MWR E153 Conversion Kit Install and Review - LotusTalk - The Lotus Cars Community
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post #1 of 24 (permalink) Old 07-16-2014, 01:24 PM Thread Starter
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MWR E153 Conversion Kit Install and Review

So I'm building my Elise for SSM action in SCCA auto-x. I made it 1.5 seasons on the stock C64 before I finally lunched the final drive. After a bunch of research, I decided that an E153 with a Kaaz Super Q 1.5 way diff would be a good choice for a car I still like to terrorize the streets in.

Overall Kit Review: First, I'd like to thank MWR for bringing this to market and allowing dudes like me to do this in my garage without major fab. I'd also like to say that installing this kit was a major pain in the ass. The $2800 price tag suggests (as well as the website) that this is a refined, bolt-in procedure. It is not. The quality and precision of the kit is low. Many aspects required me to break out my drill, file and hole saw... and sadly, my hammer. Meh, what ever. It works. If BOE or BWR offered the kit, I'm sure it would be worth the price. I guess that's what happens when only one company offers a product. They can ask what they want for it. At least my drivetrain should be bombproof.

The Install:

So here's what came with my kit. It was missing about 6 bolts and the shifter cable adapter bracket. MWR was nice enough to mail the bracket and 4 bolts quickly. Maybe they smoke dope at work. I dunno. Oh, not pictured is the flywheel that is a specialized part. That's probably where a lot of the 2800 went.



First off, I had to drill out several of the holes in some of the mounts since the reused stock bolts didn't fit through them. The front trans mount for example; the two bolts that are reused that go into the trans are too big for the holes in the new mount.



This bolt wouldn't go through the mount until I drilled it out.



Here's an interesting tid-bit: The new mounts move the motor to the passenger side a bit so if you are using a PPE header, you'll need to clearance the subframe. I used a hole saw.




Here's the adapter plate mounted to the motor. One of the bolts didn't align. Matt at MWR said it would be fine missing the bolt. What ever. I'm sure it will be. You can see the starter mounted too. You have to drill out the threaded hole in the starter because you put both starter bolts though the backside now and they sandwhich the block between the starter and the adapter plate. It's a pretty good solution.


This is the new shifter mechanism. The two bolts that hold this to the E153 were not provided. Lucky for me, I've got tons and tons of spare car bolts. You can see the MR2 starter bolts from this side. MWR doesn't provide a blank off plate for this orifice so I created one from some aluminum. I held a piece of paper on the profile and pushed on it with my finger to make a traceable impression.


Paper impression:


Blank off installed as well as the missing shift cable mount.


Installing the transmission while the motor is supported in the car by the passenger side mount alone is impossible. There isn't enough room. I had to hang the motor from an engine hoist and lower the whole thing down to assemble then lift. Make no mistake, the E153 is a huge transaxle compared to the C64. So once you get to the point where you're installing mounts install them all with out tightening any bolts down because the mounts just aren't that precise and with no modification, the trans was pushed against the subframe. So out came the drill and file. Maybe this is why people think the mounts are so stiff! I've filed and cleaned up this area since the pic.


Here's a pic of the spot that the bolt hole doesn't align. You have to file down a small tab on the bottom of the block to fit one of the adapter plate bolts. That wasn't too tough. It's only about 2mm of material.

Look in the hole. It's metal where threads should be. hmmm


Now on to the axles. My intermediate shaft came assembled incorrectly. I had to undo a snap ring and swap the spacer and bearings so that the intermediate shaft would get good penetration into the trans. No biggie but still... $2800... come on guys.


Next, the intermediate shaft mount that goes on the block needed ground down on it's mating surfaces because in addition to the thickness of the powder coating, it's also too small to fit the axle. Nothing was easy with this kit.


Why was one axle bolt of 12 provided extra long? I don't know either.


Now, after making sure nothing was making contact except the mounts, the motor is definitely in there pretty stiff. It's slightly stiffer than the full innovative mount kit. It's still not bad though and I'd daily this. I'm pretty tough and this is mainly an auto-x car. I'm sure many would be dissatisfied with how stiff the mounts are. They would probably also be the people who could daily a 300whp car and never break the C64.

The shifter isn't quite right either. On my 2008, I had to remove the block that limits the leftward motion of the shifter... it's the reverse lock out. I'm not sure all the lotus years are like the 2008 so that might not be an issue for you but as it sits in stock form, getting into 1st and 2nd was almost impossible. With the block removed, shifting is ok. I still need to adjust the cables to be 100% happy.

Anyway... if anybody has any specific questions, just post here.

-Matt
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post #2 of 24 (permalink) Old 07-16-2014, 02:10 PM Thread Starter
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Another thing to note is that you can reuse the backup light switch from your C64 and it works in the E153.
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post #3 of 24 (permalink) Old 07-16-2014, 05:31 PM
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I have seriously considered this kit; forwarned is forarmed.

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post #4 of 24 (permalink) Old 07-16-2014, 06:48 PM Thread Starter
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Yeah man. I don't mean to poo poo on it too bad. It really works despite needing a bit of mechanical help along the way. I'm enjoying the hell out of it. If you can stomach a little drilling, grinding and filing, it's pretty sweet!
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post #5 of 24 (permalink) Old 07-17-2014, 11:27 AM
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is that trans trans brand new, or just rebuilt & cleaned up? cause it looks spotless

anyways, thanks for the write-up ...lot of minor quirks, but seemed you managed the workarounds well


about how long did it take to get the kit from the time you ordered & were they prompt in sending the missing hardware once you inquired?


i've ordered a couple things form MWR before, but nothing this intensiv

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post #6 of 24 (permalink) Old 07-17-2014, 12:15 PM Thread Starter
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Yeah, it's a brand new trans from Toyota. The UPS guy was not amused.

MWR was really good about sending the missing parts over night. The trans and kit were shipped promptly as well. I'd say it was only a matter of a few days between ordering and getting shipping info... shipping on UPS ground only took a few days since I'm on the East Coast.

When I ran into the intermediate axle being set up wrong, it was a Sunday. I emailed them that night and got the situation resolved quickly.

I finished this install on Tuesday and yesterday, I adjusted the cables to get the shifter in a better position. There isn't a whole lot of adjustment range in the cables them selves. I've made both cables as long as I feel comfortable with but the shifter kinda rests against my leg in 2nd. That's not going to be that great considering I have to cover the TC button when I auto-x because I sometimes hit it with the bottom of my leg.

All of this points to an issue in the position of the bracket that was originally missing. I suspect if I removed it and slotted the mounting holes a bit, I could mount it closer to the gear selector on the trans and effectively lengthen the cables which would put the shifter in a more normal position.
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post #7 of 24 (permalink) Old 07-17-2014, 12:19 PM
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why cut the subframe? does that not weaken the frame ?
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post #8 of 24 (permalink) Old 07-17-2014, 12:26 PM Thread Starter
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It was either cut the subframe or find a way to raise the rear mount. I needed to raise the rear mount by about 1/2" so I didn't think spacers under long bolts would be that great and there wasn't enough mount surface on the trans mounting side to slot the holes effectively (this would have been preferred).

I choose the simple solution to cut a 3/8" by 3/4" section of subframe. I'm comfortable that the flange of subframe that I cut experiences the lowest forces possible in the cross section of the total frame area. It's really just a flange used for welding the upper and lower section of "beam" together. The top and bottom chord of the beam experience the highest forces and they're still completely intact.
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post #9 of 24 (permalink) Old 07-18-2014, 04:45 AM
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I have had the same conversion in for a couple of years. It did take a bit of fitting. The engine is 1cm to the right and it comes with a new right engine to mounting bracket that in my case bound to the housing. That needed some trimming. I cut and welded my old OEM front and rear mounts and refitted them as vibration was just crazy and my gearbox is well clear of the subframe so no problems there. Also my gear cable/linkage works fine.
My driveshafts etc fitted perfectly.
https://www.lotustalk.com/forums/f3/b...earbox-181698/

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post #10 of 24 (permalink) Old 07-18-2014, 06:45 AM Thread Starter
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Yeah, I saw your post about the better E153 when I was researching which route to take. Since I usually only use 1st and 2nd on course, I'm probably not hugely inclined to dig up those other gears. I do appreciate your research though. Good job.

If I wasn't racing my car, I'd probably opt to adapt the stock mounts but considering the first mod I ever did to the car was buy mount inserts to get rid of the floppy motor (jesus, it's floppy in stock form), I'm happy with how locked down the motor is now.

I started with inserts and when that wasn't enough I went to the full Innovative kit. That was much better in terms of reducing wheel hop and motor movement on launches and in mid-corner throttle adjustments.
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post #11 of 24 (permalink) Old 07-23-2014, 03:28 PM
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We have been selling these kits for quite a while now and get really good feedback from customers on the fit and function. I was surprised to hear of the missing parts with this customer; occasionally parts "escape" en route especially in heavier shipments. Sometimes they get lost in the packaging. Whatever the cause we're always quick to box up what's needed and make it right. In response to the other fitment issues noted by this customer we checked our in-stock component parts. We bolted 20 adapter plates to an engine block and transmission, found no alignment issues. I can't explain how a CNC machine would have placed a hole wrong in one plate but we'll be watching the next batch like a hawk. We did find the holes on some of the brackets were a bit tight to the mounting bolts and have corrected that issue. Feedback like this helps us improve the product and make the install easier for the next guy.
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post #12 of 24 (permalink) Old 07-23-2014, 03:48 PM Thread Starter
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One auto-x under the belt and a few street miles and I'm ultimately a happy customer. No issues besides those I posted.

Like I said up top, I thank MWR for bringing this kit to life despite it's foibles.
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post #13 of 24 (permalink) Old 12-11-2015, 08:45 PM
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Has this kit been updated, so you don't have to make all these MODS?
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post #14 of 24 (permalink) Old 12-11-2015, 09:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iFlawless View Post
Has this kit been updated, so you don't have to make all these MODS?
Just wait for the upgraded c64 coming out and have zero mods and issues
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post #15 of 24 (permalink) Old 12-12-2015, 08:03 AM
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Just wait for the upgraded c64 coming out and have zero mods and issues
Who will be offering that?
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post #16 of 24 (permalink) Old 12-12-2015, 08:09 AM
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Originally Posted by ConeKilla View Post
Who will be offering that?
https://www.lotustalk.com/forums/f25/...ission-310161/

because racecar
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post #17 of 24 (permalink) Old 12-21-2015, 11:10 AM
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We've tweaked a couple of the brackets to provide a little more clearance when fitting. Minor grinding of the engine lower tab is still required to fit one of the bolts, that's just where the bolt needs to be. Most headers and turbo systems fit fine but the PPE header does require a little trimming of a cosmetic section of the rear subframe (not remotely in any danger of affecting strength.)

We have installed a couple of these kits recently and fit was excellent. Have also sold a few kits to very serious road racers this year along with the Kaaz close ratio gears; great feedback on that combo. Shifting is much more solid than with the small C series transmission. Everything like shift forks, etc is much larger so it just plain handles the abuse better. Integrated trans oil cooler handles the heat just fine. Better clutch selection lets people dial it in and handle the power without an overly heavy pedal.
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post #18 of 24 (permalink) Old 05-28-2016, 11:32 AM
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I'm installing mine now and the misaligned mount hole is exactly as mentioned. I decided to widen the engine block hole a bit and was able to fit the bolt no problem. It was a pretty quick fix. Just to note I purchased the kit quite some time ago so likely had the same batch of adapters. I also had the close ratio KAZ gears installed. I'll post update later.

BTW, everything about the E153 is just so much beefier than the C64. It makes it look kind of pathetic.

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Last edited by Eyelise; 05-30-2016 at 04:53 AM.
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post #19 of 24 (permalink) Old 06-04-2016, 09:25 AM
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OK so the OEM bolts definitely do not fit the MWR front and rear motor mounts. The front just needed a small diameter adjustment which I did with a bench drill. Fits no problem. The diameter on the rear is way too small for the OEM bolt which is substantially larger than the front. I also noted it is too short in my case offering only 1/2 a nut worth of threads to tighten. I am going to order a new bolt 10.9 grade likely 7/16th with the proper length.

05 Saffron Elise (#151)!!!!!
Nitron NTR singles 550/700
BOE Rev 400, fuel surge tank, EFI 1.2
PPE Testpipe, BOE Silent Touch
RacePak IQ3 dash with EFI module
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post #20 of 24 (permalink) Old 06-04-2016, 09:38 AM
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I also noted in this post the mounts are red. My motor mounts are all black. I wonder if the material is different.
275 Turbo likes this.

05 Saffron Elise (#151)!!!!!
Nitron NTR singles 550/700
BOE Rev 400, fuel surge tank, EFI 1.2
PPE Testpipe, BOE Silent Touch
RacePak IQ3 dash with EFI module
ACT HD/SS clutch, Fidanza FW, LETSA...
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