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The Mustard Yellow Elise S1 Refresh Thread

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Cheers fellas......I have to say the virus situation has really knocked the stuffing out of me in terms of motivation to carry on - haven’t lifted a finger on it for 2 weeks almost.   It just doesn’t seem important somehow, in the grand scheme of things....

Jonny, that’s praise indeed coming from you mate - you’ve given me exactly what I needed, the kick up the arse to get it finished! You’re right, the goo in the footwells was a total mare, I couldn’t believe someone would fit junk like that over (mildly) corroded surfaces.  I’m hoping to crack on this weekend now, so expect more updates very soon.....👍🏻

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Cheers fellas......I have to say the virus situation has really knocked the stuffing out of me in terms of motivation to carry on - haven’t lifted a finger on it for 2 weeks almost.   It just doesn’t

Cheers Neil - was great to meet you and looking forward to more of the same 👍

Not much by way of updates from the last few weeks, as the car is pretty much finished, but I have done some serious miles in it - more on that below.   It's a really lovely thing to drive now, no squ

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Dave, get it done.  I doubt you've worked any less harder than me mate.  In difficult times like these, you're bringing a smile to the faces of many a good friend sharing these hard lines.  Beaver away, post up pics and make us happy 😉

Edited by jonnyfox
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  • 1 month later...

Well it has been a couple of months since I updated this thread but I’ve done quite a bit of work on the car.   It’s been good to have something like this to focus on during the lock down at times.

I reckon this is an MLOC first though – I’ve had the front clam on our dining table for FOUR MONTHS as I write this, so I really need to get it all back together (either that or we will have a nice new Mustard Yellow garden ornament soon, possibly in more than one piece)….

So brace yourself for another 60+ photos and more of my incessant riveting commentary 😆

Number Plate mount:

I actually did this ages ago, before removing the clam, but forgot to add it into my initial post.

My front plate mount had a large crack in it – and not only was the crack getting bigger as it was unrepaired, but someone had kindly filled it with gunge from the side as well instead of mounting it properly with the right kind of fixings.   Would you believe it was attached on the right using a mixture of superglue, silkasil AND silicone.   Why, oh why not just use a new fixing…..

So I repaired the crack with a piece of Perspex bonded on inside, and used new fixings.   Easy one – apart from removing all the old glue residue and gunge from the clam, which took AGES!



It’s amazing what a good scrub can do.   Bit of Duralac Green as well around the holes.  This is just the front one, I had already done the rears when changing the alternator.


Reversing & fog lights, rear grilles, and tailpipes:

I removed the lights to clean inside, and used stainless fixings when refitting.  The rear grilles have had a couple of coats of hammerite satin (they had already been given a resin cataphoresis coating).

The tailpipes were massively off centre which was bugging me, so a quick tweak with the spanners to put that right……ahh, that’s better.


Replacing Front Brake lines:

A couple of my front brake lines were slightly corroded, so I borrowed the kit from Dr H (thanks Leigh – I still have it mate!) to do the flaring etc, and made up new ones.   I also bought a few new clips from Lotus (the white ones) as 2 or 3 of my clips had broken too.  

I found it quite hard to make up the lines (as with everything here, it’s the first time I’ve attempted all this stuff) so needed a couple of attempts.   Fitting was easy enough…


Steering rack refurbishment:

I had noticed that the steering wasn’t as sharp as the S160, so after making sure it wasn’t the column or anything else, I decided to have a go at refurbishing the steering rack as I thought it must be the cups inside it needing replacement.

Removing it was actually harder than fitting it, because I didn’t read the guide properly – you HAVE to fully remove the lowest UJ bolt, otherwise the pinion shaft won’t come out of the UJ, I thought that loosening it would be enough.   This cost me several hours as I was convinced I had done everything right……muppet.    


I fitted new riser plates in the footwells as well, drilling out the old rivets and fitting new ones, this increases the steering arm angle to reduce bump steer.


I used a very fine grinding paste to bed in the new phosphor bronze cups, and Rocol grease during reassembly.  Old and new cup:


I’m very lucky to have a neighbour with a full machine shop over the road and 50 odd years of experience, so we set about drilling new holes for the locking ‘pins’ and then tapped them to fit grub screws, rather than just drive in some pins.  Thanks Alan…


If you’ve never done a rack before, be prepared for lots of time in the Lotus position in the footwells, swearing a lot.  Removing / replacing the 4 large bolts in the footwell (in the riser plates) is much easier if you have a long extension for your socket set, you can torque them up properly that way as well.   It’s a pig of a job whichever way you do it though!

Door Hinges:

I noticed the doors (especially the driver’s door) had lost some of their ‘spring’ that normally holds them fully open, and it was of course due to the lovely S1 design whereby the spring plates wear away the aluminium hinge over time.   

Again with Alan’s help (actually he did all the work!) we made and fitted some plates from sheet stainless to refurbish the hinges.  We spent some time getting them spot on, and attached them using two bolts tapped into the hinge, with epoxy glue behind to fill the void.   They are superb now, and performing like new again – and will probably outlast me!


All refitted and greased up:


Here’s a top view showing the door in closed and full open positions.


Reassembling front suspension & refitting the ARB:

Not especially difficult this – I just made sure all the right types of bolt were used and torqued up correctly.   I’ve left the torqueing of the upper wishbone mounting bolts until the car is back on its wheels.


I put all the castor shims apart from one towards the front end of the car, this helps with steering wheel re-centering when driving, so I’m told…


For the ARB, I used the Rocol grease again.  it’s best to use a hex head bolt for the lower fixings, to ease removal in future (another good tip from Dom…).


I also put Duralac around the steel washers that are part of the lower wishbone mounts.


Reassembling front brake calipers & refitting:

This was the bit I was looking forward to, all the hard work stripping the crappy paint off them and refinishing them was about to pay off…

4 new seals (4 were OK), new bolts, and red rubber grease were used when reassembling.  

AP Racing were most unhelpful and would not tell me the correct tightening torque for the four M10 bolts used to join the two halves together (and it isn’t published anywhere).   They just kept telling me I should get them done by one of their dsitrubutors/servicing agents.     I used 12.9 bolts and applied a drop of threadlock, torqueing them up to 45Nm (setting for 8.8 bolts as recommended for alloy castings after consulting a few guys over on SELOC).


And finally back on the car, with new 8mm stainless P-clips for the hoses as well:


Rear toe links:

I noticed a split boot and a serious weakness with the toe links on the car so decided to replace them.

Take a look at the way the end of the shaft joins the ball joint part – only 2/3 of the width is used for the join – that’s a trip into a ditch waiting to happen then…


I went for the Elise Shop Uniball kit, mine is a late S1 with steel uprights.   Fitting was reasonably easy, I firstly used a steel rule on the upright to mark the existing toe and castor positions on the wheel arch and floor before removing the old ones - I’m getting a geo done anyway as soon as it’s back on the road this will be accurate enough for now.  

I laid out the kit first to understand how it all works, and had to cut the exhaust heatshield away (used a sharp chisel) to expose the holes fully for the sheer brackets on the inner mountings.

I decided to use hex head stainless bolts rather than the supplied allen bolts for the sheer bracket mounting, with shakeproof washers.

All torqued up and looking much better….not to mention the peace of mind they provide.


Reassembling rear brake calipers & refitting:

This was fairly straightforward as I hadn’t needed to do a full stripdown of the rear calipers, I just removed the upper and lower bushes and boots for painting.

I refitted the handbrake mech springs and the bushes/boots (this is fiddly to get right), with plenty of red rubber grease.

Then refitted them, tie wrapping the brake hose to the rear toe links as they aren’t quite long enough to go through a P clip on the wishbones.


Bleeding the brakes and clutch:

OK so this was a bit of a nightmare.   I have a Sealey VS820 pressure bleeder, which makes it easier, but given that I had replaced brake lines and removed/replaced calipers, it was of course all full of air.   

After several attempts going round the car (NSR, OSR, NSF, then OSF) and inverting the front calipers with lots of tapping on the hoses and calipers, I still didn’t have a firm pedal.    We did the manual method a few times as well, pumping the pedal while opening and closing the bleed valves etc.

I then bled the clutch in case it had air in there as well (which it did, but as I expected it didn’t affect the brake pedal) but still no joy.   To bleed the clutch you have to remove the red bleed nipple cap and tie wrap the pushrod to the slave cylinder in the fully compressed position.  To do that you have to remove it from the clutch release arm by removing the pin – this is very fiddly.

No photos of the brake bleeding here (not much to see apart from fluid spilt randomly here and there…..), just the clutch slave cylinder:


Eventually I discovered it was the pedal box (loose) causing the softness at the top of the pedal travel……so…..

Pedal Box mounting fix:

The pedal box was moving up and down in the front services compartment with a firm press of the brake pedal.  There are two rivets that hold the two side brackets in place at the front, and both had worn away/corroded and had come off.

So with the help of my ever-patient wife (and carefully remembering the clamshell dining room enhancement) we replaced the rivet with an M5 bolt, with a spot of threadlock and a machined nut and washer superglued to the underside (inside the footwell, quite possibly the hardest to reach place in the Elise with the nut attached to the end of a screwdriver with tape!).  

It was very haphazard and a complete fluke that we lined it up and glued on the nut to create a ‘captive’ nut on the chassis.     Some swearing was naturally involved, and further loss of skin, and the realisation that my tools are sometimes totally inadequate……

(OK, LOTS of swearing).

The end result is that the pedal is now really firm.   Hurrah!

Sorry you may not be able to make out where these photos are, this is in the front compartment next to the plastic connector thing for the fan blower ducting (the bolt goes between the pedal box and this, I had to hack saw the corner of the plastic off first):


And this one is taken in the footwell, with the pedal box on the right.   The area you have to get the nut into tapers down to nothing – hence it had to be machined thinner.


What next?

That’s it for now…….so what’s left, I hear you asking….

Not too much – refitting the driving lights, new tow post, horn, heater matrix and fan blower, battery and new drain hose, stereo, new (longer) washer jets and tubing, new wiper arm and blade.    As I’m struggling to get the front clam painted at present, I need to decide whether I’m going to refit the headlights, indicators, harness etc to the clam as it is, and refit it, or get it painted first, depending on who can do it and when, during the lock down.

Thanks for reading - I’ll do my best to get this thread updated more often as well…

Edited by Daveb99
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3 minutes ago, Elisemadray said:

Dave I seem to remember you saying this one was not going to be a Garage Queen :rolleyes:

But hey its great to see the fanatic job your doing 

well done :clap:

Hehe well I’ve only really been sorting out all the rusty, worn and broken stuff Ray, it’ll get a good regular thrashing when it’s finished, honest 👍🏻

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3 minutes ago, Daveb99 said:

Hehe well I’ve only really been sorting out all the rusty, worn and broken stuff Ray, it’ll get a good regular thrashing when it’s finished, honest 👍🏻

it will be great to do a run with you and see the your hard work in the flesh when the madness allows , :) 

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Cheers Jonny - at times it feels like I’ve done well to NOT smash the living daylights out of it 🤣

Steering rack, footwells, brake bleed and pedal box spring to mind 🤪

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Great read and fantastic job.
After spending a couple of years building a kit car and now having a nearly new lotus in the garage that wants for nothing, all these refurbishment threads are given me itchy fingers for a new project.

Congratulations on putting a Jamie Oliver cook book to good use!

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 4 weeks later...

Just Brilliant - keep up the good work!

I'll be coming your way for help and advice when I dismantle and rebuild front a rear calipers next year.  You've mentioned your ever patient wife a few times.  If she let you bake your calipers in the oven then she's a saint :notworthy2:

I've never really liked Jamie Oliver's TV persona ...so, seeing this gave me a warm fuzzy feeling.  As shallow and small minded as I am, I'd like to image its where all his books end up a few months after Xmas.   :ike:



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1 hour ago, MrWill said:


I've never really liked Jamie Oliver's TV persona ...so, seeing this gave me a warm fuzzy feeling.  As shallow and small minded as I am, I'd like to image its where all his books end up a few months after Xmas.   :ike:



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