Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Engine Mount Update

We've just received the street version which has the softest durometer. See below. It will go on our Exige immediately. I'll report back soon.

I met up with Tim last week and test drove his Exige 'S' with a very stiff (high durometer) PUR engine mount kit. The shifting action and throttle response was excellent. The vibration was.....too much for street use. Track focused cars will be happy with this kit as it great improves the response of the car.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Pix from LCS

Chris and I enjoyed a few sessions with the LCS folk at Streets of Willow. We tested out a few new items: titanQR, 308BBK, Schroth Hybrid & Recaro HANs ProRacer.

Kelly's Exige...

Jack's 211...what a sweet machine.

Rob's race winning ride:

Quicker Lotus Steering? Oh Yes!

A few years ago, I bought an Evo8 after experiencing its quick steering response. What an amazing feeling - even though the feedback was too light. When I got my Elise, I revelled in the feedback but was a bit disappointed in the speed of the steering vs. the Evo. To make matters worse, I bought an Atom last year with lightening quick steering. The Lotus steering felt a bit like a Caddy in comparison..well, maybe an M-car(flamesuit on!).

So when I learned a quicker ratio rack was available for our Lotus, I secured one for fitment. It turns out to be built by the same company that previously supplied Lotus. They re-engineered their previous kit with a quicker ratio. The lock to lock was reduced from 2.75 turns to 2.5. This may not seem like much but what a difference it makes!

We installed the rack a couple of weeks ago. The installation was a straight forward bolt-on solution but is also a bit of pain. Working in the footwell of our cars is no fun. Disconnecting the pinion is especially a pleasure! We learned a few things the hardway... ;^) Luckily we have a shop manual, limited brainpower AND good resources - like AutoEurope! We called over to our friends in DTW and received the tips we needed to get the job done.

Unbolting the rack.

Stock on the left.

Chris and I took it to Streets of Willow for the last LCS ( http://www.lotuschallengeseries.com/) event. What a blast! Our Exige turned in beautifully and the quickness was noticeable. I had other Lotus owners drive the car and the feedback was universally positive. BTW: if you've not checked out the LCS, it is really a good time. Please check out their website.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Engine Mounts

In early 2007 we began working on a solution for the severe engine rocking inherent in the Elise/Exige. Shifting problems and exhaust failures can clearly be attributed to this excessive motion - it has also maligned a LIDbone or two. I made the following post last summer:

We've been vexed by the large engine movement in our cars. To address this
issue, we're experimenting with transmission mounts. These direct replacements
have stiffer polyurethane bushings that reduce engine/transmission movement,
which results in more precise shift performance and better throttle response.
The pictures below show our second generation prototypes that we've tested in
our cars. As it turns out, we have much more work to do to insure that it is a
solution that can work for most of the community. We'll keep at the R&D
because this is one problem we aim to sort! No ETA on the final product....

Unfortunatley these caused far too much cabin vibration. I think most NVH engineers at Lexus would have had a coronary if they drove our car with these two mounts. Without question they improved the shifting action of the Spyder by dramatically reducing the rotation. But the high levels of shake & rattle sent us back to the drawing board for street driven cars.

Earlier this year we sorted a new solution which comprised of metal inserts that took up the recesses in the stock rubber mounts. It was another clever idea from our friends at BurkeBuilt but it turned out to be too expensive to produce. We tested this solution on track and it worked very well.

Enter Innovative Mounts: We've now found a solution that should meet our needs for dramatically reduced engine rotation AND minimal vibration into the cabin. Innovative Mounts has been building mounts for the sport compact market for over 10 yrs. Their kit includes mounts for all 4 locations. Though we considered changing only the front and rear mounts, Tim@Innovative highly discouraged us. They have found this will create more stress on the remaining 2 mounts as well as transmit too much vibration. One of the key features of their PUR bushing is the tapered end design which helps reduce vibration transmission through the attachment points.
We will be testing a set on our car this week or next. We expect to have them available in 2 flavors of stiffness: Street & Track.

Hi All,

We've started to blog again about some of our latest developments! Many of you have followed our Spyder Blog last year and have asked us to continue. I have developed many products over the 20+ years in this industry. It is definately one of my passions. So with that in mind, we have started this blog to review some of the items we are currently developing. Truthfully, we have probably killed as many items as we have launched!

Keep an eye out for weekly entries.

Thanks for tuning in.