Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Boynton Beach, FL
Elise SC upgrades - round 1
Okay, so I bit the bullet and started to do some upgrades on the Elise SC. Round 1 is nearing completion but has been fraught with some problems, who knew.
So, here's the short list completed so far:
1- Denso Iridium plugs. I like these... and have them in the Esprit V8 as well. The engine simply seems to run more even and consistent. Expensive plugs but there is a noticeable, albeit minor improvement.
2- Stebel Nautilus airhorn. The stocker is useless, period. You can barely hear it over the rest of the car, so it's doubtful anyone else would hear it. The Stebel is a simple and effective upgrade, well worth it.
3- Brakes. I'm simply disappointed in the stock braking system. I opted to replace the brake lines with Goodridge stainless lines... an interesting job for replacing the front lines. I also went with Pagid RS4-2 blue pads on the recommendation of a friend who has a 2005 Elise and replaced his pads. I finally opted to buy a set of Ultradisc rotors front/rear.
The setup in the rear is excellent, not a single issue and everything works perfect... not even a single pad squeal. The fronts have been an issue. Everything is fine when cold... as soon as the fronts heat up, the right rotor chatters. The hotter the rotor gets, the louder it gets and it's very audible. Also, once warm the (right) front squeals amazingly loud, you can hear it a 1/4-mile away. It's only the right front rotor... so S111 is sending a replacement pair. On the plus side, the new pads and rotors do improve overall braking quite a bit... still not completely satisfied however, but will live with it a while and see if it improves with some more time.
4- Exhaust. I opted to replace the stock brick with a Larini SC Sport Club. It's less than half the weight of the original and is a straight-thru design with twin resonators. Fit and finish are decent on the Larini... nothing more. It can be quite loud at certain RPM ranges and throttle positions (in some cases full closed throttle is actually louder than partial throttle). In some cases, it's simply untolerable with the windows closed (A/C weather) and deafeningly loud with zero benefit.
The biggest problem is performance. Immediately after fitting this exhaust, ALL performance literally vanished! No Boost, no cam-switchover and just flat boring performance across the entire RPM range. After 700+ miles of varied driving, some of the boost has returned, but it's not clearly discernable on the cam switchover... as there seems to be something switching at 4000 RPM (cam switchover was at 4500 on the stock setup). In any case, it still doesn't perform that great, not even as good as stock. Unfortunately my OBD-II scan-tool won't sync to the Elise SC (works great on the Esprit V8)... so I don't have the option of resetting the ECU until I get another scan-tool setup (yet more $$ to support a standard that nobody has managed to implement as a standard).
I'm looking at some other near-term upgrade options as well... Braille 2015 battery and RLS mounting bracket... some issue from Braille on sizes have delayed this. Also trying to get the CUP airbox/filter but according to my dealer source, many of the CUP airboxes have been sent out with the mounting brackets installed incorrectly, so that's also been delayed. Also trying to get the Lotus Sport sway bar but am still waiting... and it's really expensive!
So in all... upgrading the Elise SC can be expensive and not buy you that much depending on what you do. It would appear that doing anything engine-related beyond a better flowing airbox and spark plugs will require a change in ECU tuning to even maintain existing performance, much less gain any additional. I'll post more as I continue down that upgrade path, but as of now... return on the investment has been sketchy... horn, spark plugs, brakes all made a noticeable improvement... the exhaust, well, NO!
2000 Esprit V8
2008 Elise SC