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Showcase cover image for late 1988 Lotus Esprit Turbo (totaled Nov 2015)

General Information

Esprit Turbo
Calypso Red
Owner history:
I bought this in July 2011.

California car since new - no rust, 30K miles, near new cosmetic condition.

1st - 1988-1997 - unknown
2nd- 1997-2009 - recent contact -friendly guy
3rd - 2009-2011 - seller to me - has 9 cars (!)

My first Lotus - always wanted one since I was 17 - 32 years later, I finally bought one.
2nd owner says car was in heated/AC garage with cover, never seen rain.
3rd owner also kept in garage.

Immediately brought to shop for maintenance - plan to drive DAILY.

July 2011 - 31K miles when bought.

As of April 2015 - 73K miles

As of Nov 19, 2015 79.7K suffered a serious accident; totaled due to high repair cost
1988 Lotus Esprit Turbo (Calypso Red)


Oil/filter, air filter, brake fluid, trans fluid changed.

Clutch master, slave, and hydraulic line replaced with stainless steel line

Timing belt replaced with 'blue' version.
Spark plugs, wires, distributor cap and rotor replaced
accessory belts replaced
Fuel pumps, filter, and accumulator replaced
Water pump, Radiator and fans being replaced
Coolant hoses replaced with silicone black JAE hoses
Billet aluminum radiator with high efficiency fans

Since driving daily (up to 7 days a week) starting Oct 1, 2011 - up to 7100 miles as of Apr 19, 2012 (over 6 months).
Aug 13, 2012 - ~9000 miles
Feb 2013 ~ 18,000 miles
Sep 2013 ~ 24,000 miles

Repairs/damage/failures since Oct 2011:

initial Oil change (Dec 2011) (every 5K interval)
New windshield washer arm/blade (Dec 2011)
New alternator (Dec 2011)
Cracked windshield (Dec 2011)
Loose door striker (Jan 2012)
Leaking cam tower gasket (Mar 2012)
AC recharged (R134) and working (Mar 2012)
Broken passenger door limiting bolt (Apr 2012)
Broken passenger window lift motor (Apr 2012)
?Stuck rear caliper - heavy scoring of driver side rear disc (Apr 2012)
Replaced rear rotors/pads (Apr 2012)
Oil change (Apr 2012)
AC relief valve popped; venting all R134 out - reset and refilled (May 2012)
AC relief valve popped again; venting some R134. Refilled and plan to replace receiver/dryer (July 2012) Both AC episodes during 90F+ in Napa, California after about 1 hour of continous operation
Added factory glass sunroof (July 2012)
Replaced sealed beams with Hella H4 setup (Oct 2012)
Momentary 5th gear loss - changed oil/adjust linkage (Oct 2012)
Alternator belt shredded ~18K miles (February 2013)
Rear pads prematurely worn again (February 2013)
Dash lights momentarily lit; but OK after ignition off (March 2013)
AC vented again - bought used thermistor to attempt 'part swap' diagnosis
Low coolant light - small loss; no evidence of leak or coolant in oil. Refilled - may be very slow evaporation/leak (April 2013)
Disassembled dash for various tasks: (May 2013)
- fixed speedometer
- installed TPMS (Tire Pressure Monitoring System Valet 9104)
- plan to run power wires for more circuits from battery through center console
- plan to install mechanical vacuum/turbo gauge while dash is apart
Loose door striker (May 2013)
Power antenna sticking (May 2013)
Dash lights momentarily lit; but OK after ignition off (May 2013)
(diagnosed as loose battery clamp, not bad warning light module as initially thought)
Rear tire punctured - wear @ 20K miles about 50% remaining; front looks more like 70% remaining (May 2013)
Installed repaired VDO speedometer (May 2013)
Installed vacuum/boost VDO Visions gauge (June 2013)
Refilled AC temporarily (still unresolved expansion valve activation on hot days) (June 2013)
Radiator developed cracks and minor slow leak. Vendor sent new radiator for replacement (June 2013) - ~20K miles usage (car now has 50K miles)
Checked timing belt tension and alternator belt tension (June 13)
AC relief valve vented again - hot 100F drive from San Jose to Los Angeles (June 13)
Replaced AC drier/pressure switch (July 13)
Engine oil change Aug 13 (53,757)
Trans oil change Aug 13 (53,757)
Loose and missing exhaust manifold stud/bolts (Aug 13 (53,757)
Upgraded passenger door window lift relays, reworked power window motor (Aug 13 (53,757)
Blackstone oil analysis indicates 5K oil change interval may be OK (additive-wise) but had high levels of copper/lead (bearing wear?) - switching to 3K oil interval to see if it helps. Aug 13
broken throttle cable - 1st emergency tow to shop ($540 from SF to SJ) Sept 13 - broken in back of cable
broken throttle cable - 2nd time again - this time broken in FRONT of cable - luckily only 3 miles from mechanic in San Jose - Oct 13
leaking clutch master cylinder - empty - refilled with no apparent issue; was engaging clutch much earlier but 'cure' after simple refill - Nov 13
Oil change Nov 13
Alternator belt loose - tightened Nov 13
Replaced clutch master cylinder Dec 13

self-repaired: replaced front hubs to 58mm (for OZ Futura wheels), replaced front rotors and brake pads (EBC yellow to match rear pads) Dec 13

2nd aluminum aftermarket radiator developed
cracks and minor slow leak AFTER only 7 months since last replacement (June 2013).
Putting original brass/copper OEM assembly with original fans back in - Feb 14

Citroen transmission displaying circlip failure - early signs - in shop right now for circlip fix, nylatron washer. While in there, putting in
new clutch disc, pressure plate, throw out bearing, and Quaife differential - Feb 14

Car back with Feb 14 repairs - Apr 14

Oil change ~67K miles Dec 14

40K Service C @ 70K miles Jan 15:
(Trackspec Autosports)

1. new Gates blue timing belt
2. new alternator and water pump belts
3. New Rock Auto vacuum pump
4. brake/clutch hydraulic flush
5. cooling system flush
6. new cap, rotor, wires, spark plugs
7. new K&N air filter
8. cam tower leak repaired
9. valve tappets replaced due to mileage
10. valve adjustment

Used Locktite 1588 with about 10 months after manufacturing date (18-24 months is max) for cam towers. Used denatured alcohol.

April 2015
(Trackspec Autosports)

Replaced cracked windshield with original TripleX OEM (Nov 2014 manufacture) from ProSource Glass in MA. Paid $550 via ebay and about $200 for shipping.
Installed Jensen VX7010 navigation/media player
Installed AC cut out valve and relay to prevent over pressure of AC (had been venting R134A through mechanical relief).
AC valve discovered to be source of leak; Shrader valve leaked when being removed. Previous testing would have obscured leaking Shrader valve.

New rear tires July 2015
Oil change August 2015
Interior also like new; driver seat a bit stretched but otherwise pristine.
Totally stock Calypso Red; paint in excellent original like new condition.
Alpine CDA-105 deck
April 2015
Replaced with Jensen VX7010 Navigation and Multimedia unit - single DIN with 7" pop up LCD.
Brakes flushed
July 2011
Jan 2013
Jan 2015
Wheel and Tire
Original 1988 (front) and 1990 (rear) Goodyear NCTs. Replacing with modern rubber BFG TA Radials for safety reasons.

Bought 2 new in box OZ Nova front wheels ; looking for 2 more fronts or 2 more rears to complete set Sept 13

Bought 4 OZ Futura wheels 17x7 and 17x8.5 to use instead of hard-to-find Novas - Nov 13

Dunlop tires on OZ Futura 17" wheels Nov 13
(BFG TAs on 15" worn nearly to bars after 27K miles) Nov 13

self-repaired: replaced front hubs to 58mm (for OZ Futura wheels), replaced front rotors and brake pads (EBC yellow to match rear pads) Dec 13

Sold OZ Nova front wheels Feb 14

Installed Motor-tech rear wheel adapters to use OZ Futura 17" wheels (50mm offset to maintain OEM spec) Dec 13

Had 58mm to 60mm wheel rings made in case I need to use 15" OEM OZ wheels again (which I did briefly ) Dec 13

Using Dunlop Direzza 101 tires 205/45-17 and 245/45-17

Dunlop worn after 19K miles (started 57K Nov 2013 - 76K @ 8/15/15):
about 19K miles on passenger rear tire.
Other three tires look OK
(driver rear is very close to wear bars)
front tires look very good - easily another 20K miles.



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