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Discussion Starter #1
Hi there,

I have been doing some serious investigations about the notorious fires that occur with lotus vehicles and am curious: How does one prevent fires?? What is the usual culprit? How Can I make my Esprit safer? what should I look for initially? (yes i am mechanically inclined), what should I modify to improve the vehicle? I just purchased it and its On its way to NY from California I Will have it mid month. I appreciate everyone's feedback And all information is helpful Thank you.

(plans for car upon arrival)

1) Buy fire extinguisher
2)change oil
3) inspect drive train and belts (go over service receipts)
4) upgrade wheels (fikse)
5) insure and drive (full coverage)
6) clean thoroughly

Anything else I am missing?

Thanks
 

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I dont know if the problem is that widespread but since if it does happen its pretty serious I guess thats why it gets a lot of airplay. The carbed cars, especially yhe early ones were the main culprits here. The FI cars('86 and up) dont really have this issue. I suppose with a cam tower oil leak that dumps a bunch of oil onto a hot exhaust manifold could also cause this but thats rare too and should be obvious before it gets really bad. Still, its the carbed cars that earned that reputation.

If you do have a carbed car then just making sure the fuel lines and carb itself are in top working order are your best bets. Not a heckuva lot you can do other than that. Keep a careful eye on leaks, gasket condition, all that stuff.

Sounds like you are doing the right things. Dont fret over it - its a rare overall occurrence. ;)

I have Fikse wheels on my car and they look pretty cool. Which Fikses are you getting? Also. where in NY are you? Im in 'york too.
 

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Hi there,

I have been doing some serious investigations about the notorious fires that occur with lotus vehicles and am curious: How does one prevent fires?? What is the usual culprit? How Can I make my Esprit safer? what should I look for initially? (yes i am mechanically inclined), what should I modify to improve the vehicle? I just purchased it and its On its way to NY from California I Will have it mid month. I appreciate everyone's feedback And all information is helpful Thank you.

(plans for car upon arrival)

1) Buy fire extinguisher
2)change oil
3) inspect drive train and belts (go over service receipts)
4) upgrade wheels (fikse)
5) insure and drive (full coverage)
6) clean thoroughly

Anything else I am missing?

Thanks
Notorious engine fires?

I've been aware of a (very) few over the 35 years I've owned 9 Lotus of all vintage, but nothing that would indicate they are notorious. The few I've heard of were on vintage cars where fuel management was iffy. You sure you're not thinking of a Pontiac Fiero or a Ford Pinto?
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Perhaps it might be not as notorious as I suggested, Just want to be careful because I have seen many low mileage V'8 engine cars burnt to a crisp. S2mikey, I am located in warwick NY about an hour north Of Manhattan! Looking into getting Fikse Profil-10's 18s all around with a gun metal grey center
 

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I had a dream last night that my exige went up in flames. I was able to put it out with a fire extinguisher that I had in my car.. Now I don't own a fire extinguisher but after that dream I'm getting one!


Sent from my Autoguide iPhone app
 

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Elans and +2s for a long while came with a plastic T to connect the two carbs to the fuel line.

NOT a good idea. One T burst when Sports Car Graphics (IIRC) had a +2 on a dyno, resulting in a fire.

My semi-oblivious cousin had an Elan, ignored the simple task of installing a metal T....and had a fire.

TC engines have the distributor (& often coil) under the carbs, so even a minor leak was dangerous. Some of us installed metal shields...

My BMW 2002 came with that famous German braided fuel hose but without clamps!.

When I saw that, I invested $3 in Ideal clamps. Later, a recall of some sort was issued.

Fiberglass burns > better than metal, btw.

Oh: APK919 has a couple of great stories about clamps. I don't know if he posted them here, but you can search and/or ask him.
 

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Most fires I have seen were on the V8 for some reason, and I think Guy owns most of those Guy's Lotus Page

The 89-95 (non-SE, SE, S4, S4s, etc) all have hard plastic lines which are very good, but you have to be careful that they don't rub on any metal engine parts. The o-rings on the connectors need to be checked and replaced, the o-rings on the injectors, and then there is a press in fitting on the rail that might eventually go bad, especially if a shade tree mechanic has wrenched on the large "nut".

I have heard of a theory that the V8 will, if the gas is filled too much and the car is driven hard, overflow the charcoal canister and vent fuel onto the rear brake or exhaust....
 

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Hi there,

I have been doing some serious investigations about the notorious fires that occur with lotus vehicles and am curious: How does one prevent fires?? What is the usual culprit? How Can I make my Esprit safer? what should I look for initially? (yes i am mechanically inclined), what should I modify to improve the vehicle? I just purchased it and its On its way to NY from California I Will have it mid month. I appreciate everyone's feedback And all information is helpful Thank you.

(plans for car upon arrival)

1) Buy fire extinguisher
2)change oil
3) inspect drive train and belts (go over service receipts)
4) upgrade wheels (fikse)
5) insure and drive (full coverage)
6) clean thoroughly

Anything else I am missing?

Thanks
Sorry, but your list is a just a narrow mish-mash of some maintenance, fear items and supposed upgrades for unknown reasons. In a nutshell, you first need to realize that you're buying a car that's 11 years old with an unknown service history and unknown problem list (they all have some number of problems as they are hand-built to the tune of about 1 per work-day).

Proper advise is as follows:

1- contact LCU and try to get the service history for the car. Use this as a guide for what has gone wrong and when the most recent service bits were done.

2- Fluids and filters.... all of them. This includes:
- oil filter, air filters and fuel filter
- engine oil, power steering oil, gearbox oil, brake/clutch fluid
- and of course check for any leaks
- coolant and replace the pressure cap

3- While you're at it, check all hoses, lines and wiring for rotting, cracking and fraying. Repair/replace as needed.

4- Check suspension bushings front/rear and ensure all bolts are properly torqued for the chassis including body mounting bolts.

5- If you have access to a scantool, get a readout of the ECU... see if anything is flagged and if the core tests have completed properly.

6- Check normal stuff... brake rotors and pads, any body and/or chassis damage, etc. Ensure the radiator is clear of debris and has adequate airflow.

7- Critical... cambelt service, find out when the last one was done. One issue here and you can scratch at least half a motor.

8- Check the electrics to ensure everything is working.

The list can go on, but automatically stating you need a fire extinguisher, Fikse wheels and and center cheesegrator exhaust makes no sense whatsoever until you at least understand the car, it's condition and your ability to work on it and ensure it's in a proper state of operation. Spend some real time behind the wheel before going off on upgrades that won't help anything or improve it's performance or value.

In general, the V8 is a well sorted car but does have some issues. The cooling system is barely adequate... if you do a lot of driving in hot climates. an upgraded radiator and fans would make good sense. If you have a habit of fast shifting and whacking the car about, get the Sport 350 engine mounts and look at the Holloway gearbox upgrade. The lower outer rear bushings normally wear due to the angle and stress... replace them with some poly ones, as I would almost guarantee they are shot (unless they were recently replaced). Also, check the rear axle seals... they tend to leak every so often as it's a poor design (French gearbox). You can do a lot to improve bits before resorting to cosmetic jewelry.
 

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I have opinions but no hard fast empirical data (i.e. I did these mods to my car and it has not started on fire is not a valid data point). That being said for the carb'ed four cylinder cars I think having the distributor directly under the carbs is a bad idea but then so is a set of carbs that has an o-ring sealing a big hole in the bottom of the float bowl. I.E. the Zenith-Strombergs. But sticking floats can also dump raw fuel out the front of the carbs as well.

So my cars get converted to distributor-less crank-fired ignition and fuel injection. However I feel that an improperly plumbed EFI setup (which I have seen on a 2.0L 907 motor) with rubber hoses and standard hose clamps on the high pressure side of the system is also a fire hazard waiting to happen.
 

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I used to fret about those plastic fuel lines in my 88, but after living with them for awhile and removing them to clean injectors and the like, they seem pretty sound. I would imagine the newer Esprits have a different material for fuel lines.

If you do get a fire extinguisher, I would get a fire extinguisher that dispenses a gas chemical as apposed to a dry chemical fire extinguisher. I once had a dry chemical fire extinguisher go off in my work vehicle doing 65 MPH on the highway in the passing lane, not fun to drive with and not fun to clean up after. I will never own a dry chemical fire extinguisher again for a vehicle application, they are cheap though, a gas chemical fire extinguisher will cost you about 5 times as much.
 

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Compared to modern regular cars, Esprits do appear to have more frequent fires. I certainly have noted several V8s that have had fires. Engine fires are extremely rare in modern cars of usual brands. Considering the small production numbers it seems that Esprit fires occur at a higher rate, but they are still not common.
For the later Esprits I have not seen data on causes.
I do know that fuel tanks and vent lines are an issue for all Stevens Esprits including the V8.
Check all vent lines and both tanks carefully. ALL fuel tanks will rust and eventually leak. If they appear ok take the foam pads off the tanks and inspect and then leave them off. Regularly use your nose to check for gas leaks.

I have been involved with 5 sets of Esprit tanks. Four pair had leaks. The V8 tanks were not leaking, but had serious rust.
I don't know if this is the cause of some engine fires, but it is scary when you realize you have been driving a car with gasoline saturated foam.
Randy
89SE 95s4
 

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I used to fret about those plastic fuel lines in my 88, but after living with them for awhile and removing them to clean injectors and the like, they seem pretty sound. I would imagine the newer Esprits have a different material for fuel lines.
I have been using plastic fuel lines and fuel rails from a Saab 900 in my fuel injection conversion projects and I think it is a pretty secure system with banjo fittings into the fuel rail and a ball fitting at the fuel pressure regulator. The actual line is rated at 300psi so as long as it is installed correctly so no rubbing or abrasion occurs then it should be fine. Saab used loose fitting rubber hoses slipped over the plastic (nylon?) line to protect it from abrasion in spots so that is what I have been doing when I install it.
 

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I just got done bidding on a 1998 Esprit that had a minor engine fire, there was another one not long before that that also had an engine fire. Seems kinda common on the V8's for some reason.
 
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