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You need it, Your engine needs it. But do you know which one?

Lotus Esprit World has put together a short guide to the lubrication that the Esprit requires. Oil needs changing regularly, but do you know what you should be putting in your engine? Transmission, Coolant, Brakes and Clutch are also covered to make sure your Esprit gets the lubrication it needs. Remember to request the oil you want when getting your Esprit serviced.


Viscosity rating

Viscosity rating is made up of two numbers; the first, identified by a 'W' suffix is the winter (or low temperature) viscosity grade, and the second number the summer or high temperature viscosity grade. i.e. a 20W/50 oil performs like an SAE 20 oil at low temperature and an SAE 50 oil at high temperature.

Refill capacity

4 cylinder & V8 = 6.3 litres
Difference between high & low dipstick marks 4 cyl. = 0.85 litre, V8 = 1.0 litre

Lotus Esprit World recommend the following engine lubricants for 4 cylinder & V8 engines are used when changing oil, and where possible between services:

4 cylinder V8  
Castrol EDGE Sport 10W/60 Mobile One 5W/50 or 5W/30
Mobil One 15W/40 Castrol EDGE Sport 10W/60
Valvoline Racing Oil 20W/50 Elf Competition S 15W/50
Mobile One 15W/50    

Please remember to buy the correct viscosity rating, as this is important.

Synthetic, Semi or Mineral?
Lotus always recommend the Fully Synthetic for best protection. Semi Synthetic or Mineral oil can also be used. As the Esprit Engine can see high oil temperatures if driven hard Semi Synthetic & Mineral oils can deteriorate at a higher rate than the Fully Synthetic product. This could lead to increased oil consumption or reduced protection which can be overcome by more frequent oil changes.

There is nothing wrong with Mineral or Semi Synthetic lubricants – the Lotus Engine used them for years without any trouble. The important thing is that the correct grade is used. The introduction of Synthetic oils over the last 20 years has shown great benefits for engine lubrication.

Engines Running a Performance Chip
With the extra fuelling some of these chips run to increase performance, some unburnt fuel can end up in the oil. This reduce the oil's performance in protecting your engine. If you're running a chip we advise, as Lotus do, changing the oil at least every 3,000 miles to reduce the risk of wear on your engine parts.


Castrol Rebrand RS to EDGE
April 2006
Castrol have stopped producing RS and have a new oil called EDGE Sport. Lotus have just been in contact with Castrol UK Swindon, and spoken to their Technical Department regarding the Castrol Edge Branding, they confirmed that Castrol RS 10w/60 is the same as Castrol Edge 10w/60, there is an insignificant formula change, but is still recommended by Lotus.

Mobil Oil Update (23.02.2005)
Mobil 1 Extended Performace" @ 15W-50
Lotus have not been advised of this update in the Mobil 1 range yet. However they will investigate and advise. Knowing the way Mobil operate it will be an updated Mobil 1 so we expect it to be suitable for Lotus Engines. As soon as they get the official information Lotus should let LEW know. Keeping up with all the Lubrication updates world-wide is almost impossible. Most Oil Companies offer different Grades and have different marketing strategies for each country and sometimes have different identification names for the same product

Engine Oil @ Hanger 111
March 2005
Elise parts company Hanger 111 have on the shelf a number of 1 ltr bottles of the oil recommended in the Lubricant article (Castrol Formula RS 10w/60). If any Esprit owners are interested in these, they are priced at £ 8 per ltr while their stock lasts (normally around 9.99 per litre). There will be a small charge for shipping on top of this.

You won't find it on the website as it's not compatible with the Elise/Exige/340R kit Hanger 111 sell. It was basically in with a bulk purchase of new/unused bits and bobs they purchased. Their range is currently Elise, Exige and 340R, but with a new website due
shortly, they will be expanding to include Esprit, Elan (M100) and the Excel.

Email: sales@hangar111.com
Tel: 01473 636961
Web: www.hangar111.com


Lotus Esprit World recommend only the following transmission lubricants for Renault and Citreon transmissions:

Castrol TAF-X 75W/90  

Capacity: 3.0 litre

The introduction of the Renault Transmission on the Esprit to replace the Citroen Transaxle (Type C35) was a major exercise. The project started using the Renault specified Elf TRX lubricant. Following some durability testing it was found that this lubricant was not suitable for the Esprit application. Following discussions between Renault Engineering and Lotus it was decided to revise the lubrication to a specification that Renault were evaluating.

This product was produced by Mobil and was designated as Mobil 630M. The gearbox testing (including things like cold shift quality and operating temperature control) continued using Mobil 630M. The vehicle testing was to a programme that met both Renault & Lotus durability requirements using both test circuits (Nardo & Millbrook) and European Roads (Mainly Germany & Switzerland).Many Vehicles & Gearboxes were subjected to the durability cycle and complete Gearbox strip & inspection was carried out by both Renault & Lotus Engineers.

Only after the Renault identified durability had been completed was the Gearbox approval given provided that the Gearboxes were filled with Mobil 630M. At this time the Gearbox was identified as the Renault UN1 - 16. The Mobil lubricant was specified for a number of years until we were advised that it was being phased out and would eventually disappear from the market place. Some Mobil 630 lubricants still exist but unless it is identified as 630M it is different to that approved by Lotus.

During the life of the Esprit the vehicle specification was updated several times. This led to changes to the Transmission (to cope with the increased Engine Torque) developed by Renault for the Esprit application (High Torque known as UN1 - 026). During the development of the High Torque Transmission different lubricants were tested to ensure reliability with the increased vehicle performance. The most successful lubricant for all round performance and durability was found to be Castrol TAF - X. This lubricant was specified for all Lotus Esprit Renault Transmission applications

Many lubricants may offer benefits of some sort (shift quality, cold operation, noise etc.) but the Castrol has been extensively tested by Lotus and found to be our preferred lubricant. All the comments on the net about Lotus making the lubricant choice on things like cost, company connections etc. are incorrect. The lubricant specification was made on Technical Merit only. The Castrol TAF - X met all of our requirements for our increased engine performance (including the V 8).

The Gearbox identification is currently Renault UN1 - 027 for the Esprit V8 and Renault UN1- 028 for the Esprit GT3. Castrol TAF - X is available from Lotus under the Part No. A082F6552S. This statement reinforces the words of Dave Simkin of Lotus Cars USA following an enquiry on lubrication specification.

Lotus Cars Ltd

Power Steering

Lotus Esprit World recommend the following lubricants for power steering systems:

Automatic Transmission Fluid/Power Steering Fluid: Type Dexron II.

Brake Hydraulic Systems

Non-mineral type hydraulic fluid meeting DOT4 ONLY

Capacity: 3 litre
Fluid change interval: 12 months

Lotus Esprit World recommend the following lubricants for brakes and clutch hydraulic systems:

Castrol Super Response DOT 4  


Clutch Hydraulic Systems

Non-mineral type hydraulic fluid meeting DOT3 or DOT 4

Capacity: 0.5 litre

Lotus Esprit World recommend the following lubricants for brakes and clutch hydraulic systems:

Castrol Super Response DOT 4  



Anti-Freeze Coolent

Concentration requirements: min: 25%; max: 50% recommended: 30%

Additive quantity required @ 30% concentration – 4 cyl. = 7.2 litre – V8 = 4.5 litre

Lotus Esprit World recommend the following coolent for the Esprit system:

Castrol Antifreeze    
Shellsafe Plus    

Do not mix the above coolants

Front Hubs

Lubricant Type: Lithium complex wheel bearing grease

Consistency: NLGI No.2

Lotus Esprit World recommend the following bearing grease for the front hubs:


10% OFF for


the normal selling price on

products including Castrol EDGE Sport
Lotus recommended for the Esprit

EDGE Sport 10w/60, Mobil One 15w50, Castrol Taf-x, Castrol Tq dexron II, Castrol Performance brake fluid & Castrol anti freeze


Oil info for Older Engines

There have been some concern about the use of synthetic oils in older Esprit engines, in that they have been attributed to causing low engine oil pressure when hot. We would like to clarify the situation. To this end, we have contacted Castrol (UK) Ltd. for their advice and this is their response:

Oil pressure is directly related to viscosity and it is therefore not the difference between synthetic and non-synthetic oils that causes the difference in pressure, more the fact that modern synthetic oils are of a lower viscosity than the A series engine was originally designed for. Modern, new generation, engines are being designed to run on lighter viscosity oils to aid lubricant flow when cold and provide less viscous drag when hot thereby aiding fuel economy. The lubrication system in older engines is designed to cater for larger working clearances on crankshaft and camshaft bearing journals, valve gear and other moving parts, plus oil galleries will be larger and the oil pump will be of a suitable design to pump oils of a heavier viscosity irrespective of their base oil type.

Synthetic oils are designed to give greater film strength and higher levels of lubricity together with increased thermal stability and better resistance to oxidation. They are also able to maintain their properties when used under arduous or extreme conditions. These special properties also enable lighter viscosity, energy efficient oils to be used whilst offering an enhanced level of protection and performance. Whilst the lower viscosity of some synthetic oils may lead to reduced oil pressure, it does not necessarily mean reduced protection. However, owners who are nervous of a reduction in pressure should consider using Castrol Formula RS 10W-60 which will give rapid circulation when cold but will retain a substantial viscosity when up to its full working temperature.

We would like to thank Castrol (UK) Ltd. for their kind assistance.


Feel free to e-mail me with your opinion on this guide. admin@lotusespritworld.com

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