European models have the Hi-Torque stock from factory !!!

This invariably created some confusion with US-customers because they assumed that if they bought a 00MY or newer car that it already had the hi-torque tables built in."

I have been given all the 4-cylinder chips to test and review for the site, except chip #7, which really requires a larger turbo and better fueling. The most popular chips for Esprit owners are Chip #2, which is a refined S4s code, for those who just want a smoother running Esprit, without all the extra performance, although if you running a pre S4s then you'll benefit from some extra performance. Chip #3 is the first performance chip, giving extra torque, rather than extra bhp. Chip #5 is the one for those who have been modifying their Esprit already and are looking for that bit extra, but not quite the full race car experience.

I tested these chips in my 1992 Esprit SE high wing. This Esprit is no longer standard spec, as I have been modifying it over the last few months. I have a performance exhaust with a cat replacement pipe, a K&N performance Airfilter with RamAir and a Dump Valve. This will effect the chips performance, compared with using it with a standard spec Esprit. I'm also running a standard spec SE chargecooler, that has been rebuild.

I decided to test chip #3 first, then chip #2 and chip #5 as these are the most popular. The others will be tested in the near future. I felt that if I tried them in order, I wouldn't notice the increases as well as I would jumping around between them. I didn't want to get used to each chip and then take a step up, not remembering what the stock chip was like. Hopefully this will give a better review of the different chips and help make your decision on which ones for you a little easier.

4cyl. Chip #3. High-Torque-S4s-code
by Lotus Esprit World

This is the chip I would have bought to run in my Esprit from looking at the choices available. The extra torque makes all the difference in real world driving. Top end bhp isn't that important to me. Reading the chip modifications charts, also gives you some reassurance that this chip (and the others) aren't just power obsessed beasts. With the safety features built in to help the Esprit performance without damaging itself.

On startup after replacing my stock chip, I notice the idle was a little higher, but remember, you need to do around 30 miles for the ECU to learn all the settings for your Esprit. As once it's taken out, or the battery is disconnected, all it's memory is lost and it returns to the factory settings. I think I noticed the Esprit running a little smoother at very low speeds, but that may have been my over enthusiasm for feeling what the chip has changed.

I decide to do a long run to bed in the chip and make sure everything was warm before I started to see what difference in performance I could notice. Even keeping the revs below 3,000rpm, I felt the Esprit to be more eager, which was very encouraging. Once everything had warmed up and I'd done around 20 miles, I decided to push a little harder to see how the chip was performing. You notice straight away the huge amount of torque. A massive surge of pull. I was smiling and still only using three-quarter throttle.

Doing a few more spirited runs, I found the Esprit to have turned into a rev hungry beast. The extra torque is unbelievable, I managed to spin the wheels in third, still without using full throttle! (Only because I was abusing the power, driven with respect you'll find traction isn't a huge problem). The Esprit runs so much smoother, but it's not that you notice, it's waves of torque, putting huge smiles across my face.

Once the chip was running 100% with the Esprit's ECU, I did push it a little harder, using 100% throttle. If you don't feed it in progressively, you'll spin the rear's in almost any gear. I must confess to fishtailing on a couple of occasions. In the wet, extra care will need to be taken, as traction will be a problem if care isn't taken. The waves of torque become addictive, as you need to feel it at every opportunity.

Overall, I was so impressed with this chip, I didn't was to test the others, I didn't want to even get out of the car. Scared of chip #5 and not wanting to lose 13% of my torque using chip #2. Although if I'd have started with chip #2, I'm sure I would be scared of chip #3. My only concern with running chip #3 is having too much fun all the time, and the wear on my rears at my grinning face fishtails down the road.

"The chip has shown a good deal of improvement at the bottom end and runs a lot smoother and cooler, a very good investment.In fact its the dogs bollox!" Bob Barclay

 

Chip #3. High-Torque-S4s-code versus Chip #4. High-Performance code 310HP
by Mark Wiens

Also, did you do the reviews on the 4 cyl chip upgrades? If so, I would like to say that your descriptions of going from the #2 S4s improved, to the hi-torque #3, are very very similar to my own experience. I went to the hi-torque a few months ago. I'm still playing with my wastegate settings, because I believed I noticed a few times during full WOT conditions in 4th going to 5th, that the fuel cutoff came into play for a quarter of a second, but it is startling and scary to feel it. Anyway... during my wastegate testing and removal of the wastegate solenoid connector, even though the boost essentially didn't come on at all in 1st gear, and held solid at .6 bar in the succesive gears, it was much smoother thru the rpm range and I did seem to feel that higher rpm 'horsepower surge' in 3rd thru 4th that I sense I miss while using the hi-torque chip. Your switch from the hi-torque to the 330HP chip confirmed that 'power' aspect of things. So, my next thought was to switch to the next higher 310HP chip #4, but, alas, it wasn't reviewed. Do you not think it is a worthy choice? Since I get bothered by the high (1.2 bar) boost of the later chips, I felt the maximum 1.1 bar of chip #4 would be a perfect choice.

4cyl. Chip #2. improved S4s-MK5-code with the 3k stumble reduced
by Lotus Esprit World

Swapping the chips over is a simple task, a little bit time consuming, but not difficult. Follow the install guide for help. Once you've got the ECU out, it's a simple case of taking the chip out of the holding socket and replacing it with the new one. Of course this is only if you've already installed a chip. If not then you'll need to follow the guide to install a new chip.

Changing from chip #3 to chip #2 was always going to be done with little enthusiasm. As I was enjoying playing with all that extra torque that would now be lost. Chip #2 is really a way of increasing performance to S4s levels, without changing the nature of the beast. Chip #3 is wonderful and great fun, but the Esprit loses some of it's poise. All that torque ripping through the rear tyres isn't what the Esprit's all about.

You will find some extra torque and power, but in a more refined way. The Esprit runs smoother and suddenly feels more expensive! I know that sounds funny, but losing the rough edges in it's running gives it a quality feel. Performance as ever is wonderful and without the huge surge in torque you'll notice more about the whole driving experience.

It's hard to decided which chip to use, in a perfect world you'd have both. Running chip #2 90% of the time, giving you more refined running and extra performance and an all-round better Esprit over the stock chip. This would also benefit those who run their Esprit's all year round. Using chip #2 in the colder, wetter months, with save any hedge incidents and reduce the wear on your rear tyres. Then when the suns out and you feel the need to really enjoy yourself, swap chip #2 for #3 and ride that wave of torque.

Not sure what I'll be doing, as summer is on it's way I'm tempted to leave chip #3 in and have some fun. Especially before I put new rears on! The choice I'll leave to you. I'm sure a deal could be done on purchasing both chips. Ask and see, it would be worth it, if you can afford it.

4cyl. Chip #2. improved S4s-MK5-code with the 3k stumble reduced
by Frits van der Veen

Last week, I ordered Chip #2 (improved S4s code) for my 1990 SE from PUK delivered promptly with an excellent list of instructions. Great, thanks Markus! I doubted much between Chip #2 and Chip #3 (high torque), but several recent accidents with Esprits when accelerating in wet and slippery conditions, I opted for the safer choice. Slightly improving torque, increasing upper range power, and get away with any stumble would be a good improvement. For more power: the SE already has plenty. Dismounting the ECM and tne Memcal was not at all difficult, but just required some acrobatics to reach the ECM area above the right fuel tank.

I found a very nice way of dismounting the old PROM chip without cutting the legs:
- I lifted the the old PROM chip just slightly to put some pressure on the soldering points
- by using a very light soldering iron, I pushed down every connector one by one

I repeated this exercise some two times, until the old PROM chip came out completely undamaged. Good for retro-fitting whenever necessary! Then, the new socket went in. Since there was still some solder in all the connectors, I simply tipped every connector with the soldering iron to solder each socket pin into the corresponding connector. I verified every pin with a voltmeter.

Then, mounting the new Chip was a piece of cake. I mounted everything back into the car and switched on the ignition (not starting). The ECM light went on and THE VENTILATORS STARTED TO BLOW. I grounded the enable pin on the ALDL plug, but THE ECM WAS COMPLETELY DEAD!!

I dismounted everything again, opened the Memcal again, and double checked each pin all over again. To be sure, I re-mounted the old Chip again, mounted everything on the car, and THE ECM REMAINED COMPLETELY DEAD!! Nevertheless, the engine started, the motor runs but with very little and restricted power. Apparently, the engine entered LIMP MODE, so at least one could drive home.

I was saved by the bell, when a friend asked us to eat out. Only today, I restarted and overchecked everything. The Service Notes (section EHM) pointed in every way to a broken ECM. Gosh!! What to do now? Send the ECM to Markus? A new ECM would cost quite a big deal. I had a look to the four ECM connectors, and discovered two loose wires, a black one and an Orange/Black one. I listed all the coloured wires to the ECM and found only one to be missing: the black one apparently was intended to ground connector two. I could not find the location for the other one, and all other wires prooved to be in their proper location.

I reconnected the ECM with the new Memcal chip, switched on the ignition, and the VENTILATORS WERE NOT WORKING ANYMORE. When grounding the enable pin on the ALDL, the ECM light nicely started to beep the 1-2 code in repetition. Apparently, no error codes were stored in the ECM!

Wow, that was a relief! Everything back to normal again. I then connected FreeScan and found nothing to be abnormal. Nothing pointed to a possible missing sensor, which could explain the Orange/Black wire. Then, I remembered having thrown away a piece of isolation tape, which had been bundling loose to the cable loom. This returned my confidence again, and I isolated the Orange/Black wire with some fresh isolation tape, which won't come off anymore!

I fixed all covers again, and took the car for a ride. Wow. Great. After some period of heating up the engine and learning the ECM, I started to try out the engine. It is far more smooth now. The turbo comes in far more early, without any apparent turbo lag. It gives the impression of a high-performance engine without turbo now. In all gears, direct thrust is available when required, even from low revs. The turbo pressure quickly goes up to 1 bar now to make full profit of remaining exhaust pressure.

All in all, the car is far more agile, also far smoother. The surprise torque by the turbo is gone now, and the engine behaves far more predictable. This is particularly nice when accelerating out of long corners. A sudden thrust would disturb the balance of the car, and with the new chip the car becomes safer to handle in these situations. All in all, after having overcome my ECM stress, I am quite pleased about the improvement. It is the best improvement that can be done to these cars. I would recommend to do the Memcal upgrade to everyone.

Happy motoring!

 

Reviewed by Stephen Sergeant 

TODAY I FITTED MY MOTO-CONCEPT NUMBER 2 CHIP INTO MY 90 SE.IT ONLY TOOK ME ABOUT 1 HOUR START TO FINISH.

ON START UP THE FIRST THING I NOTICED WAS HOW MUCH MORE REFINED AND STEADY THE TICK OVER WAS.ONCE UNDERWAY THE CAR JUST CRUISED AROUND THE SMALL ROADS AROUND TOWN WITHOUT THE USUAL JERKYNESS AND HESITATION WHEN TRYING TO NIP IN AND OUT IN TRAFFIC.

ONCE ON THE OPEN ROAD 3RD 4TH AND 5TH THE CAR JUST PULLS FROM NOTHING TO BEYOND,1ST AND 2ND ARE JUST STUPID AS THE TYRES JUST DESTROY THEMSELVES.THE BEST £150 YOULL SPEND!! CHEERS..

4cyl. Chip #10. High-Performance code 280HP for 2.0 litre GT3-engine
Reviewed by Adrian Mugridge

Firstly, the facts and figures:
A standard GT3 gives 240 bhp and 210 lb/ft of torque. The new chip gives 280 bhp ( +16% ) and 231 lb/ft ( +10% ) of torque.
Maximum boost is normally 0.75 bar, rising to 0.84 bar when overboosted ( i.e. revved to 5000 rpm when stationary ). The upgrade produces 0.8 bar normally, 1 bar at WOT ( wide open throttle ) and 1.2 bar when overboosted.

Okay, so having fitted the chip I took it out for a drive of around 25 miles. Unfortunately it was raining on and off so as soon as the roads started to dry out it started raining again. Anyway, taking it steady the main difference was in the general pickup of the revs, raising somewhat faster than normally. This made the car easier to drive from the start. After 25 miles in the wet, pushing it a bit when I found a bit of dryish road I did not really notice much difference, but I was holding off WOT.

The car then stayed in the garage for 2 days as more rainy days followed but then the sun came out so I tried it again. This time the difference was much more noticeable, as I could go for WOT without worrying. Up thought the gears it was much faster and into 3rd and the car takes off and flies down the road. Everything happens more quickly, the revs pick up faster and it’s much smoother to drive. I can certainly say it’s worth the money, 280 bhp in a GT3 is quite a lot given the relative low weight of the car.

The final thing was to try the overboost ( which now only needs a rev to 3500 rpm whilst stationary ). My god, you could out run an F1 car if you can stop the wheels from spinning !! With 1.2 bar of boost the acceleration is awesome, just the sort of thing you need when some rice rocket tries it on at the lights. The first time I tried it I backed off as it was on a small country road and nearly kacked my pants, the missus was hanging on to the door handle ( mind you, she does that anyway ). One thing that did worry me was the boost gauge hit the end stop and flew back down to 0 bar. I thought I’d broken it but no, what happens is the gauge is only calibrated for 0 - 1.1 bar so when you exceed it just returns to zero and is nothing to worry about.

To conclude, 40 extra horses for around £280 is excellent value. The GT3 engine will handle this without any mods such as fitting a dump valve etc. If you have a GT3 then I’d defiantly recommend fitting one.

4 Cyl. Chip #11: Red Race code for 2.0 litre GT3-engine
Reviewed by Owen Geddes (Race-Speed) for Lotus Esprit World

I had my GT3 upgrade chip for a while - it moved the boost limit up to 1.1 bar and used to MY99 code to generally improve the map. I found it to be a really good upgrade - with the extra stress on the engine likely to be relatively minimal. However as the old saying goes - you can never have enough power - so I asked Marcus for more!
Bearing in mind I am fitting an Aquamist to deal with any detonation problems I asked Marcus for 1.3 bar - but he reckoned the maximum I should use with my setup was 1.25 bar.
The result was a chip that moved the boost limit from .97 bar to 1.25 - moved the full boost limiter down from 4,500rpm to 3,000rpm and changed some other parameters - like removing the 121mph boost limiter. It came with a complete printout of all the parameter changes and map.
The standard car, whilst rapid, never really makes it to supercar league - a very mildly modified Elise will see it off under 70mph. This chip changes that completely - it introduces that feeling that I thought the car was missing - the feeling that when the boost comes in you have to hold on! also the standard cars power band was actually quite narrow due to not being able to deliver real boost until 4,500rpm. For sure this is done for a reason - reduce stress on the engine.
By moving the limit downwards it makes the engine far more flexible and the midrange receives a *huge* performance increases - and lets face it, unless you are using the car on the track - thats where you want it. Although moving the limit down to 3,000 rpm doesnt really do much - the turbo isnt capable of delivering more than 1 bar below 3,700 rpm. But that extra 800 rpm of (more than) full boost makes an enourmous difference. Whats also apparent is that at higher rpm the
turbo is not capable of delivering more than 1 bar - so Lotus specced the turbo perfectly. This means you get all your power from 3,750 to 5,500 rpm. After that you will feel the power drop off a bit. (the solution is upgrade your turbo)
The car now feels genuinely fast and flexible. It feels very similar to my old S4s - I'm sure on headline horsepower figures its delivering very similar numbers - although its still going to be down a way on torque. Its quite simply a different car.
Once you change the chip over it will only give you anbout 0.6 bar for the first 50 miles and then take a further 50 - 100 miles to give you access to all the boost. This is due to the ECU being reset. One quick tip - you can change the chip over without ever disconnecting the ECU - and therefore you get all of the performance right away (I tried it - it works). However I would not advise this as you dont want to have to replace your ECU - they are expensive!
But what that does mean is that a software chip switcher will work very, very well indeed. I want a map switcher that gives me four profiles - max 0.6 bar for econmoy, normal map, GT3 upgrade chip map and red race code map (and maybe even a fith with no limits whatsoever). Hope you are listening Marcus - I want to trial this product!!! And I bet I could even hook the map switcher up to my traction control system somehow........ (now that really would be cool - using boost limits to control traction).
Anyway back to the subject in hand. Anybody worried about fuel consumption - dont be. It runs fairly rich but I can still squeeze 300 miles out of a tank - which is all I ever could before. Do pay attention to the fact that, as with any performance upgrade, it will induce more stress and wear ont he engine and other components. I havent removed the cat yet - but I will as I dont want the increased exhaust temps to cause me a problem. I have modified the induction path and used a K&N panel filter. Will be replacing that soon with a new carbon box I have for the job.
Detontation doesnt appear to have been a problem - will fit the Aquamist for safety - and it may even scavange a bit of extra power. Only concern maybe whether its running too lan at peak boost/revs. I need to stick something ont he dash so I can monitor it.
But put simply this transforms the way your car feels. Power delivery out of corners is far more readily available. Its more flexible int he midrange making it easier to drive. And the full boost being nearly .3 bar higher makes a huge difference.
So my advice - as long as you are aware of the extra wear and stress - do it! You get a different car for not much money! It will be enough to stop you wanting to upgrade to a v8!

 

4cyl. Chip #5. High-Performance code 330HP (also based on the improved S4s Mk5 code)
by Lotus Esprit World

On changing to chip #5, I again noticed a very high idle on start-up, but this settles down once it's been in the Esprit for a runs. I spent a while driving gentle to let the chip bed in. Even then I notice the changes over chip #2, the whole car seemed more eager. A little scary, as you can sense the extra power. After the 30 mile run in, I started to push a little harder to see what difference the chip made. Firstly you notice the torque of chip #3 has gone. The power comes in smoother than chip #3. What you get is huge amounts of power, but spread over the rev range more than chip #3.

You find the boost coming in lower down and harder, but somehow less brutal. Strange I know, but one makes you feel torque, the other power. You get loads of boost from the turbo, which pulls you along at massive speeds. You remember the first time you drove an Esprit and really put your foot down. Well it feels like that all over again. You really feel the power and the boost rises to the full 1.2 bar quickly. Where before the boost is slow to rise and stops at below a bar (0.85), it now rises quickly and easily passes the bar and carries on hard and fast.

Because of the higher boost, I've decided not to test the chip under full throttle until I've fitted a digital boost gauge. Even with around 80-90% throttle the power is heart-stopping. You find it hard to believe that a simple chip can turn the Esprit into this beast. My exhaust was popping and banging and I still managed to spin the rears when a BMW M3 tried it on. Overtaking is easy, but not as easy as #3. You've got the power, but it's like the normal Esprit. You need to be in the right gear. Once you hit the power you've more than enough, but if you're not, you do have to wait a second. Chip #3 gives you the power lower and harder and is much easier for over taking. Maybe actually slower, but easier for the more instance pick-up needed for overtaking.

Chip #5 keeps the Esprit feel as it was, but increases the power like you couldn't imagine. I've added a few performance modification in a short space of time and these added to the chip, have turned my Esprit into a real monster. The Esprit has always been fast, but never felt fast in my opinion. Now it feels like a supercar. Real power. I feel a new clutch will be needed, along with better brakes and suspension to help handle this extra power. With chip #6 still to test, I think a few more mods will need to be added. I'm looking forward to fitting the boost gauge and new rear tyres and testing it to the full. Maybe a track day will be needed!

As for which chip I will be using, I'm still not sure. I may try #3 again and then decide, but if you like the Esprits power as it is, but want more power, then #5 is the one to go for. Remember, will this sort of power you'll need to be careful. Both driving and looking after your Esprit. This is no family car with a big engine, your in real supercar territory now! No posers should apply.

NEW: High Torque #3 Chip vs. 330 HP #5 Chip
by Tom Georgalis

I have read all the commentaries on your chip reviews and I would like to add what my experience has been between the performances of these chips. First of all, I have a 1990 SE with these basic modifications:

Blow off Valve
Stebro exhaust
Stebro cat-delete pipe
Ram air conversion
High Flow air cleaner

Impressions:

Chip #5. Your observation of horsepower versus torque is absolutely correct. The torque between 2800 rpm and 4500 rpm is definitely less. At 4500 rpm is where the power really starts to come on strong and then reduce toward redline. The chip is definitely a “High Speed” chip in character as acceleration is strong in the upper 3 gears. It has the long legs of an autobahn sports car. My car did feel more refined with this chip. Under part throttle the power delivery and operation is much smoother. That is until full throttle is applied, at which point the car begins to feel strained and loaded. In my opinion it is not as much fun as the #3 chip, you have to use the upper range to make the car pull. My feeling is that the car was slower than the #3 chip.

Chip #3. I love this chip. Acceleration is instantaneous and dramatic. It happens so fast that if there is a power reduction in the upper end I cannot feel it. The power and delivery reminds me of the 80’s Porsche 930 turbo’s. At 3000 rpm you better be pointing in the right direction or you can get in trouble. Disturbed, how a 290 horsepower chip can feel faster than a 330 horsepower chip, I decided to test them.

I want to point out that all acceleration tests were done by G-Tech, and not wanting to replace a clutch and transmission any time soon, I used a conservative 3000-rpm launch. This is reflected in the elapsed mile times. My main interest was trap speed. Here are the figures:

Temperature: 70 degrees Fahrenheit

Chip 0-60 mph Quarter mile time Trap Speed
Stock 5.49 13.61 106.9
#3 5.17 13.21 111.9
#5 5.32 13.54 109.2

 

It may be that my particular car is not set up properly for the added boost of chip #5. Maybe too lean on fuel on the upper end. My feeling was correct that the #3 chip is faster for my application. The car also seems to run less strained after strong running than with the #5 chip. Convinced that I was staying with the #3 chip I decided to see what this car could do. I added Nitrous High Octane Booster (Black Label 105 octane) and tested it one more time:

4500 rpm launch
0-60: 4.96 Quarter mile time: 12.97 @ 113.8 mph

Thanks again, keep up the great work. Tom Georgalis, now at tomg@empireautomotive.com


#4 310 BHP Chip Review
Reviewed by Mark Wiens

Well, after installing a Sport 300 tranny and a new PUK +35% torque clutch, and with the sun shining, I replaced my #3 Hi-Torque chip with the #4 310BHP chip for review. Burning it in with a nice long idle with AC Off and then On, I took it for a spin. It's been a long time since I ran with the original stock SE chip, but I certainly recall what a difference the S4s MkV chip made when I first installed it. I was also pleased when I switched to the Hi-Torque chip, for a nice additional bit of torque surge for passing cars on a two lane road without hesitation. I've been running with the Hi-Torque chip now for just over a year and have been quite happy with it.

At one point, partially due to changes in the weather, I had to reset the Hi-Torque chip and have it re-learn wintertime, hehe. I found by adjusting the wastegate a bit higher, from 0.58 (where it was originally) to 0.68 based on Marcus' recommendation that it should not be below 0.65 and should range from 0.65-0.75, this was a 'big' help in eliminating the 3K flatspot.

For reference, I've got a dual Magnaflow muffler system (hi flow straight-thru with glass packed walls), a K&N air filter and a TAS Blow-off Valve from Sanj, which may affect things a bit, but everything else is stock.

According to Marcus at PUK, the Hi-Torque chip is 285HP (same as the S4s chip), but with the additional torque. Inititally, I wanted to be careful and not overtax the engine and tranny by going to a higher power chip. But, as it happened, my pinion shaft bearing was weak anyway, with 50k miles on the car, and so was my clutch. And after running with the Hi-Torque and doing a lot of WOT (wide-open-throttle) tests using Freescan... over a period of 12 months, the tranny was getting noisier and finally, the clutch began to slip, just before I received the 310BHP chip. So I waited to get that fixed and run for a while before installing it. Here are my observations;

1. The 310BHP definately seems to bring up boost higher for the same amount of gas pedal travel than the Hi-Torque chip.

2. The 310BHP chip definately climbs a bit faster (acceleration) in the upper rpm regions, whereas the Hi-Torque chip tends to level off up there at maybe 5500 to Redline (horsepower levels off). In other words, the 310BHP continues to accelerate (increased horsepower) after that. This is, of course, due to the 25 additional horsepower.

3. On the Hi-Torque chip I periodically noticed some gas fumes when doing a pedal-to-the-floor WOT throttling thru the gears at 2800 rpm on up, whereas I haven't noticed as much on the 310BHP chip on a run in the same location (freeway onramp) full boost. I'm guessing this is because of a higher fuel dump percentage into the intake at lower rpms during WOT with the Hi-Torque chip... but it could be due to other things too. I did replace the one-way check valve last year, which helped immensely. But, I notice on the 310BHP chip, though the boost comes in earlier, it doesn't peak out the boost gauge as high as the Hi-Torque chip initially did. This could be partially due to the ECM learning process, but I've reset several times during the course of the last year.

4. The one thing I notice more than anything, is that one thing I liked about the Hi-Torque chip, is that things are very controllable up to approximately 50-60% throttle. The boost only goes up to .65 or so there, but then when giving her more pedal or WOT during a quick pass, it lunges forward and I'm able to have great confidence in passing under tight conditions. The 310BHP also tends to hit around the .65-.70 bar boost but it seems like it does it at a much earlier throttle, like 30-40%, then climbs much higher at 50-70%. On the Hi-Torque chip, the throttle vs boost acts a tad more like a switch within a window, versus the 310BHP which is a bit more linear thruout the boost range vs throttle position/load. I was worried at first that this might render the 310BHP chip a bit less controllable in the lower rpm's above 3k, but I was wrong, it is very controllable due to it's apparent, more linear response range.

5. The 310BHP chip does definately have a nice noticeable increase in acceleration at mid to higher rpm's. Part of the reason the Hi-Torque acceleration at higher rpm's levels off more noticeably than the earlier S4s chip, is because, due to the higher torque at lower revs, you have essentially already reached a higher speed 'earlier', so you essentially get put back in the seat earlier as opposed to later at higher revs with the S4s chip. But, the 310BHP chip seems to be a pretty nice balance of both worlds, due to its higher power.

So, at this point, I've decided I definately like the 310BHP chip upgrade and though I was concerned about losing some lower rpm torque that I had with the Hi-Torque chip, I think, due to the higher power curve and the smoother, more linear boost, it definately makes up for it quite a bit! So I don't find the issue I thought I might have, requiring a downshift to get to the right rpm's to make a tedious two-lane car pass. The power is there! It's smooth and linear... and goes like a bat outa hell when progressively reaching wide open throttle in 4th. I don't think I'll be going back to the Hi-Torque chip. :)

Just as a final note. I hear that many people have had no issues with stock clutches with these higher power chips. But, the S4s was given a stronger clutch from the factory (due to some clutch failures on the early ones), than the older SE's. So, either be observant and careful not to pack too much off-the-line torque and power onto a stock SE clutch, or consider a higher torque (+35%) PUK clutch or an S4s clutch (which requires an additional flywheel purchase). According to PUK, the +35% clutch is stronger than the S4s clutch. Also, the PUK actually requires less clutch pedal pressure than the S4s, which my mechanic confirmed by its design.
--
Best Regards,
Mark (91SE 310BHP) Wiens


4cyl. Chip #6. Red-Race-code
Reviewed by Bill Sun

I have installed my new #6 Red Race Chip about one week ago, and had the chance to take it out for 2 drives. I have not fully explored it's upper limits yet, but I am really amazed at the new power and low end torque. Let me start by telling you about the performance modification on my 1995 Esprit S4s.

- K & N Air Filter
- Ram Air Conversion
- Justin Mcaulay's Dump Valve
- 2002 Esprit OZ wheels with Michelin Pilot tires
- Magnaflow stainless steel free flow exhaust system with 3 inch inlet and quad tip exhaust outlet.
- MotoConcept #5 High Performance 330 HP Chip

Originally, when I changed from the stock S4s chip to the #5 High Performance 330 HP Chip, I was already amazed at the huge power increase that I got from it versus stock. The car was extremely fast and had no problem keeping up with the newer twin turbo V8s.

Now with the new #6 chip, my first drive felt like I was driving a completely different car. The boost came on instantly and the car had a lot of low end torque right from the start. The car was much easier to drive both slow and fast (unlike the #5 chip, which felt more at home in the higher rpm range). The turbo lag was so minimal that it felt almost nonexistent. The power and the torque was just smooth from the start that you would almost forget that there was a turbo in there. The car shot off right away like a big V8 and continued to rev. very quickly to almost infinity (at least it felt that way).

The car's power come on so fast and hard that it made me a little nervous at first. I love this new found power. Viper like power with Esprit performance. I don't know exactly how much more horse power that my S4s have gained from the #6 Red Race Chip versus the #5 High Performance 330 HP chip, but I am certain, it is much more than 330 HP (considering all my modifications).

My good friend Ed Miller at the same time ordered the same #6 Red Race Chip as me, and he has confirmed to me the same results. A few close Lotus friends and I are planning to get our Esprits on a dyno, and I am eager to see my results.

I had a little stalling problem on my first test drive, but my second drive seem to be fine. It could have been attributed to my initial impatience to allow the car's computer to relearn itself to the new chip. Today, I was advised by our local Lotus expert (Harry Appleby) here in Southern California, USA, on the how to process of allowing the computer to relearn the new software. I have followed his instructions, and will be going for a few more test drives this week.

I will also be reviewing the other 4 cylinder chips! Watch this space

V8 Chip #2. High Performance upgrade kit 350-450HP (adjustable)
Reviewed by Chris Weeden

I thought I would write and post my findings as I have just fitted the Race ECU as supplied by Marcus. I fitted it at the weekend after running with the high torque ECU previously, I also have a Blitz boost gauge so I can see what is happening behind me.

The ECU is very easy to fit once the right hand fuel tank cover (which is the hard bit) and remember to disconnect the battery first also. Once done I was ready for a test drive. I let it idle for a short while, occasionaly blipping the throttle to allow the ECU to learn the idle without stalling, it would have been a good idea to turn on the air-con too as I found out later. :-O

Anyway, I set off nice and gently to let things warm up and also because I was a little apprehensive. I didn't need to be as it is very progressive and extremely smooth, making just as easy to drive as before. It is obviously more eager, even at slow speeds. The turbos do start to spool up sooner than before probably around 2,500 rpm but it is difficult to say exactly. Maybe Marcus could elabourate a little on the thresholds etc.

Once warm I wanted to see what the boost was like in the higher gears first, all the time I am being mindful not to abuse the lower gears with all this new potential. I have a good bit of dual carriage way which runs up a long but not too steep hill. In 4th and 5th my immediate reaction was how blooming tireless it feels, there is no sudden punch, but a building surge which just keeps going and going. I changed up earlyish to 5th and it pulled like a trooper needing some brake testing before the roundabout at the top. :-)

The blitz has its boost warning threshold set at .75 bar (user definable) and it passed this which is to be expected. I need to change the threshold now and make the buttons more accesible so I can check the peak values too (I modified the guage to sit in the dash and the buttons are hidden for now) Over the last few days I have driven it to Brighton (about 50 miles) on the motorway in this record breaking heat. With the air-con on and at a steady 85 units/hour the temp was rock steady with very little boost. In 5th it would pull from these speeds very well. At one point a spotty yoof in an Orion decided to sit on my bumper when we were all in traffic. Anyway I dropped it to 3rd at maybe 50 - 60 and once clear I 'booted it'. It took off and kept going through fourth, by which time (and this is the best measure) Jayne looked behind and said 'where is he, I can't even see a dot which might be him' - GRIN!!!

In short, anyone who wants more power should buy one right now. It is very driveable and although I have accelerated very quickly I do feel comfortable that I can easily look after the gearbox with gentle changes, change up early in the lower gears and not quite flooring it until maybe 3rd. This doesn't detract from the overall feel as it is still very fast indeed. I haven't made any fuel consumption observations as I think it is irrelevant as I wouldn't go back now. And just to keep Mike Sekinger happy, the water injection should arrive this weekend or soon after as well as the dump valves. I have a spare set of intake manifolds and Stephen Miller is going to help me with the necessary welding modifications to fit. (Stephen I forgot to mention the need to fabricate an aluminium water tank... any chance you can manage this too? I will keep you in beer if you can :-)

As a knock on, the Brembo's are working well so far coping with 3 figure to not much at all braking, but these are few and far between. I want to upgrade to AP but I want to get the best in one hit and would like to go for 330mm discs instead of the 320mm. I am fairly sure they will fit, if anyone with the AP's could check the clearance between the calipers and the wheels I would appreciate it. To fit these I believe I only need to fabricate new mounting brakets for the calipers and the larger discs onto the standard bells. As with all my mods I want to do this as cheaply as possible, so if anyone knows which AP calipers are the equivilent to the Lotus embossed ones I would be very gratefull and also if you have some complete bell and disc dimension (Mike Sekinger ???) I could go direct to AP and save a packet. Also once this is done, would anyone be interested in a set of V8 Brembos? Thanks alot Marcus it is a very good upgrade and your parcel is in the post today.

Here is some spec for those of you who like data:
- boost buildup begins @ 2300rpm and rises very very quickly to spec- max. @ 3100rpm (torque = 290 lbs/ft)
- max torque rises steadily from 3100-6500rpm to impressive 300 lbs/ft at 6500rpm
- max. power @ 6500rpm is 350HP at the wheels ! (= around 440HP at the crank)
- Max. boost is 0.9 bar (1.0 bar only for very short periods under very special conditions)
- max. boost 0.9 bar is only given @ full throttle and with relative low intake temps. If its very hot outside you wont see the 0.9 bar
(this is done for safety)
- A/F ratio is richer compared to the stock ECU. The higher the intake temp the more fuel is given for cooling purposes. But its really not excessive fuel dump like on Ford-Cossie-turbos ;o) Minimum A/F is 18 @ 3000rpm, maximum is 11 at 7000rpm (measured @ full throttle) -> of course fuel consumption is more than with the stock ECU (about +10-20%)
- A/C mode is fully working ! ;o)
- With TPS < 45% it behaves very similarly to the stock High Torque ECU

Regards, Chris Weeden



LEW has recently been made aware of the sale of Esprit 'Chips' on Ebay. These are most likely to be either copied or clone chips, being sold without license from the manufacturer. LEW would advise against purchasing 'chips' off Ebay. The ECU chip is a very important part of the Esprit and is not be be taken lightly. Please purchase any Chips from legal vendor, who have spent time and money developing and testing. You will get help and advice before and after purchase and also the opportunity to get upgrade versions for a discounted price. You never know what you'll get otherwise!

More importantly this is taking profit away from the few companies that are still making and developing products for the Esprit. There are far too few of these as it is and reducing any profits they make is likely to have long term effects on the whole Esprit community. It's always tempting when you see something 'cheap', but remember that in the Esprit market, buying cheap normally cost you in the long run.

November 2004

 
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