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Glutton For Punishment
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251 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
My 88 Esprit has a 3rd brake light and rear window defroster. The wiring for the hatch has been hacked up and removed. Can someone fill me in on how the wires run? I know they run to the lift struts and transmit through them. Does the hinge act as the ground path, as it only has two struts, and two circuits? Using the multimeter there was no good ground to the hatch. Looks like the left side is the defrost and the right side is the brake light, but the left over wiring looks a bit strange to me. The left strut appears to have been a ground at some time, but really I can't tell.

I have ordered new struts with the wiring tabs, as the currently fit ones don't have the tabs. Then I will get my 3rd brake light working to pass inspection.

Thanks
 

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Super Moderator
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4,047 Posts
On my 88, I believe it was the left side that controlled the brake light. I had replaced my struts a few months ago and verified that disconnecting the strut clips turned off the light. Not sure about the defroster using the same clips.
 

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I have a 91 SE... the left side strut is for grounding. I believe the defroster and 3rd stop light share the same ground. Mine was not working either because of hinge corrosion. What I did was ... I traced the actual ground wire that came from the 3rd brake light, connected it to a longer wire just enough to reach the base (strut holder bracket behind the firewall) and installed a U terminal to get a full ground from the base. Make sure the wire has some slack for closing and opening the hatch.Finding a good grounding connection is a challenge on esprit...coz it's 75% fiberglass :) And yes I did pass the Inspection... good luck!

JR.
 

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Glutton For Punishment
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251 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
Thanks. So if the left is ground and the right is the brake light, how does the defroster connect?
 

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Wingless Wonder
1988 Esprit Turbo
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6,103 Posts
Thanks. So if the left is ground and the right is the brake light, how does the defroster connect?
That's a mystery to me as well, since there is only one wire connection to the RH strut.

(The LH tailgate connector only, has an extra pigtail)



I can't remember if I ever verified the defroster operation in 20+ years of ownership. Remember, the defrost grid is on the OUTER glass panel, not the inner one that fogs up from your passenger's heavy breathing when you take the corners fast!

:shift:
 

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Ohh sorry, I canceled my defroster since i did not have any use for it. I drive only my esprit during summer. I used my defroster switch (Bottom of headlight switch in dashboard) as my manual fan override switch instead ;). If you want to keep your defroster you could use a thicker wire and combine both in the same ground location...
 

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1,248 Posts
I'm fairly certain the left tailgate hinge (not the strut) is ground for both the defroster and brake light. The right hinge is 12V for the defroster. Both of these wires are under the rear window surround, and attach via ring terminals to the mounting bolts that attach the hinge to the body. The right strut is the brake light 12V.
 

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Glutton For Punishment
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251 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
I'm fairly certain the left tailgate hinge (not the strut) is ground for both the defroster and brake light. The right hinge is 12V for the defroster. Both of these wires are under the rear window surround, and attach via ring terminals to the mounting bolts that attach the hinge to the body. The right strut is the brake light 12V.
This makes sense for the way my car looks. There are ring terminals attached to the hinges, but the hinges are not grounding, so probably corroded like all non fiberglass parts on this entire flipping car.
 

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Wingless Wonder
1988 Esprit Turbo
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6,103 Posts
This makes sense for the way my car looks. There are ring terminals attached to the hinges, but the hinges are not grounding, so probably corroded like all non fiberglass parts on this entire flipping car.
I'm sure you bought your Lotus because the advert said "No Rust"?

:tadts: rotfl


The rusty hardware is not just a Lotus characteristic.

Many Morgan owners spend their winters replacing nuts, bolts, and wood screws ( :p ) with stainless steel hardware.

As part of my car's extensive "refresh" I painted, anti-siezed, and often replaced a lot of my hardware. Just so that I could get it apart again, when I found out I assembled everything wrong. :facepalm
 

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Glutton For Punishment
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251 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
I'm sure you bought your Lotus because the advert said "No Rust"?

:tadts: rotfl
Haha exactly. I used to own a 1983 Range Rover that had a convertible conversion when new. Aluminum body and engine, but everything else rusted. I am well versed in British hardware having completely rebuilt that beautiful piece of machinery.

And if you have never heard this joke:

Why don't the British make computers?

They can't figure out how to make them leak oil!
 
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