Esprit engine pre-luber? - LotusTalk - The Lotus Cars Community
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 06-09-2019, 05:35 AM Thread Starter
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Esprit engine pre-luber?

To avoid "dry starts", some manufacturers add engine pre-lube pumps.
Adding such system on our cars would save bearings.

Tempting idea, at least.

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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 06-09-2019, 06:01 AM
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One guy has one on his 88 Esprit. I believe he has 160K miles without a rebuild (!). I had a conversation about it back when I got my late 88 Esprit in 2011.

My goal was/is to reach 100K miles in my Esprit.

However and only reaching 50K miles in 49 months on my watch (4th owner so 50K miles of the 80K miles on car were mine), Iím convinced the pre-Oiler is necessary if you donít daily drive the car.

My theory is the cold start ups combined with long periods between actual operation contribute heavily to the premature wear on Esprits. Iíve read several stories of engines needing rebuilds at ~70K miles.

Iíd like to consider a pre oiler. The long term reviews of at least one I was considering had its own problems. My lame substitute is to drive the regularly to keep a reasonable oil film on internal parts for the next cold start.


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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 06-09-2019, 08:57 AM
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Had an Accusump (brand) preoiler in my 84 Esprit back in '92.

Modern product:

https://www.cantonracingproducts.com/accusump

Owned, loved, enjoyed, and now gone:
1969 Europa S2 Blue
1970 Europa S2 White
1974 Europa Twin Cam Blue
1974 Europa Twin Cam Blue
1984 Turbo Esprit Calypso Red
2005 Elise Starlight Black
2005 Elise Saffron Yellow
2005 Elise Ardent Red
2006 Exige Graphite Grey
2007 Exige Canyon Red

Other:
1970 MGB GT
1970 Datsun 510
1984 Honda CRX Si
1984 Pontiac Fiero
2004 Chrysler Crossfire
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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 06-09-2019, 02:42 PM
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Perhaps one idea is to find a way to have starter functional but ignition is off at same time.....one could crank the engine some, gain some oil pressure/circulation and then do so again with ignition on
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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 06-10-2019, 12:31 PM
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I have an Accusump from an Exige 260, contains the EPC electronic actuation valve.
I have not installed it, since I haven't done much with the car lately.
Some Exige owners do complain about the EPC failing though.

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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 06-10-2019, 01:04 PM
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This is always a good idea. Recip engines worth 6+ figures pretty much all use active pre-oilers before the crankshaft is turned.

The only reason vehicle engines don't generally have this is the cost/weight/complexity penalty exceeds the perceived value of the addition. Given that no engine in an Esprit is common, they certainly aren't getting commoner, and they generally have infrequent use patterns, I'd regard some sort of pre-lube method as a really good idea, especially as the engine probably didn't go through Toyota levels of lifecycle testing before it went into production, and might well be fragile in some modes.

A quick-and-dirty method is to wire up a fuel pump and ignition disable switch somewhere discreet and spin the engine over with the key until you see pressure on the gauge (you do have a working oil pressure gauge, right?) before turning on fuel and spark. This has the disadvantage of not actually pressurizing things before they start moving, so it's probably adequate for an engine that hasn't run for a few weeks, but not one that has been sitting for months. The longer it sits, the more oil drains out of the rubbing interfaces into the pan.

To really do it right, though, you need some kind of pre-oiler. The Accusump with solenoid valve is popular for this. They're not perfect, but they are off-the-shelf and designed for this sort of application. You'd still want the ignition/fuel cutout and a separate switch to engage the accusump valve so that you could pressurize the engine and then turn it over before firing it. Properly used, the only thing an accusump won't save you from is cylinder bore wear on a non-piston squirter engine. In that case, you'd want to pop spark plugs out first and shoot a little oil down the holes to oil the bores before turning it over if the engine has sat for months or longer. If you've removed the plugs it's a great idea to spin the engine over (no fuel or spark) with them out for a bit - you get much faster oil pump-up and higher oil pressure when not compressing air in the cylinders.
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 06-10-2019, 03:58 PM
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On the electronic injection Esprits, it's easy to disable the fuel pump with the inertia switch before starting. But yea no oil squirters on the 4cy Esprit.

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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 06-10-2019, 05:41 PM
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Where this kind of technology makes sense is in IC engines with dry sumps and turbos. When the motor is running, an accumulator gets filled with pressurized oil and when the motor is turned off a solenoid valve locks the pressurized oil in. During start-up the solenoid valve opens and allows the accumulator to pressurize the oil system. Once you get a minimum pressure of oil the starter is energized so you don't turn the motor until the bearings are flooded with oil. The whole thing adds weight and complexity. It helps reduce wear during start-up on the bearings, it doesn't do much for cylinder or ring wear. How many Lotus's have had to have their motors rebuilt because of low oil pressure due to bearing wear? Change your oil and filter regularly (at least annually) and use the best oil you can find (Mobil 1 is good). Not all technology adopted for racing is a good fit for a street car.
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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 06-10-2019, 06:44 PM
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Over the years this issue has been discussed at different times on the forum. My impression is that it's theoretically a good idea. I've worked on marine engines of rather large size and they generally utilize some sort of pre-oiling. The pragmatic question is how much of a life extending contribution do they make to the average Esprit. That is hard to quantify. My own decision for my Esprit is that since it is a frequent and year-round driver here in Florida the cost and complexity of adding a pre-lube system is not something I feel I need. Good oil, frequent changes and frequent driving I think is one way to keep the car from suffering excessive lubrication loss due to sitting idle. I don't think pre-lubbing can hurt in any way, but I'm not sure for the average street car it contributes a great deal.
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Tom Mieczkowski
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