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1987 Lotus Turbo Esprit HCI - Pearl white w/ Blue interior - No mods
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Discussion Starter #1
Hey Guys, I'm finally posting here after my intro last year. So I bought my childhood dream car last June, a white Esprit G-body. I haven't done much to the car since I owned it as the previous owner kept up on the maintenance. But since October I only drove the car about once or twice a month, because of work. Now I'd like to be ready for springtime and do some replacing & upgrading of tired electrical parts, shocks, bushings, rubber, ect. Also I looked inside my coolant overflow tank & looks nasty, seems I'll need a new overflow tank and a coolant flush. I want to keep the car as original looking as possible, I even picked up a very nice set of Goodyear NCT 235 60s.

So two weeks ago I went to start the car and it wouldn't start. When I crank the ignition it seems like the engine isn't getting gas and I remember I almost filled up the gas tank a few weeks prior on my last drive. I was reading a thread by Mr. Dangerous about gunk in the tank clogging fuel lines, etc. I'm concerned this might be the case.

So before I go into checking the fuel pump, filters & lines, today I checked the fuel pump fuses and noticed the "inertia button" was stuck in the down position. Does the "inertia button" usually spring back up showing it's "red" stem? I tried starting the car with the button both up & down, no luck.

And I also noticed one of my fuel pump fuses looked fried. (pics below) I had no old fuses handy, so I took a 15A & 7.5A fuse from my 2001 MB ML55 to try, but the engine still won't start. What should I try next?

Any advice or thoughts is much appreciated. Thanks in advance!

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Nice car! Congrats!
The fuel pump inertia button is down unless there has been an impact. The general rule of thumb is to check electrical malfunction first, fuel supply second. If you plan on doing your own work, get a multimeter and learn how to use it, I did MANY years ago now. A device that will be necessary, and a priority. For example, with a multimeter you can check those fuses without even removing them. Have your battery checked, if you haven't already. If these cars sit for very long at all the computer will take down voltage. That's why there is currently a discussion about battery maintainers. We all use them. Generally, check the simplest cheapest things first. My mind always used to run to the worst possible scenario and it almost never is. Check for spark at the plugs. If that's okay, listen for the fuel pump running before you turn the ignition switch to start position. Usually, on these cars it's going to be a bad connection, i.e. corroded. Also plan on draining and flushing the coolant every two years with the green stuff. It will save a lot of grief if you do. The radiators in the cars tend to load up with crud, then you are looking at pulling it and roding it out. Lots of work and not fun. Let us know what you find.
Also, how old are the NCT's? I didn't think they had been made for MANY years. If they are more than 7 years old they are definitely not safe to run! Okay for a museum car but not to drive.
 

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One more thing, I only use Top Tier premium gas. Absolutely no ethanol blend. If you don't know what T.T. gas is you can do a search and find who has it near you. Ethanol doesn't keep well. Essentially it spoils very quickly. Top Tier fuels last far longer. Also invest in some lotus shop manuals. Absolutely necessary in my opinion. They will give you a huge head start in diagnostics. It's hard to tell from a picture but both those fuses look fine to me.
 

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Wingless Wonder
1988 Esprit Turbo
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5,952 Posts
X2 on the NCTs. Best saved for a museum. ?

It is fortunate that you drive the car a couple times a month. Were there any issues (like a stumble or erratic tach operation) recently?

++++++++++++


Good advice from GiG.

If you have a debris blockage at the tank, the engine will usually start for a while...until the junk gets sucked back in and blocks the screen.

Checking pump operation is a good start. You can either listen for them (might be just one of the two that you hear, though) or get under the car and verify that they are both working. Multimeter comes in handy.

If those fuses look overheated, it is then important that you check the connections in the sockets. The terminals may no longer be restrained by the plastic socket, so the fuses may not be 'connected'. On an Esprit, it is always Good Practice to hold the wires under a connector in place. Same goes for the fuel pump relay connections. The pumps draw a good amount of current!

Have you replaced the battery since the last drive? Remember that the fuel pump voltage supply comes from added-on wires in the battery compartment on a G-car. It is possible that these wires were overlooked and not re-connected. :p


The black-cased RPM relays can prevent fuel pump operation. If the pumps energize at key-on, the relays need to sense some RPM from the ignition to turn the pumps on (a safety feature). DO NOT switch the two RPM relays as a diagnostic, they are different!

There are more checks to perform, but my finger is getting tired from typing. (HEY, don't make fun of my one-fingered typing habit, OK?)?
 
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FYI there is a front fuse box too - my 87 Turbo Esprit USA - left of steering column. Just pull the cover off.
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Yikes! Guys, silver-ish Aluminum relays are 30 years old and don't have a negative spike suppressors and often crap-out.. Best to replace them with sealed/suppressed BU-5084-M relays.
The WHOLE CAR is over 30 years old and the DRIVER even older (and can crap out anytime too)!

BWAHAHAHAHA!
 

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Premium Member
1987 Lotus Turbo Esprit HCI - Pearl white w/ Blue interior - No mods
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28 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
Thanks, Guys! All great advice!

Yes I know the Goodyear NCT 60s are old, but they're mint so I'm tempted! I just like the 'old school' big doughnut look, they look a little beefier than the Pirellis, which seems a bit more modern "squared".

You're right, Greenisgood, I need to get up on my multimeter skills. I'm just a weekend tinker, I don't consider myself a mechanic. Not sure if I can find top tier gas I just been adding 91 octane, should I add some octane boost every fill up?

Carbuff, I might have to get closer under the car to hear the pump, I don't think I can hear it when I turn the key.

Yes thx, have the service & parts manuals. Yeah, SleekGT, I might crap out at anytime with all the projects I have going on LoL !

Thanks, Mrdangerus! I want to update whatever I can to keep it running tops. Where can I find the updated BU-5084-M relays?
 

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Wingless Wonder
1988 Esprit Turbo
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5,952 Posts
Open the windows, turn off the radio at key-on. Hold your breath. You should hear a hum from the pumps for 2 seconds. Heed the advice about the melted connector sockets.

If you don't have T-T gas then Techron is OK, but that is a preventative thing, won't help with a no-start.

MrD gets a lot of his stuff from eBay, just search for that relay part number.
 

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Have you replaced the battery since the last drive? Remember that the fuel pump voltage supply comes from added-on wires in the battery compartment on a G-car. It is possible that these wires were overlooked and not re-connected. :p

This is an inside joke from ~2014. Two previous owners ago, my 87 Turbo Esprit resided in New York and the owner ( a forum member here ? May be gone) replaced his battery and the car didn’t start. He couldn’t figure it out; solicited help here, insulted numerous people including me even though we all tried to help. Atwell was the bigger man - drove to his house from New Jersey, and in 2 mins determined the owner forgot to reconnect some brown wires to the battery. Click, click, bang and the car started up. Owner later sold the car; it was later resold again to me.

Atwell is THE MAN. Never forget that.

But I know how replace a battery - did it last year and it still runs. BWAHAHAHA!


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

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1987 Turbo Esprit HCI
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You should be able to hear the fuel pumps run for a second or so after you stop cranking too. I've found on k-jet cars in general the pumps don't always prime before cranking. They're fairly loud so unless you have pretty bad hearing you should be able to hear them inside the car with the windows up. These Bosch style pumps are so loud I can hear them running on my 928 when standing outside near the exhaust.

When I got my Esprit it was in limp mode with only one pump working, what ended up being the issue was the fuse sockets weren't grabbing the fuse tightly. One of your fuses looks melted, but it's not burned up from running too many amps, it's possible it had a loose connection and constant arcing heated it so much it melted. To "fix" the fuse socket problem, if that ends up being a problem, I just bend each fuse leg a little in opposing directions to spring load it a bit.

You could pull a spark plug out after cranking for a little bit trying to start. If the plugs wet you're getting fuel.
 

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Thanks S54Venture, I don't recall hearing much of a feel pump motor if it's loud enough to hear with windows closed. But I'll be back working on my car this week, so I'll definitely try this with some new fuses. I also picked up some updated BU-5084-M relays recommended by MRDangerus. I'm praying this is all just electrical -fuses / relays and Not fuel pumps or clogged fuel lines. ? Will post my findings soon. Thanks guys!
 

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1987 Lotus Turbo Esprit HCI - Pearl white w/ Blue interior - No mods
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Discussion Starter #14
**I just realized I have two accounts with two different emails, guess forgot I started one previously. LOL I'll try to use just one.

Thanks S54Venture, I don't recall hearing much of a fuel pump motor if it's loud enough to hear with windows closed. But I'll be back working on my car this week, so I'll definitely try this with some new fuses. I also picked up some updated BU-5084-M relays recommended by MRDangerus. I'm praying this is all just electrical -fuses / relays and Not fuel pumps or clogged fuel lines. ? Will post my findings soon. Thanks guys!
 
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