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Discussion Starter #1
Can someone verify the actual diameter of an 88 Esprit steering wheel? Some test articles say it's a 320mm Nardi wheel.

My Esprit is on a lift at the shop for awhile and I don't have easy access to it.

Looking to modify my steering wheel position to get better view of dash and less stress on my back for snug seating position.

Thanks,
 

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Wingless Wonder
1988 Esprit Turbo
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Easier to modify the seat position, isn't it?

I'll measure mine tonight unless someone else does it first...
 

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Cal H
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320 mm seems small. I Don't have a 88-89 wheel. I have a 2 spoke Momo G car wheel and that is 350 mm. The Raid Daytona that some commented that it blocked the view of certain gauges is 340 mm. Raid freeway CF wheel that has clear view at 360 mm. The GM airbag wheel is huge at 375 mm. I never realized how big it actually was till I compared it to the others. A long time ago KFM mentioned the Euro spec Momo S4 wheel??? being about 1/2" smaller than the GM wheel and that would put it at 360 mm. I seem to recall Travis has mentioned that he had entry issues on cars with the GM wheel (hitting with legs). Somewhere in Esprit history I do recall someone put a ready made extension or spacer to bring the wheel closer to the driver to improve gauge sight and driver comfort. it was like $20 and even came with a pleated rubber finish collar for a finished look.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Easier to modify the seat position, isn't it?

I'll measure mine tonight unless someone else does it first...
Thanks - actually, the factory 88 seat is like a rubber sling or hammock.
If you stick your hand under the seat, you'll feel a thick rubber sheet under the leather. It clears the floor by about 1/4" where your butt resides.- it's a low as it can get.

My issue is my steering wheel is blocking the top of speedo/tach. After nearly 3 years of driving, I think I subconsciously look (bend my neck down) at the top of the gauges - putting stress on my upper back (painful).

So if I move the steering wheel up (and possibly increase diameter, I may gain a better view and less bending down.
 

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Are you thinking about modifying the column or scuttle bar? I'd be interested to hear your thoughts on it.

My main issue is that my knee is wedged between the wheel and the console, making it difficult to get enough rotation without having to change my hand position on the wheel. I feel like I'm flailing away at it on low-speed right handers...not good for autocross.

I've lowered the pedals as much as possible (removing the throttle stop bolt altogether). It's a lot better but there's still plenty of room for improvement.

I plan to install a smaller wheel (currently have the GM airbag one) but that will compound the gauge visibility problem a bit.

I've seen pictures of the scuttle bar and column, it seems like it wouldn't be too hard to modify the upper mounting position of the column by welding a slight "hump" into the bar and/or changing the position of the mounting tabs on the column. Moving the position of the lower mounting bracket on the firewall downward may also help.

I haven't really taken things apart to see what all the issues would be (including safety concerns in the event of an accident) but those were my initial thoughts.

It does surprise me a little that everyone seems to complain about the wheel position but I haven't found any posts where someone did anything about it other than change the wheel or add a spacer. I took this as an indication that it may be either too difficult or potentially dangerous.
 

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Cal H
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I have seen 3 way to solve this problem.
1) The obvious get a bigger wheel. But may interfere with entry and exit of larger drivers from car

other 2 solutions allow you to keep your existing wheel

2) Move your wheel closer with extension to increase view angle. Unbolt the wheel and hold it closer to you noting the view and comfort level and order the correct extension. Only works if you can deal with the wheel closer to driver. Will increase wheel to top of leg space. May need as little as 1" closer to driver to increase sight angle to see top of gauges.

3) Use an eccentric wheel adapter to move the wheel mount point vertically up and rear about 1/2" to allow a better gauge view. I have driven a car with this type of adapter and it does not bother me. But some drivers do not like it. There are a few out there but JWest is well known.
Steering Eccentric Adapter - JWest Engineering
 

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Wingless Wonder
1988 Esprit Turbo
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So if I move the steering wheel up (and possibly increase diameter, I may gain a better view and less bending down.
How will you be able to see if your shoelaces are untied? :D


rotfl rotfl rotfl
 

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Discussion Starter #8
>Are you thinking about modifying the column or scuttle bar? I'd be interested to hear your thoughts on it.

No - I'm concerned about making any major structure mods - I don't believe it would be safe.

I want to move the steering wheel up just a bit using a 1/2 inch adapter, maybe 1 inch.

I like the eccentric adapter idea - may have to get that as well. My Mustang had an eccentric wheel and it seemed OK 99% of the time. Only in low speeds (parking) did it seem a little odd.

The Service manual shows the scuttle bar and without major changes to the dash pod, I don't think raising it is a practical mod.
 

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Wingless Wonder
1988 Esprit Turbo
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The actual diameter of my '88's OE wheel is 13 3/4" (Give or take a kilometer)

That's 349.25 mm (probably 350 mm, actually)

HTH
 

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The actual diameter of my '88's OE wheel is 13 3/4" (Give or take a kilometer)

That's 349.25 mm (probably 350 mm, actually)

HTH
Ditto that, it's a 350mm wheel (measured it today on my '88).

It looks like a Momo Monte Carlo to me (with a Lotus center cover) which is a pretty darn nice driving wheel (see below). You could try a larger diameter Momo (they come in 370 and 400mm for example) and thereby maintain the same bolt pattern at the hub, but I can't imagine you'd be able to get you knee in there between the wheel and the center console. It's tight there already. The Momo wheel on a Ferrari Mondial up to '88 is a 400mm wheel and feels/looks nice. The Momo wheel on an '89 or later Mondial is a 370mm I believe. Both feel nice in the hands.

There are some Momo wheels with an offset....but personally that's always seemed funky to me. When the wheel is return-centering and it's not concentric it just feels weird. Just my $.02.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thanks guys for the 350mm confirmation.

Now I'm torn - I thought the original was 320mm so going to 350mm was going to fix my problem. But 370mm won't be offset by moving out 1" (trigonometry with a SWAG on the steering column length/angle says 1" out gives me about 1/2" more 'view' and room at the legs).

The eccentric adapter is interesting, but then I realized it would come 1/2" closer to my legs when turning fully.

Maybe a flat bottom wheel, 360mm wheel AND the 1" adapter will work for me.
 

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Wingless Wonder
1988 Esprit Turbo
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It's a Nardi wheel with a Lotus cover:



Hey Eddie, on the site where I found the Nardi image, they have a Nardi 350MM deep dish wheel:



Maybe that would be a simple solution to get the wheel closer to your bod? The advert is from 2005 but maybe you could find one for sale. (I KNOW you have good search skills)
 

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Cal H
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My main issue is that my knee is wedged between the wheel and the console, making it difficult to get enough rotation without having to change my hand position on the wheel. I feel like I'm flailing away at it on low-speed right handers...not good for autocross.
I never really thought of our cars as well suited for autocross. Although Keen did finish as point leader in the MN autocross season one year. I always thought the cars were better suited to small to moderate sweepers found on a road course.

Keen did have a smaller wheel for autocross and since he was a larger individual the wheel was a quick release and I would see the car parked often with the wheel off. If an air bag was not a big issue I see no reason why you could not have a smaller wheel for autocross and a larger wheel for street use and use the quick release to go between the two. I would think wheels like a 320 mm would be a pain in close quarters steering in a parking lot.

I hear you about the stock airbag wheel at 375 mm. I will put on the 360 mm Raid as soon as I get the squib connector and if I don't like that I will try the 340 mm. At least that is one good thing about having different wheels at one time.
 

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I never really thought of our cars as well suited for autocross.
I haven't actually tried it yet but I tend to agree, I think the power delivery and width of the car will be somewhat of a disadvantage. I was thinking that I'd run with the headlights up at first so I could gauge the location of the right front corner. :confused:

In my immediate area it's primarily that or dirt ovals. The latter seems like a monumentally bad idea. rotfl
 

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Cal H
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Petemon,
You will have your chance soon on a road course. LOG will be in Asheville, NC this fall. It is customary for the LOG host to have a track day event as well as autocross. I have had an an Esprit in an autocross event as I wanted to check suspension setting. I could not be real serious on autocross with it. Its all 1st/sometimes 2nd gear driving with a lot of leaning and tossing it around a turn. Just keep in mind that our cars used in really tight high G turns flexes our spongy frames and body and in the old days many reported vertical stress cracks appearing below the fuel filler flaps from twisting.

I had a lot more fun with my old Europa and Elan. I would think an Elise would be a better choice for that sort of thing. I really the prefer the Esprit on the sweepers found on the deserted country roads in and around the Mississippi river valleys and bluffs. The Elise is a good machine but it is a bit spartan, rides a bit rougher, and louder when driving on the street. I'm sure I would get used to it but I prefer the comfort and the more civilized ride of the Esprit. Must be my old age LOL.
 

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Wingless Wonder
1988 Esprit Turbo
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Pete,

Another event to consider is the Lotus Ltd HPDE event on July 2nd at Watkins Glen, NY.

http://www.lotustalk.com/forums/f96...ny-lotus-owners-ny-lotus-ltd-july-2nd-213354/

Watkins is a GREAT track to stretch your Esprit's legs. Just make sure your brakes are up to snuff...

I'll be there! :clap:


+++++++++++++

I've tried autocross in the Esprit and found that the slow speeds, width of the car, and the turbo boost really take away from the enjoyment. I prefer a normally aspirated car for AC.

Track days or HPDE events are much more to the Esprit's liking. :evil:


++++++++++

Hmmm dirt ovals...as a former rally driver, I think DIRT ROADS ARE FUN. But not in an Esprit! :mad:
 

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I agree with you, Cal!
I've always thought of autocrossing an Esprit in a similar way as drag racing or bracket racing. Sure, the Esprit can do it, but there are plenty of other cars that are much better suited to the task and if you do take the Esprit, you better have some deep pockets. :)

With that said and done, I still think it's great that there are some out there with Esprits representing our favorite cars in competition. Seeing an Esprit is already such a rare sight nowadays, but to actually see someone (else) on an autocross in an Esprit is a joy to behold. :)

Roy
 

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Eddie,
When I first bought my pearl white Esprit the first time, it had a black Nardi wheel on it. I was told by the previous owner that the Nardi bolted right up. I didn't see an adapter so I believe he was correct. You might want to look into Nardi wheels as a possible alternative as well. I was also given the original blue/grey Commemorative wheel in a box which in the madness of moving a couple times was temporarily misplaced. Couldn't find it to save my life. Anyway, it turned out to be packed away at my parent's house so when I sold the car on consignment, the new owner joined our local club so I gave him the original wheel. Which worked out well since this is the reason why my car now has the correct wheel ever since I bought it a second time. Funny how things work out. :)

Roy
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Eddie,
When I first bought my pearl white Esprit the first time, it had a black Nardi wheel on it. [snip]
Everything I read says the 88 has a Nardi wheel - Beerman says his is a Momo. Since my car is still in the shop, I can't check it again, but Atwell says it's a Nardi - it looks like a Nardi to me.

I have a set of adapters/extensions for both Nardi and Momo so I might just stick with the original wheel (which is nice), or maybe something that may be a little bigger and further away.
 
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