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post #1 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-22-2015, 12:45 PM Thread Starter
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Question opinions: high mileage Elise for AX

Hi LT,

I've been a long time lurker since my father had an 06 Elise back when it was new. At any rate, I'm finally looking at buying one for myself. The car will be predominantly for autocross, weekend backroad runs and occasional DEs. The budget is tight, as usual. Shopping around I'm noticing I have essentially a fork in the road between the following options at my price point:
1) basically stock 05/06 Elise with low/reasonable mileage and well cared for
2) well modified (read: good shocks/sways/needed track mods) 05/06 elise with much higher mileage (>60-70k) and has been tracked/well-used.

There is a very nice example with DA Ohlins and a lot of other great mods, but nearly 80k miles on the clock (I'm sure I'm giving away which car this is). Anyway, I'm concerned that this car likely needs a couple grand in re-freshening; ohlins rebuild, along with higher spring rates which may mean re-valving, and a suspension bushing refresh. All told thats probably around $2k (?).
The alternative would be a basically stock elise, then spend the same 2-3k on good shocks and a few other mods to be competitive. This might be more expensive actually, but with a much 'fresher' low-mileage starting point.

So, could some of the experienced guys comment on whether the mileage makes a difference? Should I shy away from the higher mileage cars if I want to AX competitively and track the car? Or is it just not a big deal? When do these cars 'need' the suspension bushings and ends refreshed?


Thanks for any input!

~Matt
'06 CO Elise
'17 Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro, cement grey
'16 VW GTI, Wifey's ride
Past toys: '02 WRX | '06 STI | '14 Subaru BRZ
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post #2 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-22-2015, 01:29 PM
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Personally I'd go with the higher miles car and refresh. At that point you're basically starting from brand new on upgraded suspension parts for the same price (or less) than starting from used on stock suspension parts. Plus most tracked / autocrossed cars are meticulously maintained.

When a suspension parts refresh is "needed" depends so much on usage, climate, storage, etc. that I don't think there's really a mileage number.
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post #3 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-22-2015, 08:15 PM
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It depends upon pricing and condition. I know a couple guys with over 100K miles on the odometer and they are still tight. Personally I prefer to find a car with upgrades as you can save a lot of money instead of stock and having to buy upgrades.

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post #4 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-22-2015, 09:54 PM
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+1 with sturgeon............

Saved a ton of paper and ass pain finding our Elise with Nitrons, Bushings, toe links, steering arms, oil pan, and roll bar just to name a few.

2012 Evora 2+0 IPS.
2007 Exige mental track toy.
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post #5 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-23-2015, 07:10 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sturgeongeneral View Post
It depends upon pricing and condition. I know a couple guys with over 100K miles on the odometer and they are still tight. Personally I prefer to find a car with upgrades as you can save a lot of money instead of stock and having to buy upgrades.
Makes sense. Thanks for the input. When you say you know a couple cars >100k that are "still tight", you mean something like a bushing refresh may be unnecessary? Obviously that depends very much on the car, but just curious how many Lotus owners have gotten to a point where they feel it is necessary. I've seen a couple vendors selling 'suspension refresh kits' so I was under the impression it becomes warranted at some point.

~Matt
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'16 VW GTI, Wifey's ride
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post #6 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-23-2015, 07:12 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bri3d View Post
Personally I'd go with the higher miles car and refresh. At that point you're basically starting from brand new on upgraded suspension parts for the same price (or less) than starting from used on stock suspension parts. Plus most tracked / autocrossed cars are meticulously maintained.

When a suspension parts refresh is "needed" depends so much on usage, climate, storage, etc. that I don't think there's really a mileage number.
Judging from most of the responses, no one seems concerned about the motor/tranny with high mileage. I know I asked specifically about suspension needs, but is it safe to assume a well cared for 2zz and 6speed hold up well to mileage?

~Matt
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post #7 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-23-2015, 07:22 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RideMooch View Post
Judging from most of the responses, no one seems concerned about the motor/tranny with high mileage. I know I asked specifically about suspension needs, but is it safe to assume a well cared for 2zz and 6speed hold up well to mileage?
They hold up very well but are also fairly cheap to replace......

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post #8 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-23-2015, 07:37 AM
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I concur. I took heat when a "how much did you pay" thread happened some time ago.

I paid maybe 5k more than the average. Then I thought about it... It had over 12k in parts alone. Parts I would have bought. At the time I would have counted labor as well most likely almost doubling the 12K, but now I do all my own work so I take that factor out of the equation.


You seem like a candidate for doing that as well. You will save money. you will have a edgier car for the money. 80k should not be a issue on the motor or transmission depending on history.

L O T U S

Last edited by Motard; 02-23-2015 at 07:44 AM.
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post #9 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-23-2015, 01:02 PM
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After seeing what cones do to the clams, I'd almost prefer one that is less than perfect so I don't feel bad about further damage. My car is fairly pristine with low miles and that creates conflicts.

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post #10 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-23-2015, 01:11 PM
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Its just fiberglass.... and bushings are cheap and easy to replace.

buy something old and crusty or something new and shiney. There is really nothing to these cars so making one tight is a pretty easy process. Fixing clams is pretty easy too.

I'd say if you find a higher milage motor that hasn't broken yet you're better off than with a low milage motor that could still be hiding a Toyoto bean counting time bomb. What I mean is that a lot of the these 2ZZ motors die... and all the C60 transmissions are weak... so, it's gonna break eventually.

The reason you buy an elige is for the chassis and that really doesn't wear out. Everything else is replaceable.

Judge each used car on it's own merits.
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post #11 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-23-2015, 01:17 PM
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I hear you Matt, I just worry about residual value since I haven't owned a car over a year in a long time. You're an aggressive DIY guy with the fiberglass, I'm less so and I worry about the paint matching in the end. I'm slowly building up the courage to do some drilling, for a wing.

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post #12 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-23-2015, 01:24 PM
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I hear you on resale. I'm obviously past the point of no return but I had a really cherry 08 when I started. If resale is of importance to you, you may want to consider a different car or buy a less cosmetically perfect car if you plan to smash cones with it... but really, I have had zero cone damage after 2.5 years.
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post #13 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-23-2015, 01:28 PM
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I need to get on the splitter project for cone protection and then a wing to balance it out. Since I do a little time attack with speeds up to 105mph-ish, I need to figure out something that works for both.

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post #14 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-23-2015, 03:10 PM
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The stock bushings are garbage. You want to change them out. They have a tendency to slide out of the wishbone and rub into the frame. It's a pretty common problem. Check the rear upper wishbone when buying your elise. Mine were already done for at 36k miles. I just put in monoball bearings these past few weeks. Huge pain on the ass might I add. I would never go back to stock bushings.
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post #15 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-25-2015, 10:03 AM
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Which class do you intend to run in? Some mods may be of negative value if you have to put them back to stock.... SS break lines take you to SP, R2D2 brace SM (change of bushing type in suspension)... which is fine if that's where you are going... but will cost something to undo if you want to run Street, or SSR.

Rule book is your friend.

2005 Lotus Elise, Starlight Black # 111 SSM NER SCCA Solo - 1835lbs up to 1.65 Lat [email protected]~55mph (asphalt) 193whp 142wtq Normally Aspirated.

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post #16 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-25-2015, 10:31 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fsparv View Post
Which class do you intend to run in? Some mods may be of negative value if you have to put them back to stock.... SS break lines take you to SP, R2D2 brace SM (change of bushing type in suspension)... which is fine if that's where you are going... but will cost something to undo if you want to run Street, or SSR.

Rule book is your friend.
I realize that, and that is problematic purchasing a used lotus in general. I think Ideally SP; I've been running in *SP classes for years with my various subarus and know the rule set. There are several thing I'd like to do to a lotus, however, that would probably put me in SSM. I'm not a nationals guy, so I find a balance between a class I want and what I want to do to my car for fun. It looks like a lot of the toe link braces put you in SM. What about Gpans and baffled gas tanks - I think SM again. I'm looking at a car that has a wing on it - SM. So that might be where I end up. Locally, it could still be fun, we'll see.
EDIT: love your car fsparv; I'll probably head in that direction. SSM but remain N/A for now.

I haven't seen too many lotuses running *SP classes - is that real or my bias from what I've seen? Any reason?

~Matt
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post #17 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-27-2015, 10:08 AM
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I'd guess it's more or less as you describe. Some people want to control costs and stay stock, other folks want to modify. Lots of tasty modifications are SM, so SP gets skipped a fair bit.

BUT it's not because it can't be done... The elise was at the top of every field it can enter last year... including SSP

https://www.lotustalk.com/forums/f99/...3/#post3467625

(except DM or whatever the appropriate modified class is, but I'm sure someone will eventually get that going too)

2005 Lotus Elise, Starlight Black # 111 SSM NER SCCA Solo - 1835lbs up to 1.65 Lat [email protected]~55mph (asphalt) 193whp 142wtq Normally Aspirated.

http://www.the111shift.com/p/the-build.html

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post #18 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-27-2015, 03:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nessal View Post
The stock bushings are garbage. You want to change them out. They have a tendency to slide out of the wishbone and rub into the frame. It's a pretty common problem. Check the rear upper wishbone when buying your elise. Mine were already done for at 36k miles. I just put in monoball bearings these past few weeks. Huge pain on the ass might I add. I would never go back to stock bushings.
+1! My power unit (LoL) is doing just fine, but the bushes are bad at 97K mi. Definitely project #1 this spring.
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