The Lotus Cars Community banner

1 - 4 of 4 Posts

·
Registered
2005 Lotus Elise (Arctic Silver)
Joined
·
2 Posts
Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hey, my name is Reese and I live in Tucson, AZ. I currently own a 2005 Lotus Elise, which is why I joined Lotus Talk. Below, I’ll give a fuller introduction to the car and to myself as I relate to cars:

My plan for the better part of a decade has been to get my hands on a 1989 air-cooled 911. I passed up two opportunities to buy one: Once for my 2006 Porsche Cayman S and another for my 2005 Lotus Elise. Each time, I made the decision based on reliability. I definitely regret buying the Cayman over the 911 because, at the time of that purchase (~2010), both cars were around the same price. Flash forward to when I sold the Cayman (2018), the Cayman held its value and the 9ll doubled in value.

I don’t regret buying the Elise over the 911 as much, but I certainly still shake my head at the decision every now and again, especially considering the Elise isn’t my only car like I intended it to be. I jumped on the Lotus because I saw one pop-up locally — the car was literally five miles from my front door. I would be a fool not to go and check it out. Once I scaled the sill to plop into the driver’s seat, I knew I was selling my Cayman. The Elise was everything I wanted my Cayman to be: Raw, tiny, mechanical, unique. And, to top it all off, it had a Toyota drivetrain. I made an offer and bought the car around a week later.

I have had the Elise for about 2.5 years now. One of my biggest qualms about it is that my wife all but refuses to get in it. I enjoy company on my drives, so it would be nice if I could share that with her. Now, before you go judging her too harshly, she has never had any interest in cars beyond them taking her from here to there. And so, in her eyes, the Lotus is an unforgiving car before, during, and after the ride:

Getting in the car is an event: The doors do not open partially, meaning they will swing to full wingspan. That makes the car a terror in tight spaces — I have to be vigilant about any obstacle within the car’s proximity, which means I need to pester my passengers about how they open the car door if there is anything nearby. Once the passenger ensures that they can safely open the door, they have to slide over the foot-long sill to fall another foot down into the seat. It’s impossible to be graceful entering the Elise.

Driving the car is an event: There are so many noises. Road noise. Tire noise. Engine noise. Rattles, creaks, and etcetera. The car is loud. Non-car enthusiasts will be uncomfortable. They will be shoulder-to-shoulder with me as I drive. They have to move their left leg out of my way if I need to shift into 5th or 6th gear. The seats, too, are paper-thin, which couples with the stiff ride to make bumps bruising. Oh, and as the driver, I get to worry about rock chips ruining my perfect paint as well as distracted drivers totaling the car by simply nicking the clamshell. My focused driving means I am more on-edge and less of a fun companion (probably).

Getting out of the car is an event: If the passenger thinks getting in the car is an exercise in gracelessness, just wait until it’s time to exit. Firstly, they still need to concern themselves over the wingspan of the car, only this time it is tougher to gauge because they are registering distance from inside. Next, they had the advantage of gravity when they got in the car, but, this time, they have to crawl over the one-foot high and one-foot wide sill. And they obviously don’t want to scuff the sill because it’s carbon fiber. And they don’t want to use the hardtop as a point of leverage because it’s not structural. Basically, they will look like a fool getting out of the car and they will need some minor acrobatics.

And so, all of this is to say that I do not bemoan my wife for not wanting to go driving with me, so you shouldn’t either.

The benefits of the Elise are pretty legendary, so I’m not going to belabor them here. The handling is absurd. The car weighs half of a normal car, so obviously it is nimble. Even though it has less than 200 hp, it’ll accelerate to 60 mph in less than 5 seconds, so it’s not slow. And, as you know, the driving experience is among the best the car world has to offer. Moreover, despite what some will tell you, having this car as a daily isn’t bad at all. If it’s just you, you have more than enough space to run errands with the passenger’s seat and trunk for storage. The gas mileage isn’t bad. And, if you have the right body shape, the seats are comfortable enough.

Now, the reason I don’t daily the car anymore has nothing to do with how uncomfortable the car is. The truth is, I got too nice of an example. The paint is perfect. The mileage is low. Nothing is wrong with the car. All this means that I will be the one to destroy the car when the car gets destroyed over the course of daily driving. I can’t bear that guilt, so I’ve turned it into a weekend car.

The decision to sideline the Elise was made far more palatable when I decided to get a “practical” daily driver: My 1996 M-Edition Mazda Miata. I fell in love with the Miata. I’ve devoted more time, labor, and money into the Miata than I care to admit. I just feel so much more comfortable driving the Miata because it definitely doesn’t have perfect paint and it has over 200k miles on the chassis. Really, anything I do to the car is improving something someone else ruined.

Speaking of stuff I’ve done to the Miata: In my buddy’s driveway, my brother and I took out the old engine at 194k miles and put in a fresh block with a turbo to boot (as well as a slew of other upgrades to pretty much everything mechanical). So, now my Miata puts out similar power to the Elise at a similar weight. Obviously, the Elise still handles better and outperforms the old Miata, but the fact that there isn’t as much separation between the two necessitates a change.

I plan on keeping the Miata forever, so that means the Elise has to go (eventually). I am torn between revisiting the air-cooled 911 dreams or upgrading my Elise to an Exige S (albeit a higher-mileage example that’s lived a life, so I can feel guiltless messing around with the car both on the streets and in the garage). I am currently leaning towards the Exige because I do love Lotus. Any feedback on the decision (especially from those of you that have, perhaps, owned both) would be awesome!

Oh, and I’ve included some pictures of both my Elise and my Miata.
14F154FC-C278-4EA7-B7C8-7F8F86FFD7EF.png
C71C7983-48C4-4E8E-92F5-08213FAA6C92.jpeg

14481FB9-5629-4821-96CF-5F961CEA66E2.jpeg
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
11,852 Posts
Good decision.

Brilliant cars; huge fun.


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.

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. As of this writing LEDs are not as good.

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. Transmission:

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 -35 minutes aftercoolant has reached full operating temp before engaging cam switchover.

For street cars, consider removing one or both oil coolers. Some cover them. Oil doesn’t get hot enough on street, leading to cam wiping.

I use Mobil 1 5W-40 Turbo Diesel oil. 85k miles and fine, but one is not a useful example.

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:

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:

Remote Key Fob, Immobilizer & Misc Alarm Programming

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.

You NEED a digital multimeter (voltmeter) to work on modern cars. Handy around house too. Get one this week.

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. If you are fooling with sparkplugs, remember to slather those tubes in dielectric grease (prevents shorts).

15. Visit the Uber Thread

**Elise/Exige Uberpost READ THIS. Everything you need...

16. 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.

17. 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.

-----

Plus, “How to bleed brakes”:

How to Bleed Brakes


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 betweensite:lotustalk.com
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
97 Posts
Hey, my name is Reese and I live in Tucson, AZ. I currently own a 2005 Lotus Elise, which is why I joined Lotus Talk. Below, I’ll give a fuller introduction to the car and to myself as I relate to cars:

My plan for the better part of a decade has been to get my hands on a 1989 air-cooled 911. I passed up two opportunities to buy one: Once for my 2006 Porsche Cayman S and another for my 2005 Lotus Elise. Each time, I made the decision based on reliability. I definitely regret buying the Cayman over the 911 because, at the time of that purchase (~2010), both cars were around the same price. Flash forward to when I sold the Cayman (2018), the Cayman held its value and the 9ll doubled in value.

I don’t regret buying the Elise over the 911 as much, but I certainly still shake my head at the decision every now and again, especially considering the Elise isn’t my only car like I intended it to be. I jumped on the Lotus because I saw one pop-up locally — the car was literally five miles from my front door. I would be a fool not to go and check it out. Once I scaled the sill to plop into the driver’s seat, I knew I was selling my Cayman. The Elise was everything I wanted my Cayman to be: Raw, tiny, mechanical, unique. And, to top it all off, it had a Toyota drivetrain. I made an offer and bought the car around a week later.

I have had the Elise for about 2.5 years now. One of my biggest qualms about it is that my wife all but refuses to get in it. I enjoy company on my drives, so it would be nice if I could share that with her. Now, before you go judging her too harshly, she has never had any interest in cars beyond them taking her from here to there. And so, in her eyes, the Lotus is an unforgiving car before, during, and after the ride:

Getting in the car is an event: The doors do not open partially, meaning they will swing to full wingspan. That makes the car a terror in tight spaces — I have to be vigilant about any obstacle within the car’s proximity, which means I need to pester my passengers about how they open the car door if there is anything nearby. Once the passenger ensures that they can safely open the door, they have to slide over the foot-long sill to fall another foot down into the seat. It’s impossible to be graceful entering the Elise.

Driving the car is an event: There are so many noises. Road noise. Tire noise. Engine noise. Rattles, creaks, and etcetera. The car is loud. Non-car enthusiasts will be uncomfortable. They will be shoulder-to-shoulder with me as I drive. They have to move their left leg out of my way if I need to shift into 5th or 6th gear. The seats, too, are paper-thin, which couples with the stiff ride to make bumps bruising. Oh, and as the driver, I get to worry about rock chips ruining my perfect paint as well as distracted drivers totaling the car by simply nicking the clamshell. My focused driving means I am more on-edge and less of a fun companion (probably).

Getting out of the car is an event: If the passenger thinks getting in the car is an exercise in gracelessness, just wait until it’s time to exit. Firstly, they still need to concern themselves over the wingspan of the car, only this time it is tougher to gauge because they are registering distance from inside. Next, they had the advantage of gravity when they got in the car, but, this time, they have to crawl over the one-foot high and one-foot wide sill. And they obviously don’t want to scuff the sill because it’s carbon fiber. And they don’t want to use the hardtop as a point of leverage because it’s not structural. Basically, they will look like a fool getting out of the car and they will need some minor acrobatics.

And so, all of this is to say that I do not bemoan my wife for not wanting to go driving with me, so you shouldn’t either.

The benefits of the Elise are pretty legendary, so I’m not going to belabor them here. The handling is absurd. The car weighs half of a normal car, so obviously it is nimble. Even though it has less than 200 hp, it’ll accelerate to 60 mph in less than 5 seconds, so it’s not slow. And, as you know, the driving experience is among the best the car world has to offer. Moreover, despite what some will tell you, having this car as a daily isn’t bad at all. If it’s just you, you have more than enough space to run errands with the passenger’s seat and trunk for storage. The gas mileage isn’t bad. And, if you have the right body shape, the seats are comfortable enough.

Now, the reason I don’t daily the car anymore has nothing to do with how uncomfortable the car is. The truth is, I got too nice of an example. The paint is perfect. The mileage is low. Nothing is wrong with the car. All this means that I will be the one to destroy the car when the car gets destroyed over the course of daily driving. I can’t bear that guilt, so I’ve turned it into a weekend car.

The decision to sideline the Elise was made far more palatable when I decided to get a “practical” daily driver: My 1996 M-Edition Mazda Miata. I fell in love with the Miata. I’ve devoted more time, labor, and money into the Miata than I care to admit. I just feel so much more comfortable driving the Miata because it definitely doesn’t have perfect paint and it has over 200k miles on the chassis. Really, anything I do to the car is improving something someone else ruined.

Speaking of stuff I’ve done to the Miata: In my buddy’s driveway, my brother and I took out the old engine at 194k miles and put in a fresh block with a turbo to boot (as well as a slew of other upgrades to pretty much everything mechanical). So, now my Miata puts out similar power to the Elise at a similar weight. Obviously, the Elise still handles better and outperforms the old Miata, but the fact that there isn’t as much separation between the two necessitates a change.

I plan on keeping the Miata forever, so that means the Elise has to go (eventually). I am torn between revisiting the air-cooled 911 dreams or upgrading my Elise to an Exige S (albeit a higher-mileage example that’s lived a life, so I can feel guiltless messing around with the car both on the streets and in the garage). I am currently leaning towards the Exige because I do love Lotus. Any feedback on the decision (especially from those of you that have, perhaps, owned both) would be awesome!

Oh, and I’ve included some pictures of both my Elise and my Miata.
View attachment 1267009 View attachment 1267007
View attachment 1267008
Hey, my name is Reese and I live in Tucson, AZ. I currently own a 2005 Lotus Elise, which is why I joined Lotus Talk. Below, I’ll give a fuller introduction to the car and to myself as I relate to cars:

My plan for the better part of a decade has been to get my hands on a 1989 air-cooled 911. I passed up two opportunities to buy one: Once for my 2006 Porsche Cayman S and another for my 2005 Lotus Elise. Each time, I made the decision based on reliability. I definitely regret buying the Cayman over the 911 because, at the time of that purchase (~2010), both cars were around the same price. Flash forward to when I sold the Cayman (2018), the Cayman held its value and the 9ll doubled in value.

I don’t regret buying the Elise over the 911 as much, but I certainly still shake my head at the decision every now and again, especially considering the Elise isn’t my only car like I intended it to be. I jumped on the Lotus because I saw one pop-up locally — the car was literally five miles from my front door. I would be a fool not to go and check it out. Once I scaled the sill to plop into the driver’s seat, I knew I was selling my Cayman. The Elise was everything I wanted my Cayman to be: Raw, tiny, mechanical, unique. And, to top it all off, it had a Toyota drivetrain. I made an offer and bought the car around a week later.

I have had the Elise for about 2.5 years now. One of my biggest qualms about it is that my wife all but refuses to get in it. I enjoy company on my drives, so it would be nice if I could share that with her. Now, before you go judging her too harshly, she has never had any interest in cars beyond them taking her from here to there. And so, in her eyes, the Lotus is an unforgiving car before, during, and after the ride:

Getting in the car is an event: The doors do not open partially, meaning they will swing to full wingspan. That makes the car a terror in tight spaces — I have to be vigilant about any obstacle within the car’s proximity, which means I need to pester my passengers about how they open the car door if there is anything nearby. Once the passenger ensures that they can safely open the door, they have to slide over the foot-long sill to fall another foot down into the seat. It’s impossible to be graceful entering the Elise.

Driving the car is an event: There are so many noises. Road noise. Tire noise. Engine noise. Rattles, creaks, and etcetera. The car is loud. Non-car enthusiasts will be uncomfortable. They will be shoulder-to-shoulder with me as I drive. They have to move their left leg out of my way if I need to shift into 5th or 6th gear. The seats, too, are paper-thin, which couples with the stiff ride to make bumps bruising. Oh, and as the driver, I get to worry about rock chips ruining my perfect paint as well as distracted drivers totaling the car by simply nicking the clamshell. My focused driving means I am more on-edge and less of a fun companion (probably).

Getting out of the car is an event: If the passenger thinks getting in the car is an exercise in gracelessness, just wait until it’s time to exit. Firstly, they still need to concern themselves over the wingspan of the car, only this time it is tougher to gauge because they are registering distance from inside. Next, they had the advantage of gravity when they got in the car, but, this time, they have to crawl over the one-foot high and one-foot wide sill. And they obviously don’t want to scuff the sill because it’s carbon fiber. And they don’t want to use the hardtop as a point of leverage because it’s not structural. Basically, they will look like a fool getting out of the car and they will need some minor acrobatics.

And so, all of this is to say that I do not bemoan my wife for not wanting to go driving with me, so you shouldn’t either.

The benefits of the Elise are pretty legendary, so I’m not going to belabor them here. The handling is absurd. The car weighs half of a normal car, so obviously it is nimble. Even though it has less than 200 hp, it’ll accelerate to 60 mph in less than 5 seconds, so it’s not slow. And, as you know, the driving experience is among the best the car world has to offer. Moreover, despite what some will tell you, having this car as a daily isn’t bad at all. If it’s just you, you have more than enough space to run errands with the passenger’s seat and trunk for storage. The gas mileage isn’t bad. And, if you have the right body shape, the seats are comfortable enough.

Now, the reason I don’t daily the car anymore has nothing to do with how uncomfortable the car is. The truth is, I got too nice of an example. The paint is perfect. The mileage is low. Nothing is wrong with the car. All this means that I will be the one to destroy the car when the car gets destroyed over the course of daily driving. I can’t bear that guilt, so I’ve turned it into a weekend car.

The decision to sideline the Elise was made far more palatable when I decided to get a “practical” daily driver: My 1996 M-Edition Mazda Miata. I fell in love with the Miata. I’ve devoted more time, labor, and money into the Miata than I care to admit. I just feel so much more comfortable driving the Miata because it definitely doesn’t have perfect paint and it has over 200k miles on the chassis. Really, anything I do to the car is improving something someone else ruined.

Speaking of stuff I’ve done to the Miata: In my buddy’s driveway, my brother and I took out the old engine at 194k miles and put in a fresh block with a turbo to boot (as well as a slew of other upgrades to pretty much everything mechanical). So, now my Miata puts out similar power to the Elise at a similar weight. Obviously, the Elise still handles better and outperforms the old Miata, but the fact that there isn’t as much separation between the two necessitates a change.

I plan on keeping the Miata forever, so that means the Elise has to go (eventually). I am torn between revisiting the air-cooled 911 dreams or upgrading my Elise to an Exige S (albeit a higher-mileage example that’s lived a life, so I can feel guiltless messing around with the car both on the streets and in the garage). I am currently leaning towards the Exige because I do love Lotus. Any feedback on the decision (especially from those of you that have, perhaps, owned both) would be awesome!

Oh, and I’ve included some pictures of both my Elise and my Miata.
View attachment 1267009 View attachment 1267007
View attachment 1267008
Where do you get the Lotus serviced in AZ?
 

·
Registered
2005 Lotus Elise (Arctic Silver)
Joined
·
2 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
Where do you get the Lotus serviced in AZ?
I actually haven’t taken it in anywhere. I do the oil changes myself, and the only other thing I needed to address was getting new tires. I’m actually not sure where I would take it if it needed something outside of my abilities.

Do you have any suggestions?
 
1 - 4 of 4 Posts
Top