2006 Exige S

This is where we proud owners can upload information and pictures of our pride-and-joys (their Exige that is..)
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matt447
Posts: 316
Joined: Mon Apr 13, 2020 7:13 pm

I hear you on the V6 Exige… I so very nearly bought a 410 a couple of years ago when mine was going wrong… but my wife reminded me that just because I’d be going faster, doesn’t mean I’d be having more fun… plus she also mentioned that fixing it is half the experience, and the V6 would likely need less fixing ;)

Plus, the S2 is oh so pretty!!!
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Fonzey
Posts: 1537
Joined: Tue Nov 27, 2018 12:17 am

matt447 wrote: Tue Jun 21, 2022 6:07 pm
Plus, the S2 is oh so pretty!!!
It really is. Lotus don't really make an ugly car, but the S2 proportions are just gorgeous to my eye.

Nothing against the V6 at all, fantastic car but I'm just starting to feel like the S2 is moving around underneath me the way I want it. From a driving development perspective I'm not ready to move on yet.

Still nothing is off the table, I'm just trying to organise things in my head. Getting the car back running and in a condition to be saleable or driveable is step 1.
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matt447
Posts: 316
Joined: Mon Apr 13, 2020 7:13 pm

That’s what I like to hear! It’s always so demoralising when they’re in bits/broken… Get it saleable/driveable and see how you feel at that point… Fortunately, even when it’s broken, it’s great to look at ;)
johnfishcurtis
Posts: 531
Joined: Tue Jun 17, 2014 9:59 pm
Location: Nottinghamshire

Why not turn the current car back to 275ish, standard gearbox. Strip weight out, perspex windows, dash, sound deadening, etc etc and turn her into a light weight track weapon/project?
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Fonzey
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Joined: Tue Nov 27, 2018 12:17 am

johnfishcurtis wrote: Tue Jun 21, 2022 8:05 pm Why not turn the current car back to 275ish, standard gearbox. Strip weight out, perspex windows, dash, sound deadening, etc etc and turn her into a light weight track weapon/project?
Nothing is off the table :)

For any Exige S owners reading, 275/280 in these cars is massive fun. 300 is a bit more, in hindsight it's not worth the added risk to the gearbox. I've spoken to many specialists in both the Toyota and Lotus worlds now and everyone agrees I've been extremely unlucky with this, but still. If I could wind back the clock I'd leave the car at ~280bhp and enjoy it for much longer.

The diagram I did on my kitchen whiteboard immediately following Cadwell turned out to be fairly accurate.

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I've spent the last week or so mainly staring at the car, but my neighbour (he's literally the second most experienced person I know at swapping 2zz gearboxes out) pushed me into getting a move on and mounting the new box. No photos because I'm sick of this as much as you are, but we have our technique refined now and it was in fairly easily.

Just prior to the install, I fitted some new Toyota output seals.

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I spent another few hours on mounts, ancillaries, etc. The only change of note is that I put studs in the forward facing engine mount to make reinstallation easier (it was).

I fully disconnected the gearbox oil cooler to fully flush it out (in case it ended up with some shrapnel in it, despite not being running at the time) which meant dumping a load more coolant on the garage floor, so today I got the car idling on the ramp and rebled/refilled the coolant. I had some cheap and cheerful Halfords gearbox oil in the new box because I knew it had been sat for a while, and just wanted to clear out any dust/crud that had formed within it.

With the car and box up to temp and fully bled, I switched off and drained £30 of Halfords goodness down the drain. (not literally, EA).

All that's left now is to buy and fill the box with MT90, rebleed the cooler and then give the car a cursory geometry check. (lots of suspension components disconnected for a box change).

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Oh, and decide what I'm going to do. At 300bhp the standard box may survive, it may not. It could last 5 years or 5 laps. Feeling how I'm feeling, I'd rather take the edge off of the car a bit so I intend to fit the standard pulley back on and give the map a little tweak and try to build some confidence back up.

Standard pulley made 280bhp last time I had it on a dyno, it's not quite as easy for me to revert to that map because I've made some fuelling changes I'd rather not undo because they add some good engine/surge protection mechanisms. This means I'll have to 'fix forward', the WBO feedback should keep fuelling in check but I think my timing will be a bit on the low side, meaning power may be lower than 280. Still, safety first. I'll hopefully survive Croft next Friday and then take things from there.
pkw2704
Posts: 87
Joined: Mon Nov 06, 2017 2:43 pm

sorry to hear about you gearbox/drive issues.Now you have me panicking about the H111 kit i am getting fitted to mine, i cant afford a g/box issues :cry: !!!!
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andybond
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pkw2704 wrote: Sat Jun 25, 2022 10:07 pm sorry to hear about you gearbox/drive issues.Now you have me panicking about the H111 kit i am getting fitted to mine, i cant afford a g/box issues :cry: !!!!
Don’t panic. I think Kyle’s box disaster was a freak.
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Fonzey
Posts: 1537
Joined: Tue Nov 27, 2018 12:17 am

andybond wrote: Sat Jun 25, 2022 10:37 pm
pkw2704 wrote: Sat Jun 25, 2022 10:07 pm sorry to hear about you gearbox/drive issues.Now you have me panicking about the H111 kit i am getting fitted to mine, i cant afford a g/box issues :cry: !!!!
Don’t panic. I think Kyle’s box disaster was a freak.
Indeed, H111 280 kit is on the safe side of power (realistically I would expect somewhere around 260) and as you only use on the road you won't be putting the box under anywhere near as much stress.
pkw2704
Posts: 87
Joined: Mon Nov 06, 2017 2:43 pm

phew good hear ,cheers
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Fonzey
Posts: 1537
Joined: Tue Nov 27, 2018 12:17 am

With the annual LoT Croft trackday quickly approaching I had to get a move on buttoning up the car.

I threw some more rear discs on because the originals had lipped heavily and was starting to mess up my pads. In hindsight I should have done this over winter when the new pads went in.

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One last spanner check, then car was onto its wheels for a quick geo check. Everything was within tolerance, just - so gave her a wash and prepared my toolbag for Croft.

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I was bricking it tbh, new unknown gearbox, felt like I'd sort of rushed the car back together (even though I don't think I could have taken more care over it with an infinite deadline) so I booked another rental trailer, different place this time and a bit cheaper.

I collected the trailer the night before, it was different type of trailer and as soon as I saw it I feared the worst... it was massive, wheels completely tucked under which would make the approach angle for the ramps too steep for the Exige. On top of that, the previous customer had ripped the jockey wheel off and a temp had been bodged on. Although I managed to get the car on, I just wasn't comfortable with the trailer. Bodged jockey wheel made it really had to manoeuvre around the drive so I just binned it off, blocked it in with the Volvo and committed to driving to Croft.

Made for a lovely driveway for the neighbours to look at though :lol:

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On to Croft, car behaved fine on the run up and met up with a couple of friends en route.

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Started the day steady... for about half a lap, then any fears about gearboxes faded. If it was going to break, it was going to break.

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Car felt really good on the AR1 tyres, bags of grip and I felt immediately quicker than previous years. Power delivery of the car had certainly lost the zing I had got used to, particularly from losing the closer ratio gearing but it's still plenty fast and can easily get me in trouble if I take my eye off the ball..

Which incidentally, I did on the first or second session. Looking down at the dash to check oil pressure was behaving on a moderate G turn, I suddenly ran out of exit at Sunny Out and found myself bouncing over the grass. Woops! Only casualty my front plate, which was returned at lunch time - so that explains some continuity issues with my pictures for the day...!



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After the that the day went without drama, but not without bags of excitement and a couple of fantastic opportunities.

One was getting a passenger ride with the spanking new Komotec 500bhp DSG car that @seriouslylotus have been working on.

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Absolute weapon, and scarily enough it feels like the chassis can take more. The tyres definitely could not though! Really well put together car, mind bogglingly fast and from what I could see/feel it was brilliantly usable.

After that I was determined to get a ride out in a "more normal" V6 platform car, it's no secret that my gearbox woes have given me itchy feet and a V6 car is an obvious 'upgrade' from the S2. I went over to speak to NYLOC'er and friend Martin who owns a 430 Cup (amongst other fantastic cars) and asked for a ride out after lunch. Unfortunately he needed to get home to sort out the NYLOC post trackday BBQ, but with 10mins left of the morning session... he threw me the keys :o

I've never, ever driven another persons car on track before - and this was quite an introduction to it. The better part of £100k worth of Exige, and suddenly I was trundling down the pits in it. With Martin's better half playing co-pilot, I also had some precious cargo to look after. Not nervous at all.

The car was fantastic, and in the short time I had (only had time for an out, flyer and in) with it, it just oozed competence. Brilliantly stable on the brakes compared to the flighty feeling of the S2, and more traction that it new what to do with out of the slower corners. It did understeer in the faster esses, a lot. I suspect this can be addressed through setup - as Martin has always kept his cars very road biased. I was probably 10mph down on my S2 through the esses and it still struggles to stay the course.

The power was smooth and plentiful, but not urgent. It didn't tear my face off, but if I'd taken the time to familiarise myself with the AIM dash layout beforehand I'm sure I would have seen the numbers climbing rapidly! What did come quickly was the RPM limiter, quite hard to get used to after 2ZZ life!

It was a thoroughly enjoyable few minutes, but left me with an interesting feeling. I wanted to either fall head over heels in love with it, or hate it. I did neither. It felt like a very grown up and more 'secure' version of my car. I'm 90% sure I'd be quicker in an S3 even given equal power:weight after half a day of familiarisation just because it seemed to look after me more, and that would give me confidence. It was like driving an S2 whilst being wrapped in a nice warm fluffy blanket.

It certainly missed the edginess of the S2 though, didn't feel quite so ready to flick around but it's really hard to be too critical of the S3 after such a short amount of time in it, and obviously I was nowhere near it's limits!

Fantastic opportunity, so thanks again Martin :thumbup:

After lunch I got another set of keys thrown at me(!) this time in a friends S2. It's pretty much as close to my car as you can get in terms of spec, but approached from a slightly different angle. It's also more road biased than my car, running AD08's and Pagid RS42s meant that it was down on ultimate pace, but was like wearing an old favourite sock. The car felt great, and hopefully was reassuring to the owner that he had a car that was setup well and was delivering a healthy dose of power to the wheels (at least, compared to my only other reference point).

The rest of the afternoon was pretty plain sailing. Got a couple of clear laps in but had more fun driving around with friends, swapping positions around and just having a bit of a blast.

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Car was faultless all day, never felt like I needed to check anything or tweak anything - it just worked, for which I'm very grateful after the last few weeks I've had. It felt fast enough for me, even with the detuned power but I can't shake this feeling that I've emotionally moved on from it now :cry: It might change, but I really need to decide what I want going forward. The S3 didn't make me want to immediately part with another 30 or 40k (on top of the value of mine!) and as corny as it sounds, being around a massive bunch of mates at the LoT trackday made me really want to stick to the brand... so options are limited.

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We'll see how I feel in the coming weeks, Donington Evening next so I'll have a quick healthcheck on the car before then. There are some huge positives from Croft, the new gearbox is a peach - all gears selecting smoothly without noise, and the AR1 tyres have been a lot of fun. I would say they don't quite have the session longevity of ZZR's but their peak grip in the first 5 laps is astonishing. I need to reprogram myself to get the most out of them, as I always ramp up slowly through a session and typically even with the AR1s I'm fastest on lap 8 or 9... but if I got my head into the game on lap 3 or 4 I'm convinced there would be loads of time to gain.

Thanks to Paul & Mark for the Photos, top job lads :mrgreen:
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