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1989 Lotus Esprit need help to ID missing parts

Jack Fox

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Hi, I'm Jack and I turned a moonlighting gig into a sole proprietorship in Indianapolis.  I have a friends car in my shop and we are ready to work on it (most of my customers are friends).

He knows little about it, mostly info about the big fight it took to get it from another shop. The owner had this 1989 Esprit SE and had restored the interior himself. I'll get interior pictures later. It's pretty nice. He learned how to sew, and bought some Japanese sewing machine for a certain stitch I believe, did it all himself!  Looks great. But were in the engine part of the forum, so I'll stay on the mechanical path.  So Owner 1 brings it to a place because of low power. He then dies. His friend gets the car in the will and goes to see about the car, and it told they need a new computer and want to charge $5000 for it. They found an ECU online for $200, and it's a rebuilt ACDelco unit. But the shop wanted a LOT of money to get it back even without replacing anything. And it doesn't seem like they did anything but maybe .7 FLH of work tearing the intake down. You can see their progress in the pictures. And when they were court ordered to give the car to Owner 2, who is my friend and friend of the deceased... just to be clear. They were NOT happy because they really wanted to go forward with a lien, because it's a nice car. I am making an allegation that the shop is being malicious at this point, in which I will not release the name of the shop. And I don't have their side of the story. So anyway, it gets towed to my place and it's missing lots of parts. I need help identifying what I am missing!


I know for sure the ECU prom chip, whatever the nomenclature is for Lotus. The memcal which I am uncertain of it's function but I heard it's expensive and it seems like a blue pinout adapter of some sort?  Injectors are gone. If he had low power I am guessing the turbo needs rebuilt. But I will get to compression testing later to verify the engine itself is healthy. But for now I need to track down what I need. So I think a nice combo would be (since the parts the shop decided to keep are not gonna be recovered) chip#5 from http://www.lotusespritworld.com/EGuides/EModifications/chip_reviewed.html    

The injectors:  http://www.wcengineering.com/esprit/fuelinj.html


What do you think of those?  Figured I don't need any race mode chip, no use going higher than chip 5, right?. Where can I get the memcal, or is it mencal? 

And finally, can you help me identify everything missing from the engine bay? 


-Jack Fox


engine bay 1.jpg

Engine bay 2.jpg

Engine bay 3.jpg

Engine bay 4.jpg




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Some of the engine bay items that are obviously missing:

Plenum cover
Chargecooler outlet hose
Chargecooler & one mounting bobbin
IAC valve
IAT sensor
Primary injectors
Secondary injectors
Fuel rail with FPR

The Memcal is unique to the Esprit and cannot be substituted by one from another GM ecu.

I would not bother putting an aftermarket chip in the vehicle until the original poor running issue is sorted out along with any other problems that get found along the way. If there is any serious concern about malicious behaviour I would not turn the engine over until each cylinder and inlet tract has has a borescope inspection. I would change the engine consumables too.


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Going to be a large box of missing parts somewhere. Hope the shop doesn't dump them on Ebay.  It might be worth a reasonable ransom attempt to get them back, especially the charge cooler, fuel rail and plenum cover.

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  • Gold FFM

As above, but I would also think that if the court has said the car has to be turned over (as it has) that includes any removed parts as well.

How did they determine the ECU was dead?

Also missing intake piece between the chargecooler and the plenum where the secondary injectors go.

If the chargecooler hoses are gone, I would have a look forward and above the oil filter to see if the chargecooler pump is still there. If it isn't, it's no biggie as you are better off getting an electric pump (which i finally did). Just means you have another hole in the engine to be aware of.

Put a bit of contact glue on the foam oval that seals under the bonnet to the air intake to secure it in place again. That is if it isn't deteriorated and falls apart easily.

All we know is that when they stop making this, we will be properly, properly sad.Jeremy Clarkson on the Esprit.

Opinions are like armpits. Everyone has them, some just stink more than others.

For forum issues, please contact one of the Moderators. (I'm not one of the elves anymore, but I'll leave the link here)

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  • 4 weeks later...

Wow you have a mess on your hands. Sailor did a great job calling out what's missing. I think you better get a letter from the judge or lawyer and march down to that shop and get the rest of those parts. I don't have an SE but maybe one of the members here could get you some pics of what's missing and how it should look.

As far as the ecu goes those prices are indicating to me that the shop was gouging the PO and may try giving you a hassle so be prepared. The most important piece that missing from the ecu is the eprom chip. That needs to be switched to any new, or re-manned, ecu you find. I got mine from a local Gm garage for $99. Swapped the chip over, and away I went.

Good Luck,


'89 Esprit, '77 Elite 503, '72 MGB, '95 XJ12, '10 Mini Cooper, '67 Imperial, '78 New Yorker, '76 Town & Country '73 Cessna 150

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  • 3 months later...

UPDATE!  I cannot find the plenum cover, chargecooler, or fuel rail.  This is not going to be something these people are wanting to invest thousands into since the guy at whatever shop stole a bunch of stuff.


Watch for it at brig a trailer auction site within the next 30 days probably.

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