The Lotus Cars Community banner

1 - 19 of 19 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
1 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hi!
I'm new to this forum and am currently strongly considering an Elise. I plan to drive it 50% street and 50% track.
I'm still trying to familiarize myself with the car, but are there any any "must do's" to the car for heavy track usage? I know about the usually items, like better brake pads, track-oriented tires, etc that goes for any car being tracked. But are there areas of weakness on the Elise that should be addressed? For example, I live in a very hot climate and my local track sees temperatures in the 90's (F) often. I've had issues with previous cars overheating and I needed to highly modify the cooling systems to account for this.

Thanks in advance!
Any other advice is also highly appreciated.
:grin2:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
968 Posts
A few weak points on the Elise that many experienced owners suggest addressing before tracking the car include the oil pan, rear toe links and radiator.

The OEM oil pan is not baffled, so in long sweeping turns, or during high-G maneuvers, the oil can slosh to one side of the pan, away from the pickup and starve the engine.

The OEM rear toe-links have failed on some tracked cars, and there are some good options on the market to reinforce these.

The OEM radiator uses plastic end tanks which are pretty much expected to fail at some point, so many people upgrade to all-aluminum units.

There are many high-quality, after market options for these parts. Check out Inokinetic and BOE and see what they have to offer.

You can also learn more by searching the forum for threads related to these issues.

Good luck!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
473 Posts
Hi!
I'm new to this forum and am currently strongly considering an Elise. I plan to drive it 50% street and 50% track.
I'm still trying to familiarize myself with the car, but are there any any "must do's" to the car for heavy track usage? I know about the usually items, like better brake pads, track-oriented tires, etc that goes for any car being tracked. But are there areas of weakness on the Elise that should be addressed? For example, I live in a very hot climate and my local track sees temperatures in the 90's (F) often. I've had issues with previous cars overheating and I needed to highly modify the cooling systems to account for this.

Thanks in advance!
Any other advice is also highly appreciated.
:grin2:
Hello!

The first 2 of 6 years in my Elise ownership was 50/50 usage as you describe, before it became a dedicated time trial car.

Let me say this - the Elise provides some of the best "speed per dollar" and "smiles per dollar" compared to others on the market. Sure, there are cars that are faster on the straights, but if you learn to drive this car well you can absolutely decimate other competitors who are equally classed.

Top 3 known areas to address, in order of importance as follows:

  1. Baffled oil pan
  2. Rear toe links
  3. Baffled fuel tank or surge tank (especially for supercharged cars)
If you pick one, upgrade the oil pan. Best one out there is Inokinetic's gPan. The toe links aren't going to immediately fail on you the instant the car hits the track, but it's a good idea to address them with an improved solution if you intend to track the car a lot. If you have a naturally aspirated car, you can keep the fuel tank at least half full and you won't have any issues with fuel starvation. If you encounter the starving issue on a naturally aspirated car, it's just a sputter. This is a bigger issue on supercharged cars where fuel starvation from low fuel level, can cause a lean condition in the engine leading to catastrophic engine damage. If you end up with a supercharged (cheater) car, invest in a baffled fuel tank or surge tank.

With the stock cooling system on hot track days in Pittsburgh (90 deg F+) the highest my coolant temp got was 200F.
 

·
Plural of Lotus is Lotus
Joined
·
251 Posts
...In addition to other comments above (oil pan, rear toe link, I did both), consider a shock upgrade to something tune-able. Think stiffer on the track, softer on the street. I went with Nitron 1 way adjustable https://www.monkeywrenchracing.com/product/nitron-street-1-way-adjustable-suspension-kit-40mm-elise-exige-2-eleven/

No, this isn't intended to initiate a debate about what suspension upgrade is best, etc. Instead, do some research about the adjustable upgrade options out there. Mine wasn't necessarily right, just right for me.

Buy the car and enjoy the hell out of it. That's what most owners are doing with them :)
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
11,326 Posts
General:


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.

Stock: “Excuse me”


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 after coolant 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 a tiny 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:
http://www.lotustalk.com/forums/f311/cooling-ticking-timebomb-how-your-cooling-u-tube-47232/

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:

http://www.lotustalk.com/forums/f320/remote-key-fob-immobilizer-misc-alarm-programming-70940/


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. Visit the Uber Thread

http://www.lotustalk.com/forums/f3/elise-exige-uberpost-read-everything-you-need-know-here-25131/

15. 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.

16. 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”:

http://www.lotustalk.com/forums/f101/how-bleed-brakes-241138/


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 betw site:lotustalk.com
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
11,326 Posts
Also, note that seemingly small offs get very expensive if front or rear clam is damaged.

If I were to track a lot, I'd get a Miata.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
356 Posts
I used EBC red stuff brake pads for when I was 50/50 street/track. 600 degree brake fluid recommended.

My upgrades were, in order, tires (Bridgestone RE71R are a good track tire that does well on the street), high temp brake fluid, baffled oil pan, toe links, brake pads, shocks, Difflow difuser, then onto more expensive items (shifter, supercheater).

You should get a front spoiler to help protect the clam.

You might want to find a good, rebuilt title car.

I replaced my radiator as a preventive measure when I had the front clam off, but never had a overheating problem in the Georgia summer.

If you say where you at, somebody might be close enough to show you their track toy.
 

·
He's on fire!
Joined
·
3,089 Posts
CountryboyShane's post is really all you need I think.

2 cents:

These cars are 10+ years old- make sure you're starting from a good base. Take a torque wrench to the suspension components and engine mounts. Check the exhaust for cracks, especially the welds on the catalytic converter and the support bracket. Pop off the engine cover and inspect for cam lobe wear.
 

·
Addict
Joined
·
1,248 Posts
Top 3 known areas to address, in order of importance as follows:

  1. Baffled oil pan
  2. Rear toe links
  3. Baffled fuel tank or surge tank (especially for supercharged cars)
If you pick one, upgrade the oil pan. Best one out there is Inokinetic's gPan. The toe links aren't going to immediately fail on you the instant the car hits the track, but it's a good idea to address them with an improved solution if you intend to track the car a lot. If you have a naturally aspirated car, you can keep the fuel tank at least half full and you won't have any issues with fuel starvation. If you encounter the starving issue on a naturally aspirated car, it's just a sputter. This is a bigger issue on supercharged cars where fuel starvation from low fuel level, can cause a lean condition in the engine leading to catastrophic engine damage. If you end up with a supercharged (cheater) car, invest in a baffled fuel tank or surge tank.
The only thing I disagree with is doing the oil pan first. Do the toe links first, they can and will fail instantly meaning you will have no warring. Has happened to some on the street even. You can make sure they are torqued to help but replace them. The oil pan is only needed as you start to push g’s, so if your experienced enough already I’d do this and the toe links prior to tracking. Keep more than half tank of gas and the fuel surge tank can wait, but as stated if you are supercharged you’ll want this too.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
536 Posts
The only thing I disagree with is doing the oil pan first. Do the toe links first, they can and will fail instantly meaning you will have no warring.
Honestly, if you can't afford to do the toe links and the oil pan at the same time well...you probably can't afford track days.

Frankly, once you've got the engine access panel and diffuser off, you're right there looking at both anyway. They're literally six inches from each other.

I've seen just too many cases of 2ZZs with trashed bearings or a hole in the block caused by questionable oiling in corners. Why take the risk?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
713 Posts
All the advice here is good, except for getting a Miata :) Yes, the Miata is cheaper, but the Elise is so much more fun!

I did what you want to do about 10 years ago, bought a used Elise and tracked it quite a bit, still do. To date, I've put about 30,000 street miles and 15,000 track miles on it (that's quite a lot).

As my car broke over the years, I improved it for durability, and to date, I've ended up with: baffled oil pan, surge tank, toe links, better shifter linkages, Nitron suspension, and I splurged on the factory supercharger about a year after I got the car.

Many of my track days are over 100F, and the car never overheats, it just goes like a trooper, lap after lap. My record is doing a track day on a 116F day.

Having an "off" is 99% on you, since most of the reasons people go off track are their own driving. I had one off which damaged the car, my own fault, naturally, and damaged the front clam (suspension ripped off the mount, tore up the clam a bit). I got lucky, a Corvette fiberglass shop got it good as new for about $1,000, and six years later, no sign of any damage, so it was a good repair.

After years of tracking, maintenance has been significant:
- Engine rebuilt, it didn't break, but wore out and lost a lot of power. Now it's seriously hardened for durability
- Transmission wore out, twice. Synchros on 3/4 start to go, eventually bits of gear break off and wear other stuff down
- More tires, brake pads, rotors than I can count
- One unexpected item - windshield. It's pitted with lots of tiny rock chips. New one is close to $2000. I've not changed mine yet, but it's getting annoying.

Anyhow, this is a fantastic little car for the track, have a blast! Amortized over many years, my wear and tear and maintenance on the car is about $650 per track day. Add in admission, and other related costs, and mentally, budget about $1k per track day. I've spent well into six figures over the years on track days.
 

·
Supporting Vendor
Joined
·
4,131 Posts
Have a look at our Blog on the car safety issues that we suggest you address on a track car: Track Trilogy of Terror

Fresh fluids of good quality and tight nuts/bolts are key to longevity and durability. Down load our 60Pt Prep sheet for a good Checklist that will help keep your car tight as a drum: HERE
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
488 Posts
Already mentioned are the toe links and the baffled oil pan, as well as periodically checking torque on vital suspension parts. Those are the must do items. As an ex supercharged-Elise tracker without a baffled fuel tank or surge tank, I simply made sure that the tank was at least half full at all times on track. The stock brake pads work, but when I went to hybrid street/race pads, I never went back (Ferodo DS2500s).

On top of the basics, I highly recommend (1) harnesses and seats to accommodate the harnesses. I had Tillets, wonderful seats and less costly than some other options; and (2) a battery bracket and lightweight battery. The stock battery setup can be a recipe for disaster if that back end gets really active.

Other advice: When racing, remove the carpet and foam pad from the "trunk" as it gets awfully hot right above the exhaust.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
11,326 Posts
All the advice here is good, except for getting a Miata :) Yes, the Miata is cheaper, but the Elise is so much more fun!
Spec Miatas appear to be as fast around tracks as the Lotus. And, much less expensive to run (even if one doesn't crash).

Have you driven a Spec Miata? I haven't.
 

·
Addict
Joined
·
1,248 Posts
Spec Miatas appear to be as fast around tracks as the Lotus. And, much less expensive to run (even if one doesn't crash).

Have you driven a Spec Miata? I haven't.
There's something to be said for not caring if you go off.
 

·
He's on fire!
Joined
·
3,089 Posts
Spec Miatas appear to be as fast around tracks as the Lotus. And, much less expensive to run (even if one doesn't crash).

Have you driven a Spec Miata? I haven't.
Many would tell you that laptimes != fun.... otherwise the fastest car is by definition the most fun.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
713 Posts
Miata vs Elise is a very different kind of fun. Sure, it's damn fun to drive a spec miata (I have). At tracks, they even have a "miata line". Usually, you don't get black flagged for 2-wheels off, so miatas, naturally, go two wheels off if it's an advantage. However, I've never driven one in a race, just HPDE, and it's the racing that makes it so much more fun, IMO.

A spec miata is very underpowered compared to an Elise. Sure, if's fun as hell, just not as fun. Spec miatas tend to be driven a LOT better than people drive Elises, since the spec miata guys tend to be experienced racers. Put the same driver in both cars, and the Elise will definitely be faster. I pass very experienced spec miata guys all the time. In the corners, we hang together, but in the straights, I pull on them. More fun :)
 
1 - 19 of 19 Posts
Top