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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
OK - so I have an 88 MY with the Citroen transmission (30K miles when I bought it, 59K miles now).
The car is in the shop for a leaking radiator, but the mechanic noticed something...

The regular mechanic mentioned the 1st gear shift is really difficult - it was not that way 6 months ago or not noticed). No apparent grinding or metal sounds beyond the usual. This is one of the symptoms of the Citroen circlip issue:

For very detailed explanation, check out Tim E's excellent post below:

http://www.lotustalk.com/forums/f164/transmission-circlip-failure-121424/#post1811131

For an update on Esprit aluminum radiators - check out this thread for fun:

http://www.lotustalk.com/forums/f164/aftermarket-aluminum-esprit-radiator-leaking-after-20-months-150618/#post2166274

Planning the following over the next week:

1. pull transmission and do clutch (plate, pressure plate, throw out bearing, rear main seal, and of course the circlip upgrade)
2. remove aftermarket aluminum radiator and revert to factory OEM brass/copper radiator (rodded and boiled) and the OEM fan assembly
3. Cross my fingers the input shaft isn't bored into the crankshaft, preventing removal of the transmission (and necessitating an engine rebuild)

OK - well that about wraps up my Esprit adventure at the 29K mile marker. Still targeting a 100K Esprit mileage goal (130K on the car).

Biggest concern is my #1 Esprit go-to tool is getting worn out:

 

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Good luck, Eddie. Hope it all works out for you. Either way, they are worth the money...you know that...
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Good luck, Eddie. Hope it all works out for you. Either way, they are worth the money...you know that...
Um...you know that...I know that...but my wife is a tough sell ;-)

Luckily she's been a good sport about it, but she has been making noise about replacing it with something more, uh, reliable :thwack:
 

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Wingless Wonder
1988 Esprit Turbo
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Biggest concern is my #1 Esprit go-to tool is getting worn out:

The Bankroll doesn't wear out...the rubber band around the outside starts to get loose because the money has been depleted! Then, the $$ bills slip out...it's a vicious cycle.


Don't ask me how I know these things, Grasshopper... :panic:
 

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Eddie,

I think going back to original radiator is the right thing to do. I made a decision to re-core mine back a couple of years ago instead od purchasing the aluminum aftermarket. It has worked just fine and if yours had been re-cored or cleaned and rodded then I suspect you will do just fine. All the old radiator guys I discussed my situation with were unanimous in saying "stick with your old radiator" - you can't beat copper and brass.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
[snip] All the old radiator guys I discussed my situation with were unanimous in saying "stick with your old radiator" - you can't beat copper and brass.
Interestingly, people (including myself) sometime think the aftermarket can 'improve' the factory (even with Lotus' reputation can be marginal for mechanicals).

But this aluminum radiator episode tells me that an 'improvement' in one place (e.g. aluminum fabrication) may fail in other ways (premature cracking).

Now I know I've been told other cars use these just fine, but clearly my Esprit is not one of them.

That's why I decided to stick with the original fans (vs. Spal 'upgrade') - we'll see how well my OEM radiator/fans handle the 'hot' San Jose summers.
 

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Here's hoping your crank is not damaged. You would need to get much bigger stacks of cash for that project.

Are your OEM fans in good condition? I have one dead, one slow, and one works fine. Contemplating replacing them with SPAL fans on the original radiator. Why do you think the OEM fans would be a better choice? Other than the cool orange color of course...
 

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Wingless Wonder
1988 Esprit Turbo
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Are your OEM fans in good condition? I have one dead, one slow, and one works fine. Contemplating replacing them with SPAL fans on the original radiator. Why do you think the OEM fans would be a better choice? Other than the cool orange color of course...
My fan blades are WHITE. I've seen red blades on other cars.

Fan motor operation can be easily checked by spinning the blades (power off!) by hand. One could also apply 12V to each one directly, to evaluate how fast they spin (resistance). A slow, tight fan might be apt to draw more current, which could lead to melted relays and sockets.

++++++++++

I think the ultimate upgrade would be to retrofit a modern fan controller into the Esprit fan circuit. I think some V8 owners have done this (Wayne Ellison?).

These controllers sense coolant temp precisely and spin the fans at different speeds depending on need.
 

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
[snip]
Are your OEM fans in good condition? I have one dead, one slow, and one works fine. Contemplating replacing them with SPAL fans on the original radiator. Why do you think the OEM fans would be a better choice? Other than the cool orange color of course...
Why would I use OEM vs. Spal? In this case with fans, the feedback I saw says it's probably OK to use Spal. But since the original radiator is 'OK' - few complains beyond just old age, my OEM fans look to be in good shape.

The 2nd and 3rd owners (I'm 4th) since 1997 never drove the car in the rain (I have numerous times). The fan assembly has zero splash marks; only dusty. So I'm going with that for now.

MRDANGERUS has a posting where he replaced the OEM fans in sitsu with Spals

http://www.lotustalk.com/forums/f164/aftermarket-g-car-cooling-fans-162385/#post2335273

- if my OEM fans start to fail, I may consider that (Spals are apparently 'sealed' units). It looks fairly easy to do and he reports great CFM with that.

Like Atwell says, my fans are white as well. I think the orange fan is what I've seen on eBay sales - not sure if that's non-Esprit application or not.
 

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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
The transmission is out - not stuck at all. The nylatron thrust washer looks OK after 59K miles, but the shaft wobbles in all axes - up and down and slightly back and forth (1/8" play - not talking about shift fork which will move INCHES).

From Tim E's older post, this snippet describes 100% my current reason for pulling the transmission:

"The earliest symptom before serious damage actually occurs acts like a dragging clutch. Some torque continues to be fed into the gearbox even with the clutch pedal hard to the floor, and the synchros can't handle it. If the gearbox that used to shift easily suddenly becomes difficult to shove into gear, something is probably not right with the clutch, or the circlip has failed. Unfortunately, the early circlip symptoms (Nylatron washer still there) can be subtle, and many owners just drive through it for too long."

http://www.lotustalk.com/forums/f164/transmission-circlip-failure-121424/index2.html#post1815370

Tim - I owe you a beer and dinner sometime.

Up/down I think is OK, but not sure about the back/forth (beyond the 'normal' shift fork motion).

They are still waiting for various parts - was a little surprised that many secondary parts had to come off (e.g. turbo, anything bolted near the top of the transmission area, etc.)

I already have Harry's 'super circlip' as well as 2 synchronizers (if we have to crack the case open). Hope there are no surprises in the case ;-)

Here's the close up of the splines. Can someone confirm the orange rusty-looking stuff is some kind of lubrication? Or just really rust?



And this view near the waste gate - that orange stuff is stone-cold, but looks hot in the photo. Is this some kind of slag?



More photos at:

Lotus Esprit Transmission Work 012214 Photos by eberin | Photobucket
 

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Wingless Wonder
1988 Esprit Turbo
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Here's the close up of the splines. Can someone confirm the orange rusty-looking stuff is some kind of lubrication? Or just really rust?
My splines (on both ends) were rusty like that, as well. Can't speak to the in-out play you have, since my circlip was 'toast'.

No 'slag' in my wastegate exhaust bypass when I took it apart. Do you run the engine through the gears occasionally (to make the wastegate open and clean out the passages)?



You can just remove the transmission top cover to get a look at the synchronizers. Clean it up first!
 

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Discussion Starter #12
[snip]
No 'slag' in my wastegate exhaust bypass when I took it apart. Do you run the engine through the gears occasionally (to make the wastegate open and clean out the passages)?

You can just remove the transmission top cover to get a look at the synchronizers. Clean it up first!
Yes - with my vacuum/turbo gauge (mechanical), I test the max boost frequently - original OEM electrical boost gauge said 9.5 lbs briefly, but has settled on 7.5 lbs. That's when I replaced with the mechanical gauge - max boost is around 8 lbs now (not 7.5 or 9 lbs). It varies ;-)

So I'm getting a sustained boost rating at 8 lbs should be enough to hold the waste gate open?

RE: synchronizers - I'm not familiar with replacement, but I do have the 123 and 45 rings for the mechanic to put in if necessary. I don't have any grinding but also reluctant to change them if nothing 'broke'.

Will stop by at lunch and 'hover' over the mechanic :evil:
 

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Wingless Wonder
1988 Esprit Turbo
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RE: synchronizers - I'm not familiar with replacement, but I do have the 123 and 45 rings for the mechanic to put in if necessary. I don't have any grinding but also reluctant to change them if nothing 'broke'.
Replacing synchonizers is a lot more work than just the input shaft circlip. Involves removing either the primary or secondary gear clusters.

Synchos require replacement in two conditions:

They wear on the inside (causes crunching, you don't have that.)

OR

The teeth are damaged from missed shifts. (one of mine had that...1/3 of the brass teeth's width were worn away) (I didn't do it, I SWEAR)

I'll post some pics of my bad syncro tonight...

?
Will stop by at lunch and 'hover' over the mechanic :evil:
I'll tell you the same thing I told my kids, when they walked in on my wife & I during lovemaking: :panic:


"You can watch, but don't point out what I'm doing wrong."

rotfl rotfl rotfl
 

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Discussion Starter #14
[snip]

"You can watch, but don't point out what I'm doing wrong."

rotfl rotfl rotfl
Yuck yuck- I only 'advise' when necessary - the 88 Esprit is older than the mechanics working on it, but they're a real talented bunch.

I brought over my factory manual 80-87 (transmission section is identical to 88) in case they get stuck.

Can you give me the 60 sec description of how to open case and pull out input shaft ONLY? The factory manual doesn't seem to describe that specifically.

I'm hoping to get photos of the circlip condition at 59K miles so we can have an idea of what to expect on buying a used Citroen-equipped Esprit. I believe the circlip damage on your car and others were in the mid 70K mile range?
 

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Wingless Wonder
1988 Esprit Turbo
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Can you give me the 60 sec description of how to open case and pull out input shaft ONLY? The factory manual doesn't seem to describe that specifically.]
Sure: Just remove the bell housing and output shaft (axle) housings. Then, the input shaft's covering tube can be removed, and (the remnants of) the circlip can be accessed.

A more detailed procedure by Tim E is in the TurboEsprit files section...

PS With the BH removed they will be able to access/replace the differential carrier bearings. I recommend you replace those no matter what.


I'm hoping to get photos of the circlip condition at 59K miles so we can have an idea of what to expect on buying a used Citroen-equipped Esprit. I believe the circlip damage on your car and others were in the mid 70K mile range?
Mine was at ~78K, I have heard of others that happened sooner.


At 42K miles, the bias spring (that tensions the input shaft against the circlip) on my trans was cut, so as to reduce the pressure on the circlip.
 

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Wingless Wonder
1988 Esprit Turbo
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Syncros

Here are pics of the synchronizer I replaced in my transmission (compared to the new one from JAE):


The last picture is the stripped spline on the input shaft.
 

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So as I'm likely buying a Citroen gear box Esprit in the summer - it sounds like the circlip can be replaced without actually opening up the transmission?
 

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Discussion Starter #18
So as I'm likely buying a Citroen gear box Esprit in the summer - it sounds like the circlip can be replaced without actually opening up the transmission?
No - Harry (HML) says you gotta open the transmission. He also says it requires tiny and sharp pins to pull the existing circlip out and put the new one in (cripes - I hope I'm not misquoting his email from last year).

If I'm lucky (in a twisted sort of way) , the existing circlip is broken and can be more easily removed

I've arranged to do video/photos with my mechanic tomorrow when they open the transmission case - so we can see what is involved with this operation.

Stay tuned :panic:
 

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Wingless Wonder
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Here's some more pictures.

First one is the primary gear cluster's spline and worn circlip. (It should be 1MM - 2MM proud of the groove...as you can see it's worn smooth, that's what allows the input shaft to move forward). Yes, you need some small-but-sturdy circlip pliers to remove it. (Or, two sacrificial, pointy scribes...)

Second is the new primary gear shaft with the new input shaft installed. On the end is the Renault-style ball-bearing (which requires crankshaft machining, Eddie will not be doing THAT). The "Release Bearing Guide Tube" that fits between the trans case and bell housing is not yet installed.

As you can see in pic #2, the bell housing and crownwheel have been removed, but the "guts" of the transmission need not be touched. Unless the primary shaft's splines are stripped, or you want to replace syncros.



PS: DeloMike, there will be a "Circlip Replacement Party" only a few hours from you, next summer. PM me if you would like details.
 

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Discussion Starter #20 (Edited)
Here's some more pictures.

First one is the primary gear cluster's spline and worn circlip. (It should be 1MM - 2MM proud of the groove...as you can see it's worn smooth, [snip]
Is the circlip that tiny ridge BELOW the serration line? That needs to be pulled out with the tiny pointy tools? OUCH!

And so I'm still not out of the woods yet? If my "primary gear cluster's" spline is worn, then I'm looking to replace that too?

I thought the input shaft grinding on the crankshaft was the main worry...:sad: clearly I having not been paying attention...

For delomike1049:
>On the end is the Renault-style ball-bearing (which requires crankshaft machining, Eddie will not be doing THAT).

To clarify what Atwell is referencing:
1. If you catch the damage early enough (like I might have done) - you can simply use the 'super circlip' solution - no crank machining needed.
2. If your crankshaft is damaged and you have to pull it to fix anyway ($$$), may as well put the Renault-style ball bearing fix in.

That was my motivation to do this earlier - to hopefully postpone/delay an engine rebuild.

Note that this issue was not well known/publicized/understood in the beginning.

I benefitted from the collective knowledge from the Esprit community on this one as it unfolded :)


Eddie
 
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