Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Nitron Upgrades Have Arrived!

We just received Nitron's latest bits for install. We will be installing these onto an Exige Cup car that is getting campaigned in the Lotus Challenge Series. Running extremely low ride heights, which is desirable on a race car, results in poor performance with the stock Lotus geometry. The Nitron uprights will allow for a 25mm drop in ride height while still keeping the geo working well. We will be moving the stock Lotus Sport AP calipers to the rear with this kit. The race spec AP Pro 5000+ calipers are getting installed on the front. We will run Pagid Rs14s to start.
This close up shot shows the quality of the machining on the uprights. Amazingly they have the ability to eliminate all of the mill marks completely - but then the parts look like cast bits!

We post up our progress soon.

Friday, December 18, 2009

New Lotus Shifter System

Shift 'feel' is one of the weak links in the Lotus. The throws are long and sloppy. Earlier OE shifters were recalled when it was discovered that heavy handed shifting would break them. We offered a sequential shifter to help address this issue but it was expensive and the install was onerous. Tim at Innovative introduced me to his completely new shifter solution a year ago. He has been working closely with Brent as well to sort in a more comprehensive package. It has gone through several significant changes in this last year.

The latest version is now ready for testing. This package will include everything: shifter housing & mechanism, gear knob, cables, and new brackets and linkage in the back. Parts are being machined to very high spec so we expect very good shifting feel. The length of throw and height of shifter are all adjustable allowing each driver to tweak this system to their liking.

This kit is getting installed in a couple of race cars first to test durability. Expect a limited release soon thereafter.

Oh, yes, I am very excited about this one!

BTW: That is a ReVerie XRC FIA approved seat that is very wide. This is the solution for those clients with larger waists who want a superbly safe racing seat for their Lotus.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Atom Tune & Dyno Results

We got the Atom back onto the K&N dyno after making all of our tweaks to the powertrain and ECU. This was the dyno that originally revealed two years ago that my stock Atom was making 260hp at the crank. We could now test it on the same dyno and find out if we made any true gains.

We've been blogging about the mechanical upgrades we have been making to my Atom. You can see these posted in previous months on this Blog. The following items were changed:
  1. Smaller pulley & belt
  2. Larger injectors
  3. Intake
  4. IC radiator - inline with original
  5. ECU Tune with 7100 redline for 91 octane
All other powertrain internals
remained the same. Our partnership with Secant was key since they are Ecotec experts with the ability to properly tune the stock ECU. This allowed significant changes to the poor tune that came with our cars. We know that many Atoms are blowing up exhaust systems - an issue incorrectly attributed to poor quality exhausts. As it turns out the EGTs were out of control and annihilating exhausts thx to the poor tune and mechanical configuration.

The Secant team was able to achieve 280hp & 241 ft-lbs of torque with this engine in their Lotus powertrain swap. This is the safe limit for a track driven, stock LSJ engine with 91 octane. People have achieved more but at the expense of powertrain reliability. I wanted to sort a package that could be run reliably, on the track, without the headache of frequent engine rebuilds.

We hoped to achieve the same power levels that Secant sorted with the Lotus. As it turns out, we nailed it. Three runs were taken at K&N and realized Horsepower of 278-281 (stock 262) & Torque of 240-248 (stock 229). This was with 91octane - we know with
race gas, more can be achieved.
A key part of the tune is the smooth power delivery from down low all the way to 7100rpm. The original tune showed a serious dip in power from 2500-3500 - this was eliminated with Secant's tune. The higher rpm limit also helps tweak out some additional power though the new tune makes more power everywhere. The car felt faster and now the dyno confirms it!

One interesting aspect of Secant's Atom tune is the changes to the lower rpm pedal progression. The original tune created a car that was very jumpy in around town driving at lower speeds. We've all had to endure slipping the clutch to get the Atom to drive smoothly at slow speed. The magic of comprehensive ECU tuning allows the tuner to 'slow down' the pedal at the low speeds and make it much easier to drive. You can also drive the car at slow speeds with no input to the accelerator - something Steve called 'Paddock Mode'. In fact we got stuck in a traffic jam where I was able to use this 'mode' to its fullest.

Contact us if you want your Atom tuned to deliver a safe level of power. We can supply all of the mechanical parts to get your Atom to run safely. And now, we have the data that shows we make real and safe power!

My friend, Jerry, the owner of K&N, invites our local car club to visit his huge facility for a yearly visit. I want to thank him and his gracious staff for the great tour of their business. K&N has a significant R&D lab that flow bench tests all their products and conducts serious MAF trials. These guys are definitely in a different league compared to their CAI competition. Naturally our intake features a K&N filter!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

gPAN - Baffled Oil Pan Testing Results

Oil starvation is one of the 3 issues that must be fixed on any track driven Lotus. This problem has spun rod bearings and/or killed pumps. Sorting it has been on our development list for a long time. Like with our fuel starvation solution, we've tried to address problem at the source - the pick up. We had originally considered the Accusump but data collected by Ralph@V2 has shown that it is not effective. Keeping the oil trapped around the pick up became the right approach for us. The gPAN is essentially a baffled oil pan that we believe will fix the issue.

To confirm the gPAN's performance, we ran our Elise with the final version on track this past weekend and collected oil pressure data. We have been working diligently to get the fitment and ease of install correct. Our Elise has been running with a gPAN for over 1 month with no leaks. We installed an AiM data logger along with an oil pressure sending unit to log our performance. The car was run on Spring Mountain at the last Lotus Challenge race and West Coast Lotus Meet. Conditions were perfect and we ran with R888 tires.

After running a few sessions, we down loaded the data. The oil pressure ran quite consistently around 50psi with 3 different drivers over several sessions. We looked at the data closer coupled with lateral g data to look for potential starvation. Turns 1 & 2 are a fast right hand and then a left hand sweeper. This is a severe area of the track that should cause serious oil starvation, but our results show a constant >50psi of oil pressure. See the graph below from this area of the track.

Based on these results, we are confident that we've sorted a good fix for the oil problem. We should have them available by the end of the year.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Track Surface Differences - Choosing the Right Suspension

I am amazed at how smooth the tracks (and roads) are in England. My last track day at Bedford Autodrome along with a previous visit to Brands Hatch and Donnington confirmed that conditions are much better than what we experience at many tracks and roads here in the US. I have also been to Fuji and driven on Twin Ring Motegi in Japan so know that they also enjoy smoother conditions.

Why is this important? Suspension set up. With the bumpy conditions found on various tracks and roads we run, a compliant suspension is key. Too high a spring rate will create a car that does not soak up the irregularities. Good rebound and compression adjustment becomes key as well.
To that end, we have kicked off three new spring rate packages that you can select when ordering your Nitrons. Our experience has also shown that aero plays a significant role in spring choice. Early this year, while testing Nitrons with 525/650lb springs - it became apparent that the high downforce ReVerie kit on our Exige could use some more spring. We installed 550/700 and the car ran like a dream - it sucked up the bumps and ran the curbs like never before. Nothing seemed to upset it, even on our bumpy tracks (Willow & Buttonwillow in this case).

Rebuilding shocks last week at Nitron showed me the amount of options that exist in tailoring a suspension system INSIDE the shock! Choosing the correct valving to match your spring rates is a critical part of a sorted kit. Working with Ralph@V2, some select Lotus Challenge racers and of course, Nitron UK, we will be working to refine our kits to meet our US needs. And since Nitrons can be rebuilt/revalved by us, we will be able to tweak your kits to meet your specific needs.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Nitron Testing at the Bedford Autodrome Track

Ralph from V2 and I were in England last week getting training at Nitron. Guy Evans, Nitron MD, was our gracious host who along with his staff, provided us the needed training to start up our Nitron North America program. This team answered our unending questions on the rebuild, revalve and upgrading of Nitrons. After an intense week of info overload, we had the chance to do some testing at the Bedford Autodrome. This former airbase is now a great facility that can be rented for testing or for training. They offer an excellent program that gets you into several awesome cars and onto the track. We ran the 3.8 mile track config. Learn more about Bedford: HERE
We brought Nitron's newly rebuilt 111R (Elise). They bought this crash damaged car and have begun making it into their newest test vehicle - the N2. It featured a roll cage, CF seats, Nitron Single Adjustable suspension, Nitron toe links, Nitron brakes and a brand new R888s on TD cast wheels.

This was the first shakedown trip for the car so we drove carefully at first (of course the rain helped). But quickly we found the car was well sorted and a fun track day companion. This picture is of Ralph working his smooth style to the max...

Driving on a new track while shifting with my left hand added to the challenge. I also had to use quite a few towels to better fit my short self into the fixed seats that were positioned for 6ft+ Guy. After my first stint in the rain, I got the chance to get settled. The second stint came after lunch with a drying track. More fun and more speed. I started getting the line down and started linking several of the corners like a track regular and began passing quite a few of the other cars. I was not 100% with my left handed shifts but that will come with more practice. Luckily, I don't have this issue in the US. 8^)

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Atom Rear Wing Strut is Finally Done

Steve came by the shop with the finished rear strut assembly. A few tweaks were made and the wing bolted on. We set the slot gap to 10mm. Additional wing adjustment was available for the main wing on the strut. We set this fairly conservatively. We had installed the front TMI wing a month ago. The car has the look of the current gen F1 cars with a large front spoiler and narrower rear wing. The dual element wing from ReVerie looks fantastic. It is an excellent design and should prove to be very efficient.

The struts are a work of art with a trailing edge that is almost too sharp. Steve built them on his own mill and will build them to order for us. Final production versions will have a tumbled and
anodized finish. Since these will be custom ordered, we can anodized them to colors chosen by the client.

We took a quick trip with the car around our test route. It had already gotten dark but we had to drive it! The added downforce was clearly evident on a fast bend on the route. Now we need to get this car to the track to dial in the suspension.

I spent some time driving it on Saturday. We were dialing in our new 7100rpm tune with Steve from Secant and the car ran well. The added downforce adds a high level of comfort as the Atom felt fully planted.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Nitron Uprights and More

Guy and his engineers have been busy developing some new products that stretch beyond his normal line. He has developed a line of race focused products that complement Nitron suspensions. New front uprights and rear uprights have been built with several key features. These will also take new brakes that have been developed for race use. New toe links with a novel new design have also been sorted. See the Nitron website for more detail on these items: Click Here

Nitron, Sector111 and Simply Sportscars have embarked on a global Technical Partnership that will strive to develop even more serious products for the Elise/Exige variants. Our goal is to sort out products that will be track and race focused with ultimate performance. Expect us to embrace the Lotus mantra of performance through lightweight so that we can extract every possible ounce of performance.

We have also made an investment in service for Nitron suspensions in the North America. A shock dyno has been ordered and will allow us to rebuild and revalve Nitrons to spec. Ralph at V2 Motorpsorts will be our partner in providing the service that will be required for anyone running these race shocks. Expect an even more comprehensive and customizable Nitron offering from us - with complete service.

Stay tuned for more detailed information.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

ReVerie CF Exige Hatch Update

Simon@ReVerie just sent me this pic of the near complete carbon fiber hatch. They are very light at 5.5lbs. He still needs to fit the rear slats in the intercooler portion of the lid. 1/4 turn fasteners will be included. Pulling weight from the top of the Exige is something that is not only noticeable - but fully benefitial. Of course they are built to the typical ReVerie quality: prepreg and autoclaved. Properly light and stiff.

We will have them priced at $2500 and expect to get them by the end of Oct.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

ULTRAlightweight - ULTRAdiscs

ULTRAdiscs have proven themselves on and off the track since 2005. A key reason for the success of the ULTRAdiscs is the gain in performance they bring, especially through weight reduction.

These ULTRAlightweight two-piece, floating rotors will save you 10 lbs of unsprung weight (weight not supported by the suspension, i.e. wheels, tires and brakes) by using strong and light materials and an innovative design.

ULTRAdisc’s two-piece design allows the hats to be made from strong and lightweight anodized aircraft 6061 T-6 billet aluminum. The floating rotors themselves are made with a high-carbon iron that is perfectly balanced for strength and lightweight.

More weight was taken off by designing each ULTRAdisc to be corner specific - we can claim to be the very first to develop this innovation for the Elise/Exige. As many of you know, Lotus uses one part number for all four brakes. The front and rear brakes are the same rotor even though the brake pads are of different size. The ULTRAdisc rotors are tailored to match the swept area of the smaller calipers in the rear and the larger calipers in the front. This correction eliminates 3/8” of heavy unused rotor surface per rear wheel. This alone saves 6 pounds of rear unsprung weight!

Adding power will make your faster in a straight line but reducing weight, specifically unsprung weight, enhances nearly every performance characteristic. By sticking to Colin Chapman’s philosophy of “simplify and add lightness,” you can improve acceleration, braking and cornering grip at the same time.

ULTRAdiscs will not only give you greater stopping power, but the loss of unsprung weight will give you more precise steering inputs and better turn-in characteristics.

All of this weight savings and durability has made ULTRAdiscs a favorite of the fastest Lotus Challenge Series drivers. Brent B.'s high-power, high-aero, race-winning Exige to our low-power, no-aero Project Nirvana Elise run ULTRAdiscs with excellent results. Reducing unsprung weight will improve your Lotus's performance no matter how it's setup.

Sector111 Podcast- Martin from Girodisc

We spoke with Martin, Principal at Girodisc, about our ULTRAdiscs and all sorts of other brake-related issues in the newest Sector111 Podcast. Martin talks about how and why he started Girodisc, the history of cross-drilled brakes and why manufacturers still offer them & what makes ULTRAdiscs so good!

CLICK HERE to listen to the Sector111 Podcast

Thursday, October 1, 2009

ULTRAproven - ULTRAdiscs

We developed ULTRAdiscs with Girodisc over four years ago. Since then, ULTRAdiscs have proven themselves in almost every manner possible. We combined Martin @ Girodisc’s years of automotive engineering experience (5 years of which were spent at Porsche Engineering Services) and our knowledge of the Lotus Elise/Exige to develop the perfect OE replacement brake solution, the ULTRAdiscs.

ULTRAdiscs have proven their performance and longevity on the street and race track since 2005. It’s the rotor of choice for the fastest Lotus Challenge Series competitors. ULTRAdiscs have been run on the track with fantastic results on cars with high power and massive downforce as well as on N/A cars with no aero. ULTRAdiscs have been proven time and again to deliver regardless of car setup or track.

The race track is a great place to test the performance of products. The extremes of track use are hardly ever duplicated on the street. However, actual street miles are just as hard to duplicate. ULTRAdiscs have spent just as much time proving themselves on the street as they have on the track. The Sector111 Spyder took a set of ULTRAdiscs over to 30,000 miles and still had life left in them! No other rotor on the market can say that.

ULTRAdiscs are the only aftermarket rotors to have been proven on the road and track for as long as they have. They were developed back in 2005 to be lightweight and longlasting. After being put to the test for over four years, we have proof these rotors will deliver!

When it was time to upgrade the brakes on our Project Nirvana, there was only one rotor up to the task: the ULTRAlightweight, ULTRAlonglasting and ULTRAproven ULTRAdiscs.

Monday, September 28, 2009

raceVIEW Install Tips

We just installed raceVIEW mirrors on Project Nirvana last Friday. These carbon fiber side view mirrors actually save 2lbs of weight plus reduce visual 'weight' as well. The car looks far sleeker now with this addition. Improved forward vision is another bonus as the clunky stock mirror stalks are eliminated opening up your view as your strake those apexes. It's been awhile since we installed raceVIEWs so we refreshed our memories and found some new install tips to share with you.

1. Masking tape is your friend.

  • We used it to hold the new bolts to our allen wrenches during install
  • Cover painted areas that you are working on to minimize scratches

2. Use the 2 wrench method to install base plate

  • Rick came up with the idea of using 2 wrenches to hold the bolts in place while lining up the base plate plate. This works like a charm to line up to the threaded sections of the base plate

3. The angle of the bottom bolt is extreme

  • This bolt is hard to see when peering through the hole but this picture gives you an idea of how the wrench must be angled

  • We did not install the new bolts in this location on our last Exige as it was blocked by metal plate. The raceVIEWs never loosened up on the Exige even after 3.5yrs of use. We left them off of our Project Elise as well to see if it will stand up. We did use some serviceable threadlocker on the bolts. We expect it will be fine as our kit is much lighter than the stock mirrors so 2 bolts should be fine....are we channeling our inner Colin Chapman? ;^)

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Sector111 Baffled Oil Pan

As many of you know, engine oil starvation is a real problem for track driven Lotus Elise/Exige. In high 'g' turns, the oil can stand vertically in the stock oil pan starving the pick up and as a result, the rest of the engine. We have been working with a local oil pan specialist to develop a high quality baffled pan that will put the issue to rest.

Project Nirvana has been on our lift for some time to dial in our pan. After several tests, we finally have the first article on the car and onto the road. Oil isolation is a key objective with the pan. We spent significant time insuring the size of the oil isolation area and pick up location. The first picture shows the engine without the stock oil pan. You can see the stock pick up in this shot.
The second picture shows us test fitting a 'skeleton' of the pan to confirm clearance and dimensional fit. This shot gives you a peak inside at the trap door openings that help contain oil close to the pick up. Essentially you create a cavity within the pan that isolates the oil even in high 'g' situations.

Though our pan has more oil capacity than stock, this was of lesser concern as stock cars have plenty of capacity thanks to remote oil coolers. Based on our experience quality of the fabrication and features became a higher priority of us. We want a solution that fixes oil starvation first, is fabricated to a high standard and fits correctly without additional machining. You can see that the welds are beautiful and can be found inside and out with our solution. Additionally we use high quality/performance drain plugs with 0-rings. Our pan mated to the engine beautifully.

We identified a few additional changes that will be incorporated into the final pan. We are now testing ours and will plan to release it as soon as we are complete.

I've been driving Nirvana for a few days and so far no leaks....

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Tesla Evaluation @ Sector111

Tasty Bits for the Tesla are back on track. We originally began working with Tesla's accessories group 2+ yrs ago. Product development was put on hold at Sector111 last year when Tesla shut down this group. The success of the Roadster, has now renewed interest in offering some tasty bits for this sweet little machine. Many Tesla owners have already bought our microMIRROR - in fact Martin Eberhard (Tesla Founder) was the first.

We recently began working with James at EV Components who convinced Eric, a Tesla Roadster owner, to come down to our shop and let us go over his car. It turns out Eric and I 'knew' each other as he had sent me the picture of the Tesla with our stellaCORSE wheels last year. We had developed these wheels in the exact fitment for the Tesla. I hope we can get enough interest in these wheels as the OE forged wheels as supposedly very $$$$$$. Now that the stock wheel appears to be a cast wheel our forged solution will be dramatically lighter which should help the Roadster in many good ways. 8^)

Though we have 220 at the shop, we learned that the 2 different types of outlets we had were not the same as the various connectors Eric brought. This required a trip over to the local hardware and electrical supply store to build a new connector. Eric built the new connector while we proceeded to disassemble portions of his Roadster. Recharging was critical as he needed to get back home which is 100+miles north of here!

We test fit various parts onto the car as well as took measurements. Our Carbon Fiber Hardtop actually fits. The weave on the top is quite different from the roll bar cover that is on the car. This is an aesthetic consideration that can be addressed with new CF fabric. We built our top to be a lighter version of the stock Elise top with a focus on use with track oriented cars. It appears that some Tesla owners are taking their cars to the track so we looked at our various parts to see what might also work on track. We inspected the brakes and suspension and found some opportunities.

We also looked into various lifestyle products that could make the Roadster even easier to live with. The trunk is quite large by our standards but the interior - like the Elise -lacks much in the way of storage. There are several opportunities that we found.

We capped the day off with a quick drive. I was given a ride, 2 years ago, on a visit to Tesla's R&D center in SF but this was the first time I had the pleasure of driving one. At that time I remember saying that the Tesla felt like a sailboat while the Elise was more like a motorboat. The lack of sound - except for the wind whistling - is a serene experience that still reminds me of sailing. The Roadster accelerates almost as fast as my Atom. It really throws you back in the seat - as Eric demonstrated! This car came equipped with the AD07 tires in the same sizes as the stock Elise. During my drive, I could feel the added weight of the batteries as well as the under steer that was dialed into this package. The ride is very comfortable and overall feel is great! This car is a blast and I'm sure the owners are having plenty of fun cruising and commuting in these capable machines.

Thanks to Eric for graciously taking time to share his fantastic machine with us. This is definitely a glimpse of the future.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Ralph from V2 is Flyin'

Many of you know we have been offering several new innovations from V2 Motorpsorts. The owner, Ralph Provitz is an accomplished driver and engineer. He has decades of experience in both arenas and has earned a Spec Miata Championship as well as running Sportbikes at Daytona. He has been riding or driving some sort of fast machine since a tender young age. yes, he is certified.

He has finally begun shaking down his '06 Exige after months of preparation. Ralph bought this car last year and has been meticulous in his set-up. Several new items were developed from this process including: V2arms, V2linx, V2mounts and the V2 Fuel Tank. The paint job was even designed by him - it is truly unique and bitchin'. Ralph is running the Nitron Track suspension. These are the double adjustable solution we offer. Additionally he is running our Larini 8" exhaust as this track is very strict with the noise limits.

Ralph spent the weekend at Waterford Hills Raceway in MI. This local track is a fairly short track that is favorable to good handling cars. Since his Exige does NOT have a supercharger, good handling and braking is key. He ran 1:15.2 with some heat cycled Hoosier 'A' compound. This is a very fast time for a car that is not yet complete in its development.

Here are some fast times from other cars on this track.

BMW E46M31:16.325 (Yoko slicks, coil-over)
Spec Miata1:18.827 (Lap record set by Alan Faitel 9/2003)
Dodge Viper1:22.000 (approximate for stock Viper V-10)
ITS 1972 Datsun 240Z1:18.288 (Nationally Competitive ITS 240Z)
Ralph is coaching and prepping a few cars/teams in the DTW area. His talent has delivered some very competitive drivers and cars. I admire his approach to product development and testing. His ability to drive cars at their limits and then understand what is happening is a key strength. He will be testing out our new baffled oil pan for performance as well as other new innovations we are sorting.

I am glad to have him on our team. Expect more superb products from this partnership!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Atom Power Upgrade

We have slowly been upgrading components on the Atom to get it to match the Secant Type I powertrain. 280hp/241 ft-lb power output is the target. I secured a new intake and additional radiator for the intercooler system from Tom@Unique to help us get there.

We installed these bits along with a new Laminova endplate that reroutes the coolant through the intercooler in a manner that achieves improved cooling efficiency. Removing the Laminova tubes takes patience and a gentle touch - neither of which I have much of. This picture shows the stock end plate with 2 hose connections. The new endplate has 3 connections to help flow coolant quicker.

We have a larger water pump that we looked at switching but choose to stick with the stock pump for now. The additional plumbing and wiring required for the new pump dissuaded me from tackling that task at this time. Tom & Ryan from Secant assured me that the stock pump should work well.

The new ic radiator from Tom is plumbed in-line with the stock radiator. The coolant now runs in this manner: pump ->1st rad -> 2nd rad -> IC -> pump. I will need to modify the plastic cowl a bit to clear the front frame that supports the rad. The polished frame reveals Tom's hotrodder roots. The welds on this unit are excellent. Nice work Tom!

I'm anticipating much improved cooling and reduced heat soak issues. The new radiator gets high pressure air as it is positioned in the stock location for the intake. We got creative with the hose plumbing and connections and have sorted a neat configuration. The downside is losing the original intake snorkel - but form must follow function!

The stock intake was discarded in favor of Tom's intake. It delivers air in a nice straight shot - unlike the convoluted stock intake. The MAF should also be much happier. We installed this without difficulty. The filter resides just below the remote oil cooler and appears to block some airflow to this rad. Since oil temps have never been an issue for me, this seems like a fair trade off. Nothing comes free.

We swapped out the in-line fuel filter which of course required a special tool. The # of trips I've made to the store is maddening with this upgrade. 8^) I bought a smaller belt as well since the new pulley is smaller. Though the tensioner appeared to take up much of the slack, it was not enough for the stock belt. NAPA is close so I simply bought a smaller one as replacement.

Steve from Secant arrives on Friday to begin the tuning...

Friday, August 28, 2009

V2mounts - Secure & Safe

I have never been very happy with the mounting options for remote reservoirs on our Lotus. Most suspension companies provide zip ties or band clamps and leave you to find creative places to mount your canisters. The typical place to mount the canisters is the lower a-arms. Though this works, getting the reservoirs tight enough so they don't move during adjustment is tough. Plus they are located in an area that feels vulnerable to road debris. Ralph@V2 came up with a creative solution and sent me a couple to test out.

We installed them on Nirvana last month and ran it at Laguna Seca. Since I only had 2 brackets, I mounted them on the front under the chassis by riveting them. This resulted in a super stiff solution. Reaching in to adjust them was a
snap. We left the rear canisters mounted on the a-arms without the brackets. These remained much less secure as they would move slightly during compression adjustment. On some reservoirs the adjustment is very subtle and any movement can cause you to miss a 'click'. My other concern is adding additional weight to the suspension arms - it is clearly the wrong place.

We decided to order a small batch and assemble a kit we are calling V2mounts. The rear mounts can be installed in a few different locations:
  1. Rear triangulation tube
  2. Rear toe links
  3. Lower a-arms
We like the Rear Triangulation Tube that extends down from the Roll Bar. On the Exige, this is an easily accessible part of the car. Ralph has mounted them here with sweet success. On the Elise it is a bit of a challenge. We've mounted them here BUT upside down on Nirvana. I will run it this way for some time to see how it works. Since most of us don't mess with compression adjustments on
every track outing, this should be less of an issue. Of course the engine will be hot so you have to watch your hands and arms...

I will be using them on my Atom as well to secure my Nitrons. I suspect they may work well on other performance cars.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

New Wheel Studs & SS Brake Lines

We installed a set of our new BULLETstuds onto Project Nirvana. I've used these on my previous Elise and on our last Exige. I love this kit as it makes wheel changes a snap. The quality of the kit is excellent and we have finally sourced some black nuts to keep it discrete. Another key advantage is that it eliminates the need for the Lotus wheel bolt key AND locking key. The lock key was prone to failure and worth eliminating ASAP.

We also installed some new stainless steel brakelines from Girodisc. These are a good addition to any track oriented car. New stock lines are usually adequate for most but over time they begin to deteriorate and soften causing additional softness to an already soft brake pedal.

The red lines add some additional flash to our wheel well area. They also come in a more subdued silver color. You can find them: HERE

Now we need to bleed the brakes....