Thursday, 29 December 2005

Snowing

After a heavy snow falling yesterday I had to drive the Elise home from work but was suprised on how well it handled! Most of the route home was clear but very slushy. I was 'driving miss dasy' all the way but didnt have any problems. The only time I lost traction was when I was parking - it didnt want to go up the kerb and slid about a bit.

The snow turned to rain last night and the car hardly leaked at all! Not sure if the snow kept it out or if the roof is now where it should be. The only other ill effect was a squeaky belt when leaving for work this morning. She squeaks a little when starting when damp (only as the engine is started) but it continued for about 10 seconds this morning. Not a major problem but I might have woken one or two neighbours this morning ;D

Wednesday, 28 December 2005

Cold as feck!

Considering Lotus is a British car maker I cant beleive how bad the Elise is in the cold/wet, not so much the handling (which can be tricky) but if its raining then it leaks like a seive. If its really cold, like the last few days, all manner of things happen. The gear lever had frost on it this morning and I nearly died of hypothermia waiting for it to heat up. I could see my breath in the air inside the car for about a mile! The real pisser is the door locks, mine froze up yesterday and it took a lighter and about half a can of de-icer to get into the car. My little challenge for the day is to find a decent way around this. Central locking would be ideal but "its too heavy". Thanks Lotus.

Rattle gone

Finally got around to fixing the rattle with the rear screen. It started wobbling after I removed/replaced the hood. It turned out that theres 2 metal bits that are supposed to go behind the screen - they werent. 10 minute job just removed the glass and put it back in properly. Much quieter ":-)"

Sunday, 11 December 2005

CD Changer Joys

Finally got a spare hour or so this afternoon and set about fixing the CD player/changer. It turned out that the earthing wire had become disconnected. A quick fiddle with the wire strippers and a touch of tape and she's all working ":-D"

Also had chance to take off the roof...what a mare! It took ages, it seems one of the side bars is a bit on the tight side and required a bit of gentle persuasion. Anyways, roof removed and put back on without too many skinned knuckles, hopefully I've put it on tidily and it should stop one or two of the leaks. Noticed a new rattle after re-fitting the roof though - the rear screen is a bit on the wobbley side. Not sure if I've lost some padding or something (dont think so) but theres too much movement in the screen. Will get some more spondge padding and sort it out, no biggie. Might also be worth looking in the book to see if I've done something wrong.

Getting a bit fed up with the amount of condensation in the interior - I've had to resort to using a towel. Not sure what I can do to stop this.

Tuesday, 6 December 2005

Tracker & Insurance

Just received an email off the tracker people. Doesnt look like the tracker would make any difference to my insurance...

Sorry for the delay in replying to you. Elephant.co.uk should offer a discount off of your insurance premium but only if you do not have any other security devices fitted to your vehicle. So this means that if you have an alarm or immobiliser on your vehicle, you wouldn't be able to get a further discount for having a TRACKER device fitted. This is the same terms that Admiral offer.


Ive got a CAT1 alarm/immob so it's not gonna make any difference. I really cant see any point in this, if youve got a decent car then its likely to have an alarm/immob. If it hasnt then its probably a shed and you wouldnt care if it got nicked so wouldnt fork out for a tracker. Dont think I'll bother getting it activated unless it gets pinched. What a con.

Saturday, 3 December 2005

Confirmed the missing prob has been sorted. Took her to Cardiff to do some shopping. Sounds sweet as a nut and pulling like she should be. Put in some petrol - £25

Shes back!!

Just got back from the garage. The dizzy cap and rotor arm have been replaced..all sorted ":-D"

£30 well spend. Thought I'd bought a lemon for a minute! Still leaking a bit of water into the cabin so will have a look at that over the next few days.

The radio started flashing today aswell so it shouldnt take too long to fix that either. Things are looking up.

Friday, 2 December 2005

The water saga continues

After a few posts on the Elise forum it seems like its water getting on the plugs and/or distributor. A liberal squirt of WD40 and she seems a lot better but still not perfect. She's off to see a local mechanic tomorrow morning for a full check. Might be a plug seal or something leaking.

Also found out where the waters coming in inside the cabin - the top of the A pillar, where the roof meets the screen. Will remove/refit the roof as soon as I get chance. Reduced to a teatowel to mop up at the moment.

Not happy at the moment. Gonna cost more £££ tomorrow when she sees the mechanic ":-("

Problems

Left the car home last night to go out on the beer. Got in her this morning and got soaked! There was a puddle on the drivers seat. Water on the wheel, the door, the sil. Everywhere. I'll have a look at the roof later. Might take it off and refit to see if that cures it. Todays major problem is...

The lotus is missing when accelerating, really badly. She's coughing and splittering like an old man. Oh dear! I think it must be related to the heavy rain we had last night...there were no problems with the engine in the dry(ish) weather over the last few days. Will see if I can get some WD40 on the plugs. Otherwise it'll probably mean a trip to a Lotus dealer at £85+VAT per hour ":-("

Also came accross the radiator steam problem. The rad is in the holes on the middle of the bonnet and theres a plastic tray surrounding it. After it rains, water collects on the plastic and runs onto the rad when you go around corners. The water gets turned into steam and mists up the OUTSIDE of the window. It doesnt look too good either.

Begining to think this was a bad idea.

Thursday, 1 December 2005

CD Changer & Shopping

CD Changer
I picked up a fuse for the headunit today...it still doesnt power up ":-("

I'll take it apart later and have a fiddle.

Shopping
Took the beast to do some shopping today. Managed to fit about 6 bags in the boot and 2 had to go on the passenger seat. Not bad! I was suprised how much would fit in the boot.

Wednesday, 30 November 2005

Cost counter added

I've just finished coding a calculator that will display a running total of all the cash spend on my Elise, there's a link to a page with the breakdown of the costs.

Have a look in the top right, I wonder how big the number's gonna get!

Tracker

Digging through the documents that came with the car I came accross the details for the car's tracker. I havent quite decided if I'm gonna pay to get the license renewed since the guy at my insurance company said it wouldnt reduce my premium. Flicking through the docs I notice that the company I work for (ntl) supply the network that the tracker company uses. I smell a discount ":-D"

A quick email to the people at tracker and Im told that they would waive the reactivation charge (£30) but the subscription would be the same - either £109 per year or £320ish for the life of the cars ownership with me. hmmm.

I also noticed on the docs that the insurance company Admiral do offer a discount. I'm with elephant.co.uk who are a child company of Admiral so would expect the same discount. Another email to tracker and theyre getting in touch with elephant/admiral to see if they can arrange something ":-)"

Just waiting for their reply. Fingers crossed!

Quick fix and CD changer

Indicator Stalk
Decided to fix the annoying problem with the indicator stalk, it kept turning the main beam on when I wanted to indicate (think it was just worn). A quick trip to the local scrap man and £10 gets me a new indicator stalk, fortunately the ones on the elise are the same as those on the vauxhall astra so they had plenty.

Fitting it was easy enough so I did mit myself. Just remove the screws holding the casing on the steering column (about 5 of them). Unclip the old stalk, clip in the new. Job done. £10 well spent.


CD Head unit and Changer
I wasnt fussed on the Kenwood CD head unit that the car came with despite it only being a few months old. Luckily I kept my JVC headunit and 12 disc CD changer form the MGF so decided to fit those.

Fitting it was a nightmare! I couldnt get the original headunit out and ended up going to a local car audio specialist so it cost me £10 to get the old one out. The new headunit would just slot in BUT, I needed to run the cable for the CD changer to behind the drivers seat. I never had any problems with this in other cars but the only exit from behind the dashboard was through a hole about the size of a 1p peice. The connector was too big for the hole. Bugger. I had to cut the wires and reconnect them once the wire had been pushed through. There were 12 wires so I took a little while! Running the cable wasnt easy either, I removed the gear knob, the both gaitors and the metal that divides the footwells.

Once all the cables were connected I tested the system before completing the installation. It worked! woohoo! After a lot of bruised knuckes and some choice four letter words the headunit still wasnt flush with the dash. I pushed a bit harder and I heard something clatter down behind the dash. The headunit no longer powered on. A quick check proved that the 15amp fuse had fallen out of the unit while I was trying to jam it into the dasboard.

Getting a new fuse tomorrow and will try again...

Tuesday, 29 November 2005

First expenses

OK, money spent so far (excluding cost of the car)..

£1500 Insurance (I know!)
£25 Petrol (full tank)

I'll try to get a little box with a running total up, might do a bit of php for it over the next few days.


UPDATE: Little box now done, see top right

Welcome...

I've just traded in the MG F and bought myself a Lotus Elise, this blog will detail pretty much every expense associated with owning it, such as..

- repairs
- fuel
- upgrades
- insuranance

This is my only car and will be used for everything from my communte to work to shopping to (possibly) trackdays. It's not considered to be a practical motor, most people use them purely as a weekend 'toy' and have said that it's difficult to use them as an everyday car. Im hoping they're wrong.

First thoughts
I've had the car 3 days now and I've only had chance to use it driving to work and back (about 11 miles of dual carriageway/motorway).

Bad Bits
- Its pretty very basic.
- The seats arent particularly comfy.
- The engine/exhaust noise it VERY loud, this is great when hammering down the motorway but my neighbours havent taken much of a liking to it at 6:30 in the morning.
- It also drowns out the sound of the CD player unless you're at "Driving Miss Daisy" speeds.
- It's a real pain getting in and out of the car. If you're a bit tall/fat/old then you're in real trouble.
- No storage in the cabin, can't even put my CDs anywhere.
- The alarm fob/immobiliser dongle/2 keys combo is annoying.

Good Bits
- Performance is amazing. Superfast acceleration.
- Sounds like a spitfire in attack mode
- Looks good and turns heads wherever it goes
- Handles like its on rails (but I havent been silly yet because of poor weather)
- Its a Lotus


Repairs/expenses required soon
- New windscreen to get rid of the big crack on the passenger side (covered under insurance) DONE
- Possible new fuel pump as the current one whines a bit (not urgent) DONE
- Class 'B' service, it's a little overdue DONE A FULL C SERVICE
- Fix an annoying rattle on the exhaust (think i need an anti-tizz bracket)
- Change the stereo (putting in the one off the MG) along with a CD changer DONE
- Fix/replace the indicator stalk, it keeps turning on hte main beam DONE

I'll get some pics and a general page with the car specs soon.