2007 Lotus 2-Eleven

This is where we proud owners can upload information and pictures of our pride-and-joys (their Exige that is..)
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Fonzey
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Hi Everyone, time for a new thread. In many ways this will be a logical continuation of my Exige thread posted here: viewtopic.php?t=21019

Small bit of backstory for anybody unaware, but I've owned/modified and tracked a 2006 Lotus Exige for the past few years. Learned some lessons, ignored others - but had a blast along the way. I feel like I hit a bit of a modification ceiling with it after running into gearbox reliability issues despite spending the cash on all of the right parts to prevent it. As such, the only logical thing to do was to buy another car with the exact same engine and gearbox and start over again...

I'll probably reference "the Exige" throughout this thread but I'll try to give context where appropriate.

On the day my gearbox failed, there was a Lotus 2-Eleven in attendance. I've always admired them from afar, never showing enough interest to learn much about them but they've always been a "I wish I could justify one of those" cars.

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I should have taken a closer look at it, and I regretted not asking for a ride in it but I was busy sulking.

In the days and weeks that followed, the Exige got fixed and did a rather successful trackday at Croft but my mind was already wandering. I looked at newer V6 Exiges, considered buying an older rover engine car and embarking on a Honda built and considered sticking an order in at Caterham... but the 2-Eleven persisted.

New thread rule, it's now called a 211. I don't have all day to keep typing out 2-Eleven. The 211 on the face of it is an Elise/Exige without a roof or glass, but as usual with Lotus when you dig into it some more subtle differences shine through.
They did both an NA (192bhp) and SC (255, later upgraded to 260) model and I would be looking for a 260 one. Considering I ran my Exige at 300bhp for the last few months, it would be a bit of a power downgrade, but in exchange for saving approx. 200kg. That would put power to weight ratio in excess of my Exige, but with an aero penalty at higher speeds and better performance on the brakes.
The geometry is subtly different allowing it to run much lower than an Exige/Elise, and by all accounts it has a bit of 'real' aero, even more so with the GT4 upgrades that the Cadwell car had. The cars also came with some goodies, namely an Accusump and 2-way Ohlins dampers. Better oil surge protection and 2-way dampers were both on my roadmap for the Exige.

They don't come up for sale too often, but I kept half an eye out. I'm not a huge lover of the launch livery cars, I'm a paint not sticker sort of guy so when this one came up, it got me very interested.

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It is a launch car, at #50 I believe it makes it the last launch car that they did. I've not fully geeked out on the launch vs non-launch versions yet but I'm already learning that every car seems to have a different combination of parts-bin bits on it.

I'm a stickler for not engaging with a car seller until I've pretty much already decided to buy it, but after a few days of weighing things up I engaged with the seller, let's call him G.

G was exactly what I've come to expect from a private Lotus seller over the years, willing to talk about the car properly, stopped at nothing to share photos, videos, answered any questions and left nothing to chance. G was probably over-honest with the cars' issues, typically the aesthetic ones which looked much less dramatic in the flesh. More on that later.

A week or two passed, the odd conversation here and there but I was deep into thought and I was a bit distracted by getting the Exige ready for Croft.

Croft was a great day for closure, the car felt great and needed no post-trackday fettling, it just worked. I had the opportunity to drive a V6 car while I was there, and though it was fantastic - it made my mind up, I had to tick the "lightweight" box before I moved on and up.

After making my mind up, the next challenge was to be logistics. G was way up in Scotland, proper Scotland too. Closer to the North Pole than home.

I looked into some covered car transport companies and had a couple that gave me confidence that they could cater for the rideheight and stuff like that. Price wasn't bad, considering - but I had this little mental gremlin telling me it would be a good idea to go get it and drive it back... so we lined up a decent weather forecast and I went for it.

G would not take a penny up front, but he offered first refusal and even took the 211 sale ad down until I came to view it. Top bloke.

Train was to be Friday night after work, nice 5 hour ride up with no changes for £70. Nice! Obviously I had to make it dramatic, I'd double booked myself to take the missus and some colleagues into York for a night out, and they couldn't leave later than 5pm due to finishing work etc. That gave me 56mins to drive into York, park (on a driveway a mile from the station) and then run (sprint!) to the station in time for the train. I made it by minutes, utterly knackered, sweaty, coughing my collapsed lung up. Right mess. Poor lass I was sat next to must have been gutted.

Saw some pretty sights on the way up, and ate an onion bhaji in a naan bread.

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I arrived just before midnight, hotel right across the road. Had dinner and then slept.

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Obviously after the drama and close call of the day before, I slept in and missed my train. The sleep in wasn't fatal, but standing at the wrong platform as my train left was.

Luckily the small commuter train out to G's town was regular, so I had a quick coffee and started mentally preparing for what was to come.

After a short 20min hop, I met G at the station and off we went to see the car.

The car was exactly as described, so the rest was a formality. There were a couple of 'issues' with the car which we had discussed up front, but G was very descriptive so there were no nasty surprises.

The first up is a bodywork issue, this particular car was resprayed to Lotus Solar Yellow some years ago (Prior to G) and it is a fantastic paint job but the rear clam had developed some small cracks coming from the apertures where the spoiler uprights come out of. At a later date, the car had been reversed into a solid object and the following repair involved a replacement rear clam/transom which was again painted in solar yellow. Some months later, the cracks returned...

Whether it's a fitment issue, something misaligned on the spoiler uprights or maybe it's just a "211 thing", the body clams are particularly thin and lightweight, so maybe it's just something to live with. They're very small cracks and if they don't grow, I'll be in no rush to resolve. There's similar again in the front clam in a couple of spots, but again from 4 feet away you'd never really know. They looked FAR worse in the photos.

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The next issue was the gear shift (I know I know, gearboxes are boring now). It is just so vague and wobbly, it's a million miles away from my Exige. I had done some forum trawling and found some posts from an ex-ex owner who had even invested in a LETSLA adjustable linkage (gearbox end) to try and remedy. I considered one of these for my Exige because of the bling factor, so at least I get one to play with now. It's clear that the shift had never been great, and past owners had tolerated it. It needs fixing.

Aside from that, there really wasn't anything to complain about. The aero screen has some weird UV damage in it, but G provided a brand new still in packaging replacement. The car also came with a spare set of 2-way Ohlins. Removed from the car when due a refurb and replaced with brand new ones.

I checked over a couple of things, the operation of the Accusump being one and I wasn't convinced it was working properly but to be honest, neither of us knew what we were looking at. More on that later.

The car had a couple of modifications, some known to G and some not. Some nice boxes ticked though and less for me to do later:

- LETSLA linkage
- Alloy triple pass radiator
- Engine Mount inserts (stiffer, had on my Exige - very good)
- Removable steering wheel boss w/ Momo flat bottomed wheel
- Pretty much PPF'd everywhere of importance. Paint is absolutely gorgeous as a result (aside from the aforementioned cracks)
- Brooklands aero screen added to the Lotus one
- Spitfire toelinks
- Lotus 'race' exhaust backbox

Service history is comprehensive as you'd expect. Looked after by main dealers in general throughout its life.

Short test drive was a formality, I didn't kick its head in until after I bought it.

With the deal done, we packed up the spares and my luggage the best we could (no boot!) and I was gone.

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Thanks again G, pleasure dealing with you.
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andybond
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I predict this is going to be a fun thread.

Car is going to be ballistic I am sure.
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Fonzey
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My route home had been a collaborative effort with a number of 'good roads' incorporated but a few opportunities to bail out and just 'get home' depending on weather/how the car was/how I was, etc.

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I've blanked out the first leg, just to give G a bit of privacy. He's a celebrity now.

First leg was a fantastic one, after half hour or so I was into the Cairngorms and the traffic was light, roads flowing and car was getting a fine introduction. Initial impressions of the car were all power related as I was a bit concerned that it would feel a bit tame compared to the Exige at full tilt. I was wrong, it was great. Different power delivery to the Exige though, my aftermarket ECU on the Exige had eliminated a bit of a torque slump in the midrange and it feels punchier but the 211 just propels forward seemingly on a cloud. No big push in the back, but surges towards terrifying speeds in no time at all. The exhaust sounds angry, really really angry compared to the Exige. It's barking away at every slight lift or shift, crackling when coasting into a village or speedlimit.

Unlike the Exige the SC is barely audible, which is a great relief. I've always been irritated by SC whine, it goes right through me. At least now I'm being deafened by something else.

It was soon time for a first stop
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I decided to take the brookland screen off and see how I got on. Turns out, not very well. In less than half a mile later I had to pull over as my new ballistic shades were threatening to be ejected.

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They do have a strap, which I usefully left at home.

I decided to try with my crash helmet for a bit which was OK, but the weather was nice and I wanted to be back out in it so I pulled over in a scenic spot and got the screen back on. I'd continue with that until I got home, ace.

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I used this break to take a couple of notes about first impressions, because they're quickly lost:

- Car feels fast
- Splitter catches on almost everything, it's silly low
- Brakes are astonishing, not really leaned on them yet but they don't have the 'slop' at the top of the pedal which I've experienced on every other S2 I've ever driven. Must be some subtle differences in the pedal box, surely. There's a much more positive bite in the first part of application, that might just be pad compound though.
- Dampers feel fine so far, it's a bit stiff on high speed compression but no worse than the Exige is. No idea how dampers are set at this point.
- Steering feels fast. The rack as far as I'm aware is same as the Exige, but there's no delay at all to inputs - it just darts around all over the place
- Engine felt a bit flat immediately after the fuel stop, heat soak? It was fine a few miles down the road.

After this stop, it dawned on me that I was already woefully behind schedule so I got the hammer down for the next couple of hours. Some great roads, bit of motorway thrown in but eventually stopped for lunch just South of Edinburgh.

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I ate lunch just laying on the grass taking in some of the details on the car. It's a fantastic looking thing to my eye, so many details on it which you maybe don't take in on the first or second time of asking, and it all looks believably functional.

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The next leg was a bit of a bore, just some motorway bashing to get back into England. Car with the added screen is surprisingly 'comfortable' even at motorway speeds, I was expecting to be helmetted up for these stints. I stopped at Gretna Green for a pee break, it was 17:00 already and I was getting irrationally concerned of driving in the dark, I wasn't even sure this thing had lights. (it did).

Into England, over on the West side I then had a great run over the Pennines to do, it was cooling off around now but still comfortable enough in shorts and t-shirt. The blast over the 'nines was great but the splitter was getting a proper battering here. I'd probably kissed the ground over 100 times already and I'm amazed there was anything left.

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One last photo stop and then onto the A1 for the last boring hour back home.

I pulled into the driveway at 8pm, 10 hours and 400miles after I set off. Ace :mrgreen:

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The garage is a bit of a squeeze, and put to bed any sort of hope that I could keep both cars for a while. I'll tidy some things up on the Exige, put it largely back to standard (I'll leave the hard to remove bits on it!) and then stick it on the market. It's been a fantastic car, still way above my skill level but once you have an itch... it's time to scratch.
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Fonzey
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Following collection day, I had to repay some family-time credits so we had a day out in York, partially to repatriate my daily which had been abandoned there since Friday. On Sunday evening though I finally got to go have a tinker, so I experimented with some GoPro/External Mic positions and also had a look at the Accusump.

There are two main things to address on a 2ZZ engine Lotus if taking on track, one is the uprated toelinks for the rear suspension (already done) and the other is some measures to prevent oil starvation. This car I suspected had a standard sump (from what I could see/feel) and there was no evidence of a baffled item in the service/invoice history. It did however have the factory installed Accusump, but they're almost never working on cars if you just don't pay them any attention.

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The Accusump was holding 80 odd pounds of pressure with the car switched off, which is about right - startup oil pressure plus air precharge. What should happen when powering up the car is that the accusump detects low/no pressure (because engine isn't running) so it triggers the valve solenoid and dumps the full cylinder into the engine to pre-lube the bearings before startup. This bit wasn't happening.

This means under a high G-force on track, the accusump would happily sit there with 80psi in it and offer no assistance to the engine as it seized itself to bits. Definitely needed to fix this to keep me protected until I get a sump sorted.

I suspected the oil pressure switch on the accusump, so I did a quick test to bypass it and immediately the accusump discharged. Excellent - should be a quick fix. I did a Google to see if I could find a part number or parts supplier for one who could deliver ASAP. Oh yeah, did I mention? I had a trackday booked the following day :lol:

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Turns out, good old [email protected] @seriouslylotus was at the top of the Google list. Dave had kindly agreed to give my "Exige" a quick pre-Donington spanner check on Monday morning because "I'd not had time to look at it myself". When I turned up in the 211 it was a bit of a surprise, followed by a bit of ridicule, followed by some excellent advice and guidance as always. They did make me settle my Exige bill before I started up a new one though :mrgreen:

Dave and John went back to front on the 211 just checking for anything that needed urgently addressing prior to taking it on track. It was good to see the car up in the air for a proper inspection, and start coming up with the job list.

All four corners felt fine, no undue play, knocking or banging. Wishbones have been refurbished at least once, but probably not far off needing doing again. Uprights haven't been done so they still have the original North Sea Shipwreck aesthetic.

Engine bay was very much unmolested, clean of all the extra tat my Exige carries such as sound deadening and heater plumbing makes it seem a much nicer car to work on. What did hurt to see though was all of the brackets, fixings and trinkets that have been meticulously cleaned up, blasted or painted on my Exige. Hundreds of garage hours making my Exige engine bay look spotless from either the top or the bottom and I'm going to have to do it all again. Oh well - I can't wait :)

The car has clearly been well serviced, all the bits done on time when needed - but nothing extra. Nothing that didn't need doing has been done, if that makes sense. My Exige is the complete opposite, I do stuff that never should have been touched. Few small examples of this on the 211 are oil weeps that are really quite normal on any car of this age - don't NEED sorting, but they will of course be sorted.

John did a few sanity checks on the Accusump, then came to the same conclusion as me - the switch was dead. Dave tends to have everything he advertises on the shelf, it really is a powerful asset when you're troubleshooting issues and he's bailed me out of problems many times thanks to this constant availability of bits. Out came a replacement switch, and bing - Accusump is back online.

Now that I know what to expect on the gauge, I can keep a closer eye on this. At least until the sump is swapped, this will be my engine-saver.

Up to the front of the car we turned attention to the front splitter. It was... seasoned.

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We found that it wasn't supported quite properly, a rather inadequate bracket had sheared off allowing the splitter to almost certainly droop under aero load, further decreasing rideheight.

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Always nice when Dave eases you into a new car gently by grinding it.

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Dave popped next door and got a new bracket fabbed up. I need to come back and paint/rust treat this as soon as I get the Exige off the ramp at home.

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The oil cooler link pipe you can see also needed a slight fettle to stop it rubbing on the bodywork.

With the splitter back on, there was an immediate benefit that we could now slide the 4 post ramp crossbeam under it without lifting up the car first. We couldn't before.

With the car signed off for track action, I headed off home - very grateful that my "half an hour to check the Exige over" turned into 4 hours of grinding, banging and fixing. Dave and John would be attending Donington that evening as support, so at least I'd have somebody to keep an eye on me...

Some other bits that I did are swapping my Exige steering wheel in. Both suede wheels needed a good clean and came up a treat, as new in fact. I have an S2 OE wheel somewhere too so plenty of choice.

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The round, slightly smaller Exige wheel is more to my taste.

I also removed and checked the large breather pipe on the front side of the 2ZZ. Evidence of oil weepage below it. There's an oil control valve solenoid thing just below it as part of the cam timing stuff, so it could be that which has sprayed up - but upon removal this gasket was soaked, so I'm going to get a replacement in there just to rule it out.

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Final job was a damper audit.

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I'm a bit of a geek, and my interest in such settings way outstrips my driving ability or ability to get the most out of them. The "road" and "track" settings are as defined in the service manual. Purple are the settings I collected the car with, and orange are the settings I'd run for Donington.
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matt447
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:thumbup: Loving this already!
JDS
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That's not grinding. That's just a gentle fettling! :thumbup:

Looking forward to enjoying the journey. A little more time next time around though!
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andybond
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What are you using to clean the steering wheel up @Fonzey ?
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Fonzey
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Very diluted fairy liquid and warm water with a gentle brush. There's almost certainly better products for it but they tend to come up like new, just feel a bit crusty for a day or two like a towel fresh out of the wash :mrgreen:
HOON
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matt447 wrote: Tue Jul 19, 2022 4:34 pm :thumbup: Loving this already!
Ditto :thumbup:
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series_one
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Location: saving Again!

👏👏👏

AWESOME 👍🏻


Congrats! Thanks for making the big write up - so enjoable to read!


What a machine. You are going to have a lot of fun with it! Nice garage you have too.

Is this yellow 211 ‘Big Bird’ to my red 340R ‘Elmo’? 😃😎
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