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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
So I'd like to start off by saying *never* buy a repo'd lotus that has been modified with a turbo, even if it is the one you passed on your way to work every day and dreamed about owning.

Since purchasing the car two years ago:

-I've had to replace the turbo
-I went to a stand alone EMS because the piggy back was fried when I bought it
-Replaced the Odyssey battery
-Had to have the exhaust manifold re-welded because between the car's orignial turbo build out and me purchasing the car a crappy turbo was installed with the support bracket missing
-I've put in an muffler because it had no muffler but did have a cat (go figure)
-I had to repair the A/C
-The ACT clutch it had been built with had at some point been replaced with a piece of junk "F1 racing" brand clutch, which has fallen apart
-The 550cc injectors it had been built with had been swapped down to 440

AND now the Mahle 9:1 compression pistons have failed with a small section on two of them near the valve reliefs actually having chunks fly off which took out the engine.


So what am I going to do? Pretty much replace everything engine related. Most of these items are on the way.

From MWR:
-Built head
-Sleeved Block
-Wiseco 10.5:1 pistons (Running a GT2860RS and am most interested in spool up vs massive HP)
-Everything needed to rebuild the engine (crankshaft is still good as are the crower rods that it had in it)
-ACT XTSS clutch
-Moroso oil pan
-750 CC injectors
-Hawk pads

From Sector 111
-DSbrace
-ONEcoolerLINES
-proRAD
-Girodisc Stainless Steel Brake Lines
-COOLANThoses-silicon hoses
-sportINSERTS

From Radium (makers of the most beautiful and amazing products)
-Billet Fuel Rail (total work of art)
-Fuel Surge Tank kit w/FPR
-Fuel Pressure gauge
-Dual Catch Cans
-Coolant Expansion Tank
-Modular Rear Clamshell kit
-Exhaust Manifold
-Turbo Cooling system
-Cosworth 1.3 bar radiator cap

DDMTuning
-HID kit

MISC Additions:
-Duplicolor Caliper Paint kit (Black)
-Plastidip, black and glossifier to make my stock wheels black
-Innovate Motorsports Dual Oil temp/pressure gauge
-AEM Serial Data Stream gauge



So Um yeah. A ridiculous amount of money being spent. and by the time I'm done I could have bought an Exige or maybe even a used Evora. But this is the car I have, and I am so tired of things breaking so it's time to do it as best I can. I'm not building this to be a real track car, it's a canyon toy and a chance to improve my skillset and knowledge when it comes to performance cars. I also know that I'll end up needing to do suspension and Aero next to properly balance out the power, but that is for another time. And then when I eventually blow the transmission I'll have to deal with that.

I'm starting this thread so I can post some pics and thoughts along the way. I'm still waiting on parts so won't be able to start quite yet. Currently the old engine is out and the rear clam is off. I've sent the pistons off to Mahle so they can help figure out what happened (there aren't signs of detonation or valve contact.)

I'm not good at paper work and as you can see from my post count I don't post very often, but I'll try to take some pics and update this thread as I go. The good news is I'm on an extended vacation beginning next week and so will be able to work on this full time.

It's the largest project I've taken on from an automotive stand point by far, I've rebuilt a couple of Supra motors and done a ton of other work on those years ago so I'm not completely ignorant of how to do this type of work. I've got a great resource in Joe Sim from Turbo Lab in Utah (he's turbo'd quite a few Elise's and is the one who built all the turbo hard parts on this Elise). And most helpful is that I have all the wonderful posts from Lotus talk. The main reason I don't post all that often is because it seems whatever I need I can find already asked and answered here.

Also, I know many of you would choose different components, choose to not go all out, to spend money on track time, etc...

But really it comes down to I love working on cars, and these are the choices I've made after reading tons of threads about various things that can go wrong.

I appreciate all the awesomeness that lives here.
 

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...but I'll try to take some pics and update this thread as I go.
Please do!
Sounds like you've got a solid, sensible plan to turn things around. Good luck with it.
 

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re: compression

10.5:1 maybe too high for a turbo... How much boost are you planning to run?

With bad gas, it will detonate and break the pistons again... and mabe the crank.. and the rods... and the head gasket.

Anton
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I agree that is a a valid concern.

But 10.5 is what my tuner recommended, (I will not be doing the tuning, Joe is an AEM certified tech who travels around the world tuning race cars, trained by Mitch Pederson of Ronin's car fame) I am aware of the risks of detonation and plan to make sure it is tuned appropriately. It's made 280ish rwhp and 240ish pounds of torque running 12ish psi, but that had way too small of injectors running 90% duty cycle (not good). Even then it was able to have a A/F ratio around 11.2-11.4ish. And didn't have a detonation issue.

I suspect before I got the car the engine was overrev'd which over heated everything making the pistons and rings brittle and they finally gave out. But maybe they were just bad pistons. We'll find out when Tony over at Mahle gets them on Monday.

I am targeting only 15 psi or so but we'll see how it performs.
 

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Subscribed as I did a motor swap this spring. I'm no expert but I was able to get through it pretty easily. Best of luck, can't wait to see howi turns out. You will love her so much after!
 

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Discussion Starter #7
And for today's latest extra money to have to spend.... Turns out the exhaust manifold is too trashed to fix. Yay (he said sarcastically)

Luckily the awesome people at Radium have a solution. I just ordered their exhaust manifold with the heat shield from here:

https://radiumauto.com/index.php?p=product&id=18&parent=1

It's another work of art, though it will be hidden by the heat shielding. This will require me to get a T3 to T25 adapter (I'm not about to replace the turbo that I just bought) and then have the exhaust reworked, but I think the quality of the part and the ability to reduce some of the engine compartment heat will be well worth it.
 

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Will the T25, with the adapter, fit under the heat shielding designed for just the T3?
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Shouldn't be a problem at all. The shielding is a thermal blanket that wraps around the manifold. It leaves the t3 flange completely exposed. The adapter will cause the turbo to mount a little bit lower but that shouldn't be an issue.
 

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any idea why Mahle 9:1 compression pistons have failed?

Fuel Surge Tank kit w/FPR will require truck mount if it is force fed kit. the standard mount gets in the way of the intake pipe
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Don't know yet...will find out next week after Mahle has a chance to look at them.

Here's a close up of one of them though:

 

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Discussion Starter #13
Well...if you like your car making a smoke screen like you are James Bond or something, it's kinda fun :)
 

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Discussion Starter #14
She's Neked!

Had a bit of time tonight so I decided to remove the front clam. I was really worried about this because for some reason from the posts I've read I got into my head that this was a big deal. My worries were unfounded though. It took an hour an a half, and the only issue I ran into was the 15 minutes I spent trying to find a couple of misplaced tools. So here's my clamless beauty:

 

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Discussion Starter #17
Yup...I'm leaving it up front since my intercooler is already in the best spot to relocate it to in the back. The Sector 111 ONEcoolerLINES will be solving that potential issue for me.

That being said my lines seem to be in perfect shape. I hate the idea of having to cut perfectly good equipment to swap it out.
 

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Discussion Starter #18 (Edited)
Radiator is out

Just finished removing the stock Radiator. Looks like it is in perfect condition, no signs of leaks anywhere. Anyone wanna buy it? :)

Removing it wasn't that bad. I had found some threads here on how to get it out with out removing the condenser.

First I removed the 10mm bolts holding it to the brackets at the top. This was a pain because the only things I could get to fit was a combination wrench. Next were the little 8mm bolts and nuts that connect the radiator to the condenser at that top. This was a pain until I figure out I could first remove the hoses and then lift both together up and fit a socket wrench underneath it (you can see where the 10mm bolts were in this pic:



Then simply reach through the crash structure opening up to remove the two 10mm nuts. They are right above the black rectangle with the extruded looking circle in it in the upper right hand corner of this pic. This was a little tiring because again I could only get a combination wrench in there.



Finally push up on the radiator at the front to separate it from the condenser and slide it up. Then no more radiator:

 

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Discussion Starter #19
And the reason my pistons bloe up is.......

Design flaw.

Mahle checked out the hardness, looked for detonation wear, lack of oil, etc. He said they looked like they had barely been used. But they are a 5 year old piston, and they have since been redesigned because the area between the first ring and the valve reliefs was too thin.

So basically there is nothing I could have done to prevent this, and a poor design resulted in my having to basically replace my engine.

On the plus side they are sending me out a new set of pistons with the modified design for free. I just have to decide if I want to go that route or use the Wiseco pistons I've already ordered.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Coolant sytem

Here are all the parts going into the coolant system. Much of it is overkill but hey, that's just how I roll.



One the left is the Radium solution for cooling the turbo from their awesome Turbo hard parts kits. Then I'm using Constant Torque stainless steel Breeze Clamps. These are really an impressive design. They will hold the same torque no matter the temp. Downside is they are much heavier than a standard hose clamp. But at least I'll know they are not ever going to let go.

Then above is the proRAD from Sector 111, and to the right are the perfectly formed COOLANThoses, also from Sector 111.

Finally on the right is the gorgeous radium coolant expansion tank with the Cosworth 1.3 bar cap on it.

The only thing not shown is the 170 degree thermostat I have on the way from Monkey Wrench.

Now it's time to start installing some of this. More updates will follow as it goes.
 
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