Speed the Lotus Exige

Discussion in 'Other Vehicles' started by MCS02, Mar 23, 2022.

  1. MCS02

    MCS02 Moderator
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    #1 MCS02, Mar 23, 2022
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2022
    So I know this is not Mini but I thought I would share the fun I am having trying to get my Lotus Exige sorted out.

    This may be a long post.

    I bought the car almost two years ago. I had no intention of buying a Lotus although I have always loved the Exige. It was a fluke. The car came up for sale, my wife aka the enabler said call and just check it out. I did the guy had owned the car 5 months. He said he was over 6 feet tall with a size 15 shoe. He just didn’t fit in the car well. I made a offer I thought he would laugh at. He didn’t laugh he took the offer. I would found out later I paid less then he had. Well in less than 2 hours I had a car I didn’t plan on buying. I was very excited.

    I found a Lotus forum and started researching the Exige. I found a thread from 2015 where one had dropped a valve and the owner was doing a build thread on the car. It had 15,000 miles on it at the time. So he put a new short block in the car along with a new head from a place called Monkey Wrench Racing. Along with several other mods. As I read through the thread there were some pictures of his car. Wow it’s white like the one I bought and oh look the same APR wing and canards. Cool. Then I saw the interior. Well I’ll be it has the same rare shifter as my car………….hay that’s my car!

    I kept digging and found the complete history on the car. I found where the first owner sold it to the second and the second to the third, I am the fourth. There was a owner before the first but I was told he died towing the car home when it was new. I even talked to the guy that had the build thread. He was the second owner. I bought it from the third owner. I asked him for a list of what had been done to the car. His answer was “it’s all in the build thread” um no it wasn’t. But ok fine.

    Well after lots of digging I found most of how the car was modded by the first (or should I call him owner 1.1) and the second owner.

    This car has a lot of mods. Way more than I first thought. Tomorrow I will post all the mods I know about and one that no one listed.

    A few months later the car was delivered. And the wild ride started.

    6C34AC16-FDB2-464A-B28F-F2AFAE3235AF.jpeg 15B7C411-C28E-4BCB-B9C6-4727D27127D2.jpeg
     
  2. MCS02

    MCS02 Moderator
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    Exige.....British for sucker for punishment.

    So here is a list of the known Mods

    VF supercharger kit
    tvs900 SC
    quaife LSD
    Rota street wheels
    Alitexh shifter
    Diffuser with aero plates
    S111 Dbrace and other upgrades (other upgrades? don't know what that means but that is how it was listed)
    Carbon wide scoops
    Apr wing
    CF Canards
    CF front splitter
    Boe clam hinge
    Engine mount inserts
    Baffled oil pan
    nitron coilovers
    Front adjustable sway bar (unknown brand. I just found out it was there when I looked under the car)
    aluminum flywheel
    Harness bar and schroth asm harnesses

    Things I have done
    sonicFURY exhaust
    decat pipe
    wide band Bosch 4,9 sensor
    AFR Wide ban gage
    AFR Oil temp Gage
    Electronic review mirror
    MWR hardend intake cam
    MWR upgraded rockers
    Bosch EV-14 550 injectors (just installed waiting on the new ECU)

    Whats next
    Sitting on my bench to install
    New IAT sensor
    ECU masters EMU Black PNP ECU
    Rear tow hook.

    They sent me the wrong ECU. The correct one, or I hope it is correct, will be here today.

    When the car was delivered one of the coileover perches had fallen during shipping but they was an easy fix. The car ran great. think R53 on steroids. Very visceral and the same insane SC wine (wine what I needed lots two weeks later)

    These cars have a problem of cam wipe. So two weeks later I pulled the cam cover and well the cam was wiped!

    Wiped intake.jpg

    I talked to owner #2 he couldn't believe it wiped. Some times they never do it but I have heard of it happing in as little as 600 miles. It's odd. This is a Toyota 2ZZ motor. It is in the MR2 and Celica gt among other cars. Lotus is the only one with this problem. There are several theory's on why this happens. Most think it is because the Lotus Elise/Exige have duel oil coolers up front and the oil does not get hot very quickly or not at all. If you get on the second cam (VVT) before the oil is hot you will wipe the cam.

    Ok if you made it this far congratulations!

    Next post will be on how I fixed the cam and what I did to mitigate the problem.
     
  3. checkers

    checkers Well-Known Member

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    Many years ago I use to work for a Lotus dealer. We use to go to San Francisco and drive the cars back to the dealership ( about 60 miles). That was fun. We also carried Sunbeam's (tiger's).I was in my early 20's.
     
  4. 00Mini

    00Mini Well-Known Member

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    That truly must have been a fun time. :)
     
  5. checkers

    checkers Well-Known Member

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    I've had a good time when I was young. My dad was in to all kinds of things. He had cars (model A's), motorcycles (dirt bikes) . So he would get me one also so we could go together or maybe so mom wouldn't get mad. I was lucky. I had my first car and motorcycle at age 13.
     
  6. MCS02

    MCS02 Moderator
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    Tiger what a great car! My dad gave my brother a Alpine he flipped it. I was so mad at my brother!
     
  7. 00Mini

    00Mini Well-Known Member

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    Flipped as in sold it or flipped as in upside down ??
     
  8. MCS02

    MCS02 Moderator
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    Flipped like upside down.
     
  9. Crashton

    Crashton Club Coordinator

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    Your brother was fortunate to survive that. When I think of all of the dumb things I survived as a young gun it makes me wonder how I lived long enough to become a certified old fart.
     
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  10. checkers

    checkers Well-Known Member

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    I know what you mean. My dad bought a new 1963 TR3 and I rolled it trying to slide through some gravel on the side of the road. The gravel was fine ,but when I hit the asphalt all hell happened.
     
  11. 00Mini

    00Mini Well-Known Member

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    Wowzer !! Very fortunate.
     
  12. 00Mini

    00Mini Well-Known Member

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    When I was sixteen I witnessed a young man roll his sisters MG Midget at Nelson Ledges Road Course turn 1. After all the dust cleared a gentleman who knew some of the course workers said the driver was a very lucky person as he had installed a roll bar just week before and that was what saved him. It wasn’t even a race but the Cleveland sports car group just running timed laps open to the public in the middle of the week.
     
  13. checkers

    checkers Well-Known Member

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    #13 checkers, Mar 27, 2022
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2022
    Lucky is not the word for it. I had a friend with me. He ended up out of the car and I was in the passenger seat of the car. I had 20 stitches in my head but that was all other than facing my dad. He like that car a lot. The only part of the car that wasn't damaged was the trunk lid. My dad really loved cars and driving. In the middle of the night he would pack me and brother and mom in the car and we would wake up in some place like Reno or Carson city.
     
  14. minirab

    minirab Well-Known Member

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    LOTUS = Lots Of Trouble Usually Serious. I know i had a 67 Elan S/E many moons ago.
     
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  15. Minidave

    Minidave Well-Known Member
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    Don't the oil coolers have thermostats? maybe some zinc additive to the oil would help since you're not running a cat?
     
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  16. MCS02

    MCS02 Moderator
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    Short explanation why I was mad being the loving brother I am:D by then he had messed up several cool cars. When my dad let him have it I knew it was a goner. I was hoping I would get to drive it one day.
     
  17. MCS02

    MCS02 Moderator
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    #17 MCS02, Mar 27, 2022
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2022
    Exige- British for I don’t know why it broke.

    Dave you are spot on! So that brings me to what I did to fix the problem. Dave has hit two on the head.

    For those that have not seen how the VVT system on a 2ZZ motor works here is a picture of the intake cam and rockers.
    A24C6642-970A-4C2B-85BA-903F929CEDBE.jpeg

    As you can see the cam has 2 lobs a high speed (second cam) and low speed. And the rocker has a roller for the low speed lobe and a slipper for the bigger high speed lobe(second cam)

    The way it works is it uses the low speed till the RPMs reach 5400 (on my car because the tune lowered the RPM activation) a solenoid open allows oil pressure in to push up on the slipper and now you are using the high speed cam(lobe). Also at the same time oil pressure changes the intake cam timing. Boy howdy can you tell when that cam kicks in.
    The cams are oiled by a tube that runs along the top of the valve cover. Here is a picture.

    5E640FB7-DFC8-46BC-A73A-64EAAFC7F029.jpeg
    What you can’t see in the picture is the pipe turns down and fits into the head where it gets the oil. The pipe has an o-ring on it for a tight fit into the head.

    As I said in the last post there is several theory’s why the cam gets wiped; cam were too soft, not proper oil from the tube, oil temp not hot enough before getting on the second cam. The conventional wisdom is oil temp. I don’t know I think it may be several things. Most people advise you to drive the car till the water temperature comes up to normal working temp then drive another 15 minutes before getting on the second cam. If you have an oil temp gage you want the oil temp over 190f

    man this is going to be long, hang with me there will be extra pay if you make it to the end.

    So here is what I did to fix the problem.

    I bought a harder cam from Monkey Wrench Racing MWR
    MWR upgraded rockers. The slipper is wider and harder than stock.
    I changed the sandwich plate with one that has a 200 deg thermostat.
    @Minidave you are right the car comes sandwich plat with a thermostat to block off the coolers but it never closes
    all the way. So it takes for ever for the oil to get hot.
    I added an oil temp gage so I would know when my temp was above 190
    I blew air through the oil rail in the valve cover and found the holes near the end were getting less air out of them, so I gently opened them up more so the air was the same out of each hole.
    Lastly as @Minidave said I started running a zinc additive. Although at the time I did have a cat.

    I checked it a month later and it was still good! Yay.

    The car was running great. So that October I sighed up for a SCCA track night. Man was it fun.

    It was a lot of fun. The Exige is a great track car.

    Well all was well till the last stent……..
    1F9458A1-7910-4837-B3B9-0092E74B3079.jpeg



    Well Damn!

    Speed hates me!

    next post. What just happened.
     
  18. 00Mini

    00Mini Well-Known Member

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    My eyesight isn’t what it once was but that does not look good.
     
  19. MCS02

    MCS02 Moderator
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    Melted electrode.
     
  20. 00Mini

    00Mini Well-Known Member

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    Head or piston damage ??
     

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