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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all,

So my car has been running particularly well lately. Can't even begin to describe how much fun it is to spend an afternoon driving without issue, then pulling into the garage with nothing needing immediate attention.

There is one small issue nagging me though (ok maybe several...) which is a moderate vibration in the steering wheel when turning at high speed. I can only sense it above about 50 mph and while turning. No issues when driving straight down the high way, or while cruising/turning around local roads. Any ideas? My initial thought were wheel balance or alignment, but I think in either of these cases the vibration would be present while driving straight too. Any other ideas? Possibly something wrong with the steering rack? Car is an 86' Turbo HCi.
 

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Could be worn out bushings, allowing the suspension pivots to oscillate when that side load is applied.

The rack can wear too, and then needs to be rebuilt.

Jack the front of the car up (both wheels) and grab the tires, one at a time, and try and rock them side to side and top to bottom.

If it rocks side to side it is either the rack or the tie rod ends. If it rocks top to bottom, then it is the upper and or lower ball joints.

It is possible to be a loose wheel bearing as well.
 

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all the above mentioned are right. Also consider the tires as a factor too. If they are worn poorly or a crappy cheap brand they can cause vibrations. The chords could shift or could be plain out of round. Flat spots will typically go away after you get some heat in them from sitting aswell, but not always. It's tough to say without experiencing it and with a car of that age it could really be a little big of everything too.
 

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Wingless Wonder
1988 Esprit Turbo
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I vote to repack and reset the front wheel bearings first. Remember they are the "open" type that needs periodic retensioning and lubrication.

"While you are in there" check the rims for runout. Pay particular attention to the inside rim's flange, that is where I've seen Esprit rims bend most often.



If you get the tires re-balanced, BE SURE to warm them up beforehand by driving at least 45 minutes. Otherwise flat spots may remain. I battled this problem early-on during my ownership and that was the fix.
 

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I vote to repack and reset the front wheel bearings first. Remember they are the "open" type that needs periodic retensioning and lubrication.

"While you are in there" check the rims for runout. Pay particular attention to the inside rim's flange, that is where I've seen Esprit rims bend most often.



If you get the tires re-balanced, BE SURE to warm them up beforehand by driving at least 45 minutes. Otherwise flat spots may remain. I battled this problem early-on during my ownership and that was the fix.
Everything mentioned so far is possible but before you get all excited and start spending time or money check your tire pressures. Then run your hands over the sidewalls feeling for any lumps, bumps, or discontinuities. Check the date code and if the tires are over 7 years old don't even waste the money on balancing, at least not the old ones!
David Teitelbaum
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Good deal, thanks for all the tips. I'll get into this this weekend starting with tire age and inflation pressure, then look for any wobble/re-pack the front hubs.

Truthfully I'm not going to be surprised if the tires are over 7 years old. I think they're Goodyear Eagle NCTs, which I know haven't been made for a while. So maybe a new set of tires will be in the future this weekend. It's only money.
 

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Wingless Wonder
1988 Esprit Turbo
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Truthfully I'm not going to be surprised if the tires are over 7 years old. I think they're Goodyear Eagle NCTs, which I know haven't been made for a while.
NCTs were original equipment on Esprit for several years in the G-body era, and some early Stevens cars. We fought with tire shake on brand new cars, with brand new tires. They were problems even when new. Don't waste time on the other possibilities, just buy a set of tires.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Classic PO. "Tires are in good shape with plenty of tread left". Admittedly the fronts do look to be in pretty good shape... other than probably being 15 years old.

Anyway, I probably need a set of rears as well. After a little research it looks like the BF Goodrich Radials are the hot tire for the rear, but I can't even find a mention of the matching 195/60R15 for the front. Does anyone know if the BF Goodrich Radials are still available in the front size? Otherwise I'll probably pick up a set of Yokohamas for the front.
 

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Wingless Wonder
1988 Esprit Turbo
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I won't repeat info from the various tire replacement threads. TOO MUCH INFO (TMI). :facepalm


But you will be hard-pressed to find V rated (original speed rating) tires in matching front and rear sizes.

The only thing I will mention is, the Esprit NEEDS bigger tires in the rear. Do NOT downsize (even tho' that is what Lotus recommended in the 2000s).

Use rim width recommendations and overall circumference matching to select replacements. (In other words, try to match OE overall circumference but don't go too wide for the rims you have)

Be sure to post if you find something you like.:up:
 

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NCT's haven't been available since the early 90's. Production stopped way before then. We have the same problem with Deloreans. The NCT technology (it escapes me at the moment what NCT stood for, neutral contour technology?) was not very good and was discontinued quickly. Tires age even if they aren't used. They get hard. I had an old set of NCT's on my Delorean and they looked great. My wife was scared when she heard you should not drive on tires over 7 years old so I broke down and bought new tires. The difference was AMAZING! The old tires were like driving on rocks! You will be very pleased with ANY new tires but try to get as close to the correct size as you can. If the tires have been neglected, you need to be sure you are up to date on your timing belt. It also MUST be changed based on mileage AND age. Batteries also age. After 5 years they should be replaced. Brake and clutch fluid EVERY year and wiper blades too. Take care of the car and it will be more reliable and more fun.
David Teitelbaum
 

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Esprits are extremely sensitive to balancing, especially in the front. If the tires are recent, I would highly recommend having your tires rebalanced as it may have kicked off a balancing weight at some point in it's life.

I will never forget the time years ago when I had to use Fix-A-Flat in a front tire on my Esprit in an emergency situation. Never in my life have I felt such vibration from imbalance caused by a tiny bit of spray foam inside the tire. It was unreal. These Esprits have telepathic handling and you always know exactly what the tires are doing...when something is not right, the message comes through just as clearly...LOL

If your tires are indeed original NCTs, it is definitely time to replace them. So many advantages to fresh rubber, not to mention the safety factor.

Roy
 

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[snip]
Truthfully I'm not going to be surprised if the tires are over 7 years old. I think they're Goodyear Eagle NCTs, which I know haven't been made for a while. [snip] It's only money.
My 88 (bought in 2011) had the original 1988 front tires (NCTs). They looked like new and they had 60% tread after 30K miles/23 years).

Here's how to tell how old your tire may be (just for grins; clearly ancient NCTs would not be safe for road use in 2014):

 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Thanks again for all the input everyone.

I went to a tire store this morning and had some BF Goodrich Radial 235/60R15s put on the rear, and Yokohama YK580 195/60R15s put on the front. Wow. It feels like I'm finally driving a Lotus! The car felt like it just wanted to keep going on the highway without a hint of instability or vibration. I finally pulled my foot off the gas somewhere just shy of the speed rating on these tires.

Atwell, thanks for the input on the rear tire size. I almost talked myself into downsizing in order to get matching front/rear tires, but I like the setup I have. The tech at the tire store searched around on the wheels for a few minutes for the date code before giving up and finally asking me how old the tires were. So, maybe they're even pre-90's!

All other maintenance is up to date on the car. I spent more hours under it last winter than I care to admit replacing the clutch/pressure plate/throwout bearing, circlip, rear brake calipers, timing belt & v-belts, alternator, all of the clutch hydraulic system, fluids... the list goes on. I just figured tires could wait. Low and behold this was the best money I've spent on the car so far. :D

Thanks again, case closed.
 

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Wingless Wonder
1988 Esprit Turbo
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BF Goodrich Radial 235/60R15s put on the rear, and Yokohama YK580 195/60R15s put on the front. Wow.

Atwell, thanks for the input on the rear tire size.

You are welcomed. I intend to practice what I preach next year when it is time to replace my car's "sneakers". Who knows what will be available then. :confused:


PS: Tire Speed Ratings are considered to be at "sustained speeds" so a quick run up to the car's top speed would not put you in any imminent danger IMO.
 

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Since you went to a tire shop there are a couple of things to check. They almost always overtorque the wheel lugs so I would undo them and retorque them to the correct spec. Make sure you have the correct COLD tire pressures. If you are going to drive in the very cold temperatures we now have (at least here in the north) remember to take it easy till the tires get warm or you won't have enough "grippiness" to take turns fast. Heck, even down South last week it got pretty damm cold! Extreme cold also reduces tire pressure and you need to keep that in mind if you are going anywhere near the speed rating. At those speeds you are supposed to increase your tire pressure to keep the tire from coming of the bead in turns.
David Teitelbaum
 
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