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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So, after weighing all my options, I'm installing the Lotus factory supercharger, since the fascist empire of California makes it too damn hard to get something better in a street legal car.

I dropped my car off at the Silicon Valley Auto Group this morning, and had a chance to check out the kit. It comes in an enormous box and contains far more stuff than I imagined; dozens of labeled baggies with screws, all sorts of brackets, cables, hoses, electrical wires, new ECU, etc. It's definitely a much bigger pile of parts than what I've seen of the other kits. Unfortunately, I neglected to bring my camera with me to take some pictures, but I was genuinely surprised by the number of parts.

I'm attaching a baseline dyno of my car to this post, and I'll post some engine bay pictures and a supercharged dyno when I get a chance to go back to the same dyno. Jordan at SVAG was nice enough to let me take their factory Elise SC for a drive before I decided on the supercharger, and there is a noticeable difference in power, but it definitely feels weaker than a friend's BWR SC that I had a chance to drive. I'm taking my newly supercharged car to the track this Friday and I'll post some impressions after I return.

So, here's the baseline dyno. The dynamometer seems to read way low, but once I post the second chart from the same one, it should make for a good relative comparison:
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
I got my car back from the supercharger installation, and what a difference! There is a lot more torque in the midrange, and the engine feels more powerful in the entire power band. There's no perceptible kick anymore when the second cam kicks in, it's just smooth transition all the time, meaning that Lotus tuned the ECU to switch cams at the exact right time. From the change in sound, it's switching in the mid 4000's under full throttle, and later under partial throttle.

The enormous box of parts contained pretty much every single part to make my 2007 engine bay like that in a factory SC car, down to trim pieces. There are some meaty brackets to move the alternator, new injectors, new dipstick tube, various new hoses and vacuum cables and a whole bunch of other bits. I'm attaching pictures of the engine bay and the parts box that's almost as tall as the Elise.

Now, for some bad news. Since I'm driving to Thunderhill Raceway tomorrow to put the car through its paces, I wanted to make sure that everything was working well, so I went out and did a few hard pulls on the highway. When driving home, I noticed that the engine stalled a couple of times, but it seemed to be working well otherwise. Then, it started making a horrible, screeching sound and it no longer idles. I'm guessing the supercharger seized or something. Luckily, this was about half a mile from home, so I pushed the car home and I'll tow it to the dealer tomorrow. I hope it's not too serious.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
SVAG has a pretty good deal for LotusTalk members. It was about $7350 with all taxes and labor, but I paid $500 to keep my old ECU, it would be that much cheaper if you sent the ECU back to Lotus.
 

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Squeeling is probably coming from the belt area. You may start the car up and make sure the pulleys are moving consistantly (looking for indication of a loose belt) or perhaps you might have another issue (like scrolling down to the "terrible sound" thread). Getting the serpentine belt on and off is actually VERY easy and only take a couple minutes, but only after you've done it once and understand what your doing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I visited the dealer this morning, and the squealing isn't just a loose belt.

There's a little metal plug that screws into a hole in the super charger. When this screw isn't present, the pressurized air escapes and makes that sound that I thought was squealing. The unfortunate part is that the plug came loose and got sucked into the super charger, which tore up the vanes and sent metal shavings into the engine.

They've ordered a new super charger and they're going to disassemble the engine and look for damage.
 

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I visited the dealer this morning, and the squealing isn't just a loose belt.

There's a little metal plug that screws into a hole in the super charger. When this screw isn't present, the pressurized air escapes and makes that sound that I thought was squealing. The unfortunate part is that the plug came loose and got sucked into the super charger, which tore up the vanes and sent metal shavings into the engine.

They've ordered a new super charger and they're going to disassemble the engine and look for damage.
Oh my god......

This could be a painful experience.

If there's ANY trace of damage to the engine, I suggest asking for a brand new replacement engine.
 

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Recall?

I visited the dealer this morning, and the squealing isn't just a loose belt.

There's a little metal plug that screws into a hole in the super charger. When this screw isn't present, the pressurized air escapes and makes that sound that I thought was squealing. The unfortunate part is that the plug came loose and got sucked into the super charger, which tore up the vanes and sent metal shavings into the engine.

They've ordered a new super charger and they're going to disassemble the engine and look for damage.
:crazyeyes "Plug came loose?" This should not be possible. If that's what happened, it's an unacceptable design flaw. :no:

Everyone with the factory supercharger, including Elise SC owners, must now live in fear of catastrophic foreign-object-damage at any moment! TADTS

If I had one of these, I'd park it immediately until the factory recall which will surely be imminent. :wallbang:

Ouch. I predict you'll get a new engine. :sad:
 

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Yup, turns out I'm probably getting a new engine.

According to the service rep, as a result of my car's failure, Lotus is replacing that stupid threaded plug with a bolt that has a head so that it can't fall in.
You must be happy you had Lotus do the install. I would be willing to wager you'd have a huge fight on your hands if something like this happened with an aftermarket SC installed by a speed shop somewhere.

On the bright side, for $7350, you get a new, supercharged engine. Score.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
My service rep at Silicon Valley Auto Group just called me, and it looks like this particular super charger problem that I had was due to the wrong part being shipped with my specific super charger, I must have misunderstood him when I thought that other superchargers have this issue. So, other factory SC owners and buyers, there's no need to worry, you're safe :D.

It's a bummer that my car's out of commission for a while, but I'm actually quite happy with the way Lotus and Jordan at Silicon Valley Auto Group are handling this problem.

Once the new engine is broken in, I'll post some dynos for comparison for others who may be thinking of this same supercharger install.
 

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When I installed my factory supercharger, that plug didn't fit correctly. Instead of tightening up as you would expect a tapered pipe thread plug to do, it would just keep going further and further in, until it would come out the other side. I asked a Lotus tech about this and he said to just install it flush in the supercharger housing, using loctite, per the kit instructions.

Well, when I first tried installing the plug and it went in too far, I dropped it on the floor when removing it--never to be seen again. After getting the tech's advice, I went out and bought a replacement 1/8 NPT plug. The replacement plug fit and tightened up properly. I wonder if Lotus inadvertently supplied some sort of untapered plug with the kits.

Based on the op's experience, I'm glad I dropped that plug! About 2000 miles (including about 130 track miles at Laguna Seca) on the car since the install and no problems.
 
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