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‘83 Turbo Esprit
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Discussion Starter #1
Hi everyone,

So I picked up my 83 Turbo Esprit yesterday and made it from San Diego to Vegas. Started up this morning and have a couple of electrical issues. The car starts and runs ok but getting a battery warning light and none of the gauges are working.

Does anyone know any lotus specialist in the Vegas area who could take a look this weekend?

Thanks,
James
 

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1990 Esprit SE
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Hi James,

I would check the fuses first. Especially any relating to the instruments. Might be a simple fix that you can resolve.

Andy.
 

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Fuses first, then any competent shop should be able to hook up a meter to the battery and test that along with alternator output, if they are both good and no fuses blown then possibly a bad ground which if i recall on the 83 all join together under the front/bonnet.
 

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Put a DVM across the battery and check the voltage. Then start it up and check the voltage.

Is there black goo dripping off the back of the alternator?
 

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When I bought my late 88 Esprit Turbo in 2011 - I had a 4 month long Service C done and got the car in October 2011? Two months later, a hot San Francisco day trip of 4 hours caused the alternator to heat up and drip the dreaded black goo. The best long term solution is to replace with a Bosch ALX49 alternator. You might be able to take apart, clean goo out, but that goo is tenacious and likely not to clean out. You may be stranded in Las Vegas for awhile to get it fixed.

1264743
 

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BTW it may be a moot point since you're already on your long trip.
I have done the San Diego to Las Vegas trip several times since 2011 in my late 1988 Esprit Turbo without any issue.

That's about 6 hours of conservative driving.

June 12 (Friday) was high 70s - if you didn't have an undertray and driving high-speed through the Las Vegas desert, it's very possible the alternator got hot.

The undertray allows the side sills to feed cooling air into the engine at freeway speeds. That's the importance of having it.

1264744
 

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The black goo gets into the brushholder and prevents the brushes from making contact with the rotor. A quick fix is to just replace the voltage regulator and brusholder. If you can't get any parts it is possible to remove the brushholder and clean it up but that is only a temporary fix. The better fix is to replace the whole alternator with a better one like sleekgt says. Even with the undertray, the OE alternator will eventually die. As for all of the gauges to fail simultaneously, the first step would be to figure out where they all get power and ground from and make sure it is still connected. I doubt it is a fuse issue.
David Teitelbaum
 

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‘83 Turbo Esprit
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Discussion Starter #11
BTW it may be a moot point since you're already on your long trip.
I have done the San Diego to Las Vegas trip several times since 2011 in my late 1988 Esprit Turbo without any issue.

That's about 6 hours of conservative driving.

June 12 (Friday) was high 70s - if you didn't have an undertray and driving high-speed through the Las Vegas desert, it's very possible the alternator got hot.

The undertray allows the side sills to feed cooling air into the engine at freeway speeds. That's the importance of having it.

View attachment 1264744
Thanks for this insight!
 

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‘83 Turbo Esprit
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Discussion Starter #12
Quick update: found a decent mechanic in Vegas. Definitely an alternator issue - replacement on it way. Stuck here til Wednesday so embracing it and feeling fortunate that we now live in a “remote working” environment :)
 

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Glad to hear the issue will be resolved soon.
 

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You can get the Bosch replacement anywhere and mostly just clock the back. Atwell is the only guy who likes those Valeo POS things. Ed's page is down, but I have the gist of it here:
 

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Alternator replacement procedure is here if you get the Bosch.
 

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I've done the bosch conversion and it was a definite improvement. Given the fact a backyard mechanic hack like me could successfully do the conversion it should be a piece of cake for any good professional mechanic. Just make sure the pullies are aligned properly as I found I needed to remove a spacer in order for them to line up. It's pretty obvious if you're paying attention but easy to miss if you're in a hurry.
 

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1987 Lotus Turbo Esprit HCI - Pearl white w/ Blue interior - No mods
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Bummer! But, good to hear you're on your way to getting back on course soon. Brave man, I was very close to driving mine back from Seattle to LA when I bought my Esprit, but the unknowns about the car made me decide against it. Good luck on the rest of your journey!
 

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‘83 Turbo Esprit
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Discussion Starter #20
OK latest update in this saga: alternator (Bosch) and pulley replacement fitted today. Also replaced a couple of fuses in the fusebox underneath the steering wheel. The alternator is now working fine, the battery is charging and my gauges are now working (apart from the fuel gauge, but this was a known issue).

However, about 20 minutes out of the garage, we heard a hissing noise when at lights - we fortunately were only a few feet from our hotel, so we pulled in and realised the coolant was leaking. After letting the engine cool, we refilled with 50/50 mix - it took 2 gallons to fill it up. We then drove the car the short distance to the car park. No more leaks to be found, so far.

In trying to work out what caused the coolant leak, we are not 100% sure but it is possible that the coolant reservoir cap was not double-clicked to lock it tight. Could this result in nearly 2 gallons being lost? The car had previously been driven 300+ miles and used virtually no coolant.

If anyone can recommend a good Lotus technician in the Las Vegas area, I would really, really appreciate their phone number. I'd like to get someone who knows what they're doing to check the car over before I go any further on this trip.

Many thanks,
James
 
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