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Discussion Starter #1
Having driven the car before and after the exhuast install, I can testify that the Stage II is simply too loud and obtrusive for my tastes in a street car. The note itself is wonderful, but it's just too damn loud. And this is coming from a guy who DOES appreciate a loud, throaty exhaust.

For now, at least until I hear Stage I, it will definitely be the stock exhaust for me.

In other news...

- I have plenty of high-res CO pics. Can this board possibly tolerate anymore CO pics? <grin> I don't think so... But if anyone needs a detail shot, let me know.

- Also have pics of SY and MB. Not impressed with MB -- sorry, MB fans. Much darker than I anticipated. Don't get me wrong, it is a great color. I just feel that it's not particularly unique. Reminds me too much of other company's blues.

- Orange demo car will eventually go on sale. I don't know how many miles are currently on the car, but it has great fit/finsh, and the starshield looks proper.

- Other dealers are offering cars up to SVAG at obscene mark-ups. SVAG doesn't seem to be showing any interest; at least my salesman isn't -- good for him! (That said, if you live in the Bay Area, and you are desperate for an Elise, I bet that SVAG can make it happen...)

- Brake pedal was still way too low, and the brakes were mushy as hell. (Lotus? Are you out there? Ship my car with properly bled brakes -- PLEASE!!!)

- Car felt as thrilling and exhilirating as I remebered it feeling. Simply put, if my M3 is a sports coupe, and 911s are sports cars, then the Elise is a race car -- at least in terms of the street-car continuum.
 

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Jon- had heard about the stage II as well. So saturday I went over. Agreed it's pretty darn loud. After the test drive the sales guy had it on the other side of the block from me and could still clearly hear it... I''ll check out the QS before deciding. The demo had 1600 miles on it. A little birdy said it's got a buyer & they will be pulling the exhaust off it. They will have another one(demo). Might be a chance for someone to pick up a exhaust below retail.
 

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As pointed out before, Hipo exhausts with packed linings change in sound after break-in. Around 1,000 miles are needed. Was this the case here? Any of the low restriction exhausts will need some time before their sound level decreases and stabilizes. Same thing on other cars too.

For example someone who heard my broken-in Stage 2 and now has a different aftermarket exhaust says that his unit seems louder than mine. But it's supposed to be quieter. His exhaust was just installed and has not yet been fully run-in. I'd expect his new exhaust to change over the next few weeks as the car is driven. I think he said he needs to check his install though.
 

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>>>Stan- whats your guess on the level drop after breaking in this exhaust? 3-4db or more.<<<

I'd hate to guess. My suggestion would be to bring an Elise with at least 1,000 miles on it's HIPO exhaust and compare it to another Elise which just had the same exact exhaust installed THAT DAY. The dB level changes as does the nature of the sound. I started noticing a change by around 500-700 miles. Some BMW M3 guys claim it settles down by about 2,000 miles. Exhausts with fibrous content hold the black soot in them and this changes the effect it has on the sound. Exhausts with little or no absorption material tend to sound the same no matter what. A welded up flowmaster with a series of empty metal chambers won't change much for example. A straight pipe won't change much either. Quiet OE type systems are already quiet and often they do some of the muffling via restricting the flow a bit and this won't change with miles either.

It would be interesting to compare the two cars using a spectrum analyzer. Think of that as an dB meter that provides results in many different frequency bands. And not just one overall number.
 

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As a rough guess if it's noticable it should be at least 3-4 db down. Have a Rohde & Schwarz spectrum analyzer in the lab and EMC style probes... might be overkill for something like this, plus it's not too portable. Heck it cost more then the Elise. :eek:
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I doubt the exhaust was broken in as of 2-3 hours ago. ;)

Regardless, it was LOUD!!!
 

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Well I see that you guys are out west. Those out east who'd like to hear a fully broken in Lotus Stage 2 exhaust just reach out for me. Then you can get a sense of it's sound and sound level.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
FWIW: my e36 m3 exhaust (dinan) took about 200 miles to "break in" with soot, etc, and it's actual volume didn't drop all that much. for this reason, i can't imagine the stage II would ever be acceptable to me. That said: i wouldn't mind more throat and burble, though, so i'm looking forward to hearing stage I.

Speaking of which -- have any stage I exhausts been sold and installed?
 

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Jon, see if you can listen to a QS exhaust. They are supposed to be quieter than a Stage 2 although this is not crystal clear. Surferjer heard my broken - in Stage 2 and thought that his new QS is louder still. He's looking into the fit/install though to see if there may be any leaks, which would throw things off. 200 miles is not enough to much soot. Maybe if you are at WOT a great deal (runs richer then)?

On your M3 example all I can say is that was a different exhaust on a much different car. Seek out some run in examples of any candidate exhausts for your car and you'll get the best sense of their subjective aspects. Maybe a Stage 1 would be worth a listen as that is supposed to be in between the stock and the Stage 2 in loudness. Stock is pretty quiet considering the rest of the car.

You know...our cat backs have one large pipe going to the entrance of the muffler. And two pipes leaving the muffler towards the dual tips. So each tip actually serves all four cylinders. Someone who wanted to quiet their exhaust up a lot could seal one of the tips. The engine would still equally exhaust each cylinder while being quieter.
 

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I heard my first Stage II this last weekend, I would definitely not consider it to be loud. Admittedly, the exhaust had well over 1000 miles on. I am not a fan of LOUD exhausts (I'm out of diapers and on solid foods) and I would definitely consider the Stage II to meet my requirements. In no way did it sound like a ricer or a Harley.

The only time I felt the exhaust was LOUD, was under fast acceleration (foot nto the floor stuff) and when the engine was under load - maybe that's what you heard ?. During 'normal' driving I would call it more of a growl than a roar.

My 0.02 cents
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Yeah, the engine was under load. And I expect when I own the car, this will be a common operating condition -- it'an Elise, not a Buick after all. <cue rimshot!>

Regardless, I plan to spend a lot of time at high revs in low gears.

As for loudness, it's all subjective, I concede. And I have always suspected I have a high sensitivity to loud noises. So I'm probably not a good survey group of one. But, fwiw, I found the stage II to overwhelm the driving experience, including the engine noise itself.
 
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