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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi Everyone,

I purchased a 1988 Esprit Turbo in 2002 and I knew at the time it was not running. I bought it from body shop that had done a paint job on the car and the owner that was having the work done had skipped the country (back taxes) and moved back to the UK. I have no history on the car. I then purchased a Ferrari shortly afterwards and got side tracked with that restoration. I recently purchased a 1997 Esprit and my interest in the 1988 has been renewed.

I have drained the gas and replaced the primary fuel pump (would not operate with a 12 V power supply) and fuel filter. I have changed plugs and replaced engine oil/filer. I have drained the gas tanks and lines and the gas was golden/yellowish color. It had been in there quite sometime.

The primary issue I am having with the car is the engine turns over at a very slow rate (maybe 100 RPM's) and the starter motor sounds like an old Chrysler. When the first atttemped to crank the engine without the spark plus it would not rotate. However, I turned it over at the flywheel and broke it free.

I am getting spark but the fuel pumps are not coming. I have checked the continuity at the fuel pump relays and I have no issue with wiring. However, when I check voltage at the relays when the starter is active the voltage is low (maybe 8-9 VDC according to my Fluke MM). My thinking is because of the high rotational resistance from crank and rod bearings the starter is really laboring, thus drawing all the current not allowing the fuel pump relays to activate. Also, I should state the battery is brand new.

I have checked compression and timing and it appears of ok. I would like to know does anyone have any suggestions on how to prime the engine with oil. I really hate to pull the engine to clean and inspect the bottom end, but I need to pull the gas tanks (leaking) and change the timing belt so maybe I should be pull the engine. Thank you in advance for any suggestions.

Cheers,
Alan
 

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I have heard that putting some positive pressure in the oil pan can help get oil to the pump. If you have no oil pressure then it is possible to put an air hose on the dip stick tube and try pressure while turning the engine over. If you have oil pressure then do not attempt.

Clean the battery connections at the battery and starter. Check the main battery wires for both pos and neg for corrosion. Corrosion at the terminal ends really hurts cranking ability and brings on voltage drop. Will it start if you spray carb cleaner in the intake? Do you know if the injectors are firing? If it is an electronic injection system you will need a noid light to plug into one of the injector plugs and see if you are getting a signal.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I have heard that putting some positive pressure in the oil pan can help get oil to the pump. If you have no oil pressure then it is possible to put an air hose on the dip stick tube and try pressure while turning the engine over. If you have oil pressure then do not attempt.

Clean the battery connections at the battery and starter. Check the main battery wires for both pos and neg for corrosion. Corrosion at the terminal ends really hurts cranking ability and brings on voltage drop. Will it start if you spray carb cleaner in the intake? Do you know if the injectors are firing? If it is an electronic injection system you will need a noid light to plug into one of the injector plugs and see if you are getting a signal.

Hi,


I am not sure if I have any oil pressure and I have planned to install a mechanical gauge to check it. It really concerns me cranking the engine if it is not getting oil pressure. Also, I am concerned the oil might have solidified to the main and rod bearings from setting so long. I really do not have much experience with dealing with engines that have sat idle for such longer period of time.

I will clean the starter and battery terminal connections as suggested. It will not start when you spray starter fluid. But, the engine is turning over at about half the normal speed. I am currently in process of cleaning out the old gas from the Bosch system. I have not removed the injectors and inspected the spray pattern, but I am planning that. I am not sure if the injector are firing, but I will check!

Thank you for your advice!

Regards,
Alan
 

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I am working on an 87 with the bosch system right now. If there is no life in the engine with carb cleaner sprayed in the intake, then check spark. Is the ignition module working? Do you have power to the coil?
For oil, open the filler and look inside the cam. Look for oil flowing when the engine is turning over.
 

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Alan:

Nice chatting with you at the show. When I first went to crank over my 90 SE after it had been sitting for five years: I pulled the plugs and shot a bit of graphite based locksmith oil into the cylinders. Didn't want them turning over dry.

Also, you might look at the starter itself. Could have corroded brushes, or a dirty solenoid. Might try cranking it, then feeling the solenoid. If it feels hot, that indicates high resistance. Starter brushes - have to pull the starter for that. Usually, they can be cleaned off with very fine grit (1k+) sandpaper. Don't use steel wool, it will flake off and get in the bearing surfaces of the starter.

I would tend to think that if internal resistance in the engine was causing it to crank slowly, it would either clear up or chew itself to pieces quickly. Been my experience that when cars sit for a while, it's electrical connections more than anything that can suffer. Theoretically, it should crank over at the same speed that mine does.

Really, the cam belt change wasn't that bad. It was the little things that were infuriating - AC belt tensioner, getting the vacuum pump loose, putting on the new and very sticky hoses.

I can probably swing by and share the benefits (or drawbacks as the case may be) of my experience so far with the Esprit. Drop me a line if you're tinkering with it some weekend.

--John
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Alan:

Nice chatting with you at the show. When I first went to crank over my 90 SE after it had been sitting for five years: I pulled the plugs and shot a bit of graphite based locksmith oil into the cylinders. Didn't want them turning over dry.

Also, you might look at the starter itself. Could have corroded brushes, or a dirty solenoid. Might try cranking it, then feeling the solenoid. If it feels hot, that indicates high resistance. Starter brushes - have to pull the starter for that. Usually, they can be cleaned off with very fine grit (1k+) sandpaper. Don't use steel wool, it will flake off and get in the bearing surfaces of the starter.

I would tend to think that if internal resistance in the engine was causing it to crank slowly, it would either clear up or chew itself to pieces quickly. Been my experience that when cars sit for a while, it's electrical connections more than anything that can suffer. Theoretically, it should crank over at the same speed that mine does.

Really, the cam belt change wasn't that bad. It was the little things that were infuriating - AC belt tensioner, getting the vacuum pump loose, putting on the new and very sticky hoses.

I can probably swing by and share the benefits (or drawbacks as the case may be) of my experience so far with the Esprit. Drop me a line if you're tinkering with it some weekend.

--John

Hi John,

Thank you for your reply and it was great to meet you at the show! It is funny what a small world we live in. I really thought there was not another Esprit is this state and you have one the next county over.

I sprayed the cylinders down with WD 40 with teflon a day prior to turning over the motor. I agree with you it may well be the starter or the internal resistance of the engine causing the issue. I loosened the drive belts last night in case the AC, water pump, vacuum pump, or the alternator was the issue. But, it had the same results very slow to turning over.

I tried to get a reading for amps being pulled by the starter, but I cannot my Fluke pick up to work. Do you know how many amps the starter should be pulling? If it is not the starter, I am going to pull the engine and take the bottom end apart (clean and inspect).

You are always welcome to come over give me call! I might go over to see the guy with orange/charcoal colored V8 Esprit because he is suppose to be taking apart a V8 transaxle this weekend. So be sure to call me in advance.

Thanks,
Alan
 

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Sears has a clamp on dc amp meter for about $30. It is great for checking car problems. There should be about 50 amps on the starter. You can also use the meter to check both fuel pumps and coil. If you really think it is the old oil then drain and put a thinner oil in for start up.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Sears has a clamp on dc amp meter for about $30. It is great for checking car problems. There should be about 50 amps on the starter. You can also use the meter to check both fuel pumps and coil. If you really think it is the old oil then drain and put a thinner oil in for start up.
Hello Lotusrepair,

I checked it at Advance Auto last night and it is pulling 140 amps without load. According to the technician that is excellent; therefore, I am pulling the pan tonight and I will have a look at the bottom end.

BTW, I am getting alot motor oil on the top end, so I beleive the oil pump is functioning.

Thanks,
Alan
 

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Alan:

Just another thought - when I was going through the cam belt change, I turned the engine by hand on several occasions to set/check valve timing, and to get the AC belt on (real tight fit, even with the tensioner all the way out). Used a 19mm socket and long 1/2" ratchet, with the spark plugs out.

If you have access, you might pull the plugs, put a ratchet on the crank pulley, and see if you can turn it. There is some resistance, but not a great deal. You should be able to turn it with even a normal sized 1/2" ratchet.

That might settle whether the resistance is in the starter or the engine.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Alan:

Just another thought - when I was going through the cam belt change, I turned the engine by hand on several occasions to set/check valve timing, and to get the AC belt on (real tight fit, even with the tensioner all the way out). Used a 19mm socket and long 1/2" ratchet, with the spark plugs out.

If you have access, you might pull the plugs, put a ratchet on the crank pulley, and see if you can turn it. There is some resistance, but not a great deal. You should be able to turn it with even a normal sized 1/2" ratchet.

That might settle whether the resistance is in the starter or the engine.

Hi John,

Thank you for your suggestions!

One of the first things that I tried to do was turn the engine over by hand, but I there is to much resistance. I took the oil pan off last night and removed the rod cap. There is only a small amount of oil film on the bearing and crank rod journal.

I am in the process pulling the engine and I am going to prime the engine once I removed the timing belt.

Does anyone know of a specification for rotation resistance?

Thanks,
Alan
 

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Hmmm... sounds like the engine.

Another very obvious suggestion, that you probably have already done, but thought I'd make it: disconnect the three belts on the front of the engine, but leave the cam belt on. That will at least take the water pump, vacuum pump, alternator and AC compressor out of the equation. I wouldn't be at all surprised to hear that one of them was the culprit. You could remove the cam belt to see if the resistance is in the head, just don't rotate the engine much or you'll have an even worse problem.

Did you hear any weird noises when cranking?

Bearing surfaces shouldn't have a great deal of oil on them, there isn't much room. I'd be interested to hear how the engine removal goes. Might have to do it myself some day.

I have to dig into my Mercury wagon this weekend. My truck is kaput in an expensive way, so I'm down to one running vehicle - the Esprit. And it's headlights are out, one motor frozen, the other seems to have stripped its gears.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Hmmm... sounds like the engine.

Another very obvious suggestion, that you probably have already done, but thought I'd make it: disconnect the three belts on the front of the engine, but leave the cam belt on. That will at least take the water pump, vacuum pump, alternator and AC compressor out of the equation. I wouldn't be at all surprised to hear that one of them was the culprit. You could remove the cam belt to see if the resistance is in the head, just don't rotate the engine much or you'll have an even worse problem.

Did you hear any weird noises when cranking?

Bearing surfaces shouldn't have a great deal of oil on them, there isn't much room. I'd be interested to hear how the engine removal goes. Might have to do it myself some day.

I have to dig into my Mercury wagon this weekend. My truck is kaput in an expensive way, so I'm down to one running vehicle - the Esprit. And it's headlights are out, one motor frozen, the other seems to have stripped its gears.
Hi John,

I removed all the belts except for the cam belt earlier this week with the same results (turning over slowly). I believe the engine is not primed because of changing oil (empty oil filter), and when purchased the car the oil cooler fitting cracked and I replaced the oil cooler (empty lines). Jeff at JAE told me it take awhile to prime these engines. I believe that to be the case with my engine. The oil on the rod bearing looked to be old engine oil and not the new Mobile One I added to crank case. I am going to prime the engine when I change the cam belt with the engine out.

The only strange noise I noticed was from the starter. It soulded like an old Chrysler and that is most likely due to the rotation resistance. When I had the starter checked at Advance Auto it did not sound like that.

I have spent about six hour total so far with removing the engine. I would say I am somewhere around half complete. I am taking my time and label all the hoses, wiring connections and the like. It actual been quite fun to this point and I will post some pictures soon.


Regards,
Alan
 
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