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Discussion Starter #1
Hey guys, I have owned an 87 Turbo, 94 S4 and most recently an 05 Elise. I am considering a V8 in the next few months. I did a fair amount of mods on my S4 and a few on my Turbo so I am pretty familiar wih the 4 cylinder and the Esprit in general, but not so much with the V8. I am interested in the model with the updated dash or newer. I did some searching about some of my questions but found outdated info referencing websites/businesses that were no longer active. So, I am looking for advice on the following.

Where can I source a replacement, already upgraded gearbox? I didnt have any problems with my previous Esprits but it was always a concern. I would like to have a replacment sourced just in case.

Are there any complete intercooler kits available? Am I correct in saying that it is possible to install intrcoolers now without modifying the trunk?

I replaced the steering wheel on my S4 with an airbag steering wheel from Germany. It was quite expensive though. Are there any other better options now such as an Elise or Evora wheel?

Whats the best/safest (I know its subjective) ecu upgrade with a stock engine?

I installed a Tubi exhaust on my S4 as there werent many other good options at the time. What are some good options available now?

And lastly, being that I woulc like to buy an Esprit from a member here, feel free to pm/email me should you run across a known V8.

Thanks, John
 

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Hi John,
Glad to hear you are taking the plunge to a V8!

My first suggestion for anything like the transmission or intercooler would be to give JAE a call. I seem to remember there was at least an updated input shaft (heavy duty) for the original transmission, though I don't know availability anymore.

As for the ECU, the "high torque" upgrade direct from Lotus is definitely worth it. Lots more useable power and it is considered "safe" for the stock transmission when driven responsibly. I know someone who has the "red race" ECU if you want all out power, but that is to my knowledge NOT considered safe for the stock setup.

Lastly, I would try to avoid the "leaky liner" issue by getting a 2000 or later, or you can still get an older one that has already been rebuilt with the hylomar fix. I think the new (smaller) dash binnacle started in 1999 which is what I have and like.

The rear lights also changed in 2000 or 2001 (I think) to the round style with the center exhaust. I prefer the dual setup of the 1999 with a pipe on each side, but that is of course just personal preference.

Many members here have upgraded the stock cats to the "sport cats" for a louder sound and maybe some performance gains. There were a few topics on it recently. Not sure about other options.

Good luck!

Kent
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for all the info Ken. I will drop JAE a line. Funny, I used them all the time when I had my Turbo and S4.... not so much with the Elise:rolleyes:

Thanks for pointing out the leaky liner issue. I will keep that in mind.
 

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Where can I source a replacement, already upgraded gearbox? I didnt have any problems with my previous Esprits but it was always a concern. I would like to have a replacment sourced just in case.

Look up UN1 upgrade and you can find a ton of stuff.
It isnt cheap but if you want to bulletproof your transmission thats the way to go. I think you wont need it though unless you are very abusive on your car, especially hard first gear launches.

Are there any complete intercooler kits available? Am I correct in saying that it is possible to install intrcoolers now without modifying the trunk?

Yes I have seen a few I think Prepared by Claudius sells them

I replaced the steering wheel on my S4 with an airbag steering wheel from Germany. It was quite expensive though. Are there any other better options now such as an Elise or Evora wheel?

I just did this as well.
Check this thread.

http://www.lotustalk.com/forums/f164/elise-wheel-installed-finally-115606/

Whats the best/safest (I know its subjective) ecu upgrade with a stock engine?

Go with the Lotus Hi Torque Upgrade. Send your ECU directly to Lotus.
HUGE improvement in the car while still factory safe.

While there check that you are getting full throttle on whatever Lotus you get. Most arent and can make your car feel very slow.

I installed a Tubi exhaust on my S4 as there werent many other good options at the time. What are some good options available now?


Check this thread out for actually video of my V8 with just sport cats from JAE
and the stock Exhaust, to me its perfect.

http://www.lotustalk.com/forums/f164/v8-exhaust-116171/


That about covers it. and yes go for a 2001 or newer if possible.
Likely to have less issues.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for the info. $300 for the steering wheel kit eh? Where did you get the Elise wheel? How much if you don't mind me asking.

Yeah, your exhaust sounds awesome!
 

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Yeah the kit is 300 but its flawless, everything you need is there minus the wheel.

As for finding a wheel.. you can score one between 200-400 bucks
depending on
how perfect you want the condition to be.

I was willing to pay the price to have it look 100% OEM
I think the Aluminum in the wheel matches perfectly with the dash and looks completely
stock as the car SHOULD have been.

Thanks on the exhaust.
Doesn't even do it justice, when you rev it up while
driving it sounds just amazing.
 

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I have the Prepared by Claudius intercooler about 98% installed in my 2003.
He gives you a new fiberglass trunk (that you have to carpet yourself) as the 2 intercoolers encroach on some of the area of the old trunk.
 

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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
Thanks to the info here and info from JAE a Lotus PBC, I am going to look for a 2001 or newer, going to scratch the idea of chargecoolers, look for an Elise wheel and leave the stock exhaust and go for some HiPo cats.

One thing I have found is that there are HUGE differences in asking prices for what seem to be similar condition cars of the same year... like $15,000 differences. Then I see a couple that are more expensive than a model 2 or 3 years newer. Know I know the cost of a very clean and perfectly working car but man I wasn't expecting to see spreads that big for seemingly similar condition cars.

So, I am going to be looking for a 2001 or newer silver (preferred) with nice wheels. I had a set of Ronal wheels on my S4 and really liked them. Seems ronalusa.com is no longer online. Too bad.

Anyway, here are some picts of my S4. kinda hard to look at now as I really had some nice mods on it. Had the ceramic ball bearing turbo, I modded the center console to accept a double din radio, Tubi exhaust etc. And here is a pict of the aftermarket steering wheel. Kinda miss her now :(
 

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Part of the reason for the wide range of pricing is of course condition and how motivated the seller is. The trap here is you do NOT want to pay the high price for the POS. How do you know? You MUST have the car inspected by someone who REALLY KNOWS the make and model of the car you are interested in. Just because you have an S4 does not make you an expert in a V-8. An expensive example is the clutch. On the V-8 it can cost you over $3K just for parts. An experienced Tech will know how to check it. He will know what a V-8 is supposed to sound like and drive. He will be able to review the service history and know what should have been done and when. A "C" service with belts and tensioners can cost over $5K. Your expert will also know what bits should be included and what is missing. I would not limit my search for a V-8 to years unless you just have to have the round tailights. An older one with low mileage that was well cared for may be a better buy. Geography may also affect your decision, closer is easier but not always cheaper. Go look at every car you can, you learn something each time. Of course the asking price is not always the seller's bottom #, some will negotiate more than others.
David Teitelbaum
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Yeah I am thinking more and more about an S4s. I mean I already know so much about them and being that they were made at the end of a loooong 4 cylinder run, you would think they got most of the bugs worked out by then. Man o man, decisions decisions. :confused:
 
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