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New Owner - 1300 miles in 9 days + 1st autocross - questions, impressions, pics

1988 Views 10 Replies 9 Participants Last post by  Boony1968
I was looking for an Elise for a couple months and missed out on a few for not acting quickly enough. I ended up getting one off Autotrader - the one with the matt black wrap listed for 38k. Paid 32 and think I got a fair deal, but took some risk.

The owner seemed like a good kid, a 25 year old. I was actually thinking Eddie Haskel when talking to him. He works for a dealership, probably got an inside deal when he bought her and was not willing to come clean on the details of his acquisition. I honestly believe he was trying to be professional, but over did it. He did not know much about the car or history. Carfax was clean and it looked clean so I took a shot and flew out to Texas bought her. Then I drove her 700 miles to meet up with the family for vacation. We drove home yesterday.

For the most part she has solid mods. Lotus M45 SC, wing, canards, diffuser, high end stereo system and upgraded lighting. But some ricer LEDS in the engine bay, floorboards and side intakes - they're actually not horrible. I really liked the vinyl wrap bat mobile look but hated not knowing what was underneath and had to pull it off. Body and paint is a solid 9+, BIG relief.

The good - AC is okay. Driving through Texas on a sunny day with 90 degree + temps, it was warm but comfortable. We had lots of rain in the past week with no leaks, none, with hard top or soft top. At 6' 3" and 200 lbs, driving for hours was bearable. Short trips were a blast. The lightness, nimbleness and flickability are amazing. The car felt very quick and extremely well balanced.

The bad. Today I took my S2000 out (SC'd with 340 whp) and it felt like a torque monster after a week of driving the Elise. Then back to the Elise and she felt very weak. Stock clutch vs race clutch, downer. Stock brakes on the S are 100 X's better (I about snapped my neck). I can't imagine Lotus brakes are normally as bad as what this car has. Pads are new Brembo, rotors look good, must need a good bleeding. Tire are new, but Conti DWS's. WHY??? They did great in the rain, but really not good for this car. My shoes were too wide to fit on gas petal without also being on the brake petal. I had to remove the thingy that separates driver and passenger floorboards. Radio reception SUCKS. I have a blown left knee causing major pain with ingress, egress with any top on. Cleaning the wheels is too much work.

Ran 1st autocross with her today. Awesome!!! Even with the Conti's, I was a much better driver with her than with the S. I've read several posts about the oversteer with Elises, aaaaaah NO. I was able to push her or break the rear loose at will and easily correct either. Awesome balance. I am still very much a novice, but learned what I know on a high power AP1 S2k - now that's oversteer, major snap oversteer. The Elise is perfect. I finished mid-pack and about a second off what I would have done in the S (based on how I normally do vs. other regulars). All runs were clean. I believe "new car" and bad tires cost me at least 2 seconds which would put me well ahead of normal and in the top 15% of raw times. I was only 2 tenths off a Noble and previous Exige owner. Very happy with results.

A couple questions - Is there a smaller pulley and better tune available for the Lotus OEM SC? Anyone recognize which exhaust I have?

If you read all that, thanks. Any advice or direction would be appreciated.

Some pics -

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You can raise power level. I recommend you contact BOE they have a good rep I could be wrong but it looks like you are missing heat shield above the exhaust. This would need to reinstalled
I recognize that Noble...................
First off, congrats.

The MP45 is a bit weak and doesn't leave much room for upgrades. Look into BOE or S111 for a much better solution. The tires that you have are complete crap for this car. I had all seasons on this car before and it handles NOTHING like how it handles now with R1Rs. Also, the brakes on the Elise should be better than your S2000. Not sure what the problem is but I bet the lines need to be bled. Next check the brakes pads. How do you know that they are Brembo pads? They could have possibly reused the Brembo shims but replaced with some crap pads. Also, it looks like an 2005 Elise, you may want to check to see if the oil cooler line recall was done.

Lastly, it looks like the previous owner leather wrapped the entire interior or are my eyes playing tricks on me?
Supercharger pulley:
The M45 is pretty much maxed out, a smaller pulley will likely just increase your intake air temperature (IAT) to the point it causes problems. Consider going to an MP62 or TVS 1320 series supercharger for more power. BOE, Sector111 or Blackwatchracing can provide excellent alternatives.
The stock brakes (properly bled and with the right pads) will suck the eyes out of your head. Mine can lock up Hoosier A6 slicks, and they are stock.
I honestly didn't care for the stock brakes on my 2007 Exige S. Even on the street they faded quickly. I upgraded to the AP Racing 4-wheel BBK.

S2000s aren't known for being fast (even with a lot of money invested). That said I would gladly trade the Exige's shifter for the S2000's.

I'm not a fan of forced induction without an intercooler.

6'3" 200lbs with a bad knee and you own an Elise?

Glutton for punishment...sounds like you need to go buy a hard top.

Thanks all for the advice and head's up. Yes, the interior has been leather wrapped. I'd prefer it not be, but I can live with it. The recall has not been done or has not been entered in the Lotus system.

I think the recall is 50/50. The SC was (supposedly) installed in 2012, but I can't figure out who did the install. If installed in '12 by a certified Lotus shop, the recall should have been done and everything appears to have been done by a certified installer. It also appears my radiator has been upgraded. I don't know. Sometime over the next month I'll schedule the recall work at the Lotus dealership in Atlanta.

Something is definitely funky with the brakes. MUCH more dusting in the rear than the front. To address the brakes I ordered new rotors, pads and SS lines from KNS. I also ordered telescoping jack stands, hockey pucks, an extended jack helper and an eezibleed kit.

I put the hockey pucks on the drill press tonight to carve out a little stability then JB welded them to the jack stands. I also did a little mod on the eezibleed with a shutoff value and quick disconnect for the compressor - yes there's a pressure regulator.

I'll put her on the stands tomorrow night to get started and SHOULD get her wrapped up sometime Friday. Everything seems relatively straightforward.

I was struggling on what to do about wheels and tires. Information is pretty limited on the different options. Since the car was so easy to drive in the first autocross I decided to not change anything except for the rubber. I ordered Advan A048's in medium compound (195/225). Expensive? Yes, but much cheaper than making a mistake and I still have the Conti's for the winter. This should give me great rubber for a year and time to figure out long term options.

I had my 2nd autocross last weekend and 1st with the new tires. I entered in XP because there's no one else in SSM. I finished 2nd out of 11 in class. I realize 10 cars were better than the drivers, but hell, I WAS SECOND OUT OF ELEVEN!!! And, the guy that beat me is a damn good driver in a highly modified M3 - he only beat me by half a sec.

Lov'n this car.

Here's my little hockey puck / jack stand and eezibleed mods -

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Don't use anywhere near 20 PSI on the eezibleed. Only a couple of pounds is needed.
Don't use anywhere near 20 PSI on the eezibleed. Only a couple of pounds is needed.
I wish I had taken this advice literally. I started with about 10 lbs an created myself a mess.

I ended up leaving the rotor alones, they probably have 75% of their live left. Also did not do the SS lines. I couldn't figure out how to do the fronts without removing the clam. I am not ready for that yet.

The pads were in great shape but mismatched. Hawks (model ?) up front and Brembos (model ?) in the rear. I did swap the pads and change fluid.

The old fluid looked like root beer. Big difference in clutch and brake feel and a pretty easy job other than the clutch fluid, its pretty tight up there.
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