It has been some time since I last updated the blog. All these years on, the little Lotus is still going strong. She is now 20 years old and looks and drives as good as ever. The love for this iconic car remains.
My days of mods and getting under the car every weekend are over I think. I now simply enjoy the ownership experience and driving! Oh, I also do a little bit of polishing - just a little.
This car is simply pure magic and medicine to all gloominess.
One of the more popular mods over the years has been replacing the original door pins with the slightly thicker pins from either Eliseshop or Eliseparts.
Now, before I replaced mine, I didn't quite realise just how much my doors rattled during normal driving or even worse, when you hit a pothole or something.
This mod is straight forward and took me about 10mins to complete, however I have read elsewhere with some folks taking them as long as an hour to line up the doors.
Note: One thing that I did is ensure that I took note of the tidemarks around the existing door pins, with a view to use these to align the new ones. This worked like a charm. Apart from some really minor adjustments, the door worked pretty much straight away.
The transformation is amazing. My car is generally rattle free, but by just adding this simple mod, all the sudden it has transformed it into a large german saloon
I am very pleased.
For some time now, I have been keen to do two things. Firstly, add a bit of symmetry by adding another revers light, and secondly move the fog light to the where the original reflector light is.
What held up things was the fact that I needed a round LED light that would fit the original reflector recess. Anyway, they finally did it.
Credits: Thanks to Matt C for finally finding the right type of LED required for this application. One of the brighter minds
What you need:
1. Drill 2. Wiring loom - red and black 3. Screwdriver 4. Tape, connectors, soldering iron 5. Wiring heat shielding tape or tube 6. Additional reverse light unit (one) 7. LED round fog lights (two) - some now could be found on fleabay, but not sure whether quality ranges depending on the supplier.
The fitting is pretty simple and if you have some very basic electrical understanding and can handle a drill, you would be able to get this done pretty simply.
1. Remove the original fog light and make a wiring loom to extend the reverse light to the foglight location.
2. Install the new reverse light, giving you two reverse lights
3. Make a new wiring loom to extending the fog light feed to the new location, by the two round reflector lights.
It took about two hours end to end with some breaks and taking time getting it all done. I think that the final finish is very good so lets see how long it will last. Some LED units are poorly made and they start dropping out after a while, but we shall see.
As for now, I am pretty pleased.
Well it's been 2 years now since i bought my M100. No serious problems to report apart from a puncture and the loss of the radio code after i replaced the battery. Just took her in for a second MOT and you guessed it she failed on the BRAKES, not having sufficient pressure and being biased on one side.
Garage have recommended new callipers or having the original refurbished. Have gone for the refurbs as I want to keep the car original. Fingers crossed it works out.
Watch this space.
The popularity of dash cams seems to have increased immensely over the last couple of years, no doubt driven by the Russian YouTube videos and awareness around 'cash for cash' cons.
The range of webcams our there is mind blowing. In my daily driver, I have a Blackvue, wireless version which is probably one of the best in the market and looking at some of the captured videos, it would be hard to disagree.
Personally, I wanted to install something that was both small and low cost. Given the fact that the car spends most of its time without the roof on, I couldn't really justify installing an expensive and visible dashcam that could be tempting to the scoundrels out there.
So, I went for the mini dash cam off Ebay, for about £20. Now, I am convinced that mine is some sort of Chinese copy, but the real version is about £60 or so on the web.
This is the one I went for. The newer versions have both GPS and a small viewing screen. Mine is the absolute basic.
The kit is very simple. It comes with a positive, a negative, a trigger wire (connected to the ACC) and photo connectors should you want to connect it up to an external monitor.
For me, the simplest place to route power from was from the feeds to the stereo, so I removed the radio, part of the dash and decided on the wire routing.
I have seem the dash cams mounted in various positions around the cabin, but after several test positioning, I decided on mounting it just behind the rear view mirror as high up the screen as possible.
Interestingly, the rear view mirror is slightly off-set to the left, which leaves plenty of room to mount the camera pretty much on the centre of the car.
Cable/ Wire Routing
Unlike 'normal' cars, it is very hard to hide the wires as it is so bare everywhere, however I decided on running the wires across the dash (ie inside the dash) to the right hand side, then tightly run it up the A pillar on the windscreen and across the top, back to the camera location in the centre.
Once again, the end results are pretty good. I am very happy with the fact that its there, but not. I hardly notice that its there and unless you are looking for it, you will not see it.
I am pretty happy with that!!
This is a mod that I have been thinking about for a while now. Doing my research over the years, it seems that there several options out there, made from various materials, ranging from carbon fibre to plywood. Now, having choices is a good thing, but one thing I struggled with was the cost. Hence me trying to come up with a solution of my own.
I was keen to design something that looked good, looked functional ( you can never test these things unless you have a proper wind tunnel I guess) and given that this was to go on an S1, it had to look elegant and not over powering.
The other design consideration was how much the skirts should potrode out. I really didn't want something that came out so far that I would have to remember that it's there everytime I stepped in/ out of the car. So, it had to be a simple design.
With these considerations in mind, I went for curvy lines, taking a nice line to the form of the car, linking the front to the back. Worked pretty well.
This was always going to be a headache. I initially considered using existing bolts, holding the undertray, but I discounted this as this would mean having to remove the side skirts every time you need to remove the undergrays. That, to me, is not going to be practical.
So, next was to bolt the boards to the underside of the sills. This seemed to be the best option and the decision was more around whether to go with large bolts, with less mounting points or smaller bolts, but with more mount points, which would inevitably mean more holes to the underside of the sills.
After consulting a good friend of mine (its always useful to know an Engineer ) He advised me to go with the larger mounts and keep the number of holes to be drilled down.
As noted above, the choice is vast and the limit seems to be cost, ie you could end up with very complex shapes and forms using carbon fibre, with the added manufacturing cost or you could go with a simple shape and material. As money always matters, I went for the simpler material.
So, what did I end up with. Well, after some research, I ended up with an aluminum composite that is not only very strong, but very light. In fact, each side only weigh 700lbs! I think that's pretty good.
CREDIT: Although I came up with the design, using cardboard, I was lucky enough to have had the service's of my Friend's Dad, who is an absolute wizz when it comes to using CAD. He took my cardboard cutout and turned it into a digital masterpiece! Thank you Dad!
Or shall I say cutting. I manage to find a good engineering firm in Birmingham who were willing to take the CAD drawing, load it up onto their system and cutout the side skirts to spec. They did a great job. For future runs, I will add the mounting holes now that I know where they should be.
Installation is pretty straight forward and it would be even easier if I had a ramp. Anyway, in the absence of a good ramp, I used my trusted jack and pushed the car up enough to get an axial stand under the car, whilst allowing me enough room to work on the sills.
TIP: If you are going to use a single jack, please, please ensure that you use axial stands, and get some chocks on the other side, ie on the wheels that are on the ground. I also use a bit of wood to ensure that I don't end up damaging the underside of the car with the jack.
As this was the first time offering the skirts up to the car, we (yes, another pair of hands would be advantageous) spend some time locating the skirt board and deciding where best to mount the holes. We ended up with 5 mount points that given the size and the weight, was more than enough for what we are looking to do.
We marked the points on the boards, taped them together and drilled the holes. Once done, we then placed the board on the sill, taped it in place and once happy, drilled the sills using a 2mm drill. We had to drill very slowly and deliberately as we weren't sure where the coolant pipes were.
WARNING: If you are going to drill into the sills, please remember that you have coolant pipes running through there. My car is also CC, with additional pipes running to the front radiator. Be very, very careful how you do it. You are warned.
By taking the drill slow, when it broke through it, it was easy to feel whether or not there was something on the other side. Either way, you would have to be very careful.
Then, slowly enlarging the holes by using a larger drill.
I finally used a wood tool to curt 16mm hole for the M8 rubber well nuts.
(note the jack position and the bit of wood )
Then once all the well nuts were in place, it was just a simple matter of bolting the boards on.
The end results - well, see for yourself. I am rather pleased...
That is a job well done!
Well, I am yet to workout the total cost, however it was significantly less than £200 for the pair. If there is enough interest, I may get a few made (which should drive the cost down somewhat). So, if you like what you see, let me know and I am sure I could sort something out, again, depending on the numbers.
Now available on www.111racing.co.uk
Like most folks who own these little cars, it sometimes ends up sitting in the garage for weeks on end, especially during the winter months. Traditionally, what I tended to do is lift up the front bonnet and connect a trickle charger every time I suspect that I am not going to be driving it for a while.
This method works well, however it is a right pain in the back side as you would then have to pop the bonnet again, remove the terminal before driving the car out. Over the years I have toyed with various options, bought various connectors etc, considered an external port mounted on various places around the car, but none of them really worked - until I came across this.
Before going any further, I must give credit to Matt C (here on MLOC and SELOC) for finding the right type of connector and how best to locate it. All credit goes to him for the idea.
What you need:-
1. Trickle charger - there are so many out there, just make sure its one of the more intelligent ones that can switch between charging and conditioning. I previously had a very basic one and after a year or so, it killed my battery. Be warned - stay away from the cheap ones!
2. External port connector. Matt found this on the web and works well. Its waterproof and the fitting is very good. 12v 24v Male Female Din Accessory Power Plug Socket Connector 16A Hella http://r.ebay.com/8gk7Bi In case the link goes out of date, just search for the description, you should be able to find it. (If anyone finds a better connector, please share by commenting below)
3. Tin cutters or similar. You will need to cut a hole on you front grill
4. Glue gun - I will explain below
5. Waterproof connector. There are many options out there to be honest, but you will need a way of disconnecting the external port to allow you to remove/ mount the front grill. This will have to be a two wire connector.
Well, that's it really.
I first removed the grill from the car and decided on where I was going to place the connector. This will have to be your choice, but consider:-
1. Visibility from a person standing in front of the car. I really didn't want the port, although covered with a black cap, to be visible from the front.
2. Ensure that there is enough space around and behind the mounting point to receive the connector assembly. You will need some room behind for sure.
3. Protection from elements. So, as this is going to be at the front, it will get wet if its raining, however my logic is that you will give it some protection, say whilst stationary if you place the port higher up, ie towards the top part of the clam.
Once happy, cut the hole at the chosen location.
Note: Please, please, please note that you will need a hole much smaller than you think. Start small and work your way out. You need it to be pretty tight in fitting as although the connector has a binding nut that goes in from the back, you really don't want to just rely on that. Vibrations etc may work it loose at some point.
Once cut, push the connector though the hole and place the nut from the rear.
Wire up the back - this will be the run back to the battery.
Note: Make sure that the centre of the connector is positive (+) and the the outer case is negative (-). This way you don't end up with grill being live!
Make a note of which wire is which as you will need to know this once you complete the run from the battery to the connector.
So, the glue. I providing the connectors at the back of the assembly with better protection from the elements and vibrations, I used hot glue gun to hold everything in place and ziptied a bicycle tube to cover the whole thing. Again, if you find a better way of achieving the same thing, please comment below for everyone's benefit.
Then all that I did was run the positive and negative feeds from the battery, round the nearside wheel arch and fished it though the bottom of the clam to the vent hole at the front. You may find it easier to use a wire pushed down from the vent opening and then pulled towards the wheel (you can reach in through the liner - no need to remove the wheel) then tape the wires together and pull back through to the front. I hope I explained that well.
I then terminated the wires into a waterproof connector and then connected it all together.
I must say, it works really well and now, I just pull in, lift the cap up and connect - job done.
Enjoy - again any comments, contributions etc, please comment and share.
I had given up looking for a track car. I had resigned myself to the fact that there was nothing I actually wanted to buy out there in my price range. Imprezas, which could be had for that money, were so rusty they needed medical insurance and the word on the forums was that they were hellishly expensive to run on track days, and tended to ingest engines and gearboxes.
Then I accidentally went back to looking at the Elise. I'd always wanted one since they first came out. I'm a particular fan of the rear styling of the S2. Looking around I realised that I could get a leggy one for under £10k. This seemed like a bargain and I convinced myself, through proper "man maths" that it would actually be cheaper than a £1000 track car in the long run, AND I could drive it at weekends.
Unfortunately, one test drive later, and I realised that the power output of the base spec models wasn't going to be enough. That subaru I had test driven was still in my memory and I wasn't going to settle for anything slower.
I kept looking, but the higher power output variants of the S2 were just too expensive. I knew what I really wanted was an S2 Exige, but I just couldn't justify £20k. But it was starting to look like that was the only "sensible" option.
Then by accident, I spotted an old S1. I hadn't been looking for S1's, certainly not over £10k. And I was amazed at how strong the values of S1s had become over the last 12 months. The S1 I had spotted was far from standard, it had had all the track modifications I was going to do to a standard car already done, and then some. Plus, most importantly of all, it had a full Turbo Technics supercharger upgrade. The fact that it was also one owner from new and had only done 27k miles, was just icing on the cake.
Some more man maths later, and I had secured the purchase of an S1 track slag with a 190hp TT supercharged K series on Nitrons with full race harnesses, harness bar and removable steering wheel. I was a very happy bunny. I figured, as long as I didn't bin it on a circuit, then it should appreciate in value and be a fairly sound investment, in fact costing me LESS than that £1000 track car I had started looking for. Yes, man maths at its best.
As I write this, the car is in the garage having a few details sorted out. Then it will be coming home to be prepped for its first track day on the 19th July. Myself and my two co-conspirators are really looking forward to it.
Next time: One track, one car, three drivers, what could go wrong?...
So about a year ago, I decided I wanted to do some track days. I wasn't getting any younger and a mid-life crisis was in the offing.
After a few months searching the classifieds for that £1000 perfect track car, I realised that my budget wasn't going to stretch to what I wanted, not if I wanted to be able to run a track all day without running repairs. Fortunately, I had a couple of friends who had shown some interest in this, so I suggested we go in to a car with a third share each. This would put the budget for the car up to about £2000 with another £1000 aside for track day modifications. A fruitless 6 months followed and I failed to find anything I would be willing to put money behind, mostly because I wanted something rear drive to widen my personal experience.
I could have bought a saxo or pug for this money, even a well sorted track slag with trailer, but I had decided on rear drive, not for speed, but just for the experience. I still feel its important to buy the things you want, not necessarily the things that will be best at the job. So i had decided it had to be rear drive and light. But westfields and caterhams were starting about £4k, which left MR2s and MX5s as the target fodder.
After some test drives, I found that MX5s just weren't fast enough to be interesting and MR2s in my price range were generally rust buckets or old smokers. But the budget was fixed and I almost settled on a particular well sorted MX5, until I realised i just wouldn't allow myself to be seen in public driving it. A bit harsh, but I just don't find the styling of the Mk2 mx5 remotely masculin, and the mk1 is not much better.
So what to do? I had basically ruled out every car worth considering on price, performance or prejudice. So i went and drove a track prepared impreza. That set the benchmark for performance, and I almost had that car on the spot, but the owner was asking £500 more than I had and wouldn't budge.
Then I gave up.
This is an upgrade that I have been considering for some time now. As most of you S1 owners will know, the original OEM throttle pedal plate and linkage are not the best. I get movements in all directions that has no impact on the actual throttle movement, basically, its bloody wobbly.
In the end, I decided to take the plunge and buy Eliseparts' version and see what I get.
The kit itself is pretty basic, you get the control arm, bearings, washers and bolts. That is it really.
1. Screw Driver
2. Spanner, size 7 and 8mm
3. 1/4 inch combi set, including socket size 7 and 8mm,
4. Long nose pliers
Oh, you also get pretty good instructions. The instructions are pretty simple to follow and just be methodical in the approach. The rest will be pretty simple really.
Removal of the existing throttle cable installation
Now, I am not a really big guy, but I struggled to get under the dash any other way other than swinging my legs up in the air, with my back on the chair/ floor and my head under the dash. Its not the most flattering position, however it seems to work for me. Just watch your head as you come up for air.
I am not going to run through the steps (as the instructions that come with the kit are very good) instead, I am going to share some photos.
As you can see from the photo above, the original arm moved quite a lot.
See the 'bump' stop rubbing on the main mount plate.
The new setup with the uprated bearings feels a lot more controlled. One thing to note at this point, do not over tighten the bolt. It just needs to be enough to hold the assembly in place, otherwise you will feel it on the throttle.
Note: So, reinstalling is also a pain in the butt activity, however I found that by getting on my back, with the feet over the rollover bar, I can quite comfortably work under there. - it looks strange though.
This is one of the best value/gain mods I have done. The mod works really well and the throttle feels so much more positive. I really wished I did this years back.
If you still have the original setup, just find some shillings and get this mod done. You will not regret it.
As for me, I am loving it
Just purchased my first Lotus Elan and due to collect it on Sunday.
The car itself is in mint condition and has had 2 owners from new. I am buying it from the second owner.
After looking at the car today it feels and looks like the car has just left the showroom. Bodywork and engine are pristine, the cars interior is as it came from the factory even down to the original radio.
It has even been on display at some classic car shows in the North West.
I feel like I have just won the lottery, Sunday can't come quick enough.
As per my other blog entries, as it stands the car now runs about 317bhp on the Jackson Racing Super Charger and oil cooler.
I am still running Stark's standard 4:2:1 exhaust manifold as I am yet to convince myself that I can shell out the £1K plus for a 4:1 system (watch this space )
Anyway, as always I try to do something new/ different when it comes to the upgrades, only in name of 'why not'.
So once I decided that I want to go down the CC route, it was a matter of deciding whether to go with the tried and tested route of a sandwich core or go for the in-core solution.
Sandwich core solution
As far as I can make it out, majority of SC Honda'd Elises out there have gone for the ProAlloy CC solution with the core sitting between the intake manifold and the SC.
1. Due to core's placement, all air coming through the manifold passes through the core before hitting the SC. This optimises the air cooling capabilities.
2. This is a well baked in solution and has been tried and tested by various companies and well proven on road and track.
1. I can only really think of one. Due to it's placement as above, the SC ends up sitting a little higher than original.
in-core Aftercooler solution
As made and produced by Mercracing.
1. The core sits inside the SC and therefore removing the need to raise the SC up, taking up more room in the engine bay
2. Very simple installation. The core and plate, replaces the blanking plate at the bottom of the SC.
3. Very good price point.
1. As the core sits inside the SC, there is a concern that it will reduce the effective volume of the SC and therefore impact the amount of air available to be pushed into the engine.
2. As the core sits inside the SC, it may act as a barrier effectively blocking the air coming into the SC
3. Although there is an additional plate, there is a chance that not all air will actually travel through the core and therefore cooled.
The kit list
My shopping list for the CC installation included:
1. Proalloy pre-rad
2. Two new fans (these are smaller than original to allow them to fit under the pre-rad)
3. Bosch electric water pump
4. Hoses and clips
5. CC tank resevoir
6. Core CC/ Aftercooler core
That's pretty much it for the CC.
Since the car was going to be pretty much in bits, I had some additional bits to go on...
1. DrH SC intake
2. Header Tank relocation ( including the bracket)
As I have very limited time these days, I had to get someone else to carryout the work, so it was back to Gavin at Unit 4 and left the car in his capable hands.
The plan was to run:-
Core -> remote tank -> water pump -> pre-radiator -> core
The first task for Gavin was to remove both clams to allow an hindered access to all areas around the car.
1. Remove the main radiator - the pre-rad sits under the original radiator on the S1
2. Drill the holes on the right hand side of the car for the supply and return for the water runs
3. Install the grommets on the clam to stop the clam cutting the hoses over time.
4. Strip back the wiring loom to allow the AIT sensor to be relocated to the bottom of the SC, reading directly from the core.
1. Gavin run the two pipes through the chassis and the holes on the right hand side of the car linking the back to the front. This was pretty fiddly and perhaps one of the more difficult part of the installation.
2. Removed the old fans off the radiator
3. Installed the new, smaller fans on the pre-rad and then mounted the pre-rad onto the radiator.
4. Drilled two holes on the left hand side of the radiator cowl to allow access for the pre-rad supply and return pipes
5. The whole radiator assembly then gets installed with the pre-rad supply and return on the right hand side of the car.
6. Then he removed the SC and unbolted the blanking plate at the bottom of the intake manifold.
7. The aftercooler then gets mounted directly under the manifold with the core inside. Gavin used a new gasket and some liquid gasket to ensure no air leakages.
Note that the SC brace gets re-located to the bottom of the CC core.
8. The SC gets re-installed back in position and the pipes run from the supply and return pipes under the car.
Note: The space under the SC is very tight. There are various pipes running through there and getting enough clearance to allow the additional two pipes for the CC water supply is tricky. Gavin spent majority of a day getting the runs to work.
9. The remote header tank and Bosch water pump installed on the right hand side of the car, just behind oil filter.
Note: With hindsight, I should have opted to install a air bleed point somewhere near the remote tank. Without it, its making bleeding the system pretty hard work.
Also note that the pump is wired through a relay triggered by the fuel pump. This way, the water pump will only run when the fuel pump is running.
10. Fill up the system with coolant and run the pump. It will take some time to bleed the system and raising the rear, ie the highest point on the system will help with encouraging the bubbles to flow out to the tank reserve. Keep topping it up until all trapped air is removed.
Engine Coolant Reservoir Tank Relocation
In able to install Dr.H's straight through SC inlet manifold, the coolant tank has to be relocated to somewhere near the boot side of the engine bay.
Now, this is something that has been done several times elsewhere, however I opted for Dr H's (AKA Leigh) mounting bracket.
This was one of the more straight forward installations. Gavin tapped in a new bolting point and mounted the bracket as far back as possible.
This also provided an opportunity to tidy-up the fuel pump location, some of the fuel pipping around the area.
Note: In simple terms, in relocating the reservoir tank, all that you are doing is moving the T piece further up the line.
The installation looks pretty good. In time, I may decide to change the remaining red hoses for black, especially given the fact that all my original bling is all gone.
DrH's SC Manifold
A little background first. The inlet standard JRSC inlet is rather restricted. Whether the design was driven by necessity, ie due to its placement in Civic Type R engine bay or due for something a little bit more scientific, I am not sure. What is clear, the air being pulled through the standard manifold has to work in, up and then in before hitting the main manifold chamber.
Dr H's intake changes this by opening up the flow and removing all the unnecessary bends etc.
The intake...You got to love that red
Attached to the supercharger...
Installed on the car, before the bolting on of the throttle body and air intake pipe...
With the throttle body in place...
This solution is not tried and tested and myself and few others who went down this option are going to be testing as we go along. We are all excited to see whether or not this solution will yield any more power.
The final results look really good. Curiously, the supercharger seems really quite compared to how it was prior to the upgrade and there is a thought that this is mainly due the new intake. We shall see.
Next step, dyno.
I am pretty happy with this.
I had the car re-mapped and I am really pleased with the numbers.
So, what did it make? In the end, the car produced 324bhp, with a small increase in torque! Given the setup and the 4:2:1 exhaust which must be on its limit, the numbers are pretty impressive. Romain felt that he could have pushed the engine a little bit further, but decided to keep the map on the safe side.
What is interesting, he felt that with a smaller pulley, the engine would produce a lot more power.
But for now, I am happy.
The graph can be seen here.
This is one mod that I have been wresting with for a while. Although I have dramatically changed/ updated my car, one thing that I have been trying to do is keep the standard look.
Unfortunately, with the addition of the SC, the engine bay temps have gone up somewhat and reading through various forum entries, it seems pretty inconclusive as to whether or not the addition of the side scoops actually makes any difference at all.
As the car is far from being standard anymore, I finally decided to give it a try and see what happens.
I bought the CF scoops from Eliseshop, however there are all sorts of variations and options out there for an S1. It purely comes down to cost and personal preference. I have seen in some cases where the owner has had them painted to suit their own taste.
As for me, the CF look works.
Looks really good from the other side...
Glue, glue, glue!
Here is another area that I spent loads of time researching and speaking to various people who have done this before. It seems clear that the options on this a wide and varied and in some cases, people have opted to use rivets! Again, I believe it comes down to application and what your car is being used for.
Some of the more popular options:-
Sikaflex - I am told that as long you have prepped the area well, the bond will be pretty strong and it would take some doing to remove the scoops.
Tigerseal - Again, mega strong and will last you forever, but if you ever want to remove it, you may have to dance around the car for a bit as this stuff really sticks.
Rivets - Sometimes used in conjunction with the the bonds above.
All good options, however in the interest of being different and trying something new, I went down this route....
It seems pretty strong, however how long it would last is anyone's guess. I will report back.
I used brake cleaner to get rid of all surface grease and contaminants. I am sure you could use other methods, including white spirit.
I did the same on the scoops.
Positioning and Glueing
I then run a very thin bead of adhesive on the contact patch. I tried to keep this in the middle fully expecting it to spread out once pressed onto the body.
Not the most elegant of sights, but it works
I then carefully positioned it on the body/ rear clam and holding it in place with some masking tapes. It took the night for it to cure to full strength.
When placing the scoop in position, make sure that the edges are fully lined up and the door can be opened and closed unhindered.
Do both sides and then leave to cure.
It's interesting that once cured, the bests method I found to check on whether or not its stuck down adequately is to pull on them However the final proof of the pudding will be when you are pushing through the gears on the motorways. Mine remain on
Given how long it took me to decide, I must say they look pretty good. This mod will not be for the purists out there, however I like it.
With regards to cooling effect, I am not really sure. The weather has been horrible most of the time so pretty hard to know whether or not it made a positive effect on the engine bay temps. I will update once I have clarity on this.
I like them indeed...
Next up was to test fit the VW engine and find out where it was best suited for fitting before making up the engine mounts, I wanted the engine as low as possible and as far forward as possible, but I still had to leave enough room to fit the Inlet manifold and throttle body as well as thinking about the driveshaft position and making sure that the engine was sitting square
in the chassis. This all turned out to be a bit of a head scratcher at times! It took me a couple of hours messing around with jacks and wooden blocks getting the engine sat just right, and then I could make the mounts. I have used Landrover Defender engine mounting rubbers as these are very strong and very simple in design, oh and at £4.00 each pretty cheap too I fiited 2 mounting rubbers to the O/S as there is 2 holes in the chassis plate 130mm apart and I figured that the g/box being at the N/S the O/S would be the heaviest, also with using 2 mounts together it stops the engine from rocking. The N/S uses just the 1 mounting rubber.
With the mounting rubbers bolted down to the chassis I began fabricating the mounts, starting with the o/s I cut a piece of 70mm x 8mm thick plate 175mm long to fit over the mounting rubbers and drilled 2 11mm holes in them at the correct centers and bolted it down onto the mounting rubbers, then i used the remainder of the plate to fabricate an angled bracket to weld onto the plate bolted to the rubbers. The bracket was then removed and welded up and strengthening gussets added.
After marking up all of the electrical conections and removing the exhaust, gear shift cables, clutch slave cylinder and throttle cable the engine was finally rready for lifting out, I had a bit of trouble removing the o/s engine mount and the bottom gearbox mount as they were siezed in but luckily a bit of heat from the old oxy/propane soon sorted this I have a lifting beam in my garage and a 1.5t block and tackle, so lifting the engine out was a doddle!
I removed the rear clam, I thought this would be quite a daunting task, but it was real quite straight forward othe than a couple of siezed bolts. I started following the guide on seloc but after 10 mins I soon realised that thier guide was based on a S1 so was'nt all that rellevant. I'm not going to start writing a step by step guide on how to remove the clam as It was over a month ago when I took it off! After taking the clam off I made a start on removing the exhaust then onto disconecting the wiring loom, I used masking tape to label up all of the conections as I came to disconect them. After a short while the engine was ready for lifting out.
I have been toying with the idea of adding the headlight covers to the headlights for some years now. To be honest, the S1 looks really good both with and without the headlight covers, so it has never been something that I felt strongly about.
Anyway, I finally decided to give it a go.
I bought the headlight covers from a chap selling them on eBay. These were originally purchased from Eliseparts and the chap never got round to fitting them on his car.
As these covers tend to trap moisture, I decided to first clean the inside with rain-X. Now, I am no expert, but I thought that this would reduce condensation. Time will tell.
I then cleaned up area around the headlights, ensured that all the bugs and dirt is removed.
It is my understanding that the headlight covers can be fixed to the clam in various ways.
1. Rivited - I have seen this in various cars (mainly racing cars) but looks pretty ugly I would say, but effective.
2. Eliseparts supply with some 'goo' that can be used to fix the covers in place
3. Various 'super' adhesives - such as tigerseal. Not a fan as they tend to damage the paintwork if you ever decide to remove them.
But, I decided to go down the clear sealant route. This provides very strong adhesive, that is flexiable and is very good at sealing the covers in place.
After cleaning the area, I pushed out a thin, consistant bead all the way round the area...
Then carefully placed the light covers over the area and pressed to spread the sealant...
I approached the other side in exactly the same way.
In conclusion, I really like the look and I think it will keep on growing on me. As I said before, I think the S1 looks good with or without the covers.
As for now, this is another job done!
So, if you follow my blogs, you would have noticed that many years back, I installed a Head Up Display unit to project revs, shift lights, road speed onto the windscreen. This turned out to be a great mod that enable me to read where 'things' were during hard driving.
Now, I am not sure whether or not this happens to with other, more standard installations (ie shift lights right in front of you), however with time, my brain seemed to completely look through the HUD on the windscreen. This got so bad that, I now don't really notice that the display is there - and therefore completely useless to me in any condition.
So, I needed a solution.
Whist watching a F1 show, someone mentioned that most F1 cars now have a beeper system (in helmet) that allows the drivers to hear when best to shift up! Genius. This may be old news for some of you, however this was a revelation to me. So, I set off trying to make something similar of my own. Unfortunately, due to time and other family matters, I was unable to tinker enough to get a working prototype made, but during my research, I came across one company that is already doing this for Honda S2000 customers!
Modifry produce a product they call Redline Shift Beeper that seem to be answer to my prayers. So, without further delay, once was purchased...
What do you get
So, the kit is pretty comprehensive and comes with all that you will need to get the unit installed, apart from a couple of wires for the power supply.
The image below came straight from Modify's website and explains best what you get.
More details on the cost etc here
The installation on the Elise is actually pretty simple. You have 2 wires for the power supply and the third for the tachometer read.
1. Remove the column shrouding. There a number of screws here, so just work your way round.
2. Once the shroud is off, locate two bolts under the instrument binnacle holding the whole unit down. Un-do these and free up the Stack unit with its shroud. The large connector at the back simply unplugs by squeezing the blue safety clip down and pull.
3. Leverage out the trim around the light switches, exposing two screws holding the fascia in place.
4. Un-do these two screws and further two holding the top cover to the facial and remove
Note: To completely remove the light switches fascia, you will need to unplug them from behind. This is quite tight in space, but you should be able to get through to them.
5. Once completely all the wiring is completely exposed, locate the tachometer wire from the big connector removed at the back of the Stack unit. Please check with you Elise manual for the correct colouring as I have seen the colours changing from loom to loom.
6. Once located, 'tap' the tacho reader wire from the beeper system into it.
7. Locate a ground and positive feed for the power supply. For me, I chose to use power cables running to the bank switch on the dash. These are only energised on ignition.
Note: At this point, its worth connecting up the rest of the unit as per instruction manual and put it into test mode. This mode allows you to validate that you are receiving the right tacho feed and its linear as with RPM increase. The beeps will remain at a constant interval at idle and quicken as the revs increase.
8. Once happy that all is working as it should, I would spend some time tying things up including deciding where best to place the sounder and the controller.
9. Route all the wires to the appropriate locations and check lengths location etc.
10. Re-instate the instrument binnacle and the switches.
11. Attach the sounder and the controller to its final location. I used Velcro for this.
12. Set the maximum change point and the intervals between beeps.
Note: For that initial testing, I suggest that you set this at lower RPM so that you don't have to rev the nuts out of your car in checking whether or not it works. This can be raised to the final point once happy.
I set my shift point at 8,600 rpm and after a few test runs, I can honestly say I am pretty impressed. I will have to 'tune' my ear to the the sound and rythem of the beeps, however as I accelerate, I hear beep, beep, beep then change. Bloody brilliant and much better than the HUD I have.
Some people have been concerned that the sounder would not be loud enough for track activities, especially if wearing a helmet. Well, the sounder is really, really loud and can be placed anywhere. You may have to experiment with various locations before you find one that works for you.
Mine is within the foot well and at maximum RPM, with the charger screaming, I can still hear the beeps very clearly. If I wanted it to be louder, I would move it higher up to face me.
I can fully recommend this mod. Check compatibility with the company, but I can't see why it would not work with all engine variants.
I am beeptastic!
A video from their site...
Its been some months now (over a year) since I had the beeper installed and I must say they are great. Once you get used to the peep, peep, peep, change rhythm, its amazing how well it works. One of my better mods for sure.
Oh, as a side, depending on how you use your car, you will need to think about where you place the sounder. I initially had it mounted by my feet, but in the end I had to move it to the coin tray on the driver side. It maybe better still placed just behind the driver's head?
One of the most irritating thing about the standard key is the attached Cobra alarm scrotum. It's cumbersome and it does tend to break off. For years now, a few people have had a go at coming up with a workable alternative that would combine the key, with the alarm fob to have a more integrated key - pretty much inline with most car manufactures these days.
Unikey (I believe produced by Blackwatch racing) was the last real attempt at this, and reading the forums, it seems that they are currently working on an alternative/ updated version. I have also seen the 'flick' key conversion, again it looks as if it would work pretty well and looks good.
My problem has always been that I did not want to pay a huge amount of money for something that I consider a minor annoyance and I also wanted something that looked pretty close to what OEM would have looked like. I like to have my cake and eat it too!!
So, after years of searching, I finally came across something that seemed to fit the bill.
What do you need
1. Blank key fob - After some searching, I came across the Smart Roadster blank replacement key on eBay. What makes it perfect is the fact that its round, small and have plenty of space inside to accommodate the Cobra internals. Oh, its also very cheap - less than £10!!
2. Some double sided sticky pads
3. Corsa cheap blank key - From your local Blacksmith.
4. Dremmel or equivalent.
5. Superglue or equivalent
7. A Vice - or a way of holding the key steady for the cutting
1. Once you have all the ingredients in place, start by preparing the blank Smart key. Open it up and firstly remove the key by unscrewing the little screw holding it in place. Once that's out of the way, dremmel away the little stubs in the 'shell' to form an empty cave.
Note: Do not remove the outer studs as these help to hold the two sides together and maintain the integrity of the structure.
2. Get the blank Corsa key cut to suit your existing key and using a vise and hacksaw, 'trim' the grip element of the key down so that you remain with just the metal centre, and an extended key length.
Note: That what you are trying to achieve here is good enough length to allow the key to be inserted into the new holder, whilst still providing enough key to enable it to function in the key barrel.
3. Existing key fob. Open up the existing key fob and remove the Cobra internals. Please be careful in handling the internals as they can easily be damaged.
4. Prepare the sticky pads and have them ready to go in.
1. Place the Cobra internals into the new 'shell' and line up the buttons so that the main button is directly under the large 'lock' button. Whist doing this, ensure that the second button (the sensor disabling button) is lined up with the second button.
Note: It is important that you ensure that the main button lines up directly underneath, however the second button will be slightly off centre. Don't worry about this too much as I find that it still functions pretty well. Its hardly used anyway
2. Once you are happy that you placement is workable, please use the double sticky pads to hold the cobra unit in place. This will ensure that the unit does not move under normal circumstances.
3. Check the fitting, by gently placing the other half of the blank fob. I had to dremmel away a couple of there places, but this will purely be dependent on how you place the Cobra internals. Once happy, you can close the top and test.
Warning: Be gentle in closing off the other half. You run a huge risk of damaging the internals. Also be aware that if its too tight, the buttons on the internals will be depressed as such re-set the fob. Be careful and methodical.
4. Once happy with the fitting of the main part, you can now start working on the key. The key needs to be trimmed slightly to ensure that its tapered at the end to allow you to push the key into the slot. It needs to be tapered so that it jambs in the slot. I used the vice and a metal file to grind it down slightly.
5. Once you are happy that the key fits in nicely, I would advise you that you then use a touch of strong glue in the hole before pushing in the key and letting it set.
Before the glue is completely set, try the door and the ignition key to ensure that you have allowed enough length on the key for it to function correctly. Once set, you can now start adding those finishing touches to make it perfect.
I opted to buy some sticky Lotus logos and placed one on both sides of the key. It works pretty well and seems to give a very OEM look. Its your choice on this one.
After many years of searching for a perfect, workable solution, I am very pleased with the end results. They key works well, I don't have additional dangley bits, it looks bloody good and best of all, its CHEAP!!! My kind of mod.
If you try this, I hope it works out for you, but once again, please oh please be careful and methodical.
As for me, I can call this job done!!
So, I have been using my version of key for some years now and worked really well and looked the part. Certainly for the money, I don't think there is a better way of smarting up your standard Corsa key.
Anyway as any Lotus ownership is all about trying to improve and patch-up the car, I decided to try another version. The approach to this one is very similar to the original idea in as much as the Cobra internals will fit okay, however there is a certain amount of messing about to get the buttons line up right and placed into position.
Without going into too much detail, you will have to smooth-out the internals and by using sticky pads, place the alarm internals in the right position. Its trial and error, but you will get it in the end.
Donor key fob came from Land Rover Discovery Series 2 I think. These are about £6 on ebay...
I think its a very nice shape and very similar to the new OEM key in size.
The key comes with a blank key and all that you want from this is the end, black plastic holder which you will use to hold your new key in the fob. There is a retaining pin in place that you will just need to knock out.
As you can see, the fit is pretty good.
Please note: In terms of replacing they key, there may be other, easier ways, however all that I did was get a normal cheap key cut, I then removed the holding part by cutting it off with a hack saw, I then shaped the end to match the width of the blank key.
Once that was done, I then drilled a hole through the key (please ensure you use the original blank key as a template for the location) then replaced the plastic end bit ready to push back into the main fob.
After about an hour of messing about, this is what I ended up with. It is very comparable with the original one in terms of quality, however this is smaller in form and fits into the steering column/ starter area a lot better.
Compared to the original one...
Total cost, about £8:00, including the new key. It requires a bit of effort and some Blue Peter magic, but it certainly worth the effort.
As you may have read on the conversion entries, as part of the Stark kit, they provide you with a gear linkage assembly that bolts to the back of the gearbox. You end up having to remove the Honda original assembly, along with the original selection weight.
I have seen the gear cables being routed in two ways.
1. Through the front of the bulkhead and up between the firewall and the engine
2. Through underside of the engine, then up to meet the gear assembly on top of the gearbox housing. This option often retains the original gear selector setup, including the weight.
Mine however, is option 1 as supplied by Stark.
A bit of history:-
Following the original installation some years back, the gear setup was pretty good and always worked well enough for me. However after a year or so, on of the pivot hinges broke whilst out driving, resulting in me limping back home in third.
I attempted a fix for this, which was basically a single bold with a nyloc bolt to hold the hinge in place. This worked to some extend. It was always a battle between stiffness (by making tightening the bolt) and usability ( by loosening the bolt), but it makes the gear selection less precise.
Although this worked for a while, it eventually proved un-workable and proved to be completely unusable . so I needed a solution.
After contacting Stark, they informed me that they now have an uprated version of the gear linkage that uses bigger/ stronger bearings. This, I am told, should resolve all issues and bring back the correct feel.
However, after seeing his post on Seloc, I contact TurboHarry and inquired about his amazing gear linkage. It turns out that this was something that he designed and made and was prepared to sell one to me!
The pioneer in me could not help but come to an agreement with Harry and he duly sent me one over.i
The original assembly removed...
Harry's setup went pretty much straight in and once the cables were located, it was a matter of messing around with the setup, making minor adjustments all round until the feel/ selection was perfect.
This assembly is a work of art. In fact, it should be on a mantle piece displayed, rather than on a car. Its simply awesome!
This is the assembly on the car...
I have now spent some time driving the car with Harry's kit and I can confirm that the car has never felt better. The gear selections are assured, precise and an absolute pleasure to use. I can honestly say, my gear selection has never been better.
Having a stiff and well configured gear selection assembly is critical in ensuring that you get a good gear selection feel. Harry's solution seems to be just about the best out there, when it comes to Honda'd Elises.
Warning: For this level of engineering, the gear assembly is not cheap at all. It's an expensive option, however you will get what you pay for and for that, its still good value.
I am a happy chappie
One of the simplest engine upgrade is to get the OEM cams swapped out with something a bit more aggressive. Once again, the forums are full of details around which cams are the best depending on what you are looking to achieve.
As for me, Toda A3 is where I really want to end up, however I am advised that for this, I will need to upgrade the springs too. Toda cams are somewhat expensive too.
In getting me on my way, I decided to start off with the simplest cam upgrade. I bought a set of JDM cams of an Ebay seller and had Gavin install them on the car.
Speaking to Gavin, he tells me that he was able to do the work without removing the rear clam, however He did have to jack up the engine a little to give himself a bit more room to lock the cam chain in place.
Oh, he also took this opportunity to check and adjust all valve clearances and this has made a big difference to the way the engine sounds. I had a lot of tappety noises and they have all gone. Honda recommends doing this every 60 - 100K miles ( I read)
Cams going in...
Well, not much has changed. The JDM cams only increases duration and for that you should be able to call on a bit more mid range torque. For this, there will be a need to get the car re-mapped.
I will update the entry once I the car has been remapped on the new cams. Until then, you just have to wait!
I had the car re-mapped by Romain (Euro-spec 2000) and results were pretty good.
Being reversed onto the Dyno...
One of the runs...
The engine has gained a noticeable amount of mid range torque and a little bit of power. We found 5bhp on the top end and 10 torques ( a little bit more in places) at mid range.
On the go, you can really feel the smoothness of the power delivery and it just pulls really hard a linearly to the limiter.
So, the question is, is it worth the investment? Well, yes and no. If you are looking for big power gains, then I would suggest that you consider some of the other cams, together with spring upgrades etc. But, if you want to squeeze a bit more usable power from your current setup, then this is a cheap way of upgrading the engine. I shopped around and ensured that I didn't pay too much money for the cams and avoided buying new. This is the best way of purchasing.
Am I happy? Yes!
Some years back, I knocked up digital gauges that I managed to squeeze in dash and covered with sunglasses lens.
I was very keen not to have additional gauges mounted on the dash, spoiling the interior simplicity of the S1 dash. By getting the digital gauge 'hidden' in the dash, they are only visible once the car is on, however they are completely disguised when the car is off. The overall effect is pretty good.
When I originally installed the gauges, I run the wire for the sender unit through the centre tunnel and into the engine bay. This has remained in this state for a number of years, I guess waiting for me to bother to do something with it.
Anyway, following the conversion and the SC installation, I decided to get the right bits and pieces to get it working.
1. Oil filter sandwich plate (got mine from eBay)
2. Due to engine vibrations and the weight of the oil pressure sender unit, it is important to ensure that the vibration of the engine does not cause joint failure. I isolating the installation, I opted for a length of tube that will screw onto the sandwich plate on one side and the other, the pressure sender. Speed-flow made up something for me that seems to be just the ticket.
3. Oil pressure sender. I bought this as part of the original gauge purchase.
Again, due to work commitment, I did not have the time to do this work myself. So, I turned to trusty Gavin again.
Due to previous work, I already had the remote oil filter mount installed (see separate entry) so it was a matter of using the sandwich plate and bolt the setup together.
If you have an oil filter on the original location, you may struggle to get enough room to fit a sandwich plate and the oil filter without hitting the subframe.
Installation in place...
Oil filter now in place. Note that the extension is run separately in isolating the transmission of vibration through the install.
At start up, the oil pressure seem to start off at around 99, but then settles at around 55 once warm. At high speed, it goes back up again to round 99. The gauge works pretty well, but I am sure it will just give me something else to worry about
As for now, I am pretty happy that this installation is finally complete!!
So, nothing seems to divide opinions more that what brake (friction pads) to use for what application. I for one, have tried various compounds over the years and yet to really settle with a favourite.
Of late, I have been running SBS Pros all round and to be honest, I found them to be a big step from the Green stuff I used to have. Once hot, they have pretty good and progressive feel, with very little fade when pushing hard on track. To be honest, the only issue that I have with them is that they squeal a lot under normal driving. This does prove quite tiresome after a while.
Anyway, although they are not completely gone, I decided to swap up (I hope) to CL5. Search online and the forums are full of in-depth details on CL5s. All-in-all, general opinion is rather positive.
Pros I could find:-
1. Work well from the off. No need to get them hot before receiving good bite from them.
2. Good for fast road and track.
3. No fade under heavy use.
1. For some reason, they seem to rattle a lot. It is recommended that you use a fair bit of anti rattle pads to keep the movements to a minimum.
2. Some batches (not sure how wide spread this issue is) seem to result in crumbling pads! I hope that this has now been resolved.
Anyway, I got Gavin at Unit 4 to swap them over for me and as expected, he had to order additional anti-rattle pads to stop the clunking caused by cross drilled discs as you drive.
I am yet to really push on these pads, however the initial feel is every good. I certainly seem to get better under-foot feel and has smoothed out the heal & toe change down under breaking. I will update this entry once I get more mileage and perhaps a couple on track action.
As it stands, I am pleased with the swap and its money well spent.