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Discussion Starter #1
Hi guys,

Had hoped my first post would have been on a happier note, but no such luck. Just bought a 2001 Esprit V8. Had it fully checked over by a Lotus specialist in NJ (RS). On driving it on first day of ownership, noticed that coolant warning light came on and off intermittently, but engine temp gauge was reading normal. Checked coolant level in header tank, was normal, checked expansion tank to see if cap was loose or gone, but all looked OK. Suspected faulty sender. Another day of driving same symptoms, but now coolant warning light was staying on most of time.

Tonight I took it out for a proper run, first time also for the wife to experience the car. Cruising along, coolant warning light on, but engine temp normal, even running a bit cool. Suddenly the coolant light is flashing and the temp gauge is all the way over past 120. I pull over to the side of the highway and shut off engine. Open rear hatch and can hear coolant gurgling sounds at engine. Wait 5, then start engine again, hoping to at least get into next town and off highway. Make it to a parking lot but engine temp gauge back at over 120, then steam clouds from engine area, puddle of water under engine and engine itself shuts off (I hope - really hope - because engine ECU shut down engine before major damage could be done) with yellow check engine light coming on. -eek-

Left car in lot as was late. Will send a truck to recover it in a day or so. Clearly my theory that the sender was faulty was, well, wrong. Something else wrong. But my big fear now is: by driving the car until it overheated so bad to be spewing steam and water, have I caused major damage to the engine??

A sad end to what had been an awesome first couple of days, as the car had been driving and running fantastic. Big time :(

Grateful for any advice, but be honest if you think I've toasted the engine. If the car was built in 2000 (as a MY2001) not sure if it would still have had the locktite cylinder liner issue ...

Cheers,
John
 

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I can only speculate why you are overheating while plenty of coolant.
Air lock ?
Try to change your thermostat and go from there. They are cheap and not that hard to replace.
Is there a coolant leak when you park at night? Do you hear a bearing sound when the engine is cold? I'm hoping your water pump is ok.

As far as your question on the engine that overheated. I have a 1999 V8, when I bought the car, the previous owner did not mention the car overheated but I noticed gallon of coolant at the trunk. I did not suspect anything at the time. When I bought the car, I noticed I'm losing coolant slowly. To make the story short, I endeed up rebuilding the car. The coolant was sipping at the piston liner.
From 1996-1997 or maybe some 1998 they have that problematic liner seal. I think your
2001 V8 has Hylomar 340 which is a better sealant. Just pray that the new seal will hold
better than the previous.
I have no idea what seal I got in my 1999 when started leaking. On my rebuild, I used Hylomar 340.
 

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The big key will be the head gasket. If thats OK, which it very well could be then the engine should be fine. Its too bad that this car was inspected by a Lotus specialty shop and this happened though. Id suspect checking the health of the cooling system would be a critical item to verify.

What exactly do these places "check" anyways? :shrug:

Let us know how you make out. Get it sorted and drive her around more.
 

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There are several things that could be the culprit in your situation but if I had to wager a guess and assuming your water pump is circulating coolant and your radiator fans are coming on as they should and the t-stat is functioning, I would look at the airflow through the radiator.

All later model Esprits eventually suffer from the radiator fins getting clogged with debris over time as the intake is so low to the ground and the fin spacing on the rad is so tight. The only way to clean it out is to drop the whole radiator/ac condenser assembly, remove the radiator and spend some time cleaning it. It's a time consuming putzy job that should be done every few years but usually never gets done until the car overheats.

With the airflow partially clogged, the car will usually run ok at idle and short drives but once the speed and length of drive picks up, the radiator then cant' keep up.

Here's a pic of one that was about 50% clogged.



The V8's don't take kindly to being overheated and I'd say you have a 50/50 chance of dodging a big bullet.

Good luck,
Jim
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Many thanks for the replies, guys, will check on the condition of the rad. No coolant leaks that I could see, no bearing noises when engine cold. It fact it really had been running sweetly apart from the coolant warning light. Am certainly praying that the engine had the Hylomar sealant and that this will have saved the liners. I read somewhere that the change to Hylomar came in June 2000.

What gets me is that the engine temp went from below 80 to 120+ in just a couple of minutes, which suggests that something suddenly stopped working, like the water pump or tstat? If it was the rad or leaking coolant, I would have expected the car to gradually run hotter and hotter, not go from fine to catastrophe in the snap of a finger. Anyway, off to the garage with it tomorrow.:(

Cheers,
John
 

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I've had coolant issues cause that sort of behavior before (low coolant would cause the car to heat rapidly when the motor was at less than 3k rpms, so puzting around a parking lot or being stuck at a light too long would cause *rapid* temp increases.) This was in an Exige.
 

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You should have the hylomar sealant in your engine. With the Espirt (mid -engine) it is best to elevate the rear of the car or park on a hill, nose down, so the trapped air will rise to the header tank, otherwise air pocket can occur. Make sure your shop knows how to purge mid engine, front radiator cars. This could have been the original problem.
 

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Wingless Wonder
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Make sure your shop knows how to purge mid engine, front radiator cars. This could have been the original problem.
The shop John used knows his stuff.

More than likely, the temp stayed OK during the car's checkout.


BTW There is a known problem with the clamps holding the hose to the overflow/expansion tank in the RR wheel well. So instead of sucking coolant into the engine as the engine cools, the hoses suck air. :no: These little hoses can clog also...
:sad:
 

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There is a known problem with the clamps holding the hose to the overflow/expansion tank in the RR wheel well. So instead of sucking coolant into the engine as the engine cools, the hoses suck air.
Is it just that the hose slips higher and higher until it is out of the coolant?
 

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Is it just that the hose slips higher and higher until it is out of the coolant?
If my memory serves, it was poor clamps on the hose to the overflow. Remember, unlike most cars, the Esprit's overflow bottle is pressurized.

So, when you disconnect it from both ends, make sure it can pass coolant OK!
 

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The overflow bottle in the wheel well is NOT pressurized. The header tank IS. On my car the hose between the header tank and the overflow bottle was plugged up and the level sensor in the header tank was so crudded up it was stuck. Many owners are not even aware there is an overflow tank in the wheel well! So they fill the header tank 1/2 way thinking that's normal so it can expand in there. I am sure R/S checked this out and this was not the source of the problem. My guess is you had a leak and lost coolant. There are many places you could have leaked including the radiator, water pump, and numerous hose connections. That in itself was not deadly, continuing to operate the motor knowing you had a cooing problem was. The decision to keep running the motor to find the problem was not a good idea. You admitted that you had sufficient warning.
David Teitelbaum
 

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The overflow bottle in the wheel well is NOT pressurized. The header tank IS.
Sorry 'bout that. :bow:


On the 88 - up 4 cylinder cars, the header tank has a cap with a single seal and the plastic overflow bottle is pressurized (it has the dual-seal, spring loaded cap, 15 lbs pressure). The V8 and 4 cylinder plastic overflows look identical.
 

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Many thanks for the replies, guys, will check on the condition of the rad. No coolant leaks that I could see, no bearing noises when engine cold. It fact it really had been running sweetly apart from the coolant warning light. Am certainly praying that the engine had the Hylomar sealant and that this will have saved the liners. I read somewhere that the change to Hylomar came in June 2000.

What gets me is that the engine temp went from below 80 to 120+ in just a couple of minutes, which suggests that something suddenly stopped working, like the water pump or tstat? If it was the rad or leaking coolant, I would have expected the car to gradually run hotter and hotter, not go from fine to catastrophe in the snap of a finger. Anyway, off to the garage with it tomorrow.:(

Cheers,
John
The sealant change came in March 2000, my engine was the 3rd or 4th after the change by matching engine serial numbers. However, the hylomar sealant will melt at 110C (according to the specification sheet) so having the newer sealant won't save you on an overheat... ask me how I know ;-( I had a pressure cap let go on a spirited run... lost coolant pressure and the temp soared past 110C quickly, and that's measured by the thermostat, NOT as the base of the liners which will be hotter. Game over... coolant in the oil.
 

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are you saying that you purchased an 11 year old esprit without a PRE purchase inspection? and then "had it fully checked over.. " ?
 

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are you saying that you purchased an 11 year old esprit without a PRE purchase inspection? and then "had it fully checked over.. " ?
Where exactly are you inferring that from? The OP doesn't specify if the inspection was performed before or after the purchase.

I would think a more constructive post would be a better way to start on a new forum.
 

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Discussion Starter #17 (Edited)
Well. Cooling my heels in Manas airbase in Kyrgyzstan, due to delayed flight, I have some time to file this update!:

Funny story this: first thing to say is that the overheating did NOT do any damage to anything (BTW, I checked the operating temp limit for the Hylomar sealant and the specs I found say the upper limit is 150C). I think I overreacted a bit here, the engine can take a brief overheating I think just like any other engine out there. I think I could have refilled the coolant and driven it away once it had cooled down. The source of the coolant loss was found once the system was pressure tested: leaks from some hose clamps, enough to cause what happened. But here's where it gets interesting. It is a damn good thing I did not simply fill up and drive away but instead had the car recovered back to the shop:

On searching for the cause of the coolant loss, the shop discovered bits of rubber under the front of the engine. Further investigation revealed that the timing belts were half worn through and could have snapped at any moment. Belts job was done at a non-lotus shop in Jacksonville, FL just a couple of years and 3000 miles back, utterly incompetently as it turns out. So, funny that my little overheating episode turned into a lucky catch of a bigger disaster about to happen. So, needless to say the car is now on deck for the timing belt job (this time to be done properly) and will not be driven or even started until then. once the timing belts are done, and the coolant hose clamps leaks fixed of course, the car should be back to top running condition.

So, lesson from this? Even if the service history says the belts job has been done, a new owner should doubt the job was done properly unless by a Lotus specialist. And, if you overheat your V8, don't despair: if you shut the engine off ASAP (and assuming your liners have the newer sealant) you should be OK. Heck, you might even discover something else needs attention!

One thing for sure, so far this car is not boring to own ...

Cheers,
John
 

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Discussion Starter #19
The shop emailed me pics of the belts still on the engine, and you can see that they were running off centre and were getting shredded bit by bit. Intermediate dealer that I bought the car from undoubtedly had no idea he was selling on a ticking time bomb.:huh: Yes the V8 is an interference design, not sure about the 4s.

Cheers,
John
 

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The turbo 4s are also an interference engine.

Def don't want to let the T-belt go too long on those either.
 
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