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After thinking for several years that I wanted an Elise but never having an opportunity to drive one, I finally got behind the wheel, found the experience to be exactly what I'd imagined, and bought a 2006. I've driven it 500+ miles in the last month and enjoyed every one. Last weekend I took it from Seattle to Portland for the Indycar Grand Prix and *really* had a good time on some rural roads in the outlying areas.

I've watched these on Bring A Trailer for a long time but was never too comfortable with a long-distance pre-purchase inspection, let alone no PPI. Being able to take a locally offered car to the Lotus dealer for a PPI was a big factor in deciding to buy. It basically sold itself during the test drive, though.

At 40K miles it's in good shape overall. The main issues are that there are holes cut into the diffuser for what must have at one point been an aftermarket exhaust (not visible from any human angle); the climate control blower works intermittently; and the 225 and 255 tires on 15" and 17" wheels are (according to the dealer) too wide and have resulted in some wear, and an intentional cutaway, on the wheel well liners. They do look pretty badass though. I assume that was a setup for autox or track. I guess I'll probably look for some 16" and 17" wheels and reduce the width a bit.

It came with only one key/fob. I got a spare fob (and do have the PIN), but now need to track down a key blank. Not sure how to get the key code that I think will be needed to cut that spare -- just contact the local Lotus dealer, maybe?

Bottom line, I'm thrilled, and having fun diving into a new car domain.
 

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Ah, my post has suddenly appeared! Looking forward to contributing to the board.
 

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Welcome! Nice looking car, I have a silver one with a red interior also.
Your key issue can be easily solved at Ace hardware for less than $3. Like many items on these cars, the ignition switch was probably "borrowed" from another car brand. See the following post. https://www.lotustalk.com/forums/f95/where-can-one-buy-lotus-key-blanks-77126/ I have two 05' Elise and one used the newer blank and the other used the older so the changeover was in 2005. Yours probably uses the X168 blank. Slide the blank into your ignition prior to having them cut it. I only use the cheap Ace keys when I drive and save the original nice Lotus keys in a draw!
 
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Your Lotus looks great. Love the color combo. Those wheels give it a nice aggressive stance. Too bad they are causing issues.

Ohh yeah, and Welcome! What turned you on to a "Lotus" and specifically and "Elise"?
 
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Very nice!



Note to new Elise & Exige Owners:


1. These cars have large (i.e. dangerous) blind spots. Multivex mirrors are NLA, but RLS (Really Light Stuff) offers very good tape-on replacements.


2. The horns are way too weak (quiet). There’s an inverse relationship: smaller the car, louder the horn needs to be.

Get something such as a Stebel Nautilus.

Stock: “Excuse me”


Stebel: “HONK! LOOK OUT!”

Remove the stock horn; replace with louder.

(I drive with my finger on the horn button in any traffic. Iffy situations, my headlights are on.

Stay to the left of traffic, i.e. avoid passing on the right if you can.

Stop way behind trucks, SUVs, etc. Some have blindspots >50’. )


3. The early cars came with misaimed and dim headlights. If you drive at night, convert to HIDs. While better than stock halogen bulbs are available, HIDs throw more light. Stay around 5000k. As of this writing LEDs are not as good.


4. Ensure your car has had the work required by the recall for oil line fittings done. You could lose an engine and/or spin in your own oil.

5. Transmission:

The best transmission lube I’ve found is Redline MT-90 plus a little Power Punch Extreme Gear Oil Additive. (Note that it takes two changes to get rid of the previous lube.)

a) Early cars have wobbly shift towers. Look up Stan’s Mod (bolt and spacer; http://www.billswebspace.com/ShifterReinforcement.pdf) and

And, use:
Re-Enforcer long thru bolts that terminate under car and tie down the tower:
https://www.inokinetic.com/lotus/re-enforcer?category=Transmission

These (lube, mods) make a huge change in shifting.


6. As per some engine builders on these sites, wait AT LEAST 20 minutes after coolant has reached full operating temp before engaging cam switchover.

For street cars, consider removing one or both oil coolers. Some cover them. Oil doesn’t get hot enough on street, leading to cam wiping.


7. Rear toe-links can loosen and break with disastrous results. You can check tq periodically, or use Nordlock washers. Best is conversion to better engineered brace, such as BOE’s InoKinetic’s for two examples.
8. While under the car with panel off, look around for hoses and wires chafing their way to failure. That’s how this was found:
http://www.lotustalk.com/forums/f311/cooling-ticking-timebomb-how-your-cooling-u-tube-47232/

9. The stock radiators are prone to leaking where the end caps meet the metal part. Keep an eye on this. Most of us use single-pass all-aluminum radiators.

10. When your wheel well liner comes loose, skip the lame plastic rivet and use Well-Nuts instead.

11. Life will be better if you disable the auto-arming alarm function on the earlier cars. You won’t have to press a button to start the car. Instructions:

http://www.lotustalk.com/forums/f320/remote-key-fob-immobilizer-misc-alarm-programming-70940/


12. These cars cannot be left off a Battery Tender for weeks at a time. Unless dead batteries are a particular joy of yours. Buy one right away. There are numerous threads here about which ppl use and like.

You NEED a digital multimeter (voltmeter) to work on modern cars. Handy around house too. Get one this week.

13, Some on this site are a bit obsessed with hockey pucks for lifting the car. Don’t use these. Too hard and slippery, generally, and too small a surface area. Use a piece of wood, as your hero does.

14. Visit the Uber Thread

http://www.lotustalk.com/forums/f3/elise-exige-uberpost-read-everything-you-need-know-here-25131/

15. Most parts on the car are made by Toyota and others, so buying things like a/c compressors, engine parts, etc. is wildly expensive when purchased thru Lotus.
Toyota dealers, auto parts stores are way less expensive.

16. The soft high-grip tires on most of our cars lose much of that grip when temperatures drop below 50 F. I know of too many ppl who spun their cars when not remembering this. I use hi-performance all-seasons.

Note that many summer tires cannot even be stored in temps below 20 F.

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Plus, “How to bleed brakes”:

http://www.lotustalk.com/forums/f101/how-bleed-brakes-241138/


How to Search:

For future reference: Don't use the search on this site. Simply use Google and end the search text with "site:lotustalk.com". E.g.
Transmission Fluid change what bolt site:lotustalk.com no space betw site:lotustalk.com
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Welcome! Nice looking car, I have a silver one with a red interior also.
Your key issue can be easily solved at Ace hardware for less than $3.
I do love the red interior!

Thanks for the welcome, and thanks for the tip on the key.
 

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Ohh yeah, and Welcome! What turned you on to a "Lotus" and specifically and "Elise"?
Thanks! I guess it's been a variety of factors. Several years ago I began vintage racing, which both exposed me to a lot more Lotus cars (mainly 11s, 23s, 7s, Elans, and Europas) and turned me into much more of a fan of racing generally and F1 particularly. I also discovered that I really enjoy driving lightweight and open cars. All of that combined has give me a real appreciation for Lotus, its history, and of course these modern marvels. It's a silly car that I certainly don't need but it's irrationally thrilling to own and drive!
 
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Congrats and welcome! Love the red interior. Share some rear shots please! I would like to see how the 255s look. Love that meaty look. Enjoy and drive safe!
 

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Congrats on the car these are great little machines! Looks awesome in the color combo. Good to see another Seattlite on here! :)
 

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Thanks for sharing your enthusiasm!
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Share some rear shots please! I would like to see how the 255s look. Love that meaty look. Enjoy and drive safe!
Here’s the only one I have at the moment. With bonus light pole!
 

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Wow! Looks awesome. Thanks for sharing.
 

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Congratulations on the car! I'm looking for my first Lotus as well and have been going back and forth with regards to buying sight unseen. Right now I'm hoping to find one locally and keeping an eye out on WireWheel (just based on the overwhelmingly positive reviews of them from these forums), so hopefully I get as lucky as you!
 

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Great looking car!

I agree, that driving lightweight cars completely ruins you. Every other car feels like a fat pig and takes a lot of getting used to!
 
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