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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all,

I understand this is a bit of a personal preference question but here goes.

I have a 2005 Elise that was retrofitted with the Lotus OEM supercharger. It has Penske non adjustable coilovers and carbon fiber bucket seats. My goal is to have a Elise / Exige that has a little less than 300hp with enough suspension and brakes to make it reliable and bulletproof on the street and track.

My thought is to sell the Elise for about 40k and pick up an S240 for around 55k. It is my assumption that the S240 will have better brakes than the Elise (which in my opinion is the weakest part of the car) and with a simple tune I can get close to my desired horsepower figures. Is this reasonable? Do the S240s come with LSDs? This seems like it becomes more important with higher power figures.

Would you take a different path to 300hp (or a little less) and the car built to handle the power?

Thanks!
 

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The s240 has bigger ap calipers up front (and oddly sized discs to go with it) - thats it as far as brake changes go. You could probably do it yourself for ~2k. LSD is about $1k in parts and maybe another $1k to install? That leaves you with $11k to go before you hit a stock s240, which will require changes to get to 300hp.

If you want an exige get it, but the numbers game favors the elise.
 
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Discussion Starter #3
The s240 has bigger ap calipers up front (and oddly sized discs to go with it) - thats it as far as brake changes go. You could probably do it yourself for ~2k. LSD is about $1k in parts and maybe another $1k to install? That leaves you with $11k to go before you hit a stock s240, which will require changes to get to 300hp.

If you want an exige get it, but the numbers game favors the elise.
Fair enough, here are some other cons I see with upgrading the Elise. Curious to see if my thinking is off in some way.

  • Resale value
    • To upgrade to the Rev 300 is going to be about 10k, plus I have to rip out the OEM super charger which is a bummer. I would be better starting with a non supercharged Elise.
  • CARB legal
    • I believe a tune on the S240 will get me some more power over stock? I can stay smog legal here in CA
    • I am maxed out on power with the Elise SC setup.
 

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Now you're adding major requirements that didn't exist before (CARB). If you've got a 2005, you (or someone) DID start with a non-SC car. You're going to lose resale value on a tracked car, I would bet you'd lose more on a more expensive car, but I don't have any data to back that up.

With near 300 hp on track, I think the car will be less reliable than you are hoping for but I don't have that experience so I suppose someone else should chime in. The transmission on these cars is rated for 190 lb ft of torque, you're going to see increased maintenance in that area with the increased power.

There is a "saving grace" of sorts - the OEM SC setup starts pulling timing very early, so most of the HP gain that the s240 sees over NA is going to evaporate on a hot day unless you also make modifications to lower IAT. In terms of how tunes handle this situation, you'd have to ask the vendors that.
 
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Another way to go about it is replace just the clams (with carbon fiber while at it). I know of a few cars that went with the Exige clams when the clams were damaged.

The AP 4 piston brakes do bite earlier than Elises I've driven. Maximum braking performance is probably worse than the Elise due to increase front bias.
I'm sure you can fix your brake feel issue with upgrading to something with more bite, say Carbotech/G-Loc XP10 or XP12, Carbon Lorraine RC6, etc.
Some earlier cars have a lot of dead travel in the brakes, I've found.

S240s and later cars did come with LSD. I actually don't know if other cars didn't come with one. It's good to look for it just to make sure, though.
It helps get the power down and translates into motion, but I've found it dulls the turn-in response since it's also acting as a brake on the outside wheel. It forces you to rotate the car at corner entry more otherwise you're going to get a whole bunch of understeer coming out.

After enough tweaking, they're about the same. Elise with aftermarket power adder to get to S240/260 level will be faster than the Exige due to what jds62f has mentioned. Exige also weights more.
I've found the stock interooler heatsoak at the track very early if it's even slightly warm out, and hits about the same top speeds as NA Elise when it's fully heatsoaked. A tune will fix that since it makes the ECU less sensitive to the IAT.
You need major work on the intercooler (bar-and-plate type with side ducts) or go all the way to A2W chargecooling. Street driving or short autocrosses, I found stock adequate according to datalogs.

I'm a little concerned with tunes. I'm not sure if the tunes will show all the readiness and things that the smog stations will look for. I'm going a hair smaller on the stock pulley so it makes about 1~2 psi more, and I'm hoping the stock ECU will be able to act accordingly within the margin of error.
 

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As far the reliability, I have had the Rev400 installed for about 45k miles and have zero issues. I autocross and track the car a lot...
 
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First of all, if you're asking whether you should buy an Exige, you already know the answer. Part of you will always regret not doing so, or you wouldn't be asking.

Second, you're not going to get $40K for an Elise, especially a 2005. So if you get $35K for the Elise (which isn't a given) you'll still need ~$20K for an Exige.

Bear in mind the biggest differences between a 2007 Exige S and the 240/260 is the bigger front brake calipers (which make the front bias even worse) and the throttle body opening, which a tune will take care of (that's where the extra HP comes from).

San
 

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The s240 has bigger ap calipers up front (and oddly sized discs to go with it) - thats it as far as brake changes go. You could probably do it yourself for ~2k. LSD is about $1k in parts and maybe another $1k to install? That leaves you with $11k to go before you hit a stock s240, which will require changes to get to 300hp.

If you want an exige get it, but the numbers game favors the elise.
I echo Jeff's sentiment. If you are making this decision based upon bang for buck the Elise wins hands down all day. But if you really want an Exige and emotion is making it hard for you to put this thought out of your mind, then get the Exige. The good news is that you are the winner in both scenarios!
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Now you're adding major requirements that didn't exist before (CARB). If you've got a 2005, you (or someone) DID start with a non-SC car. You're going to lose resale value on a tracked car, I would bet you'd lose more on a more expensive car, but I don't have any data to back that up.

With near 300 hp on track, I think the car will be less reliable than you are hoping for but I don't have that experience so I suppose someone else should chime in. The transmission on these cars is rated for 190 lb ft of torque, you're going to see increased maintenance in that area with the increased power.

There is a "saving grace" of sorts - the OEM SC setup starts pulling timing very early, so most of the HP gain that the s240 sees over NA is going to evaporate on a hot day unless you also make modifications to lower IAT. In terms of how tunes handle this situation, you'd have to ask the vendors that.
Is there a different transmission in the Exige S260?
 

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I really like seeing what/ who's behind me. Love my Elise.
 

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Is there a different transmission in the Exige S260?
All years have the same drivetrain. When they bumped the power to 240 hp, they added a clutch engagement delay to limit wear and tear to the transmission.
 
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Discussion Starter #12
Thanks for all the replies everyone. I did not know that the Exige had the same stock rear calipers. This means that I would have to invest some money to get the braking 100% good on the Exige anyway. Also with the stock hardware, it seems like the heat soak issue means that the power wouldn't be as noticeable anyway.

I am actually leaning towards keeping the Elise and doing the full BOE suggested brake upgrade (front calipers to rear, AP radicals in front, with the bias cage). This would be probably around 4-5k but braking feel and confidence is the number one important thing for me.

In summary it seems like the Exige is not 100% a turn key solution to more power and confidence and the upgrade cost is higher than I thought.

There was also the interesting idea of replacing the clam. It would be an interesting idea to get the carbon fiber clam with a spoiler and aero for track use and keep the original painted clam for who knows what.
 

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Good pads are all an Elise needs. I guess if you're going to being a lot of tracking, you could go BOE's route.

But, with merely Hawk pads and knowledge of how to bleed brakes [see below], my car seems to stop beautifully quickly.

Tracking either of these cars can get expensive very fast and suddenly. If I wanted a mostly track car, it'd be a Miata, where there are no multi-thousand dollar clams. Carbon fiber...even more expensive.

Lots of ppl go to track, but instead of learning how to use the car to its fullest, they buy parts. They think that's what they need. My idea differs: When you can drive your car at 100%, then worry about more parts.

Toe-links and good tires are exceptions.



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 aftercoolant 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 not a useful 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:




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:



Remote Key Fob, Immobilizer & Misc Alarm Programming





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. If you are fooling with sparkplugs, remember to slather those tubes in dielectric grease (prevents shorts).



15. Visit the Uber Thread



**Elise/Exige Uberpost READ THIS. Everything you need to know is in here**



16. 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.



17. 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”:

How to Bleed Brakes


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 betweensite:lotustalk.com
 

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Discussion Starter #14
@glb Thanks for the reply. I am not looking to add parts for the fun of it. I am trying to fix a specific problem that takes 100% of the fun and safety out of a track day: I can't stop the car well. I have been in a modern Cayman GTS and in my 2016 Subaru WRX and when you brake you can feel the blood rush to the front of your face. In the Elise, there is a vague pedal feel, and then I guess ABS is kicking in but with no noise from the tires or the typical stutter / shutter of ABS. Even if the braking system is operating correctly, I do not enjoy the feel at all. The Subaru had about 1/2 inch of take up and then a firm pedal where you can brake all based on pressure, not distance.

I have found some other threads where people upgraded their Exige brakes and was able to brake much later and harder than before compared to stock.

Is there a test I can do on an empty road to see how hard / fast I should be able to brake. Also should the car be able to handle X amount of 60MPH-5MPH stops in a row?

Does anyone know what the ABS feels like kicking in?
 

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Good pads and rotors are worth trying first. I run Motul RBF600, G-loc R10 and ULTRAdiscs on the street and track. They stop the car beautifully and predictably. What brakes are you running? I assume you are running R-compounds tires like A048s or R888s?
 

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Has your car been aligned and corner weighted?

What tires are on the car?

Tire pressures cold?

What pads are you using?

ABS makes itself known pretty clearly. Haven't you felt it in other cars??
 

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I completely agree with Shinoo. I have the same brake set-up, but with less aggressive G-Loc R8s instead of R10s, and I have all the stopping power I need. Plus you have less un-sprung weight with the stock calipers and the ultradiscs. This is a relatively cheap way to lose weight and improve braking power in my opinion. Like the OP, I was not happy with the stock brake setup, and I couldn't believe the difference when I switched from stock to G-loc R8s and UntraDiscs.
 

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I think you'd be the first person considering going to the full BOE setup with what is basically a stock car with an OEM SC. I get that its not enjoyable. My first few times on track I had some similar problems to you... the car just didn't stop as fast as I thought it would. I did more or less what has already been recommended - new pads, new rotors, new brake fluid, and when I bled the fronts I took them off the uprights, turned them upside down, and banged the crap out of them.

After that, I still had the initial dead travel of an inch or so, but the car stopped great and I was able to proceed with confidence.

If you're in CA, seems like it would be easy to find someone on track with the same car, and swap for a couple of laps.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Good pads and rotors are worth trying first. I run Motul RBF600, G-loc R10 and ULTRAdiscs on the street and track. They stop the car beautifully and predictably. What brakes are you running? I assume you are running R-compounds tires like A048s or R888s?
Tires: RE71R
Front pads: GLOC R8
Rear pads: GLOC R10
Fluid: Castrol SRF

What are the ultra discs? is that an upgraded rotor? I am not sure what rotor I have.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
I completely agree with Shinoo. I have the same brake set-up, but with less aggressive G-Loc R8s instead of R10s, and I have all the stopping power I need. Plus you have less un-sprung weight with the stock calipers and the ultradiscs. This is a relatively cheap way to lose weight and improve braking power in my opinion. Like the OP, I was not happy with the stock brake setup, and I couldn't believe the difference when I switched from stock to G-loc R8s and UntraDiscs.
I have the GLOC R8 in the front and R10 in the rear. I wonder if the ultra disks would make a big difference. I know I have all the stopping power I "need" but no one "needs" to go to the track or a Lotus at all for that matter. I am chasing an excellent braking experience. I am telling you the difference in G forces on my Subaru, Cayman GTS or even my stock 2019 Golf R are much greater than the G forces felt with the Elise.
 
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