Graham Elliott's 1990
Graham Elliott from Culemborg, Netherlands owns a 1990 Esprit SE in Calypso Red, with a black Leather interior.
SE Year: 1990 Colour: Calypso Red Interior: Black Leather Driving Style: Fast Miles per year: 4,000 – 8,000 Owned Since: August 2003 Purchase from: Van Sten Engineering – The Netherlands Serviced at: Van Sten Engineering – The Netherlands Other Cars: Mondeo TDCI 130pk Company Car Previous Lotus': 1985 Turbo Esprit Why an Esprit: Originally a Divorce present to myself, then, Once bitten never forgotten pure pleasure Upgrades: See below! Problems: See below!
As you can see from the pictures she is Calypso Red and has a full leather black interior. She is in A1 condition both inside and out. Before picking her up at Van Sten Engineering, they gave her a 'C' Service, new battery, new front disks/ pads, new fog lamps (one had a crack), New bonnet badge (there was a small crack), replaced the pin strips and fitted new tyres all round, eventually fitting Dunlop SP9000's with a 45 profile instead of the useual 50 profile, I will let you know how the perform. I also had the footwell mats from my first Esprit fitted, as they were the right colour and the wiper blade, which was new as well. Finally there was a new M.O.T or APK as they call it in the Netherlands.
Many thanks go to the late Maarten Van Sten, who sadly died of cancer on the 4th August. He may be lost, but he will never be forgotten. It was only after many discussions with Maarten that I decided on purchasing this Esprit. Also my thanks go to Peter, who has continued what Maarten started and did most of the preparation work on my Esprit. I know she will be in good hands when work needs to be done.
After getting the keys the first stop will be the local petrol station for a full tank, which won't last long as I have planned a trip over the border and into Germany for a nice fast drive to shake out the cob webs and get to know her. As with all Esprits especially in The Netherlands, everyone turns and looks, as you do not see to many here. Cars pull out of the way to let you pass, probably so as they can have a look rather than to move out of they way for a faster vehicle.
The only annoying thing I found when I had my first Esprit was that everyone assumed it was a Ferrari (as if) and nothing has changed in that.
At Van Sten Engineering waiting to be brought
Well with 120 kph speed limits in The Netherlands It will be a sensible drive over to the border to bed in the brakes, listen to all the noises so as I knew what is normal, the occasional blast on the throttle, and dropping gears for a bit of fun.
But once in Germany it will be time for some real fun. This will have to wait now as the journey home highlighted a couple of issues which needed looking into first. When on the highway I accelerated to around 140 and throttled off, it was then that I felt a snaking feeling and memories of my crash in the first Esprit were all to prevalent in my mind. It really did feel as thought she was going to spin and my eyes were flicking all over the place looking for things to miss!!
It transpired that everything was okay and I pulled over to see what the problem was as I thought maybe I had a puncture, a couple of checks revealed two loose wheel nuts on the front left and 1 loose nut on the rear left. So I ran around with the wheel brace and tightened them up. After that it was a gentle cruise home as I was to nervous to try some speed. When I got home I gave her a thorough check over and found that both the front wheels had excessive play in the wheel bearings. You could hear the clonk clonk sound as I moved the wheels back and forth.
I can only imagine that they forgot to check this during the APK. Either way it doesnt inspire you much. First thing Monday I called the garage to have them sorted under warranty, and they are being done this Friday. Well after that it was the customary wash and polish then a couple of mods.
FUTURE UPGRADES From STATUS Price Ram Air Conversion Self Completed 01.09.2003 Free
Chip Upgrade #2
P.U.K. (Germany) Planned €310 Blow Off Valve HB Motorsport (Holland) 30.04.2004 €130 Shift Lights Race-sport (USA) Money Stolen $69 ALDL Cable & Interface Andy Whittaker Completed €57.58 Turbo Timer Not sourced yet Searching Gas Dampers & Springs P.U.K. (Germany) Planned €1139 Alloy EBPV Replacement Spacer Van Sten (Holland) Completed 07.02.04 €40 S/S Cat bypass Pipe Moto-Concept (Germany) Completed 07.02.04 €300 S/S Sports Exhaust Larini Systems (UK) Completed 08.2004 £347.80 S/S Brake hoses Racespeed (UK) 07.02.04 £39.80 S/S Clutch hose Van Sten (Holland) Completed €103.66 S/S Door Sills Lotus Esprit World (UK) Planned £75 S/S Braided fuel lines Not sourced yet Searching Oil Themostat P.U.K. (Germany) Planned €159 Polyurethane Bushes P.U.K. (Germany) Planned €389 Momo Race 350mm steering wheel SJ Sportscars (UK) Planned £155 Alloy gearknob Club Lotus (Donington show) Completed 29.03.04 £17.98 Alloy Brake sleeve Moto-Concept (Germany) Completed €40 Alloy Fire Extinguisher Elise Shop (Holland) Completed €21.38 Alloy drilled pedals Moto-Concept (Germany) Planned €195 Alloy heater controls Elise Shop (Holland) Planned €44.35 Alloy Gearshit Surround Lotus Esprit World (UK) Planned £85 Alloy steering column stalks Not sourced yet Searching Green Cotton Air Filter GKB-Import (Holland) 30.04.04 €65 EBC Turbo-Groove Disks (f) Powerstop (Donington show) 30.03.04 £118.00 EBC Turbo-Groove Disks (r) Elise Shop (Holland) Planned Smoked Side Repeater Lenses Auto-Shop (Holland) Completed €25 EBC 'Green Stuff' Front Brake Pads Van Sten (Holland) Completed 07.02.20004 €63.07 EBC 'Green Stuff' Rear Brake Pads Van Sten (Holland) Planned £145 Stiffened Front Roll Bar Racespeed (UK) Planned £109.95 Rear Wheel Bearings SJ Sportscars (UK) Planned £49 Fuel Breather Pipe Van Sten (Holland) Completed €6 Radiator Replacement Van Sten (Holland) Completed Warranty Alternator Belt Van Sten (Holland) Completed Warranty Radar Detector Cheetah (UK-Euro Version) Planned £199 Lotus wheel centre badges Moto-Concept (Germany) Completed €39.90 Headlight Switch (worn) Lotusbits.com Ordered £5 Front Wheel Bearings Van Sten (Holland) Completed £23.21 each Front & rear grills (alloy) Gamma (Holland) Completed 29.03.04 €40.50 Gear Link Ball Joint Boots SJ Sportscars (UK) Planned £8.72 each Chargecooler Impeller Rotor Van Sten (Holland) Completed €49.00 Gear Change Cables Van Sten (Holland) Completed 07.02.20004 €298.00 Lower Gear Lever Rubber Gaiter SJ Sportscars (UK) Planned £22.59 Oil Mist Catch Tank Bieusheuvel (Holland) Completed €117 R/H Window Motor (Repair) Van Sten Holland Completed €60 Wiper Arm + Blade Ford Mondeo Completed $60 Driveshaft Oil Seals (inc Oil Change) Van Sten (Holland) Completed €358.00 Camshaft End Seals myself Completed €10 Turbo main feed oil pipe Van Sten (Holland) Completed Gearbox replacement Van Sten (Holland) Completed €1400 Clutch Replacement PUK – Van Sten (Holland) Completed €420 Flywheel skimmed, seals replaced Van Sten (Holland) Completed With above Sump Gaskets, crank seals Van Sten (Holland) Completed With above Beautiful Babe Ditched Waste of time Too Much
Alloy Brake Handle & Fire Extinguisher
These were easy jobs, just a case of cutting off the old plastic handbrake cover and pushing on the new alloy one. I think along with other Alloy accessories it makes the whole interior more up to date and makes it look a bit more in keeping with the car. The Fire Extinguisher has been fitted into the cabin; next to the drivers seat with easy access should it be needed. Being of a brushed alloy look it fits in well with the other accessories and adds another touch of class to the cabin. Easy to fit just 2 screws.
Again these are easy to fit; they are just stick on wheel centre badges for the OZ Wheels, again just adding that little extra to the appearance
Side Repeater Replacement
Today after taking my Esprit to Van Sten where they kindly sorted the Wheel Bearings and the small leak from the chargecooler (just a loose pipe). I popped down to an auto store and brought some aftermarket side repeaters. The reason for deciding on these was because I did not want to drill any extra holes or enlarge the existing one in the body work when replacing the repeaters, as it would be nice to have the option of fitting the originals back if I sold her in the future. So I decided to buy some cheaper repeaters strip them down and only use the bulb, wires and cover..
As you can see from the 1st picture there is a complete repeater and another one striped down. Then second picture shows the components that I used and the final ones show the installation. It was a very easy job that took about an hour in total, (I work slow).
You will notice that I went for smoked glass instead of clear or orange as I thought they would fit in better with the other black trimmings and not look out of place. Clear ones would have stood out a mile on a red background and orange ones are a bit dated now. Also I decided on the squarer type as it fits in with the lines of the Esprit.
Well after my Stelvio run last month I ran into a couple of problems when I got back, firstly there was a terrible smell of burning and the sound of a slipping belt, When I checked I noticed that the water pump belt was inside out yep the teeth were on the outside.
I took my Esprit back to the garage and they checked it all over, finding that one of the bolts holding the adjuster arm had sheared off which slackened the belt and enabled it to turn over. It also jumped the pulley onto the next ring (which was spare). Thankfully no serious damage done and they repaired it without problem.
The following week I pulled up at work and saw a stream of water pouring from underneath which at first I thought was a hose gone but it transpired to be the radiator core that had gone. Luckily this was replaced under warranty otherwise it would have been an expensive job. Anyway got the car back now and she is running fine again now.
Last week I also attended the British Race Festival at Zandvoort again, without the Esprit as she was having the radiator done at the time, but still it was good to see some Lotuss going around. There were a couple of Europas, Elans, Elites and one Esprit. That was my friend Ferry in his G Turbo HC. He only managed a couple of laps before the safety car went out and pulled him off for Driving Too Fast on a race circuit!! Only got a couple of pics this year as my camera was playing up.
I managed to purchase some Lotus valve caps for the wheels 10 Euro for 4 which I did not think was too bad and they look the biz.
Just had the Clutch Hose changed for a S/S one and at the same time a new Throttle cable fitted as mine was getting a bit stiff! At the weekend I was at Van Sten Engineering for a monthly meet and was chatting to a guy who has just brought a Lotus (Elise), he was saying that he had been looking for a Porsche for 2 years then a freind took him out in a Lotus and let him drive. He was absolutely amazed, so much he went out and brought a brand new one the following week, another convert. I also met a guy with a Lotus Elan, he has had the car from brand new which he brought 37 years ago and still uses it for rallying.
Then whilst chatting to another guy after he had been taken out by Ferry in an Esprit and an Elise, he said exactly the same, he was thinking of buying a Porsche but after being in the Lotus he is re-thinking. Interestingly I had been emailing this guy during the week, unknowingly as I have been making some enquiries about Polyeuruthene bushes for the Esprit, these can be brought in Germany but this company is in The Netherlands and they are willing to make them if the specs can be supplied, but in the meantime they are trying to find out for me.
When I get the info and purchase mine, either from them or in Germany I will let you know and get some pics whilst being changed at Van Sten's as well. Another guy I met in an Esprit S2, with a rover V8 in the back, not much room but an interesting conversion. Peter took some pics so I will try and get a copy for you.
Just had a couple of bits done on my Esprit not having had any real problems with the Red Hose Syndrome I couldnt see what all the fuss was about but I though what the hec Ill have it done anyway then I do not have to worry about it in the future. How wrong was I, after having it done the clutch feels so much smoother, it had new fluid anyway so its not just a change of fluid that has done the job. Before it had a stiffer feel to it and was a bit jerky, but now it is nice and smooth and it slots into gear nice and slick.
At the same time I had the fuel breather hose replaced, Peter at Van Stens did all the work for me and he put a higher grade hose on with clips etc, no more fuel smell in the cabin. It really was becoming a pain before but now it gone for good.
At the same time Peter also re-routed my throttle cable as it was a bit stiff and I though it needed changing, but a slight re-route in the engine bay and now its all nice and smooth. Feels so much better and is more controllable.
Last week I took delivery of some Goodridge S/S brake hoses which I will have fitted when I do my brake upgrade which is going to be EBC Turbogroove disks front and rear, Pagid pads all round, the hoses, new wheel bearings and seals all round and some high boiling point fluid, either EBC or Castrol. I am hoping to get all the bits in the next few weeks along with some new dampers which I am having made by Nitron, one of the specialist suppliers to the racing industry.
They have not made any dampers for an Esprit before so mine will be the first in the world. Currently they have all the specs which I have supplied them, courtesy of Van Stens (Thanks to Peter and Yvo) and they will be making the dampers in the next few weeks.
The plan is over the winter period I will be doing the brakes, dampers, exhaust system, and the usual mods to the engine like filter, dump valve, chip etc so it is going to be an expensive Christmas this year.
Pics are from a fun weekend around Amsterdam which I had with some other guys and gals from Holland, Germany and the UK.
Manifold problems lead to gearbox problem!
Another sunny day and a drive in my Esprit, but after about half hour I found that engaging gear was getting more and more difficult and the gear shift felt as though something was obstructing it. Having already changed the Red hose for a Stainless one, I knew it wasnt that and it didnt feel like that sort of problem.
I decided it was best to take her home in case anything went wrong so I took a steady cruise back home and had a coffee and let everything cool down for a bit. After a couple of hours I though I would take a look and see if I could find the problem. Firstly the centre console was removed and everything looked just fine, only problem now though is the gear shift will not move at all!!
So time to check the gearbox end where I found that the gear selector cables outer covers had melted and welded themselves to the inner cable. No wonder the shift wouldnt move.
I managed to cut off about a foot of the outer cable and now I can engage 3rd gear but nothing else, so I think I will have to have her picked up and taken to Van Stens for sorting as she now definitely needs new cable and I can not reach the rest.
I think the problem resulted because I have a blowing gasket where the manifold meets the Turbo and probably the excess heat that is generated by the blowing has melted the cables. A good check of the area and I can not see anything else wrong, but let it be a lesson to us all, if the exhaust starts blowing, get it fixed as it is now going to cost me a lot more than just a gasket.
As I am buying a stainless system anyway, including a Cat replacement, I will have both done together then it should all be fine.
January 2004 Update
I have just got my Esprit back after having some Winter Work completed. Firstly because of my melted gear change cables and the inability to drive my Esprit other than in 3rd gear, Peter from Van Sten Engineering had to come out with the Auto Ambulance and pick her up. She was winched backwards onto the trailer and off she went, so whilst in the garage I took the opportunity to have a few other bits done at the same time..
Gear Change Cables
These proved a little more difficult to change that was first thought as to gain access to the transmission tunnel from inside the car; most of the centre console has to be dismantled. Firstly the gear knob needs removing then the arm rest. After that the lower gaiter needs to come off and mine was all torn from wear so that is another little job for me to do at some stage, I know you cant see it but it protects the gear linkage from all the dust and muck that goes that way, so Id like to do it at some stage. In addition I noticed that there is a small hole in the leather gaiter so I will replace that at some stage as well. The next thing is to remove the radio, and of course no one had the correct Kenwood tools do this so myself and a Rob (another Lotus Driver from The Netherlands) fiddled around with some implements and managed to get the whole unit out. It was not fitted in correctly in the first place which made life a bit easier. Now that had been done the garage could continue with the work by removing the heater controls and panel, which then gives access to the fixings from the centre console to remove the metal plate which covers most of the transmission tunnel around the gear stick. The new cables were then fitted, and the whole assembly replaced.
First impressions driving the car were good, the left to right movement of the gear change has been reduced, this can be adjusted if required with the ball joints at the gearbox end, but I am going to leave them as it makes life a lot easier for fast gear changing with very little sideways movement needed to go from second to third or fourth to fifth and visa-versa. The other thing is the gear change itself now is extremely smooth; it used to be a bit clicky but now it just glides into gear.
The only problem I did encounter which was a bit of a silly mistake by the garage was that as the position of first gear has moved slightly over to the right, it meant that when engaging reverse you no longer needed to lift the reverse collar on the stick, this meant that I nearly engaged reverse from third a couple of times on the way home. So when I got home I removed the armrest and moved the guide block which is located next to the gearshift (it has some sideways movement ability) over to the right meaning that the guide pin on the lever now glides along the guide when using first and second which in turn means you now have to use the reverse collar ring correctly when engaging reverse to lift the pin above the guide block.
The reason why the gear change cables melted in the first place was due to a broken stud holding the manifold onto the turbo, so this has now been replaced and the new cables have been wrapped in heat shielding tape so as they do not suffer again should the same thing happen.
Stainless Steel Brake Hoses
At the same time I had all 6 brake hoses changed, I had brought them a while ago and was waiting to fit them so now seemed like a good time. I went for the Goodrich ones in the end which were purchased from Race Speed in the UK. At first I was a bit baffled as there were 6 hoses and I though, erm I only have four wheels, where do the other 3 go. A quick email to Hethel and they gave me a call (Thanks very much) which was nice of them, and they explained that the extra 2 are for the front of the suspension arm as the pipe runs along the arm and then to the wheel, so flexi hose at the front and at the rear going to the wheel.
In addition to the new hoses I had the fluid changed for Castrol Super DOT4 which is normal brake fluid but with a higher boiling point, the same as synthetic fluids. That should hopefully stop me boiling the brakes again as I did on the Stelvio last year.
Front Brake Pads
I had the front brake pads changed for EBC Greenstuff as well to assist in making the front brakes a little better, as we all know brakes are not a strong point and before changing the discs (which I will be doing later) I though this would help a little. Well when the old pads were removed you could see why they were so bad, where I had boiled the brakes last year the pads had got so hot that the paint on the reverse of the pads had actually blistered, and they still 6 months on smelt burnt and looked rather crisp. In addition they were glazed as hell so good job I decided to change them.
Vacuum Check Valve
Another problem I have been having with the brakes over the past couple of months is that about 70% of the time when braking the pedal felt like you were hitting a brick wall, at first I thought maybe there was air in the system, so had the brakes bled and replaced the fluid but it made no difference, then I was reading somewhere on the net about a about another driver (not Lotus) was having the same problem and he changed the V.C.V and it made the difference. So Peter had a spare one lying around actually from my old Esprit, which is still tucked away in the back of his garage and I replaced it, only took a couple of minuets. Problem solved, brakes are back to normal with feel again, and with the S/S hoses there is so much more you can feel through the pedal. The Vacuum Check Valve is located under the bonnet on the brass colored round thing, it just plugs into the front with a grommet and is connected to a vacuum hose with a clip so easy job.
Stainless Steel Cat By-Pass
My old cat was showing signs of wear and had been welded a few times so I thought it was about time to replace it. In the end I opted for the stainless steel item from Moto-Concept, cheaper than the other German shops by a couple of hundred Euros, but still cost 300 Euros. It looks exactly the same as the original cat except the pipe is free flow so no obstruction to the exhaust gases. I was a little disappointed however in the pipe itself which is made to order as the welding looks as though it has been done by a 12 year old, the seems are all untidy and there was a dent in the end of the pipe. But as long as it does it job it should be okay, after all you can not see it. The pick-up of the car feels more responsive but then again it is difficult to tell, the exhaust note has not changed, it still sounds like a invalid car under normal load, but it gets more raunchy under heavy acceleration which is nice. Cant wait now to get the sports silencer, which incidentally Van Sten are going to make for me, more about that another time.
With the new Cat replacement I decided to get rid of the EBPV so that was ditched and an Aluminum spacer was inserted in its place, which is basically just an alloy ring, it is nice and light so will not effect the joints and of course will not rust so will aid any future exhaust work.
The weekend was a lot of fun, it started on Friday with a wash and polish of my Esprit ready for Donnington, which was to be my first visit. Unfortunately it rained all the way from my home to Van Stens where I was meeting the other Dutch guys coming over for the weekend, so my baby got dirty again. Well the weekend started bad with a speeding ticket on the way to meet the others. A plain police car pulled me over and gave me a ticket for 145kph in a 100kph zone. I can not see how he could possibly have clocked me as I went passed him and slowed straight away. After that he followed me at 100kph for about a mile, then 50kph after which I accelerated into the inside lane to let him go past but instead he pulled me over a knicked me. I am going to contest the ticket as I dont think he can prove it. Well I wasnt going to let it ruin my weekend anyway. After meeting with the other guys we set off for the Rotterdam to Hull ferry for the overnight journey, getting into Hull at around 8am.
We drove down to the M1 and stopped at Woodall services for a coffee and then continued on but just after leaving the services, my friend Ferrys Guigario Esprit stopped and we all pulled over to the hard shoulder. It turn out he lost his gears, something broken in the gearbox. So he called the Dutch equivalent of the AA to be picked up. We sent the other guys on to Donny whilst 2 of us stayed with Ferry. We waited 3 hours for the AA, during that time several Loti went passed and waived, with one guy and his girlfriend stopping in his Red Esprit N/A. We had a chat and after seeing his front & rear grill replaced with an alloy grill purchased from B&Q I made a mental not to do mine when I got home. Not sure who he was, but if you are a LEW member and read this, many thanks for stopping and please email me re the indicator lenses.
The recovery guy said that he was only authorized to take Ferry 10 miles, which was pretty useless and after arguing with the guy we settled on going back to the service area so at least we could get a coffee to warm the bones whilst we sorted things out. Another call to the AA and they apologized saying that it was their mistake and that they would send another recovery vehicle to take Ferry and his car back to Hull. Eventually this guy turned up after about an hour and Ferrys car was loaded on and taken back to Hull where one of the other guys could tow him onto the Ferry on Sunday evening. I drove my car back to Hull with Ferry, whilst the other guy went onto Donny to meet up with everyone else. After dropping Ferrys Esprit we drove back down to Derby and met the other guys at the Hotel where we were staying.
So no Donny on Saturday but hey we went on Sunday instead and met up with Kato for the first time, nice to see the face behind the site. Well Sunday was not without event, one of the other Dutch guys managed to prang his Elise whilst showing off on a roundabout, caused about 2 grands worth of damage. Three of his wheel spokes were broken so the car was not going anywhere. Luckily Peter of Van Stens was still at the show so a quick call to him and he brought a new wheel for him and popped out to fix it and make the car drivable again. After the show I drove down to Folkestone to see my folks whilst the other guys headed for the Ferry, this time a V8 Esprit broke down with a broken driveshaft. So all in all three cars were damaged/broken on the trip, certainly an eventful weekend.
Anyhow I managed to purchase an Alloy ball gear knob (see pic) from Club Lotus for a very reasonable 18 pounds; its made by Richbrook and has a nice big Lotus logo in the centre.
Also at the show I purchased some EBC Turbo Groove front disks which I will fit in the near future, that will almost complete the brake upgrade that I wanted to do on the front, the only extra thing now is to wait for the new ceramic red stuff pads from EBC which are coming out soon. The brakes are already 10 times better than before, with the new S/S braided hoses, green stuffs and high boiling point fluid. So the new rotors should make things even better.
After visiting my folks for dinner it was onto the ferry for an hours kip before making my way from Calais to Culemborg, this time it only took me 2 hours from Calais, normally 3.5 in the Mondeo!
Monday I had the day off so I decided to fit the Gear Knob, which looks great, also I popped down to my local DIY and purchased some alloy mesh sheet and replaced my grills front and rear, again they look so much better than the original which was getting a bit worn. So although the weekend started out bad it ended on a high note. Hope to be there again next year.
Front Brake Discs
Well another Lotus weekend started off with a trip on Saturday to Lelystaad to watch the Slalom competition which was fun. I met up with some friends that attended Donny had a chat and watched the fun. Sunday Ferry and myself upgraded the front brakes on my Esprit with the EBC Turbo Groove Disks that I purchased at Donnington.
The upgrade went well and was quiet easy really, especially as Ferry did most of the work! (Many thanks Ferry, I owe you one). The Upgrade of the front disks is pretty much as per Katos report without the Calipers as I used my original ones. Gradually over the past few months I have been improving the brakes slowly, firstly with the S/S brake hoses and high boiling point fluid, then the GreenStuff pads and now the Rotors.
The next stage is RedStuff Ceramic pads which are coming out for the Esprit in a few months. The first two upgrades made an amazing difference to the brakes with more feel, more stopping power and less fade in that the fading started later and from higher speeds. When I have bedded in the disks and pads I will be able to judge how much it has improved again.
The EBC Disks are slotted with wide groves to clean the pad surface and take the dust away, whilst being dimpled to ease gassing and fading. You will see from the pics that the old disks are burnt which was as a result of my Stelvio trip last year, with lots of high speed driving and heavy braking continually. After fitting the new rotors my initial thoughts are good, still plenty of feel, definitely tons more grip at slow speeds, felt like I was sticking her on her nose at the lights a couple of times. Have to wait a week or so before I can judge high speed, but I have to say, that on the way home I had a small fright and had to do an emergency stop from 100kph, I was cruising down the highway when all of a sudden the cabin started to fill with white smoke. When you are on the outside lane in traffic traveling at that speed and smoke starts to appear it is quiet frightening I can tell you. It was pouring out of the centre console and foot wells, probably came up the console tunnel from the rear. Well after slamming on the brakes and crossing two lanes to the hard shoulder I can confirm that the emergency stop was pretty dammed good, no gassing, fading or noise, just a clean and very quick stop so it looks promising.
I have no idea where the smoke came from as I checked everything and could not find anything wrong anywhere, as the smoke was pure white and did not really smell like burning I can only assume that some of the new wheel bearing grease flew under the car and landed on the exhaust or something with the smoke traveling up the console tunnel and into the cabin. Still no harm done, so I took a slow trip home to be sure it didnt happen again.
After the upgrade Ferry and I popped round to another friend with an Esprit as he had just changed his timing belt and wanted to check a couple of things. He has a great new tool, an electronic cambelt adjuster. It has a small microphone which is placed a couple of centimeters from the belt, a code is put into the hand held device for the Esprit and it measures the sound frequency made by the belt, letting you know if it is too high (tight) or to low (loose), amazing piece of kit. It costs around 320 pounds so not something for the novice mechanic, but he has several cars including a Mini, Marcos & Esprit.
Well another Lotus weekend started off yesterday with a trip to Van Sten to sort out a problem that was causing smoke in the cabin at speed. A bolt had sheared which holds the alternator/airco pump bracket. This lead to the alternator becoming loose and slipping, along with the adjuster arm onto the airco belt. The result was the bracket eating its way through the airco belt hence the smoke in the cabin which was traveling up the central tunnel.
What I though was going to be a quick 10 min fix turned into about 3 hours. As the airco doesn’t work anyway I decided to have the pump removed (weight saving). I will decide later if I want to put it back on and have the airco fixed or just leave it off and possibly remove the airco rad as well to save more weight and aid the radiator cooling as it sits in front of the water radiator.
Following that I also had the Cat/EBPV bolts replaced as these kept coming loose. I think the problem was that when the engine got very hot the Alloy spacer from where the EBPV was originally, expands and then contracts when cooling. Only trouble is that the bolts do not do the same. So I have had a higher grade of threaded rod inserted with an N’Lock on each end which will hopefully solve the problem.
Next job was one that I have been putting off for a while, my passenger window has been playing around for a while, going down okay but has been reluctant to come back up again, and today it would not come up at all, so time to investigate.
First off I removed the interior door trim which is an easy 5 screw job, took off the plastic protective sheeting and then scratched my head. A check of the setup saw smoke coming from the window motor so obviously a burnt out motor but how to get it off. It is not an easy job.
The motor is attached to an alloy bracket which is attached to another alloy bracket which is attached to the door and the window lifter. The problem being that the window motor bolts x 3 are sandwiched between the two brackets so the whole assembly has to come off which is very tricky indeed.
At the top of the bracket which is attached to the door there are two 10mm nuts which are easy to remove, the left hand upper one has two earth wires attached as well which service the interior light and the door light. The third nut is a little bit trickier. Laying on the floor looking at the underside of the door you will see a small hole. Looking up the hole you can see a nut which pinches the bottom of the alloy bracket which needs to be loosened with a very long and thin 10mm spanner. This nut has to be undone a few turns which means constantly turning the spanner over as there is so little room. Once loose the whole assembly can first be pulled inwards off of the top to bolts then upwards. You should now be able to slide the lifter arm from its runner and you have the whole assembly detached.
On the rear side of the assembly I had to undo the 3 x 11mm bolts and take the back plate off to reveal the 3 x 10mm bolts that needed to be undone to detach the window motor. With the whole thing off now it only leaves me the job of buying a new one and replacing everything in reverse order..
Had a recent spate of bolts shearing off on my car, must come with the age..Firstly there was the Alternator bracket, then a bolt that hold the manifold to the turbo, then one that secures the Chargecooler and now one in my drivers door hinge.
Well Van Sten fixed the first two for me as that involved a little bit of work that I did not fancy, the other two I have done myself as they are quiet easy. In addition to these little things I am having my passenger door window motor refurbished as it stopped working. Apparently they can be sent away for new brushes etc which is a lot cheaper than buying a replacement. Hopefully that will be back in a couple of weeks, but for the time being I have bolted on a couple of plates to stop anyone opening the window as there is no longer any mechanism in the door frame.
The other things I have been doing recently have been to spray my engine cover vents alloy color which I think look great, fit a Green Cotton Air Filter, which again is a really easy job and to fit a dump or blow off valve. After long consideration and a good look around I decided to buy a Forge polished alloy piston type externally venting valve. Firstly you get that lovely whoosh sound, secondly it looks great and thirdly buying the components yourself is pretty easy and much cheaper than buying any of the advertised kits, all in all it has cost me about 160 Euro which is around 100 pounds.
Fitting is as everyone else has said is very easy and only takes about 30 mins. After I had fitted mine I went out for a drive and under hard acceleration hitting the rev limiter I heard an enormous whoosh when I changed gear which really made me jump so much that I pulled over to make sure everything was okay. Silly me I had forgotten to tighten the Jubilee clip around the valve and it had blown off…still no damage done and all is fine know.
Next upgrade will be the silencer, still deciding which one to go for as there are so many choices and such a difference in price.
Well yet another Esprit weekend as my car is off the road at the moment following a leak in the gearbox. Both of my driveshaft oil seals have gone at the same time and the resulting loss of oil means she is not really driveable. I have booked her in to have the seals and O'rings changed which is an easy job and not too expensive.
Whilst I am waiting for that to be done I have completed the Green Cotton Air Filter installation and also fitted an Oil Mist Catch Tank. I brought a nice shiny one and replaced the oil pipe for a braided S/S one as well. Fitting was easy as it attaches to the air filter box with a couple of bolts, and all I had to do was fit a blanking plug onto the original air filter box connector.
Well just got my baby back from the garage after having the driveshaft seals replaced and the gearbox filled with some expensive oil. With most of the oil disappearing when the seals went I noticed a lot of transmission noise for the last few hundred yards of my last journey home. It now appears, probably as a result of the oil loss that the main bearing may be on its way out and need replacing as there were some tiny metal fragments in the gearbox oil.
Also When I got home I noticed there is still a small oil leak, but this time engine oil. After spending about an hour poking around under the car, it looks as though the leak is from the cam shaft end caps, exactly the same as reported on LEW by Jason Kite. Luckily he has written an excellent report on changing them so it will be a job that I am able to do myself instead of taking her back to the garage.
However she will be going back next week anyway to have new front wheel bearings fitted as they are on their way out. When braking heavy from 240kph or so you get to hear a grinding noise on the front as all the weight is transferred to the front wheels. I have been hearing the noise for a while now and assumed it was my brakes, but as I have changed both the discs and the pads and the noise is still there It cant be them.
With the gearbox comes some concern as I have been told that a gearbox overhaul is going to cost something like 2000 Euro which is around 1300 pounds. It will ultimately cost more than that as I may as well change the clutch if the box is coming out anyway.
I am thinking of taking on the task myself to save the 7 hours labour bill for taking the box out and replacing it again, but I am not sure if this is an easy job or not but I am going to investigate it before I make a decision.
In the meantime I will change the aforementioned o-rings, order a new upgraded clutch, have the wheel bearings done and order my Larini silencer. So an expensive summer coming up, but I need to get everything sorted before I hit the Stelvio run in September with Seloc. In addition to that there are a couple of planned runs, one in July to Hethel, and a charity run in The Netherlands in August, all 3 events I do not want to miss so work will have to planned around them and fingers crossed nothing else goes wrong.
Well its been a busy month following my driveshaft oil seal leakage and then the camshaft seals I had the front wheel bearings changed. It has made such a difference to the ride, no more vibration on the front and no more noise when breaking hard. My Esprit is back in the garage again this week to have the main oil feed pipe which goes from engine block to turbo changed as that has developed a leak too, its a real pain as the oil drips over the turbo and bell housing area which drips onto the clutch as well. In addition Peter is changing the driveshaft impellor rotor whilst replacing the gasket as it has started a small leak as well. Must be that age where all serviceable parts need replacing, or maybe previous owners didn't have services done regularly, either way it is costing a fortune at the moment.
Couple of other things I have done recently is to fit small union jacks under the side repeater lamps which look great and I have also shortened my gearshift to make the changes from first to second shorter but also for me the gearshift was just a tad too tall which meant i had to bend my wrist slightly when holding the gear knob. Basically I took the gearstick out and cut the bottom off with a dremel cutting disk and then put it back in again. Only about 1/4 inch but it makes all the difference. I am going to drive it for a couple of weeks before I see if I want to take another 1/4 off. Better doing it in stages otherwise I may end up with it too short.
I was hoping to take her to Zandvoort race circuit earlier this week for the SELOC track day, but unfortunately due to the leak I could not. Still I went anyway and jumped in as passenger with some of the other guys, all Elises but still great fun and amazing handling those cars have, I would love to have compared my Esprit but that will be next time.
I have ordered my Larinin sports silencer which should be ready in a couple of weeks, they are going to make it slightly longer so as I can get rid of the EBPV spacer which has caused trouble with leaks ever since being fitted. I will be over in the UK for the 50th anniversary Hethel mid July so am hoping to pick it up from my brothers the same weekend. If not then I will be over again the next weekend for another 50th anniversary, my parents so I will get it then.
Also recently I have been testing a Mondeo LHD wiper arm, which fits just fine and means you can use 'normal' blades. Currently I am testing several blades, the Mondeo one is the same length but goes off the end of the screen so I have a mush shortened one at the moment which is fine but not ideal as the lower part of the screen is not cleared, this in itself does not pose a problem but it is annoying. I am looking for an offset blade at the moment.
I have also ordered a couple of switches from Lotusbits.Com, for the headlights and passenger window switch, I will let you know what they are like when I get them.
Probably beat someone on here to an auction for a genuine Renault 25 gearbox manual which is on its way to me right now, so looking forward to that one.
All this just in time for a charity run I will be attending on 4th August where several of the SELOC owners are picking up patients and Nurses :-) from the clinic who cared for Maarten Van Sten before he passed away, driving them around to a photo shoot with some celebrities then off to Zandvoort for some demo laps (not to fast with the patients) before taking them back to the clinic again.
Tomorrow several of us are meeting up to discuss our plans for Stelvio this year, routes etc..would be lovely to see some more Esprits at the event!!
Well more work completed on my Esprit, this weekend I noticed I still had an oil leak after the three that I had repaired, so back over to the garage and up on the ramps again. It was impossible to see where the leak was from as there was so much oil everywhere, so Peter cleaned most of the mess and I took her out for another drive so as we could see where the problem was. Well on returning it was evident that the oil was gearbox as the smell is different from the engine oil. What was happening was that the main seal in the gearbox was leaking and with the shaft that goes into the flywheel going around at such a rate it was spraying the oil everywhere, including out of the viewing hole in the top of the bell housing. Hence oil was everywhere.
Well what with the transmission noise that I have been getting I decided it was time to change the gearbox and clutch at the same time.
My friend Ferry phoned around some salvage yards for me and we managed to find a Renault specialist in the south of Holland that had several UN1 gearboxes to choose from. I took a trip down there on Monday and they indeed had a few all nicely computerised in crates stacked up in a warehouse. And yes the one that I wanted was right in the middle, so a fork lift truck to move everything out the way and down came a crate with UN1, 13,04,06,08 gearboxes all priced at 400 Euro's. After checking the gear ratios with my newly acquired Renault Gearbox Manual (which I will sell a copy of if anyone is interested) I decided to go for the UN1-08 box which is from a Renault 25 V6 Turbo. This was for a couple of reasons, 1stly the UN1-013 box which has the same ratio's as the Esprit box, except for the differential which is 3.89 on the Esprit, had the fifth gear housing missing and a damaged cog and secondly I have been thinking about buying the 5th gear upgrade from P.U.K anyway and the UN1-08 box already has a similar ratio in fifth and slightly longer in fourth as well. The standard is 0.82 and the UN1-08 box is 0.76, (P.U.K conversion is 0.75). This all means that cruising will be more pleasant as less revs will be used to achieve the same speed (saving fuel as well) and potentially the top end will increase as well. Not that this is any real concern as I have had her up to 270 kph already anyway, which is fast enough I think.
The downside is acceleration in 4th and fifth will be slightly less but again that's not to important as by the time I am in 4th the speed is already pretty high. Naturally Peter will be changing all gaskets and seals on the new gearbox as well so hopefully it should last me a while. The old one that came out really has got a problem, there was grey sludge in the bell housing area which is basically worn cogs and oil mixed, it was a bit like thick custard in texture so definitely so serious damage inside.
The only other problem is the speedo, on the Esprit box it is manual driven and on the UN1-08 box it is electronic which is what later Esprits use, so maybe I will have to change the speedo over to an electronic one. In the meantime I have brought a digital speedo which is for a push bike, it costs about 15 pounds and works fine, just attach a magnet (supplied) to the driveshaft (and strap it on) and the sensor to a fixed area, tap in the tyre sizes and hey presto it works just fine.
Along with the replacement gearbox, which also means I can get my original refurbished at my leisure (yes I now have a spare) I decided it was time to replace the clutch with an upgraded one from Marcus at P.U.K. So Monday Marcus sent one off to Van Sten's for me to have it fitted. Thanks to Marcus at P.U.K as well for the excellent service, even answering my emails on a Sunday. The clutch is one of the newly designed ones he offers with an up rated torque spec of 25%.
Thankfully Peter at Van Sten's had planned a spare day this week for any emergencies before the Hethel run this weekend, so I am grateful to him otherwise I would have been in the Mondeo.
For reference the gear ratios of the Renault UN.. boxes are as follows.
Well my Esprit was ready for the weekend run to Hethel, I thought, but on Friday I took her for a little test drive after having the gearbox, seals, gaskets etc replaced and what do you know I still had an oil leak..so I jumped in as passenger with Marco in an Elise for the trip to Calais, then into Ferry's Esprit Turbo HC till Sunday then Miguel's Esprit S4 for the journey back home. The weekend itself was great with a nice drive around the English countryside on Saturday and the rain soaked Hethel Lotus show on Sunday. I was a little disappointed in the show as there were not many side stands and certainly not enough catering on offer. It was good to see so many Loti and the old classics though.
Well now back in Holland, Peter at Van Stens has started work on my car again, and he has found a leak from the Sump gasket around by the flywheel (see pics) so the Sump has come off and the whole lot is being cleaned before a new gasket is put on and everything reassembled again. Hopefully this time all the oil leaks will have gone, as I am missing my baby and need her for the www.maartenmemorial.com sponsored run on the 4th August. If you want to see the underside of an engine without the sump on...take a look..
Just got my Esprit back with the new gearbox and clutch etc..I have to say this gearbox ratio is excellent, 1st, 2nd, and third being exactly the same as before there is no change but 4th gear just pulls and pulls, and 5th well cruising it has reduced the revs so that most of the time I am using 2500-2800 rpm which is saving me heaps on fuel already, you really notice the difference.
Tuesday my Larini silencer came through so I popped over to Van Stens to borrow a hoist and some tools and fitted the new silencer, WOW...it looks great but the sound...phenomenal..
When driving 'normally' the sound is just a little more sporty and deep just like the standard sports pipe offerings from SJ etc, but stick your foot down and does it roar or what, you get all the usual popping sounds and flames sometimes as well which is great.With the Larini I Had them make the pipe longer to get rid of the EBPV spacer as well.
Yesterday saw the Maarten Memorial day with 78 cars turning up in Rotterdam and taking patients and staff from the Daniel Den Hoed clinic to Zandvoort race circuit. It was a great day and some fantastic cars. I think there were 5 Esprits all different. One guy in a Porsche jumped out of his car at a set of lights came up to me and said, 'your car sounds f*$#ing great'....We made the national Telegraf newspaper and 2 TV channels with the event and raised this far 52500 Euro for the clinic which is great
Front Fog Lamps
As all Esprit SE owners will know there are among the many different problems that you encounter 2 which hardly ever get sorted. Those being the front fog lamps that when cracked cost an absolute fortune to replace if you can actually get hold of them in the first place and more importantly the front brake overheating problem that you encounter when doing sustained high speed driving and braking, like track days and in the twisty mountain roads of the Alps.
Well I have found a solution to both problems that I am currently working on and hope to have finished in the next week or so. Firstly I was looking at a way to cut a duct into the front spoiler and pipe the air towards the front brakes to aid cooling. This is more difficult than it looks at first as there is the Oil coolers and ducting to extract the hot air that runs to the side of the spoiler, so not really an option.
Then a couple of weeks ago a fellow Esprit SE owner in The Netherlands managed to source some cheap fog lamps from Halfords costing 44 Euro for the pair. These solved both problems in one.
The fog lamps are the same width as the original Hella ones but are not as high, they also have a mounting bracket that will easily fit the Esprit so fitting is not a problem at all.
The big advantage is because they are small in height it means there is room underneath each lamp for a small piece of ducting to be fabricated and plumbed towards the front brakes, causing the cool air when driving to be forced into the brake area and cooling the brakes.
Overheating the front brakes has been a problem that I have encountered many times with sustained high speed driving/braking, during Stelvio this year after doing a couple of mountain passes my brakes were actually smoking when I came to a stop, if I left my foot on the pedal for a couple of seconds.
Luckily due to the S/S pipes, high boiling point fluid, EBC Turbo groove disks and EBC Red Stuff pads I did not have the brake fade problems or loss of brakes that I encountered in 2003. On one mountain pass I did notice my pedal getting soft and backed off for a bit to let the brakes cool again otherwise I would have over cooked them. But with air cooling I am hoping this will alleviate all the problems of before and mean the brake set up on the front is solved at a far cheaper price than upgrading to four pots or anything like that. Currently under 'normal' driving conditions the brakes are excellent with the setup mentioned above but extreme conditions needs more cooling which even the four pots would not have so some sort of air cooling was necessary in any case.
Fitting the fog lamps is really easy, at the bottom/back of the lamps there is a fly nut which when turned will angle the lamps up/down, simple remove this which allows you to angle the lamp down and then undo the 2 screws that you will see above the lamps when looking from the front.
The new lamps come complete with a bracket to fit them to the car and it is a simple case of drilling a couple of holes in the underside of the front bumper screwing them in and attaching the lamps. I used some plaster board raw plugs to secure the screws in the bumper, the type that you squeeze together and when through the hole they spring back out like a butterfly wing.
As you can see from the pictures the fit in well and leave plenty of room under neath the lamps for the brake cooling ducts to be fitted. Currently I have not done this as I am still trying to get hold of the flexible piping that is needed and my local supplier has run out. But it is a simple task of putting the flexi pipe in position and securing it to the underside of the body (not lower than the undertray) and angling towards the brakes.
While I was messing around I also bleed my radiator as I had an air lock in the system, took ages looking for the bleed valve, until Adrian on the Lotus Forum told me where it was. For those of you that wish to know it is located under the left hand side wheel arch and is easily accessible when you know where to look.
Stoneleigh Parts Fair 2004
Well just got back from Stoneleigh where we (The Dutch) had a good time although it was not without problems, par for the course with a Lotus.
It all started on Friday when I left home for a 3 hour drive down to Calais to meet the other guys and catch a ferry across to Dover. Just 5 mins away from home at my local petrol garage I filled her up and though I would check the tyre pressures. Whilst doing the front left, the valve broke off..Oooops air gushing out, luckily I managed to think quickly and put the valve cap back on, jump in the car and drive very carefully to a tyre garage just a couple of mins away.
The garage took the tyre off the wheel and checked the sidewalls thoroughly inside and out to make sure I had not damaged it. Once they had deemed it safe they changed the valve which they had to hunt around for as they are not your normal valves. Inside the wheel there is a plastic insert in the valve hole and the valves themselves are tapered metal with a small piece of rubber on the bottom. They are also thicker than normal valves as well. Still they managed to find one and fit it for me and got me back on track with only 1/2 hour lost so once back on the road I could easily make up the time and met the other guys at Calais.
The second problem came on Saturday during the day, we drove up to Kettering to meet with Simon who makes the Honda conversions for the Elise and on the way up under hard acceleration I heard a 'ping' and something hitting the firewall. First I though oh, just another bolt sheared, common experience I tend to find, but then when under hard acceleration again I started to get some smoke in the cabin. As I have seen this a few times before I knew immediately it was a belt that was wearing through, but having taken the airco pump out because of the same issue last year (see earlier entry on page) I began to wonder which belt it could be.
But after lunch on our way to the Coventry area for an overnight stop we checked the belts and my mechanic Peter from Van Stens who was with us for the weekend with his wife (picking up some parts) found that the alternator adjustment arm had broken in two. Hmmm...Well we carried on to the hotel which was about an hour away and I only just made it as the battery was no longer charging at this point
After a few drinks and a meal we hit the sack and left it till morning when we swapped the battery from Michels S4 with mine, so he could charge my battery and I could flatten his for a bit as the drive to Stoneleigh was only about 15 mins.
Luckily when we arrived at Stoneleigh they let me and the other 2 Esprits of Yvo and Michel park inside so as we could repair my car for the long trip home in the evening. Bit of a result really as we didn't have to pay entry :-) quickly I run around all of the stalls looking for a new bracket and everyone had the same storey, sorry I have one at home but didn't bring it with me. But the guys at Lotusbits.com were great, they said they would either drive home and bring it back or at the end of the show they would take the one off their show car (it was the one I needed) and I could buy that. Well so many people wanted bits that they didn't bring with them that just after lunch they went home and brought them all back, my alternator arm included. So a BIG thankyou goes to the guys at Lotusbits for saving the day.
With the newly acquired arm I climbed in the boot and fitted the new one okay and we made our way back to Dover without a hitch, when there we swapped the batteries back over and I had no more problems.
It was good to see Kato again some familiar faces and look at all the different Esprits both on show and in the garage, and I had a good weekend despite the minor problems. Well next event is a sliding and drifting day in Belgium when 19 Loti will be going to the Nivel EMA track for some fun in Feb 2005, so between now and then I shall be doing some more upgrades on the car, firstly I want to finish the air cooling for the front brakes, change the pads again as they have worn out now, small service, hopefully new rear disks, see if I can fit some full harness belts and bucket seats, change the belts, fluids etc Then after that it will be Donington :-)