S1 Exige Conversion

Topics relating to the Lotus Exige S1 (series 1)
jamesjeffery
Posts: 189
Joined: Fri Mar 06, 2020 10:37 am

No matter what I tried I couldn't get the passenger wing mirror plinth off. 2 of the 3 fixing bolts just kept spinning, so I had to resort to cutting it off.

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I took out the one bolt that wasn't spinning and took my hacksaw to the plinth. I began sawing as close to the door as reasonably possible to ensure I went through the bolt and not have to cut twice.

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The first bolt came out easy enough, but the second was a bit more of a pain. I cut down in a very similar angle to the first bolt, getting as far down as I dared to avoid cutting into the door. I positioned a towel to help protect the door.

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Once I couldn't saw any more, I gave the plinth a wiggle but it was still stuck. I flipped the door on its side and cut again to hopefully meet the other groove.

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As you can see here, the second cut was the one that actually cut the bolts, but I think I still needed to do both cuts anyway.

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I couldn't quite twist the remaining plinth piece off, so I took my dremel and ground around the stuck bolt to help release the tension. The piece eventually came off and I was left with the bolt and captive nut.

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The only way I was going to get the bolt out was to drill it, so I cut the bolt to give a flat surface to drill into. I used tape on the door to help protect from the dremel.

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The bolt was quite soft so drilled out pretty easily. Finally the door was ready to sand.
I could have left the plinth on the door and sprayed up and around it as best as possible, but the finish would have been sub optimal. It was a shame to have to destroy a discontinued item (Deroure says discontinued anyway), but I put the quality of the spray job as priority.

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Here are the remains of the wing mirror plinth. Many of the bolts were very rusty after 23 years of rain seeping between the gaps. Glad it is off and I have spares to replace it.

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When pulling off the outer window trims some rubber and adhesive was left. I've bought some new trims so I needed to clean off all the remaining adhesive etc. I took a flathead screwdriver and scraped the majority of it off. I then took some sandpaper and ground off the remaining crap.

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Clean surfaces ready for the new trims. I was able to pull off the inner trims ok so planning to reuse them.

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The inside of the doors are pretty complex so took a fair while to sand and key, pretty fiddly and frustrating at times. I sanded with 320 grit just to key the surfaces ready for primer.

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The outside of the doors are fairly stone chipped. I blame this on the cars age and amount of trackdays (and not the fact it went into the Donnington gravel twice in one day 😂)
I did still take the 320 to this side of the doors and will ask if the body shop can primer over them to fill the low spots. If not I'll get them to go over the outer side of the doors with the machine like with the sills to get rid of the chips.

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The doors are pretty gutted but I left the front window runners in the shells as I couldn't figure out how to get them out after taking out the fixing screw behind the rubber insert. I didn't want to force anything so put the screw back and just taped the runner instead.

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Doors are now done my end.
Last edited by jamesjeffery on Wed Mar 24, 2021 12:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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MrP80
Posts: 212
Joined: Thu Oct 11, 2007 10:14 pm

Outstanding work, really admire your dedication to this project :clap:
jamesjeffery
Posts: 189
Joined: Fri Mar 06, 2020 10:37 am

So since purchasing my car I have been lead to believe that it has a Vulcan head developed by Kiwirog and part of the PTP kits. It even says so in an invoice for the upgrade. However after posting for help deciphering the head stamps, I discovered something different.

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Here is the stamping on the head that first got me intrigued. I asked Seloc but no one knew what the 'SC' or 'R65' meant, but did tell me that it wasn't a Vulcan head as these had 'PTP' stamped on them and had a much higher (and therefore newer) Janspeed serial number, in the 14,000's I believe.

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This got me a little panicked that I had a crap head after thinking all this time it was a nice large valve etc, so I got searching for other clues. I found this on the back of the head just above the exhaust ports. I could make out a W but then just looked like a blob.

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I got a mirror and could see the blob was actually an S. With this information I was then told what I actually had was an early 'MS' VHPD head. The MS being scribed into the sand cast the correct way to appear as WS on the head. Though not as good or rare as a Vulcan I was happy to find it was still a large valve head. Phew!

The mechanic at Maidstone who did the recent head gasket replacement commented that it looked a good head and had good porting, but when swapping the exhaust manifold I noticed the exhaust port looked pretty standard, so not sure if he was getting confused with another head or if mine is actually ported.
There is a lot I don't actually know about my engine, whether it has VHPD valve springs or hydraulic or solid followers etc. I learned from Kiwirog that the inlet cam has a duration of 276 degree, which is the same as a few more aggressive cams such as 285M and 1444 cams which use solid followers and is over the safe limit of hydraulic followers as advised by people like DVA, which seem to be at 274 degrees (285H as an example).
I don't want to strip it all down to find out but this type of information would be nice to know if I ever decide to go for hotter cams in the future or build a forged engine.
Last edited by jamesjeffery on Fri Mar 26, 2021 3:18 pm, edited 2 times in total.
jamesjeffery
Posts: 189
Joined: Fri Mar 06, 2020 10:37 am

I am going to retrim the sill covers with alcantara to match the headlining/roof clamp etc. I don't like the fake leather of the current ones and the alcantara will match the other interior pieces much better.

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There was a lot of glue and some staples holding the material onto the backing board, so I slowly scraped and peeled the leather off the plate.

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The fabric pieces came off in one piece which was nice, and the foam looks in reasonable condition too. I took care to keep as much on the backing plate as possible.

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I needed to get all the old glue off the backing ready for the new glue. This is how they looked after I had scraped as much of the glue and adhesive tape off as I could.

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I then took my dremel and ground off all the remaining crap similar to the side intakes, then took some sandpaper to get it a bit smoother. It is now ready for fresh glue. I will fix them to the sill using some good velcro strips.

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With the fabric coming off in one piece I will use these as a good template for the new pieces of fabric.

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The covers are made up of only 3 pieces, so should be pretty simple to replicate.

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Will update soon when I've given this a go.
Last edited by jamesjeffery on Wed Mar 24, 2021 11:20 am, edited 1 time in total.
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thommo
Posts: 4791
Joined: Tue Jul 13, 2004 12:50 pm
Location: Lancs

More great work👍 Interesting re engine. Keep us posted
Exige S1 No: 139
jamesjeffery
Posts: 189
Joined: Fri Mar 06, 2020 10:37 am

Before paint I wanted to get the front clam grilles sorted to avoid scratching up the fresh paint when shaping and test fitting them.

Similar to the roof intake grille I'm not a massive fan of the very visible fixings, so thought I could achieve a cleaner look. I bought the mesh a fair while ago, nice and cheap but wide enough to have the grille direction upright once on the car.

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I tried 2 methods of sorting the grilles, the first I tried ages ago when the mesh first arrived. I roughly cut the mesh out and used tape to fix it to the clam. I then used more tape to outline the shape needed for the recess.

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This gave me the template to start bending the mesh along the tape line. Once it was roughly bent into shape I decided to push the mesh into the recess (well the recess on the other side to mirror the shape) to shape and finesse them further. This got them fairly close but wasn't the best method to fine tune and afterwards I'd have to shape the plastic insert behind it as well, which could have meant changing the shape of them to test fit the new backing etc.
Unfortunately I didn't take a picture of the result of the first method.

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So onto the second method and the one I used to finish the grilles. I was able to get an insert piece that I would use as a template. Obviously this template has the fixing holes in it so not something I'll use on the car, but if I could shape the mesh to this shape I could then trace around and cut the new backing plates out to this exact template and not have any holes.

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I test fit it into both recesses and it fit really well, so I was confident to move forwards using it as a template.

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I cut a new piece of mesh (I had loads left) and taped it to the template to help maintain the position. I then pinched and bent the grille up tight against the insert piece and occasionally used a small hammer to get it even tighter when I came against a tougher angle of mesh. This method allowed me to keep the mesh as flush and flat against the template as possible to get the kinks as tight as they could be, whereas in the previous method the mesh kind of domed over because there was nothing to keep the mesh flat against while I bent it. It took a bit of finessing and sometimes I would bend it open again to retry getting it tighter, but this way was a much better and more accurate way to shape them.

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Here is the result after getting it as close to the template as I could. Not perfect but I'm sure the Lotus parts aren't either.

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The sides had some extra mesh that would have to be trimmed.

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To trim the excess I used my dremel and a combination of this disc and a sandpaper wheel to cut and grind flush to the backing piece. These cuts revealed the silver of the aluminium (some of the hammer work did too on the visible side) so I'll chuck these in with the other bits that are being powder coated.

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EDIT: I've just had it pointed out to me that the mesh is the wrong way up, the passenger side is correct so I will re-do this side to get them to match.
Here is one of the final test fits, I think they look pretty good, but as you can see it is wedged in there. I didn't want this type of fit as it would definitely scratch the fresh paint getting them in which isn't ideal. So to get the fit and gap I wanted I took sandpaper to the recess and opened it up a bit. There was a fair bit of gelcoat there so sanded ok, only a few small spots needed patching with filler. After back and forth test fitting and sanding (it was handy that the mesh marked the gelcoat a bit each test fit so I could easily pin point where needed to be sanded) I got the recess where I wanted it so that even with primer and paint layers, there should still be the tolerance so the grilles don't scratch anything when fixing them to the clam. I'll use a glue/adhesive to bond the insert to the recess, keeping that clean look and the mesh itself might need a bit of glue on a few spots just to help hold it as close to the backing plate as possible.
Last edited by jamesjeffery on Mon Mar 29, 2021 12:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.
jamesjeffery
Posts: 189
Joined: Fri Mar 06, 2020 10:37 am

Now the majority of the exterior stuff is done, I turned my attention to the interior.

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I placed the roof clamp onto the alcantara to get a gauge of where to cut.

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Simple scissor cut and I had my material.

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Due to cat hair (not mine, don't like the buggers) I used a lint roller to clean the alcantara ready for the clamp.

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I bought this 3M adhesive, which apparently leaves very little wet residue which is important for this type of material as I don't want a patchy finish.

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It was quite a windy day so I set up my handyman in the little shed and applied a few sweeping coats of the adhesive, first to the underside of the clam before flipping it over and covered the top.

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Rather than throwing the alcantara straight on I left the glue to go tacky to get better adhesion and also to prevent the unwanted wet patches as best as possible. I tested the tackiness with my finger to know when to go with the fabric.

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I couldn't hold the fabric and take a photo at the same time, but I let the fabric droop in the middle and gentle laid it down going outwards to avoid any kinks and folds.
As you can see on the fabric half is laying one way and the other is laying the other. This is because I laid my hands in the middle and spread them outwards to get the fabric lying nice and flush against the clamp surface.

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I flipped it over and pressed the middle edges onto the clamp against starting in the middle and working outwards.

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I then folded the ends over, making sure the side that inward edges (not against the windscreen) was neatest as this side is most visible.

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The excess fabric caused a fair few folds, which would need to be trimmed.

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I just took the scissors and cut down the peaks on the folds. This took out the large folds but a few small ones remained, but these wouldn't effect the clamps fit against the roof.

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There was one little fold that was too small to trim but did stick up a bit, so I took a staple gun and added just one staple to keep the fold down. I wanted to get this fold down as it was the more visible side.

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The second end I did was neater so didn't need any staples.

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The clamp was definitely getting there and looking good.

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I needed to cut the fabric to allow for the fixing bolts to work. I took a stanley blade and poked a slice into the recess.

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I then took some scissors to more accurately cut the fabric.

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I cut 1/8ths and not quite right to the edge of the edge of the recess.

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I will finish the clamp off with some rubber grommet bungs, but I needed to know the diameter. It was roughly 32mm and seemed to be a common size on ebay so seemed a good choice.

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Lots of finger marks on it which makes it look a little mottled, but very happy as this was the first fabric thing I'd ever done. Fairly straight forward and the adhesive was very good and no residue marks. Will take a picture when it is finished and on the car with the bungs and matching headliner.
Last edited by jamesjeffery on Sun Mar 28, 2021 6:11 pm, edited 3 times in total.
jamesjeffery
Posts: 189
Joined: Fri Mar 06, 2020 10:37 am

Another very quick job was to clean up the toe eye by removing the rust ready for powder coating.

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Constantly open to the elements as I never took it off my car it had developed a layer of surface rust.

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Quick wire disc on the dremel and it cleaned off the rust ready for paint.
Last edited by jamesjeffery on Sun Mar 28, 2021 12:07 am, edited 2 times in total.
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andybond
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Excellent results there. Looks spot on
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thommo
Posts: 4791
Joined: Tue Jul 13, 2004 12:50 pm
Location: Lancs

Neat job :thumbup:
Exige S1 No: 139
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