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mat grant

who's on here from the 'old' forum

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Hi all,

I've just joined this forum - i used to post quite a bit on the old 'lotusexcel.co.uk' forum, and sometimes on the 'lotusexcel.net', but the first one had a section just for the elite and eclat, most of the traffic on the '.net' forum was about the excel, and I've got an eclat.

so just out of interest - who's come across to here from 'lotusexcel.co.uk'?

For people that haven't been on that site and hence don't know about my car crazyness - a summary would be: I bought a 1979 Eclat S1 521 about three or four years ago - still not sure why apart from I liked the geeky look of the thing, liked the handling, liked the idea that it's rust free (at least on the bodywork) and it was very cheap. I didn't intend it to be a daily driver, I've got a perfectly boring 2002 family volvo estate for that.

But from owning it a while, fixing all the electical faults that came with it, MOTing and running it on the road for quite a few miles, a few problems emerged - it was overall difficult to drive, dodgy gearchange, jumping out of gear, no power steering, no low rpm power, heavy clutch pedal, difficult to start, horrible dashboard with impossible to see indicator repeaters (which nearly led to it being an ex Eclat!) leaked drops of oil onto my drive etc etc. So whilst it was fun for a sunday afternoon blast and handled and steered really well, it was a gip to use for a short trip if it hadn't been used for a while, and hard work. You couldn't just get in it and pop to the local shops, it would be quicker to walk!

Buying something newer would have been the sensible thing to do, but I'd got attached to the thing by then, so decided on upgrading it - starting with the gearbox. I talked to people like Mike Taylor at Lotusbits, Lotus dealers and scouted the net, along the way I found out about some of the other issues - ungalvanised chassis, rear suspension issue, rear drums etc etc.

The end goal I was looking for was not a hot rod or make it a high speed machine, but to keep the character of the car as much as possible, but improve the reliability and useability. The option that kept coming up as the best way forward was to fit an excel chassis and running gear, including toyota gearbox. This was sealed when I found an abandoned project Excel SE minus engine/interior but with a nice brembo front brake upgrade going cheap. This meant I could get all the benefits of the later chassis, suspension improvements and brake improvement, plus the better gearbox, galvanised chassis etc.

The original plan was to keep the current engine and live with the oil leaks and rubbish low rpm power, then later look at an Excel engine or other. But then I saw Russel Conders car on his site, with the toyota engine. After discussions with a few people I decided to go for this engine whilst the car was completely coming to bits for the chassis swap. I got a friend of a friend who works on race BMWs to do the chassis engine mounts, the advantage of doing this on an excel meant an off the shelf adaptor for the W58 could be used, keeping the standard rear gearbox mount and prop etc. The engine could be nicely located. I then took the car to Mike Taylor at Lotusbits to do the glassfibre work to fit the excel chassis. I've been impressed with the immense knowledge of the guys at Lotusbits, and flexible attitude about taking on something as crazy as my project car.

So far - the engine has been fitted in the chassis, the excel chassis has been fitted to the Eclat body, the glassfibre mods done. Now it needs reassembling, plus new AVOs etc, fuel lines and brake lines etc. Then I'll trailer it back home to errrmm..... finish it off. So that must make me one of the more unhinged owners(!) I know some people are more outraged by modifying/swapping engines than others. I want it to be something that's nice to drive, easy to drive without losing the character if possible, safer, and something I can just jump in, go click vroom straight to the shops with no pumping on the pedal and starting ritual, plus a car I can take on a long trip and feel good about the odds of getting there.

I've seen a few familiar names on here like Rex, but who else has come across from the 'old' forum?

Cheers, Mat.

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Hi Mat

Welcome aboard. I was relativly new member on the old forum and came across when it shut down, looks like quite a few of us are migrating here and chatting away as before. Hope fully Bibs can get the old stuff over at some point, as there was a wealth of usfull articles to make use of, and I am in that stage, rebuilding a 76 Elite. But good thing is most of the people are here, so if in doubt ask, as I dont intend to reinvent a wheel, that some one else has fixed previously.

Good luck with your conversion hope all goes well. And like your reasons, cars are to be enjoyed and much better when starts, stops and does what it should, at right time with out having permenant spanner in your hand..

Got to say was not aware of the electrical wireing issues many loti of this era appears to have or experience, but having hung my head under dash now can see why to some degree, so when get to stage of testing and starting her, will have most fingers, crossed and fire extinguisher handy

Regards

Mike

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Dermot and Dave

Have you guys had/did you have any electrical issues with your Elites. if so whilst mine partialy stripped do I need to look at any thing in particuar with a view to changing on wireing, or is each one unique.

Hope the new owner of yours, is enjoying his Elite Dermot

Mike

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Mike, My Elite has just today come out of the garage after an electrical problem. Since getting it back on the road I have had trouble with the engine cutting out once it got to operating temperature, we have discovered it was caused by the alternator not putting enough charge to the battery so as soon as the fans came on there just was'nt enough power to spark the engine to full capacity, I have now had the alternator fully reconditioned and at the same time a new, more powerful battery, 50amp p/h minimum, this has solved the cutting out problem but at the same time has shown up the fact that the bearings in the distributor have worn causing the rotor arm to rotate off centre, both these parts seemed to have "Disintegrated" as a result of years of storage and non usage.

Don't know if this was the sort of thing you were thinking of, but hope it helps

Dave

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Hi Mat,

I can see that many old friends have already found you and there are quite a few others here as well, what seems to have changed in some cases is the moniker - But you soon get to recognise the man behind the name!

The man who runs the shop who will do all the mechanical & electrical work on my Elite, if ever the body work gets finished, worked and trained for years in the USA, eventually running his own business in LA. He specialised in electrics/electronics and, having taken one look at the Elite said "Replace Everything!" He will build all the looms, except the engine management system, which is BMW standard and fit all new components.

I'm currently talking to him about fitting Xenon lighting, matched with as many LED bulbs inside & out as is practical.

We are now slowly reassembling the body, doors are on, we're stumbling over the motors for the light pods and are having to manufacture many of the clips that hold the brightwork and other bits of trim in place.

In about 10 days time Thailand celebrates Songkran, a water based New Year Festival, the target is to have the shell back to Jimmy's (J & N Autos) before the holiday. Whether this is a realistic target remains to be seen.

I'll let you know before we set off for a few days holiday , we're off to Siem Reap - the jumping off point for the temples at Angkor Wat.

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Hi!

I'm over from the old forum and like others have said, this forum seems just as friendly and helpfull as the old one.

Cheers

Daryl

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Thanks Dave

Yes any bits of info that may help when I get to the point of testing electrics and starting her, long way to go yet, but did not want to rebuild the interior when the time came, if needed to replace some of wireing.

Rex you sound to be on a roll at the moment, hope you achieve your target.

Regards

Mike

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Pete just checking in.

I have been a bit quiet on the old forum for the past few months as other projects have taken priority over the Lotus... But I'm still here and so is the Elite.

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Hi to one and all, I'm here, have just spent a pleasent evening taking the petrol tank out of Lottie to fix the fual gauge transmitter, it wasn't working last year when Lottie went back on the road after two years of fun and games, only ran out of petrol three times in the 6 months, glad to say a bit of genle manipulation and plus gas & I now have a working petrol gauge, I have fired her up ever couple of weeks and moved her at least 6 foot in each direction over the winter lay up. I should be back on the road on the 1st of May ready for the MOT.

John 'The Nut' Hazell

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I was a "Lurker" on the old forum, have now got a suitable car (S2.2 Elite) so will be poking my nose in from time to time

:thumbsup:

what ever happened to "Micha"? or is that a sore subject?

Mark

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Mark

any photos of your S2.2 you can share with us ?

Guy

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Its not a pretty sight Guy, and I havent got internet access at home so that makes it bit of a challenge, I'll try to set something up

Mark

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Guest mkelite

still trying to get our 87 Excel back on the road........... then time to work on the 81 S2.2 Elite. so please any Excel / Eclat / Elite owners please drop by................. DC.

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Mat , Intresting story , sounds like you got your car just like it should be. Mams husband has a excel se, dont think he was a member on old site.

It's in bits a the moment getting engine rebuild. I drove for a couple of months and i have to say i love it, The handleing and the gear change, The power steering makes it a real everyday car. look forward to seeing it on the road again soon.

dave

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Hi Guys,

I moved over straight away, good to see who's come over also.

So far I like everything here, top forum, I only used to use .co.uk before.

Cheers

Andy

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Guest mkelite

Dan the demon driver of the blue Eclat S2.2 is a clever fella. he knows a lot of technical problem solving issues. havent seen him much here or am i looking in the wrong place. regards Dan if ur out there.......... DC.

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