Bringing an Exige S back from the dead -- (re)build thread - Page 3 - LotusTalk - The Lotus Cars Community
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post #41 of 117 (permalink) Old 07-09-2017, 08:25 PM Thread Starter
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Still slowly plugging away at this project. At the current rate, it should be done by the time Donald Trump is up for re-election. That’s if @munozt doesn’t kick my car out of his garage by then. I’m going to have to start paying him rent or bringing him sacrificial virgins if this continues.

In all seriousness though, we made some good progress today getting the front clam off and getting the head off the engine.

I’ll start with the head removal. Yes, some people on Facebook have called us crazy for doing this while the engine in the car. We’ve actually called ourselves crazy too. I don’t know how many times we’ve uttered “we probably should just take out the whole engine” but why do things once when you can do them twice right? We call it practice!

Getting the cam cover off the side of the engine while the engine is still in the car is a royal pain in the ass. I would not recommend this misery to my worst enemies or even my ex girlfriends. You basically have to remove the motor mount for clearance and you have to remove all the accessory bits in that tight space too. But the real bitch is when you need to remove the crank pulley. There is a bolt right in the center of the pulley of course, but how do you hold the pulley in place while you turn it? With an impact gun it’d be no problem but fitting an impact wrench in there is not going to happen, no way, no how.

Luckily, @munotz came up with a solution, this handy little thing he welded up which we bolted into the threaded holes of the pulley and held it in place:



We call it the patented “Too lazy to remove the engine but will still weld-up a custom tool” pulley holding device.

Once the pulley was off, a few whacks and the cam cover came free and we were able to remove the head.

Good news, it doesn’t look like the pistons and the valves had any friendly close encounters! The pistons have a little bit of rust, likely from some water that snuck in while it was sitting outdoors without the valve cover but I think they look OK. Thoughts?





So now we have to decide what to do with the head, maybe I’ll put it to a vote here:

A - Have the current head machined and a plain bearing added where the cam seized.

B - Find a new head (@munotz has one sitting around but I believe it needs to be assembled.)

C - Put in a whole new engine @munozt also has one of these sitting on an engine stand, pic below.) See, we should have just pulled the engine?!





We’re obviously trying to find the right balance between budget, ease, and time.

How much of an issue is the current bottom end? Are we running any risk if we keep the same bottom end, I think it had about 47k on it which a portion of that running the REV300 supercharger.

We also managed to get the front clam off and started to disassemble the radiator shroud to get to the damaged crash structure. But we gave up when we realized we have to disconnect the AC lines (it was also a good time for us to wrap up for the day.) That radiator shroud is the most asinine thing I’ve ever seen with no passthroughs for anything. So you end up having to disconnect the coolant, AC and oil cooler hoses just to remove the shroud. Clearly an engineer designed it, not a mechanic. I was tempted to just take a dremel to it to make it more serviceable but chickened out at the last minute.

I think the shroud is salvageable, there is just one small spot that needs repaired on the driver’s oil cooler, which should be no problem for some type of plastic epoxy and it doesn’t have to look pretty since it’ll be unseen.

We’ll tackle the crash structure soon enough -- already have one of those from elise-spares.com but need to order the BetaSeal glue. I seem to remember reading another thread where someone recommended a different glue though? I’ll have to hunt for it.



Speaking of glue, does anyone know how to remove the top and bottom edges from the crash structure? They seem to be glued in place.





As for the clam, does it look repairable?

I’m going to try to get some estimates. Neither Tony or I have a good spot for doing such a messy, dusty project so I think a DIY route is off the table.











A few folks suggested some “might as wells” while the front clam is off so we’ll replace the radiator, add a louder horn, relocate the resistor pack (if needed?), and insulate the AC ducting. Anything else?

Feel free to chime in on the thread with any tips or suggestions!

2012 Porsche 991.1S white
2007 Exige S arctic silver (project)
2005 Elise magnetic blue/biscuit
2014 Audi Q5 3.0T scuba blue

Last edited by chiarov; 07-10-2017 at 10:10 PM.
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post #42 of 117 (permalink) Old 07-30-2017, 10:14 PM Thread Starter
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Had to take a couple weeks off from the project, but was back at it today and we made some significant progress, at at least it felt significant.

The crash structure has been removed!

To be honest, @munozt did most of the destruction during this part of the project and I was a bit jealous so I had to get in there a few times with a prybar and just start wailing away on it to rip apart as much as I could. Why Lotus did you decide to glue this crash structure on instead of bolt it to the chassis? There are a couple of good threads on the forum describing the procedure.

Today started with evacuating the AC system so that we could remove the radiator and condenser. Once we got all that disconnected we were able to lift the assembly out from the radiator shroud. As I mentioned before my shroud is slightly damaged but rather than spend $600 on a new one I think Iíll repair the couple of minor cracks instead.



Once those were removed the bare crash structure was easily accessible. But where to start? That thing is glued on with some of the most insanely strong glue Iíve ever seen. So we grabbed the sawsall and just started hacking away. First we removed the front parts thinking we might need to salvage the bumper armatures that are glued on. But after looking at them more closely, I donít know how weíre going to separate them from the rest of the crash structure.

We were cut short though when our last sawzall blade snapped so I was off to OSH to buy a new one. We also made use of a SkilSaw and handheld grinder with a cutoff wheel. Whatever we had, we are using to hack away at this big piece of fiberglass composite.

Finally, we decided to head to Harbor Freight and picked up a vibrating blade saw thing similar to what is described in the Lotus shop manual, however we got an electric one instead of an pneumatic. Like this;
https://www.harborfreight.com/variab...ool-63111.html

That thing worked wonders. We still had to cut it apart piece by piece but this made the job a bit more tolerable.

A couple of other tips, cut across the top edge first and then pry some big chunks off with a prybar. Keep cutting, keep cutting. Wear a mask, the dust is nasty. Oh and wear long sleeves, my arms are still itchy from all the composite bits. Here are a few pics and videos:



Be careful cutting through the double walled sections. I think thatís what broke our blade:


Cutting this car apart a few inches at a time! We promise weíll make it better when weíre all done.


Are the bumper armatures able to be separated and glued onto the new crash structure? Anyone know?


All off and time for a beer! Drop the swaybar when working on this project to give yourself a little extra room.


Pretty much the whole crash structure is in pieces in this trash can:


Wire wheeled to get all the rubber glue and primer off and ready for a new crash structure:


While I had some downtime today I also started the process to remove the HVAC resistor pack. I donít know if this has ever been done on this car but I got partway through and got stuck. I couldnít get the HVAC box out, so Iíll have to do some research and figure that out. This seems like a worthwhile effort while everything is apart.

And being a bit OCD, Iíve been trying to clean up everything as we have it apart. Iím not going to go crazy and get everything powder coated or anything like that but while itís apart it makes sense to me to give it a pretty thorough cleaning. Especially since this car seems to have spent life parked under a tree -- I think Iíve filled an entire shopvac with pine needles and leaves from places that I canít even imagine how they got there. But for example if you look at the bottom edge of the windshield in the earlier pictures above, and then in the later pictures, that whole edge of glass and the plastic below it were filled with dirt and debris.

Speaking of which, any good recommendations for cleaning the suspension arms while theyíre on the car?

Iíll be putting this project on hold for a bit since Iíll be in Hawaii for vacation and then in Monterey for Car Week. If youíre there, keep an eye out for me in my blue Elise.

2012 Porsche 991.1S white
2007 Exige S arctic silver (project)
2005 Elise magnetic blue/biscuit
2014 Audi Q5 3.0T scuba blue
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post #43 of 117 (permalink) Old 07-31-2017, 03:51 AM
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I'll respond over here as you have this question in a couple spots

First get everything disconnected, all lines hoses

unclip the fan

cut they ty wraps off the harness running across the front so you can move it out of the way

The box actually rotates out of the way and is very tight. It rubs against the air distribution box inlet on the way by.

I think I may have posted a sequence of pictures before
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post #44 of 117 (permalink) Old 07-31-2017, 03:58 AM
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post #45 of 117 (permalink) Old 07-31-2017, 07:10 AM Thread Starter
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Awesome thanks for the tips! I'll give this a try.
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post #46 of 117 (permalink) Old 08-13-2017, 09:49 PM Thread Starter
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Been in Maui for a week so haven't been working on the Exige, but did source some parts before I left which should be arriving soon.

Will feel good to start putting some stuff back together!

Still need to figure out the proper replacement for Betaseal 1701 to attach the crash structure to the aluminum chassis as it seems like that has been discontinued. Perhaps Betamate 2810 is the right replacement from the research I've done but I'm also in contact with Dow who I owe a phone call to tomorrow.
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post #47 of 117 (permalink) Old 08-14-2017, 09:25 AM
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Wow, I have a tear in my eye from my baby being torn apart. I hope she goes all back together again!

I'm surprised the camshaft was *seized* but that would explain the sheared bolt. If it were me, I'd probably just replace the bits which were obviously worn and go from there, though with the engine apart, the temptation to build a stronger bottom end would be strong, especially if more power was ever going to be in its future.

I hope someone else gets that 2bular exhaust. In retrospect going with standard cats would have been a better selection than the race cats which are on there - unfortunately I didn't get a good idea of the sound of the exhaust prior to hooking it up. I don't remember if the cats are ceramic-coated onto that exhaust or if you can unbolt them - if you can, I bet putting on higher-restriction cats would quiet it down quite a bit! That car actually taught me about the dangers of louder exhausts for daily drivers Too bad too because the exhaust sounds *great* if you aren't cruising down the freeway for hours at a time.

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post #48 of 117 (permalink) Old 08-14-2017, 09:39 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for chiming in ChronosWS!

I actually am planning to keep the 2bular exhaust, but replacing the muffler you had with the quieter 2bular 8" one that I bought on here. We'll see, I guess the exhaust will be one of the last things I do probably. I think it'll just need some slight modification to make it all bolt up.

As for the engine, I'd probably do the same except we have a low mileage 2ZZ engine already sitting in the garage (you can see it in one of the pics) and given we don't know what caused the oil starvation that lead to the cam seizure, it seems like replacing the engine probably makes sense since it's basically a zero cost option.

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post #49 of 117 (permalink) Old 08-22-2017, 09:43 PM Thread Starter
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Was busy running around all weekend at the famous Monterey Car Week so no time to work on the Exige. Maybe this weekend.

I was at the Porsche Werks Reunion event and when I came out I discovered that my Elise had made a friend. Anyone from the forum?
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post #50 of 117 (permalink) Old 08-27-2017, 08:27 PM Thread Starter
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Ok, I’m finally done messing around with vacations and car week so today I braved the 99F weather and headed over to the garage for a little quality time with the Exige. I was sweating my ass off in that garage, I think I drank 5 bottles of water and sweated it all out through my pores.

If you recall, we left off with a struggle to remove the heater box and blower fan so that I could check the resistor pack (everyone said that while the clam is off I should do this -- and they are right as that resistor pack is a pain in the ass to get to.) So thanks to @exigegus ‘s tips and links I was able to remove the two pieces.



Yikes, that is dirty! But pretty much like what I’ve been finding on the rest of this northwest (Seattle) daily driven car.



Ahh, that’s better. You can see I also did the TSB to drill the 4 drain holes. 40mm x 40mm from each corner, 6mm hole, 10mm deep.





Got both of the pieces out. It was a bit of a struggle but the tips were good.



Oh good, someone already upgrade the resistor pack with the DIY or elise-parts one (link). So if anyone wants to buy a brand new OEM resistor pack, check my for sale thread!

I think the things that helped me the most were:

1) Get everything disconnected and out of the way. Including the sandwich plate block at the center where the two AC lines go into. Remove the rubber heater hoses and disconnect all of the wires (mark them first as I think 2 of them have the same connector.)

2) Remove the AC dryer bracket for clearance.

3) Once you unclip the heater box from the blower, tilt it up from where those clamps are. Rotate it 90 degrees so that those clips are the first thing coming out. Once you have it to that position, just lift straight up.

4) Unlike other threads I read, putting it back together was super easy. Put the blower motor down into position, mine had marred the aluminum panel so it was easy to see where to line it up. Then put the heater box back in, push down so that the bottom edges “mate” together. You’ll feel it. There is a an aluminum channel in the blower housing where the heater box edge sits in. It’s hard to explain but will make sense when you see it. Circled below.



5) Once it’s in the bottom channel, bring the blower edges up to the clips and lock them in.



All clean and snugged back in tight. Hopefully I won’t need to pull that thing out again, though I’m sure the second time would be a little easier!

I spent the rest of the time cleaning everything thoroughly and hooking the hoses, AC lines (with fresh o-rings), and wiring back up.

After that I moved onto the replacement crash structure and cut the two nostril vents in it using a dremel. My arms are still itchy from the fiberglass! Hopefully we’ll mount that up next weekend and reinstall the federal bumper armatures and tow hook attachment points.

I also noticed that @ChronosWS included some unused stainless steel brake lines with the spares, so that seems like another “while the clam is off” project to tackle.

Oh and if you recall, the radiator shroud had a little bit of damage -- two of the three mounting holes were torn out. It was a pretty easy fix and I think it turned out well for a non-critical (safety/performance-wise) and non-visible part. It seemed silly to throw the whole thing out for 2 holes that needed to be repaired.





Stay tuned, next the crash structure is getting glued back on!

2012 Porsche 991.1S white
2007 Exige S arctic silver (project)
2005 Elise magnetic blue/biscuit
2014 Audi Q5 3.0T scuba blue
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post #51 of 117 (permalink) Old 09-21-2017, 08:52 PM Thread Starter
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Made some real progress today as we finally moved from taking stuff apart to actually putting things back together. That felt like a huge milestone!



As you can see, the new crash structure is attached to the car. There isnít a lot documented about how to do this on the forums so I figured maybe Iíd include some information that might help someone in the future. Especially since this is a pretty common item that you need to replace in a crash, and a lot of the reason why Elise / Exiges get totalled. I can see why from the standpoint that the labor and time involved in replacing the crash structure is significant!

Here is a basic rundown with a few tips included:

After youíve removed the clam, the radiator, the condenser, the oil coolers, and everything else in the way, thenÖ

1 - Remove the old crash structure. Youíll have to hack, cut, pry, swear, kick, punch and more to get it off. See my earlier post.

TIP: You donít actually have to remove all the existing betaseal ďglueĒ, even though we did. (In fact, we wirewheeled it right down to the aluminum, but Iím told this is not necessary. As long as you have a relatively flat even surface you should be fine. The glue is actually pliable and has some give so it will conform as you clamp down the new structure anyway.)

2 - Prep the new structure. If you got the elise-spares.com one like me, youíll need to use a dremel to cut out the two HVAC intake nostrils and the radiator hose passthrough holes on the side. Theyíre marked with an outline on the crash structure. We used a circular drill and cleaned it up with a dremel for those parts.

3 - Test fit the new structure. It should be pretty obvious how it lines up. Itís about a ľ inch from each side of the frame with the top lip over the edge of the frame. Once you have it on there youíll see. But dry fit it and make sure itís all good and remind yourself how hard the old one was to remove...thatíll be motivation enough to get the new one put on properly!

TIP: Use some shims or the radiator hoses themselves to ensure there is enough space to put them on. The clearance between the coolant hard lines into the chassis and the crash structure are pretty tight. We put the radiator hoses on during the gluing of the structure to ensure weíd have enough space.

TIP #2: We took the unprecedented(?) route of adding two ďriv-nutsĒ aka ďnutsertsĒ to the front of the frame just above where the nostrils of the crash structure HVAC intakes are. You can see them circled in the pic below. This is not ďOEMĒ but serves the purpose of helping to secure the structure further and to help clamp it during the gluing process. Additionally, it makes it easier to level the crash structure before the betaseal dries by tightening or loosening the bolt in the nutsert to slightly move the structure up or down.



4 - Clean the chassis mounting surface with acetone or brake clean.

5 - Prime both the chassis and the crash structure surfaces using BETAPRIME. Let it sit for a few minutes per the instructions.

6 - Apply the BETASEAL U-428 windshield urethane to the crash structure in the pattern described in the manual. The BETASEAL specified in the shop manual is discontinued or extremely hard to find but a few local shops suggested this stuff works just as well. Also on the SELOC forums they indicated nearly any strong windshield urethane should be OK.

TIP: This stuff is THICK and hard to get out using a standard caulking gun. Also, we had to modify the caulk gun with a hacksaw a bit to make sure nozzle tip sit flush because the nozzle is so big and thick. Your hand is going to get a serious workout pumping the goop out.

TIP2: Between the crash structure and the bumper armatures, we used about one whole tube of betaseal.

7 - Mount the crash structure to the chassis and clamp it in place. Again, this is where the nutserts that we added were really helpful, youíll also need two people for this part. The betaseal starts to set in about 20 minutes so you donít have a lot of time for messing around.

8 - Get those radiator hoses on for spacing if you didnít use shims!

9 - Get the crash structure leveled side to side and front to back. I actually forgot to check how level the old one was, but I donít think it has to be too precise as there are a bunch of shims for the clam anyway. We got this one almost perfectly level.



10 - Add some extra clamps, straps, tiedowns or whatever you can manage to hold it in place. We put a bit of weight on it to keep some tension on the bungees we used. Remember, it needs to be level so donít clamp things down so tight that itís no longer level.





Thatís about it!

If you have a federal, newer car youíll also need to glue on the bumper armatures (note I believe the OEM crash structure will come with these already attached as well as the tow hook mounting plates.) Follow the same process of acetone, betaprime, betaseal and then clamp these things on. Youíll also need to make sure to include the tow hook mounting brackets as these arenít included in the elise-spares crash structure. It should be marked where to drill and youíll need to glue or rivet those plates into place. We glued them but noticed the metal plates have holes for rivets so I think either option would be fine.

Kick back, open a cold beer or two for all your hard work and let the betaseal cure for a few hours / overnight. Once cured, remove the clamps and test it out by applying some weight (e.g. sitting) on it.

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2007 Exige S arctic silver (project)
2005 Elise magnetic blue/biscuit
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post #52 of 117 (permalink) Old 09-21-2017, 09:09 PM
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Nice work.
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post #53 of 117 (permalink) Old 09-22-2017, 03:04 PM
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Additional Tip on squeezing BETASEAL:

I worked with this stuff a few times before, and YES it can be very hard to squeeze out. The best method I found is to buy a heavy duty caulk gun that has more leverage. It drastically reduces the effort and allows you more control with the bead.
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post #54 of 117 (permalink) Old 09-22-2017, 05:23 PM Thread Starter
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That's a good tip on the caulk gun. I imagine a pnuematic one would be good too but they were expensive and I couldn't find anyplace to rent one.

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post #55 of 117 (permalink) Old 09-22-2017, 09:09 PM
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Honestly, Exigegus was my life saver on this one. I was so annoyed at this thing, until he gave me that step by step picture thread.

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post #56 of 117 (permalink) Old 09-22-2017, 09:20 PM
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Glad I came in when I did, great write up...I am doing something similar but not identical to what you are doing...and my project is taking a lot longer, just because I was gone all summer.

But while you have the front clam off, upgrade the radiator if it hasn't been done already (the OEM plastic end caps like to crack a lot) and while you are at it change your radiator cooling fans from pushers to pullers. It will allow the radiator cooling side to have a FULL face of air with no dead zones where the fans are sitting.

Even though you already have the HVAC buttoned up, you could consider relocating your HVAC resistor pack. I extended my wires and tucked it up under the passenger side window area. This way, if it ever goes bad again, I can just take off the access panel, reach in, remove it, and reinstall a new one. Just my other tip for it.

Louder horns are a must, (or a 2nd OEM horn). I did a test with two OEM horns and a "louder" horn. I ended up going with the "Louder" horn and one OEM horn because it gave the car two different pitches. However, I will say that two OEM horns is quite loud honestly.

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2005 VW Passat Station Wagon TDI (harder to find than the lotus?)
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post #57 of 117 (permalink) Old 09-22-2017, 10:02 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the tips @Giantmcm . What's the story on your project?

I already have a replacement radiator -- the Koyorad HH one so that'll go on, but I hadn't thought about the fans so I'll definitely look into that.

My HVAC resistor pack was already upgraded and relocated to the inside of the heater box. It appeared to be the standard elise-parts upgrade kit with the 3 separate resistors(?). Anyway, I think it should be fine for the life of the car now. Or so I hope.

I think the horns can be done even with the clam on can't they? Which horn do you recommend?

Another thing I'm planning while the clam is off is the SS brake lines, which came with the spares when I bought the car and had never been installed. Seems like why not?!

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post #58 of 117 (permalink) Old 09-23-2017, 05:53 AM
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SS lines are a definite, good call there.

For puller fans, i will double check later, but i believe you will want two 8" SPAL pullers, they are pretty in expensive and you will do a little super simple wiring taking the OEM harness and putting it on new fans.

The 3 piece gold resistors were the DIY make your own resistor pack...I did the same thing. The OEM pack is like $150, the gold resistors are about $20...ebay they are about $7 for a similar set up.

I bought a salvaged title elise about 4 years ago with the intention of building a turbo elise out of it. I officially started the dissembly last winter and I am hoping to start the engine reassembly next weekend. New internals for a lot more power, reliability, and fixing all the little things on the car, like you are.

I need to start doing a write up like you...i just know mine will take a bit longer than you will. I am doing my own body and paint work as well. Wanted to learn as much as i could....but i also have a large garage to store it all in.

2005 Lotus Elise Graphite Grey - Salvaged title started the SSM build!!!
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2005 VW Passat Station Wagon TDI (harder to find than the lotus?)
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post #59 of 117 (permalink) Old 09-23-2017, 06:11 AM
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In regards to horn, i don't recall which one i bought, i just remeber I didn't want to run more wiring, most loud horns require more power. So i got one that was similar in design to the OEM one and i ran two horns, one high pitch and one low pitch. I did compare them to running two oem horns (i have extras) and my family inside my house were my judges. With closed windows and doors both setups were still REALLY loud. I had to do it 5 times before they said the two tone set up was a little louder. I was wearing earplugs doing the test it was so loud.

My horns were no more than $30, just can't recall which ones i bought (i will go peek), but if you want one of my extra OEM ones, i would happily send you one for cost of shipping. Two horns is honestly loud, plenty loud in my mind.

2005 Lotus Elise Graphite Grey - Salvaged title started the SSM build!!!
Maverick ML8 - Other daily
2005 VW Passat Station Wagon TDI (harder to find than the lotus?)
2005 Lotus Elise Starlight Black - Sold
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post #60 of 117 (permalink) Old 09-23-2017, 06:41 AM
glb
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My Stebel Nautilus horn (Amazon) is very good.

05 elise (BOE Rev300 supercharged, SSRs, shift tower mods, Multivex; HID hi/low beams); 05 Corolla XRS. Past '72 Elan Sprint (I restored), Lotus 7 w/X-flow, TT Supra, Bugeye Sprite, BMW 2002 & 2002tii, '65 GTO.

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