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Lotus Number 9…….the Evora Launch Edition Refresh thread


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Although I’ve been a serial Elise S1 owner (I’ve had 5 over the last 21 years) I have always admired the Evora.  

As the years have passed, I’ve found myself looking at them more and more (in search of more comfort and usability probably) and last year I started looking seriously.   The start of the slippery slope...   

Having already briefly driven Phil S1's lovely Evora SR several years ago, I knew broadly what to expect, but a short drive doesn’t reveal the depth of ability that the Evora has.   It's only when you’ve owned one for a good few weeks that you realise what a truly superb all-rounder it is.  The way the car handles the twisty stuff is remarkable given the added weight over an Elise/Exige;  the fact it soaks up everything you can throw at it with such composure is just amazing.  GT duties on a long road trip ?   Bring it on.   Blast in the winding roads of the Peak District?  Sure thing.   The ride quality in the NA (before the shocks were changed for the S) is a thing to behold (the S / 400 / GT410 are great too, just stiffer).  I much prefer this car to my Exige V6, which was a real animal but simply not as usable day-to-day.

So I set about finding a tidy example - it had to be relatively cheap (I wanted to keep my Elise S1), in a colour I like, and ideally with a contrasting interior.   With low miles.  And ideally close to mint.  Not asking much then....

I eventually settled on a nice Launch Edition in Quartz Silver with 30,000 miles, so it has all the packs / options, with the lovely Stage 1 Sports Exhaust (with titanium tips) as well.   I managed to buy before it was advertised - good, well priced Evoras don’t hang about long.  I rather like the subtlety of the silver;  I feel I can park it in a car park without it getting too much attention..

This is a very early Evora, 17th off the line back in 2009.  According to the letter with my provenance certificate:

100 Evoras were produced in 2009 for the UK market

87 were Launch Editions (which were only produced in 2009).

4 LE's were produced in Quartz Silver (3 with Oyster trim).

1 was produced in Quartz with Oyster trim and the 18/19" Forged wheels (this car).

I knew I’d be facing a bit of work to improve it and fix the common Evora issues - I did plenty of research before buying and went into it with my eyes open.   If you’ve seen my Mustard Elise 'Resto' thread ( https://www.midlandslotus.co.uk/forum/topic/67892-the-mustard-yellow-elise-s1-refresh-thread/ ) then you'll know I’m not scared of taking things apart and fixing stuff myself, so I was well prepared for some hard work.

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On picking it up, it was cosmetically as it came out of the factory, but with lots of added decals.    They weren’t to my taste and were somewhat personal to the previous owners (Le Mans trips etc, which is fair enough) so I’ve removed them, apart from the Colin Chapman decals which I do like.  I fitted some new Union Jack badges on the sides too.

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I then starting going through the car from top to bottom to make it as good as it can possibly be, without spending the earth on it.   I still have more to do but here’s a (very long) list of what I’ve been up to.   

Quite a few of these jobs were completed with the help of both the official Lotus Service Notes and Parts Diagrams - especially the bigger stuff.  I paid for an hour’s access to the Lotus VSIC website, and downloaded everything.  

However I’ve also had the help of others, via the forums etc.  Using search is a great thing.   I couldn’t have done all this without both of those things - so hopefully by writing this it’ll help / inspire others to tackle things that need doing and I’m “giving something back”.   Please feel free to message me for help/advice on how things are done.

Here we go then…..scroll down past the Useful links and brace yourselves for a long read…..

 

Useful links

Official Lotus Service Notes & Parts manual: https://vsic.lotuscars.com/

Leather Dye (100% match, Oyster, Charcoal and Paprika on file): http://www.staingard.co.uk

Cloth tape:  https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/174091000462?var=472939788567

Gear linkage adjustment:  https://www.thelotusforums.com/forums/topic/52231-gearchange-issues-dissected/

ARB bushes:  https://www.powerflex.co.uk/search.php?keywords=evora

Replacement High Level Brake light:  https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/132927620830

K&N Filter:  https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/294202584614

Kenwood Head unit: https://www.kenwood-electronics.co.uk/car/nav_mm/carplay-mm/DMX8019DABS/

Focal speakers:  https://www.focal.com/en/car-audio/car-audio-kits-solutions/performance/access/component-kits/165-as

DAB Aerial:  https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B07B1ZDMVX/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Sound deadening:  https://www.silentcoat.co.uk/collections/silent-coat

Bil Hamber UC Wax:  https://bilthamber.com/product/dynax-uc/

LED bulbs for interior:  https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B01CPF1D4O/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o04_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

LED light units for boot (complete):  https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/222986826421

PPF for Headlights:  https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/132154013122

Launch Edition Plaques:  https://divinehandcraft.co.uk/collections/lotus-store/products/evora-launch-edition-mini-plaque

 

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Another week has gone by and the Evora delivered in spades on a 300-mile round trip to Hethel for our MLOC tour of Classic Team Lotus.   The afternoon before the trip I decided on the spur of the mome

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Headlights - mine had no lacquer on them (removed by a previous owner) but a few scratches/swirls.  I know they must be properly protected to resist yellowing etc.  So I set about sanding them by hand

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Wiper blade - Simple things first.   The Bosch AP26U is a perfect fit.

New floor mats - Scotty kindly sold me a perfect pair of the nice later style Lotus roundel mats, what a difference,  the old ones were somewhat tatty, and well used.

Rear light surrounds - the early Evoras came with chrome rings around the lights, which get pitted over time, and it’s common to replace these with black ones as per the SR.  I chose to remove, prepare and refinish them instead, with primer and gloss black.  Very straightforward.

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Full machine polish - a 3 stage polish with my DA made a massive difference, it had quite a few swirl marks and some scratches here and there.   I followed up with a couple of coats of decent wax and now have a great baseline to maintain.

Seats - I noticed on a previous invoice that Bell & Colvill had the drivers seat 'reconnolised' as part of the sale to the previous owner.  Unfortunately being a stickler for detail I could see that the shade was noticeably different to the passenger seat - basically too much of a yellow hue in whatever they used.   So there was only one way to fix that - I had to remove all the dye from the drivers seat that B&C had done.   It was a massive job, I reckon I went through about 25 cloths and a whole roll of garage towel.   The only thing that removed it was methylated spirits, but using a fresh cloth frequently was key.

Many hours later I completed it - revealing some side bolster wear - which I expected. 

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I did some research and found that a company called Liquid Leather (now Staingard) had supplied some custom mixed dye to other Evora owners a few years ago and the match was fantastic.   So I got in touch with Staingard and sent them a small sample of the leather (there's plenty of excess at the back of the centre console trim, under the rear seat - for this exact purpose).

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I then ordered some and a week later it arrived.   Absolutely 100% perfect match - both colour and sheen.   The seat now looks fantastic…I’ve only done the side bolster but I’ll use it more if needed.  I highly recommend them - I reckon they could match anything (I spoke to a nice lady called Karen).   I know they also have the details on file for the dye to repair the Charcoal and Paprika interior too, as well as Oyster.   Fantastic service, superb product 👍🏻 

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Front access panel / hatch - it had loads of excess play and wasn’t aligned well.  After some simple adjustment it’s now spot on.  Straightforward.

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Boot carpet / storage net - the edges of the carpet needed tidying up and the net was sagging slightly.   A bit of trimming and adding some twists into the elastic sorted these things.

Battery - I fitted a charger 'fly lead' for easy connection of my Maypole battery conditioner in the boot.  Very simple.

Brake disk hubs/centres - I prepped and spray painted these satin black, big improvement (the overspray on the braking surfaces wears off as soon as you brake)..

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Windscreen Sun Shade - to protect the dash leather from UV / heat, I initially bought a cheap shade from Halfords to cut down and lay on the dash (better than nothing), but have since been kindly provided with a superb custom made one, beautifully made by Phil S1 (and family!).  It’s a great fit but Phil won’t be making any more as a lot of effort went into it.

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Mudflap fixings - while the wheels were off I fitted stainless fixings.  The original mild steel ones rust like hell, as do the mudflap brackets (already replaced by previous owner - hurrah!).

Wheels - I replaced the already very nice forged wheels with the larger diamond cut wheels that were common (but not standard) on the Evora S.   I already had a set sitting in the garage and I prefer the sharper look, they fill the arches better too in my view.  I had intended to get them refurbished in satin grey, but for now I quite like the look.  I’ve kept the old forged wheels.

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Tyres - I’ve fitted Michelin Pilot Sport 4S all round.  Having now broken them in, all I can say is wow, what a difference compared to the old Pirelli’s.    They are more compliant, much quieter, with sharper turn in and way better grip in damp conditions.   There's a reason owners reckon they are the best all round tyre for the Evora - they are brilliant.

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Gear shift (linkage) - on pre MY12 models the shift isn't amazing, but it can be improved massively with some careful adjustment and lubrication.     Mine was baulking slighty when engaging 2nd gear.   After removing the upper console trim and gear gaitor you can access the shift cable ends and adjust the length.   

So, after a couple of drives with the spanners to adjust it 'on the fly' and a bit of lubrication in the right places (cable ends too) it’s now brilliant.   I also removed the play in the reverse gear lift tube (to make it silent in operation), and replaced the gear knob badge with a new one from Lotus.   

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Console trim - Before refitting the centre console trim I lined all the contact points with cloth tape.   The Launch Edition is trimmed in leather almost everywhere you look, but you do get some creaks and squeaks from the 'leather on leather' effect sometimes.  Cloth tape gets rid of this...

Major service - Gav at Unit 4 (Lotus Specialist, Burton on Trent) worked his usual magic and did the oil, filter, gearbox oil, brake and clutch fluid, coolant, auxiliary belt, and also fitted the heat protection wrap to the clutch slave cylinder pipe as per TSB 2011/29.   I chose Redline MTL for the gearbox oil and it has improved the shift even further.   I fitted a new OEM pollen filter myself (takes 2 minutes) and a K&N panel filter in the air box (a hell of a lot longer than 2 minutes - see separate section....).

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Number plates - I had no intention of changing the plates (as the car came with a good private plate) but when I was told that this plate was only £250 I thought it was well worth it.  As my 9th Lotus it works quite well I think.  I’ve subsequently been asked a few times if I used to own a DB9….and saw 2 at Goodwood this year with DB09 plates.   Guess I have multi-functional initials…😃     I’ll just have to buy another Lotus to use up the other LOT plate that I now have…….

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ARB bushes - I noticed a slight knocking at the front, so decided to replace all four anti roll bar bushes with Powerflex poly bushes (purple = road spec).  What a difference, the noise has completely gone and it feels ‘right’ again.   The fronts were easy enough to change, the rears were a different story because a couple of the under tray / diffuser fixings had been rounded off (damn those Allen bolt fixings!).   I replaced them with stainless hex head bolts and all is well..

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Front undertray - quick coat of Duralac Green before refitting to reduce risk of electrolytic corrosion from the bolts.   I also treated some mild corrosion on one of the brackets for a component under the car at the same time.

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Rear undertray - I noticed this was looking a little tired so while it was off I refinished it in satin black, with hammerite on the steel mounting brackets at the sides.   It now looks like new!    While it was off I snapped a photo of the Janspeed Stage 1 Sports exhaust part number etc, which was a pricey factory option at the time I believe - it sounds fantastic.

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High level brake light - I noticed a couple of LEDs were not working, but fortunately (and after some good tips on TLF) it was easy to source an OEM direct replacement.   It’s a Rover 25 part.   I simply cut the existing wires and soldered the new wires to them.   Simple job.

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K&N panel filter - I removed all the necessary parts to replace the filthy air filter with a K&N.  This is a bit more involved than it sounds, and in my case I needed to remove the whole filter box too, to access the gear cables (see below).   The K&N adds a little more character to the induction roar too.

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Engine cover mounting bar - I removed this for the K&N filter job, so refinished this in satin black hammerite.  I know it isn’t seen, but it was just starting to look tired, with some mild corrosion…

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Gear cables (at rear) - while the filter box etc was out I lubricated the gear cable ends with oil in a small syringe.  You have to disconnect them from the gearbox and pull the rubber gaitors out of the way.   This has further improved the gear shift, it really is very good now.

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Heat shield “Chimney” ducting - this was very tired with the usual paint flaking off, so I replaced it with an OEM one.

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UC Wax - with the NSR wheel off and arch liner out I applied Bilt Hamber UC Wax (spray) to the upright, damper spring, and other areas.   I’ll get around to the other 3 corners at some point!

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Engine cover - I gave this a good clean, also noticed it needed a bit of adjustment to stop the play.   I also added some extra padding and now it fits properly.

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Steering column - early Evoras have a slight play in the steering, caused by Lotus apparently forgetting to fit a crucial aluminium spacer during assembly, or in some cases fitting one that was too small.   This is rectified by a TSB (2011/11 I think), but the spacer itself is on back order - surprise, surprise!    Fortunately I have a neighbour (Alan) with a full machine shop in his garage, and I had some aluminium round bar of a suitable size, so we (OK, he) made a larger spacer as per the Lotus part, which addressed the issue perfectly.   For reference, the original spacer fitted in my car was 10.5mm, and I’ve replaced it with a 14.5mm one - with a slightly smaller inside diameter for a better fit.  Removing the wheel and refitting wasn’t too bad - you obviously have to disconnect the battery first.

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O/S Headlamp wash - I noticed this wasn’t popping up and the washer fluid was leaking onto the floor.  On inspection, the two bolts hadn’t been refitted which secure it to the headlamp.   They are coach screws, so I cut some down and fitted them.   It now works perfectly.    However, I also removed the headlamp wash fuse (#25, 15A) because I don’t like the way they basically spray the whole bonnet, and as I drive with lights on it happens with every 5 squirts of the windscreen wash.   I’ll refit the fuse for the MOT…..if needed.

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Washer bottle grommets - I noticed a leak from the washer fluid and traced it to the grommets in the washer bottle.   One of the existing ones was completely shot.   

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Audio - Wireless CarPlay Head Unit - The standard Alpine unit had been replaced by a previous owner with a Kenwood one, which was better, but very laggy indeed (old tech and all that).   After lots of research I bought a Kenwood DMX8019DABS with wireless CarPlay.   It also has Android Auto.

Fitting wasn’t too bad, after carefully identifying the reverse signal wire (for the reversing cam, to tell the head unit when it's in reverse) and the speed sensor wire (apparently required for the wireless CarPlay to work).   Mine had an ISO connector fitted in the car so I was able to connect directly to that.   I did need to add some small spacers to the mounting bracket to bring it forward slightly (about 8mm).    Regarding the speed sensor wire, I initially connected it but it turns out that it sends the GPS location haywire, so I disconnected it and all is now well - it isn't needed after all.

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Having Apple CarPlay makes a massive difference - it’s so well integrated and I now have a choice of 4 apps for Navigation, and several for music.   For a modest £12 a year you can subscribe to the TomTom Go app on your phone, which means you can follow pre-defined GPX routes too - with full voice guidance etc on the unit - great for organised runs or for touring.   It's very slick.   Who needs an Emira??!

For audio, I can request any song I like while on the move, using Siri, either from Spotify or my own Music collection etc.    I also designed a custom startup screen, pinching the original Evora design side profile logo and adding the Lotus one.   

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I mounted the new GPS aerial under the instrument binnacle cover, on the supplied metal plate.    The head unit is great, it makes a huge difference to the ‘usability’ of the car day-to-day.      I’ve also fitted a DAB aerial (see ‘Full Dashboard Removal’).

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Boot lid Gas struts - I just needed to replace one of these, to give it the required oomph for it to go up on its own and stay up.   Simple job.

Wheel nuts - they had the usual corroded look, so I gave them a quick clean with a mini wire brush, coat of Kurust where needed and then a coat of silver.

Washer fluid leak (again) - so the washer fluid was still leaking.  Dripping from off side front, in front of the wheel.   A quick chat to Dave at PJS and he recommended replacing the O ring in the headlamp wash connection.   I duly did this and it fixed the issue - or so I thought.   It’s back!  I’ll have another look at it all when I get a chance.

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Focal 165 AS speakers & Door cards - I removed the door cards, tightened all the fixings on the rear side of them (there are a lot of screws holding all the bits on), and added cloth tape to all the contact points.   While they were off I fitted the woofers from my recently purchased Focal 165 AS component speakers.   They were a straight swap - I just needed to remove the speaker housing to get the old speaker fully out, and solder the wires onto the new speaker.   I also added some Silent Coat sound deadening material inside the door, and closed cell foam behind where the speaker fits.   Easy job.

Now it’s all back together, with the new tweeters too (see Dashboard section!) I can report that it sounds absolutely superb.  More bass than you’ll ever need (original Alpine sub still fitted) and such a crisp sound, with so much depth.  Well worth all the effort 👍🏻

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Window adjustment - with the door cards and speaker enclosures off, I adjusted the tilt of the window.   This has achieved two things - provided a tighter fit against the door seals, and removed the horrible rattling I had when driving over bumpy roads with the windows partially open.  You can’t go too far with the adjustment though, otherwise the ‘drop’ of the window is affected when you open the door.    After refitting the door cards, the test drive was a revelation - no more squeaks / creaks, and no more rattling windows.  Happy days.

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Window regulators - I took the opportunity to remove the regulators and give them a coat of the UC wax, to waterproof them.   

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Door hinge bolts - these had light corrosion which was very obvious when opening the door - so a quick wire brush, Kurust and black hammerite job and all is well..

Edited by Daveb99
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Full Dashboard Removal - this is the big one!   I knew when buying the car that I’d need to do this at some point - the airbag cover was slightly lifted at the corner and the only way to rectify it is to remove the entire dashboard (thanks Lotus)….   I have seen worse but it really bugged me so had to be done.   I also undertook several other jobs while the dashboard was out.

The key to this is to research it properly and take your time - and make sure you have the space.   I had the car in the middle of the garage so both doors could be opened fully.  I also put all the fixings from the various stages into bags and labelled them.   This is important and makes reassembly much easier..  

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The following are the jobs I did with everything out…..

Airbag Cover - once it was out I set about straightening the airbag cover first, as it was very slightly warped at the corner.   I did this using a heat gun (carefully) on the rear side, so that the whole cover is shaped to the same slight curve of the dash itself.    I also removed some of the excess leather on the underside, and on the dash where it fits, as it was stopping the the cover from fitting totally flush.    I removed the steel backing plate (it was already detached at the corner) and realised it needs more than a light coat of spray contact adhesive (as applied at the factory during build) to stay securely attached to the airbag cover - and hence prevent future warping / lifting.   So I fitted 4 x M6 ‘Insert Nuts’ with countersunk bolts, and fresh contact adhesive too.   The cover now fits beautifully, and is flush with the rest of the dash.

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Wiring ‘tidy up’ - there were no fewer than 9 cables from the original Alpine install that weren’t needed.  A real rats nest of wiring.   So I took them all out and secured everything nicely, using cloth tape where appropriate.

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Glovebox Plunger Switch - this is fairly common, there’s a switch behind the glovebox (in the liner panel) that operates the glovebox light.  Mine was broken, so a soldering job later and it’s working again.   The bulb wasn’t seated properly either so it wouldn’t have worked anyway!

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Glovebox Retaining cord - for some reason my glovebox opened too far, the hole was in the wrong place for the retaining cord clip.   So I drilled a new hole, covered to old one with a blanking decal, and now it’s spot on.

Driver’s seat - I removed the seat to fix the seat belt fastener (it used to drop down forwards into the gap when not in use - so I added an extra washer) and I’ve also fixed an annoying creaking noise - it was the plastic panel on the back which needed some lubrication.  I also gave both seats a good clean (I’ve used Autoglym Interior Shampoo for years and it works fantastically well on leather).

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Roof lining / A-pillar trims - this was really grubby so it’s had a full clean.   Now it’s minty fresh (but not smelling of mint…).

DAB aerial - I fitted a subtle windscreen aerial on the passenger side half tucked into the A-pillar, extending the ground wire (soldered on extra wire) and attaching it to one of the earth points on the dash scuttle beam.   Seems to work very well.

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Focal tweeters & crossover units - I had to enlarge the holes in the dash very slightly to fit the Focal 165 AS tweeters, and I also had to remove the 4 leather sill trim parts to get to the original crossover units and replace them with the Focal ones.    

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When refitting the dashboard (upper, lower, fascia trims etc), I fitted fresh cloth tape to all the contact points, adding more where I thought it was needed etc.   Then came the test drive - heart in mouth.   Have I sorted the creaks and rattles?   Would everything work?    Oh yes.   What a difference.   The car now rides the bumps and ruts in the road like a Bentley (but handles like an Evora of course!).    I can’t believe what a transformation I’ve achieved from all the slog and attention to detail.   It really has made a massive difference.   No creaks, squeaks or rattles - even over really nasty ruts / bumps.  This is how they should be - and I sincerely hope they achieve this (or even better) with the production Emiras.  It's an absolute joy to drive.

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And now for the Lotus Evora, 'Giant's Edition' - bags of room for the taller driver 😀

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All back together....

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Edited by Daveb99
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Headlights - mine had no lacquer on them (removed by a previous owner) but a few scratches/swirls.  I know they must be properly protected to resist yellowing etc.  So I set about sanding them by hand with 3000 > 5000 > 7000 grit wet & dry then finished using my DA polisher and Meguiars 105 compound.  Then I applied the Aliath PPF film.   Really pleased with the results and I suspect they should be fine for years to come.

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LED Interior & boot lights - I replaced the standard ‘candles’ with LED bulbs.   42mm Festoon bulbs is the size.   They work really well and give the interior a real lift.   For the boot (which only had one light, as one was blanked off), I retrieved the cables for the second one, and then bought two complete new units from eBay.   They are superb - very bright, and a straight swap.

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Launch Edition Plaques - As mine was originally a dealer demo, and the 17th car off the line, it didn’t have the LE plaque fitted to the driver’s side.  Either that or someone removed it / broke it.  The PPF looks original to me though so I suspect it’s the former.   Anyway I bought some superb replacement plaques from Dan @ Divine Handcraft, they are different to the originals but I think they look better.   I’ve fitted one to the passenger side as well.

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So that’s it for now - it has been a crazy 2 months since I bought the car,  so I will be slowing down a bit but there are still a few bits I want to sort out, a little bit of wind noise near the drivers mirror perhaps, maybe a new nose badge, and a few other bits.  Nothing too major - I hope!

Hope this has been useful / interesting, and if anybody wants more info on how any of this was done, or what I bought/used etc, please feel free to shout - I’ve had a lot of help from forums etc over the years so it’s good to give something back.... 👍

 

Edited by Daveb99
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My hats off to you 

I really wish I had the skill and capabilities to undertake what you very clearly described in the above threads

its one if not the best reads I have seen on forum for the Evora 

most of the jobs you clearly described I need to sort only wish I could but unfortunately I just don’t have skills or patience  

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31 minutes ago, CDM2018 said:

My hats off to you 

I really wish I had the skill and capabilities to undertake what you very clearly described in the above threads

its one if not the best reads I have seen on forum for the Evora 

most of the jobs you clearly described I need to sort only wish I could but unfortunately I just don’t have skills or patience  

Thanks Clive, it isn't as difficult as it looks and there's only one way to learn.....👍

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