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Discussion Starter #1
I've read a lot of threads that touch on various elements of these questions. But many of them are dated and/or inconclusive. So, despite my attempts to the contrary, I'm starting a thread.

1. Is there a pro-active solution to front clam cone damage that does not require me to first damage it, then remove it, re-inforce it, and put it back on?

2. Track Pack setup...
2A. Factory suggested shock settings sound ok for track days, but what about AX. Soften the front to maximize corner entry grip?

2B. Adjustable front sway bar. Since I have the LSD, should I soften the bar to also maximize corner entry grip?

2C. Ride Height adjustment. I assume lowering the front helps keep the weight transfer forward. What about raising the rear?

Common goal. Avoid corner entry push if possible. I learned to live with push in my MR2 Spyder because without an LSD, I had to run a huge front sway bar. Thus, PUSH... With this car having the LSD, I'm assuming I don't have to worry about that and can work on "almost" generating oversteer instead.

Of course, I'm also aware of snap oversteer issues, but I figure I can always dial things up stiffer if that becomes my nemesis. Am I way off base here? I'm just basing my assumptions from the MR2 which I learned to dial in, but required lots of trade offs.
 

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wow. hmmm. Here are my humble opinions.

1) Don't autoX the Elise if you cannot deal with cone damage. Another solution is to not hit cones. :D

2B) I took this one first. You still want the back wheels planted, so go as stiff as that little bar will let you. Then you can mess with shocks and air pressures to improve your turn-in. The LSD won't help you if you lift a wheel. Another wise autoxer pointed that out to me.

2) Adjust as needed. I would try it first, if the car is pushing I'd bet you are not driving hard enough. Regardless, softening the front will help turn-in if it's pushing. Softening the rear will settle the back down.

2C) Do NOT mess with the rake. Leave the ride heights alone. Trust me, I inadvertantly messed them up and it was a disaster to drive. Lotus did a great job of balancing the car, don't f with it.

Hoe that all helps. I'm learning to drive the 2 after driving the Elise, so I'm doing the reverse of you. I failed in my first meet, but I have all season to figure it out. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #3
The President of an autocross club does not "not autocross" the Elise to avoid cone damage. :shift:

But, given with a co-driver, and one or more ladies driving the car many times over the season, I'm gonna probably put 250-300 runs on the car this year. That's good for at least 5 cones, right? So, if there is a solution out there that can bolster that clam without requiring me to remove it, then I figure it is my responsibility to the car to do so. Then, if (when) I still break it, I'll know I did what I could to avoid it.

As for the sway bar, ok, I'll set it stiff and back off if I feel I need to. You're right, I especially do not want inside rear lift, LSD or not...

Unless someone posts different, I'll probably just stiffen the bar, and run the shocks at the track suggested setting.

And, ok, no rake adjustments (didn't really want the 70's Camaro look anyway). So should I lower the car to the suggested track height? Lower still? I'll be running the AO48's until I get another set of wheels. How low can I go before I rip a fender liner out on a hard sweeper?

And Surferjer, with all the MR2's I've driven (at least the non turbo ones), it has always been the same story. Slam the brakes hard on corner entry. Stay as slow as you need to so that you can drive the shortest line to just before the apex and then absolutely stand on the gas all the way out. Any attempts you do to setup the car to allow you to carry speed into the turn will come with bigger sacrifices elsewhere. Set the car up to push, and then learn to be as fast as possible on mid corner and corner exit.
 

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My only recommendation: Don't autocross when it's cold out. Damn frozen cone broke my splitter. :(
 

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And Surferjer, with all the MR2's I've driven (at least the non turbo ones), it has always been the same story. Slam the brakes hard on corner entry. Stay as slow as you need to so that you can drive the shortest line to just before the apex and then absolutely stand on the gas all the way out. Any attempts you do to setup the car to allow you to carry speed into the turn will come with bigger sacrifices elsewhere. Set the car up to push, and then learn to be as fast as possible on mid corner and corner exit.
So good to hear you say this. I had Rob Carpenter drive my car in Cecil, and he commented that it wasn't as good through the slalom but way better on the turnaround. I didn't change it (first race) and I'll bet I lost a ton of time all over the course, and didn't make it up in the turnaround. :rolleyes: Seems like a simple car to setup, though, so it shouldn't be hard to get it like you said.

Similarly, in the Elise you cannot sacrifice the slalom/offset abilities to make it turn in sweepers. The Elise seems to make it's hay in transitions, just like the 2.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I have my first race weekend in a week. I'll get a feel for stuff then. I'm beginning to get the point that I'm still in an MR2 similar car, and shouldn't put too much expectation on the LSD to dramatically change some characteristics.

I still want to do something about the clam. It will be cold in the morning.
 

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Front clam

Only my opinion!

I do not have Starshield on the front of my car, but have it down the sides.

I wax the front end before every event and make it as slick as possible,if you have Starshield there are several plastic spray on waxes, the one that comes to mind is Plexus (motorcycle or aviation shop). Its made for plex but works very well on Starstuff.

The only thing that removes cone marks well off of Starstuff is MEK. Put a small amount on a cloth and just wipe across very fast. Be careful as the MEK will soften the Starstuff and will remove paint, so do not get it on the paint work.

I really don't think taping the front helps very much because of the texture that the 3-M tape has. This texture, I believe slows the cone down and increases your chance of cracking the front or spiderwebbing.

my 2-cents

Enjoy the Elise Cart
 

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Also don't make your real identity known if you decide to autocross the car since Lotus USA patrols the boards and you'll have a nice surprise next time you take it in for warranty if they know you autocrossed it. This is from the horse's mouth directly.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
No starshield on the car. I was actually pleased it didn't have it from the talk of how hard it is to clean marks off.

I can appreciate the manufacturer for not wanting to write blank checks when it comes to warranty work. If I damage something directly from autocross, I own that. If something breaks while autocrossing, that isn't assumably autocross related (I've never had this happen), I'd argue for the warranty coverage.
 

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I take it you've removed all the front shims ex. ABS?
You have a good alignment with some toe out in front and very little toe-in in the rear?
 

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I really don't think taping the front helps very much because of the texture that the 3-M tape has. This texture, I believe slows the cone down and increases your chance of cracking the front or spiderwebbing.
This may be a stupid suggestion - my apologies in advance if it is.

When I was prepping the car for the last track day I went to my box of assorted tape to get some painters' tape (I have starshield but put some in front of the rear wheels).

I pulled out some blue tape - then realised it was some heavy duty double sided tape using a blue outer layer.
I stuck it on anyway (without, of course, removing the outer layer).
It looks like painters' tape - it's not a strong adhesive and peeled off later with no problem - but - compared to other tapes it's thick and has a cushioning effect. I don't know how much difference it would make when assaulting cones with the front clam but could be worth a try.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
The shims are gone. I didn't take them out, but someone must have at the dealer at some point. :shrug:

The car "tramlines" pretty good, so I'm assuming I have some negative camber. It also pulls a little to which ever side I point and let go, so it seems to have a little toe out in the front.

I'll be getting it on an alignment rack soon so I can fine tune that as well.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
First, no, I don't have pictures. I'll take them after I've determined that it was successful...

I dealt with the front clam weakness by buying a piece of 1/8" UHMW plastic. (the milky white stuff you see used for cutting boards and table saw fences, etc...) I bought a piece 15" x 72" long.

I took the front diffuser panel off the underside of the car and found I could access the inside of the front just fine from there.

So, I cut a piece to fit nicely in the bottom of the license plate plinth. Then, I traced the shape of the clam on the remaining plastic sheet and cut that shape into it. After a couple trial fits and a few shaping cuts, I was able to fit that piece pretty much from edge to edge inside the clam. So, double thick at the center plinth, and single thick conformed to the contours of the clam from edge to edge.

I drilled thru from the bottom in 8 places and used pop rivets to secure the clam to the layers of plastic above. Then I drilled out the screw holes and used factory atachment points to re-install the front diffuser panel and further secure the plastic in place. Since the sheet was wide enough, I was able to get the front two difuser panel screws to tie into it as well. If I were doing it again, I might use an 18" or 21" piece instead so that more of those panel screws can tie in.

Before I did this, it was pretty easy to rattle the clam. If I slapped it with the palm of my hand in a few places it would flex and move. Now, it's very solid. Absolutely no give anywhere, and the whole front end is much more solidly tied together.

I hope to be able to say, a year from now, that $30 of UHMW plastic and a couple hours of fabrication made my clam cone damage proof. We'll see!!! If I did it right, it will take rivets and screws snapping for the clam to crack. spiderwebbing is still a concern, but hopefully no flex means none of that either.
 

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For autocrossing, full stiff on the front bar.

Full stiff front shocks (10)
One off full stiff on rear (9)
 

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Depends on the bar of course, Ryan. ;) Along with toe, etc.
 

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First, no, I don't have pictures. I'll take them after I've determined that it was successful...

I dealt with the front clam weakness by buying a piece of 1/8" UHMW plastic. (the milky white stuff you see used for cutting boards and table saw fences, etc...) I bought a piece 15" x 72" long.

I took the front diffuser panel off the underside of the car and found I could access the inside of the front just fine from there.

So, I cut a piece to fit nicely in the bottom of the license plate plinth. Then, I traced the shape of the clam on the remaining plastic sheet and cut that shape into it. After a couple trial fits and a few shaping cuts, I was able to fit that piece pretty much from edge to edge inside the clam. So, double thick at the center plinth, and single thick conformed to the contours of the clam from edge to edge.

I drilled thru from the bottom in 8 places and used pop rivets to secure the clam to the layers of plastic above. Then I drilled out the screw holes and used factory atachment points to re-install the front diffuser panel and further secure the plastic in place. Since the sheet was wide enough, I was able to get the front two difuser panel screws to tie into it as well. If I were doing it again, I might use an 18" or 21" piece instead so that more of those panel screws can tie in.

Before I did this, it was pretty easy to rattle the clam. If I slapped it with the palm of my hand in a few places it would flex and move. Now, it's very solid. Absolutely no give anywhere, and the whole front end is much more solidly tied together.

I hope to be able to say, a year from now, that $30 of UHMW plastic and a couple hours of fabrication made my clam cone damage proof. We'll see!!! If I did it right, it will take rivets and screws snapping for the clam to crack. spiderwebbing is still a concern, but hopefully no flex means none of that either.
If it works you'll be thankful when you go to sell it!

It might not be legal for SCCA stock class (stiffening the body). Sort of a weeny protest but I suppose it could be argued that by not flexing it gives the driver a performance advantage by removing the worry of front end damage to the car. It also changes the weight distribution of the car.

It's not uncommon to see the nationally driven Elises all taped-up up front to hold the broken pieces together.
 

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I was referring to the track pack bar.
I'm not sure how stiff this bar is but I feel even stiffer would be beneficial.
 

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It's not uncommon to see the nationally driven Elises all taped-up up front to hold the broken pieces together.
Hey, my car resembled that! But no matter how bad it was, I knew Brian's car was worse LOL. Now she's good as new! :nanner:
 

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I was referring to the track pack bar.
I'm not sure how stiff this bar is but I feel even stiffer would be beneficial.
Ah, yes. agreed completely then. That only goes, like, 40% stiffer than stock, right? That's not enough.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Full stiff on the stock track pack bar. Check...

10 front shocks, 9 rear. I doubted that until I took it for a spirited test. Now I agree, that feels pretty good.

Lowered the car to track height as close as I could measure. Need to get it corner weighted now to fine tune.

I'm aware of the potential protest issues with my newly re-inforced clam. I don't do much NT stuff. With my own club and another nearby, I get an awful lot of racing in, so skipping the tour event weekend has become the norm for me. I agree that the only potential performance gain that anyone could argue is that I may be less afraid of the cones now, therefore willing to take chances I may not have otherwise. Agreed, that would be pretty weenie, but the rules are the rules, if I get protested, I'll honor the decisions.
 
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