Spot My Mods

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Spot My Mods

Postby Rusty Wishbone » Tue 26.03.2013, 00:54

I've posted elsewhere that I have just bought my first Lotus, a 1992 Elan SE Turbo. Unfortunately, it came without much of its history, so I'm trying to identify what modifications have been made to it, mainly because I want to know, but also because it is difficult to persuade an insurance company to insure a car if you can't tell them how it has been modified. The seller of the car believes that a Lotus technician once owned the car, and made extensive modifications to make the car really quick. I'm not sure it is as heavily modified as all that, but would be very grateful if all you Elan experts out there can tell me what you can tell from the following pictures. So, if you spot a modification, what is that modification, and what contribution is it likely to make to the car's power. Also, where else should I look for significant performance-enhancing modifications?

THE ENGINE:
The first few pictures show a huge aftermarket air filter (K&N?), what might be a dump valve, and some blue piping:
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THE ECM:
Is this an original ECM, or a replacement? The seals were unbroken, but it looks like a sticky label has been removed. Inside, I have taken photos of the chips. Can anyone tell anything from the numbers on the chips?
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THE BRAKES:
The brakes look like they have been upgraded, but to what? Is it just the discs which have been upgraded or the calipers as well? The rear brakes look unmodified to me.
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I look forward to hearing what you all have to say.
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Re: Spot My Mods

Postby maz_r » Tue 26.03.2013, 01:17

Hi there,

can't answer all your queries, but I'll start the ball rolling until someone more knowledgable comes along:

Yes : K&N air filter instead of the factory fitted 'trash can'

Looks like a blowoff valve to me and that's where you'd plumb it into the intake. Not sure about all the blue tubing, but it's non-standard. It might be venting the excess pressure from the blowoff, but where to is 'interesting'

ECU: can't comment

Front disc/caliper: disc is a replacement, but like lots that are available. Caliper looks standard to me with EBC green stuff pads(?)

Rear disc/caliper: looks standard to me.... I'll be honest and say it doesn't look like its doing much, but that could easily be due to when you took the piccy.
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Re: Spot My Mods

Postby Steve A » Tue 26.03.2013, 01:21

The front disc's look like EBC and green stuff pads.

How'd you get your pictures posted so big :?
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Re: Spot My Mods

Postby trig » Tue 26.03.2013, 09:00

Looks like the turbo has a bleed off valve , lots of your mods here http://www.racetep.com/lotus.html
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Re: Spot My Mods

Postby Rambo » Tue 26.03.2013, 09:21

maz_r wrote:Rear disc/caliper: looks standard to me.... I'll be honest and say it doesn't look like its doing much,


I don't think the rear discs and handbrake have done anything for a long while. When was its last MOT ? I think they will require some serious attention :o
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Re: Spot My Mods

Postby dapinky » Tue 26.03.2013, 09:34

I agree with the other two, but with some added bits:-

bay.jpg


In the engine bay picture, can i assume that the blue pipe (indicated with the red arrow) actually links up to the dump-valve?

I would expect it to, and the other end just 'T' into a vacuum pipe somewhere. (there is a 'spare' vacuum take-off at the rear of the inlet manifold which will tidy it all up ;-)

The blue pipe itself is just silicone vacuum pipe, replacing the original (cracked?/worn?/ugly?) rubber vacuum hose - a couple of quid a meter on ebay (I use it to replace all the vacuum pipes on mine)

The brass screw thingy in the other red circle looks like a Manual Boost Controller - otherwise known as a bleed valve. It's a simple bit of plumbing which allows air to bleed (cant remember if it's in or out :oops: :oops: ) of the wastegate actuation system, confuse the ECU, and thus allowing the turbo to boost to higher pressures. Such things are infinatly adjustable to give the boost you want, and were seen as THE performance modification before the Mountain Chips arrived.


They do have a downside though - if you boost too high, you risk the fuel mixture 'leaning out' and the engine melts!!!

They are often fitted alongside a seperate 'black box' of electronics (well, it's usually black, and TBH the 'electronics' are a bit basic, but you know what I mean) which should be mounted somewhere by the big blue arrow, tucked down behind everything near the bulkhead - this is a 'Fuel Cut Defender' - again (usually) adjustable and just spliced into the sensor wiring on the bulkhead.

With this arrangement, you wouldn't 'need' a different chip, so i would expect the ECU to be untouched.

f brake.jpg


Brakes are a bit less complicated..... You have EBC Greenstuff pads (at the front) with vented and grooved/dimpled discs.

The vents are 'straight', and thus it doesn't matter which way the discs rotate to get the same cooling - the other side disc should be a mirror image of this one, with the grooves/dimples sweeping clockwise - if not then you have 2 rights-hand discs fitted!!!!! (NOT a real problem, won't really effect the braking).


No other thoughts really, other than to state the obvious - the rest looks pretty standard (in terms of components fitted = shocks, brake hoses etc etc)
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Re: Spot My Mods

Postby Rusty Wishbone » Tue 26.03.2013, 09:51

The rear brakes look less operational in the picture than in real life, but I take the point. The car passed its MOT in early December, I think.

Steve, Hopefully your question on the size of the pictures is an indication that they are perfectly sized, and don't disappear off the side of your screen. I uploaded the pictures onto Photobucket and copied the IMG link. I think that it does the resizing automatically.
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Re: Spot My Mods

Postby Fredjohn » Tue 26.03.2013, 11:59

The shiny metal pot attached to the big blue pipe is definitely a blow-off/dump valve and vents to the open air through the small holes around the pot. The small blue pipe attached to the bottom of the pot "feeds vacuum" to help operate the valve.

To check your chips look at Mountain Chips link at top of page and look at installation instructions. You will then clearly be able to see when comparing to your own ECU whether or not you have a Mountain Chip fitted. But from reading the comments re bleed valve/MBC and possible black box you probably don't have one. Plus the fact that the warranty label appears intact and you need to break it to install a Mountain Chip.

Personal view ditch the MBC and fit a Mountain Chip if you want more power whilst retaining the safety cut-offs of the original programming. That way, as Dapinky points out, your 4 cylinder Isuzu lump won't become a lump! Unless the "black box" is present and presumably does the safety bit. :D :D

Edit added: Oh but sort out the brakes first before any power upgrades! :poke: :poke:
Last edited by Fredjohn on Tue 26.03.2013, 12:20, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Spot My Mods

Postby Rambo » Tue 26.03.2013, 12:07

I would second that - ditch the MBC and fit a Mountain chip. I can thoroughly recommend the Everest chip and at approx £100 or so it's "cheap as chips"
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Re: Spot My Mods

Postby trig » Tue 26.03.2013, 17:14

If this were my car I would as Rambo said ditch the bleed valve and fit a Mountain chip and also change the blow-off dump valve to a recirculating type , unless you like the chavvy wooosh noise :) a recirc type dump valve will send spent boost pressure back to the turbo to eliminate lag ,, much better than venting to atmosphere
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Re: Spot My Mods

Postby Steve A » Tue 26.03.2013, 20:58

:poke: and wash that road salt off your underside
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Re: Spot My Mods

Postby paulsmithmk » Tue 26.03.2013, 22:22

am liking the photo bucket way of sharing larger photos!
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Re: Spot My Mods

Postby tb10 » Tue 26.03.2013, 23:25

My oh my ..... thats a big knob....

:lol:

Regards


John

Ps Liking the retrim - very tasty :D
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Re: Spot My Mods

Postby paulsmithmk » Tue 26.03.2013, 23:51

tb10 wrote:My oh my ..... thats a big knob....

:lol:

Regards


John

Ps Liking the retrim - very tasty :D


:cheers: but well done to Rusty for finding a great way of allowing us to post larger photos!
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Re: Spot My Mods

Postby rip » Wed 27.03.2013, 00:58

A dump valve bleeds off excess pressure above a pre-determined (adjustable) value.
A blow-off valve is plumbed into the other side of the plenum. It can therefore detect when the throttle valve plate is closed & use this to decide when to release excess pressure. In theory it is a better design. In practice who knows how big the difference is?
You have a blow-off valve.
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Re: Spot My Mods

Postby norman lovie » Wed 27.03.2013, 09:08

In general, how does this engine respond to a blow off valve versus the std system where it bleeds back through the compressor when the throttle plate is closed ?
do you get better / worse or not really noticed any difference to response - on / off throttle ?
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Re: Spot My Mods

Postby Rusty Wishbone » Wed 27.03.2013, 09:27

Thanks for all the comments, even the one suggesting I wash my underside!

Trig is right that the whoosh from the blow-off valve is a bit tiresome. But it does seem to eliminate turbo lag. Replacing it for the Mountain Chip solution will be a future project. I need to ensure the brakes are fully operational first, install some hoops (see my group buy posting if you are interested), paint a load of surface rust, install new springs, fix the temperature gauge, and wash my underside.

I'm very happy that I have helped others with posting larger pictures. You will realise, of course that this was something that I gave lots of thought to, culminating in a team of 6 graduate computer scientists working 20 hour days to find a way to post bigger pictures, and 2 months of beta testing.




Oh, alright then, it was completely accidental.
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Re: Spot My Mods

Postby Rusty Wishbone » Wed 27.03.2013, 09:36

norman lovie wrote:In general, how does this engine respond to a blow off valve versus the std system where it bleeds back through the compressor when the throttle plate is closed ?
do you get better / worse or not really noticed any difference to response - on / off throttle ?

I haven't driven any other Elans, so I can't make any comparisons. However, it is quick, really quick. And seems to lack turbo lag too, so it works very well. I do get some popping from the exhaust on the overrun, which might be related to the modifications.

The biggest drawback is the whoosh every time I change gear.
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Re: Spot My Mods

Postby Rambo » Wed 27.03.2013, 10:41

Whenever I hear that wooosh I think of chavvy boy racers in souped up Renault Clio's or balding, middle aged guys driving Subaru Impreza's. Or Monty :lol: :lol:
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Re: Spot My Mods

Postby HJ2 » Wed 27.03.2013, 11:54

If you want to try it without woosh, put a blind plug in the vacuum line (the blue one connected to the valve)
I had it and i felt like a bus driver.

However, the same valves are available with a silencer...
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