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||What is the proper (n)etiquette for posting a message to the TurboEsprit Mailing List?
It has always been good netiquette, when responding to a message, to edit
down the original message until only minimum relevant portions remain.
There is no reason to quote an entire 3, 5, or 10 page original message when
you're only going to add four or five lines, particularly for the benefit of
those people who receive this list as a digest and have to look at every
page to find the start of the next message.
Please, once you've composed your reply, look it over. As a
rule of thumb, less than half of your message should consist of lines quoted
from the message you're replying to. Obviously there are going to be
times when that doesn't work, but most of the time you can set the right
context by including only a paragraph or so. Cut away extra headers
and signatures that contribute nothing new to the discussion.
||How do I unsubscribe from the TurboEsprit Mailing List?
Some people sign up for the TurboEsprit Mailing list and then become
overwhelmed with the volume of email they receive. You can expect to
get approximately 50 to 100 mail messages per day. If this becomes a
problem, you might first consider switching to the digest mode. In digest mode, you will only get
one email per day. To do this, go to the Yahoo Groups web site, at www.yahoogroups.com/groups/turboesprit,
and select the User Center link from the menu bar on the left. This menu
will let you change your subscription between digest and normal mode.
If you decide you
that this is still too much for you, you may unsubscribe from the list.
Instructions on where to go to do this are included at the footer of
every text message sent to you by the list. Essentially you send a
message to email@example.com
and the system will ask you to reply to a confirmation message.
||What engine oil should I use on my Esprit?
This is one of the questions I get asked most frequently. Here's the
official recommendations from Lotus:
Refill Capacity (including oil filter) 6.7 US qt (6.3 litre)
Difference from low & high dipstick marks 0.9 US qt (0.85
|Valvoline Racing Oil
|Agip F1 Super Motor Oil
|Castrol Formula RS
Refill Capacity (including oil filter) 6.7 US qt (6.5 litre)
Difference from low & high dipstick marks 1.0 US qt (1.0
||5W/50 or 5W/30
|Agip F1 Super Motor Oil
|Castrol Formula RS
You may have problems finding some of the brands or viscosities in your
particular market. In the USA, many owners (myself included) choose to use Mobil 1 RS 15W/50.
||What transmission oil should I use on my Esprit?
When it comes to transmission oil, Lotus has only the following recommendations: use Castrol
TAF-X 75W/90 (Lotus part number A082F6552S). If the car is
operated in continuously very low ambient temperatures, you can use Mobil SHC
75W/90. However, if you talk to members of the Esprit community, they
unanimously recommend that you use Redline MT-90. Many owners claims that
it feels that it feels like they have a new transmission and that the
shifts are a lot smoother when they use this oil.
By the way, the
transmission oil capacity is 3.2 US qt (3.0 litre).
||How reliable is certain Esprit Model year?
Esprits, as any new car (especially from a small car company) started out having many reliability
issues. During the many years of its development things have gotten progressively
better. The most dramatic improvement in reliability was arguably the
introduction of the GM/Delco Engine Management system for the 89MY. Year
after year, Lotus took the lessons learned from the past and applied them
to newer models culminating with the Esprit S4s which is generally regarded
as the best example of a 4-cylinder Esprit.
Starting in the 96-97MY, Lotus took a small step back in reliability due
to the introduction of the brand new 918 V8 engine. Common problems involved
the faulty clutches and cracked exhaust manifolds. Lotus retrofitted all of these
cars with new twin plate clutches for free and many manifolds were also replaced
under warranty. Still, this small step back is to be
expected and happens to any major car manufacturer at the introduction of a
new model. As the years have progressed, the reliability is back up to where
it was before with the S4s if not better. Furthermore, software
improvements to the ECM have brought on more low end torque and
responsiveness to later V8s. (Note: These changes are available as
upgrades to prior V8s.)
The key here is that, generally, the newer - the better when it comes to
reliability. However, as with anything else in life, there are exceptions.
How reliable a particular Esprit is stems directly from how well the vehicle
is maintained and how often it is driven. As I have mentioned before,
"use it or lose it". Contrary to popular belief, a 10 year old,
3,000 mile "garage queen" may not be the most reliable Esprit you
Always follow and document your Esprit maintenance and you will find that
the Esprit is actually one of the most reliable exotics available.
||How much money should I set aside for maintenance?
My general recommendation is that you budget approximately $3,000US
for maintenance of an Esprit. The Esprit is covered with a 2 year,
unlimited mileage warranty when new. During this time, repair costs
should be non-existent, but regular maintenance will still cost you.
The Esprit maintenance schedule is categorized into A, B,
and C services with the A being the simplest (fluid
changes, inspections, etc) to C being the most extensive
(timing belt replacement, valve clearance inspection and
adjustment). Service intervals are generally
about every 6,000 miles. Expect an A or B
service to cost about $600-800US. A full C service will cost
between $1,500 and $2,500US, depending on the dealer. Of course, you
can save a lot of money if you do some of the work yourself. If you
decide to do this, all I ask is that you don't try to cut corners in the
name of cost savings. If you bought an exotic supercar, please treat it
with the respect it deserves. If you can't afford it, buy a Hyundai.
||How much is insurance going to cost me?
This is an extremely difficult question to answer, yet it gets asked all the
time. The reason I can't give you an estimate is that insurance costs have too many
variables. Your age, gender, marital status, driving record, distance from
home to work, number of cars owned, state, city and neighborhood of
residence and a myriad of other factors will influence what you will pay. If
you are contemplating the purchase of an Esprit, my recommendation is that
you call your current insurance company and a few others and get some
quotes. One thing that is in your favor is that, being an extremely limited
production vehicle makes the Esprit undesirable for thieves in the car parts
market. This is one advantage that the Esprit carries over much more common
cars such as a Honda Accord, Toyota, Camry, or Chevrolet Camaro, all cars
that consistently rank high in the most car stolen lists.
If you still are hung up on getting a number, I can tell you that it
costs me only $800US a year with State Farm to insure my Esprit S4s. This is
for 100/300/100 coverage with $500 deductible, clean driving record,
multi-car discount, and a home, hurricane, and flood policy by the same
||How do I increase the horsepower or performance of my Esprit?
The first question you really need to ask yourself when looking at
increasing the Esprit's horsepower is "Why?". You need to
examine your motives. If you're simply looking to fulfill some
testosterone-driven ego trip, forget about it. The Esprit has plenty
of horsepower - much more than the average driver can handle on the
street. All the horsepower in the world won't fully compensate for lack of
driver skill. The best performance upgrade you can invest in is to attend
one of the many fine driving/racing schools throughout the world. Compared
to other upgrades, it is a cheap investment, and it has the benefit that
it's one that easily transfers to any car you happen to be driving.
If you are racing or auto-crossing your Esprit, there are upgrades you
can do varying from free-flow exhausts, straight pipes, new air filters,
larger turbos, blow-off valves, larger intake valves, larger brakes,
different suspension setups, Larger wheels, better tires, etc. If you decide to go with any of these
approaches, remember that upgrades need to be looked at as part of a
complete system. Improvements in one area will necessitate improvements in
Also, remember that there are limits to the amount of horsepower you can
safely and reliably add to the Esprit. For example, if you decide to
increase boost on a 4-cylinder Esprit beyond 1.2 bar, you're likely going to
blow up your engine. Additionally, it is widely recognized that the
Renault-sourced gearbox in the Esprit is one of its weakest links. If you
exceed 400hp, you can easily destroy the box or split one of the output
||What aftermarket sources supply parts for the Esprit?
||Why does my Esprit engine rev so high when I cold start it?
Many people panic the first time they start certain 4-cylinder Esprits
with the engine cold. Usually (but not always ) the RPMs climb rapidly
to 2,500 or higher. Relax. This is normal behavior. In order to meet
federal emissions regulations, the Esprit engine management system
contains two components called the Exhaust Back Pressure Valve (EBPV)
and the Throttle Jacking Capsule. The purpose of these two items is to
bring the catalytic converter up to operating temperature as quickly as
possible. This is done because converters don't work well at removing
pollutants from exhaust gasses until they are warmed up.
In the simplest terms, this is what occurs: When
the engine is being cold-started, the engine management computer (ECM)
sends a command that closes the EBPV. This valve is located within the
exhaust pipe, at the union between the rear of the catalytic converter
and the pipe going to the muffler (silencer). Closing this valve
essentially blocks the exhaust, trapping heat which causes the converter
to warm up more quickly. While the EBPV is closed the ECM is referred to
as running in "open loop mode".
The problem with closing the EBPV is that it has
a tendency to cause the engine to stall. If you have seen the movie Beverly
Hills Cop, you undoubtedly have heard of the "banana in the
tailpipe trick". In order to prevent the engine from stalling, the
ECM also sends a command to the Throttle Jacking Capsule which causes
the throttle plates to open up (similar to pressing the accelerator
pedal). This causes the RPMs to rise and prevents the engine from
choking itself. Note You can force
the ECM to drop the idle by quickly and briefly stabbing the accelerator
pedal at least halfway.
After approximately 2 minutes, the ECM switches
to "closed loop mode". It sends the opposite command to the
EBPV to force it to open, and tells the Throttle Jacking Capsule to stop
holding the throttle open.
The problem with the whole concept of EBPV /
Throttle Jacking mechanism is that if you attempt to drive during this
warm up cycle, the car will perform like crap because the exhaust is
blocked. Furthermore, because the EBPV is spring-loaded to remain
normally closed, any failure in the system (like a disconnected vacuum
line) will cause the car to drive terribly. Due to this, many Esprit
owners have chosen to wire EBPV to remain constantly open, or have
removed the valve altogether. To help prevent the annoying high RPMs
(which are much louder once the EBPV is wired open), many have also
removed or disconnected the Throttle Jacking Capsule. There is nothing
wrong with doing this. Remember, this mechanism is only there because
Lotus needed it to meet EPA laws in the USA. In fact, when Lotus built
the Esprit GT3, it also removed both these components. They were able to
do this because the GT3 was never intended for the USA market. Besides,
removing these items also reduces vehicle weight which is part of the
Refer to Technical Service Bulletin #3 for
more info on this topic.
||Where can I get the history on a particular Esprit?
If you're buying a used Esprit, it is very important that you look
into the service records of the car. This will help you decide if that good
deal is really such a good deal after all. The first place to get the
history is from the seller. He/she should have complete records of all
service and repairs done to the car. If they don't, be very wary of the
purchase. If you can't get in touch with the previous owner and your looking
at an Esprit in the USA, you might consider giving a call to the wonderful
folks at Lotus Cars USA (800-24-LOTUS). They can at least tell you all the
services done to the car under warranty.
||What should I look out for when buying a particular Esprit?
Be wary of cars without service records or with salvage titles. These cars
can turn out to be nightmares and money pits. Remember the old adage:
"If it looks too good to be true, it probably is." Always get the car
thoroughly checked out by a competent (and preferably Lotus certified)
service center. Participate in the TurboEsprit
Internet list discussions to build up your knowledge of what to look
for in a car and learn what is normal and what is not. Finally, study this Esprit Fact File from front to back. If
you do, you will be armed the knowledge and information to make a wise
||Is there a monthly magazine for and/or about Lotus cars?
There are two main publications available to Lotus enthusiasts. The first is
Lotus Life which is the magazine of the Official Lotus Club. This is
a nice, color publication with about 20-24 pages per issue. Unfortunately,
it doesn't seem to come out with enough regularity. Also, it seems that the
main focus is on the Lotus Elise and its variants, as these are the current
bread and butter for the company. Subscription is included with membership
to the Official Lotus Club. To join, go to: the Lotus site at: http://www.lotuscars.co.uk
and click on the link to the Official Lotus Club.
The other publication is
ReMarque which is the newsletter published by the Lotus Limited club.
The newsletter is in black and white and is usually about 8 pages long. As
with the Lotus Life, subscription to ReMarque is included as
part of membership to the Lotus Limited club. To join, visit their web site
||What colors is the Esprit currently
The 2002MY Esprit is now available in the following
exterior paint colors:
The most popular colors being sold in the USA market in the past few
years are Mustard Yellow, New Aluminum, Calypso Red, and Black. These are
then followed by Inferno, Chrome Orange, and Azure Blue. New for the 2002MY
are the Metallic Green and Gunmetal Gray colors.
||Lotus, Porsche, Acura, Corvette, Ferrari, Lamborghini, etc. Which should I buy?
This is a totally subjective matter, but then you wouldn't be reading this
if you weren't at least a bit of an Esprit fan.
The limited production of the Esprit puts it in the company of a select
group of exotic supercars. Try as they might, the folks at GM can't really
consider the Corvette an exotic. Sportscar yes. Supercar, doubtful. Exotic,
not a chance. The Corvette is a very competent sportscar - especially
the 2002 Z06 which has 405HP and does 0-60 in under 4 sec. Indeed this is
faster than most Esprits. However, Corvette annual production is in
the tens of thousands, versus under 300 for the Esprit. This means that the
exclusivity enjoyed by Esprit owners is something Corvette owners will never
experience. Furthermore, over 70% of all Vettes are sold with automatic
transmissions - not a very sportscar-like option.
Such is also the Porsche's failing. How can you take a sportscar
seriously when most are built with the Tiptronic automatic
transmission? Also, while the 911 Turbo, GT3 and GT3 are incredible
performers, the standard 911 and Boxsters are a dime a dozen. Another
unfortunate aspect is the stigma usually associated with Porsche (and
BMW) owners. Unlike other car brands, these cars have built a
reputation for snobbery that is often unwarranted. It is a shame, but
I have met many Porsche owners who have had their pride and joys keyed by
The Esprit's most common rivals are the Acura NSX and the
8-cylinder (3xx series) Ferraris. The NSX is a hand built exotic whose
excellent reputation for performance is exceeded only by its
reliability. The problem with the NSX is that it is often
accused of lacking a soul. That reputation was partially earned by
having Honda build a supercar that "even your grandmother"
can drive. Many believe that a sportscar should demand much from its
driver. If you don't have to work it, then it's not worth it.
Ironically, companies like Ferrari and Porsche have recently been
accused of "going soft" by building cars that are now more
user-friendly like the NSX. Suffice it say that many Esprit owners
used to own NSXs.
The Ferraris, in particular the 308, 328, 348, 355 and 360 have
always been the Esprit's other natural competitor. Throughout the long
histories of these cars, performance has usually been matched with a
slight edge going to the Italian marque. The Esprit is often referred
to as the poor man's Ferrari. While it is true that the Esprit costs
between 1/2 to 2/3 of an equivalent Ferrari, at close to $100,000US, I
would hardly consider the Esprit a poor man's anything. One area where
the Italians win flat out is badge recognition. There is a certain
panache that comes with Ferrari ownership. Everybody knows what
a Ferrari is. By contrast, Lotus owners know all too well that the
most common questions asked about their cars are: "Lotus? Who
makes that?" and "Is that a Ferrari?". One area where
Esprits excel over the Ferraris is reliability. Although the Italians
have improved much over recent years, they are not still up the level
of reliability of the Esprit. The other area where the Esprit leads is
in lower maintenance costs. You might think a timing belt or other
service is expensive for an Esprit. However, these costs pale in
comparison to those paid by Ferrari owners for their 15K and 25K mile
services. All those expenses seem to be worth it though when you
experience the magic of that classic Ferrari sound. There's something
special about the melodious buzz-saw sound of a Ferrari engine that
seems to replicate the music of a Formula 1 car. Compared to this,
most people seem to think a 4-cylinder Esprit sounds like a sewing
machine while the V8 Esprit sounds remarkably like two sewing
Lamborghinis are cars that are in another category beyond the Esprit known
as the Ultra-Exotics. This category includes cars such as the McLaren
F1, Ferrari F50, Vector M12, and Bugatti EB-110. Although annual production of the
Diablo actually exceeds the Esprit's by a substantial margin, the
performance of these cars puts it in a totally different league. Also in a
different league is their price (over $200K US) and maintenance costs.
However, if you can afford them, get them. There is nothing else like
them in the world. I know I'm saving my $$ for a new Lamborghini
Murcielago (and a 360 Spider).
One of the things that has always set
the Esprit apart from most of its competitors is its outrageous
"doorstop wedge" look. With its low, wide stance, wings,
spats, and spoilers galore it is a shape that screams supercar and
yells to the world "look at me!" This is both a good thing
and a bad thing. Although the Esprit is truly a car to admire, when
you drive one you feel like you're on display. Every time you're at a
stoplight or walking to your car in the parking lot you will be
greeted by stares, pointing fingers, thumbs-up , waves, cheers, and
whistles. Total strangers will walk up to you at the gas station to
ask you about the car. Some of them will even be brazen enough to ask
you how much it costs - a very personal question to ask a stranger.
People who don't know you will judge you based on the car. Individuals
you've never seen before in your life will brag that they know you to
their friends. Every teenager with a Mustang, Firebird, Camaro, or one
of the myriad of "Fast and the Furious" cars out there will
chase you through city streets or challenge you at every
stoplight. People on the highway will prevent you from switching lanes
as they drive alongside to look at the car. Be forewarned - the Esprit
is not a car for the timid. Only cars in the Ultra-Exotic category
command more attention. If you're more of the conservative type,
perhaps you should consider a more toned down car such as a Corvette,
911 or NSX. These cars, and even some of the Ferraris have have a more
toned-down appearance that allows them to blend more into the scenery
All in all, the Esprit offers the perfect combination of exotic
car looks, exclusivity, high performance, reliability, and great
customer service at a "reasonable" price. It is fitting that
the Esprit's slogan is "For the few who know the
difference...". Are you one of the few?
||Which radar detector do you recommend I buy for my Esprit?
Say what you will about magazine tests, sensitivity, price, etc. most owners
will tell you that the best money spent on a radar detector is for the
Valentine 1. You've probably seen the ads in Car & Driver and
other magazines. Well it's all true. This detector is in a league all it's
own. It's expensive. But once it saves you from even one speeding ticket,
consider that it has paid for itself. This should be one of the first
investments you make for your car. I could tell you more about this
outstanding detector, but why not simply go to the Valentine
site and read all about it.
Note: I have no affiliation with this company other than being a very satisfied