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Discussion Starter #1
I'm in the market for an Elise and found one with low miles with a bunch of mods including stage 2 forced fed turbo. I will be daily driving the car and taking to autocross and occasional driving events. The car has EFI engine management, big brakes, ohlins, and looks like a screamer. Are the turbo setups generally pretty reliable? Work was done by Paladin motorsports in LA. Any thoughts? I live in San Diego. Anybody know of anybody that could work on the car in SD? How often do they need to be tuned or serviced? I'll put around 9k miles / year.

I was planning on getting a stockish Elise and adding some aftermarket updates over time, but this car looks like it has all the goodies I'd want.
 

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I drive a 2005 Elise with alcon big brakes, ohlins, and 275 FF turbo kit. I do not use mine as a daily driver. for a daily driver mine is loud and main reason for that is has no muffler other than turbo. You would need to setup the ohlins for street settings. mine is setup for the track and is a little hard.

Are the turbo setups generally pretty reliable? That depends on how it is driven, the EFI setup. alot of people have blown motors if the EFI turbo engine managementis not setup right. have the internals of the motor been improved?

If you are going much over 300hp it is my understanding the engine internals can have issues.

What type of EFI engine management,does it have? If it is a unichip you will need to replace it.

I would recommend a compression check if you buy the car.

I run a DRS standalone ECU and it works very well.
 

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Congratulations! You are the 1,000,000th caller to the 'Elise Daily Driver' sweepstakes line.

Your prize is forum Nazis telling you to use the search button! :)
 

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I'm in the market for an Elise and found one with low miles with a bunch of mods including stage 2 forced fed turbo. I will be daily driving the car and taking to autocross and occasional driving events. The car has EFI engine management, big brakes, ohlins, and looks like a screamer. Are the turbo setups generally pretty reliable? Work was done by Paladin motorsports in LA. Any thoughts? I live in San Diego. Anybody know of anybody that could work on the car in SD? How often do they need to be tuned or serviced? I'll put around 9k miles / year.

I was planning on getting a stockish Elise and adding some aftermarket updates over time, but this car looks like it has all the goodies I'd want.
The Forced Fed kits are extremely reliable if installed correctly. The main weak point on them was the piggyback ECU they came with, but an EFI standalone takes care of that problem. That being said, the EFI unit won't pass OBDII inspection due to being a standalone, so if you have to get it inspected in Cali then this isn't the car for you, unless you want to swap out to a factory ECU, factory injectors, find a way to make sure no boost is built, and stutter around town until you (maybe) get all your OBDII codes to ready state. The hard parts of the kit are top-notch and very well-engineered. There are people on this forum that have driven cars with the FF kits for 4+ years with absolutely no problems.

That being said, things can still break and go wrong, even on good kits. Right after I got my car (which had the FF275 kit), the turbo had to be replaced, a couple necessary brackets were missing and had to be sourced/installed, I had to reconfigure the MAF piping and find an essentially custom filter to work with the new routing, replace an expansion tank that was ruptured most likely from handling during the installation of the kit, and finally fly someone down to do a new custom tune on the car and rent out a dyno for the entire afternoon. And this was on car with a very well-made kit that was (supposedly) complete and that was installed at one of the top tuner shops in the nation. I've spent another 6k dollars and tons of time and plenty of headaches to get a car that was supposedly good to go from the start to where it is now. I'm not saying that this is going to happen to you or that it is even normal, but you just need to remember that a turbo kit introduces a lot of new parts which are a lot of additional things that could break or mess up, and if you aren't well-versed in these cars and have all the proper tools to fix these type of things, you are going to have to take it to shops to be worked on, and that isn't cheap.

OK, enough of the doom and gloom. Assuming the kit is properly installed in its entirety, and the tune is spot-on, then there really shouldn't be much additional servicing you need to worry about. I'd probably get under the car every couple thousand miles or so and make sure everything is secured properly and tightened, there aren't any leaks coming the turbo or the piping surrounding it (be it oil, coolant, whatever), and make sure the heat from the turbo isn't slowly frying any nearby hoses or something. I'd also be sure to have the proper gauges installed to monitor everything while driving. Personally, I have oil temp, oil pressure, wideband, and fuel pressure gauges along with the temperature display on the dash, and I check all of the constantly while driving. The engine temp gauge saved my butt recently as the hose under my expansion tank decided to come off because the shop that did a lot of the work mentioned above decided it wasn't a good idea to fasten it down completely. I was able to shut the car off before the temperature got too high and saved my engine.

If you are really interested in the car, take it to a shop or to a person that is familiar with these kits and Lotus in general, and have a thorough inspection of not only the car, but also the kit. Make sure there aren't any parts missing or that don't look like they belong. In addition, inspect the engine and make sure all that glorious turbo boost hasn't caused damage.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for the responses, guys. I've driven a few stock Elises and know I can live with one as a daily driver, and will definitely be getting one, the turbo on this one was my main concern. The car is currently registered in CA and has a EFI X2 Engine Control with an EFI LCD dash. Is it the DMV that has to inspect for the OBDII codes or a shop? If it is a shop, it seems like that would be easy to get by ($$), but if it is the DMV could be a pain. Any others have experience with this? Converting back and forth does not sound like a fun option.

Otherwise, it sounds like if I get the car fully inspected, including compression testing, and everything looks good, I should have a great chance at minimal headaches... And if something goes wrong it will cost a ton of money. I can probably live with that. I'm going to see if there is someone familiar with these systems in San Diego as it would suck to have to get towed up to LA in the event of a problem or worse take it to someone that didn't know what they were doing.
 

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Your in cali?

Wow I would be very afraid of dealing with emissions with that car. Visual alone would be a problem, let one having a standalone that fails you for obd-ii non-compliance.
 
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