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Lotus in the Peak
Chatsworth, 8th-10th July 2022

Project Leeloo - Elise S2 resurrection after 7 years

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Hello everyone, I'm so pleased that I was able to finally join!


The short story of my Elise ownership starts back in 2001 when my Dad bought a Lightning Yellow S2 new from the dealer, he named her Leeloo, my first memory of it is being taken to Sarehole mill when I was about 9 years old.

Fast forward to April this year and the evening of my wedding, my dad gives me a little brown envelope as a wedding present... inside was the V5C to Leeloo! - The only caveat? My dads mobility had got steadily worse over the years to the point that getting in and out of an Elise was a medical impossibility, he was driving the car on weekends and one weekend he parked it on the drive and was never able to get into it again, that was seven years ago.

So I was very lucky to have been gifted a wonderful little yellow car that I had loved since I was a kid, but now I'm faced with the task of getting her on the road again!


So this is where we are today; Last weekend was my first free weekend since the wedding (Honeymoon, friends weddings and stag party's have taken every weekend so far, amazing what happens when everyone you know turns 30 at the same time!)

I managed to get two full days of working on the car to put a plan together, inspect parts and get a general assessment of what needs to be done.

Saturday Morning:



Time to get her up on stands, my first time jacking up an Elise and learning about diffuser and tray removal to access jacking points! unfortunately for me it was raining... time to get the EZ-Up out!elise2.thumb.jpg.5285791fb909959138e81d451c208bbe.jpg



For a bit of background, I'm 30 years old, self (read youtube) taught for mechanics (so I really don't know what i'm doing!) and I'm working on the car on my own!

Edited by Virgiltracy
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With Leeloo up on stands I thought i'd start at the back end...elise3.thumb.jpg.b926554077cb7213bd390f01d88a1ea7.jpg


Lots of rust, spiders and whatever else got caught up in this area over 7 years. Shocks have definitely gone beyond usability, however the wishbones are all nice and straight with surface corrosion being the main issue. I'm lucky to work in a company that has its own shotblast and powdercoat facilities, so I will be able to do these myself, of course new bushes and ball joints will be needed at that stage.

The Rotors have also gone, so will be replaced, the car was not sat with the hand brake on luckily so the caliper does move, however I will be sending them off for a rebuild.


Not photographed but I removed the cam cover and inspected the belt the whole way round whilst hand cranking the engine via the crankbolt, the belt looks in good enough shape to try and start the car at some point, however it will be replaced along with the waterpump (as I have these parts in the garage already).

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I thought I'd carry on towards the front to see what the situation is like up there: much the same, plenty of rust, however the front brake calipers are in far better condition and will benefit from a good clean and regrease.


The front suspension is much the same story as the rear, shocks gone but wishbones serviceable.

At this point i'm getting sick of all the cobwebs and dirt so out comes the shop vac, pretty lucky really as I had a look under the front panel at this point...



one thorough vac later - 


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Next I dropped the old oil and filter off, added cheap fully synth and cheap filter. The car won't be properly run on these but I'm adverse to using oil flush, so I thought I'd get the first 50 miles done with cheap stuff and then do an immediate change to Shell oil and the OEM filter. 

I couldn't get the funnel to sit properly, so I took the bootlid off... 


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Sunday -

I started by removing the badly rusted exhaust grills to be sorted at work



Next I set about the suspension, I wasn;t ready to remove all of it just yet, but I wanted that task to be as painless as possbile, so I went around each section and cracked every nut and bolt loose and left them in placeelise12.thumb.jpg.4e2231ddfd9d56f888b2dcf3d278467e.jpg

Removing the axle nut without a handbrake was interesting!

Loosening all the nuts took a lot longer than expected due to the bent tab washers and the inaccessible toe link nut on the OSR!


With the exception of battery and spark plug removal (both dead, replacements on route) that was all I got to do on Sunday...

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those mesh grills? well they went into the shotblast cabinet on Monday morning, I turned the blast pressure down low and did them by hand... much better!shot1.thumb.jpg.eb51d7ab117af9e51602da6447632839.jpg




I'm just waiting for Black to be used in the guns and they'll be coated black with a lacquer 

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My plans for this weekend:

Saturday - new sparks and battery, drain old fuel (any tips welcomed!!) and see if she'll fire up...

remove clam shells for easy access for front suspension disassembly, radiator inspection, spider removal and all the other jobs!

If anyone does have any tips as to what I should be looking to do next, please do let me know!

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Hello and welcome to MLOC!

Fantastic project you've got there and it looks like you've made a great start already. Now, I don't want to put any pressure on but you know it's Lotus in the Peak in just over 2 weeks don't you? :lol:

Keep us updated, we all like to see a good rebuild thread :)



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Thanks Duncx! Two weeks will definitely be pushing it! in fact two months will be pretty lucky!

I forgot to mention Leeloo and I are based in Stratford Upon Avon so if anyone did want to point at bits I'm doing wrong they are more than welcome!

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Welcome to MLOC VirgilTracy!

That will be lovely when you have done it. A K series s2 is a great thing (I have one!) and it looks great in yellow.

You will probably need a new tow-post before you re-fit the clam.

Has it ever had the original head gasket replaced? If not I absolutely guarantee it WILL fail at some point so if you are going to all that trouble, and fitting a new belt, water pump etc why not fit a new head gasket while you're at it? The newer type multi-layer steel gaskets generally don't fail.

Also, if you're doing that, buying a set of second-hand MGF 135 cams and fitting them will get you a cheeky 15 bhp for about £140! And they make the engine breathe and rev better at the top end...

Your Bilsteins and springs can probably be refurbed by Bilstein UK - I think they are in Leicestershire iirc.

Make sure you don't use stiffer polybushes for your wishbones as it will ruin it. Stick with oem, or EliseParts own oem spec bushes (I have these, they are good).

When you have blasted your wishbones I would revommend zinc-passivating them again and the painting them with 3 coats of por15. You can powder coat them and they will look great until the first bit of gravel hits them and it starts to chip off...

You will probably want to give your heater box and control cable some attention when the clam.is off. They are - how can I put this - shit;  they don't give out much heat, are noisy and seize up!

Good luck

If you want more info pm me your number and I'll call you.

Hopefully DaveB will be along soon - he's brilliant at this kind of stuff, especially cosmetic restoration.

Lithospian and MartinR are fantastic with the technical stuff.

As Dunc says, we love a good build thread!


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Posted (edited)

Thanks Dean!


Hadn't considered Passivation, is this a home job or is there a company that is recommended?

I was going to go with the eliseparts own bushes rather than Poly as I had read about the increased stiffness.

I was lucky enough to grab a full set of bilsteins cheap a few years ago when i suggested to dad that I'd try and start work on it, so they are easily replaced.


For the headgasket he's convinced it has already been done once, but he can't find his previous service papers, My plan is to get her rolling enough to be able to sell my current car, then when she's stored for winter in the garage, the headgasket can be done. I hadn't thought of the MGF cams, theres a big MG club that meets down the road from me, so i might be able to snag some for the winter!

Edited by Virgiltracy
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I think you would need to find a metal plating company to do the passivating. There will be loads round Birmingham I should think. I didn't do mine, I just painted with POR15, but I regret it.

I fitted the 135 cams in my old engine and they are great.

How many miles has it done?

Oh, and an absolute must-do mod is to replace the bush on the gear selector (gearbox end, not gear stick) with a nylatron one - pm Billy on here, he sells the kits, they are about fifteen quid I think and really improve the change, especially when it's hot.


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Thanks dean, I think we have a playing contact at work, I’ll ask tomorrow if they do passivating.


a small update, I managed to siphon out the old petrol from the tank with a manual squeeze pump on a hose, somehow finessing the ball bearing in the filler neck, surprisingly easy and now it’s ready for fresh fuel on Saturday 

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5 hours ago, Virgiltracy said:


I don’t know if you noticed, but your interior might have got damp enough for some amphibian life.

Seriously though, you mentioned the belt and water pump being changed later… I’d be a bit worried about the belt being on there for seven years.

Great project… even newly weds need a hobby.

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12 hours ago, kayj_prod said:

I don’t know if you noticed, but your interior might have got damp enough for some amphibian life.

Seriously though, you mentioned the belt and water pump being changed later… I’d be a bit worried about the belt being on there for seven years.

Great project… even newly weds need a hobby.

Ah yes, the toads! A favourite of dads... 


When i say the belt will be changed later, i do mean before the wheels touch the ground, I just want to make sure the engine starts this weekend.

When I drop the coolant for changing (and potentially radiator replacement, going to check condition this weekend) I'll replace the cambelt and waterpump

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