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Discussion Starter #1
I have a 2011 2-Eleven. This Lotus is new to me this year. It's a race car that was built and maintained by VSA Motorsports for its previous owner. He won the SuperSport-class Lotus Cup USA West championships twice with this car.

I've driven it less than an hour on track due to the COVID. First time in June, the 2-Eleven ran great on the tight Shenandoah circuit (2 sessions). Then, during a hot and humid day on Summit Point (main) last month, it lost power in 3 consecutive sessions. The second time this happened after a lap and a half. See brief video below. It feels like when you're accelerating hard and shift from second to fifth by mistake. No acceleration! At the start of the video you can see how fast the car accelerates when it's OK, and then, when it's not. After sitting for about an hour, I went out again and the problem reoccurred after about 1/8 mile on my out lap. I went home. The problem is not evident at home while revving the car. That makes it hard to diagnose and fix. It's not street legal.

I've attached a couple of screen shots from the OBD reader. I'm not sure these correspond to this problem, but it's data. I also have AIM data from this day and two others. Nothing jumps out.

Any ideas? Suggestions? Know of shops in the greater DC area with relevant experience?
I've checked a number of things, but won't go into that now. I don't want to suppress anybody's ideas.
Yes, I've read lots of posts on Lotus Talk.

Thanks in advance,
Sam



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Does look like you weren't following the rule of getting to operating temp plus ten minutes before coming on second cam. I would check your cams to see if they're ok.
 

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If your cams are OK and it is hapenning when you are hot check the harness for shorts and maybe just replace. I ended up having to replace. More likely its the cams though.
 

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@sk8nSam --- Sam, you obviously have some misfire codes -- did the car go into "limp mode", i.e. early rev limiter?
As others have pointed out, the misfire codes could be a tell tale regarding cam being wiped, or bad coil packs or bad plugs. Pulling the valve cover is a pretty easy DIY job on the 211, so I'd do that first and look at the cams.

By the way, your car is a MY 2010. ;)

If you want to call me, feel free.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Does look like you weren't following the rule of getting to operating temp plus ten minutes before coming on second cam. I would check your cams to see if they're ok.
I am not familiar with this rule. Should I let the car idle for >10min before going out?
 

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The better approach is to monitor oil temp and not get on high cam until the oil reaches the thermostat temp, ~180F. Depending on ambient temps, this can take 10-20 minutes of idling in my experience.

Search "site:lotutalk.com cam wiping" in Google and you'll find plenty of theories about what can lead to camshaft high-lobe damage.
 

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Like jdawson pointed out cam wipe finger pointing is at oil temp and monitoring is the absolute best method to monitor your oil health.
 

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Driving gently is way better than letting car idle to bring up coolant temp to normal; more engine area will be heated up.

Then, wait 20-30 minutes of driving before going for cam switchover. just my opinion.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Finally took the cam cover off and examined the cam lobes. They look and feel fine. I did find the problem once the #1 cam was up. The very first valve's retainer/cap is missing! This no doubt causes the miss as indicated by the OBD codes. I've never heard of this happening. Now the fun really begins. (This sucks. I didn't get an hour of track time out of this car before the engine goes.)

missing _cap.jpg
 
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I mean this is still a fixable problem with a variety of levels of fix.

1. Assume that the cap was missed on install, replace it and that rocker compression test and send it.
2. Assume that it fell off and is in the oil pan. Replace it and that rocker compression test and send it.
3. Assume it disintegrated and went through the engine... It's a $800-5000 engine so I might want to again just send it.....

Even if you wanted to do the most conservative route, pull the head, new valve, new rocker, pull oil pan, inspect for debris. It's far from a total loss situation.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I mean this is still a fixable problem with a variety of levels of fix.

1. Assume that the cap was missed on install, replace it and that rocker compression test and send it.
2. Assume that it fell off and is in the oil pan. Replace it and that rocker compression test and send it.
3. Assume it disintegrated and went through the engine... It's a $800-5000 engine so I might want to again just send it.....

Even if you wanted to do the most conservative route, pull the head, new valve, new rocker, pull oil pan, inspect for debris. It's far from a total loss situation.
Thanks for the comforting analysis. I'll let everyone know how this goes.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Found the pieces. One small broken part was stuck to the magnetic oil plug, the rest were hiding on top of the head. Repairs are underway.
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Maybe with upgraded valvetrain components?
 

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Wow, that looks like everyone is accounted for, and I am surprised!
 
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