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Hello all. Here is the long version. If you want an executive summary see below. Sooo I did what some people would call an incredibly stupid thing. I bought a 93 SE at a police auction knowing basically nothing about the history or condition of the car. I checked it out in person before hand but was not allowed to do anything other then look the car over. The guy at the impound yard told me that they had not been able to get it to start but all they did was put some jumper cables on it, he said some of the other people that had come and looked at it did some digging and found out that the local mechanic that specializes in imports had done a tune up on it about 3 yeras ago.

Well not so long story short I won it at the auction. Over all the condition on it looks good. Right at 50K miles, the body is straight, fluids looked good and the belts looked good. I was told that they had been looking for it for a while and found it in a garage under a cover. The interior had a little mold on some of the leather that wiped right off and over all looks good.

It has had a few aftermarket addons. Exhaust (cat back), MSD ignition coils, JAE stainless clutch cable. Possibly more those are just the ones I noticed right off. I can not tell for sure if maybe the cam pulleys have been switched around or not. I have read some on it but not enough to know for sure what I am looking for.

I got it to the house on Wednesday and started tearing into it after work. Where the tow truck dropped it off was a little short of being in my car port so I tried to move it. Barely budged. Read about the parking brake that gets people some times so I checked it and it was off. Looks like the back calipers are seized up a little. Not a big issue, something I would rebuild anyways. Finally got it moved all the way in when I got some help. I pulled the battery and tested it and it was shot <1 V on my meter. It had an 11/11 sticker on it and stated a three year free replacement so I took at back to walmart. 15 minutes later I was headed home with a new battery at no cost.

I let curiosity get the better of me and I just had to know so I hooked the battery up and gave it a shot. Turned right over but nothing. Fuel gauge said empty so I pulled out my fuel pressure gauge and showed 40 psi at the rail and had fuel so I knew that was good. I gave it a few hits of starter fluid and gave it another shot. Turned over and I got ignition, but it died right away gave it another try with a little gas and sure enough, she started right up, ran a little rough but no smoke and sounded okay for the most part.

Today when I got home from work I pulled the bottom pan (not sure what you call that thing) and drained the fuel out. I have seen worse but I would guess it was at least a year or two old. From what I could see it looks like the bottom of the tanks are in pretty good shape. I did pull some trash out of the little area under the tanks where some mice had been living. I put a few gallons of fresh gas in it and started it back up. I let it idle for a few minutes to warm up so I could change the oil. I noticed at this time that none of my gauges work. I can turn on the head lights (which do not come up) and the instrument cluster lights up, but none of the gauges move. My first guess is a wire some where that possibly got chewed through (see the comment above about the mice) which I know can be a pain to try and track down.

After I let it warm up I go to start on the oil. Try to get the drain plug out. Nothing. Will not budge. Almost looks like some on put some sort of sealant on it. I am afraid to try and force it too much and stripping it out. Any one have any ideas on this one?

The only other issue that I have come across so far is the clutch seems to be seized up. I have not dug too far into this one yet though but any ideas on how to fix that are appreciated.

Executive summary:
Bought a used Esprit SE at a police auction after being told it did not run.
Good things, body and interior in good shape, mostly complete with just a few small trim pieces missing.
Bad things, brakes need to be rebuilt, clutch is seized, headlights do not open, instrument cluster does not work, oil plug will not come out, shifter a little stiff.

All in all I am excited (at least way more excited then my significant other). Well that is about it for now guys and galls. Hopefully some of you can help out and I am sure you will be hearing more from me. I will try and take some pictures tomorrow and get them uploaded.

Thanks,
-Stewart
 

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Stewart, welcome!

Let us know where you are, so you might learn if there are any forum members near.

As to your car, don't know what you payed, but if you work it right you may eventually have an ok car.
If a car has been sitting as long as yours the last hing you want to do is try and start it.
First check everything out, drain all the fluids, change the oil without warming it by running it, drain the old gas.
You are playing with fire trying to run it with a potentially ancient timing belt.

Once you check everything and put new fluids in and change your belts, then try to start it. You may need new plugs, likely a new chargecooler impeller, and who knows what else.
The urge is to see if it will run, but the point is it will eventually run, you just don't want to cause more problems than you have.

The cars are notorious for ground problems since the body is fiberglass. With the amount of corrosion you mention, I would go through all the connections and at least visually inspect them.

Randy
 

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Wingless Wonder
1988 Esprit Turbo
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6,104 Posts
Yeah, Wecome! Keep posting (separate Topics are best for each problem)

You'll get the car sorted.
 

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Integrator
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Welcome to the Lotus Brotherhood!

What an exciting story!
It remainds me my purchase, except I bought mine sight unseen, just a few photos.
You're lucky to find a nice car that way!

How many miles on it?

Well, at least you know that in last 3 years no DPO was screwing with it!
LOL.
 

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Welcome! How about showing us some pics of the found treasure first :)

At least you got the engine running...that is a good start. The rest would be minor stuff. You are definitely lucky to find a car like that ... must be a bargain! I am opportunist also myself and plus the skill that we have it comes in very handy. Keep up the good work and keep us posted!

Congrats!
JR
 

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on how to fix that are appreciated.

Executive summary:
Bought a used Esprit SE at a police auction after being told it did not run.
Good things, body and interior in good shape, mostly complete with just a few small trim pieces missing.
Bad things, brakes need to be rebuilt, clutch is seized, headlights do not open, instrument cluster does not work, oil plug will not come out, shifter a little stiff.

All in all I am excited (at least way more excited then my significant other). Well that is about it for now guys and galls. Hopefully some of you can help out and I am sure you will be hearing more from me. I will try and take some pictures tomorrow and get them uploaded.

Thanks,
-Stewart

I am guessing you got it for a good price. Sounds like you bought yourself a nice project. You will be learning more about Lotus's than you thought you wanted to know. You need to get a set of manuals, change all of the fluids and filters, rebuild the brakes, and get the timing belt changed ASAP. Make sure the clutch hydraulics are working correctly before you decide to dig into the clutch. With no service history you need to start one and you do that by doing a full "C" service and sorting out all of the problems you find as you start driving the car. Sounds like it was sitting and neglected for a while. Lotus's do not take that kind of treatment kindly. Check the date codes on the tires. If they are over 7 years old they should be replaced. In the meantime Title and register the car and get insurance on it.
David Teitelbaum
 

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If it started and ran briefly it sounds like you are ahead of the game already. Sounds like alot of PM work is in order, I would be careful with that oil plug though. I think if mine were that stuck, I would put some PB blaster on the sealer and let it sit, if that did not work I would probably be tempted to heat it slightly with my oxy/acetylene, but do so with extreme caution as the pan is cast im sure, but if I remember correctly the plug is steel or brass, dont remember offhand.

Regardless, it doesnt look like anyone mentioned yet, but you will want to replace the timing belt.

Dont know about that gearbox/clutch issue I have an older Esprit, with a Citroen gearbox, im sure you have a Renault that is slightly different in the clutch area im sure. If you are think you are going to have to tear into the clutch area of the car anyway, which means removing the gearbox, you could always spray PB blaster down in the timing hole and see if it frees it. That is what I did prior to sorting my odd clutch problems I was having, mine was doing all sorts of things, one of which was squeaking when you pressed the clutch pedal, but unfortunatlely PB blaster doesnt form itself into a new clutch shaft and release bearing LOL
 
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