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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I am going to change the oil in my new (to me) baby.

The manual says 7.9 qts, but I noticed that LEW says 6 qts on their tech pages.

Which is it?

What's everyone's favorite oil for the Esprits , btw? I am a huge fan of Rotella T-Syn (a true bargain at only $22 per gallon); I have run it in my twin Turbo G35 and had fantastic results. I send my oil out for analysis to Blackstone Labs and there are always shocked at how low the wear metal numbers are in the oil. The Rotella blew away the results I was previously getting with Motul 300v ($15 per quart!!!) Unfortunately, the Rotella is a 5W40 Sythetic (lots of ZPPD... it's a turbo diesel oil.) The added ZDDP is great for flat tappet engine or cam-over-bucket (Esprit) engines. From what I have read, that's too thin for the Esprit.

Are the Esprits built with really loose bearing tolerances? Is that the reason for the 20W60 oil recommendations?

I picked up some Mobil 1 15W50 in the mean time. I have noticed that Redline makes a high zddp "race" oil in 20w60. also, it looks like Valvoline has a synthetic "race" oil in 20W50, too. I can't find the castol Edge RS (20w60) anywhere around..... I saw that recommended somewhere.
 

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Depending on which oil pan you have, an oil change will either be a bit over 5 quarts, or a bit over 6. Yours is probably the larger one -- if the bottom is ribbed and the oil drain plug has an internal hex then it is. The additional capacity is in the oil coolers and lines, but will not be drained during an oil change.

The Mobil should be fine, and easy to find.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
ahh yes, I for got about the front mounted oil coolers and lines.

BTW, I got your shipping notice for the ALDL-serial cable. Thanks for getting that out quickly.
 

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I'll actually be dropping it off at the post office today. Thanks again!

Edit: It's been shipped.
 

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It's 7.9 quarts if it's empty. Doing a change you can get almost 6.5 out but if you disconnect and drain the oil coolers and hoses you can get almost 7.5 quarts. There is some controversy about touching the connections so maybe you would not want to do it every oil change if at all. Rotella may actually be a better oil but I would suggest you stay with what Lotus has tested and recommended. I would also recommend you change all of the other fluids and all of the filters. You should do a full "C" service unless you KNOW when and by whom the timing belts were last changed and tensioned. As for added Zinc, the current wisdom now is that if the engine was broken in with a high ZDDP level oil, it will live very well on a reduced Zinc diet. Too much zinc can be as harmful as too little.
David Teitelbaum
 

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I usually use Mobil 1 15W-50, no idea what the previous owners used in their 11 years and 41k miles.

At the time of my engine rebuild @74k, there was a varnish all over the inside of the engine, the exhaust tappets were cracked but not worn, shims were never worn, cams not really worn, and the bearings were just getting through the lead coating and touching copper, the cylinders showed light scuffing in the nikasil, and the compression was at min spec on all 4.

Then I did 6000 miles and a few track days with the rebuild (Mobil 1 15W-50 only) and blew a head gasket on the track. The first thing I noticed was high oil temp, and the warning light came on. So I shut her down and coasted in. Oil level was fine, so I figured it was a bit to thin for a hot day, figured I should have used the 20W-50. Let the car cool, and did another session, watching the temps and taking it easier on the straights. Then the coolant went to red, and the light came on. Coasted back in with a stumbling engine. Lost a gallon of coolant and blew the head gasket.

Took the engine apart this weekend, and it looks brand new after 6000miles, no coloration or varnish at all. No wear on the cylinders or rings, and the bearings show only a little wear.

I think i'll go to a 20W-50 Mobil V-twin oil or the racing 0W-60 for track days though...


I also found my oil cooler thermostat fittings were smaller I.D. than the original Lotus sandwich plate fittings, so that might have something to do with the high temps...
 

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Discussion Starter #7
It's 7.9 quarts if it's empty. Doing a change you can get almost 6.5 out but if you disconnect and drain the oil coolers and hoses you can get almost 7.5 quarts. There is some controversy about touching the connections so maybe you would not want to do it every oil change if at all. Rotella may actually be a better oil but I would suggest you stay with what Lotus has tested and recommended. I would also recommend you change all of the other fluids and all of the filters. You should do a full "C" service unless you KNOW when and by whom the timing belts were last changed and tensioned. As for added Zinc, the current wisdom now is that if the engine was broken in with a high ZDDP level oil, it will live very well on a reduced Zinc diet. Too much zinc can be as harmful as too little.
David Teitelbaum


I'm planning on doing a full C service. I was just researching the cam belt tensioing gauges.
 

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Goal should be to get out as much as possible. The oil cooler lines and coolers can retain 1-2 quarts. Other choice is to change oil more frequently, thus diluting retained oil, or do a second oil change without filter change after a few miles and then go a more normal interval. I like the latter approach, and the oil only change is quick and easy.
The oil and filter change can run close to 7 quarts so I always have that much available.
I mostly use Mobil V Twin 20-50 which according to Tim Engel's posts is equivalent to the no longer available Mobil 20-50 which is an oil recommended by Lotus with adequate ZDDP.
Based on the 3 motors I have seen torn down I know it is possible to get to 70k plus miles with almost no wear.
It makes no sense to me to save $20-$30 on an oil change in a car like this when most cars will only need 1-2 changes per year.
Randy
 

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For tensioning the belts some have used a program called TuneIt.com on a PC with a microphone. Before doing that you need to figure out how old the belts are, it doesn't pay to waste time tensioning the belts if they should be replaced. If you do not have any records to tell you, you can try asking Lotus USA if they have any records for your vin #. Otherwise you have no choice but to be conservative and replace the belts. You MUST know the history on the belts to know when to check the tension and when they should be replaced. If you don't then you need to start your own history and records.
David Teitelbaum
 

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Discussion Starter #10
my 93.5 only has 9000 miles on it and the timign belt is not original. It is a Gates belt and the lettering on the belt looks great. I don't think the original belt was a Gates. I may change the timing belt regardless, but I'd like to check the tension too.
 

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Belts go by age and mileage, they are a pain to change, but if they break you have a major issue.
In your case it is strictly an age issue, so need to figure out when last changed. I would be anxious with a belt that is more than 5 yrs old, unless you know which belt it is. The newer belts are longer lasting, and I am running the "blue" belt on two motors with no issues.

We use the "Cricket" tension guage, cheap and effective. Tim Engel has threads and files on belts and tension guages which are excellent.

If you were to change the belt you should consider tensioner and waterpump at the same time.
 

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+1 on the changing the t-belt on a time basis...


A local S4s owner just had his T-belt break (frayed apart diagonally, actually) because he let it go 12 years. :no:


THAT's gonna leave a mark....on his wallet. :sad:
 

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Discussion Starter #13
So, I changed the tranny fluid and the engine oil today.

the engine took almost 6.5 quarts to reach the High mark. I wasn't trying to put that much in, but the last quart was being poured from a 5 quart jug....and I overshot my mark. Oops. :)
 
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