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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am now investigating an Exige purchase... no, I've not driven one yet, nor been around one close enough to see the underside of the hardtop. So now that I've defended myself :D ... on to the questions:
How difficult is it to remove the Exige's hardtop? Do any of you Exige drivers drive without the top on a regular basis? Any drawbacks to performance, rigidity?
Thanks in advance for the knowledge.
 

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The car won't be as rigid without the top, but you don't plan on tracking it that way, right? The top is easily removed with a T40 Torx (7 screws I believe), is great fun motoring without it, and there are no ill effects :).
 

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It takes less than 5 minutes to remove the hard top. It doesn't fit anywhere in the car, and the main performance downside to its removal would be the loss in intercooling ability (according to the Elise/Exige service manual). This obviously only applies to supercharged Exiges. Oh, and the reason for the loss in intercooling is that you're removing the top scoop and leaving only a small opening. I think you could throw an Elise rag top in your trunk in case it rains.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for the feedback! I trust the reduction of air to the intercooler will no cause any heat related issues?
My last five "fun" cars have all been verts... so I am a fan of open motoring. For the track days, the top will always be in place.
 

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Man there is a lot of preconceived notions about the Lotus in this thread that are wrong.

#1. The amount of extra rigidity to be found by having the hard top in place is practically nil. This is not a conventional uni-body car that gets it's rigidity from the body structure.

#2. The performance degradations from removing the hard top will be a couple miles per hour less top speed due increased drag.

#3. Somebody has tested the temp delta across the intercooler of an '07 Exige S and found no difference in the delta with the roof on or off. Note that those test results may not hold true for the newer, longer roof scoop cars that became available in 2008.

#4. The opening does not "suck" air with the roof either on or off.

xtn
 

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I have the hard top off most of the spring and fall. Just retro-fitted a soft top for those later afternoon thunderstorm flair-ups. But i love it, and the last poster is right, there is no difference with the top off, actually it "feels" faster with it off. Plus it looks bad a$$...

:coolnana:
 

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I have the hard top off most of the spring and fall. Just retro-fitted a soft top for those later afternoon thunderstorm flair-ups. But i love it, and the last poster is right, there is no difference with the top off, actually it "feels" faster with it off. Plus it looks bad a$$...

:coolnana:


Could you share details of how you modified/retrofitted the soft top? I like the top off feel on cars but the region i live in, i'm never safe from a quick shower.
 

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I am now investigating an Exige purchase... no, I've not driven one yet, nor been around one close enough to see the underside of the hardtop. So now that I've defended myself :D ... on to the questions:
How difficult is it to remove the Exige's hardtop? Do any of you Exige drivers drive without the top on a regular basis? Any drawbacks to performance, rigidity?
Thanks in advance for the knowledge.

No issues with removing the hardtop from the car. Totally fine to drive it like that. I'd not track it like that as the roof is integral to the down force and aerodynamics.
 

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Man there is a lot of preconceived notions about the Lotus in this thread that are wrong.

#1. The amount of extra rigidity to be found by having the hard top in place is practically nil. This is not a conventional uni-body car that gets it's rigidity from the body structure.

#2. The performance degradations from removing the hard top will be a couple miles per hour less top speed due increased drag.

#3. Somebody has tested the temp delta across the intercooler of an '07 Exige S and found no difference in the delta with the roof on or off. Note that those test results may not hold true for the newer, longer roof scoop cars that became available in 2008.

#4. The opening does not "suck" air with the roof either on or off.

xtn
1. It stops the front windshield (where i have my gps mounted via suction cup) from shaking. So it helps somewhat, probably nothing for the chasis, but it does hold the windshield in better. :)

2. I ran once with top off at the track, won't do that again. Way too much turbulance and heat. Then again it was in Texas summer so....

3. I got an 06 with a vf so don't care. ;)

4. With top on it does ram bugs through it so I know something flows that direction. I have half a horsefly stuck in a screw hole now that went through the scoop... yek
 

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The service manual said something about a loss in intercooling (presumably because you catch less slip-stream). I think the thermostat can REGULATE the engine temperature correctly regardless, but that INTERCOOLING is the cooling of the adiabatically compressed (and therefore heated) air coming from the supercharger. Colder compressed air = more dense than warmer compressed air. If somebody measured the del T across the intercooler on the Exige S 220 and found no or negligible results, then it's a non-issue.

The car is unlikely to overheat to begin with, you're not gonna track the thing without the hardtop, and you're not gonna notice a few horsepower difference if it happens. I think the only real issue is using a safe lubricant on the rubber splines so that the hardtop doesn't leak when you put it back on. I found that dry seals on my hardtop = leaks when I wash it or when it rains. You're probably familiar with doing this since you've owner a bunch of other convertibles.

And even if your GPS jitters up and down on the dash a little, your whole car isn't going to flex and torsion when you drive it without the hardtop :p No worries.
 

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1. It stops the front windshield (where i have my gps mounted via suction cup) from shaking. So it helps somewhat, probably nothing for the chasis, but it does hold the windshield in better. :)

2. I ran once with top off at the track, won't do that again. Way too much turbulance and heat. Then again it was in Texas summer so....

3. I got an 06 with a vf so don't care. ;)

4. With top on it does ram bugs through it so I know something flows that direction. I have half a horsefly stuck in a screw hole now that went through the scoop... yek
1. Exactly right; no chassis benefit.

2. Agree...

3. Shut up you rat bastard...

4. Oh it flows some air, sure. But it doesn't "suck" air.
 

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These are the exact directions i followed. Worked like a champ... Unfortunetly, finding a soft-top for sale seems to be the issue. Took me a while to find one. Install was a breeze though, and id highly reccomend it.
These are the instructions I followed as well to do two conversions, but some of the measurements are not precise, so measure twice, cut once.

In the instructions I found the measurements between the centers of the grommets, coupled with the measurements in from the side mounting points, if done literally, didn't make for a fully straight install. Maybe I'm a bit too anal, but I wanted the support rods to be straight, lined up accurately with the front holes in the windshield surround, etc. The instruction measurements are 'close enough,' though. If you follow them you probably won't visually notice they're slightly out of kilter.

If you're a stickler and want it as close to 'right' as possible, carefully do your own measurements before you cut out your holes.
 

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Not that I don't believe you, but man, this seems weird. You've seen a test on this?
No. It's just common sense. Well, at least it's common sense among the uncommon people who have an understanding of the Lotus design.

It gets it rigidity 99.99% from the chassis itself. You could drive around with the body completely off the car - roof included - and not notice any difference in chassis flex.

As mentioned by LordZ, the roof adds some rigidity to the windshield frame. But that's about it.

It only "seems weird" because you're so used to hearing/reading about the difference in rigidity with or without a roof on other cars. But those cars are unibody cars, wherein everything you see is part of the chassis structure.

xtn
 
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