2006 Exige S

I think I mentioned it in a couple of posts but I’ve become increasingly aware that I don’t have much grip at the back of this car. I watched some videos back from track sessions with my Elise and found I was understeering a lot more into corners on the Elise but the payback was that I could enter at slightly higher speeds and adjust the car a bit more through the turn. I’m visibly more nervous on turn-in with the Exige and using significantly less lock (and speed) to chuck it in.

This culminated in an evening trackday that I attended at Donington Park a few weeks ago. It was an opportunistic track day that hadn’t really been planned, but I had an offer I couldn’t refuse so went along. The rain was bouncing it down all night and the drive there on the motorway was nothing short of terrifying. Apologies to all of the wagons I was slowing down that evening on the M1!

The trackday wasn’t much better, could barely keep the car on the track during the sighting laps (though did better than the two cars that DID go spinning off into the gravel during the sighting laps :laugh: ) and I pretty much decided I was packing up after the sighting laps. Big shame as I’d never driven Donny before, but I’ll certainly be going back.

The car just felt unstable at all speeds, the front just feeling very grippy but the backs giving up as soon as I applied the slightest bit of lock.

I was convinced my geo was to blame, so dug out the settings from my Elise thread and compared to find them almost identical.

So I decided to spend some time on the car to see if my rear toe settings could have slipped, or something daft like that - but as soon as I jacked the car up I spotted what is probably the problem.

Rear tyres were totally knackered on the inside edges despite looking sort of ok on the middle/outside. In addition to the bald inside edges, the rear inside sidewalls were cracking and I noticed the tyres are dated from 2013 - so probably way past their best.

They don’t look too bad on camera, but my digital depth gauge reads <1mm until the halfway point on the tyre :boxedin:

The fronts look ok, but they’re dated 2014 and probably only have one more track day left in their tread. Based on what people say, ZZR’s run out of good grip long before their tread is finishes - so I’ll get all four swapped.

I was about to pull the trigger with Avon, then something popped up on the eBay which caught my tight eye… some used ones with 5mm tread on. They ship with 5.5mm I believe so barely scrubbed in! I have a track record of cheaping out on tyres and getting used ones from ebay/forums - but hasn’t caused me issues to date.


These tyres are also dated 2016(front) and 2017(rear) and felt significantly stiffer to touch when both sets were off the car.

While the car was jacked up, I had a good clean up under the arches and used the opportunity to flush my brake fluid out thanks to a trial run of a Sealey pressure bleeder that a good friend lent me and showed me how to use. After my last mess with a pressure bleeder I was a bit nervous, but this one worked about 10 times better, no mess and a nice solid pedal again.

Car is now back on all fours, so hope to get some mileage in as soon as the sun shows up. Next track day is Croft booked in mid-July, I don’t think the car needs any prep for it… so time to enjoy it.

Oh actually, there is one job I may need to look at - my DIY heatshield that I put under the I/C has developed a slight rattle under certain conditions. Difficult to replicate but I think it’s just the relatively thin material reverberating at certain frequencies. ProAlloy (I think) do their own version of the heatshield and that has a bit of bracing across it which is probably to resolve this… not sure if it’s annoying me enough yet to warrant taking the I/C back off.

I’ve made a little more progress on my “intake air temp” project over the last weekend or two.

I’d intended to plumb in some oil catch cans at some point to clean up my inlet and intercooler. These cars produce a fair bit of blowby which is clogging up the intercooler with residue, and the MAP/IAT sensor was also caked up in oil too. There’s no real down side to a catch can so figured I’d get one rigged up to take the oil residue out of the equation, and also lets me keep an eye on blowby levels too.

There are a small number of bespoke Exige kits on the market asking in the region of £300… which I didn’t fancy paying. I’d planned to get a generic OBP one or similar and fabricate up a bracket but one night whilst doing some research about hose internal diameters and such, I came across a blog and the author was advertising his Sector111 “Qwkcans” up for sale at a fraction of the list cost. I snapped them up, so here we go.

They don’t have any dipstick/sight tube but they’re very easy to remove from the car thanks to only having a single fixing and quick release hoses. They look really OEM too which is a nice bonus, as my engine bay was already looking a bit too B&Q for my liking.

I decided to remove the intercooler and pipe work so that I could clean it all up properly, so whilst the engine was pretty nude I took the opportunity to check clean the ‘lift’ solonoid for the ToyotaVTEC.

It was like new, as I’d hope from a <20k mile engine.

The cans came with a bracket that shared the fixings from the lift solonoid so that got bolted up first, then the cans would just sit on some pegs on said bracket and bolt onto a spare fixing by the oil filler cap.

IC and pipes got flushed out with some petrol, and the IAT/MAP Sensor got a good cleaning too.

Back together and looking very factory, I like it. Had a test-run of removing it for track-side draining and it’s a piece of cake.

I’ll swap the hex-head bolt with an M6 stud and wingnut so it can be removed without tools too.

I’m also on my third set of jubilee clips for this intercooler setup. Every few weeks I go for a drive and can’t help shaking the feeling that the car is feeling slower than it should be. I convince myself that it’s in my head, until eventually I get the tools out and find out that one (or more) of my jubilee clips has come a bit loose and is probably robbing me of a bit of boost. Tightening up almost always results in the car feeling ballistic again, so is something that’s become a bit of a paranoid habit.

These particular clips are proper branded jubilee’s and are a bit narrower than my last set, allowing them to sit properly in the ‘channel’ caused by the profile of the pipes and intercooler - so hopefully these work better than the last set.

Car is now sat patiently waiting for Friday, for another Lotus on Track trackday @ Croft Circuit. Updates to follow I’m sure.


Last Friday was a Lotus on Track trackday at Croft Circuit, easily the busiest LoT trackday I’ve attended with ~60 cars there, but well handled crowds as always, very little queuing but a fairly active circuit for most of the day.

Socially it was like a who’s who of LoT trackdays, almost everybody that I’ve met either face to face or online/social media was in attendance and there was some seriously quick stuff there too.

I’d be travelling up with my next door neighbour (and good mate!) to show him what all the fuss was about, he’s a petrol head himself and I felt I should apologise a little bit for all the late night compressor/grinder sessions in the garage!

Wet night on thursday, but drying nicely as I paced around the house waiting for departure time.

Croft has been resurfaced within the last month or so and the condition of the track, grounds, facilities was just top notch. It’s been a few years since I’ve been but it felt like the place was brand new - very impressed.

I mentioned earlier that most people I know from Lotus trackdaying was in attendance, well this included Simon and my old Elise - which made for a rather emotional reunion (for me anyway, I’m not sure Simon felt the same)

Mechanically my objectives for the day was to see if my rear-instability had been resolved with the new set of tyres. Obviously hard to gauge on a different circuit, but the answer seemed to be very much ‘yes’.

I’d also be keeping an eye on my new catch cans for leaks (not to mention filling up), and also would be logging IAT’s again.

The morning started well enough, but I felt pretty slow. The car was driving/handling fine but every time I slammed on the anchors I felt like I was braking about 10-15m too soon!

I remember from my Elise trackday at Croft that I was turning into Tower too soon and I was struggling for stability through the Jim Clark Esses (which is fairly understandable, it’s quite fast).

I feel like I fixed my issues at Tower but in hindsight was still far too conservative on the exit, lost lots of time there. The Esses in the Exige felt kinda OK, nowhere near flat which I know some people were doing - but a pretty big lift into the first left, a balanced throttle through the right and then a quick squirt and lift for Barcroft. I mentioned earlier that there was some quick stuff (relative to me) on track, but on the occasion I was in and around some traffic at around my pace - I felt like I was making gains on them through Barcroft so the car certainly wasn’t bad through there, even though I know it could go faster with some bigger baws.

Where the Exige is certainly slower than the Elise is in the slower stuff, the final complex. I knew I could lean on the Elise like crazy because it really didn’t have the torque to break traction in the lower speed stuff. The Exige on the other hand feels a bit more delicate, so I think I’m tip-toe’ing around it. I don’t think it helps that I’d done my last two trackdays on 7 year old knackered rear tyres, so pretty sure I’ll build up in that area for the future.

I felt to be getting a smidge faster in the afternoon, but not much. I’m not blaming the traffic completely but it was very rare to be on circuit alone for more than a couple of bends - so I was either working out a route past somebody else, or making way for some missile coming up behind me. I did however enjoy a couple of sessions in which I could settle in behind somebody of similar pace and just try and work out where they were quicker and where I was slower, sounds daft but this rarely happens on a LoT day because the track time is so clear!

I spent a particular session behind an Elise SC, and I was getting quietly nervous about his straight line speed compared to mine - he was probably a little quicker in the early phase and I’d creep up on him a bit towards the braking zone. I was nervous only because I was expecting to have a ~40bhp leg up on him, but after finding him and chatting with him in the pits I found he had a Hanger111 280 kit which had been dyno’d at 292bhp or something like that… which put me at ease somewhat! Similar story with a lad who was blasting around in an Audi S3 earlier in the day - followed him for a couple of laps and he was absolutely mincing me under traction (understandably) but then kept pulling away which I wasn’t expecting. Again, saw him later in the pits and found he had 450bhp [!] It was just one of those trackdays where almost everybody seemed to have a silly quick car, great fun!

The afternoon was cut short by an hour by what can only be described as biblical rain, I was out on track with a passenger making fairly good progress and then I turned into the right-hand part of the Jim Clark Esses to just get a massive armful of understeer then a few seconds later the windscreen got absolutely peppered by those massive fat rain blobs! I crept back round to the pits because all of our stuff was left out on the grass, and by the time we got it all packed into the car the circuit had been red flagged - not sure why, whether there was an off or whether it was just the severity of the rain - but it was bouncing it down! Within 20mins or so it started drying off, but decided to hit the road anyway as all the stuff was packed away and I wouldn’t be breaking any records on the damp track.

Back home and had a quick check of the catch-can, yielded 20ml of blowby during the trackday and the ~150miles road mileage that I’d done since installation. There’s no magic number for what’s acceptable, but that was better than I was expecting. My previous catch-can installation on my Subaru usually needed emptying half way through a track day :laugh:

As you’d expect, my intercooler innards are bone dry and nice and clean - so the baffles in the cans seem to be doing a nice good job.

As for IAT logs, similar story to Folembray really - same ambient temps and same (within a degree) averages, mins/maxes etc - so the catch can has made no appreciable difference there but of course different circuit - so not a real scientific test. I’ve got one more test I still want to do, which is derestricting the mesh on the sidepods and roof scoop. I may do some road testing for that to see if there are any gains, as to be honest I need to stop tinkering during a trackday and just concentrate on my driving and progress on track. I notice so many problems in hindsight/based on video which I need to be recognising during the day, so that I can push forward and get better.

I have a track day booked this week so thought I’d summarise progress recently. Nothing major has happened on the car, but a few tweaks and jobs.

First up I splashed out and got some Murray Clamps for the intercooler hoses. The Standard Jubilee’s had been bugging me since buying the car, every now and then one would slip off and occasionally I would get a nagging feeling that the car felt a bit down on power, only to find one of the clamps was no longer holding any tension when I got it back home. These clamps were a solution that finally allowed me to drive my Subaru for more than 20minutes without a FMIC pipe blowing off, so I figured I’d go back to what I was comfortable with despite them being silly money compared to legit Jubilee’s.

So far I’ve had no issues, but I do feel that perhaps my silicone joiners could be 10-20mm longer to give the whole setup a bit more wiggle room so I may address that too in the near future.

Second up I was going to address my brakes, again. I did a full fluid change before Croft but after a few sessions I got quite a long pedal. I could still stop alright, but it was a bit confidence knocking. Speaking of knocking, my NS Front brake pads rattled like crazy despite me having some buffers fitted to my caliper.

To sort the knocking, I swapped out the caliper pins and springs. Old ones may have just lost a bit of tension, but so far so good on these ones.

To sort the fluid I bled through, again. This time I took the front calipers off and turned them upside down. As soon as I tapped them with a mallet (with the pressure bleeder attached) some great big gobs of air came out so I’m hopeful that this is now sorted. I’ve certainly got a firm pedal once again, so we’ll see how that lasts on track.

In parallel to doing my Lotus tinkering, it’s also been MOT/Service season for my fleet.

The FN2 Civic breezed through MOT but the Clio 182 needed a bit of love, including:

  • Rear Brake Hoses (Solid and Flexi)
  • Track Rod Ends/Inner Gaitors
  • Various Bulbs
  • Missing middle seatbelt (managed to blag this, as never actually had one in the car and didn’t realise it was supposed to have one until this (my third) MOT…
  • Exhaust Hanging off

Treated the lot to oil/filter and some gearbox oil for the Clio to replenish the ever weeping rust prevention on the selector arm…

We need to move the Clio on soon to get something a bit more family friendly so going to look at doing shocks and springs as she’s a bit creaky before she goes.

Between all the maintenance I went to a very hot and sunny evening meet for the North Yorkshire Lotus Owners Club and even went for a drive without the roof on!

Fantastic turn-out as expected. Speaking of NYLOC, I also got speaking to a club member who is a little bit handy when it comes to driving cars quickly, he does a fair bit of racing and has had Lotus cars for years and he’ll be joining me this week for a Blyton Park trackday to give some much needed one-to-one tuition.

I’m really looking forward to Blyton, though it’s forecast as being wet… that may be a good thing or bad thing, I haven’t yet decided. Either way I shall report towards the end of the week.

Oh I forgot the best bit. One of the interior let downs in this car was the passenger footrest, my best guess is that the footwell has been used to store something before (soft top?) and the anodised finish was scuffed quite badly.

I had contemplated a few ideas for refurbing it including spraying it silver, wrapping it or just putting some skateboard griptape over it (still might do that to protect the new one) but as one popped up fairly cheap on a classifieds ad, I just bought another one.

I’m quite liking the interior in this car nowadays, never really liked it in the Elise but it’s growing on me. I can see me picking up a motorsport looking wheel at some point in the future just for the tart value and maybe getting the sill pads trimmed in something. I did them in eBay alcantara on the Elise and they came up really well, so maybe a job for winter.

Track day update: Blyton Park

I returned to Blyton this week for another track day, as mentioned before I would be attending this with an instructor/adviser for the full day. I was quite excited about the learning potential, but the ~70% chance of rain forecast all day was putting a bit of a downer on the run up to the day.

This was the first “non-Lotus” track day I’d done in absolutely ages, and it was quite refreshing to see a bit of variety in the paddock even though the attendance numbers were a little higher than I’m used to.

The rain had eased off during the briefing and due to a keen wind the circuit had dried almost immediately for the sighting laps. Once the formalities had been dealt with we got out onto circuit as quickly as possible as there was a constant drizzle but no real sign of the track getting properly wet yet - time to make hay.

First session was just a bit of calibration, car felt great and it gave my instructor (Rich) a couple of places to start. Rich had come prepared with an intercom system that just velcro’d into the helmets - fantastic addition and made the day significantly more productive than it would have been if we just shouted odd words to each other and had to wait to debrief in the paddock after every session.

We began to work deconstructing turn one and spent much of the day tweaking that and carrying through more speed. My lines elsewhere seemed acceptable but generally just needed to take them a bit quicker, sounds pretty obvious but tweaking a bit of car positioning and altering technique passively raised the minimum corner speeds and brought along some fairly substantial changes.

Mid morning it was still somehow dry on track despite the drizzle being fairly constant, and Rich went out for a session in the car to see how it felt. He’s no stranger to Lotus cars and so has a fairly good idea what they’re capable of and how a good one should feel, and he was pretty happy with how mine felt throughout the day. So did I actually, the car felt properly good and just carried no niggles at all with the exception of a bit of fuel surge just before we broke for lunch.

My confidence on turn-in was much higher than it was earlier in the year, pretty sure the new tyres has sorted that (as nothing else has really changed) and the car just had loads of grip everywhere - even when the drizzle ramped up a bit.

The car also felt like it was pulling really hard all day, just seemed really strong and as a result my sessions kept creeping up in duration - I got a good chunk of mileage in compared to usual.

At lunch the rain came in so I trundled off for fuel, but by the time the circuit re-opened once again by some kind of miracle it was dry again!

We carried on improving, traffic was fairly heavy for much of the day but overtaking manners were generally fine. The Exige was probably one of the quicker cars in attendance but only really got held up a couple of times, and the new blue lights at Blyton were pretty quick to activate which was handy. Had one car in particular which had a habit of pulling over to the left about half way along the straight and kept it pinned which would have forced me to go for a pretty late lunge and there were a handful of cars with mirrors seemingly removed, but no hard feelings.

The traffic did lend itself to the instruction a bit, as we could attack a corner then just back off and chill out a bit whilst we discussed changes to make. It did mean that consistent strings of flat out laps were fairly rare though, but that’s only apparent after scanning through the gopro footage - it didn’t disrupt us during the day.

I had one clear lap mid afternoon, around 30% into it I realised that I wouldn’t hit any traffic so decided to make it a good one… but pushed a little too hard and got my positioning wrong a bit when braking for the penultimate corner… so ended up exploring the infield instead!

The rain finally started making an appreciable difference to grip levels at around 16:00 - so went out for one last session and pretty much had the track to ourselves. I followed a Clio 182 around for a handful of laps and then he peeled in to get packed up so we just trundled around and got a feel for the tolerances that the car had. Understeer was the order of the day, but I could then easily bring the back end around or straighten the car up depending on the corner profile and it was a productive 20mins or so just playing with the car dynamics. Eventually called it a day and got to the miserable task of packing up and getting off home.

The debrief/summary of the day was that I’d certainly picked up speed around Blyton, as you’d hope/expect. My lines on an “obvious” corner are pretty much fine, but on some of the less obvious corners where the line may be a little counter-intuitive I needed to make some adjustments, which were surprisingly hard after probably 10-12 Blyton days and ingrained bad habit.

I have no issue carrying more speed into pretty much every corner when asked to do so, all Rich had to say was “we can take this one a bit quicker” and the next lap I would be 5mph quicker or whatever. Also I let past a race prepped Elise at one stage and followed him for a lap or so and straight away emulated some of his entry speed and had no problem with doing so… so I need to be able to do this myself in future without just settling into a ‘safe’ pace for the day. There’s a big gap between where I am now, and being reckless - so plenty of easy improvement to make.

Technique wise I have a bit too much time between pedal inputs, I’m generally on the brakes hard - coasting for a small window - back on the gas. I’d treat most corners like a heavy braking zone, so big late heavy braking and then a relatively aggressive swap back onto the gas. We worked instead on treating the brake less like an off/on switch which has really helped on a few corners and I’m fairly sure I can carry that across onto other circuits.

I didn’t record any solo laps all day (only solo session was cut short just before lunch because of fuel, and go-pro battery was on charge) so I was carrying the weight penalty of a passenger for all of my footage - but I can still see some good improvements when referenced against my footage earlier in the year. I’m eager to get back solo on a quieter day and really string together some strong laps - I think the differences could be significant.


Final note if you’re still here, the ambient temps were down to 15 or so - which is by far the coolest trackday I’ve had since doing all of my IAT modifications, and the logging results are quite impressive (IMO):

I’m now seriously considering my options for long term future of the car, go air/water charge-cooler or try an aftermarket air/air intercooler to advance on what I’ve already improved. I need to see some logs from a charge-cooled car I think before making up my mind, so any volunteers reading? Feel free to get me some data at your next track day :slight_smile:

It’s been a fairly quiet couple of months with the car - plenty of odd runs out between the trackdays but nothing much to report with regards to maintenance/tinkering.

I do have a small update today though which you may have seen on the old instagram.

I felt like the interior needed a bit of a clean up, after I replaced the footrest the mats were then letting things down a bit. They were almost worn through on the driver side and they just looked tatty. Ordered some nice new ones from Autostyle, expensiveish at £60 but fit perfectly and feel really good quality.

After that I turned attention to the sill pads, this is a bit of a copy/paste from my Elise thread but it’s about time I got round to it on this car. They get very worn in these cars as you’re dragging your arse/feet over them to get in/out of the car and it’s just a nasty big piece of plastic that really brings things down. It also doubles as an armrest whilst driving so comfort is lacking with the bare plastic.

Enter some £12 Alcantara knock-off from eBay:

The pads come off with 5 screws, they’re apparently glued down from the factory but that glue seems to have long since popped off as they came up without effort.

£12 got me enough material for about 5 sills which has covered the one mistake I already made, and gives me an option to re-cover in a year or so once these are looking tatty. *realistically I’ll lose the material I have spare and buy some more, but eh well.

Gave the back of the material and the sill pads a good spraying with some contact adhesive spray I found on Amazon

The next part is very sticky, stretch and not good for photography - but basically stretched all of the bubbles/creases out and got the excess trimmed off on the underside. Quick brush down, looking good.

The glue had congealed in some areas on the driver side bit which caused some small lumps under the material - but a quick glance over it with a warm iron sorted that out a treat.

Refitting into the car took a minute or so, voila.

I ordered the “charcoal” colour which is a really nice contrast with the two different colours of “alcantara” that the car already has in it. The dash top/binnacle is a light shade, the seats and doorcards a dark shade and these sills are somewhere in between.

When I did this on my Elise I think it lasted about a year before a small bubble appeared. I think this was just water ingress as the sills get rather wet when jetwashing the car. I’ll put some effort into covering them this time around, but as I said - £12 to re-do the job I can treat these as sacrificial coverings and just tidy it up whenever needed. The old stuff on my Elise wore surprisingly well to shoes/bums, so we’ll see how these get on.

I know have a bit of comfort on the armrests, it looks nicer and it usually cures a couple of squeeks/rattles where I previously had plastic on the tub, as it’s now cushioned by the material.

All quiet aside from that, hoping to get one more track day done this year before my time is up - but dates are quickly running out so I may end up at any old venue just to get the car on circuit.

Reporting in for another trackday update. Blyton Park again for the last time out this year.

The weather forecast had me pretty down all week as it was scheduled for 70-90% of rain pretty much from 9am till close. It was even more annoying that the day before was an absolute stunner.

As part of my pre-trackday inspection I decided to check the spark plugs, or more specifically check the coils. I inspected them at the start of the year and found the outside of the coil boots were mucked up with a browny/red dust but I thought nothing of it, cleaned them up and lobbed them back in. I’d made a note to check them again to see what state they were in, and on the night before the trackday I found them to be all dusty again but also with some slight burn/scorch marks on them and slight damage to the rubber/plastic construction.

I didn’t get a picture, but I’ve stolen a very similar one from Google:

As it was the night before, I couldn’t do much about it so I lubed them all up with dielectric grease and got on with it.

If anyone is still reading, you’re probably bored of Blyton Park updates by now but to summarise the day was fantastic and the weather actually held off! It was fairly quiet so I got lots of time to focus on my laps and just get my head down. Video review suggests I’ve dropped a couple of seconds from my laptimes from pre-tuition and I’m starting to get that feeling back that I’m really pushing the car a bit, similar to how I felt just before selling my Elise.

I’ve uploaded a few clips to YouTube, but I’ll post a couple here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ofzxgO_pTJE - 2x Clear laps at the end of a session.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=swxW9ZOJjQo - Full unedited version of that same session. A bit of traffic earlier on and some good laps following around a V6 350 Sport. Gives a good demonstration in some cases of how the V6 and S2 cars differ in certain areas of performance. The traffic clears for the final 2 laps where I push on a bit.

The only issues I had all day with the car was fuel surge just before lunch, exact same happened last trackday I did. When I got to the petrol station I could fit 30 litres in the car suggesting I had a good 20-25% left in the tank. My fuel pump was upgraded as part of the 260bhp upgrade but I need to figure out why I’m surging so soon, never had these issues in my Elise.

We got a bit of rain over a lunch and it just started spitting as I was packing up, really couldn’t believe my luck.

I had a chat with another 260 spec S2 owner towards the end of the day, he’d commented about how much quicker my car was on the straights than his so we had a good talk about the heatsoaking modifications that I’ve done. I also found my car keeping very close pace to the V6 cars on track (again on the straights) but they would clearly start pulling away on a longer circuit with more time at 100+ mph.

Once I got home, I checked the coils again. They’re covered in grease this time but you can clearly see that more red/brown dust has appeared (looks a lot like rust when mushed up with the grease) and you can see the evidence of burning/scorching too.

I have a confession to make that I was starting to have dirty thoughts about selling the car this winter. We’ve got our first baby due any day now so the car is likely to collect dust over winter and I’ve been having really tempting thoughts about getting a V6 Exige for next year and beyond. The trackday on Sunday however has temporarily put that to bed, as it was one of those days where I really fell back in love with the car and found myself making all sorts of longer term plans for it. It was always intended to be a long-term car, so I’m going to put this down to a wobble and crack on with my plans.

If I could best describe the performance of my car I would say it swings a bit between “warm” and “hot”. Some days I put my foot down and the surge of acceleration is just brutal, with a real ‘zing’ to it. Other times I stomp on the gas and it gathers speed quickly enough, but doesn’t give me that same spikey sensation. I’d put it down to placebo, other times I thought it was because boost hoses were loose and other times I’ve put it down to warmer weather or whatever.

At Blyton on Sunday the car was very much in ‘zingy’ mode all day, and it seemed to pull all day long even during longer sessions. Thinking back to the beginning of the post, I wonder if the coil packs have been arcing a bit and robbing me of a bit of power which the dielectric grease went some way towards mitigating? It seems unlikely because the car always runs well, never is lumpy or obviously misfires.

So over autumn/winter I’m going to take a look at the following. This list is mainly for my benefit so I think a garage whiteboard is called for.

  • Investigate the ignition coils, more than likely will replace them all with fresh plugs
  • Check over brakes again, I think I’ve made good progress on my Pagid pads and I think they might be nearly done…
  • Lift the fuel pump out and see what I’ve got. Aftermarket/upgrade pump assemblies are available which boast faster surge recovery etc. If I’ve already got that upgrade (possible as part of 260 upgrade) then I might need to consider a larger capacity baffled tank. $$$$$$$
  • Front Clam off:
    • Braided brake hoses
    • Aluminium radiator (plastic endcaps on mine are on borrowed time if t’internet is to be believed)
    • Stainless tow post/driving light brackets
    • Check/inspect the heater matrix and airconditioning condensor
    • Chargecooler??***
  • Change front track rod ends. I’ve got a very slight/subtle click sensation going from lock to lock whilst stationary on very sticky/hot tyres between track sessions.
  • Inspect coilovers, get them off the car and clean them up. Spring seats are looking crusty so evaluate refurb/replacement options

    *** On the Chargecooler front, I’ve made really good progress with the IAT cooling this year but I still get nagging thoughts about going for the full fat solution whilst the front clam is off. I think I’ll see how I feel later on, but after Sunday I felt my car was handling the temperatures brilliantly.

    The main downside aside from cost, is that I may passively push the power output up a little bit bringing the gearbox into dangerous territory. Upgrading the gearbox is rather expensive but also I have concern about NVH coming through from the upgraded gearsets. Stockpiling a couple of Toyota C64 gearboxes is an option, but would be a pain in the ass if it disrupted a long-range trackday at some point. This is one of the reasons the V6 thoughts came about, by the time I’ve added Chargecooler and Gearbox upgrade to my car, I’ve essentially paid for a good spec V6…

    That about covers it, I do welcome any thoughts or opinion about my ignition coils if anyone is still reading :slight_smile:

Long overdue update, not that much has happened! - Except I’ve ruled out a V6 for the foreseeable future, I think the S2 is right for me and how I intend to use it.

I can excuse my work rate and low usage of the car by introducing my new (and first) baby, born October 17th. Obviously my wife and I are pretty chuffed, but time to get back to business now :slight_smile:

To celebrate the birth I bought myself a new steering wheel for the Exige. I’d chosen a Sparco 300mm jobby months ago and had it on my list of bits to buy over winter, but whilst sitting around in hospital waiting for our spawn - a used (but very good condition) one came up on a Lotus forum.

The Lotus horn-push from the OEM wheel fits perfectly, so don’t need to mess around too much with that… though it’s a very cheap/nasty part so a nicer version may get dropped in at some point. My reasoning for swapping the wheel was pure man logic, back when I had my Elise I bought some gloves to wear on trackdays - my hands tend to blister up bit when they get sweaty and I often end up flaking all over the cockpit towards the end of a trackday, but mainly I just wanted to look like a racing driver.

The Elise wheel leather was a bit tired, with it having ~50k miles on it but my Exige wheel is much, much nicer and I noticed my gloves were starting to eat away at the leather finish a bit. I would like to preserve it if possible, so man-logic dictates rather than ditching the gloves - I should just buy a suede wheel to further enhance the racing driver aesthetic.

The wheel is marginally smaller than the OEM one too, 330mm down to 300mm (I think) so it’s helped my knee clearance a bit too which is nice. Unfortunately the 35mm spacer I had for the OEM wheel does not have the right PCD for the new wheel, and drilling out extra holes wouldn’t have worked as there’s just not enough material to work with. This had caused my heel-toe issues to return a bit, getting my seat back enough to allow my knees space would mean my arms were too stretched out to be comfortable.

I fixed that today with a new spacer, this time 20mm which I feel is likely the sweetspot of still having good access to my indicator stalks whilst allowing my seat back another click or two.

First impressions are strong, position feels good for the knees as I can now easily clear the steering column shroud and arm stretch is more comfortable. Happy days.

I’ve managed to stick a handful of miles on in late October/early November, mainly impromptu nappy supply runs to whatever supermarket was open at the time:

…but also met up with some members of the NYLOC hosted by our nearest Lotus dealership (JCT600 Leeds) for a quick breakfast meet.

Although other Lotus news is quiet, I’ve been a bit manic on the whole ‘amateur mechanic’ front with the rest of our fleet.

First up is our Clio 182, I think it’s been mentioned on the thread before but it’s turned into a bit of an ornament recently - with Missus off on maternity and me working from home 95% of the time… cars don’t get used much, and the 182 isn’t particularly isofix friendly…!

It’s actually the second 182 we’ve owned and I’ve not been particularly impressed with either of them. Neither felt good to drive, didn’t feel that fast and were generally quite shonky. First one got punted on once my lease car daily (at the time) was delivered and this second one was supposed to be a temporary stand-in whilst we found a replacement… two years later and we just never bothered.

This Clio went to a specialist last summer for about £1k worth of effort, belts/dephaser and fixed a load of other tit and tat bits underneath it. After collecting it I could honestly say I thought the car felt ‘fast’ for what it was, certainly pulled harder than before and harder than any other Clio I’d experienced. I guess it was the dephaser, maybe timing slightly out before?

It still drove like crap though, 110k miles on it so creaked and groaned all the time - couldn’t feel anything through the steering and it didn’t grip well either. Threw some Rainsport3 tyres on it after the wife nearly drifted it into a BT exchange and since then have been slowly going through refurbing/replacing everything. It could probably warrant its own thread, but I just can’t be arsed.

In spring this year it got new discs/pads all round, summer I did track rod ends, balljoints, tie rods and a few other bits. For MOT in August I replaced a load of brake lines and fixed the exhaust a bit. I was still left with a creaking from the front end and a really loose/inconsistent feel to the steering. I sourced some original cup springs and bought some OEM dampers with some Febi topmounts.

It didn’t go without a fight, I needed to retain a couple of bits from the old struts such as the spring top plates and a spacer/bolt combo - but it wasn’t coming off without a grinder.

A nut I had to grind through turned out to be a rocking-horse dung size, required ordering direct from Renault despite a friendly PH’er going into their shed and tapping one out for me in the meantime :smiley:

Once back together, I was amazed that all clunks/creaks had gone - and the car actually felt amazing. For the first time in years of experiencing/owning 182’s I can finally say that I can see what the fuss is about. The steering seems to have taken on a subtle amount of weight, and with it feeling. It feels light on its feet, back end moves about a bit (but that’s mainly just tyres that I rotated after MOT I think…) and it’s a joy to drive. Seriously tempted to do a winter trackday in it, but really we need to think about moving it on to make way for something a bit more child-seat friendly, because our only other cars are 2 doorers.

Speaking of which… Wife took baby and her mum out shopping last Friday and called me in a bit of a panic saying the car sounded knackered. This time referring to our 2009 Civic Type R. I went to go meet them at her mums house and quickly decided it was ‘just’ brake pads running low.

MOT in August had put them as an advisory, but that was only 200 miles away. That’s my defence for what comes next!

I drove the Civic home with Fonzey Jr in the back, had lots of vibration through the brake pedal and heavy squealing at low speed. Once the system got warmed up a bit, the wobble started kicking in big time even without applying brakes - this got me a bit concerned that it was more than just discs and pads.

Up bright and early Saturday I got (thanks to a 37% discount code for ECP) new discs/pads all round for £155. Hardly track-car spec, but they’ll do.

I’m ashamed to say that everything was completely dead. Discs had a lip on them that was 4-5mm thick, wear indicators were scoring into what was left of the discs and the pads were pretty much to their backing plates.

I’ve done probably 10-15 brake pad changes in my time, and every single time I’ve sworn blind that “next time” I’ll buy a rewind tool… yet I never do, each time burning hours with long nose pliers, g-clamps and in this case - a modified spring compressor :hehe: I got three corners done in three hours, then finally sacked it off and Amazon Primed a rewind kit and went to the pub (baby friendly, obviously).

Next day with my new tools, I got the last corner done in about 12minutes. So much easier all for the sake of £12, so annoyed I didn’t do this sooner.

Civic is now driving fine, all vibrations/issues are gone though I think the fluid could use a flush/bleed - one for another day.

All that aside, I’m starting to work on my garage space a bit too - mainly tidying so far and getting rid of some domestic crap from when we moved, such as getting rid of an old fridge to a fellow petrolhead via FB and moving the best part of a tonne of woodburner fuel into the house (that was popular). I’ve got some timber coming next week and I’ll be building a workbench, and sorting out some proper tool storage - so I’ll probably update this thread for that too.

Finally, MOT booked for the Exige tomorrow. I’m making a long-way-round trip to a newish localish specialist that’s opened in the last few years (or at least, I never heard of them when I had my Elise) so I’ll use it as an opportunity to check out their premises, get the MOT done and also get my AC drained off in case I need to remove the condenser as part of my clam-off work over Winter. I guess I’ll update tomorrow whether it’s a pass or fail :slight_smile:

Since I had to endure salty roads to get MOT’d [Passed btw] the other day, I thought I’d make use of a dry Sunday to give the car a proper pre-SORN wash.

I did note down a couple of maintenance jobs needed with the wheels off, namely some missing trim clips (already done) but also my heatwrap on the cat converter is looking knackered.

I’m not sure how happy I am with this cat to be honest. It’s not a legit Lotus one, they’re kinda prone to collapsing and this one has been swapped for a pattern part at some point in history, hence missing the heatshield and gaining the wrap. It’s not standing the test of time very well, at least not visually - and who knows how it’s actually performing compared to an original item.

I may look into alternatives here, whether that be finding a legit Lotus one or (more likely) paying for a stainless replacement.

She scrubbed up alright, I’m not bothering with any polishing as I’ll be manhandling the bodywork a fair bit over the next few months - so it can wait till spring before it gets properly done.

I’m rounding in on my upgrade plans for the winter, and will be ordering some goodies over the next few weeks - now that the mundane months of driving and doing trackdays are over, I can get on with the fun bit - taking it apart :hehe:

OK, that’s it up to date. More to follow!

I am enjoying reading this!

Wow what a great read, if you are interested I have an AIM MXL dash and binnacle that would go lovely in your exige, complete with GPS and video setup. I really must get around to doing a for sale post for it…
Drop me a PM if interested

Cheers Ade, a fancy dash of some description is actually on my list… but it might get prioritised down at least in the short term whilst I sort other things. It would be an ideal way to consolidate my gauges down too and restore my air vent :slight_smile:

I’d been looking at the GARW options in quite some detail, but AIM would be the leading “mainstream” alternative! If you’ve still got it in a few months, perhaps we can chat!

Sure I can wait, there are huge benefits we can discuss offline if you want to PM me :slight_smile:

PM’d :slight_smile:

Great read, keep up the good work :thumbup:

Great read. Well written and amazingly detailed. Top job👍

Updated my working area (finally) to give me some space to get organised for the winter tinkering.



No excuses now, I’ve started my winter job list by taking my Sector111 (now Inoconiniackitkat) catch cans off and sending them back to the US. One of them has a loose baffle which is rattling, they’re going to take a look and see if it’s fixable - if not, replace.

In the meantime my hoses are now too short to reconnect the original ventilation into the intake so I’ve bunged off the intake to allow the car to run enough for me to manoeuvre it around the garage/driveway.

During my carpentry antics on the workbench the car has got a nice protective coat of sawdust - so it’ll be rolled out for one more wash before I get busy and remove the front clam. I’ve got some goodies arriving over the next few weeks which will form the bulk of the winter joblist, so more updates to follow!

Nice to see the various hammers have pride of place in easy reach :wink: