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Discussion Starter #1
I’m new to Lotus and other than reading the chats for the last few weeks I know nothing. This community sounds very nice to be a part of.
I’ve always been enamored by the Esprit. I’ve found a 1997 I like. At 30k miles the car looks perfect and it’s easy to tell the previous owners cared for it. The current owner is a stand-up guy.

Everything checks out except for an oil analysis. With 1500 miles in the oil it’s showing moderate signs of glycol (.069%) which is 690ppm if my math is correct. How bad is this? Anybody here have their oil sampled lately? Liner or HG or porous block related? I enjoy working on cars and feel that I’m capable of pulling this engine and re-sealing liners and head gaskets if need be.

A fairly obtuse question but what are parts costs involved in doing this and a timing belt change if I were to do it myself?

I’m waiting on a warranty history report from Lotus who have mentioned they’ll get this to me by the end of the week.

Any thoughts or opinions are greatly appreciated.

TIA
 

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Do not buy a Lotus figuring on fixing it up. You can quickly spend more than it is worth unless you get it for a helluva deal. Besides all of the time and parts there are special tools you have to either make, borrow or buy to rebuild the motor. I would do a combustion gas test of the coolant. If it is good you just have liner seal leakage, if it fails you have head gaskets at least and maybe also liner seals. That small an amount of coolant leakage I don't think is a problem as long as it doesn't get any worse. The best thing you can do now is to get someone to do a proper PPI (Pre Purchase Inspection) including the combustion gas test and a compression test. That person can reveiw the service history and evaluate the test results and tell you what you are buying. The "early" V-8's had known liner seal problems.This could be an indication of that.
David Teitelbaum
 

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If your an adventurous and reasonably competent DIY the parts are really reasonable IMHO. Lots of patience waiting for stuff from the UK and figuring out how to get in tight spaces. Although its really not that long for parts - couple extra days. My experience is all with 4 cyl, the V8 specific engine parts may be a different ball game.

Go to the SJ Sports Cars web site and search around on parts - I think you will see they are not too bad. At least from what I am used too.

Fortunately the factory service manual is available and is really great, kinda $$$ but totally worth it if you are inclined to wrench. Also if you join TLF you can down load the parts manual for free. The forum here is a huge resource, there are several very experienced Esprit mechanics who are willing to help.

Now finding a shop to do specific machine work or rebuild a gear box may be relatively expensive because it will likely not be local.

Is there an independent in your area that works on Esprit's?
 

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Wingless Wonder
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Is there an independent in your area that works on Esprit's?
The location flag denotes Canada, but that doesn't narrow it down too much, eh? 🤨 Give us a locale (or put it into a SIGNATURE) and we can make recommendations.

The trick is to find a shop that won't need to LEARN on your car. @sleekgt has patronized a good shop for years (and I'm sure they respect him enough to listen to his Forum-based experience).
 

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If you follow David's advice you will not be an Esprit owner. If you find one that doesn't need fixing up, you will be paying the PO's repair bill through the asking price.
My anecdote is this. When I first dipped my toes into Esprit prospecting, I found an IMMACULATE S4s. with a ton of service history and appropriate miles and an enthusiastic, knowledgeable steward. Lets just say the seller (who is a stand up guy whom I still consult with on Esprit) was asking top end of the market. He eventually sold it to a LT member. I thought I recognized the car on here and asked the guy if it was the car I was thinking of to compliment him on a great Esprit. He repsponded that it was the car and was now at Ralphs getting work done. WTF!?!? If THAT car needed to go straight to Ralph's then NO car doesn't need "fixing up" All that to say, Get a competent guy that you or a friendly LT member trusts (Thanks T.J. and Atwell!!) to do a PPI. Do your due diligence. And if you feel good about it ,pull the trigger and go f#$%king have fun!
The oil analysis is what it is. Does it keep you up at night? walk away. Is it a risk you think you can manage? go for it. Atwell advised me to budget $2000 average a year in maintenance so maybe you spend a little more up front maybe not. I decided life's too short. I went for it, understood the risks and am prepared to deal with them. now I'm so excited to be a part of this club.
 

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My advice was not meant to scare you away from a car that needs some "sorting out". My advice was meant for a basket case that doesn't work or needs major work like an engine reseal/rebuild. Just about any Lotus you find will be in need of something but there is a big difference between some minor work and leaking liner seals. If you undertake a major job it will inevitably expand to other things you WILL find.
David Teitelbaum
 

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Atwell advised me to budget $2000 average a year in maintenance
Note: I do most of my own routine maintenance, which keeps the $$ down somewhat. Of course, my figure included TWO Citroen transmission rebuilds...
 

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Hi there and welcome!

carbuff>The trick is to find a shop that won't need to LEARN on your car. @sleekgt has patronized a good shop for years (and I'm sure they respect him enough to listen to his Forum-based experience).

Since I don't wrench the heavy stuff on my car, finding a shop that can work on an old Esprit (now an 87) is critical to being able to drive my car on a regular basis.

I've never owned a V8 Esprit, but IMHO David T (jtrealty) is far more V8-savvy that me. I was surprised he thought 'a little leakage' was acceptable at all.

That being said, I personally would be leery of a V8 (especially a 1997 - the first (?) year of the liner leak issue). Yes - Lotus recalled it and cars were fixed. But not all cars may have gotten the memo and had the fix done. While the seller may be a 'stand up guy', that's no guarantee he got the memo/recall notice and had that fixed. Life gets in the way - he could have simply missed it.

Here's a copy of my late 88 Esprit (4 cyl) that I bought with 30K miles in 2011 - in Feb 2015, I had ~69K miles (39K miles in 39 months).
I had 4 different Blackstone oil analysis completed - aside from high copper and lead issues (possibly bearings or copper oil cooler residue), there was 0.0 antifreeze in the oil.
And that is after 39K miles in 30 months - this was a daily driver to work.

That 690PPM glycol in that V8 - nothing good can be said about that; only ask yourself "Do I feel lucky?"
1257855
 

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My car sneezes
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V8 Liner Problems
In case you haven't seen this?

If the percentages are correct, that's a small leak compared to others i've seen. You may be able to seal the leak with this:

Cost of rebuild, depends on how deep you go. Parts alone could get over $15k depending what you decide to upgrade while you are in there. Obviously to tear down and reseal only will be the cheapest but why do that when you could address some factory weak links.
 

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Just got my Hemmings Motor News and on page 344 is a '98 V-8 for the amazing price of $10,000!!!!!!!!! Of course there is a caveat, it is in excellent condition but it needs a motor rebuild.Located in PA. If you want to turn wrenches on this one it may be worth it. Clean history and title. Worst case you could maybe find a motor for $20K and still be OK. If you had to buy a car and rebuild the motor (assuming this one's motor is rebuildable) this could be a deal. If you were to part it out the transaxle is worth $5K all by itself. The ECU $1200, the glass top $1200, the SIR system at least $1K, the wheels another $1K, and so on.
David Teitelbaum
 

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Here is a place that sells reman V8 motors for `$9K...in UK. I guess by the time you shipped your core back you would be getting close to $20K

Bummer that car is not on Hemming's web site. I would like to have a look.
 

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Just got my Hemmings Motor News and on page 344 is a '98 V-8 for the amazing price of $10,000!!!!!!!!! Of course there is a caveat, it is in excellent condition but it needs a motor rebuild.Located in PA. If you want to turn wrenches on this one it may be worth it. Clean history and title. Worst case you could maybe find a motor for $20K and still be OK. If you had to buy a car and rebuild the motor (assuming this one's motor is rebuildable) this could be a deal. If you were to part it out the transaxle is worth $5K all by itself. The ECU $1200, the glass top $1200, the SIR system at least $1K, the wheels another $1K, and so on.
David Teitelbaum
David, do you have any contact info for this vehicle? I'd love to have a car for spares :)
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Thanks for the replies - good to know there is a solid community behind these vehicles. I'm from the Porsche community and I can say P-cars have their known issues as well but everything can be corrected with time/patience/$. These Esprits are just so much more rare and desirable (to me anyways).

Anyhow I spoke to the guys at JAE and they gave me some figures and what to expect and what to do - nice guys and gave me the confidence into the purchase.
I'm not buying a car to "fix-it-up" as stated in some replies. The car is immaculate inside and out - and in the color combination w/ options I want.
This coolant issue is the only hiccup and it appears to be manageable. We'll figure this out.
 

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The ad does have contact info but I was in touch with someone and he tried contacting the seller but he isn't replying. Maybe because the car has been sold?
David Teitelbaum
 

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Discussion Starter #16
^ I tried to get in touch with that seller in late December with no replies. I imagine it went fast. It had over 100k miles on it fwiw. Nice looking car from the pics.
 

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Ow, there's a local guy here (Charlotte, North Carolina, USA) that just posted looking for Esprit without motor/trans to do an EV conversion, would have been perfect for him.
 
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