Saturday, February 4, 2017

Evora shiftR111 Progress

The earlier S1 Evora shifter is a derivation of the '07+ Elise/Exige shifter.  As a result, it also suffers from poor feel and durability. It has the same blue plastic ball joint that has broken in Elise/Exige/211.  We are now seeing this failure in more and more Evoras, as well.  Clearly, we felt there was a real need.

We took apart an Evora shifter system to see if our shiftR111 might work.  Lotus does a nice job of integrating various requirements to really drive down the cost of a component.  This shifer housing clearly serves a few different functions.  The key was that the overall height of the shifter and the mounting points at the front would work for our shiftR111.  It appeared with a change to our hand brake brackets, we could create a shifter kit for the Evora.  So we got to work on a design.

Shown below is our design for the Evora.  We are now getting a prototype made to test fit into a car.  We remain overtly optimistic.  8^)

We have already sorted out shifter cables and our innovative ESWkit for the Evora so a shiftR111 will complete the package nicely.   

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Carbon-lined Synchro Testing

2nd Gear synchro
We had our trans fitted with the new carbon-lined synchros from Synchrotech.  Our '05 Elise (ArtCar v2) was once again our trusty test mule.  I ran almost 150 miles at Spring Mountain on these synchros.  The shifting and specifically the downshifts were really crisp.  Road use was also good with no negative behavior or characteristics.
rebuilt and ready to go in

The trans has stock gears, clutch/fly and no LSD.  The car was also equipped with our new shiftR111 and SMOOTHoperator but no short-shift kit.  We debated internally whether or not to run a short shift kit and ultimately decided not to have it installed.  We knew that the 'feel' of these new synchros would be important and anything that might influence feel would be another variable.

We ran on the 3.6mile Fittipaldi course.  This configuration uses 2nd,3rd,4th &5th gears.  There are some really fast sections and plenty of slow 2nd gear corners - with a couple of them heavy breaking zones.  Proper heel and toe downshifts are critical on many of the corners so it was a good test of the synchros.

a fast course with plenty of shifting from high speeds/rpms

Overall the car shifted nicely.  The feel was immediate and frankly crisp.  The down shifts were great and even at times when I did not get enough of a blip, they seemed to engage really well.  I drove the car on the 'street' a bit around the shop and grounds of SMMR.  Again the shifting was nice and confirmed that it can work fine on street cars - with no negatives,

taking a slight breather between sessions

David@Synchrotech referred to synchros as the brakes for gears.  As it turns out, there are many manufacturers who use synchros of this type for 15+ years.  Our kit uses brass, carbon and construction that have been refined by Synchrotech over several generations - mostly in Honda applications.  This is especially important to us as the Honda run 9k rpm trans that are similar to our 8k rpm gearboxes.  Essentially, the carbon can deal with high speeds far better than just the brass - as found on our stock synchros.  David did change the design slightly from stock to improve performance and my testing confirms that these changes are acceptable.  If you compare them side by side with a stock set, you may see some differences.  Our trans rebuilder, Jeff@Transaxle, was also duly impressed with the kit.  His opinion was key as he rebuilds many, many gearboxes for Lotus Cup racers.

I believe they are suitable for road & track.  The stock brass synchros are the weak link in the Toyota gearbox so these bits will be very welcome and will extend the life of the gearboxes.  Of course, you still need to heel and toe your downshifts!  Yes, these will allow for faster shifts but we still suggest clients be smooth and gentle.

We are going to get production products and release these parts.  You can find them: HERE

Monday, January 9, 2017

Evora Clutch Delay Valve

Lotus decided to protect the transmission in the Evora S at the expense of the clutch. Just like with the S240 and S260 models (which we blogged about HERE), they fit a clutch delay valve in the hydraulic system. This valve delays the flow of fluid out of the clutch slave cylinder which more gently engages the clutch. This protects the transmission from shock loads, it also prematurely wears your clutch. 

We just pulled a clutch out of a 50k mile Evora S that was completely used up. If you look closely, you can see that the heads of the rivets are ground away; there was nothing left of this thing. It also damaged the flywheel and scored it badly enough that it also needs to be replaced. 

Delay valve shown
 Aggressive driving certainly plays a roll in the accelerated wear of a clutch, but slipping the clutch at every engagement really hurts life when combined with aggressive driving.

Our solution, the Evora CLUTCHline, is a piece of stainless steel braided line with the correct fittings that replaces the factory delay valve

The CLUTCHline will allow the clutch to engage as quickly as possible, preventing excessive slipping. It will also allow you to modulate the clutch in low speed situations rather than fight the delay valve. Of course if you want to do high RPM clutch dumps, you are going to put more stress on your transmission, but if you drive with some skill and care, the reliability of your transmission should not be compromised but your clutch life should be greatly extended. This is a good thing considering that a clutch replacement requires powertrain removal and takes roughly 40 hours of labor...

The lines are available on our site HERE. It takes about 2 hrs to install it.

Monday, January 2, 2017

shiftR111 Track Testing

We brought our ArtCar v2 to SMMR and ran the 2.4mile Fangio B course. We managed to get about 100 track miles put onto her. No issues. The shiftR111 felt great. Watch the following video from inside the car showing the shiftR111 in action going up and down gears 2 through 5.

We recruited a couple of long-time Lotus owners who have run countless track miles on their Lotus cars. I wanted to get their objective opinions about our new shifter. Watch the video below:

Our next step is to confirm fitment into a stock Elise, finalize the reverse lock-out cable length and then kick off production. Yes!