S1 Exige Conversion

Topics relating to the Lotus Exige S1 (series 1)
jamesjeffery
Posts: 267
Joined: Fri Mar 06, 2020 10:37 am

Unfortunately in the last week I have contracted covid, so I have been isolating and will be spending Christmas on my own. In the meantime it has given me time to sort one of the things I had been putting off for a while.

I bought some gas struts right at the very beginning of the build before I really knew the length and spec I needed. The plan was for them to mean I wouldn't have to carry a pole around everywhere if I wanted to keep the boot open.

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First step was to find something the correct length to prop the engine cover open. Luckily I had this thin metal pole that was sturdy enough to hold the cover open.

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The pole wedged between the boot floor and driveshaft so was nice and stable to work on.

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I placed bits of tape to mark a few rough positions. One by the window where the strut would fix to the car, one on the engine cover where the strut at max length was located and finally one at 300mm from the first bit of tape. This one at 300mm indicated the minimum length the strut would go when fully compressed (500mm total expanded length). As long as the engine cover tape indicator was positioned further towards the back of the car than this indicator when the bootlid was shut the struts should work.

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I removed both the side finisher panels to give access for the first mounting point.

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I drilled a 6mm hole and used a penny washer and pushed the strut through. I then used another penny washer to spread the load and nut in the inside to fix this first position.

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Both sides with the first position sorted. I wanted this position as close to the top of the finisher panel as possible to best hide them when the lid was closed. Also the struts would be facing downwards when the lid was closed, meaning less force wanting to push the sides up and ruining how the lid currently sits.

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With the first position finalized I was able to mark the second position more accurately.

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To test if the struts would hold, I taped the second thread into place and took the brace pole away. Thankfully so far so good.

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Confident with the second position I drilled more holes and pushed the thread through. I then noticed a problem, I had no way of accessing the thread to put the nut on. Because I bought the struts so long ago I guessed the length I needed, turns out I should have gone for a shorter one to be able to have access using one of the pre-existing cooling slots in the frame. I would have to make another access hole.

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Currently the struts were at full capacity, 400nm which was obviously way too strong so I needed to let some air out. I fully removed them from the car and using bathroom scales I released enough gas to get each strut to 10kg/100nm. I was happy this was close enough to put them back on the car and then take tiny amounts out from there should I need it.

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I took a 10mm drill bit and made a hole directly under where the thread was in the frame. I then opened this up using my dremel and sandwheel which was the same diameter as the cooling slots. I would then finish the holes with some black paint to neaten them up. The next problem was how to get the nut onto the thread as I didn't want the access hole to be any bigger than it needed to be. I tried many methods like spanners and tape, tweezers etc but in the end I put my finger in the hole with the nut pressed against the inner surface over the hole. I then removed the end ball joint from the strut to be able to spin it onto the nut.

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With both ball joints now fitted and finalised I had to screw it all back together. I decided to use a rubber washer to allow for some gentle adjustment if needed to get the strut tight and the ball joints in the correct positions.

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The finished strut in situ. The threads on each ball joint were the same direction meaning when I tightened one it loosened the other, so I decided to tighten the engine cover ball joint first, then twist just the housing to tighten the other end but not loosen the first ball joint.
I think I took a tiny bit of air out both sides after the 10kg scale adjustment and it was ready to test.

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Here is the finished result. The struts keep the engine cover up and it feels pretty sturdy. Will have to be a bit careful in high winds it doesn't rip off, but I'm really happy with how it works.
The fact the struts are longer than I first would have liked probably helps the stability in a way.

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All I wanted was for the struts to have just enough gas to hold the cover open, rather than it flying up when the cord is pulled. With the right amount of gas, when the cord is pulled the cover just pops up out the latch as it did before, however still staying down. With 2 fingers I can lift up the cover to where ever I want and it holds that position, perfect!

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Finally when closed the lid sits exactly as it did before, so the struts aren't pushing anything out of shape.

I recommend doing this if you wants to get rid of the pesky pole! It is also nice to think the cover won't fall on my head if I ever knocked the pole over, so a well worth little mod.
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andybond
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Posts: 1832
Joined: Thu Aug 30, 2018 9:16 am
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A positive outcome in a negative situation!
The Cable Guy
Posts: 190
Joined: Wed Oct 09, 2013 10:13 am

Definitely going to be doing this to mine.
stratosboy
Posts: 241
Joined: Wed Mar 22, 2006 8:45 pm
Location: Warrington

Fantastic progress and build thread James, I've just scanned it all the way through. What did you end up with weight wise in the end? Great colour. Mine still isn't finished!! :crazy: but house move has become my priority. I know you have had a fair bit of fettling, but I still think the quality and fit of Dom's panels are really good. Mine were miles off. Cool Reg too, mine is J9 EXG. 8-)
You must be feeling very proud of this. Well done buddy.
Sub Boy
Posts: 35
Joined: Mon Mar 29, 2021 10:34 pm

Hi James,
Its looking fantastic! Mine is still a while away from also being finished as my clams involved lots of repairing (they are not from Dom….wish they were 🙄)
Can you tell me where and what brand are the gas struts?
jamesjeffery
Posts: 267
Joined: Fri Mar 06, 2020 10:37 am

Thanks, it's been fun! I haven't actually weighed it since, in hoping similar weight as before at around 712kg (ish). Yeah Dom's panels are great, really recommend them. Good reg as well! I would have loved J8 EXG but M9 is just as good. It makes me smile each time I see it and drive it, hopefully you can get yours done soon and enjoy it as much as I am mine.

Cheers! I bought then from WDS Components.

https://www.wdscomponents.com/en-gb/mac ... ings/c-276

One thing I will say is when the lid is shut the struts are pushing the lid back, so it is now very tight against the back of the weather channel, so much so it has chipped the paint a bit as shown below.
The engine cover is fixed as far forwards as it can be. I have thought about filing the fixings so it can be mounted further forwards (there is space for it to be moved forwards and still hinge fine) but I think the struts will just push it back to the same position.

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jamesjeffery
Posts: 267
Joined: Fri Mar 06, 2020 10:37 am

So a little update on a problem I came across. Driving on the M25 to get home I noticed my coolant temp begin to climb. Thankfully I was near a junction, so I pulled off and popped the engine cover to find an empty coolant bottle. Not great in the pouring rain so I called my dad to rescue me. We found that the coolant return pipe had been resting against my EP clutch slave cylinder bracket and had eventually worn through.
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We filled the bottle and I limped home.

Unfortunately I was up against a little bit of a timescale problem with a trackday, so I decided to 'bodge' the problem with a silicone sleeve. I measured the circumference of the pipe to work out the diameter and ordered a 80mm long section and a couple of jubilee clips.

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I thought it was going to be an easy fix, just one pipe off, slide the sleeve over and tighten in place, connect the pipe back and top up coolant. However this wasn't quite the case.

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This area of the coolant system is pretty busy and I wasn't able to get any good clearance, so I had to remove more pipes than I originally planned. The only positive was that hardly any coolant leaked out as the system had already been pretty drained

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Here's a closer look at the hole. When resting against the slave cylinder bracket it actually plugged the hole pretty well, but really leaked away from it.

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In hindsight I should have added some washing up liquid to the pipe to help the sleeve slide over, as getting it around the bend want the easiest but once it straightened out I measured 40mm down from the hole and marked the pipe so I knew when the sleeve would be equal distance over it.

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Sleeve in place and clamped tight. I also put some edge trim on the bracket to take the edge off.

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I connected everything back up and was about to top the level up when I decided it would be better if the pipe was clear of the bracket. So I connected a few cable ties together and with no obvious place to tie around I decided on the bottle itself to pull the pipe just clear of the bracket.

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Only needing a slight gap between the bracket and pipe also helped keep unnecessary tension off the connection into the sill.

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In theory this should last years and possibly will stay this way for a while as it seems to work perfectly fine.
Last edited by jamesjeffery on Fri Mar 04, 2022 7:31 am, edited 1 time in total.
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andybond
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Joined: Thu Aug 30, 2018 9:16 am
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That’s a lucky escape and a good fix!
jamesjeffery
Posts: 267
Joined: Fri Mar 06, 2020 10:37 am

I managed about 15 laps on track before the car now won't start, getting no spark at all. Tried as much as we could while there, checked the plugs for a spark, checked grounding, managed to source a new coil pack and tried that, changed the rotor arm and dizzy cap, all no good.
Few things to try like the crank position sensor, MFRU, seeing if voltage is getting to the coil pack etc but pretty stumped.
The car was really sputtering going around RH bends (a bit of a problem at snetterton with Riches and Coram) so I'm assuming this is linked to now why it won't fire.
Last edited by jamesjeffery on Sat Mar 05, 2022 7:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.
jamesjeffery
Posts: 267
Joined: Fri Mar 06, 2020 10:37 am

Me and dad were finally able to sort the non-start issue today. At the track we tried as much as we could to get a spark and today we had a much better look. At the track we looked at the spark plugs, checked for a spark from the king lead, replaced distributor cap and rotor arm with new items, checked fuses and pulled the fuel line off to check whether the fuel pump was working. Finally I managed to find and source 2 coil packs (firstly an S2 coil which dads now kept for his car and a grubby coil pack from a breaker MG local to Snetterton). As none of this worked my car went onto dad's trailer and I drove his back to Essex.

Thankfully my brother and dad share an S1 so I was able to test and swap over lots of components to test them and see if they made any difference and would save my buying lots of things I wouldn't necessarily need. I tested both the original and breaker coil packs on their S1 and found both were good, so I bolted the original back onto my car and checked for voltage, which it was getting so ruled it out as being the issue.
Next was swapping the crank position sensor over and again mine worked in their car and so ruled this out also.
Next thing to trace back to was the MRFU located by the ECU. I plugged mine into theirs and it worked fine too. I also noticed the inertia switch location when I was removing mine so I plugged it back in and pressed the inertia to see (unlikely so) whether it had been cut off for any reason, nothing changed.

We were running out of things to change now and were at the point to remove and swap my EFi unit with their standard Rover ECU to see if we could get a spark. It might not have ran well or fired up due to the tuned nature of my car, but if we got a spark then the ECU would be the problem. When pulling my ECU out I noticed this...

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One of the wires from the loom to the plug had become disconnected. I have no idea why this single wire had a different separate connector compared to all other wires, maybe it broke before and was now a weak link. Dad then shoved it into the connector and held it there while I turned the key and the spark was back!
He soldered on a new connector plug thing and we plugged the ECU back in, connected the king lead back and the car fired first time. All this hassle and a another trackday cut way too short down to one tiny wire!

I have no idea what that wire does or where it goes and I honestly don't care, I'm just glad the car now works as it should (except the map is still way off and runs too lean above 6000 but I'm either going to remap the EFi or bite the bullet for an Emerald).

I haven't really been able to drive any RH bends with any real gusto to test if the spluttering had been cured but I'm confident the 2 problems were linked, with forces in RH bends pulling the broken wire out the connector and causing the issues, so it should no longer splutter.

I hate electrical faults are they're never straight forward to find (to me anyway) whereas something like my gear cable snapping was nice and easy to locate and then move forward with. I'm just very glad we were able to sort this at home and not book it into an Indy that would have charged me god knows how much to sort something so tiny.

Long story short check your looms and ECUs!
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