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Discussion Starter #1
I everyone I have a 2000 Esprit and when I went to start it today the car only made a clicking noise and won't turn over. The battery is in good condition and power is fine it's always on a battery tender. Any ideas here. I was thinking maybe the starter but figured I try here first since there some much knowledge someone might know. Thanks in advance.
 

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Happy Lotus Owner
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Did you disable the ignition kill switch? If you leave your doors unlocked the ignition kill will arm itself. Try disabling that (it’s the straight black object on your key ring that came with your car). You touch it against the port beside the gas cap release button). Or lock and unlock your car using the keyfob. If that doesn’t work recheck the battery’s amps.



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Get the battery tested and clean the terminals up. If the battery is over 5 years old just replace it. Do the headlight pods pop up and down while trying to start the car? Is the immobilizer unlocked? Try locking and unlocking the doors with the key fob and then trying to start the car.
David Teitelbaum
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Good evening guys thanks for your help so far. Hi actwon, yes I did use the kiil swithch thingy you suggested no luck thanks for the picture. Hi Dave the battery is 2 years old and I pulled it out of the car and hooked it up to my truck to see if I could start it and it did. I also put my tester on it and it shows just over 12 volts so I put it back in Esprit and now every time I try to start the headlights pop up and go down and now no clicking noise but I do hear the fuel pump come on for a few seconds then nothing when I try to start. Thinking it's the battery, do the headlights pop up and down when it's low on power? I'll put new battery in tomorrow lets see what happens.
 

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If the headlight pods bounce, the battery is low. Rare for the starter to go bad, usually it is the battery or the wiring connections between the battery and the starter. Hook up a booster box or jump the car from your truck. Auto parts stores will test your battery for free. When was the last time it was started and ran?
David Teitelbaum
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Hi Dave the car last ran a week and a half ago. When it was making a clicking noise (not now when I turn the key it makes no sound at all but headlights pop up and go down and fuel pump noise for short period and lights on the panel all ok) the noise was coming from the front of the car on passenger side. I did see a little ting of smoke on the passenger foot area may have overheated something trying to continue to start. I pulled the battery out of the car it's an OPTIMA Red Top battery 2 years old to the month. I know it's been run down a few times before I started putting it on a battery tender all the time. I'm going to pick up an Interstate MT-56 later this morning, felt either way just to put in a new battery in going forward hope this fixes it. If not I'll report here and see what the next step is.
 

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The Optima batteries are known to fail suddenly. Especially if you say it has been "run down". Batteries don't like that and it takes a lot of life out of them. Not sure what the smoke is, it should not be the cause of this problem but any smoke is not good and you should find and fix whatever is going on with that. The only thing in that area related to starting the car is the alarm and that controls the immobilizer. If it "smoked" and is not allowing the immobilizer to "unlock", that would keep the starter from working. As for the Optima battery, they are expensive and offer no advantage over a good Interstate.
David Teitelbaum
 

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I second David's comments. The Red Top is probably bad due to an excess discharge. Also, Optimas need a smart charger (like a CTEK) that will charge them at the correct voltage, otherwise they won't reach full charge. I have tried using Optimas off and on over the years and eventually concluded they're more trouble than they're worth.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
OK here's the update I had the OPTIMA tested and it's in great shape even under a load but I bought an Interstate MT-56 anyway and put it in. Well, no luck does the same thing but I do get a light haze and a smell of what I think is a bit acidic type of smell so it's the electrical coming from under the passenger side foot area only thing I can think of it's the alarm system of some sort. The red light on the dash is still blinking and doors lock and unlock with the moblizer on the key FOB. Any ideas here before pull the plug and send it to the shop. Thanks... Paul
 

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Happy Lotus Owner
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Paul,

Have you checked or replaced the relay for the starter? Since you hear the fuel pump, that tells me that the fuel cutoff switch is in the proper position. I can’t think of anything else besides the relay right now. Let me know if that works.


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The next step is to check for voltage on the wire to the starter when you turn the key to the "crank" position. Could be the starter relay, starter solenoid, starter, immobilizer, or wiring. The smoke bothers me and could mean the alarm/immobilizer is preventing the car from starting. The immobilizer breaks 2 different circuits, the starter circuit and the ignition circuit. Got to start testing to narrow it down.
David Teitelbaum
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Thanks, everyone for your input so far. The new battery is in (Interstate MT-56), new battery connectors and new battery cables so far. Now the important stuff find out where the light haze coming from under passenger foot area when I try to start it, should be the culprit t I hope and not a different problem. One question on relays as I start down that path soon and try to figure out if one is bad or not are they interchangeable, meaning if they are the same size and the plug teeth are the same on the bottom can I just unplug one and put it in the other plug. As you can tell I haven't delt with relays in past much. Thanks in advance.
 

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The starter relay should be easy to find a match for if you take it to a store or search cross-references on Lotus forums Like Lotus talk, or thelotusforums.

By "haze" do you mean smoke? from under the passenger footwell?
Be very careful with turning on any electricity in a car that could catch fire very easily... or melt wires. both bad!
You most likely have a starter cut relay for the immobilizer in the dash area. That could be preventing the starter from seeing electricity. Those relays are usually hard wired in and will need ot be removed and replaced by splicing back in. They are not designed to be unpluggable.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Thanks Vulcan I'll start my search tonight on the immoblizer relay in the dash area. I'll let you know what I find out.
 

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Sounds like your alarm's immobilizer may be engaged. It's a problem (I am learning) with a lot of Esprits that have the Cobra alarm system.

I had the exact same issue on my 2002 V8 and it was the immobilizer. I could even hear what sounded like the fuel pump priming when I turned the key to position 2.

The immobilizer cuts both the fuel and starter. When I turned the key it just clicked (the sound of the ignition being turned into the start position) but no start.

There are a few posts that go over how to bypass the immobilizer. Here's one with a good photo:
https://www.lotustalk.com/forums/f320/permanently-disabling-immobiliser-alarm-107492/#post1656901

Essentially, jumper the two pins for the starter and the fuel pump and that will tell you if it's the immobilizer or not. If it starts, it's the immobilizer.

The good thing about using two small wires as jumpers is that it's completely reversible, you just have to remove the access panel on the right side of the engine (when looking at the car from the rear) to get to it.

Good luck.
MC
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Hi everyone. I know it's been a while since my last post on this starter issue but I did get it resolved. I tried all the easy stuff first and it turns out it was the starter after all that died. It's the first time a started died on me in 18K miles, but hey that's the way it goes sometimes. So since it needed to be replaced while the cam belt covers were off I decided to replaced the ignition coils and cables. After all that figured it was time to replace the shocks and rear springs. The car is all ready for spring and summer driving. I hope the LOG40 will be still taking place in SLC this September as I will be there. Thanks again for all your input guys your the best. PC
 
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