Sport Exhaust & Sport Cats
Upgrading the V8 with Exhaust and Cats
Parts from PUK Esprit Racing, Installation by Morland Jones
The Sport 350 is the most powerful Esprit made (not including the GT1), but due to legislation it's not as powerful as it could be. Speaking to Lotus, the exhaust system restricts the power of the Esprit V8 so a new sport exhaust is a great way of getting some extra horses out of your V8.
V8 cats are notorious for breaking down and reducing performance. The core breaks down after constant heating and cooling, which can block the cats and fall into the exhaust, increasing back pressure in the exhaust system and reducing power. The cats are designed to take around 350bhp and any increases can reduce life expectance dramatically. So if you've increase power, high-flow cats should or will be on your shopping list. The high-flow cats don't have to meet any strict noise or emission tests that a production car must meet, so can easily improve performance and although expensive, should be where you start your performance upgrades.
Now this is fairly common knowledge, but with Sport 350 owner Ken Baird feeling that he's Sport 350 wasn't performing as well as an Audi V8 estate, then there must be an issue. The 350 is standard and now 10 years old, so making improvements on it's performance (or just getting it back to how it was) are simple. With the standard Lotus Sports exhaust and original cats on and reports on the Engine feeling stiff and unresponsive, first stop is helping it breathe better. PUK Esprit Racing do a nice looking V8 sports exhaust and some high-flow cats, which were ordered and delivered in a few days. Next was getting it all fitted. Morland Jones in London have worked on Ken's 350, so were called on to do the work.
Everything was set to help a standard Sport 350 breathe as it did and if not better than in 1999.
This is a job was done by a Lotus Specialist, but can be done yourself if competent.
You will need the following parts:
You will need the following tools:
The Sport 350 was dropped off a Morland Jones for fitting on the cats and exhaust. Standard Exhaust from Lotus isn't giving the full power possible and the cats are most likely to be suffering from internal deterioration.
New parts look and feel the part. Morland were impressed with the quality.
You can see from the pictures this exhaust has been on a while. Plenty of rust which could make doing it yourself difficult's. Many years ago we fitted a new exhaust and cat by-pass pipe to our SE and ended up angle grinding the exhaust off. Not fun!
Some closes ups of the state of the exhaust system. 10 years of heat and water normally makes things a little brown. The Esprit suffers more in the exhaust system as it's so close to the engine, which increase the heat build up. Also the piping not running the length of the car, as in front engine cars, decrease cooling.
The Exhaust and then Cats are removed. Your local Lotus Specialist will have an easier time due to having a lift!
Heat is used to make this easier to remove and fit. We wouldn't advise you do this at home. You can see enough Esprit fires on the Wrecked Esprit pages!
Here you can see the new high-flow cats against the standard Lotus cats. Not only better breathing, but lighter weight, only increasing the benefits.
New Oxygen Sensors (O2) were fitted. Usually the old one prove difficult to remove, plus at 10 years old it's probably time to replace them, especially with the system out! The new exhaust looks a lot better than the standard system and should also reduce weight.
The new bits go on!
You can see above the cats connected to the turbos. Also the new mounts to hold the system on.
New K&N filters replace the old standard Lotus versions. This is something that should be done when you first get a new car. Performance filters are worth the money, improve performance slightly, last the life of the car and are easy to fit. It's a no-brainer!
With the new system fitted and Esprit doesn't look any different (unless you look underneath). But it's in the driving that you'll notice it.
This is the first thing you should look at doing when modifying a car. Standard exhaust are restricted and made of cheap and heavy materials. Upgrading to a 'life of the car' stainless steel exhaust is the cheapest bang for your buck. Along with the sports cats and Air filters that's the breathing sorted out. We'd advise this sort of upgrade to every Esprit owner. More expensive on the V8 as the cats aren't cheap, but you'll be replacing them at some point if you keep the car long enough.
This guide isn't anything you probably don't know already, but gives you insight into what other owners are doing, so you can follow. This is a great starting upgrade for any V8 and we did the same on our SE years ago. If you haven't done it yet, what are you waiting for (oh yeah, maybe after the recession)
Ken tells his story:
The Sport 350 was fitted with original equipment Lotus cats and Sport Exhaust. Over the last year throttle response has been increasingly stiff and non-responsive (a common issue with the internal deterioration of cats.) The new free flow cats and lightweight exhaust plus K&N filters have greatly improved engine "breathing", at all rev ranges (especially higher up) the engine revs more freely and feels less restricted. Power delivery is smoother. Soundwise, the exhaust note is similar to Lotus sports exhaust - fruity..bassy but not too loud. The quality of the product and its finish are both excellent. Very pleased!
The Exhaust and High-flow cats are available and in stock (at time of publication, Oct 09) at PUK Esprit Racing (see site for current prices). Morland Jones are based in Hammersmith, London and can undertake any work on your Esprit. They also supplied the O2 sensors, air filters and exhaust brackets. Please mention Lotus Esprit World if you contact either of these Lotus Specialist.
This mod was performed by Ken Baird on his 1999 Sport 350
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