Thursday, October 30, 2008

Winterizing Tips from WT Roadsters

Winter is coming up quick. Bill Thomas was kind enough to put together a list of items he does with his Elise, Triumph and supercool motorbikes:

  • Wash and if possible wax/detail vehicle. Make sure vehicle is completely dry before permanent parking. If it is not possible to wash and/or detail car then at minimum it should be wiped down. Remove all items such as paper, food, etc. from interior. The less clutter the better as this will help prevent rodents from wanting to move in.

  • If vehicle is to be stored throughout the winter without any chance of being driven, inflate all tires to 5 psi above maximum inflation pressure stated on tire sidewall. This will help reduce flat-spotting of tires during extended imobilized storage. You can go one step further in preventing flat spots by parking vehicle on dense rubber pads large enough to cover contact patch of tire. A 12''x12'' square one to two inches thick at each wheel is sufficient.

  • Change oil and filter if possible. Clean oil sitting in the cooler(s), filter and sump for upwards of six months is better than dirty oil!!!

  • Fuel tank should be completely full. This will prevent condensation from forming on the inside of the tank walls should there be a rapid change in temperature and humidity.

  • Check all fluid levels (coolant, brake, clutch, wiper resivoir) and adjust levels as required. Be sure to verify freeze protection of coolant/antifreeze solution in both the engine and windshield reservoir.

  • Remove battery from vehicle and store in a warm, dry climate utilizing a battery tender. Make sure windows are fully closed first. If a warm, dry area is not available such as a basement or garage, place battery on a wood plank with tender attached. The wood will act as an insulator between the ice cold floor of an unheated garage and the battery. The current flow created by the battery tender will generate a slight amount of heat in the battery. This is a good thing and will help prevent freezing.

  • If storage area has a tendency to become damp or experience rapid temperature and humidity changes (an uninsulated garage is a good example) you should spray a light mist of WD-40 or silicone in engine bay completely covering everything. This will prevent corrosion on some of the aluminum and steel engine-related parts (ECU, Air Flow Meter, misc. fittings and fixtures). Do not over-do it with the spray. Make it shine, not drip!!

  • Once you have completed the checklist, your final task will be to cover the car with a soft, quality car cover. It should be able to 'breath', meaning that moisture can pass from the vehicle surface through the cover fibers to atmosphere. This will help protect paint and trim from staining should the cover get wet or surface condensate.

  • Finally, if the vehicle is accessable during the storage period, you may check its well-being as often as you care to. I have stored vehicles for 8-12 month stretches without any problems.

  • One final important tip: DO NOT start the car and let it run for a few minutes at a time sporatically throughout the storage period. I know many people out there think this is a good idea but it is not. This practice will rapidly contaminate the engine oil and fill your exhaust with condensation (water!). BAD, VERY BAD!

Thx to Bill Thomas, WT Roadsters, NJ Sector111 Authorized Dealer & Katana Installer (908) 313-4482 or

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Seat Back Reinforcement & Head Net

In our pursuit of more safety, we've had a seat reinforcement fabbed. The ReVerie XRC-FIA seat we installed in the Atom has threaded inserts located in the back and is ready for reinforcement. Our friends at BurkeBuilt built the custom reinforcement bar that attaches to the chassis at the roll bar mounting locations. The seat is stiff to start with but is now unbelievably stiff.

A safety seminar I attended early this year, put on by SCORE, continued to advocate seat safety. Dr. John Melvin, a professor and noted safety industry expert, also promoted the use of HANs-type devices and head nets. We have been playing around with a couple of Head nets and looking for ways to secure them - somewhat easy on the Atom and fairly difficult on the Lotus. Watch our Schroth video ( ) if you want to see how violent a side impact can be! Head nets can help significantly.

We're chasing after ways to both reinforce seat backs as well as commercialize head nets. No timing on when we'll have them done for either Lotus or Ariel, but aim to get something sorted by start of track season next year.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Engine Mount Install Notes

I installed the mounts in our Exige and can say they are of great quality in both appearance and manufacture. The install was not a overly difficult job at all. The most difficult part of the install was the passenger side mount due to some of the configured attachment bolts. The rest of the install was uneventful. Use of a jack is required to support the motor and to adjust the motor for bolt alighment/removal. However the movement of the motor upward is not very much since it is recommended to install one mount at a time. I started with the driver side which has several accessories attached to it, then I installed the passenger side mount. I then moved to the bottom mounts, first completing the rear mount. The forward mount is also straight forward and easy to install. Removal of the diffuser and undertray is required.

Engine Mount Update 2

I have been testing the engine mounts and they are indeed awesome for shift & throttle response. At idle, the in-cabin vibes may be too much for street only cars. We are putting some more miles on the car to see if they will change. We've got a small batch coming in and a group of Beta testers who want to try them out. I'll let you know how it turns out.

Monday, October 6, 2008

New harness

I've been testing a new harness from Schroth for awhile now. We installed it in my Atom before the Paladin Open House. This belt is a new design that is super easy to get into and out of. The adjusters are especially cool. I suspect this will become the choice for track addicts running HANs devices.

The following picture does not show the correct tabs or shoulder belts. We have ordered harnesses from Schroth (HMS) that will be specific for the Lotus and Atom fitment. We will have them in stock next week.
More info to follow soon...