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I really really really started think about it. I mean really. I love the LSS wheels I do. I also love the tires that come in the package. I do consider myself above the average when it comes to drivers. BUT i dont think that is enough for me to pay the fee. Nothing is official but it think that is my decision.

HOWEVER, I do plan on doing one thing. I would like the standard wheels to be slightly darker. Not black, but darker. Any one thought about powdercoating them? Also it looks like in this one pic with a yellow S2K and a Ardent Liz that the inside of the spokes are painted black?! They also look darker. Am i crazy here?

Myke
 

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Myke,

The wheels on the Euro 111S are smoked in between the spokes and silver on the outside - so no you're not seeing things. For the 111R and Fed Elise they have dropped the smoked effect due to quality issues and consistency in the colour of the smoking. i.e. if you damage a wheel and need to get it replaced then matching it to the other three wheels proved very problematic and expensive.

I have seen a yellow 111S where the wheels looked very dark whereas right next to it was a black 111S and the wheels were very very light!

Anton
 

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If this was a different kind of car, I might -- might -- think about cosmetic mods. (I have never done any cosmetic mods to any car, but I am not categorically against them.)

But this is, and will always be, a 2004 Federalized Elise, a veritable limited edition. So mine will remain factory stock, and 100% correct. Stock wheels, no side reflectors removed, and so on.
 

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Authenticity is cool, especially for the concours set...but I think personalizing your car is also part 'n parcel with our love affair with cars. The finish you describe will look better (to me eyes) than the std silver finish.

Wheels are subjected to a very harsh environment so make sure you get it finished properly. Check with some wheel experts to determine the most durable finish you can apply.

The last thing you want is to have your finish peeling and cracking like half of those chrome wheels you see out there...
 

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shinoo said:

The last thing you want is to have your finish peeling and cracking like half of those chrome wheels you see out there...
A lot of that is because chrome and aluminum are not close on a galvanic chart. It's possible to chrome alum rims, but years later, it becomes a source of corrosion between the two.

Powdercoating should be a more durable finish I would think.
 

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Be careful with powdercoating aluminium wheels.

Depending on the process the powdercoating needs to be 'baked' in an oven at high temperatures, which has an aging/weakening effect on the aluminium.

Wheels which get a powder coating from the factory usually are designed to allow this reduction in strength, but only once.

It can cause the metal to become too brittle and develop stress cracks after a while. A bit like magnesium wheels tend to do too.

Bye, Arno.
 

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How about anodizing?

If powdercoating isn't a decent option, how about anodizing? You'd have to have a fairly large tank for the bath, but it could even be a DIY job. Not sure of the effects of anodizing on wheel strength.....

You could even have chrome orange wheels using this method!

:D

Tony

'02 Tundra (tow vehicle)
'88 M3 IP Racer
'01 M Coupe
'05 Elise (waiting patiently...)
 

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One potential problem with powder coating is that it forms a hard shell over the surface of the metal. If a crack developes in the wheel/metal/whatever you won't be able to see the crack. The crack will be free to enlarge until something breaks.

It may, or may not be an issue, but something to be aware of...

Tim Mullen
 

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Good point Tim. We see that often on racing cart frames. Or should I say we don't see it, until it breaks.

Anodizing should not hurt the rim, it should in fact make the surface stronger.
 

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Very interesting post

Most OE wheels are powder coated so I wonder why people are worried....I can see where you will not see cracks in wheels but I can not see Poweder coating weakening a wheel....They get hotter on a track day then they do in the curing over....

later
 

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Did you look at the seloc thread I posted above? That is why I would not powder coat wheels. Better to have wheels where the colour is not quite perfect than have the wheels break at speed.
 

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I don't see in that thread anything that indicated powder coating was at fault, though as mentioned, it can cover up things. He mentions it, but without data to back it up the powder coating as a causative factor. Seems his brief mention of hitting the curb could have been more a likely cause.

Responses indicate that the Rimstock rims were crap anyways and/or designed to fail.

had just done a session at Croix with Hailey as a passenger. Did about 10 laps and decided to come in just as I caught up with Simon. I was on my slow-down lap and just after the (almost) double-apex right hander I heard a new knocking noise as if something was caught in the rear wheels. After 'bridge' the noise got louder so I put my hazards on and drove slowly the last 200m back to the paddock.

Drove straight to the Sinclaires area and the look on Hailey's face when she looked at the rear wheel told me all I needed to know. The left rear wheel had 8 spokes snapped clean through and another was almost gone. Only 3 'good' spokes remained! The knocking noise was from the broken spokes banging together as the wheel rotated.

I can't say how grateful I am to Sinclaires for having a spare wheel with them and for basically saving my weekend. In about 10 minutes I was supplied with a 'classic' 5-spoke wheel complete with a decent looking Bridgestone SO-2.

I only did a few 'installation laps' on the new wheel at Croix but it was enough to know everything else was OK. No issues at all on the road run from Croix to Folembray.

At Folembray I discovered what an excellent tyre the SO-2 is. Held up to track use much better than the Toyos and still provided plenty of grip with no real evidence of wear. Had a great day

So, possible causes...?

1) Powder coating. An unusual heat cycle, although I'm told that powder coating ovens are only ~70°C. There could also be a chemical issue?

2) Abuse. Too many kerbs? I only ran over the exit kerb at the (ridiculously) tight hairpin at Croix a couple of times and it wasn't that harsh at only 10mph. That was the only kerb I touched with the LHS. Obviously it had seen plenty of other action on track and potholed roads in it's 68500 mile life. The week before I hit a stone on the road which put a small scratch in the rim, less that 1cm long.

3) Bad wheel. Accident waiting to happen? Why would it fail on a low stress lap?

I'll be speaking to Lotus and Rimstock about this to see if they can explain this failure
 

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Randy,
The guy that had the rimstock wheel fall apart is Liam Crilly. He's one of the faster SELOCers, running a largely unmodified (engine-wise) S1 (albeit with adjustable spax dampers - probably pretty good suspension). I've never met him but a lot of people say he's a very good driver (one said "that's the fastest I've ever seen anything corner on 4 wheels") - in other words, he's quite hard on his tyres/suspension/car.

The rimstock broke out on the track.

I'm not saying this is acceptable, just putting it into perspective that the wheel had a hard life until it failed.

Craigy
 

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Yes. I have seen a lot of different rims fail in autocrossing because of the loads put on them. Not that odd really.
 

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That is not a pretty picture. The SELOC thread was interesting as well.

So our LSS rims are from Rimstock but they are forged. That should make them stronger and lighter. Any ideas whether or not the rim that failed above was forged? I'm guessing they are simply cast.

Producing strong AND light wheels is indeed a true challenge.
 
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