Bringing my First Lotus Back to Life - LotusTalk - The Lotus Cars Community

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post #1 of 19 (permalink) Old 04-21-2017, 05:47 AM Thread Starter
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Bringing my First Lotus Back to Life

Hey Everyone!

I have been lurking around the forums for a couple weeks now, gathering all the information I need to get my new toy back on the road and the track. It was only a matter or time before I needed to start a build log.

A little background info on the car. I picked up this little guy sometime mid march for a steal, I couldn't pass it up. The 2005 Lotus Elise Federal S2 with 43k miles was in a non moving collision. Apparently, a guy with a lifted truck backed up onto it and was instructed by the officer on site to pull forward... Could have jacked the truck up a bit and carefully moved the lotus from underneath. Sadly, that wasn't the case and the front clam, passenger headlight, wind shield, radiator, and the radiator support shroud took the punishment.

Since this is my first Lotus build, I started with just checking out all of the bits and pieces that were attached to the car and the broken parts pile and evaluated their condition. I quickly figured out what I needed to tackle and started reading a lot on LT Forums.
The Good News! The damage is all cosmetic, the crash bar is untouched, and everything can be fixed or replaced. This process has been started and I'm here to share!

Current Status of the Car:

I ordered a brand new Koyo all aluminium radiator to mate back to the A/C evaporator and its fans. Mounted them together and wrapped them back in the plastic it came in until later.

Lurking around in the for sale section, I got a smashing deal on some used headlight assemblies that, I could clean up and transplant them to my housings. A 3M Polishing kit and 3-4 hours per headlight got them looking like new again. Really excited how these came out. One of the used assemblies had its mounts all broken off, but I'm swapping the lens over to my good headlight mounts, no worries. Some careful heating and prying I got them separated without much fuss. Whip out the Silicone and clamps and get her back together. Headlights done.

Stuff still to come!

LotusHardTops in the UK is supplying me with a new front clam and a new radiator shroud. Placed my order about 11 days ago, and both items should be ready for shipment any time now. For me this was the cheapest option when shopping around. I also requested for a front seam delete and red gel coat. Jon Seal from LHT has been so awesome and helpful in this whole process.

The wind shield was a little bit harder to locate here in the USA. Safelite told me they wouldn't touch the lotus and I would have to look else where. I called my local glass supplier Dannys auto glass and mirror here in VA in Hampton. At first they couldn't do it either! I didn't want to import my own glass and possibly have to install it myself.... To my surprise I got the most helpful lady there dedicated to find me one here in the USA. Finally found one, not cheap, but my only option. Saved a little bit on labor, front clam, roof, and wiper already removed. The item should have arrived at their local warehouse yesterday and should be coming to the house in the next couple days for install.

Ordered a new Optima red top battery 35. Tracking number says it will arrive tomorrow.

Automatic door locks dont seem to be working and I have already removed the CDL module and will be poking around on the circuit board this weekend. They are calling for rain.
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Last edited by MrWong; 04-21-2017 at 06:05 AM.
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post #2 of 19 (permalink) Old 04-21-2017, 06:01 AM
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Good luck with your project!

You may find that the headlights are not quite done. From the oictures, they appear to be missing the rubber weather seal that fits between the outer edges of the headlight and the clam. In addition, you may want to use a small bungee cord to hold the headlights snug to the clam. The tabs that hold the headlights in place are notorious for breaking.

I am not an expert on fiberglass work. You may have better luck fixing a clam with less damage or buying an aftermarket clam. I believe that BOE, GRP and ORE all have clams. Hethelsport may have one as well.

Looks like a fun project!

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post #3 of 19 (permalink) Old 04-21-2017, 06:04 AM
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This will be another great build to watch - good for you and keep posting!

BTW - I need to separate one of my lenses to clean it up. I see your heat gun and tongue depressors? Is that what you used? I tried baking mine in the oven previously - but - had to stop when my wife came home from work, and asked me "Whats for dinner..?"

After a brief, VERY one sided discussion -my headlight was quickly removed from the oven...

Anyway - waiting to see where you take this!

John D.

'07 Exige S
& a few P'cars..
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post #4 of 19 (permalink) Old 04-21-2017, 06:35 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the support yall!

@Kukadog - New clam is coming from the UK from LHT. No rebuilding this mashed clam for now, maybe I'll attempt it later when I get some more time. As for the rubber around the headlights, I was playing around with some 3/8" tubing I had laying around. Im going to try and sandwich it in the groove for a flush headlight mount and possibly re-enforce the brittle mounting points. Blinkers will still have the rubber outliners for now. Ill have to wait until the new clam arrives to do some test fitting.

@John D. - I should have taken more pictures of the process. It was just moving along so smoothly i forgot to snap more pictures. If you look in the photo right by the head gun, I used some DAL 5046C tri blade props from my racing drones. These props are sharp, plastic, and almost unbreakable. I tapped the two blades off in some electrical tape to protect my hands from getting cut. Used the tongue depressors to help keep the gap open while i heated a 6" area and used the prop the cut the glue as i slid it down the seem. I didn't need to heat them in the oven for this, and i didn't want the whole assembly piping hot to hold on to and work with. Hope this makes some sense! Let me know if you need any help.

On a side note for some Drone racing check out my YT channel.
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post #5 of 19 (permalink) Old 04-21-2017, 06:48 AM
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Aren't the tabs that hold the parking lights the weakness? Headlights are bolted in.
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05 elise (BOE Rev300 supercharged, SSRs, shift tower mods, Multivex; HID hi/low beams); 05 Corolla XRS

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post #6 of 19 (permalink) Old 04-21-2017, 07:48 AM
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Awesome @MrWong - exactly what I was looking for - thank you! Ummm - yes - I have a bunch of props as well (I fly drones, but not the racing versions - someday, tho'!) and never thought of using those.. I'll give it a go this weekend, as it's one of the very last things I want to get finished up..

Anyway - my thanks!!!

John D.
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post #7 of 19 (permalink) Old 04-21-2017, 08:02 AM
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I'll be the second to say good for you! Nice to see another Elise saved from the salvage yard.

Good luck with the rebuild; I'll be following along.
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05 Elise, ST, sports, touring, hardtop, DBA 4000 slotted discs, Ferodo DS2500 pads, Sector 111 gpan3, DS brace, HnT pad, front and rear tow hooks, CG lock, ORE double cup holder (caffeine for track); 86 911 Targa (sold); 68 MGB (future vintage racer)
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post #8 of 19 (permalink) Old 04-21-2017, 08:53 AM
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Not too bad! Glad you ordered a new front clam as this one is beyond a sensible repair.

I'd recommend you ditch the front oil cooler(s) and mount a single oil cooler in the rear for optimum oil temps and higher oil pressures. In stock form, you have 27 feet of oil line running to the front of the car that holds over 3 quarts of oil (which cannot be drained during oil changes).
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post #9 of 19 (permalink) Old 04-21-2017, 06:50 PM
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Glb- yes, my mistake. It is the blinker, not headlighhts that often pop out.

Glad to hear that you have a new clam on the way. I misinterpreted your comment and picture of the headlight in the old clam.

Please keep posting status updates and pics.

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post #10 of 19 (permalink) Old 04-21-2017, 08:27 PM
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Looks like a great project! I'm starting a similar one for an Exige with front end damage so I'll be paying close attention to how you tackle these things.

Like you, I'm looking for a clam. Shipping from the UK to California is a killer, but it might be my only option. Did you find any reasonable shipping rates, even if it comes by the slow boat? I've looked at the Lotus Hard Tops, and options. Anything that stood out to you about the LHT clams that you liked?

2005 Elise magnetic blue/biscuit
2010 Audi S4 deep sea blue
2015 Audi Q5 3.0T scuba blue
(yes, I like blue cars)
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post #11 of 19 (permalink) Old 04-21-2017, 10:22 PM
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you can slowly take apart the headlight with an exacto knife if you are careful. I've done this when I had to reclear the lens. Be careful not to scratch the black paint on the lens itself.
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post #12 of 19 (permalink) Old 04-22-2017, 01:08 PM
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Fantastic! Happy to see another one being fixing up. Just finished my project up after half a year. They are so much fun to drive! Enjoy the process. There is a ton of knowledge on here.
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post #13 of 19 (permalink) Old 04-22-2017, 01:54 PM
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I've owned my 05 Elise for 10 years and have scraped or bumped both the front and rear clam more than a few times. The seam you are eliminating allowed me to repair without painting the whole clam and preserve the original finish.
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post #14 of 19 (permalink) Old 04-22-2017, 08:24 PM Thread Starter
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The rain has hit us for the weekend and I got to tinker with the lotus all day in the garage. I wanted to look into why the door locks weren't working. I have already removed the CDL Module and looking at the circuit board it looks like its a simple flip flopper.

After a little bit of poking around with my multimeter, I figured out that the sensing pins were operating on very low voltage signals. When the sensing pin gets pulled to zero, the relays need to be triggered as such. The solenoids that actuate the door locks are wired together and mirror each other. Feed the solenoid legs with 12 it will go lock and reverse the 12 to the same pins and it will unlock.

Looking at the plug on the CDL here are the pins that are used.

1 Black - GND
2 Purple - 12v
3 Solenoid - Leg1 Red
4 Solenoid - Leg2 Blue
5 Sensing Pin - Lock Button - Orange/Pink
6 Sensing Pin - Lock Fob - White/Pink
7 Sensing Pin - Unlock Button - Orange/Green
8 Sensing Pin - Unlock Fob - Pink/Green

I thought I had a good starting point of what the 8 pins to this plug do and now needed to build a circuit that could handle the simple logic coming from the CDL Plug.
Proceed with hacking the plug off the bad CDL Module board. LOL

Bam! Not going to need the CDL Module anymore! I pulled out my laptop and started writing some code. About an hour later, I had a good outline and started to build the circuit. Constructed from an arduino nano, 2 relays, and a 12v to 5v regulator.
Testing circuit completed. Code has been uploaded as well if you wish to tackle this on your own. The pins that you'll be needing are outlined at the top of the code as well.

Tested the code and now stared soldering it all together for a more permanent connection. Its not the most beautiful thing but once all wrapped up it will work just fine.

Note: The simple code i wrote checks to see what the last command was of lock or unlock. This way the solenoid is only triggered if there is a state change. If you keep mashing the interior/fob lock or unlock button it wont force the solenoid in the same direction twice. Also, when the car is on and then turned off and the key removed, the locks will automatically open if they are in the locked state to allow you to easily exit.

If your having trouble with your CDL module, this is a circuit you can build for about $20 and some time soldering some wires. Waaaaaay cheaper than buying a new or repaired module. This whole reverse engineering process took me about 6 hours to get the code and the cars logic/wiring all sorted out. But now building the circuit should take about an hour or less, upload my attached code, and plug it in. Bonus! If the any of the relays get worn out, its a 5 dollar part to swap out.
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File Type: zip (1.4 KB, 12 views)

Last edited by MrWong; 04-23-2017 at 07:52 AM. Reason: It was late. Ha.
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post #15 of 19 (permalink) Old 04-23-2017, 08:54 PM
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This is the kind of guy you want rebuild one of these. Awesome work.
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post #16 of 19 (permalink) Old Yesterday, 04:19 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you all for your kind words and your support!

Just a heads up with using my code. I noticed that sometimes when you turn the car off and remove the key the doors lock you in sometimes but other times it opens them for you. The locks still work no problem with the fob or the interior button, and correct every time. Can someone verify which direction the lock and unlock commands are for the 3 way switch? For me its lock Left and unlock right. I will dive into why this may be happening today after work and modify to fix. More to come.

Another Rainy day to tinker around with the car! Day 2!

The attention to the faded plastic pieces, engine cover and rear side scoops... They have seen better days. It looks like someone was trying to clean them up and left a bunch of white residue on them. Could be wax could be harsh cleaner that turned the plastic white. Who knows? lol

I Started to remove the said pieces. Couple of fasteners holding it and some old rubber or sticky tape to keep them from rattling - engine cover. Add a little bit of heat to soften the adhesive and they come right out. The side scoops are held in with two fasteners and then slide right out. You will need to remove the rear wheel and push the liner out of the way to get to it and out of its space.

Got em removed. Bam! Now into the bubble bath! Hot water, lots o bubbles, and a scrub a dub dub.

Clean them up good, Prep is key! Dried them to inspect, and one more wash for good measure. Dried them once again, Final Blow dry and whip down. Rattle can first coat!

Let each coat fully dry before hitting the next. The more patient you are here the better the results. Apply 3 to 4 coats and set to dry for 12 hours!

While I waited for the paint to set. I removed the two front wheels for some Cleaning.

All in a days work! Stay Tuned!
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post #17 of 19 (permalink) Old Yesterday, 08:39 AM
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Great work on that circuit. I am guessing that you have some sort of background in that field?

My electronics ability amounts to fixing broken wires that I diagnose using a multi-meter.

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post #18 of 19 (permalink) Old Today, 06:14 AM Thread Starter
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@David Craig - I have a little self taught experience with circuits and micro controllers. In college studying for my M.E. degree, I programmed and built my own 3D printer and used it to make RC multirotors for research for obstacle avoidance/gps-guided/autonomous and single engine variable pitch multirotors (Senior design project). Today, I am a mechanical engineer working for the US Naval Weapons Station on things I'm not allowed to talk about.

Here are some progress updates:

The Side Scoops and the Engine Grills are fully dry and ready to go back on the car. Before doing so, I noticed that the finishing rubber/trim was falling off and needed to be re aligned. I'm guessing over the years the rubber has shrunk a little and lifted. I used a little bead of black silicone in the rubber trim, the same 100% black silicone used to seal the headlights. Don't use too much silicone that it oozes everywhere, use just enough to make sufficient contact. Push it firmly into position and then tape it in several places to give it support while it sets. Let it set at minimum 12 hours before messing with it.

While I waited, lol. I removed the intake snorkel and gave the area behind the side scoops a good cleaning. Using some of Chemical guys - non-sense cleaner got a lot of the grime off and everything looking new again. On the passenger side, I gave the a/c lines/connections a good look over for corrosion or any signs of wear or leaks. None for me.

I also sanded/wire wheeled the rear hubs, and painted them black get rid of that awful rusty look right behind the wheel. The fronts will get painted as well, after I make a decision what color to paint the callipers too. XD While I waited for the hubs to dry, I installed the new painted engine cover grill things.

Much better!

Installed the scoops shortly after, Carefully fish them into position, avoid hitting/scratching them on anything. Remounted the fender liners and wheels. Success!

Rolled her out the garage for a quick photo and a de-dusting to cover her up for the next phase.

From this angle you wouldn't know it was missing its clam!

Parts updates:

H1 HID 55w 6000k ballast and bulbs are on order and on the way.

Radiator exit grilles are on the way from GRP in the used section. Those will need to be washed and painted to match the engine covers and scoops.

Danny's auto glass contacted me to schedule a the new windshield install. Friday afternoon is the day!

@JonS from LHT informed me that the new clam has been finished and awaiting packaging at his factory. He said he would provide some photos of the new clam before it leaves. Im excited! Unfortunately, the new Radiator shroud from lotus hasn't arrived yet, and can take up to 10 more days to get in... These two items will ship together from the UK. Not another 10 day wait! I guess I waited this long what's another 10 days. Although, as soon as the clam and the shroud ships, I will also be ordering a carbon Front lip to add! Why not right?
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post #19 of 19 (permalink) Old Today, 04:02 PM
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Nice work.

If you haven't tried any ARM-based boards like an LPC Expresso, you might want to give them a go. The Eclipse-based IDE is vastly superior and you can step into your code, view memory, add memory breakpoints, add watches, etc. The ARM is half the price of the 328P as well if you create your own boards. ARM has more counters, timers, interrupts, memory, PWMs. I haven't found any downsides yet. OK, maybe less library code availability. Some of the Expresso boards also have a switch matrix so can you decide after hookup which pins will perform which functions.
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