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Integrator
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2,713 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
1988 was a first year of the Stevens body Esprit.

X180 was a transitional platform from G/HCI to SE.
Depending on the date of build, your car may have elements of the later vehicles warranting implementing some "improvements".

For example, my car has a 89' wiring loom with several unused connectors.
One of them, neatly taped to other wires, happens to be a windscreen washer fluid level sensor connector. Also, there is an appropriate tell-tale (5-th from the left, left bank). No sensor, though.

I bought a Land Rover LR3, LR4/ Rover Sport sensor, PN# DMI500010, drilled 24mm hole in the bottle, and here is my improvement du jour.
 

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Super Moderator
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My 88 has the same harness as your pictures.

I also bought the sensor off eBay ($10 including shipping) - seems like a nice easy mod :clap:

And I discovered why my windshield washer doesn't work - the wires broke on the pump :facepalm
 

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Integrator
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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
Great!
Another set of empty connectors: front boot has a double-row flat connector (pass side under the black cover where main power relays live), and both doors have pig tails with small square connectors.
And, they are...Central Door Locking system wiring.

You need to buy the Kiekert module and two actuators w/brackets to complete the system.
Note: OE driver door actuator has no motor inside;it is merely a switch(?).
To have a "full" system, you'll need to buy an extra pass side actuator and wire it into
fob receiver/processor.
 

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Integrator
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Discussion Starter #4
X180 LIGHTS, LENSES AND COLOR MANAGEMENT.

A great friend of mine, Bill Mullaly, Chef Design GM Cadillac Studio, used to emphasize the importance of color harmony within the silhouette of the vehicle. "Cool car should not have more than 2 contrasting colors in any plane/view", he used to say.

Well...
I took many pictures of my car and went to work.
First, I painted the outside handles in body colour. They blended well. Also, I was considering the 99-02 Mercury Cougar handle and "shaved of" mod, but I went the easy way.

Next, I decided to find a replacement for the incongruous "psychedelic picket fence" OE tail lights.
My car is red, so I searched for a red stripe with horizontal layers theme. I found parts at some obscure Japanese breakers yard. With the help of variety of rotary cutting/grinding tools and copious amounts of tetrahydrofuran, I arrived at the current "layered" look.

Then, I started rearranging the front end in Photoshop. For a while, I thought I will be able to get away with yellow/amber lenses, but in the real life, they did not look "uniform" adding 3-rd colour to the mix. Red and clear/white was the answer.
The fog lights were replaced with fluted glass E-36 BMW parts w/H4 bulbs.
Markers were left for last. They are particularly troublesome, because of their recessed position, which also acts like an air brake.
To improve the air flow over the bumper, the marker lens should be flush with its face.
Back to cutting plastic!

Here is my current project objective: make two clear plastic lenses using one Ford Econoline van headlight as a donor.
 

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Integrator
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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
First cut off the Lexan lens with a Dremmel and a diamond disc.

Next, cover both sides with some wide transparent packing tape to protect the surfaces against scratching.

Trace the opening onto a piece of paper and make a cardboard template, which should fit snugly into the bumper opening. Use a sheet of Emery paper to adjust the sidelines (or rough surface of your driveway).
NOTE: although the opening looks symmetrical-the inboard and outboard verticals are different (due to the fascia side slope and die draft). Mark the coordinates on the template ("up", "inboard" and "pass" on one side). Fit the same template to the other side opening, but flip it 180 degrees about the vertical axis. UP is common, but now, you need to mark this side of the template w/"inboard" and "driver"

Now, you can trace the contour of the template onto the lens, which should be covered with strips of masking tape. Packing tape does not take pen marks. This is your "original" perimeter line.

Before you cut your lens to size, mark the screw hole locations and decide on the sealing method. If you have a steady hand, you may lay a bead of silicone upon the final fitting. In this case you can cut out your lens without any adjustments to the "original" perimeter line.

I've chosen a "gasket" method, I.E. continuous translucent 3mm ID silicone hose cut in half, draped around the edges of the plastic, eBay item number:291156018752.
In this scenario, you have to compensate for the hose wall thickness (0.8mm). You have to add a line 0.5- 0.8mm inboard of your original trace line. THIS is your cut line. Use a scroll saw and a new blade for this job.

Always remember that left and right lens contour is different (mirror image about vertical axis). Mark them up adequately.

P.S. Make two templates, LH&RH, and adjust the shape of vertical sides individually. The marker cavities in the bumper are similar, but not identical! Found it the hard way.
 

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PS...the door serving as the "switch" is used in the 308 too. Always drove me crazy.

But at least you have one door.......Im shocked that I have nothing for my 87. Any recommendations on the actuators you would use for an 87? (this is something that I never have done)
 

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Wingless Wonder
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Any recommendations on the actuators you would use for an 87?
Use the OE actuators:

That's where you lean over and unlock the passenger side door while sitting in the driver's seat. :D


If you are walking up to the locked car, accompanied by a passenger, unlock his or her door FIRST.

:up:




:popcorn:
 

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Cal H
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982 Posts
Use the OE actuators:

That's where you lean over and unlock the passenger side door while sitting in the driver's seat. :D


If you are walking up to the locked car, accompanied by a passenger, unlock his or her door FIRST.

:up:
:popcorn:
If it is a good looking female in a skirt, you best open the door and hold it for her while standing parallel with the door hinge for an interesting view.
 

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Integrator
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2,713 Posts
Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
First lens almost done.

Final fitting and drilling holes, next.

I dry-fitted the lens into the bumper opening using short sections of the silicone hose draped over the edges. If you were right in your measurements, the lens should fit snugly in the opening and flush (well..., almost flush) with the front of the bumper. Get some silicone hose (3mm ID) in color of your body, cut it lengthwise and drape it over the edge. This is your weather-seal.
Depending on the hose wall thickness, small adjustments to the lens perimeter are required. To achieve perfectly straight lines I used rough surface of my concrete driveway (equivalent of 100 grit paper).

Projecting the screw holes onto the lens is tedious and PITA, but I make it easy for you. They are 43mm up, measured from the bottom of your original perimeter line (not the "adjusted" inboard line!). The inboard hole is located 22mm from the "original" (!) vertical line/wall, BUT outboard hole is only 20mm. (Remember? The "adjusted" line should be inboard of the "original" perimeter line and the distance=wall thickness of your hose/weatherstrip).

Word about screws: You'll need longer screws; use stainless sheet metal screws, 1-1/2" long (you may need to shorten them to 35-38mm), size #6, Phillips or truss head (as small as possible);
FYI: best assortment of stainless fasteners you can find here: Hex Nut - Carriage Bolt - Brass Fasteners - Fastener Supply - Threaded Inserts | Albany County Fasteners

Pay attention to the lens fit in the corners - if not exact, they may not seal properly and allow water ingress.
 

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Integrator
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Discussion Starter #11
If it is a good looking female in a skirt, you best open the door and hold it for her while standing parallel with the door hinge for an interesting view.
You could get a better view if you'd implement door swing-open mod. It allows you to open the door ~1 foot wider.

Just elongate the slots in the door check strap and weld new end to it.
 

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A great friend of mine, Bill Mullaly, Chef Design GM Cadillac Studio, used to emphasize the importance of color harmony within the silhouette of the vehicle. "Cool car should not have more than 2 contrasting colors in any plane/view", he used to say.

Well...
I took many pictures of my car and went to work.
First, I painted the outside handles in body colour. They blended well. Also, I was considering the 99-02 Mercury Cougar handle and "shaved of" mod, but I went the easy way.

Next, I decided to find a replacement for the incongruous "psychedelic picket fence" OE tail lights.
My car is red, so I searched for a red stripe with horizontal layers theme. I found parts at some obscure Japanese breakers yard. With the help of variety of rotary cutting/grinding tools and copious amounts of tetrahydrofuran, I arrived at the current "layered" look.

Then, I started rearranging the front end in Photoshop. For a while, I thought I will be able to get away with yellow/amber lenses, but in the real life, they did not look "uniform" adding 3-rd colour to the mix. Red and clear/white was the answer.
The fog lights were replaced with fluted glass E-36 BMW parts w/H4 bulbs.
Markers were left for last. They are particularly troublesome, because of their recessed position, which also acts like an air brake.
To improve the air flow over the bumper, the marker lens should be flush with its face.
Back to cutting plastic!

Here is my current project objective: make two clear plastic lenses using one Ford Econoline van headlight as a donor.
I would like to buy your old front lenses as I just bought Artb's black esprit from Randy and need lenses asap as the blacked out ones are not legal here in GA. :) PM sent !!!!
 

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Integrator
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Discussion Starter #13
Light pods need drainage holes.

If you drive in the rain with lights ON, some water gets inside and accumulates at the bottom of the pods. When lights retract, all the water gets dumped onto the back of headlights, which may crack.

Solution: drill two 1/4" holes per pod. You'll need a small 90 degrees drill motr and short (2-2.5") drill bit. Spray paint the hole area not to leave any raw fiberglass exposed to water/moisture.
 

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Super Moderator
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My 88 had what appear to be factory drain holes - but they get clogged with debris easily and can hold water.

First time this happened, it was a sunny day and I hit a pothole while turning left - a HUGE spray of water hit my windshield and I didn't know where it originated. The passenger pod has like 30% full and sloshed on the windshield at speed:facepalm

Turn on the lights and (carefully due to paint scratching) use a wire coat hanger to clean the drain holes.
 

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Wingless Wonder
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5,503 Posts
Turn on the lights and (carefully due to paint scratching) use a wire coat hanger to clean the drain holes.
WIRE? OMG -eek-

A long, fat cable tie works better and is less likely to scratch.

Oh and if the headlight buckets are full of water, you would be best advised to unplug the headlamp motor and crank it up manually. Don't want to see sparks fly...



:panic:
 

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Integrator
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Discussion Starter #17 (Edited)
Some Lotus Brothers asked about the fog lights replacement.

I found that E-36 BMW lights fit well and even have the right radius at the bottom.
Now, I have white fluted lenses (glass), but I did amber lights first, the same donor= E36 BMW. You have to chop inboard part of BMW mounting brackets and cut holes in the bracket behind the fog light.
I attached them trough the bottom with two M6 Allen socket screws from below and 2 J-Nuts mounted on the light brackets. Used a strip of closed cell foam between the bracket and the body. Important: drill holes in the front fascia/bumper first. You have to aim the lights properly BEFORE you drill the holes in the light bracket. There is no further adjustment (OE adjustment has to be chopped off to fit the light between outboard wall and "U" shaped filler panel).
Patience, precision and tiny 90 degree drill motor required.
 

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Integrator
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Discussion Starter #18
WATER LEAKS

Huge fuel filler flap hinge gaps are the primary water intrusion paths contributing to the tank rust/deterioration. The gaps can be easily sealed off with “Silka-flex” rubberized caulk. Water deflector ("P" seal weatherstrip) should be added above the hinge opening.
 

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Integrator
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Discussion Starter #19 (Edited)
ADD "EASE OF ASSEMBLY"

Except Lightness our cars need ease of assembly, too.
Bolts with loose washers and no anti-corrosion protection deserve to be replaced with modern automotive screws with captive washers and decent phosphate coating.
They are plentiful on ebay; the key word is "SEMS" bolts.

Bullet or dog point screws are easier to start in tight places.
 

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Integrator
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Discussion Starter #20 (Edited)
COIL BOX COOLING

Coil (hot) box is a closed area. Ignition coil gets hot and its efficiency drops.
Drill series of small holes at the top of the cover lid, add a small high flow (50mm, 0.24-0.3A), (avoid anything below 0.24A),
computer fan to solve the problem. Before drilling check for interference with relays below.
Fan is activated by the ignition switch feed.
 

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