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alias23 aka Kung Fu Panda - Modified Exige V6


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So 2015 track season begins to close out and the cars hibernation begins, unsure how other folks minds work but when the Magpie is in the garage for long periods of time and not being used much… I find myself researching and buying new shiny bits!

 Just before hibernation I was given the chance to drive the Evora 400 by Lotus Silverstone. I never drove the original Evora so can’t provide a comparison. However, what was immediately noticed was the precision of the new gear change in the 400… initial thoughts as I man handled the gear stick… reminded me a little of my old GT3… this is nice!

Other than the gear change, I had no other lasting memories of the 400 I’m afraid, I didn’t feel it was very fast for circa 400bhp. The interior to be fair was nice thinking about it… anyhow what followed after the test drive was this sudden research into how I could get Magpie to shift better. 

A bit of context, for me personally, and I know many feel different. I’ve found the gear shift to be somewhat woolly on the V6 from factory. For example, when downshifting from fifth to third at Quarry (Castle Combe), or up from third to fourth coming out of Coppice fast, also a bit off going from 4th to 2nd for Melbourne Hairpin (Donington). Generally speaking under high load getting it into gear could be a little difficult. 

5903b02daa2f8_GearsCircuit.jpg.df47b1316c3302260324a898d7df7122.jpg

My research came to the following conclusion, the gear change from the 400 or Sport 350 is not available and remains not available as a retro fit. Alitech at the time where working on a solution for the V6, but for me the construction looks too industrial. Neither did Sector111 have a solution for the V6. On recommendation I found Simply Sports Cars had uprated shift and cross gate cables available for the V6. 

On impulse, with that lovely 400 shift still in my head, I went and bought both the shift and cross gate cables from SSC. A few days later the cables arrived from Australia along with a very hefty customs charge. From memory the total cost was about £650! 

5903b08161c44_SSCCables.jpg.17363a6e556f485485177b12fa15e04e.jpg

The installation was a ball ache and took double the quoted install time resulting in a £280 bill. So the total cost of the gear cable upgrade came to £930, I must admit in hindsight this figure really does depress me and it was a lesson learnt on being a little more cautious on impulse purchases.

In practise the install has tightened up the gear change, as an upgrade is it worth the money and did it cure the problems I faced on track and get close to that wonderful 400 feeling – NO.

The cost outweighs the benefit. That said, I feel the problem is getting the adjustment right, you see the cables can be adjusted at both ends and the adjustment is super sensitive.

GearAdjustment.jpg.1f0789f8cc2b5d0841a41ed11677fbec.jpg

Here’s an extract from the SSC instructions which gives you an idea on how the adjustment effects the gear change – Fiddly is an understatement.
Fiddly.jpg.c84de3dea5d2142ebdde9a8bfc34770f.jpg

Patience is another statement, and I think herein lies the problem. To get the adjustment right requires a lot of time and patience. I don’t believe the dealer who did the install put enough time into testing, adjusting, and optimising the adjustment.  

I did go back and a few small tweaks where made, but I feel more could be done. Don’t get me wrong the gear change is a tiny bit better, but I believe it could be a lot better with more time optimising. That said is it an upgrade worth near a £1000 I still believe my answer would be NO.

In 2017 im led to believe both Alitech and Sector111 (design below) will be bringing to market a V6 solution. Im hopeful the Alitech solution will be a little more discreet as I do prefer to back local engineering.

shiftR111_REG.jpg.48287a93ad94165ff782cd95759e91e9.jpg

That said I’ll be trying to optimise what I’ve got now before spending any more money on the gear change.

www.alias23.com

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On 2017-4-28 at 16:18, cbaileyuk said:

Out of interest, would a set of 46mm Nitrons for an S2 Exige have worked on my V6?

 

Reason I ask is that I sold a new set with my old motor and now wonder if they would have been usable in my new car :(

No

Totally different lengths , springs, valving etc etc etc

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After a trip with wifey to Oulton Park it became very apparent to us that Magpie was becoming a little rough for road trips and weekends away. What with the lack of luggage space, awful radio, and I despair at the lack of a fricking coffee cup holder… I start to contemplate if Magpie should really be treated like a proper track car and chauffeured trailered to her circuit destinations in the future.

It didn’t help that @LF1 was showing off his spanking new Brian James Trailer (BJT) at the time.

The journey into becoming a trailer nerd soon began, researching all the different models, brands, and reading every word of every online brochure. All research was pointless as in the end I just bought the same trailer as Tom. 

BRIAN JAMES A4 Transporter 125-2323

Here she is in her undressed state. I added a few locks (two locks recommended for insurance purposes), extended ramps, adjustable chocks, and lockable storage which could hold three 20L Jerry cans. If you are buying a trailer for a V6 you will need the extended (2.1m) ramps. I purchased via GT Towing and was very happy with their advice and service.

5914d28c1d412_Trailer1.jpg.01a9860ede6042b71ad11277b0a4e654.jpg

What you cant see in this picture are lovely ‘L’ plates I had both on the back and front of the Freelander and trailer! Due to the time I passed my test by default my driving license required me to take my trailer test before I could officially tow. Therefore at the time of pick up I had to have to someone with a formal trailer license sat by me all the time as I was still a ‘learner’. Somewhat embarrassing!

To be fair I think the trailer tuition and test was a blessing, it definitely gave me a lot of confidence and advise which I believe has been invaluable. One thing I would point out is that the availability of tests is becoming quite bleak – I had to wait 2 months for my test and if I failed would have to wait another 2 months to retake. Which was a bit of an issue as my test was two days before we were supposed to be going on track to SPA!

Happy to report I passed and off we went to lovely SPA.

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I cant remember how many miles I’ve now done with the trailer but I can say in 2016 I pretty much did only 100 miles on the road! The trailer has definitely paid its way and continues to hold its value. You do find you throw more stuff in the car when going on track, no more is it a jack and torque wrench. Instead you’ve got all your tools, jack stands, collapsible chairs, at one point I even took a BBQ! This then means unloading and loading becomes a 45 min job vs the old days of just getting in the car and driving back home.

That said for trips to Oulton, Donington, and Bedford (circa 4-6 hour round trips for me) I do feel lucky to have the trailer. 

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  • 1 month later...

Great write up. What sort of times are you setting at Castle Combe? Have you seen any progress against the stop watch after all these mods?

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Thanks. My best time at Combe was 1.16 last year, although after a little wobble which knocked my confidence before year end... I'm currently slower at 1.19

I can see my line has changed and the areas for improvement so hope to get back to 1.17 averages... As you'd expect brakes and nitrons provided the most noticeable improvement, the brakes are unreal!
 

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That's very quick. Any comparison to when the car was stock? What tyres are you running? Engine mods? It would be interesting to see how much time you think the various upgrades are worth.

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8 hours ago, alias23 said:

... As you'd expect brakes and nitrons provided the most noticeable improvement, the brakes are unreal!
 

The breaks are also for me pribably the best upgrade I have done ... dont know why I hesitated so much ... many of the LeMans cars have PFC on as well ...

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9 hours ago, The Pits said:

That's very quick. Any comparison to when the car was stock? What tyres are you running? Engine mods? It would be interesting to see how much time you think the various upgrades are worth.

It's hard to say... however in 2015 I was averaging 1.23 and the car would have been standard and running corsas.

July 2016 running 1.20 with Nitrons and LMS induction kit.
 
Then August 2016 hitting 1.16-1.18 through out the day now running Trofeo which are epic!!!
 
I do believe the brakes, tyres, and suspension have helped. The LMS has given a little more throttle feel but unsure how much power increase in reality. 
 
I'd really like to know if I should expect better lap times by moving from 1way to 3way Nitrons... I'm starting to think I need more adjustment especially when hitting bumps fast... 
 
Time spent on track has been my best investment, last year I do believe my driving standards vastly improved, maybe too much as my confidence got the better of me in the end! I was doing circa 2-3 track days a month.
 
2017 plan is to build back my confidence and get back to 2016 driving standards but having the knowledge of lessons learnt from the past.
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I think meeting your car would be detremential to my wallet ?

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Previously owned :Exige 380,  Exige 350,  Evora 400,  Exige V6S,  Esprit GT3,  2-11 SC,  Evora S,  Elite 501

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On 2017-4-28 at 16:18, cbaileyuk said:

Out of interest, would a set of 46mm Nitrons for an S2 Exige have worked on my V6?

 

Reason I ask is that I sold a new set with my old motor and now wonder if they would have been usable in my new car :(

Simple answer

No

Longer answer

Totally different ends. Body's and rods, hoses different lengths. The only parts that are the same is the piston inside and the remote canister body

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Over recent months a number of forum members have gone on the pursuit of more power, pops, and bangs… so I thought I’d share my experience of upgrading from the OEM airbox to the genuine Lotus Motorsport Induction Kit from the CupR.

First, in 2015 the only aftermarket option was from Komotec which gave an estimated increase of 25bhp aka the KT370 kit. It’s a pretty good kit, well built, and with a seriously big intake. For the money it’s a great option assuming it delivers the 25bhp increase, it also includes a remap of the ECU to handle the additional air intake and maximize gains and efficiencies.

Not for love or money would Lotus Motorsport supply me with the LMS kit as I couldn’t prove ownership of a CupR. I also got the usual scare stories of issues with the EML light etc.. etc…

I was about to pull the trigger with the Komotec kit until a forum member had somehow got his hands on a genuine LMS CupR item and was looking to sell after he’d found an alternative solution he wanted to test instead.

Im not some carbon fibre addict but when I saw the pictures of the elusive LMS kit within an hour funds had been transferred and I wanted patiently for delivery. God knows how he got hold of the item, well to be fair I know but not going to tell haha, but safe to say even through the ‘proper’ channels the item is rare and costs a pretty penny!

Credit to @Kristof Thys for the pictures of the original item, I didnt take any at the time of purchase, and too lazy to remove it just for this post, but mine is exactly the same.


cai2.thumb.jpg.2866775a990f737a6eb798dbb6bc58e6.jpg

The kit is relatively simple, one big carbon pipe with a fixed MAF mounting, and a big 200mm HKS mushroom on the end. The carbon weave is perfect and all in all the induction kit is very high quality. 

Alternatively you can source a near exact part of SSC, who I suspect have built their own design using the original LMS CupR item. Its close to identical bar made of aluminium rather than carbon and is a three piece kit vs the cleaner two piece from LMS.

SSC.jpg.114fd797ee1d70dcf8acd3b6eddd095c.jpg

There is no reason to favor the LMS one over the SSC item other than if you want to retain original Lotus parts and have some addiction to carbon weave. To be fair the LMS version does look a cleaner and nicer part than the 3 piece item from SSC. At the time the SSC item was not available. It is now and can be found here:

http://www.simplysportscars.com/shop/induction/100100-induction-kit

 Installation was easy, and the lovely folks at SSC have published an install guide which provides decent instructions on how to install. Link can be found here:

http://www.simplysportscars.com/shop/img/cms/INSTALL%20GUIDES/170%20T3EX01%20A%20-%20INDUCTION%20KIT,%20V6%20EXIGE%20-%20INSTALL%20GUIDE.pdf

The instructions are pretty much the same regardless of the induction kit being SSC, LMS, or even Komotec. It took me about two hours.

I was surprised at how big the OEM air box system actual is… it seems way complicated, bulky, and surely has some weight, literally a big black bin bag size full of pipes and plastic!

Good news is all this stuff is removed as part of the upgrade, resulting in a cleaner and more open engine bay. I would like to think freeing this space up helps with getting air into the engine bay to also aid cooling. At the same time I also removed the engine surrounds, again just to simplify the engine compartment and hopefully aid cooling. Areas marked in red removed from engine bay (photo below isn't my car, again I didnt take a pic at the time pre-removal so took generic pic from google to show areas removed from engine bay).

Based on 'feel' i'd say removing the original air box system and the surrounds has meant a 4KG saving.

594eb7909143d_enginebay.png.75d56744779a191bf3da164e98b60db0.png

My car and install as a comparison with surrounds removed and CupR induction

CR2.jpg.6412ffc397d442ea7877fa4697c80f96.jpg

CR1.jpg.8f5efb08a79290db70c03b1c47ba2b8c.jpg

I had been informed that on install and first start up to let the car idle for a good 10 minutes, the SSC instructions also concur, on start up the car did go a little oohhh aahhh on idle but eventually settled. Checking the dash no EML lights – woohoo….

A few childish revs on the drive and I was like a boy ‘on a promise’ with my prom date. The car sounds soo throaty (pardon the phrase) you can hear the supercharger sucking (again sorry for the innuendo).

Off for a drive, gently increasing revs and spirited driving, at once you can tell an improvement to throttle response. Then you go hell for leather and wooo woo wooo the induction noise is pretty sucky sucky (haha ok that’s my hat trick no more now…)

The induction noise really improves the Exige experience both on the road and on track. The throttle response is an improvement and I do feel that there is a power improvement, maybe not the full 25bhp of the KT370 kit as I don’t have an ECU remap, but there definitely is an incremental power increase. Maybe 10bhp based on dyno butt.

Interestingly, and I guess this was the proof point for me, Sarah took the car out and I’d done the upgrade (incognito as in, hadn’t told her, hid the receipts, and installed the kit when she was out!). Anyhow soon after taking the car out she comes back asking what I’d done and that the car felt faster. So in my mind she proved what my butt was feeling was not placebo, there was an improvement to performance and the overall driving experience.

Im now probably two years or more running the kit on the road and track, during this time I’ve had zero problems with the EML. I know a rare few have had problems, but the problems are very very rare. Typically the problems arise from either DIY attempts where the pipe diameter and the MAF mounting are not either of the right size or position – This basically messes up the mixture. Or folks have installed the kit, then gone for a blast, without letting the car idle for a good ten minutes so that the ECU can re-learn the new airflow characteristics of the intake system.

One point to highlight, the SSC and LMS kits use the HKS mushroom filter, for those with a background in tuning Japanese cars… this was the ‘cool’ filter to have back in the day. It was the infamous Mario Bros mushroom for your engine bay, some cars even boasted two under the hood! Anyhow, the HKS mushroom had a few infamous moments, the first was a damning review by a famous Japanese tuning magazine that ran a number of comparison tests across well known air filters. It concluded, at the time time that the HKS unit had the best airflow but the worst filtering, whilst the Apex filter came out top with the best filtering and second best airflow. The HKS unit was deemed great for performance but a ‘dirty’ filter for the engine bay. Added to that the number of counter fit mushrooms entering the market and the mushroom got a bad rep.

In the end HKS hit the situation head on and improved the product, moving from a single layer element (the green stuff) to a three-layer element, retaining the original design, improving the filtering, whilst still maintaining high airflow. So that’s the good news.

 That said, I still believe to ensure decent filtration the actual filter element should be changed regularly, for me I change every 3,000 miles to be super safe. The elements can be purchased easily online for about £25, just make sure it’s a genuine item and it’s the newer three layer.

 If I was to do this again, I’d actually be very tempted to stump up the cash and actually go with a proper solution – That being the Komotec KT370 kit. It is a bigger air intake, its filtering element is a higher quality item, and the ECU remap surely helps with improving performance beyond just adding the induction. However, it comes at a cost, and given the SSC unit is less than half the cost of the KT solution, I can completely understand people going down the SSC route. Especially if their planning to move onto the charger at a later date, equally if your plans are to move to KT460 then it makes complete sense to go down the KT370 route as a stepping stone to later plans.

So there you have it… Induction Kit definitely worth it!

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I see the KT370 kit is £780 or £1550 with remap !

SSC £293 (from Aus) plus delivery and import tax / vat seems very good value.  Who else could do remap as £770 seems a tad high for KT kit. 

34 minutes ago, 2GOOD said:

Plus one & it looks like I live even closer ?

@2GOOD   Another to join our Run out one evening ? 

Edited by DJW

Previously owned :Exige 380,  Exige 350,  Evora 400,  Exige V6S,  Esprit GT3,  2-11 SC,  Evora S,  Elite 501

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2 minutes ago, DJW said:

I see the KT370 kit is £780 or £1550 with remap !

SSC £293 (from Aus) plus delivery and import tax / vat seems very good value.  Who else could do remap as £770 seems a tad high for KT kit. 

@2good Another to join our Run out one evening ? 

SSC even cheaper than half price compared to KT...!

I just don't know if I could trust anyone with the remapping as there is no one I know of with the experience of KT everyone else seems one off... 

As per the thread it's not needed but I think a remap would be good.

£1500 is a good chunk of money to save towards the SSC charger!

Agree another one for the run!

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37 minutes ago, alias23 said:

£1500 is a good chunk of money to save towards the SSC charger!

Agree, although just concerned supercharger whine becomes OTT.  Chose a N/A Ariel Atom over a SC one, as the latter was all SC noise ; sounded like a fast milk float ;) 

@550superfast Gary from your videos the SC whine seems quite intrusive.  Is it like that in reality or has the location of cam exaggerated it ?

Edited by DJW

Previously owned :Exige 380,  Exige 350,  Evora 400,  Exige V6S,  Esprit GT3,  2-11 SC,  Evora S,  Elite 501

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