2006 Exige S

This is where we proud owners can upload information and pictures of our pride-and-joys (their Exige that is..)
Fonzey
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2006 Exige S

Post by Fonzey »

I've been maintaining a thread on Pistonheads before I knew Exiges.com even existed. Figured this might be appreciated here too so will copy/pasta it and keep it up to date going forward. Also as it's written for a generic audience, there are some pretty "duhhhh" comments in it about the Exige :roll:

I bought a Laser Blue 2006 Lotus Elise 111R (190bhp NA Toyota 2zz) back in 2016. It was a great car, and I'd have loved for it to be a keeper but it was doomed from the day I collected it, I'd "invested" part of our new house deposit into it so it was always going to be fodder once we were ready to buy another house.

That time came in early 2018, so the car went onto a new owner after I'd had 2 great years out of it, plenty of track time and plenty of DIY servicing/fixing/improving including a suspension refurb, new radiator and front clam repair after hitting a bunny.

I'll always view that car as unfinished business, so hopefully I can continue where I left off with my new toy.

I did think about some non-Lotus choices, stepping up to Exige budget opened up some new doors including Zenos, Caterfields and even a chubby Porsche or two crossed my consideration... but ultimately it was always going to be another S2 Lotus. The S3 (V6) Exiges are creeping into S2 Exige territory nowadays so I could have stretched to one but ultimately I want a car that I'm comfortable working on, comfortable chucking round a track and the known low running costs of the S2 platform won out for me.

I'd kept my eye on the market and one particular car was loitering around at a popular Lotus trader, priced a bit too high for me initially after just moving house but as winter approached the price slowly came into a reachable range - so I went for a look... and well, the rest is pretty obvious!

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From the ad alone it ticked my boxes, Laser Blue (again!), low mileage (just under 16k) and didn't look to be particularly hacked up or modified (that's my job).

Whilst sat with the trader it had a couple of changes:

- Black painted front splitter, sidepods and rear spoiler
- Aftermarket "long scoop" roof
- 260bhp upgrade, offered by Lotus as a dealer upgrade but this one has been done with a Spitfire fuel pump and 550 injectors (rather than the Lotus 440cc ones) and it has a Lotus reflashed ECU.

Other details on the car are Avon ZZR tyres, it has the factory Sport and Touring option packs which I can never remember what included what but the general spec of the car is:

Electric Windows
Aircon (and it works!) *
Carpets
Probax seats with harness cutouts *
Harness Bar *
Traction Control *
Twin oil coolers *

"*" all stuff the Elise didn't have.

The oil coolers were subject to a Lotus recall in 2014 as the crimped connectors were failing and spraying oil everywhere (nicely positioned in front of front wheels too!) but I had the paperwork to show this had been done. The other paperwork was all in order, I can't find any record of this car on forums/clubs etc but it's generally only done a couple hundred miles per year for most of the last decade. The only notable item in the history is a new supercharger fitted in 2012, no idea if these are a weak point or what - but the car had 9k miles at the time, so seems strange.

I test drove the car on a pretty wet day, so not ideal but it was clear (if the stats weren't already obvious) that this was a big boy step up in performance from the Elise. Aside from the performance I noted a really slick gear change on the Exige compared to the rather vague one on my Elise, I guess this is just down to the low mileage but I'll keep my eye out for any obvious modifications which may have contributed.

The car needed a touch of paint before we completed the transaction, the rear clam had a bit of a crack in the gelcoat typical of a car that's had a little bumper brush in a carpark but that's now sorted and the car is settled in the garage at home! Happy days.

I learned a fair few lessons with the Elise, spending money where it probably wasn't needed being one big one so I hope to learn from that and get this project off to a strong start. I've already had the car jacked up for a poke around, mainly checking for any issues that a test drive may not have identified but also on the lookout for any sneaky modifications (none found yet, but I learned this lesson after buying a load of Whiteline goodies for my "stock" Impreza and then jacking it up to fit them, finding the car already had the entire Whiteline catalogue on it )

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Inspection suggests that the car is fitted with EBC red stuff pads - they're new to me, but so far don't seem to be squealing or dusting too much so that's 2/3 tests complete. If they can survive a few laps without fade then I'll keep hold of them till they die.

Whilst the wheels were off, they got a clean and seal (freshly powdercoated, so now the ideal time to do it)

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... and that's about it so far. I have some plans already, two trackdays already booked one of which is a trip to France in May so I have some prep work to do:

- Give it a good going over with the DA and get it waxed up
- Change the toelinks to Spitfire jobbies - both a known failure point on the Elige platform with sticky tyres, but also an MOT advisory.
- Fit a baffled sump - known weakness of the 2ZZ with sticky tyres
- 4pt Harnesses, maybe
- New backbox, maybe - need to figure out if this Lotus Stage 2 one will indeed fail the trackday limits. [This was later identified as a 2bular, not Stage2. It was too loud though so gets replaced later]

Some longer term stuff I'm expecting to need doing at some point:

- Front Clam off and replace radiator (plastic end caps are known for failing)
- Use this opportunity to fit braided brake hoses and replace any rotten steelworks under the nose.
- Monitor and address airflow to the intercooler, these cars are known for bad heatsoak and poor airflow to the intercooler - but there are a few options ranging from a bit of hosing through to a fill chargecooler setup.

Ultimately the C64 gearbox fitted to this car is very close to it's limits with a car running the 260bhp Lotus upgrade, so chasing power isn't going to be on the agenda and I really don't think it'll be needed. The car feels ballistic compared to all of my previous reference points (400bhp Impreza being my previous quickest car, and I think this Exige would have it beat). The Lotus factory update also has the 440cc injectors running close to maximum, so the fact my car has 550's gives a little headroom which may push the gearbox over the edge with the wrong supporting modifications! That said, if/when the gearbox does fail there are uprated options which may open the floodgates further... let's see how that goes though eh.

Hopefully I can get out for some better pictures in the next few days, but on a technical note I'm going to try image hosting on instagram this time around so this thread may have a bunch of broken links... sorry about that in advance, I'll figure it out. But for real time updates - feel free to follow @k.townend. It'll be all car stuff, no baby photos or pictures of my breakfast - promise.

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Re: 2006 Exige S

Post by Fonzey »

Well it wouldn't be a Lotus thread without a couple of problems :D

Nothing major, yet - but it's happily given me something to tinker with the last couple of nights.

First up, the bellows connecting the intercooler to the roof scoop kept popping off. Refitting was a nightmare, you'd get one side on and the other would pop off.

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It looked like IC shroud had some 12 year old double sided tape on it, so I whipped the intercooler off and got the shroud cleaned out and re-applied some tape.

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This allowed me to reinstall much easier, I'm not sure the tape is load bearing at all but it helps installation significantly. Got it all refitted and got the massive clip back on. Job done.

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Next issue was identified on collection day, but required a part from Lotus. I feared the worst as part supplies from Lotus can be difficult at best, but luckily the trader got hold of one and it's on its way now.

The issue is the central locking, clicking the Cobra ball-bag arms/disarms the alarm as expected but it is not unlocking the doors. The prime suspect is the CDL unit behind the dash, apparently always failing and should be an easy fix - so I'll update either way once it arrives.

Aside from this bit of tinkering, I've been all round the car now (and under it) and I'm pretty happy with what I can see. Sump gasket (or lack of, sealant is used on these cars) is weeping a tiny bit but that'll be replaced with a baffled job before spring arrives. Oh, one of the exhaust heatshields appears to be missing too. It pretty much rotted off on my Elise so I replaced it at the time with DEI wrap, so I may do the same here.

I re-read my 111R thread last night and the condition of the suspension and brakes is a thousand times better on the Exige, I can't believe how rusty the undercarriage of my Elise was before I refurbed it all.

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Re: 2006 Exige S

Post by Fonzey »

Back to the project, festivities aren't halting progress as I got a nice package from Christopher Neil Lotus t'other day containing a new CDL unit.

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This is installed behind the dash binnacle under some foam under the dash surface. They're technically replaceable without moving the dash, you can stick a hand in through an air vent, unplug the old one (leaving it in situ) and plug a new one in and just ram it into the foam. I wanted an excuse to spend time in the garage so I had the dash top off anyway to do it "properly".

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Cleared out a bit of muck and tidied some rough edges up (foam padding where panels had rubbed, maybe this reduces NVH a bit?!?! (it didn't) )

This is the hiding place of the original.

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When I took the dash out of my Elise (can't remember why I removed it... rattle hunting I think?!) I took a load of bits off that didn't need removing, and I clearly didn't learn my lesson as I did it all again this time - so this is a message for future Fonzey for whatever it is you're dismantling next:

THE BLACK DASH TOP DOES NOT NEED TO COME OFF, YOU DON'T NEED TO FISH THOSE THREE CRAPPY SELF TAPPERS OUT OF EACH AIR VENT. IT'S A TOTAL WASTE OF TIME.

I'm happy to report though that the central locking is now working as intended. Happy days!

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Re: 2006 Exige S

Post by Fonzey »

I finally managed to get the house emptied of family members today after Christmas so got myself busy in the garage to unwind a bit... I'd ordered a new aux belt just before Christmas in the SeriouslyLotus sale, and was amazed when the poor Fedex guy banged on my door at 07:30 Christmas Eve!

I decided to change the aux/supercharger belt as there's no record of it being done, and it's supposed to be a 2 year/20k service item. I guess there's a good chance it was changed back when the S/C was apparently changed in 2012... but that's still 6 years ago. I get the feeling some service items were skipped on this car due to the insanely low mileage.

I'd never done the aux belt on my 111R, so this was an opportunity to try something new! I was hoping I could get this done with the rear wheel off and arch liner out, but no chance. The rollbar and some environmentally friendly looking canister device were blocking my view and access - so floor was coming off, again. Once under the car I got the pulleys and belt route mapped out the best I could.

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Next up was a challenge, this engine has an auto-tensioner with a very stiff shock absorber. The 19mm nut that I'm supposed to leverage was pretty badly positioned near the subframe so I could only get a shallow 3/4in socket onto it and a tiny little 6in breaker bar... No way I could shift it with that!

I had a scoot around the garage and found some metal curtain poles left by the previous house owner... so out came the dremel and a few mins later I had a brushed brass effect cheater bar with a fluer de lis decoration on the end.

Using my new tool I was able to slip off the old belt, I was keen to take it off properly rather than just cut it because I wanted to make sure I had the tools/strength to get the new one back on agan!

This is the first aux belt I've ever removed, so I'm not quite sure what to look out for but it seemed fairly cracked on the grooved side with a handful of full-width cracks on the smooth side too.

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Comments welcome with regards to the state of this belt, was it a good time to change or is this fairly safe levels of wear?

Final observation was that my new belt was a tiny bit longer than the old one. If I read these numbers correctly, out by 3mm:

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I'm sure that's well within tolerance of the tensioner but I double checked and everything I could find suggested the new belt was appropriate for my car. With the Lotus 2ZZ variations being quite... varied, there are a few belts floating around - but with AC and a Supercharger mine should be the longest one available, I guess.

While the car was in the air I whipped the front undertray off too, it's one of the few panels I'd not looked behind. I found that the oil hose connecting the front oil coolers was no longer fastened to the underside of the crash structure with the sticky pad/cable tie combos and instead was bouncing around on the undertray. I'd noticed a bit of NVH coming from the front of this car, nothing too concerning as it's a rattly old Lotus anyway but it certainly wasn't present on my old Elise. Perhaps this is the source of it, but I won't be test driving today - too dark and too tired.

The sound I'm hearing is quite hard to describe, it's not really a metal on metal rattle you'd get from a nut rolling around on an undertray or behind the dash or whatever - maybe closer to two pieces of material rubbing together occasionally. Big bumps don't really agitate it, but rough roads do. I initially thought it could be the fire extinguisher in the passenger footwell as that's the region it's coming from - but all seems secure down there, and is easily isolated when driving.

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Re: 2006 Exige S

Post by Fonzey »

I went out on Saturday morning to meet a few NYLOC folk at the Buckles Inn as they were participating in a Yorkshire Air Ambulance charity rally. I couldn't participate on the day due to some other commitments but it was an excuse to get out.

I'd made a minor change to the car too, something I do to all cars that I buy - sorted out a number plate with legal font/spacing but with the minimum 11mm border around the letters which makes it fit the Exige plinth perfectly and sharpens up the front end a bit.

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Obviously the run out got the car completely filthy so needed a clean on NYD - perfect hangover cure though and an opportunity to get the whole fleet clean at once (it'll be the last time it happens) for a photo.

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Since then I got my first drive on a properly dry road and so attacked my first few corners. Can't believe how much grip the car has, which is worrying! Just when I started feeling comfortable with the straight line performance of it it took one humbling roundabout to get me back properly respecting it for a bit :laugh:

Should have some more updates after this weekend. Going to go pick up some toe-links and see about addressing my missing heatshields whilst the back-end will be in pieces.

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Re: 2006 Exige S

Post by Fonzey »

Onto this weekend, I managed to put a few miles on the car... a little over 500 to be a little less vague!

Saturday started off with a trip up to collect some Spitfire toe-links.

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I had these fitted on my 111R too and for anybody not aware they address a known weak link on the Elise/Exige platform in that the factory toe links are sacrificial parts but unfortunately don't stand up to the test of time and/or sticky tyres and track work. There are many documented cases of failure (it's not just one of those internet myths) and you can find a fair few of them on Youtube... most of the time the failures are dramatic, scary and expensive!

In addition to the known weakness, the MOT my car had a few weeks ago threw up the standard ones as an advisory anyway... so any doubt or temptation to keep the low mileage originals on was wiped out.

These links are both much stronger in terms of materials, but also put the inboard link into double-sheer with the added brackets that will be mounted to the subframe. My Elise had single sheer inboards but the Exige in fairness was fitted to a brace-bar between the two in-board links to mitigate slightly. Still not enough though it seems.

I collected these from a few miles short of the North Yorkshire Dales, so spent the rest of the day racking up miles just driving about. It was dry but gloomy, so no real great photo opportunities, just time to put miles on the car and monitor for any unknown issues or gremlins.

I did actually manage to resolve a gremlin at the weekend - I think I mentioned before but I had some creaking/cracking sounds coming from the dash. I couldn't find anything amiss when the dash was off for the CDL replacement but I eventually tracked it down to the "subway shelf" just under the headunit. The subway shelf is a 12" cubby/glovebox replacement which holds a meatfeast nicely - and also when the blowers are on warm it keeps it nice and toasty too. From what I can gather this shelf is not attached "mechanically" anywhere but it is rather neatly clipped into the upper dash section through an slick tongue/groove type arrangement in the extrusions. Very neat, but allows for a bit of movement between the two pieces which was evidently creaking. I resolved by squirting some silicone lube stuff in there - and over the 500 miles it didn't return, happy days.

Sunday I had plans to go for an exiges.com[!] meet in the Lake District but I was really having second thoughts after Saturday. It turns out my car is quite loud, or maybe not so much loud - but there's more drone than Gatwick when cruising along which rewarded me with a banging headache on Saturday night. I manned up eventually and stuck some earphones in which helped a bit with some spotify rather than the naff head unit in the car. The drive over was looking promising, dry and bright sun going up the A1 but then as I started the A66 crossing things got real grim, real quick... and it remained like that for the rest of the day :(

There was a great 8 mile stint on the run into the destination (Hawkshead) of very tight but in some cases well sighted 3rd gear type stuff which allowed a bit of fun even in the damp.

Weather aside, the meet was great - decent food and some good company before the boring route home down the M60/M61/M62 in pretty wet conditions.

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Good collection of cars including a Europa, GTE Evora and "likesachange" S2 Exige: https://www.pistonheads.com/gassing/top ... mid=402883

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The drive home was almost uneventful, I think I got a bit (very) tired and mashed the gas in 2nd gear coming out of a 30 into an NSL a few miles from home and the back of the car was having none of it - very squirmy and the TC was quite lethargic to come to my aid. I think I've started taking liberties with it as until that point it has felt pretty capable if not agricultural and old fashioned in its technique. It was very cold though, wet and I'd been driving a few hours so not at my most alert... but one to keep an eye on in future!

The car is likely going to come apart this week for the toe-links and I'll get these missing heatshields sorted. Oh, and for anybody interested tank to tank (over 265 miles and 35litres) the car did 33.5mpg.

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Re: 2006 Exige S

Post by Fonzey »

Some updates from the last few nights:

I got the car rinsed down after the 500miles of crud and got it jacked up into position ready for work. I started off by removing the cat converter and backbox, although not mandatory for a toe-link change it does give better access and it would give me an opportunity to see about replacing the heatshields on the manifold.

20mins of productivity saw the exhaust off, another 10mins had the toe-links removed and I was left with this little pile of stuff.

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That photo was actually taken after I'd wrapped the u-bend on the cat, this is to replace a heatshield that rots off of these cars pretty quickly. I did the same on my 111R and it just isn't worth replacing with standard heatshields because they don't last. I only wrap the u-bend because that sticks out from underneath the larger heatshield that lines the boot floor. The bend itself is pretty close to the nearside rear tyre and you can feel the rear clam get pretty warm after a run when it's missing.

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I had a trial fit of the manifold heatshields, I could get them into position once the cat was removed but I was having trouble inserting bolts at the fixings closest to the engine, it seems like they'd just rusted over. There's no way I could get access with a tap, but I did note that the manifold bolts were in pretty accessible positions... so 10 minutes later:

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The holes tapped out nicely, the manifold it seems had been fitted with the OEM gasket in addition to some gasket sealant. Not sure if this is standard Lotus procedure but I couldn't find any reference to it in the workshop manual - so figured it had been removed/reseated previously. I cleaned it all off and got hold of a new gasket for re-installation. I'll try without sealant and make sure it doesn't blow.

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The replacement manifold shields were like new, really chuffed to get hold of them. I got the manifold re-installed and did the "cat-end" bolts up loosely before venturing up top to finish off.

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To access the top bolts I needed to remove the boot catch mechanism with its own heatshield, this will be staying off the car - more on this later.

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That gave just about access for my girly hands to get down and fit the final bolts.

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That was rather satisfying and relieving. The heatshields are potentially a total non-issue, the car has been running without them after all for god knows how long but I'd concerned myself that it would be clam off to resolve. To get it done, and back to standard feels great.

Between all of this work, I've made a start on the toe-links too.

First off an inspection of the old ones, both in-board sides looked like this. Total separation of the boot and dry as a bone inside. It probably didn't help being so close to an unshielded exhaust manifold - but for 16k miles these look pretty rough tbh. Movement feels a little slack in the off-side one too.

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Fitting process is basically offering up the new brackets that come with the Spitfire kit and marking out 4 holes on each side that need to be drilled into the subframe ready for rivnuts. This took a while, I tried with 3mm pilot holes first which went in fine but my next step up (5mm) HSS bits were a bit tired and just weren't making progress into the subframe. I ordered some cobalt bits in 6mm and 9mm to finish off and upon arrival they tore through. Nice and slow with plenty of lube, as I learned from my Elise.

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Unfortunately I only got 4 rivnuts in before my Chinese eBay rivnut tool decided it had enough - stripped its thread and made a good mess of one of my rivnuts too... so job is on hold until reinforcements arrive. Doh!

Whilst waiting around for drill bits, rivnuts, gaskets, etc I addressed something else. My aftermarket hardtop didn't come with any edging trim fitted which I think looks pretty cool, however I've caught my belt/jeans on it a few times whilst getting in/out of the car and I'm a little nervous about chipping the paint or worse, the fibreglass.

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I got supplied with some self-adhesive edging trim which I've now fitted but apparently forgot to photograph, and I can't be bothered going back into the garage tonight so more to follow on that! It looks very OEM and was cheap enough to re-do in the future if it doesn't survive too many pressure washer blasts or 100+ mph on track!

Hopefully by the weekend I'll be back on all four wheels. I've got some more bits arriving this week before I can complete. The toe-links btw seem to be preconfigured to factory toe settings so the car may be approximately driveable without a geo, but I will of course get that done before any significant mileage or track time.

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Re: 2006 Exige S

Post by Fonzey »

Alright time for an update, been tinkering away an hour or so each night for the past few nights and finally dropped the car back on its wheels today.

I mentioned before that I'd fitted some edge trim on the roof, but had forgot to post a photo - so here we go:

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I believe I left it where I'd stripped my rivnut tool and was waiting for a replacement, well that came - it wasn't much more expensive than the last one but it said "pro" on it so I was in safe hands. I got the remaining rivnuts in without drama, so was then just a case of bolting everything up.

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I torqued them all up, with loctite on the inboards and nyloc nuts on the outboard.

It was then a case of bolting stuff back on the car, the catalytic converter and big bootfloor heatshield first:

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The heatshield on my Elise was a little ropey around the toelinks and had rotted through so I couldn't fasten it down. This was still really strong, and a quick brush down and dusting of VHT paint had it looking bang on. The factory shaping of it fits around the spitfire brackets beautifully - so that's them tucked up nicely away from the exhaust.

Then it was backbox time, except mine would not be going back on the car - through some elaborate backbox-triangle of contacts I managed to get hold of a second hand one made (we think?!) by the popular 2bular which is listed as being a track safe/road option. I know it's boring, but I needed to quieten the car down a bit for my tastes - but I've found a new home for my old backbox, well when I say new home it's actually kind of it's old home as it's going back to Duncan who has been following this thread - the son of the previous owner of my Exige :)

Putting them side by side show identical dimensions, and raises suspicion that my old exhaust may be another offering from 2bular - or at least something close.

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I had 10mins with the autosol and brought it up a treat, I would have done more (plus the old one) but I knelt on the tube and got autosol all over the place...

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It bolted up a treat, and after a few adjustments to get it somewhere near central I got it nipped up properly. It's fairly common for this size backbox to catch on both the rear boot heatshield and the rear diffuser (both my removed exhaust and the new exhaust in its previous car did exactly this) but by rocking it back on its hangers before tightening up you can get just about enough clearance.

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My final task over the last few days was related to the boot strut - I mentioned that the boot latch mechanism wouldn't be going back on the car and that's because I've bought a new one:

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The 2006 Exiges came with a twin gas strut design to keep the boot lid up. Unfortunately the struts were slightly too long and/or strong which pushed up the corners of the boot lid giving a panel gap like this (yes, they came out the factory like this...)

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From what I can gather back in 2006, some people rejected their cars so Lotus swapped them to the new design as a warranty change. The new design came in with the 2007 car and had just a single strut mounted to the boot latch mechanism. Luckily it's an easy retrofit if you can get hold of the parts - which thanks to community favourite Junks.. I did :)

Before:
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After:
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And the boot now looks like it's not half open...

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... and that's about it for now. The car is currently sat in the garage with no floor or diffuser - just want to check for knocks/rattles or exhaust blows over a few miles when it dries up then I'll have one last torque check before screwing it all back on. That's a big chunk of my track-readiness dealt with now leaving just a baffled sump to come in a few months, as I'd like to get some mileage from my engine oil before dropping it all...!

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Re: 2006 Exige S

Post by Fonzey »

Quick update, I took the car to Track Torque to get my work checked over and of course setup some alignment.

I've been to these guys a few times now across three cars and have always enjoyed the setups that Craig configures for me. Without adjustable dampers he was limited to what could be adjusted, but at least would get my toe and camber in line.

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We took some of the shims out of the hub/upright assembly to add some camber at the rear and minor tweaks to the front and correcting the rear toe that was way out after my installation.

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Couldn't really push it on whilst coming home, it was just starting to snow so it was back into the garage ASAP, but the instability at the rear was certainly fixed.

Stopped by at a familiar spot for a a photograph, shame it wasn't cleaned!

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Re: 2006 Exige S

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I've been collecting bits and pieces for a couple of weeks now and have started dismantling the car for the next phase of the project. I'd planned to do a single big update at the end but it's just taking too long, and will end up missing bits or getting the sequencing wrong so figured I'd document to date and then finish off later.

First up the easy bit, spending money:

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Baffled sump, oil and filter, gearbox oil and a multi gauge.

I'd wanted a baffled sump before my first track day since the start, and this came with a blanking plug to take a thread for an oil temperature sensor... and what better time to get one of those fitted than before the sump is on the car! That meant grabbing a gauge.

I'm not particularly happy with the gauge, it was a rush job to just get something which would include the 1/8npt sensors for oil temp and pressure which I could test fit and install which ALSO had off the shelf fitment options for the Exige dash. Longer term I'd like to switch to a Spa Designs oil pressure/temp 2 in 1 gauge but this will require an adaptor to be made to allow for a vent fitment... so a job for later.

In the meantime this multi gauge was cheap enough and comes with all the bits to allow me to get this up and running before the sump is swapped. It also includes a boost gauge which I don't really see much point of in the longer term, but i'll plumb it in anyway whilst I've got it.

Job one was to identify a good gauge position. There are some off the shelf brackets that hang down from the dash but I find them far too low and my knee also blocks them off in pretty much all circumstances. Next option is vent fitment which I much prefer.

I first tried out this position, based on the fact my hands would block the nearer ones whilst on the wheel:

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The adapter ring would later be painted black, but this position didn't work as it was too far away from my face and such the viewing angle blocked off half of the gauge.

Next up was the vent by my right hand, slightly obscured by my hand at 10-2 but much better visibility and actually looks a little more subtle as it's tucked away in the corner.

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Once fitment was decided, it was onto wiring. I hate wiring, soldering and anything related but I've had a good go before on the gauge setup for my Subaru. I was looking for wiring for:

Battery +
Battery Ground
Switched +
Illumination

My gauge position was right above the lighting switch panel so surely all of this should be readily available - but a lack of documentation left me a bit stuck and I'm not confident enough to go poking around with a multi-meter to find my own connectivity.

I then switched focus to the head unit, I knew all those wires were available there and so I bought a £3 autoleads ISO adaptor that was simply male to female (a mini extension lead for ISO) which I could hack up away from the car. The pinout for it is well documented, but also when it arrived I found the wires to even be labelled! Idiot proof :)

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I chopped the wires and crimped on some piggyback spade connectors. Added a blob of solder to each to keep them together then insulated the crap out of it:

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Next up I had to extend the gauge wire so it would reach over to the head unit. This was some of my finest soldering to date, but only ruined by the fact I rested the soldering iron on my (plastic) box of heatshrink which managed to weld shut the box which later needed dremmeling open so that I could get into it!

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Then the final product, makes my install completely reversible and at no point have I risked damage to the cars existing wiring.

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Sure enough I've tested it, and I correctly get white illumination on the dial during the day time which switches to amber when my car lights come on to make it less of a glare during the night (and kind of somewhat matches the illumination from the dash binnacle).

On the note of the dash gauges, I have an issue with the car which came up a couple of weeks ago but I thought it was just a fuse issue. The sidelights and dash stopped lighting up. When I finally looked at the fuses and found them to be OK, I googled it and found lots of suggestions that the switch pack module was probably dead. I could hear clicking from the relays so assumed not, but still sent it off for repair.

I got that back this week, and whilst the dash was off it was an easy install back into the car - and it fixed the problem a treat. It seems like the switch pack module and CDL module that I replaced when I first bought the car are cut from the same cloth. Both prone to failure!

I took this photo at somepoint looking like the car has been bombed.

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My next phases are waiting for other people, I took the sump to a local engineering firm to have them drill and tap the 1/8npt fitting into it for the oil temp gauge. Hopefully I can collect that today.

The rest of the wiring for the gauges is with an autoelectrician who I've asked to extend for me. Clearly the gauge is intended for a front engine car so they have no chance of reaching the boot from the dash. I went to a proper sparky because I can't be bothered making another 24 odd solder connections but also because I want the wire properly insulating all the way down.

If I get the sump back today, I'll get the two oil changes done this weekend then it'll just be a case of connecting up the gauge to the sensors once the wiring is back.

For the boost gauge, as it's likely to be temporary I'm just going to replace one of the intercooler silicone joins with one that has a boost take off in it. There's no vac hoses to tee into on this engine layout so this is the next best non-permanent option that I have.

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