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The Elise has been my dream car since I first read about them. That was probably 2003-ish. I've had somewhere around 40 cars, most of them centered around the Lotus formula (light, agile, modest power), but the pinnacle has always been the Elise. The prices just won't budge into my range. Until I came across this one with a salvage title and a few needs. I'm completely OK with fixing things (just completed a 3 year ground-up restoration on a '68 Corvette), so the needs don't bother me. I don't have the car yet (waiting on shipping). Pretty stoked, though!
It will be my daily, which is (IMO) the only way to enjoy a car. It will actually be more comfortable and civilized than several daily drivers I've had over the years. And considering that 6 of my previous daily drivers have been under 100 hp, I expect the stock engine will be all I need. Honestly, my only fear is that it will have too much grip. I'm from the school of thought that a big-power big-grip car is less fun on the street. You either have to drive the car at 6/10ths (which is BOOOORING) or get so stupid that you're dangerous to yourself and others. My most fun car was a '90 Miata that I put a 1.8L engine and all adjustable suspension on. You could drive that thing to 10/10ths every day and barely raise an eyebrow. Waaaay more fun than Corvette on the street. With the Elise, I'm looking for a super-Miata. That is: tossable, communicative, and lively.
Oh, and it will be getting a weapons-grade stereo. I weigh 150 lbs, so I can justify the added 20 lbs of equipment... :grin2:
 

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Congrats on the purchase. In regards to the fun factor, it will be there IMO at all powerbands. I wouldn't worry about the grip aspect too much. Also, idk if you want to really drive this car 10/10ths on the street. That seems a little dangerous. Might be better suited for the track in that regards. As you stated, it's like a super Miata, so driving it 6/10ths might give you the same thrill already. Definitely drive it first so you can fully understand the car and how you feel about it. Hard to gauge without driving around in it for some time. Anyways, looking forward to those pics once it has been delivered. Enjoy

Gabe
 

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Congrats on picking up the car and welcome to the forums! You are going to have a blast with it just in stock form. Why worry about grip? Are you planning on drifting around corners or something? I would have to agree with NoRawkus. Hell no would I be driving the Elise at 10/10ths. Thats waaaaaaay above my driving skill and not safe on the street. These cars can inspire a lot of confidence that can turn bad real quick. Drive it, feel it out and have fun.

Post up some pics when you get it!!
 
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In my experience it feels scary to drive the Lotus Elise 10/10ths for street/canyon driving. On the track is a different story as long as the track has decent run-off or shoulders for a spin. Acceleration is not an issue, it's more the curves that unsettle me. I know the grip is high but I feel like I cannot fully trust that I will maintain traction. Recently had a canyon run with Lotus club of socal and stayed in the "slow" group because others drive fast/aggresive and I don't want to feel pressured in driving out of my comfort zone. A Lotus documentary says it best "It rewards the driver at any skill level". It is still fun at 6/10ths but regular street driving can get boring. The only thing that is entertaining to me during "boring" driving is the reality of driving such a unique car on the road and seeing peoples reactions or occasionally flooring it.

BTW: Congrats, it's good to see another long time dreamer finally get their dream car! : )
 

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The performance envelope of a stock Elise is much better suited to US conditions than huge hp cars.

Plus, it's fun to drive a nimble, sensory-filled car.

However, no one signed up to share the road with a driver trying to go way, way too fast on public roads. Even 8/10s may be unsafe for everyone.

We need large margins for road driving. Kids, pets, dumb drivers abound. Deer run out at inopportune times, etc.
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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.


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. 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.


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.


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 #6
glb: Lots of good stuff in there. Much of it, I'm come across in hours and hours of reading on this (excellent!) forum. As soon as I get the car, all fluids are getting changed (including coolant, brake, transmission) and it's getting HID lights. I'm used to older cars which take much more care to drive, so most of that advice is SOP for me. I'm a mechanical engineer and actually enjoy the maintenance. Nothing like that fresh-oil-change feel... But there were a few things I hadn't come across yet. I'm going to follow all those links. Thanks much for taking the time.
Also, have no fear about my driving, lol! I've been driving for nearly 30 years in all manner of bizarre cars combined with every conceivable road condition (besides maybe... I don't know, lava or something) and haven't had an accident. The origin of the question was my old Miata where I went through several sets of tires before finding the perfect ones for me (Dunlop D60A2 if anybody cares - this was back in the mid-90's). They communicated well, had very well-behaved break-away, and modest max grip. I tried some ultra-high-performance summer tires and hated them. You'd have to put yourself in a situation where if the tires broke loose, you were too far out there to catch it (which would kind of ruin the fun). With my suspension set up and tires, I could confidently kick the tail out at will. Even with all of 130-ish hp, I could explore the performance envelope on my commute. And yes, it was absolutely and 100% of the time when there was nobody else around and a spin would do no damage to car, me, or anything else. It takes some research and patience to accomplish this, but it is possible. Real fun is work! The goal is balance and communication.
I'm pretty risk-averse. Actually, I say that I have too good an imagination to do anything dangerous. I can imagine all the parts that could break and just how much it would hurt...
 
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