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Author Lotus Exige S
Kyle T
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Registered: 11th Sep 04
Location: Selby, North Yorkshire
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7th Apr 19 at 09:21   View Garage View User's Profile U2U Member Reply With Quote

TRACKDAY PREP WEEK!

Normally I enjoy the buzz of the week building up to a track day as much as I enjoy the day itself, but I've been a bit busy on the car this time round.

My intention was to whip the undertray off, spanner check the toe-links and have one more check of the oil fittings I've added. This was on Monday night.

Unfortunately I found evidence of a bit of oil weepage from the sump, barely anything - and my original intention upon seeing it was to just clean it up and get a track day or two done then get the car to a specialist for the token yearly stamp and have them refit the sump. This would have been fine as the oil "loss" wasn't even registering on the dipstick and it had not seeped enough to even break surface tension and mess up the undertray.

However...

I'm very impulsive with spanners, and after leaving and re-entering the garage a couple of times I eventually suited up and dropped the oil (< 500miles worth!).

I am 90% sure the issue was just me being crap, but to cover all bases I wanted to change everything that I did previously which meant a different degreaser product and a different RTV gasket sealant product to rule out any inadequacies of the stuff I used before. Removing the sump was much easier than it was when I took the original off a few months ago, and there wasn't much evidence of the rubberised "gasket" that the sealant should have formed. It was barely a blue smear on each surface. Hmmm, perhaps I torqued it up wrong and squeezed it all out?!

I went with the same sealant this time as I used on my Elise - as that never leaked. No idea what the chemical differences are here, but the black one is clearly marketed more towards oily environments than the blue one is.



I very much repeated the same process, but with dollops of added patience this time. I noticed that whilst the car was jacked up on an angle that oil persisted to drip out of the engine and onto the block flange for several hours after the oil was drained. This was also the corner where it was weeping, so perhaps between me degreasing and refitting before a smidge of oil escaped onto the contact area.

After draining the oil this time I left the car overnight to make sure any rogue drips were long gone. I also noticed some witness marks on the sump that suggested a casting mark on near the gearbox housing (the problem corner) had possibly prevented a flush fit - so the file came out to sort that.

Beading the black stuff was a lot stodgier than the blue stuff, which gave me confidence even though my hand hurt like hell afterwards!

Both times I've done a sump previously I'd felt rushed to get the bead onto the sump and get it bolted up, but after reading a few forums etc it seemed that it was fairly normal to leave the sealant for 15-20mins before fitting it anyway, so I took my time properly this time and was confident that I got it bolted up with practically zero lateral movement to smear the bead. I followed a very strict torquing process that Ed China would be proud of, and felt pretty comfortable with the end result.

If this leaks, it's off to a garage!

Due to all my patience, cure time and other stuff (like having a job) this took up most of the week and I finally got it finished and topped up with oil today. I only had time for a quick 12 mile test drive but no evidence of leaks, so stuck the undertray back on and cleaned the car.

Next job happened inbetween all that, waiting for cure times and such. This was the installation of my new 4point Schroth ASM harness for the driver seat.



The car already has a harness bar in on the factory mounts, so was a very quick install. I had originally intended to remove all of the trim, remove the inertia reels and tidy all the 3point stuff out but I just couldn't be arsed inbetween all the sump stuff. For now I've cable tied the 3point out of the way, and depending on how annoying I find a harness on the road I always have the option to fit a coexistence kit and keep both in at once.





The car is definitely looking the part now! I can't wait to try these, I've never driven with harnesses before and through both of my previous track cars had real problems keeping myself held in. CG-Locks were a great compromise but hopefully this is next level.

I'll admit to feeling a little uncomfortable with my trial fits of the harness, very claustrophobic when it's done up properly and I seem to be struggling to keep the lap belt down too. I'm aware that I should be tightening it up first, then doing the shoulders last - but for me to get the shoulders tight enough to properly pin my upper back into the seat, I end up pulling the lap belt up a little bit. I know that's bad, so I need to have more practise and adjustment before Saturday.

So there we go, car cleaned - sorting out my travelling toolkit and supplies then I just need to rehearse some gopro positions and we're all ready for Blyton on Saturday. Fingers crossed the car behaves, oh and good weather would also be nice!TRACKDAY PREP WEEK!

Normally I enjoy the buzz of the week building up to a track day as much as I enjoy the day itself, but I've been a bit busy on the car this time round.

My intention was to whip the undertray off, spanner check the toe-links and have one more check of the oil fittings I've added. This was on Monday night.

Unfortunately I found evidence of a bit of oil weepage from the sump, barely anything - and my original intention upon seeing it was to just clean it up and get a track day or two done then get the car to a specialist for the token yearly stamp and have them refit the sump. This would have been fine as the oil "loss" wasn't even registering on the dipstick and it had not seeped enough to even break surface tension and mess up the undertray.

However...

I'm very impulsive with spanners, and after leaving and re-entering the garage a couple of times I eventually suited up and dropped the oil (< 500miles worth!).

I am 90% sure the issue was just me being crap, but to cover all bases I wanted to change everything that I did previously which meant a different degreaser product and a different RTV gasket sealant product to rule out any inadequacies of the stuff I used before. Removing the sump was much easier than it was when I took the original off a few months ago, and there wasn't much evidence of the rubberised "gasket" that the sealant should have formed. It was barely a blue smear on each surface. Hmmm, perhaps I torqued it up wrong and squeezed it all out?!

I went with the same sealant this time as I used on my Elise - as that never leaked. No idea what the chemical differences are here, but the black one is clearly marketed more towards oily environments than the blue one is.



I very much repeated the same process, but with dollops of added patience this time. I noticed that whilst the car was jacked up on an angle that oil persisted to drip out of the engine and onto the block flange for several hours after the oil was drained. This was also the corner where it was weeping, so perhaps between me degreasing and refitting before a smidge of oil escaped onto the contact area.

After draining the oil this time I left the car overnight to make sure any rogue drips were long gone. I also noticed some witness marks on the sump that suggested a casting mark on near the gearbox housing (the problem corner) had possibly prevented a flush fit - so the file came out to sort that.

Beading the black stuff was a lot stodgier than the blue stuff, which gave me confidence even though my hand hurt like hell afterwards!

Both times I've done a sump previously I'd felt rushed to get the bead onto the sump and get it bolted up, but after reading a few forums etc it seemed that it was fairly normal to leave the sealant for 15-20mins before fitting it anyway, so I took my time properly this time and was confident that I got it bolted up with practically zero lateral movement to smear the bead. I followed a very strict torquing process that Ed China would be proud of, and felt pretty comfortable with the end result.

If this leaks, it's off to a garage!

Due to all my patience, cure time and other stuff (like having a job) this took up most of the week and I finally got it finished and topped up with oil today. I only had time for a quick 12 mile test drive but no evidence of leaks, so stuck the undertray back on and cleaned the car.

Next job happened inbetween all that, waiting for cure times and such. This was the installation of my new 4point Schroth ASM harness for the driver seat.



The car already has a harness bar in on the factory mounts, so was a very quick install. I had originally intended to remove all of the trim, remove the inertia reels and tidy all the 3point stuff out but I just couldn't be arsed inbetween all the sump stuff. For now I've cable tied the 3point out of the way, and depending on how annoying I find a harness on the road I always have the option to fit a coexistence kit and keep both in at once.





The car is definitely looking the part now! I can't wait to try these, I've never driven with harnesses before and through both of my previous track cars had real problems keeping myself held in. CG-Locks were a great compromise but hopefully this is next level.

I'll admit to feeling a little uncomfortable with my trial fits of the harness, very claustrophobic when it's done up properly and I seem to be struggling to keep the lap belt down too. I'm aware that I should be tightening it up first, then doing the shoulders last - but for me to get the shoulders tight enough to properly pin my upper back into the seat, I end up pulling the lap belt up a little bit. I know that's bad, so I need to have more practise and adjustment before Saturday.

So there we go, car cleaned - sorting out my travelling toolkit and supplies then I just need to rehearse some gopro positions and we're all ready for Blyton on Saturday. Fingers crossed the car behaves, oh and good weather would also be nice!

[Edited on 07-04-2019 by Kyle T]


Lotus Elise 111R

Impreza WRX STi
SetH
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Registered: 15th Jul 01
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7th Apr 19 at 17:42   View User's Profile U2U Member Reply With Quote

Ok Noob question here, any particular reason for a chemical gasket over say a metal one?

I think I would have taken one look at it and thought FML before taking to a garage

The resealing procedure you have done sounds NASA level so hopefully it will be ok.

Images aren't working, looks like tags are wrong

I have to scratch the lotus itch one day!
Kyle T
Premium Member

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Registered: 11th Sep 04
Location: Selby, North Yorkshire
User status: Offline
7th Apr 19 at 19:28   View Garage View User's Profile U2U Member Reply With Quote

Pics fixed!

The factory sump has a liquid gasket, it's annoying as hell but that's the way it is.

Some aftermarket sumps come with a cork gasket but then your dipstick doesn't read properly.




Lotus Elise 111R

Impreza WRX STi
Kyle T
Premium Member

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Registered: 11th Sep 04
Location: Selby, North Yorkshire
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9th Apr 19 at 08:56   View Garage View User's Profile U2U Member Reply With Quote

TRACKDAY UPDATE

Well both the car and myself survived, so the day can only be classified as a success!

There were some niggles however, so i'll go through the day in roughly chronological order and outline my plans afterwards.

Weather was heavy fog when I woke up, so it was a slow trundle to Blyton. I misjudged the journey and arrived far too early, but no harm done. A few miles from Blyton I came to a temporary traffic light for some construction, I had my first "on boost" pull of the day as the light went green and felt the car was maybe a little flat... nothing too drastic, but something niggled in the back of my head to say that wasn't as fast as it should be.



The fog was so thick at the circuit you couldn't see the track from the pits, so was expecting a delayed start but there was a miracle turnaround during the briefing and it was bright sun from that point forward. Happy days.

Approx. 35 cars booked on for the day so the circuit was quiet for most of it. I've attended a load of LoT days now so I'm fairly used to the usual audience, but special shout-out to SeriouslyDave and his 311 - absolute monster and had some real presence about it. Wish I got some pictures, but I'm sure we'll meet again...

I got on track for my first 'hot' session soon after the sighting laps and had a steady run around. My mind kept imagining this flat spot at around 6k rpm, not enough for me to jerk forward like with a proper misfire and not enough for my passenger(s) to notice, but I couldn't shake the feeling I was missing a bit of response.



After a couple of sessions I was just checking over fluid levels etc and I noticed an intercooler hose join was ever so slightly on an angle and not flush to the supercharger. I straightened this up and this brought the car back to life! The car felt much sharper and I was almost 10mph quicker coming into the bigger braking zones than I was before! In fact this change combined with dropping a passenger meant I was just rubbing the limiter in 4th at the end of the Lancaster straight, I've never been over 4th gear in any car around Blyton and I'm tantalisingly close in this!



Spot the difference




Mid morning I had my first and only real drama, I noticed the ABS light come on after a warm up lap so came straight back in to "reboot" the car and check for codes. Nothing shown, I went back out and decided to check the brakes with a bit of anger. Sure enough, a lap later I had a massive lockup going into the penultimate turn which luckily has the "Eastern Circuit" as a run-off zone, and I was well into that alternate layout before the car slowed down! In addition to this, the T/C kept kicking in with the car doing about 30mph in a straight line... problem.

Sheepishly coming back into the pits, feeling the eyes of every S1 ABS-less car burning into me we had a quick look around the car and it took a friend 30seconds to identify the problem.



The wheel speed sensor wiring had escaped its p-clips and the front nearside wheel had burned right through it. Thanks to Deggles' Jack and 3M tape this was bodged in a few minutes and was back on track without drama for the rest of the day.

As I started pushing on a bit, I was starting to become a little concerned with the brakes. I wasn't getting fade in my relatively short sessions, but they were just very inconsistent. Sometimes I was pulling up too soon, other times barely making the corner and in general they didn't feel great or confidence inspiring. I have a couple of theories, and will be exploring both.



1. With the harness in, I can't get my seating position right. Either my legs are comfortable or my arms are, not both. I feel like with my arms at the appropriate distance that my legs are too bunched up and I have real problems catching my knees/thighes on the steering shroud or the wheel itself. This had an impact on my braking because over the last few years I've bullied myself into rev matching on downshifts and I actually felt it was fairly adequate on my Elise. I told myself soon into the trackday at Blyton that I should just stop trying as it was messing up my braking all the time, but it's a difficult habit to shake.

2. The insides of my brake discs were very corroded when I bought the car. I cleaned them up a bit with wet/dry and I hoped/assumed a couple of trackday sessions would clean them up the rest of the way. It turns out, it didn't - and they still look pretty borked on the inside. Whether this would explain my issues or not, who knows - but there must certainly be room for improvement.

This is them when I first got the car...


And after the events of Saturday...


I was following a good friend in his ~240bhp VX220 Turbo and he has a pretty sorted brake setup with AP 4 pots and some 308mm floating discs and it really drove it home when I saw him comfortably braking way later than I was (and I was then only just making the apex!)

I didn't let it fluster me too much, I just made a much more conservative approach to braking for the rest of the day and concentrated on other areas - still had an absolute blast and gives me good room for improvement.

After the IC Hose fix the car pulled like a train all day long. There are lots of Exige S complaints about the factory intercooler positioning and airflow leading to massive heat soak and subsequently loss of power on track. Some stories of NA cars easily pulling away from an SC car after a couple of laps... hyperbole or not I'm not sure. My butt dyno didn't feel this happening but I was prepared for it, and as such I spent the day "logging" intake temps via my ODB reader. This will form an experiment that I'll be tickling away at over the summer, to give me something to do and maybe even make some performance improvements for not a lot of wonga.

You can see the temps here over a session, they don't get much higher during a session - but this could be because the IC is already heatsoaked. On the road tests I did prior to the trackday I struggled to get the IC temps above 40 degrees. The non-scientific touch test of the hot side and cool side of the intercooler suggested that the temp drop between each side is minimal, compared to the anecdotal evidence of my Subaru setup some years ago.

A few friends had asked on how I was missing the adjustable shocks that my Elise had. Honestly I'd not thought too much about it until they asked, but in hindsight I certainly felt the car was a little bit wayward through the fast Port Froid section compared to the Elise. I think I was maybe a touch slower through there in the Exige but more because the stiffer shocks feign confidence rather than provide extra grip, I think.



I had been running the car up till about 2pm with the traction control on, mainly because I wanted to lean on it and figure out where it was kicking in first before taking liberties without it. I found it kicking in a lot to be honest, it didn't feel too disruptive at first but because of how often I had it flashing away I was increasingly nervous of switching it off! Eventually after brave pill and a good talking to myself it came off... and the car was bloody brilliant.

I discovered the car had tonnes of grip and although switching the TC off probably slowed me down a bit, I think it's raised my ceiling considerably for improvement. Where the TC was previously kicking in, I was now getting just enough rotation at the rear to push me round and as a result I was understeering less. This is the single biggest difference between the Elise and Exige, as the Elise just didn't have the torque to achieve this. I think with a full day without TC I could honestly knock chunks of time off, and on the few occasions that the rear did let go, it was dead easy to collect it without dropping any momentum. The car still spins the inside wheel like the Elise did, but just more often. I think this is what engaged the TC more often than not.



The only other glitch of the day is that I seemed to have recorded most of my sessions in timelapse mode rather than video recording! I got the final clear session in whilst I was in smooth mode which is good, but I'm a bit disapointed I didn't get the huge lockup or my many half-moments that got rescued by the TC earlier in the day!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B1nRQ3C68MI

The ride home was a bit butt clenching as a good friend had a clutch failure on his S1 Exige which we had managed to just about bodge (was a fluid leak) and get him rolling so I said I'd follow him home in case he got stuck. Problem is, my fuel level was critical and there's no way we wanted to risk Les pulling into a service station and putting unnecessary gear changes into the mix! So I hypermiled it about 20miles on the red light (which is a bloody lottery on these cars) and once we got to the M180 services I decided Les was bound to make it home, so I peeled off for a drop of fuel... which is all I could afford @ £1.52/litre!

Car home safe, I've had a quick post day inspection and can confirm that:

1) My Sump isn't leaking. YAAAAAAAAAYYYYYY, so relieved that it doesn't have to come off again.
2) Inside of my brake discs are (still) knackered.

Oh, and I fixed the ABS wiring properly.




So my immediate plans are:

1) Get the discs swapped, not sure what to yet. Some tempting options to go larger and space out the front caliper for some more stopping power or just save money, go OEM and compare.

- OEM Cheapest (£250ish for a full set)
- Budget Lightweight with Alloy Bells but OEM Size (£500ish for a full set)
- 295mm with alloy bells up front and 288mm rear (£900ish for a full set)
- 308mm with alloy bells up front and 288mm rear, allows for a maybe later addition of AP 4 pot calipers (£millions)

2) Look into options for either extending steering wheel reach (or reducing the reach, rather) to allow my legs to be comfortable. Either putting a spacer on the OEM wheel or going aftermarket, need to try some out.

3) Start sciencing with my intake temp data.








Lotus Elise 111R

Impreza WRX STi
SetH
Member

Registered: 15th Jul 01
User status: Offline
9th Apr 19 at 10:52   View User's Profile U2U Member Reply With Quote

Great read, sounds like a great day the small niggles considered.

The rubbing on the wheel sensor wiring as it escaped it's P clip. Surely that would be a recall in this day and age on a modern car. (sarcasm). I guess the p clip was fatigued due to age and just didn't hold it in place anymore. Am guessing you may be securing the rest!

Intake temps in the high 60's, enough heat soak to cause a powerloss? Not familiar with these. I did see massive drops on my scoob when I went from TMIC to FMIC. How could you mitigate this on an Exige? any plans?

Again showing my lack of knowledge on these cars again but would a BBK be necessary given the lightweight? Perhaps just some higher temp pads and some 2 piece discs would suffice?

Thanks for sharing your updates, am learning a lot about this car
Kyle T
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Registered: 11th Sep 04
Location: Selby, North Yorkshire
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9th Apr 19 at 11:36   View Garage View User's Profile U2U Member Reply With Quote

Cheers Seth, I'm enjoying the "us" time we're having in here.

Yep the ABS sensor was annoying, the plastic clips grip onto a rubber hose which must swell up a bit under hard use so not really surprising I guess! It's now got some backup cable ties...

I've got no idea what to really expect for "acceptable" intake temps, as I said my butt dyno didn't really feel any issue but I've got a starting point to see what I can improve upon, if anything at all. I did find a post on the SELOC forum which suggests that the ECU starts pulling timing at 50 degress which suggests that I am indeed suffering power losses with the current setup but I do not know where my ODB sensor is placed in the system and I'm not sure if the 50 degrees "target" should be in the cooler, or at the TB, or in the manifold, etc.

The "Proper" Solution is to charge cool the car, running a separate coolant circuit to an extra rad in the front of the car to convert it to a water/air cooler. This fixes the 'issue' without a doubt, but it's adding a lot of weight and complexity to the car, not to mention the £2k hardware cost plus front clam removal and maybe even rear clam removal depending on what access is like... big job!

So my experiment for the summer is to explore a more pikey option, standing on the shoulders of previous experiments that are well documented on forums etc. This is all based on the roof scoop (the only current source of air to the IC) being total garbage. Not only is the air flow low, but it's also hot air that has come up through the front clam and radiator, up the windscreen then right into the scoop. A few owners have previously mounted ducting from each sidepod leading into the IC shroud which allegedly adds significant cold airflow to the mix.

There are off the shelf options for this, mainly in the US.

In addition to this, I'll look at making a heatshield to sit beneath the intercooler and also will look at fitting oil catch cans to retrieve the blow-by residue that's currently lining the inside of the intercooler reducing its efficiency.

With all those bits done, I hope to make SOME improvement for not a lot of cash. It won't be as good as a charge cooler, but I should be able to measure it and at least report back with an honest appraisal of the setup to help other Exige S owners deal with it.

As for big brakes, yep since I drafted my trackday report I've spoken to a few specialists in the Biz' (including our very own chris_uk) and the overwhelming opinion is that I should just go OEM and save my money. The bigger discs are an improvement but it's marginal, and very expensive. Bigger 4pot calipers also look blingy, but ultimately they don't add any more braking force - just better heat and feel management.



[Edited on 09-04-2019 by Kyle T]


Lotus Elise 111R

Impreza WRX STi
SetH
Member

Registered: 15th Jul 01
User status: Offline
9th Apr 19 at 13:29   View User's Profile U2U Member Reply With Quote

I expect the roof scoop was designed with many compromises due to being a full production road car. Any pictures of cars with aftermarket scoop solutions? I expect its function over form and perhaps more aggressive/ugly looking depending on your perception?

Charge cooling sounds OTT, great for endurance racing or a money no object project. I can't remember where the sensor was in the IC pipework on my scoob. I expect the possible locations you have listed on the Exige will give variations in readings, how much variation I don't know and it could be splitting hairs.

Like I said before though, each little subtle mod soon ends up to producing an overall better package
Kyle T
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Location: Selby, North Yorkshire
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9th Apr 19 at 13:34   View Garage View User's Profile U2U Member Reply With Quote

Mine has actually got an aftermarket scoop on it already, though it's a copy of the carbon roof that came on the Exige 260 Cup 'special' in 2010.

OEM Exige S Scoop:


vs



The V6 Exige that replaced the S2 in 2012 doesn't even have a roof scoop, even Lotus admitted it just didn't do anything!


Lotus Elise 111R

Impreza WRX STi
Kyle T
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Registered: 11th Sep 04
Location: Selby, North Yorkshire
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12th Apr 19 at 15:00   View Garage View User's Profile U2U Member Reply With Quote

A quick update:

I commented that my harness had compromised my seating position in that my legs felt too long when the steering wheel was at the appropriate distance, and that my knees often caught the wheel/shroud.

Solution at first appeared to be an aftermarket wheel that I could bring a bit closer with an aftermarket boss, but after checking through the options I found something that may give me a good reference point for change and is quite a bit cheaper than a new wheel...



It's an adaptor ring intended for a Lotus Motorsport wheel/boss kit, but by drilling out the threads in some of the holes and using longer bolts I can also use it to simply bring the wheel 30mm closer to me. So that's what I've done:

Before:


After:


In terms of the other cockpit ergonomics like stalks, 30mm seems to be about as much as you would want to go. Other people have gone even further by stacking this adaptor with a removable boss but at that point using your indicators/wipers is going to be pretty annoying.

I can now move the seat back to maximum clicks and still have a nice bend in my arms when resting them on top of the wheel, and knees are now well clear... so it's looking like a positive start.

If this is too close to me, I know all I need to do is sort/fabricate a thinner adaptor and if this is still too far away - I have options with aftermarket wheels and running with a slight dish etc.... so this is a good place to start.




Lotus Elise 111R

Impreza WRX STi
SetH
Member

Registered: 15th Jul 01
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12th Apr 19 at 17:47   View User's Profile U2U Member Reply With Quote

LOL you are like Scotty from the Enterprise with all these ingenious fixes
SetH
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12th Apr 19 at 17:47   View User's Profile U2U Member Reply With Quote

P.S can I buy this off you in 2021 please?
Kyle T
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Location: Selby, North Yorkshire
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18th Apr 19 at 09:57   View Garage View User's Profile U2U Member Reply With Quote

I'm hoping it'll be a keeper, we'll see what the next 9 months brings

Quick update as I got some new brake discs from Seriously Lotus last week.

As previously mentioned I was talked down from something a little more gucci and I'm happy with the decision. These are slightly better than OEM in that they actually have directional vanes now (Lotus shipped with all four discs orientated the same way, so in theory worse cooling on one side of the car than the other) and the hubs and vanes are painted on these ones which should keep the grott at bay for a short while.

As a reminder, this is why I'm replacing.

Inside of my front discs both looked like this shortly after I collected the car:



I did make attempts to clean them up with a sander and a drill to countersink the holes a bit, but no dice. Not even a day of Blyton got them cleaned up and this is how they looked after the day:



Inspection of the inside pads show that I've lost a lot of meat, and wasn't getting much/any pad transfer on the inside. I had to take even more meat back off the pads with a sander to make sure that they don't just muck up the new discs too so by delaying this I've easily cost myself a premature set of front pads, though the current ones should be good for the next couple of trackdays... I hope.





Discs on without drama, and set about doing some Pagid approved bedding in. Pad transfer seems even so far and the brakes are feeling pretty good, I need to jack the car up and make sure I'm getting some good transfer on the insides too just in the event that I'm not getting enough pressure on the inside pistons (they feel free enough by hand, so hopefully not).










Lotus Elise 111R

Impreza WRX STi

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