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Old 11-06-2012, 06:38 AM   #1 (permalink)
Neb
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Newbie here looking for some info

So I stumbled across this site and was hoping to get a bit more information. I tried doing searches before I made this thread as I know how much of a pain it is to be answering the same thing over and over again, but didn't really find anything. Basically I'm looking for some general information on the s4; common issues and things to look for when purchasing. I didn't see a sticky anywhere that had this info. Things like models available, colour choices etc. Any help would be great!

Currently I own an Mk1 Audi TT but am falling in love with the S4's the more I see them but would just like to know what I would be getting myself into.

Thanks!

-Ben
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Old 11-06-2012, 06:52 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Several sites to search, not just here:

Esprit Models

http://www.lotusespritworld.com/EBuying/checklist.html

http://www.espritfactfile.com/indexf.html
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Old 11-06-2012, 07:39 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Much Appreciated. Those links should be stickied!
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Old 11-06-2012, 08:17 AM   #4 (permalink)
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What information are you looking for? Have you driven one yet?
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Old 11-06-2012, 09:07 AM   #5 (permalink)
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I have not driven one yet, but really I wanted to know the models that are available, how to tell them apart; common issues (rust or w/e) to look for.

I've got an Mk1 Audi TT and made the mistake of not doing my research before I bought and not that I regret my purchase, but I would have looked for a different model had I known the different options available.
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Old 11-06-2012, 05:05 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Neb, my personal car is an 89SE, we also have a 95 S4 that we redid, and a 94 S4 that we are just finishing up. By redo I mean rebuilt engines, new clutches, brakes suspension and various minor fixes. So pretty well sorted.

The S4 is identified by the slightly restyled front and rear bumpers, the mid mounted wing, and the "newer" interior.

Don't know where you are, but you should look at the Esprit in person and then figure out what you want, what your budget is and how handy you are. The bodies are fiberglass, and the chassis is galvanized, so no problems with rust. The exception is the fuel tanks which do tend to rust. All in all the 4 cylinder is not that complex, but it is a rare car. Minor issues and electrical issues are not uncommon. Maintenance matters and the vintage you are looking at is 17-18yrs old. So a well sorted car can be hard to find. Engines tend to need attention between 70-100k miles.

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Old 11-06-2012, 05:27 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Here is a picture of an 89 Turbo, a 95 S4(center), and an 89 SE. The Turbo has original wheels, and the other two are shown with V8 wheels
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Old 11-07-2012, 04:05 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Many thanks! I'm located near Toronto, Canada; I know there's a dealer in the city so maybe I'll take a wander over to get a good look in the flesh.
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Old 11-07-2012, 05:53 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Thanks for the links, as a fellow newbie they're very helpful.
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Old 11-07-2012, 06:12 AM   #10 (permalink)
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here's how I made my decision.

1) I wanted an Esprit, and I wasn't trying to make it the fastest car on the street. So, to me, the V8 cars didn't make a difference.
2) I preferred the I4 over the V8 for ease of maintenance as I work on all my cars.
3) I knew I wanted an SE or S4 or S4s....but which one.
4) I always liked the original backglass look of the SE, but the open back looked great, too......that that didn't narrow it down.
5) the Stephens body always looked "tougher" to me than the Thompson bodykit, and I loved the way the X180R cars looked on the track......so, that had me leaning toward the SEs.
6) Wings........ for me the S4 looks great from some angles and weird from others.... and I really never liked the Hoop wing on the S4s and early V8s. The SE wing was subtle but fit the body lines so well. and then there were the rarer 93 cars with their larger, steeper Se style wing. I liked that one alot.
7) Interior...........I['m on the meatier side. 6'0" @ 250#. The redesigned Thompson interiors fit me better. With a longer torso, broad shoulders.....and a big rump......93.5+ cars were really the only choice for me.

So, there it was. 93.5 Esprit had what I was looking for.

Original Stephens body, great looking wing, more accomodating interior, and wider opening doors.

So, I kept my eye out for 93.5 cars.....and bought the best one I could find. totally original, very low miles. I have made some of my own mods for the car, but still have all the original items, too.


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Old 11-07-2012, 07:35 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Quad, did you use a spacer on the rear S4 wheels? My '90 SE has the same wheels but I feel the rear track is too narrow. If so, what specs are the spacers? Thanks.
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Old 11-07-2012, 07:50 AM   #12 (permalink)
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I have 35mm spacers in the rear, and my rears have been widened to 11" with 315/35s.

also, I have 20mm spacers in the front. Had http://www.motorsport-tech.com/ build them. I chose to have them built with bolts with mount them to the hubs and studs comings out of the spacers. they do nioce machine work and get it done quickly.
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Old 11-07-2012, 08:12 AM   #13 (permalink)
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What did the custom adapters / spacers run you?
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Old 11-07-2012, 09:11 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Don't bother with that check list, it doesn't really offer much in the way of Esprit specific items to check. If you are competent to crawl all over and under a car and know what to look for then there isn't much difference to a buying an Esprit to any other car (you just have to remember the ones you are considering looking at are about 20 years old and don't necessarily have the same creature comforts of other cars from this era!). If you don't know what to look for then find someone who does before committing your money.

Whilst it's been mentioned that the chassis is galvanised, and you generally don't need to worry about it other than accident damage, you also need to check the tube closest to the turbocharger, the heat burns the galvanising off there and lets the rust eat away at the tube.

Other than the styling differences the SE and S4 models are very similar. The biggest meaningful differences (IMHO) are the addition of power steering and slightly wider opening doors in the later model. If you cannot manage heavy steering at slow speeds and/or have difficultly getting in and out then the SE may not be for you.

Just spotted that you are near Toronto, it may be worthwhile to see if you can get in touch with a user called 'jollyroger' on the thelotusforums.com as he lives there.

Last edited by sailorbob; 11-07-2012 at 09:19 AM. Reason: Added last paragraph
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Old 11-07-2012, 09:55 AM   #15 (permalink)
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What did the custom adapters / spacers run you?
I've also used motorsport-tech for several sets of adapters/bolt on spacers for my Audi. They usually run about $350-400 for a complete set of 4 with all the hardware needed. It's nice to be able to get any width needed, same with getting the proper centrebore from once type of wheel to the next.
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Old 11-07-2012, 09:57 AM   #16 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by sailorbob View Post
Don't bother with that check list, it doesn't really offer much in the way of Esprit specific items to check. If you are competent to crawl all over and under a car and know what to look for then there isn't much difference to a buying an Esprit to any other car (you just have to remember the ones you are considering looking at are about 20 years old and don't necessarily have the same creature comforts of other cars from this era!). If you don't know what to look for then find someone who does before committing your money.

Whilst it's been mentioned that the chassis is galvanised, and you generally don't need to worry about it other than accident damage, you also need to check the tube closest to the turbocharger, the heat burns the galvanising off there and lets the rust eat away at the tube.

Other than the styling differences the SE and S4 models are very similar. The biggest meaningful differences (IMHO) are the addition of power steering and slightly wider opening doors in the later model. If you cannot manage heavy steering at slow speeds and/or have difficultly getting in and out then the SE may not be for you.

Just spotted that you are near Toronto, it may be worthwhile to see if you can get in touch with a user called 'jollyroger' on the thelotusforums.com as he lives there.
Thanks for the info. And coming from VW's and Audi's, some models have very specific rust areas that you have to check so I wasn't sure if the Lotus would have something similar, or if the location would play a part.
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Old 11-07-2012, 05:49 PM   #17 (permalink)
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What did the custom adapters / spacers run you?
the spacers were $65 per spacer.
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Old 11-07-2012, 06:15 PM   #18 (permalink)
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the spacers were $65 per spacer.
Not a bad price at all -- thanks!
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Old 11-07-2012, 07:39 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Thanks for the info. And coming from VW's and Audi's, some models have very specific rust areas that you have to check so I wasn't sure if the Lotus would have something similar, or if the location would play a part.
I have been all through 5 Esprits from 89-95. I have never seen any significant chassis rust. I have seen rusted fasteners and some rust of accessory parts, but even then nothing that required more than a cleanup and some zinc primer.
I have seen several rusted fuel tanks in these cars.
I'm sure there are badly abused cars out there from salt infested areas that might have some rust, but I would guess they would be quite rough all over.

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Old 11-08-2012, 03:35 AM   #20 (permalink)
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Thanks Randy. Yeah the only rust issue I've read about so far is the gas tank. I guess there isn't a way to see if it's rusted just from looking under it though right? (the rust is between the underside of the car and the tank correct?)
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