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Discussion Starter #1
I think we will agree LSD is a must if available and apparently it will be, so I'm definetely ordering the Elise once the LSD can be ordered.

What about the LSS package?
Can you replicate it at similar cost an get better AutoX performance potential?

Everyone must agree that the extra 1" of wheel width in front is also a must, but can you replicate LSS for similar cost and get better AutoX performance potential?

I believe most of us would still replace the shocks with DAs (Konis?) and it seems that the LSS wheels although lighter, are not the lightest you can get.

I've read that non-LSS and LSS ride height can be adjusted in the same way. Is this true?
If above holds, then are springs the only difference between non-LSS and LSS after replacing shocks and wheels?
The spring set shouldn't be expensive at all ($300 max), and I assumme you should be able to get it from the OEM manufacturer or equivalent.

Please help, I want to make the best use of the extra $2,500, and I believe other that are seious about Solo2 will have the same questions.
 

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A VERY GOOD question and one I thought a bit about.

I think it's close as far as value and may come down to your specific method of campaigning the car in SCCA.

Wheels
Tires
Struts


Springs
Steering Rack Spacer


Alignment and ride height

Which of those items would you opt to use someone else's aftermarket parts?

The red items you have no choice, you have to buy those from Lotus. The blue items presumably you upgraded with aftermarket instead. The green is not a real significant cost point but may involve some hassle.

How much are the red items? You can't just buy an equivalent set of springs. They have to be the Lotus items. The same items. How much will they cost? If they cost $1000 for the springs and the spacer, than the LSS was only $1495 more for the strut, wheel, and tyre difference.

If you intend on replacing the struts, with what would you replace them with? DA Konis? Can we find them for the Elise? Or would you look into the external reservoir custom valved struts costing $5k or more? If you do tear off the LSS struts, then that part was a waste, but they do become nice spare parts with some value.


As far as wheels, the LSS rims are not a bad way to go and could easily cost you $1000 or more for an equivalent set of aftermarket racing rims. Still, upgrading means you have an instant set of street rims from the stock rims, and those who opt for LSS may still consider that they need a second set of rims. That depends if you dedicate a set of rims for Hoosiers, which most serious autocrossers will. Hmm... I wonder what the costs will be from Lotus for stock rims or LSS rims?

The tires? For me, they would be used even if I went to Hoosiers. They would become very nice street or practice tires.

So it's a bit convoluted. Her was my last summation to myself about it, after I had decided to not get the LSS. I am now getting it.

I don't want to worry about struts right away. It may be a while before the "best" solution for struts is determined for autocross. Normally you do not see the high end struts right away and I am not sure I want to be the test car for a company like Ankeny Racing Enterprises or ProParts. Having LSS means I have the best stock set up for competition, out of the box.

There is still a possibility that Hoosiers will not fit. If they do not, then I won't be taking the car to Topeka and putting on different struts anyway.

I do believe, that though autocross is a little different animal, the folks at Lotus did do their homework on the car and I expect the LSS car to perform well. Perhaps even well enough with some stickier tires on it without me doing anything to the car. That is my first plan. Autocross it out of the box like it is. I can tell if the lack of LSD will be there and how much it's affecting my times. I will try to be sensitive to the car needing changes in strut rebound or compression.

If I did not have LSS, than for competition, I would not know if the car was setup well enough to win. I would be asking myself if I had LSS, would the car be a second faster? And I still would have then bought the set of racing rims anyways to find out.


If it's not competitive in it's class, so be it. I will still have a very nice performance car. And then I would not buy a second set of rims. Or different struts. I would be happy with my car for a local autocrosser and for fun. The total cost for that would have been around $2500 more than stock.

If I bought stock, and bought some aftermarket rims for $1000, and put on some Hoosier tires for $800, and bought the springs and struts for another $1500, and bought the plate and did an alignment for $200... I would have spent $3500 more (not all wasted of course!) to determine how competitive the car is.

Using my scenario now, if I do determine that car should be taken a step or two futher for national competition, I can do it after the fact. I will then get a second set of rims, more tires, upgrade the struts. At that point, it will be easier to absorb the financial hit since the car will be paid for.

My fall back position has always been 125cc Shifter karts for national events, Elise for fun.

The journey starts soon... :)
 

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It will depend partly on how much Lotus wants to charge for the parts that must come from the manufacturer, which are the springs and the steering rack spacers. Someone could probably determine what Lotus currently charges for these parts. In fact, Arno said in another thread that the spacers were pretty cheap.
Springs for most cars are $50 each.

Shocks: You'll be replacing these whether you get the LSS or not. With the LSS, you could try to convince Bilstein to convert the shocks to be adjustable, or you could have them revalved until you're happy with them. Of course, the standard shocks are also Bilstein, and if the dimensions match within 1", you could do either of those things with the standard shocks as well, and you could legally use them as a part of an LSS suspension setup.

Wheels: 2001+ Miata wheels will work for the front with spacers (9mm difference, 4mm-15mm would be legal). Those run about $150 each. For the rears you could get Volk Gramlights (need spacers, 6mm-18mm) for around $250 each. Full custom from Kodiak would be $380 front, $450 rear. Total price $850-1700.
You're going to have to buy a 2nd set of wheels for your race tires in either case, so this cost shouldn't really count unless you want your street wheels to be the same size as your race wheels. In that case, go ahead and add in the price of a full custom set from Kodiak, less the selling price of the base model Lotus wheels (some Miata geek would kill for those, and if you team up with another Elise racer, you can sell a matched set of 16"s to a racer and a set of 17"s to a ricer :)). You wouldn't want to run mistmatched wheels on the street now, would you? Figure you could sell the base wheels for at least $150 each, so the "cost" of upgrading a base to LSS in the wheels department is $1100.

So $200 for springs plus (wild guess) $100 for the steering rack spacers plus $1100 for a wheel trade-up to snazzy forged & anodized Kodiaks puts you at $1400

That leaves $1100 to cover anything else I may have left out.
 

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lol John... looks like we were typing the same time. Your response is well thought out. I thought springs from Lotus would be more expensive, but that would be nice to find they are that cheap.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks guys, great responses. I didn't know about the steering rack spacer.
Great Info on the wheels John. I agree with either LSS or non-LSS I will still need a second set of wheels for Hoosiers. It seems that going for the Custom Wheels will not be that expensive (it's all relative) for this car. Do you happen the know the aprox. weight of the Kodiaks?

In my case, I need the Elise to be competitive in its class, if not this year at least next. I already have an Autocross ride that's lots of fun to drive in the street and run in AutoX (that can win locally with no problem) but is not the car to have in its class. The Elise will be solely for AutoX (plan to compete in National events) and some track events. Since my intention for the dual purpose use, I still will put DA shocks as soon as a solution becomes available. Koni must offer something for the car in Europe. Anyone knows?

Hopefully, Lotus will sell the springs and spacer at a price close to John's estimate.

If Hoosiers fit or not is the other key factor affecting go / no-go decison. I'm still waiting until the LSD becomes a real option as I don't want to bear the backdating risk, so we will know for sure by then.
 

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Has Hoosier decided not to make a 195/50 R16 tire? I suppose the target market would indeed be small. I guess I have no idea how much tooling/R&D cost goes into making a new tire similar to tires you already make.
 

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I'm hoping that someone can ask at their Lotus parts department about the price of the equivalent parts (springs and brackets) for the S2/Elise 190. That ought to give some indication of what the parts for the new car will cost.

I'm also rethinking how desirable the standard wheels will be to owners of other cars. The fronts are only 5.5" wide, in a market where the narrowest non-OE wheel you can buy is 7" (with very few exceptions). And the offsets are very large on front and especially rear. Not many other cars are going to have the combination of low offset and 4x100mm bolt pattern. If you find that you can't sell them, then buy the Miata wheels, keep the stock rears and turn the stock fronts into furniture. Buy Kodiaks for the street, and you've spent $2050. That's still only $1200 more than the LSS option with Miata wheels and Gramlights.

The Kodiak wheels are around 11-12 pounds for the 16x6.5" size. You can probably guess as well as I can what that means for the 17x7.5" size.
 

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strawtarget said:
Has Hoosier decided not to make a 195/50 R16 tire? I suppose the target market would indeed be small. I guess I have no idea how much tooling/R&D cost goes into making a new tire similar to tires you already make.
I highly doubt we could convince them that it is worthwhile. They are probably working on the new 19" for the new Corvette.

It took us years to convince Kumho to make a 225 series 14" tire, and they used a 205 mold to make the 225s. "Wait, we also wanted the 205! argh..."
 

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Great thread - Randy I like your logic (I had pretty much convinced myself of the same thing). I am hoping that the out of the box suspension will be suited for DOT R tires (assuming the Yoks have similar characteristics - I would presume so for treadwear 50 tires)

Regarding 195 Hoosiers - they said they would watch the situation - which means until someone tries them they won't do anything.

I was actually thinking of getting 15"/16" rims for the street, which seem to be the preferred size from our European friends. I figure it gives more tire choices, and rim choices, so long as it clears the brakes. Tires are cheaper too - so my $/mile for tires is better.

Steve
 

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lol, my thinking was very similar to Randy's. Since the best setup or setups for solo2 won't be known right away, by ordering the LSS I will have a great starting point right out of the box. I can by a set of cheap street wheels and tires and I'm ready to go.
One thing I've been wondering is, if we can indeed use a 205 on the front, a stiffer front bar could be used/needed and this would create less of a need for an LSD (this is all hopeful speculation of course:).
 
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