The Lotus Cars Community banner
1 - 20 of 25 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
74 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've heard nothing but good things about Royal Purple? Thoughts or something better? Also would you use any additives when changing the oil and do any esprit owners ever use any fuel treatments ? If so how often? Thanks
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,542 Posts
Mobil 1 is what is recommended for the motor and no one has had any problems with it. If you have noisy lifters (in the V-8) you might want to use a can of flush just before you change your oil. My car would make a LOT of noise for a while till it got really hot. It took flushing it twice before 2 oil changes and now it is quiet even when cold. Techron is good to use once in a while in the fuel to clean the fuel injectors but you should not have to use it often. Modern fuel has cleaners already in it but for them to work you have to use the car regularly. For the transmission use Redline MT-90. It doesn't have to be changed often but you do need to make sure the level is kept up. You should not need any additives for the cooling system. The coolant should be checked annually for strength and PH and replaced every 5 years. The brake and clutch hydraulics should be flushed and filled with fresh fluid annually with Castrol DOT 4.
David Teitelbaum
 

·
Wingless Wonder
1988 Esprit Turbo
Joined
·
6,318 Posts
The oil requirements are somewhat different between 4 cylinder cars and V8s. EG, the older flat-tappet 4-cyl engines can benefit from a ZDDP additive now that modern SN oils don't contain as much as needed.

@Mtschebaum, you should state your model and year Esprit in your signature...makes it easier to give you the proper advice!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,542 Posts
In a post in another thread it mentions he has an '04 which would mean he has the V-8. It would be better if he put the car type in his header though. Yes, the 4 cyl cars should use a ZDDP additive BUT. From experience it seems if you have an older motor that was broken in on the older oils with the higher levels of ZDDP the metal gets "conditioned" and you can be OK on oil now with lower levels. Whatever you do you need to be aware levels of too much ZDDP can be bad. That means if you use a racing oil or an oil meant for diesels with high levels of ZDDP already in it, adding more can be bad.
David Teitelbaum
 

·
Wingless Wonder
1988 Esprit Turbo
Joined
·
6,318 Posts
^^ David is absolutely correct. Myself, I've only used the ZDDP additive once since SN oils came out (5 years).

GM debunks ZDDP myths for flat tappet cams| Bob Is The Oil Guy

Anyway, I'm sure you can find a good oil for the V8 engine.

Brand is not as important as characteristics. Read BobistheOilGuy.com for oil analysis.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
536 Posts
The 918 might be the newest Esprit engine, but it was still an old-school, flat-tappet design. That, and the engine's general metallurgy and design make it an engine that requires more ZDDP rather than less.

And like every Lotus engine prior to the current Toyotas, the main and rod bearings have wide clearances. They depend upon a high viscosity oil, and an oil pump that delivers high flow volume at modest pressure.

Mandated requirements are driving modern engines toward higher efficiency, which puts more emphasis on thinner, low viscosity oils which force tighter bearing clearances and high oil pressures at modest flow rates. The opposite of the Lotus bearing designs.

The thin, low viscosity oils that work in your modern daily driver are not right for your vintage Lotus... including all models of the Esprit.

Around 2005 (??) Lotus issued a letter (not a TSB) recommending oils for the recent-old models, including the eary Elise/ Exige, 9XX 4-cylinders, and 918 V8. The 9XX & V8 were lumped together under one recommendation.

They wrote:
"In all cases, the oil quality grades which should be met are either European standard ACEA A3, American standard API SL/CF, SJ/CF, or international standard ILSAC GF-3. Check that this is printed on the oil container."

SG, SH, and SJ are older API ratings from the days of higher ZDDP levels. Oils that claim to meet one or more of those ratings would be worth considering for use in a vintage flat-tappet cam engine.

And Lotus recommended just two specific oils:
" Lotus specifically recommends Mobil 1 Motorsport 15W/50, and Castrol Formula RS 10W/60."

Neither of which are still in production, but their mention gives a clue as to Lotus' prefered viscosities.

The Castrol oil has morphed several times, taking a slightly different name each time. The last time I checked, it was "Castrol TWS Motorsport SAE 10W-60 Synthetic Engine Oil". Even if the name has changed again since then, the BMW house-brand oil that is required for their M-series engines is a private label copy of that Castrol oil. You can buy it at your local BMW dealership.

Mobil 1 Motorsport 15W/50 is out of production, and anything with 'Motorsport' in the name now is NOT the same stuff. The current regular Mobil 1 15W50 (in North America) contains 1200ppm Phosphorus (the anti-wear element you should care about), and 1300ppm zinc (it just goes along for the ride). IMHO, 1200 Phos is the minimum that should be targeted for any Esprit (Europa, Elan, Elite, Seven) after the engine has been broken in on a higher ZDDP oil.

Mobil 1 0W50 Racing Oil, and Mobil 1 20W50 V-Twin Motorcycle Oil are both high ZDDP synthetics in Lotus' recommended viscosity range. The motorcycle oil is the same old Mobil 1 20W50 Lotus recommended back in the day, but it contains more ZDDP than the API allows now, so it can't be certified as an automotive oil. So Mobil 1 just re-branded it as a motorcycle oil. It's the same great stuff, and Lotus engines do quite well on it.

The same applies to Amsoil, Brad-Penn, Redline, Valvoline VR1, etc... high ZDDP oils that are not API certified, but are very good for vintage Lotus engines.

A true racing oil is meant to be changed after every event, and doesn't contain the street additive package. As such, it should be changed every 500 miles or 3 months, whichever comes first. The Mobil 1 Racing Oil (and Valvoline VR1 Racing Oil) contain a full street additive package, and support a normal street oil change interval.

.Phos. / Zinc Current motor oils with high ZDDP levels:
2400p / 2500z Redline Racing Motor Oils (typical, “all have a min. of 2200 ppm Phos”)
2100p / 2500z Redline Motorcycle Oils
1750p / 1850z Mobil 1 0W-50 Racing Oil (street additive package).
1600p / 1700z Mobil 1 20W-50 -- old, discontinued, now called…
Mobil 1 20W-50 V-Twin Motorcycle Oil (same good stuff)
1600p / 1700z Classic Car Motor Oil -- Classic Car Motor Oil

API SF, 1980-88, permitted highest ZDDP levels ever API-specifed, (1200-1500ppm phosphorus)

1400p / 1500z Brad Penn®, Penn Grade 1 Hi-Perf Oils
1300p / 1400z Valvoline VR1 Racing Oil (mineral oil), API SF/CD.
1266p / 1379z Amsoil HDD Series 3000 Synthetic 5W-30, combined Diesel / Gasoline.
1266p / 1379z Amsoil ARO 20W-50 Synthetic, for API SL/ CI-4 Plus
1265p / 1378z Amsoil AMO 10W-40 Synthetic, for API SL/ CI-4 Plus
1235p / 1370z Amsoil TRO 20W-*50 Synthetic Racing Oil, gasoline hotrod, race, big cam

1200p / 1300z Mobil 1 15W-50 (current North American retail)

API SN “allows” but does not mandate 1200p / 1300z for SAE 40 and heavier oils. Many of those SAE 40 and over oils contain only 1000p, and nothing on the label identifies them.

Regards,
Tim Engel
Lotus Owners Oftha North (LOON)
 

·
Indeterminate
Joined
·
162 Posts
Great write up Esprit2. I have found that even the regular Mobil 1 15W-50 is getting harder to find. I used to get it at the local Advance Auto, but they never have it anylonger. I've resorted to sourcing it off eBay.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
536 Posts
? Strange. I have no trouble finding Mobil 1 15W50 it in auto parts stores near me.

Regards,
Tim Engel
Lotus Owners Oftha North (LOON)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
536 Posts
GM debunks ZDDP myths for flat tappet cams
Interesting. GM was a major force behind API SE (1000ppm phosphorus), and used it from 1971-1980. However cam/ tappet wear protection proved inadequate, resulting in excessive/ expensive warranty claim rates for GM. This was a major motivation for SF, and again, GM was a major 'push' behind SF.

1980-88 -- API SF increased phosphorus content to 0.12% to 0.15% (1200-1500ppm)... the highest level ever approved by the API.

So, now again, it's GM 'debunking the myth' that low ZDDP oils are not safe for vintage engines. I find that curious. Short memories, or ulterior motives... one or the other.

I was in the oil business back then (4 1/2 years as a Lubrication Engineer at Texaco), and I remember the flap over GM's engine failures. On the side/ on the down-low, Texaco advised fleet and private owners of GM engines to use other oils in their product line that had higher ZDDP levels.

Regards,
Tim Engel
Lotus Owners Oftha North (LOON)
 

·
Indeterminate
Joined
·
162 Posts
? Strange. I have no trouble finding Mobil 1 15W50 it in auto parts stores near me.

Regards,
Tim Engel
Lotus Owners Oftha North (LOON)
Strange indeed. Last time I was looking I couldnt find it anywhere locally and my AA said they didnt stock it anymore so I ended up getting several cases from eBay.
Checked today and sure enough there it is on the shelf in Advance Auto again. Go figure.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
536 Posts
Which oil would you go with between the Mobil 1 15-50 or the vtwin Mobil 1 20-50?
I use the 20W50 V-Twin Motorcycle oil during the driving season. By the time it gets cold enough outside that the 20W part is marginal, most Lotus cars are in Winter storage. And when it is too cold for 20W, 15W isn't better by a large enough margin to make a difference.

I live where Winters are 'cold', and I don't have a heated garage. So I usually change to a 5W50 or 0W50 just before putting the car away for the Winter. That way, if something happens during the Winter that forces me to move the car, the engine turns over without a problem.

When the driving season resumes in the Spring, but mornings are still cold, the 0W / 5W oil is adequate for street driving. But switch back to the 20W50 V-Twin before getting into any spirited driving, track days, or motorsports.

Unless you use Mobil 1 0W50 Racing Oil, which is easy starting on cold mornings, 50 wt when the engine is up to temp, Hi-ZDDP to protect your engine, and has a full street additive package. A true multi-season performance oil.

Regards,
Tim Engel
 

·
My car sneezes
Joined
·
659 Posts
The answer to the question of best motor oil is right next to the question of what's the best religion. Like others have said, as long as it has decent ZDDP content, you'll be ok.

I personally drank the Kool-Aid and like Red line fluids
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
625 Posts
Magnets

Tim, thanks for an excellent discussion of oil. The comments about racing oil or diesel are spot on. I've been called a mad scientist when I've told others about adding a quart of the diesel oil in a gas engine. I run an F2000 in the SCCA, so I've been studying oil for years.....and running a FilterMag on the outside of the oil filter. I'm new to my '97. A question.......the 918 is all aluminum I read......even the bearings are aluminum?......doubt that.....so I guess the use of a FilterMag on my '97 Esprit might be accomplishing something or am I wrong?.....a Mobil 1 oil filter of course.....but would the magnet on the outside of the filter really end up holding much that the filter had not stopped because it was ferric? It won't hurt of course......but the magnet on the Ford 2000 engine is a nice extra touch......sawing it open showed it did stop something.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,542 Posts
The idea of using a magnet to capture ferrous metal circulating in the oil is a great idea but it has to be done properly. Sticking a magnet on the side of an oil filter is not the best way. First of all the case of the filter is steel and will absorb most of the magnetic field preventing it from penetrating into the filter. Secondly the oil is flowing quickly inside the filter so even if you do manage to trap some, the rest will get washed away by the flow. The place to put a magnet is in the pan where the oil is not as turbulent. Either a magnet in the pan or a magnet on the drain plug. The filter is supposed to trap even ferrous particles of a certain size. While it is true smaller ones will get past the filter, they are so small as to not be of concern. The amount of ferrous particles is rather small anyway. You will always see a larger portion of the suspended solids being non-ferrous, mostly from the bearings. When you start to see a lot of ferrous particles in the oil, failure is imminent. Like most items being peddled, if they worked as good as they claim, the manufacturers of the motors would use them. How come you don't see oil filters being sold with magnets inside? If you are concerned about the particle load in your oil just change it frequently and/or have an oil analysis done regularly.
David Teitelbaum
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
913 Posts
I agree with what David said, I always change all the fluids and tune up components when I buy a used vehicle, and the only vehicle (dare I say this) I have ever had a catastrophic internal engine failure with was a Saab 900 Turbo convertible, when I bought it there was alot of ferrous metal particles in the pan of the used oil, it didnt go much longer til a replacement engine was needed. I always am super inquisitive about what comes out in the change pan of everything I replace the oil in.

Of course there was this Briggs and Stratton Pressure washer I had that I completely neglected and never changed the oil or checked it. You know that thing seized in the cylinder. A guy I know swears by Marvel Mys. Oil and he is a B n G guru, he said soak it overnight, I did, then I had to take the cylinder head off and tap the piston free, it came free rather easily, and that thing ran for three more years til the pump went out on it. I have since used MMO a few times.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,230 Posts
Dang, wish I had seen this thread before I just did my last oil change on the 2003 V8. Used Mobil-1 5w50 as specified in the Esprit owner's manual, and which I went out of my way to find because it's not available locally.

Don't think she will automatically self destruct any time soon (per Mobil spec sheet their 5w50 is 1000/1100ppm Phosphorous/Zinc content ) but I will probably accelerate the next change and switch to Mobil-1 15w50 for the higher 1200/1300ppm P/Zn content as a hedge against engine wear.

In the meantime might even give one of these a try (note: the Hy-Lube is a non-Zinc alternative):



Would be tempted to use Mobil-1 20w50 V-Twin Motorcycle oil (i.e. the rebranded older 20w50 Motorsport) but am hesitant in exposing the cats to excessive P/Zn levels. Plus it falls outside Lotus recommendation of <=15w as the max for cold weather viscosity. So 15w50 seems to be a reasonable middle road approach.

Maintenance records that came with my Esprit indicated she was previously serviced with Brad Penn oil which has the higher P/Zn levels, guess now I know why.

Ordered a Blackstone test kit, which I'll submit a sample from the recent oil change to get a baseline. Thanks to all for the great discussion and information. Any updates or other viewpoints are encouraged.

Also does anyone have a link to the Lotus TSB (~2004 or 2005?) concerning their updated oil recommendations?
 

·
Registered
2001 V8
Joined
·
7 Posts
Dang, wish I had seen this thread before I just did my last oil change on the 2003 V8. Used Mobil-1 5w50 as specified in the Esprit owner's manual, and which I went out of my way to find because it's not available locally.

Don't think she will automatically self destruct any time soon (per Mobil spec sheet their 5w50 is 1000/1100ppm Phosphorous/Zinc content ) but I will probably accelerate the next change and switch to Mobil-1 15w50 for the higher 1200/1300ppm P/Zn content as a hedge against engine wear.

In the meantime might even give one of these a try (note: the Hy-Lube is a non-Zinc alternative):



Would be tempted to use Mobil-1 20w50 V-Twin Motorcycle oil (i.e. the rebranded older 20w50 Motorsport) but am hesitant in exposing the cats to excessive P/Zn levels. Plus it falls outside Lotus recommendation of <=15w as the max for cold weather viscosity. So 15w50 seems to be a reasonable middle road approach.

Maintenance records that came with my Esprit indicated she was previously serviced with Brad Penn oil which has the higher P/Zn levels, guess now I know why.

Ordered a Blackstone test kit, which I'll submit a sample from the recent oil change to get a baseline. Thanks to all for the great discussion and information. Any updates or other viewpoints are encouraged.

Also does anyone have a link to the Lotus TSB (~2004 or 2005?) concerning their updated oil recommendations?
Just for the record, I use Motul 5w40 8100 x-cess in my v8 tt, I order from Amazon and keep in stock in the garage. It has all the properties needed in these engines. Food for thought
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,542 Posts
I would not be overly concerned about the ZDDP content in the oil. Prevailing wisdom is that once you have broken in the motor on a ZDDP rich oil, it is not as important in subsequent oil changes. Adding supplemental ZDDP can result in too much or not enough, you really should know what it is before you add so you add just the right amount. Since most of us are not chemists, you should refrain from mixing additives. Too much of a good thing is not good. If the manufacturers do not endorse additives, that should tell you something. If you feel the need to use a ZDDP rich oil then just buy it like the "off road", racing, or motorcycle oils.
David Teitelbaum
 
1 - 20 of 25 Posts
Top