2005 Lotus Elise
Click on thumbnails below for larger pics....
This Elise was purchased from Motorcars of GA- Lotus of Atlanta. This was a pre-owned 2005 model that was equipped with both the sport and touring packages. The owner had recently traded it in for 1 of the 50 2006 Sport Elise models. He had been nice enough to replace the factory sport suspension with the Ohlins track setup, had installed the OEM driving lights and switch panel, had installed the Multivex Mirrors, had Stage 2 exhaust installed (currently on #3- this one by Janspeed and seems to be fine), painted the engine covers red, removed the LOTUS letters on the rear and replaced with rear LOTUS emblem, installed stainless steel brake lines, replaced the brake pads with Porterfield R4S, and replaced the OEM air filter with a K&N. He has also worked out most of the rattles and issues that these cars have. The Yokohama A048 tires had been replaced recently and as it turned out, this was one of the Sport models where the Exige black wheels had been substituted when the LSS wheels were on backorder at one point during production of the 2005 model. This Elise comes from Lotus with Lotus AP brakes up front, Brembo units at the rear, and cross drilled rotors front and rear. Click HERE for the eBay auction that this car was featured in, listed an hour before I test drove the car and three days before I purchased it- not through eBay. Some pics the week we brought it home (and before I had done anything to it) :
Queen's Award for Enterprise sticker is found on all Elise models:
Toyota (with some help from Yamaha) provides the 1.8L VVTLi motor, a 2ZZ GE with variable valve timing and lift also found in the Toyota Matrix XRS / Celica GT-S...
Gas filler guard installed- Chuck (EliseTalk user lucksta) was nice enough to make up some of these for fellow Lotus Elise owners (THANKS Chuck! ) to prevent the gas pump handle from marring the finish and also to catch any gas drips when filling up, when finished it can be folded neatly and tucked behind gas filler door. Installed by stretching around gas filler neck:
Fiamm Air Horns installed- The wimpy Elise horn does not cut it with the visibility issues other drivers have with these cars. To correct that, Fiamm high/low air horns were wired in parallel with the stock horn and the 7.5 amp horn fuse was replaced with a 15 amp fuse. I did not use the relay with this installation due to time constraints but it may be worthwhile to do this as I am not sure the wire size supports the use of the 15A fuse (perform at your own risk). The horns and compressor were mounted to the front crash structure in the same area as the OEM horn, this required drilling 3 small mounting holes- washers used on both sides to distribute the clamping force.
The horn is LOUD now .
Blackwatch Racing Unikey- The way the key should have come from Lotus, an integrated solution for those like me that want the remote/immobilizer one with the key. Instructions for assembly can be found HERE . Very easy to assemble and works well, Thanks for bringing this to market Robert . Pics below show the Lotus key/fob, the parts that make up the Unikey, and the assembled Unikey:
Shifter Knob Mod- The shifter markings were quite dirty so I used brake cleaner and toothpicks to clean them up after wrapping the surrounding area with an old towel to keep the rest of the car free from cleaner and paint. I then used Testor's paint pens to paint the 1-6 shift markings black and the R and separating line red. After the paint is dry (it does look horrendous, no worries), a clean lint free cloth with a small amount of Testor's paint thinner/brush cleaner can be used to gently wipe away the paint leaving only the markings painted:
Uniden Beartracker BCT15 Scanner Installed- This acts as a pre-radar detector and lights up if any state patrol transponder is active within 3 miles. The owners manual is available HERE. Mount is screwed to dash underside and scanner can be installed/removed utilizing two small knobs on either side, similar to a CB. I have BCT7 scanners in my other cars and they are great for interstate travel and monitoring police activity at the dead times late at night/early in the morning. Before installing I tried the ingress/egress test and it passed. I was able to fabricate a cable that has female/male antenna connectors (to go between the antenna and radio) and splits off a small section of coax with a BNC connector to allow the scanner to use the radio antenna. The antenna and power wires were routed up the passenger side and behind the airbag to tap into the radio power/antenna. Scanner functions normally for local police, DOT, and weather broadcasts (and has a trunk tracking feature that I have not used) and alerts via a light and a loud audible warning for state patrol, state is selectable and is pre-programmed with state patrol frequencies.
Polk Audio DB400 (4") and DB650 (6.5") Speakers Installed- Purchased from Crutchfield during the buy one, get one half-off promotion for $140 total, DB series owners manual with specs is HERE. FWIW, the DB series speakers are marine certified which is ideal for an open-top car like the Elise for sun/UV exposure. To be honest, this was probably the easiest speaker swap I have done. The 4" in front were direct replacement and the rear 6.5" required only minor dremel adjustments about 1/8" out from existing mounting holes, no foam removal or hole enlargement needed. I had purchased the screw driver ratchet from Sears anticipating the dash and passenger rear screws being hard to get to but only ended up using it on the passenger rear for 2 screws, all others were R&Red using my trusty thumb screwdriver. I re-used the Blaupunkt screws to avoid having to replace the clamp nuts. I also observed that the way the rear grills were designed, if the screw is tightened too much it could pull through because the grill screw hole is not enclosed but slotted. Start to finish (including not-so-good pics, I just wanted to finish the install) took about an hour, no need to remove the passenger seat but it is tight. The connectors did require some plier application to make them a little more snug. I really didn't expect the sound to be drastically better but the improvement was better than I expected. The Polks did not sound as bright in the sound board as the Infinitys but sound perfect in the car. For the money, this is a great upgrade....only improvement left is potentially an amp and JL Stealthbox.
Plaque installed - EliseTalk's waydui (Wayne) was nice enough to print these plaques for fellow Elise owners on an adhesive metallic sticker.....adds a nice personal touch, THANKS Wayne
Sector 111 - First order arrives consisting of a MicroMirror (installation instructions HERE ), LidBone (installation instructions HERE and video of operation HERE ), and carpet buttons. As seen in pictures the MicroMirror is MUCH smaller than the Hummer one that GM provided from the factory and installation was a piece-of-cake, although caution should be exercised as the window has been cracked by others during the R&R procedure. The LidBone has sharp edges that I hand-sanded down prior to assembly, I also put some soft pieces of velcro on the part that contacts the motor cover to prevent the paint from getting scratched- much improved over the rod or head support methods, automatically locks in place when trunk is opened. The aluminum carpet buttons look a lot better than the cheap plastic ones that detract from the rest of the interior. Sector 111 is good stuff
[UPDATE]: My Lidbone has exhibited some bending issues since installation, a few others have had this issue as well. Sector 111 hypothesis is that engine movement places pressure on the parts causing this and have released redesigned parts to allow more engine movement without affecting the Lidbone. Kudos to them for supporting their products....
Clutch Pedal Stop Mod by moremonkey's Stan : Went to the local Home Depot and picked up an 8mm (1.25 pitch, 50mm long) bolt and a washer and nut for same. After assuming the Yoga position upside down in the driver's footwell I was able to remove the OEM bolt and install the new bolt to allow adjustment for the clutch pedal stop- I found setting the depth of the new bolt equal to the one removed was perfect, YMMV. I used some of the felt pads you put on furniture feet and cut one down to the same shape as the bolt head, allows wrench socket use without removal. Once the bolt length is adjusted the nut can be snugged down to prevent it from becoming loose. As this is my daily driver now, I am sure this mod will provide less of a work out and make for faster shifting at the track as well.....Thanks for the great idea Stan! As always, standard disclaimer, this is provided for informational purposes only and you may elect to perform this at your own risk....
I originally purchased the 4" Polk Audio speakers for the front dash because they were direct replacement drop-in and required no dash modification. The more I thought about it and the more I listened, I decided that 4" was not the speaker I wanted for my front stage- I needed 5.25". Off to Circuit City I went and picked up some DB525 for my installation. You can see in the pics the difference between the recently installed DB400 and the newly purchased DB525. The dash would require some slight modification to work with the 5.25" speakers. Initially I thought the dash was metal encased in plastic but as I discovered, the metal plate is only for mounting the original 4" speakers- removing this prior cuts an hour-long job of meticulous application of a Dremel tool with cutoff wheel to about 10 minutes of plastic trimming, no loss of structural integrity. I did not have a problem with depth, these speakers were right at the limit though and any deeper would require reshaping the A/C duct for clearance. I also found that the speakers sounded better with no baffles so I left them out. Elise Talk's jim-clayton was nice enough to send me some of the same mounting rings he fabricated and used for his installation, already had drilled and machined holes for hex-head screws that he also sent me, the mounting rings filled the recess perfectly and allowed me to utilize all 4 mounting holes that were easy enough to get to with a small Allen wrench (THANKS JIM! ). E6000 was the adhesive used to bond the adapter mounting rings to the dash. The difference in sound makes this mod well worth the effort, staging is much improved and the 5.25" is able to reproduce sound much better than the 4", simple enough to understand when looking at the comparison pics.
Sector 111 - Bootie and Bollock Shift Knob Installed. Bootie keeps your trunk organized and prevents objects from banging into your clam from the inside and causing damage. Bollock shift knob is stainless steel and heavier than OEM aluminum knob for more positive shifts. A LITTLE threadlocking compound is used for the shift knob since it does not have a set screw.
First oil change for me and Fumoto Oil Drain Valve install- Tools and supplies required for the oil change are a ratchet with 8mm and 14mm sockets, a 5mm hex wrench, a 65mm/14 flute oil filter removal tool, an oil filter, and about 5 quarts of 5w40 synthetic oil. I chose the new Amsoil EaO10 Synthetic Oil Filter and Amsoil 5w40 Synthetic Oil [NOTE: I have since discovered that the ZDDP levels of Amsoil 5w40 are ~800 PPM and I will not use it any longer, I have found a local distributor that stocks the Lotus specified Havoline Synthetic 5w40 which has ~1100 PPM]. The oil change details at Sands Mechanical Museum were used and can be found HERE. I used my Rhino Ramps to gain access to the bottom of the motor, to me easier than jacks/jack stands and provide plenty of working room. After removing the engine access panel, draining the old oil, and changing the filter, I installed the Fumoto valve, P/N F-103. There is a good bit of clearance with the engine access panel bolted back up and future oil changes will be a little less messy.
Stan's Shifter Box Reinforcement installed- I had the interior out for amplifier installation and figured there could not be a better time to do this mod. Went to Ace Hardware and picked up (1) M8 bolt/1.25 pitch/50 mm long, (5) 1.5" washers, (15) 7/8" washers and in deviating from the other installations I had seen decided to get a SAE union to replace the stack of washers from the floorpan to the shifter box frame. I figured I may not use ALL of the hardware I picked up but would rather have too much than not enough. The SAE union required cutting to fit and this was the opportunity to grind the cut end to an angle that fit perfectly on the nutsert head in the floorboard. I ground two of the 1.5" washers flat on one side and then notched for the reverse cable. Both of these washers were used on top of the shifter box. The M8 bolt was threaded through these two washers, the shifter box frame, one 7/8" washer, and then the modified SAE union and into the nutsert on the floorboard. The hole on the shifter box frame did not align perfectly with the threaded nutsert in the floorboard so a Dremel with a carbide cutting bit was used to grind the hole toward the front of the car 1/4". After this was tightened the front right bolt was removed (10mm socket) and a 1.5" washer was inserted. This simple modification significantly reinforces the shifter box frame and eliminates most of the play that existed before.
Valentine1 Radar Detector and Remotes installed- Another project while the interior was out for amplifier installation. Purchased a 12' phone cord to have enough to run from the remote location to the area where the detector was mounted. Wire was run under the door sill lip, up the rollbar, and over the top of the cover and tucked in when reinstalled. Detector mounted bottom side up (since it was flat) with industrial Velcro, mounting can be easily reversed. The remotes were mounted in the driver's side cubby area, the visual remote was flush mounted in the dash (some cutting with Dremel tool required) and the volume/power remote was mounted using Velcro inside the top of the cubby. I wired it so that the volume/power remote controls power to the detector which when off will also power down the remote display. Detector is not very noticeable from front or rear, tinted rear window helps this. Added some pics with seats back in:
Blaupunkt digital amplifiers and JL Audio Stealthbox installed- JL Audio Stealthbox installation instructions are HERE. Amps installed were the old digital models using Tripath Technology that Blaupunkt made a while ago, a PA4100 for the mids/highs (100w RMS x4) and a PA275 for the Stealthbox (Bridged at 200w RMS x 1). The digital amps were removed from their plastic covers and are small with very little heat generated, perfect for the confines of an Elise. I originally planned to install the amps behind the passenger seat but needed about 1/4" more space (if I had used just the 4-channel amp it would have fit fine). It actually worked out fine to install them behind the driver's seat because with the seat all the way back now, my driving position is the same and the amps are easy to get to. Velcro was used to hold them to the carpet and pinned between the rear wall and the seat, they are not going anywhere. I purchased the carbon fiber JL Audio Stealthbox from Jim on EliseTalk, a little bit lighter than the standard fiberglass model.
I assembled some information and pics during the course of my install that others may find useful (or not): My Elise Amplifier Install
Below are some pics of the finished product, the amps sound great and did not get warm to the touch during my hour long "test", the JL Audio Stealthbox adds the lacking low end in the Elise and only takes up space occupied by the footrest prior.
CG-Lock installed. Provides stability so there is less sliding and repositioning in seat, nice interim fix until I get a harness bar and some harnesses. Install instructions HERE, install video HERE.
I planned to clean the airfilter and while doing that decided to try the intake mod that originated with Stan (EliseTalk thread HERE) and has also been done by scottyb (EliseTalk thread HERE). To start, I had to buy a jack that would fit under the Elise, and conveniently the same velocity funnel and coupler that Stan used was at the same auto parts store as the jack. I jacked the car up using the passenger side B point, and placed a jack stand under the car near the jack point just in case the hydraulic jack failed (safety first). Next the wheel liner is removed, two plastic retaining screws in front and four more in the rear. The wheel liner is then flexed out and the airbox is visible. The factory snorkel for the airbox is held in place with one plastic screw on top of the airbox, this was easier to remove from inside the fender well. The rubber coupler was attached to the velocity funnel and the airbox end was cut to go around the one spot where the airbox intake did not allow for the coupler to slide on. I noticed in my car that the velocity funnel might rub the fiberglass so I put some of the soft Velcro on top to prevent wear/rattles. Both clamps were tightened and checked to make sure they would hold. After the pictures below were taken the clamp on the airbox side was re-oriented for better clamping to the airbox intake piping.
Final step was to go for a ride- should be good for a few HP but sounds better on cam changeover, the vacuum cleaner effect of the factory snorkel that sucks bugs, dirt, etc. into the airbox will probably be reduced too. Can't go wrong for under $20 and a half hour of time.
New wheels and tires for street use- Since I drive the Elise whenever possible, I wanted to retire the Exige wheels/Yokohama A048s for track days and get something that lasted a little longer and was designed for every day street use. These BBS wheels were originally sourced from Sector 111 (their wheel comparison chart is HERE, Per Sector 111 the custom offsets are (front=+27, rear=+35), weight front=13.45 lbs; rear=17.75 lbs) and I picked them up from the original owner when he sold his Elise, 16x7 and 17x8 in size. The Toyo Proxes T1R tires I chose were some that other Elise drivers had tried and liked and I was able to get the best deal on this brand at my local tire shop. I went with 225/45/16 up front and 255/40/17 on the rear, the overall diameters were very close to the OEM tire setup for the sport package cars. I used Kauffman Tire on McGinnis Ferry Road in Suwanee (770-614-5650), my buddy Brian Pechin manages this store and I know all the techs, they did a great job mounting the new tires and using the correct procedures to jack the car and torque the lugnuts. I had originally wanted to get these wheels in black but the deal was too good to pass up and I kind of like the silver now. After driving a week with this setup the car seems to perform well, on the street it does not seem I have given up a whole lot of performance and now my conscience is clear since I am no longer wasting R-compound tires on the street. The benefits of this new setup are more miles (Yoko treadwear 60 vs Toyo Treadwear 280) and better traction in rain/cold weather.
[UPDATE] I have found that tire pressures of 27 Front and 30 Rear HOT seem to work the best for me on some aggressive mountain drives.
Odyssey Battery sourced from BatteryMart.com . I decided on the PC925MJT as it was the closest in power to the OEM battery. My goal was not to save weight (Both the OE and Odyssey batteries weigh 23 lbs each) but to be pro-active and prevent battery leakage. I removed the OEM battery and rubber strip underneath (to prevent it from sliding?). I cleaned the fiberglass surface with brake cleaner and installed industrial Velcro on both the fiberglass surface and the bottom of the battery. I had to elongate the bolt hole for the mount to allow it to clamp the battery. Since this battery lacks the lip around the bottom, I will eventually fabricate a real mounting solution. This coupled with the Velcro allows NO movement. Battery cover still works fine and was reinstalled. Odyssey manuals are here: Owner's Manual, Technical Manual, and Brochure
Blaupunkt MP3 interface installed. I bought the 7 607 540 500 AB from an eBay vendor for about half what I had seen it for elsewhere. It plugs into the back of the radio (click HERE for a head unit compatibility list) and then plugs into your iPod for signal and power. I did have to go to a website and download the latest firmware update HERE, the instructions and FAQ were more helpful than the multi-lingual instructions that came with the interface. I ran the iPod end of the cable to the passenger side for a stealth install- some Velcro replaced the screws that held that panel on for easier access and I also used some Velcro on the Ipod itself to make sure it was secure. FWIW, the Blaupunkt tech support number is 1-800-950-2528, I have not had any issues with the interface as far as playing the MP3 files (no lock ups) but I have yet to get the text display functional on the radio, you pretty much have to remember the numbers for your playlists and songs (not super functional but it works). Blaupunkt iPod Interface info/manuals are here: Owner's Manual and Pictures
Forced Fed front lip spoiler installed. This spoiler is half fiberglass and half carbon fiber, quite sturdy compared to some other carbon fiber pieces I have used in the past. The spoiler comes with no hardware or instructions. I started by unpacking the spoiler and removing the bubble wrap. The spoiler does not come pre-drilled but there are dimples where holes are required. I drilled 3/8" holes in the middle rear and 3/16" holes in the front of the spoiler. The 3 middle rear holes utilize the existing bolts for the clam/undertray and were drilled slightly larger to allow alignment movement. A trip to the hardware store was required for (7) hex-head bolts (5mm x 20mm), (14) stainless steel fender washers, and (7) 5mm stainless steel nuts. I started the installation by driving the car up on ramps, I went ahead and placed the helper ramps constructed from 2" x 4" with 45 degree ends at the base of the ramps knowing they would be required for backing down post-install. Once up on ramps, I removed the 3 bolts that hold the undertray to the clam that are used for mounting the spoiler. Holding the spoiler centered under the car, I was able to start all three bolts and semi-tighten them, leaving them a little loose for alignment adjustments. Next I drilled the holes on each end, the bolts can be installed with fender washers on either side for uniform clamping and can be accessed in front of the wheel. I then drilled the center front hole, the access to this bolt is a little tight but can be accomplished by removing the center grille (held in by clips on top) and wedging your hand down behind the front license plate area. The remaining 4 bolt holes were drilled after tightening down the middle and end bolts, I found that the spoiler is pulled into an almost perfect fit after these bolts are tightened. I used the same nuts/washers/bolts as elsewhere in these remaining four holes by accessing the area behind the clam with the front lower access panel removed. FYI, I did initially try self-tapping screws but found they offered little support when used with the fiberglass clam- it is worth the additional time to use bolts and nuts. I am pretty pleased with the results, gives the Elise a finished look up front and is cheaper to sacrifice for survival of the front clam if it is ever bottomed out.Also visible in these pics is the hard top (recently installed for winter) and the window tint (20% all around) by Mr. Tint (aka Barry Wood, 404-392-8007).
ekological's (Chester Wong) HID low beam kit by ApexCone installed, I opted for the 50w 4500k. Thanks for the GREAT customer service Chester! Thanks to ET's darkSol for his instructions HERE, very helpful. Since the passenger side was supposed to be the most problematic for ballast mounting, that is the side and task I chose to do first. After the ballast was mounted I chose to add a little plumbing goop at some points around the ballast for extra vibration dampening (it stays pliable and comes off easily). Next I unplugged the main headlight harness, plugged in the HID adapter harness, and moved the anchor from the original plug to the adapter. Getting the HID plugs through the grommet was not too bad and could be accomplished with one hand holding a screwdriver to stretch the grommet while the other hand carefully fed the connectors, one at a time, through the opening. By far, the hardest part for me was the wire clip that held the low beam bulb in- after several bending attempts with needle-nose pliers to try and navigate around the slightly larger base, I was able to get both sides to stay latched. I used a zip-tie as a safety measure to prevent the clip from coming unlatched. The comparison was night and day, HIDs are much whiter and brighter than the halogen bulbs (Pics show passenger side HID installed, driver's side halogen). I also took this opportunity to replace the high beams with SilverStars which are also noticeably better. After the passenger side wiring was tucked away that side was reassembled and on to the drivers side- much quicker as the ballast mounting was easier and the learning curve had already been passed on the other side. Now is also a good time to adjust the aim for the headlights, I used the Sand's Mechanical Museum DIY HERE.
I found some better plastic screw rivets to use for the fender liners, I was missing one on each side and the one I did have was not doing the best job holding the liner to the clam.
Visited Tail of the Dragon (aka HWY 129 located in NC and TN) and Hellbender (aka HWY 28 located in NC). We made the trip on a Sunday to meet some other Lotus Elise owners for a drive and had an Ultima GTR join us. BIG Thanks to Myk Freeman for some great pics (his shots are the nicer ones below titled with the prefix MF). Only about 3 hours from ATL, lots of fun if you like curves.
Installed bright white LED parking lights (P/N WLED-WHP) from Super Bright LEDs.com to better match the HIDs.
Pics L to R: OEM parking lights, one of each, LED parking lights, LED parking lights with HIDs.
Lotus Sport floormats installed- the carpeted heel area works better for me than the vinyl on the original floormats, less slip:
Alpine CDA-9857 installed with KCE-422i iPod cable. The Blaupunkt iPod interface was a disappointment so I decided to try the Alpine solution. The iPod interface on the Alpine is GREAT, almost as good as using the iPod directly. I believe the Blaupunkt tuner was superior and the sound is about the same. Alpine CDA-9857 Manual HERE
Pics L to R: Head Unit/iPod cable/2001 Passat wiring harness, Welcome screen, radio display, iPod display.
Forced Fed Street Header installed. Because the high flow cat (or test pipe) causes the post cat O2 sensor reading to be off and trigger the CEL in some cases, the GPMoto CEL Fix was purchased from JSC Speed to correct this. Alternatively, several people have used spark plug arrestors to make a similar device with good results as detailed HERE. The stock exhaust manifold was removed using the instructions HERE. A new exhaust manifold gasket (P/N 17173-88601) was sourced from 1stToyotaParts.com, some have reused their original gasket but it's cheap insurance at $20 just to go ahead and replace it while installing the header. The torque specs for the header install are HERE. I was able to source the external Torx sockets at Advance Auto for about $10 for the set to remove the exhaust manifold studs. I soaked everything liberally with PB Blaster prior to make removal trouble free. The pieces removed (exhaust manifold, heat shields, catylytic convertor) and replaced with the Forced Fed Header accounts for a 9 pound weight savings when using the FF high flow cat and almost 11 pounds when using the test pipe.
I have compiled a DIY guide for this installation found HERE that will hopefully provide help for anyone thinking about doing this. The header makes a noticeable power difference throughout the RPM band and the sound is WOW . ForcedFed Header dyno is HERE.
Sound clips with Canon A710 Camera: Idle and Rev HERE and in car HERE.
[UPDATE]: The GPMoto mechanical CEL Fix did not work for me, about every 25 miles I get the error "P0420- Catalyst System Efficiency Below Threshold".....time to look at other fixes. This is with the test pipe so it may work with the high flow cat. I used the OBDII scanner I purchased from DIY Diagnostics to scan and clear the code. Good news is that there are no A/F ratio lean trouble codes pending. I found another mechanical eliminator on eBay from seller strutking (aka Kevin, email@example.com) with a slightly different design and it has worked without any error codes for the past 5k miles. I had purchased an O2 Simulator from O2 Sim.com as a backup/last resort but sold it to a fellow EliseTalker: O2 Simulator Installation Instructions HERE, manufacturer wire colors HERE, and universal wire colors HERE:
New Mirror Mod- "Objects In Mirror Appear to Be Losing"
Taidan Garage Door Opener- Uses high beam switch to open and close garage door. Instructions are here in MS Word format. These can be purchased from Ben Moulding for $37 +shipping. Pretty cool for those who don't have Homelink, found this on the Audi boards.....FWIW, at the high beam connector the blue wire with black stripe is high beam positive, black is ground, transmitter tucked away in headlight housing. If you don't have a newer Liftmaster/Sears or Genie Intellicode garage door opener you can buy a Liftmaster Security+ universal receiver or Genie Intellicode universal receiver that will work with any garage door opener for about $50...
Sector 111 - Fire Extinguisher with billet mount and aluminum seat bracket installed. Utilizes the front two bolts for the passenger seat rails, looks great and all that hard work won't go up in smoke should a fire present itself
Installation instructions HERE :
Sylvania DOT*it light installed on trunk lid for trunk illumination. Added Velcro so that it is easily removed for battery changes and for remote use, uses area where OEM trunk prop rod goes so a Lidbone is almost a required mod. Works great, Sylvania DOT*it commercial HERE:
New shift and parking brake boots installed from Redline Goods. I had purchased boots from them in the past for my VWs and was disappointed when they didn't have an existing pattern for the Elise.....so I sent them my old shift boot and took measurements for the parking brake boot and the design process started. In a few weeks I had new boots, Redline Goods is based in Poland and the leather used in their products is superior to OEM. Their boots are made to order and they can do leather and stitching in a wide variety of colors. I put together a DIY guide for R&R HERE.
I also had picked up the Lotus shift plate from a fellow EliseTalker and installed it as well. It required adjusting the shifter position and I also chose to reshape/enlarge the opening for clearance with a grinder to minimize contact with the shifter.
Lotus ECU removed and sent to PES (Performance Engine Software) for updates. Start by disconnecting the battery. The ECU is held to the firewall with 3 bolts/washers and has two plugs attached to the bottom. The plugs are removed by pulling the locking clips on either end out and removing the plugs one at a time, they are tight. It is critical to make sure the locking clips are pulled all the way out (they remain attached to the plug) or the connectors will remained locked to the pins on the ECU enclosure (some pics below so you can see what I am talking about). The guys at PES were great to work with (THANKS TONY) and this chip is awesome, the initial dynos (their car at a few thousand miles) and specs are below. I no longer have a hunt at idle and the car pulls hard from idle to redline. The turbo feel of the OEM second cam transition is gone but in its place is a smoother, more consistent power band:
Mountain drive with Lotus group in North GA mountains in March 2007 - organized and sponsored by LLSE local chapter. The Lotus was out of commission because UPS had lost my ECU being returned from PES with a performance chip. So the R32 was driven in place of the Lotus, and actually hung in there quite well with my Lotus friends. Anyone who thinks an R32 is small should park one next to a Lotus . A fellow Lotus owner (name witheld to protect the innocent) had a run-in with a bird- the bird comitted suicide by flying into/inside the car, it was buried at Vogel State Park where we all stopped for a break (VIDEO HERE).
North Georgia mountain drive route by Frank (with notes) HERE or by Phil on Google Maps HERE:
Installed adjustable front anti-sway bar (non-LSD version) from Blackwatch Racing. Lotus feels this is the way to address balance as opposed to a LSD and includes this on their Sport Elise from the factory. Blackwatch packages their bar with new poly bushings, bushing lube, new bolts (replace Allen-head bolts) and adjustable end links- quality is top notch. Since I had upgraded to wider tires for street use I felt this would help me get a litle more out of the suspension. I added some pictures and comments to Robert's installation instructions and assembled a DIY guide HERE. The installation is not hard but is time consuming, taking your time the installation takes 2-3 hours. I did come up with an idea/modified tool to save some time on the Allen-head bolt removal for the OEM anti-sway bar detailed in the DIY.
First HPDE track event at Road Atlanta with the Cherokee Audi Club and DurtyDubs. Event Packet HERE and Event Information HERE. I drove my R32 for the Saturday sessions and put the Lotus in the infield show. I was back on Sunday to drive the Lotus after becoming familiar with the track on Saturday....WOW. You can't truly appreciate how good these cars are until driving them at a HPDE. I met Randy Pobst who was there driving the APR cars for some of the journalists- Video HERE. I let Mark and Nadine Kingsbury go for a ride before I left, the least I could do for the time they volunteered to help organize this event (and there were a LOT of volunteers that helped make this a success- THANKS ). Also, a BIG THANKS to the volunteer instructors !!
4Tress Harness Bar, 6-point Schroth Racing ASM Harnesses with anti-sub belts, anti-sub belt bars, shoulder harness grommets and hardware kit from Sector111 installed.
HSPN TV also has How-To Install videos sponsored by Sector 111: Sector 111 4tress harness bar installation and
Schroth Harness & Sector 111 harness hardware kit installation
I followed Sector111's instructions and installed the harness bar first; the seats and rear panel/foam are removed to install the harness brackets. After the foam and rear panel are installed the harness bar can then be bolted in. I didn't have any clearance issue with the bar and my rear speaker grills.
Next up is cutting the seats for the harness installation. I used masking tape to create lines to help place the grommets evenly for tracing on to the seat and to hold the cloth backing out of the way. After tracing onto the seat, a Dremel tool with carbide cutting bit made quick work of the fiberglass. After the fiberglass pieces were cut (cut about 1/8 inch larger than the grommet inside trace) and removed the foam was also trimmed to the edge and the leather cut for grommet installation. The fiberglass holes required some touchup trimming for the grommets to snap together. The grommets really don't snap together well due to the curvature of the seat so I used SuperGlue and C-Clamps padded with some rags to hold them together until the glue dried. The anti-sub belt holes were cut just behind the metal brace and anti-sub belt bar. I used press-on door edge molding on the metal and fiberglass edges where the belt would be. No elegant sewn openings yet, just cut slits in the leather for now for the anti-sub belts. I installed the harnesses to the bar prior to installing the seats so that I could test fit the harnesses, they are easier to adjust with the seats removed and the sub belts cannot be adjusted once the seat is installed. The ASM harnesses are specific to left and right sides, I swapped the lap belts since I have more room to tuck the belt and attached cam lock out of the way on the ouside. It turned out nice aesthetically and I can't wait for the next HPDE or mountain drive to try the functionality out :
Center Brake Light Flasher from Samplex INC installed (Thanks Michael ). This flasher is easily wired into the third brake light with simple tools, crimp connectors and splice tap were included. When the brake is applied this flasher flashes the center brake light 7-9 times before staying on, greatly increasing awareness of drivers behind you that you are stopping. The center brake light is removed using an 8mm socket with a 1/4" driver or ratchet/extension, one bolt per side. The red wire for the brake light is cut and the side going to the brake light is connected to the black wire from the flasher module, the side coming from the car is connected to the red wire from the flasher module, and the remaining green wire from the flasher module is connected to the black wire for the brake light using the splice tap. The flasher module is tucked over to one side and the brake light can be reinstalled. Works great:
Installed some leftover door edge molding around the unfinished part of the engine compartment, makes for a more finished appearance:
Rock n' Croc Rally with the Porsche Cayman group from www.caymanclub.net and some fellow EliseTalk members- just some fun driving on the Tail of the Dragon and some other NC twisties. On the drive up to Robbinsville, NC I spotted some road carnage just in time to save my front end but left some bloody splatter with hair down the side of my car and right rear wheel- sprayed off at next car wash, no damage. Up early on Saturday AM to beat the crowd and ran the dragon both ways then up NC-28 to connect to NC 151, lunch at the Mt Pisgah Inn, and then to NC-80 for some more fun:
Polk Audio Momo MMC525 (5.25") Speakers Installed- Purchased to replace the DB525, I opted to go with the Polk Momo line for higher power handling and better sound. Momo series owners manual with specs is HERE. Like the DB series, the Momo series speakers are marine certified which is ideal for an open-top car like the Elise for sun/UV exposure. Also in compararison the size was the same as the DB525 so the depth was not an issue and the AC vent tube did not require any modification. Comparing these to the DB series, the Momo series definitely sound better (having the ability to aim the tweeter is a plus) and with the added power handling I won't have to worry about them. The Momo series have an external crossover that was wrapped with one layer of foam and tucked down in the dash under the speaker securely. These speakers have seperate inputs for the tweeter and woofer so that they could be bi-amped if desired. This is the third set of front speakers I have had in the Lotus, maybe I am a little crazy
Mountain drive to Tail of the Dragon and the Cherahola Skyway. The group consisted of myself (and wife), a new Exige S owner (owned 2 Elises prior), and an M-Coupe owner and his fiancee (he is also a prior Elise owner). Lots of fun but our trip coincided with a Honda motorcycle convention (Honda Hoot 2007) that had everything pretty grid-locked. Nonetheless, lots of fun and we eventually found some lower traffic areas for some fun :
Lotus Limited South East Concourse D'Elegance and picnic at Tribble Mill Park in Grayson, GA. Small turnout but lots of good Lotus discussion and an opportunity to meet some new Lotus owners. People's Choice awards for several categories were awarded based on a vote by those in attendance, out of the Elise/Exige category my car won and Mick's new KG Exige won Best of Show:
Installed the rear lift point kit that EliseTalk's tesprit came up with as a means to allow a lift to be used for the Elise without removing any underbody panels (but allowing the flexibility to do that if access was required while the lift was in use). Installation guide and design drawings from Dan are HERE.
Installation involves an 8mm hex wrench, a 19mm wrench, a 19mm socket/ratchet, and some blue LocTite if you don't plan on removing the posts. I didn't plan on removing mine and found it easier to assemble them to the bottom piece prior to mounting the plate on the car. The quality is top notch and installation was straight forward, the posts are not that much lower than the engine under-tray and I am comfortable leaving them mounted. This should make using lifts a lot easier
Replaced Stage II exhaust with Von Hep diffuser-exit single-tip exhaust. I spoke with Jeff on the phone prior to my purchase to talk about construction and sound and was very reassured after the discussion and reading the positive reviews on EliseTalk.
Click HERE to see the video Jeff shot of his car with the Von Hep exhaust.
Click HERE for the Von Hep exhaust installation instructions.
The system arrived and the attention to detail and quality was great. The exhaust is straight through with perforations for the exhaust sound to be absorbed in the packing material. I started off by assembling the silicone liners to the exhaust holder/bracket and bolting both loosely to the hanger rod. I then loosely assembled the pipe to muffler and headed to the car to R&R the exhaust. If you have a header the clearance is tight and adjustments are limited. I also had to bend the heat shield on the passenger side to clear the pipe and avoid rubbing. I tried to like the single brushed stainless steel tip that came with the exhaust but elected to source my own tip and went with the MagnaFlow stainless steel 4" x 4.5" dual wall tip with a 2.25" inlet (P/N 35124) from JustMagnaFlow.com. I had to lengthen the exhaust pipe and found some 2.25" ID to 2.25" OD pipe and cut it to the desired length. Both the extension and the tip had to have slots cut so that they could be clamped on to the exhaust system, this was accomplished with a die grinder and cut-off disc. I had already modified the diffuser to work with the "periscope tip" and had to further modify it to work with the new tip, a little material was removed from the rear. I like the way it turned out, not flush but not protruding a great deal either. Compared to the Stage II this exhaust has a better sound in my opinion, not a lot of resonance at crusing RPMs but just as loud on cam. Great product, Thanks Jeff
The aluminum finish on the diffuser was starting to look weathered so.......I painted the rear diffuser black after removing the rubber edge trim (which was attached with silicone to the diffuser). The most important part of any paint process is prep. I started by removing the rubber trim as I think the hard edges look better, the trim is stuck on pretty good with silicone. After the trim was off the silicone was removed with a razor blade- don't be afraid of scraping the aluminum. Next a red ScotchBrite pad was used to scuff the anodized surface and remove any residual silicone on the edges. Using rubber gloves and a clean shop towel with some brake cleaner, the entire diffuser was wiped down- this removes all grease/oil from the surface and the rubber gloves prevent oil from your skin from contaminating the surface. Several coats of Krylon Fusion paint with built in adhesion promoter were then applied, tack time between coats is 10 minutes, total dry time one hour. I think it looks better:
At 25k, the lift bolts and spark plugs were replaced. Maybe not necessary but preventative. I used the guide HERE (2ZZ Lift Bolts Replacement from TeamCelica.com) to replace the lift bolts. Process Pics: The two bolts are removed for the spark plug coil cover, cover is removed, coil retainer bolts are removed, coils are removed, fuel injector cover and PCV hoses are removed from valve cover, hose holder bolts are removed, remaining valve cover bolts and two bolts for ventilation pipe are removed, valve cover is removed, lift bolts (old) locations, new lift bolts compared to old lift bolts (P/N 90105-06293), new lift bolts installed, areas that will need some tube gasket maker installed around timing chain, old plugs compared to new plug after removal with spark plug socket and extension. The plugs were replaced with the NGK Iridium IX (P/N BKR6EIX-11) and the threads were lightly coated with anti-seize prior to installation:
At 25k, the oil control valve filter screens for the VVTiL were cleaned. Maybe not necessary but preventative. I used the guide HERE (Cleaning the 2ZZ VVT Oil Control Valve (OCV) Strainers from NewCelica.org) to perform this. The first screen filter I cleaned was the timing oil control valve filter located on the passenger/intake manifold side of the head. This is a hard location to get to and a perfect time to change the belt since you will want to loosen the alternator mounting bolts for access. The bolt and washer are removed and the filter screen is retrieved and cleaned. The cleaned filter and retaining bolt are reassembled and installed (it is a good idea to stuff paper towels or rags down into the space directly below this bolt so when you drop it, it will not have anywhere to go/hide-don't ask me how I know ), lift oil control valve located behind this assembly on the driver's side-since the timing OCV filter was pretty clean I decided to put this off until 50k, bolt for tensioner to R&R belt-large breaker bar can be used in when oriented in direction of arrow for leverage and rear passenger side wheel liner is removed for easier access, old accessory belt removed, new accessory belt installed (Goodyear Gatorback P/N 4060667), accessory belt routing:
At 25k, the brakes and clutch were bled. I used a Motive Black Label Pressure Bleeder, it keeps my marriage healthier since my wife has been replaced as the bleeder . I used ATE TYP 200 fluid, it has a comparitively high wet/dry boiling point. I began by using a turkey baster to get all old fluid out of the reservoir, refilled with clean fluid, pressurized the bleeder to 20 PSI, bled the clutch, then the rear brakes from behind, then the front brakes by removing the wheels. I used the guide HERE to do this:
Thanks to ET's Yaudi, I was able to spot and correct a hazard waiting to happen (ET thread HERE). Yaudi's pics show the coolant U-Tube that has worn through, mine had not worn through so I used some old heater hose cut in the middle to wrap the coolant U-Tube and zip tied it to prevent movement:
Pending projects......Stay tuned :
UPDATE: The Lotus was traded, maybe one day I will have another. I really enjoyed the car but wanted to try something new. I made some new friends over the course of Lotus ownership and shared in the Lotus experience
Oil Analysis performed by Blackstone Laboratories
2005 Lotus Elise Leaflet:
Elise/Lotus Video: *High Speed Connection Recommended*
Elise Dimensional Drawing (JPG)
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