Need Some Help - LotusTalk - The Lotus Cars Community
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 08-29-2019, 03:56 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Sep 2018
Location: Michigan
Posts: 7
Need Some Help

Ok I have a 1988 Esprit Turbo with 19,000 miles. The had been in storage for several years only being started once a year or so when I bought it.
It ran fine when delivered but quickly started to run rough until it would not start. So drained the gas which did not seem all that bad, changed the fuel filter (what a pain that was) but still no go. After some checking found that the fuel pump fuse had blown. Changed that but still no go.
So sent it off to the local Lotus dealer, $2700.00 later and a new "pressure pump" they said its running great, come get it.
Drove it about a 1/8 of a mile with black smoke coming from the tail pipe and then a few flames as per my wife following me, ran good up to 3000 rpm but cuts out if you try to get more than 3000. So back to our local expert.
Now it should be noted that they gave me the car back with only 1/8 of gas showing on the fuel gauge.
After a review with the tech he say that he had the injectors out and they would stream gas but not spray. Said that they may need to be cleaned (he had them in his hands and did not clean them???). Also said it could be the frequency valve. Just needs more of my $150.00 per hour to investigate.
As you can imagine I'm not real excited to let them have another crack at it. I can randomly change parts for a lot less money. So my question is; any ideas on what to check next?

TRB57 / Tim B.
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 08-29-2019, 05:04 PM
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If injectors are not providing a correct spray pattern, they need to be cleaned, and if that doesn't help, they need to be replaced. Belching black smoke indicates way rich fuel delivery, which fits with poor injection control. Start with having the injectors cleaned by a competent shop.


'83 Esprit Turbo (The Fabulous Trashwagon)
'87 Esprit Turbo (FrankEnSPRIT)
'90 St Tropez Turbo
'04 Boxster S
'05 CO Elise, LSS, Touring, Hardtop, among others
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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 08-29-2019, 05:25 PM
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Sounds like the fuel system is all messed up from storage. Remove what is left of the fuel and get some fresh stuff in. You can try a can of Techron but you most likely need the fuel system cleaned "stem-to-stern". Just cleaning the fuel injectors and they will get plugged up again with the crud in there. If the fuel tanks are rusty inside you will never get the fuel system clean. The insides of the tanks should be inspected for rust. As for the shop you went to, find a shop (if you can) that knows old Lotus's. Your problems aren't that complicated to anyone that knows old Lotus's. As for buying an old car that has been sitting, you should flush and replace ALL the fluids and filters, check the date codes on the tires (if over 7 years they should be replaced0 the battery over 5 years, and wiper blades. If the brake fluid looks thick and dark the brake system should be rebuilt along with the clutch hydraulics. If the fuel tanks are rusty inside they have to come out and be repaired or replaced. The fuel system will NEVER run right if it keeps getting filled with rust from the tanks. The fuel sold for the past decade (or more depending on where you live) does not store well and if it is over 6 months old it is considered stale. Stale fuel destroys the insides of the fuel system, especially the tanks.
David Teitelbaum
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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 08-29-2019, 07:05 PM
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Find a Mom-n-Pop shop specializing in Saab cars. Look for gray-haired mechanic. SAABs have an identical CIS injection system, but Saab shops don't charge as much.

Meanwhile, take out two bolts holding cold start injector, pop it up and stick it in a jar. Do not disconnect anything else. Have a helper turn the ignition on and watch what the rascal is doing. It should spray a fine mist cone for exactly 8 seconds and shut off. If it goes on and on -the Thermo Time Out switch is faulty or injector is stuck open.
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 08-29-2019, 10:39 PM
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Jtrealty has good list, but we need to mention the classic Esprit tip to change the timing belt first and foremost.

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Eddie B
87 Esprit 'SLEEK GT'
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 08-30-2019, 04:43 AM
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Your '88 needs a proper diagnosis. (As well as a timing belt...)

The Bosch K-Jet FI works as a 'system', and there are many components that could affect warm running. "Corded" rather than "Spraying" fuel injectors are only one possibility.

The Lotus shop manual has detailed procedures on diagnosis. As has been stated, a shop with K-Jet experience (whether it is Saab, Volvo, Mercedes, or BMW) is the best place to start. You can get the shop a copy of Section LF from the manual.

Atwell Haines
'88 Esprit
Succasunna, NJ USA

"Not all angels have wings." - Turbo R
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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 08-30-2019, 05:53 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks so much for all the help guys, I will be getting the back in my shop on just after the holiday weekend and will keep everyone posted as I move forward.
Also thanks for the advise on the timing belt and brake fluid. Will be tacking care of that as well.

TRB57 / Tim B.
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 08-30-2019, 09:10 AM
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Yes, I did forget to mention that the timing belt has a mileage and time limit and because of the time in storage the belt is probably due to be replaced. It is going to take a lot more than a tankful of fresh gas to get this car back into good condition. Way too often what looks like a bargain isn't such a bargain because of all of the work that needs to be done. Especially if you aren't handy and have to pay someone to do all the work. Only a shop that knows what they are doing should be touching that belt. A mistake will have expensive consequences. BTW, your rich running is probably a stuck fuel plunger in the metering unit. Probably can be fixed with no parts but some labor to take the metering unit apart and clean it.
David Teitelbaum
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