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Heal/Toe Question For All Current Owners

2153 Views 25 Replies 19 Participants Last post by  jtanner
Well, I took a test drive two weeks ago, and ordered my car one week after that. I want the car. That won't change. But during the test drive, I experienced exactly what this guy experienced -- here is his post, verbatim, cut and pasted from Roadfly:

"Accelerator 'bar' doesn't allow heel toe shifting - at all. the brakes were mushy but more than ample. (likely the choice of street pads which i'd bet are those mush-as-s ferrodo ds2500's, almost gty that since ap and brembo both use ferrodo) the brake pedal is so far lower than the accelerator, under hard braking, that if you intend to heel-toe you will be yanking the pedal and carting it off to your local machine shop for an extension. even a roll-off (which i do not like) is impossible - by the time you are hard on the brakes there is no way you are rolling a blip to this throttle (real disappointment!)"

That was my experience exactly. Someone on this board (John/SUV-bait) says this is a known issue, but not permanent; that the brakes just need numerous bleedings after the car has been delivered.

But what's been the real-world experience for folks on this board?

Now that at least 15-20 of you have the car, what are your thoughts on heal-toe and pedal height? I mean, heal-toe is one of the few "fun" things you can do during street driving w/out breaking the law -- and I can't believe Lotus would screw this up.

Are pedal heights adjustable? And what is the exact mechanical issue that requires so many brake bleeds before the car is sorted?
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Hmmm>>> not my experience...

can do a 'rolling' style 'heal & toe' just fine... I find at point of firm engagement of the brakes and thus positioning of the brake pedal to be linear to accelerator pedal and thus can do roll...the only problem I most definetely see coming is wearing larger 10+ size street shoes and working pedals..the pedals are just too close toether...but for me I either do not wear shoes while driving and when I do wear shoes (on rare occassions) they be Piloti DTMs...What is interesting is there is quite a differing opinion on this subject...but mine is good :)
I posted earlier on this and my experience is the same as yours. After 1500miles, there is no change in the relationship. I can't figure it out.
I'm pretty sure the pedals are adjustable. From day one I've found my pedals to be perfect for heel and toeing. With the the throttle closed and brake pedal all the way in, I doubt their's more than 3/4" (surely less that) difference between heighth of accel and brake peds. I also don't encounter any mushiness at all brakes come on quickly and predictably. Possibly your brakes need bleeding??
I specifically asked the dealer to check with the regional rep on brake (and clutch) pedal adjustments - none are apparently available, and the "dead travel" (~1") at the begining of brake pedal engagement does not go away with bleeding (unless it takes many more than two bleeds). There was a rumour that Lotus was looking for a way to cure the initial brake pedal softness, but the tech at my dealer couldn't confirm that.

The relative pedal position, however, isn't a problem for me. I, too, use the "roll the side of your foot onto the gas" method to rev match w/o a problem. Getting the revs to match usually requires a healthy stab at the gas - so the pedal position works better the harder you're driving. Admittedly, I can't get the "ball of the foot on brake, heel on the gas" method to work. Doing it that way, my heel always seems to be below where the accelerator pedal ends. Maybe you should start practicing the "roll" method?
I suspect that there is a lot of variation between cars. I drove the demo car at Lotus of Atlanta and it was fine, on my car the brake is too low to even roll my foot and catch the gas pedal. I am going to look at it today and see if I can adjust it.
I seem to recall Dave Simkin mentioning possibility of adjusting the pedals at the tech session at LOG, perhaps someone else that was there can tell me if its a figment of my imagination!;)
Yes, if adjustment is possible, then this is all relatively moot. Please report back.

Meanwhile, are there online service instructions for brake bleeding?
I've not found heal/toe problematic, whether on the street for a casual corner or in anger on track/autoX. Granted I have average feet (9.5), and use more a rolling of the foot motion with the heal of my foot on the floorboard & knee turned inward (to the left).

But, no problems... Very easy and natural to do.

Also have not found much variance in feel from Elise to Elise - this is with a couple pre-production cars, a few of the LA Show/Press cars & a few production cars. I would have expected a big different with the pre-production cars to the production, but didn't feel anything significant.

anyone try left foot braking yet? especially while driving the car hard during autocross or on a track?
FWIW on BMWs an initial pedal softness characteristic can be caused by an improper adjustment of the pushrod between the pedal and the brake master/booster. This adjustment also affects brake pedal height.

You can heel and toe the car with heel on the brake pedal, toes pointing toward about 10-11 o'clock. I need a bit more angle than I do for my BMW due to the shorter gas pedal on the Elise. If you are not careful and / or have long feet your heel can rub on the center frame element. With some practice it seems to be getting easier for me, but I still am thinking about what it would be like with a gas pedal that extended closer to the floor.
Oh, sorry. From the title of this thread, I thought it was a discussion of remedies for foot problems.
I can do it no problem. Even with my size 15 Nikes.
No problem

I only wear 9-1/2's, but have wide feet so took a pair of narrow (tight) shoes for my test drive but forgot to put them on. Later, on my way home, talking to my brother about our experiences, I realized I hadn't changed from my wide-soled sneakers. I had no problem at all. In fact, probably the strongest impression the car made on me was how easy it was to drive. Within a couple minutes, I felt like I'd been driving an Elise all my life and I had plenty of opportunity to downshift while braking for turns. In '97, when I first sat in an Elise I had this strong feeling that this car was EXACTLY what I wanted and so far I have not been disappointed. When I sat in a show car this past spring, the dead pedal could not be used without partially depressing the clutch pedal, but it wasn't a real production U.S. spec Elise. I heard it was a Euro-market car that had been modified to look like the planned U.S. version. The dead pedal in the car I drove was very useable. Maybe I only use the toe of my shoes to press the pedals, but whatever I do works easily on the Elise.
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I wore size 10 Speedcats on my test drive and found the brake pedal soft and travel long. I could, with some effort, roll onto the gas, but by doing this I put quite a bit of sideways stress on the gas. I could see an uncomfortable amount of flex in the accerator pedal.

After my drive I talked with the service manager about the car the the topic of heel/toe came up. He too thought there was too much travel in the brake and had trouble with rev matching.
(new poster here, I've had my Elise for a little over a month now, but am new here)

I've only had problems with driving if I'm wearing very wide shoes. I wear 10.5-11, and generally the shoes can't have a very wide protruding lip. No problems with heel & toe, however.

There is a bit more brake pedal travel in the S2 than the S1. May have something to do with the ABS. I installed braided steel brake lines in my Exige have NO problem heel and toeing. The braided lines resulted in a firmer feel on the pedal. Not sure if that will be the same result in an S2. I will try to source and let you all know once I have done that. I have no problem heel and toeing on an S2 with my size 13 foot. I place the ball of my foot on the brake and have plenty of heel left to bleep the throttle. Practice.......The set up is good!!! I would be VERY hesitant to remanufacture or add to the throttle in any way!!!!!
I have a bit of trouble heel and toeing. The throttle pedal is a tad to high for my fat feet to roll over on the throttle pedal just right. Note that this seems to be an individual thing. Each person's "style" is probably slightly different.

I haven't gotten down under the dash to look at things, but the S1 had an adjustable linkage on the throttle pedal. By adjusting the linkage, the stop bolt on the bottom, and hopefully a stop bolt on the top, the throttle pedal height can be adjusted. One of these days, I'm going to get under there and find out...
FWIW: I'm happy with the horizontal gap/distance between the brake and throttle. And I think the relative pedal heights would be fine if the brake pedal weren't so mushy. Granted, I only drove the car for 20-25 minutes, but the pedal was mushy, no question about it.

Excuse my mechanical ignorance, but is a mushy pedal something that Lotus just doesn't address during engineering? Something that should be addressed, but isn't, i.e., it's an unfortunate by-product of hand-building? Something that I can fix over time? In other words, Once mushy, always mushy?

I posed my heal-toe frustration to the guy who performance-tested the Elise for Sport Compact Car; he and his crew had a sport-pack car for about a week. Here's the email dialouge.

[Me] "The pedal box is indeed small, and I found the brake pedal to be too mushy for my heal-toe style, but I guess I'll find a way to adapt."

[Him] "I wonder if Lotus just doesn't have the fancy pants bleeding equipment you need to build an ABS system. At the Ford Focus factory they have this big aparatus that sucks a vacuum in the entire brake system, checks it for leaks, and then fills the vacuum with brake fluid. Lotus probably has a guy with a bottle and another guy pushing the brake pedal. I noticed some initial slop in the pedal on our car, but it stopped at exactly gas pedal height, so it seemed to be pretty well planned. The brakes never faded during our pounding, while a brand-new NSX destroyed a set of rear brake pads during the same drive."

[end exchange]

So does anyone know exactly how Lotus prepares its braking syystem before delivery?

And, BTW, I also agree with the poster who says the throttle really needs a healthy stab for rev-matching. I found the same thing during my test drive.
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I had problems on my S1 Exige with the brake pedal going too low during heavy braking on the track. I built up my brake pedal about 1/4" and it is fine now.

I built up the pedal by bolting a 1/4" piece of aluminum to it.
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