Friday, 29 December 2006

Minor bits

One thing I forgot to mention was that when I had my tyres replaced the locking wheel nut tool was damaged. Luckily horizon managed to get them off but the nuts are knackered. Ordered some uprated ones from eliseparts along with some touch up paint.


Just waiting for it all to be delivered now.

Saturday, 23 December 2006

New rad done

Picked the Elise up from Horizon yesterday complete with new front radiator. If anyone wants the old rad make me a sensible offer and its yours! Its not leaking and the K seal stuff is a permanent fix.

Anyway, the bill was a bit steep. The rad change cost £471.06 and the extra labour and fiberglass to remove and fix the clamshell was an additional £195.05 . Fortunately, the AA are covering the cost of the new rad but I'll be paying the rest. I have done some digging and the odd clam appears to be because of the age of the car. Anyway, there's new bolts and fittings so removal in the future shouldn't be too much of a problem

Thursday, 21 December 2006

Tomorrow never comes

If all goes according to plan I should have the Elise back tomorrow, still dont know the final bill. Im seriously beginning to think about selling up, this car has cost nearly £3500 in maintence/repairs (not upgrades) in the last year. If you include stuff like insurance, upgrades and misc bits and bobs its gonna be over £6k by the end of tomorrow. Thats a lot of cash. I really love the car but its starting to murder my bank balance, I need to sit down and think about either selling up or maybe getting another car and keeping the Elise for 'Sunday best'. Only trouble then is keeping the car somewhere safe when its not in use and having to pay for tax/insurance/maintenance on another motor. Or, more likely, throwing more money at the Elise and get her in mint condition ":-)"

Bloody addictive things, these little Elises. Argh!

Wednesday, 20 December 2006


The Elise has arrived at Horizon and the AA have agreed to pay...but there's bad news. Apparently my car has a different clam to most other Elises (probably because its such an early model) and it's proving to be an bitch to remove. Not only are the fixings different but the screws have rusted and are having to be drilled out - along with the odd chunk of fibreglass ":-("

I have Horizon's courtesy car (Honda Prelude - yay) but they think it might take a day or two before mines fixed. The worst bit is the price. The original bill was just under £500 (which is also the limit the AA will cover) but depending on the amount of time and damage done to the fibreglass it could be a good few hundred above that. I'm gutted.

Tuesday, 19 December 2006


With a bit of jiggery pokery the Elise is due to be trailered up to Horizon tomorrow. Big thanks to them for sorting it for me! Better than the AArseholes.

They'd better pay up now!

The AA are a bunch of useless c****!

Why isn't anything simple when it comes to the AA? I'm utterly pissed off with them at the moment. The claim from earlier this year (the starter motor replacement) is under investigation by the Financial Ombudsman and now they're starting to be awkward about the radiator!

They said that before they could authorise the work I would need to get the garage to confirm the fault (even though the patrolman has told them). I am somewhat disillusioned by their policies so didn't fancy driving to Birmingham only to be told that they're not paying so asked if I could get a local garage to diagnose the problem before going to Horizon to get it fixed. They didn't have too much of a problem with this so a local garage made an inspection and confirmed that the radiator had a hole in it. Great I thought, I'm booked into Horizon Wednesday so it should all be sorted this week. Not that easy - the AA say that Horizon is too far away (90 miles) to drive the car, as usual the complete opposite to what the patrol told me. They say the car needs to be fixed locally or trailered to Horizon. If I drive the car to Horizon (and they will check the mileage) then they won't pay up. Dicks. There are no Lotus specialists in the area apart from Stratstone who are now charging £97+VAT per hour. If it were a simple job then I wouldn't mind a local garge doing the work but changing the rad involves removing the front clamshell.

Saturday, 16 December 2006

Bugger...Radiator Dead


The temperature in the Elise has been a bit higher than normal the last few days, it got up to 100 yesterday on the way home from work along with a slight whiff of coolant in the cabin. A quick check under the front service compartment and a steady jet of water can be seen from the radiator. A call to the AA and a patrolman comes out and drops some "K Seal" into the coolant system. After about an hour (!!) the radiator leak finally stops and the AA guy is on his way. He's pretty sure the cost of a replacement radiator will be picked up by the Parts and Labour cover but I'll need to call them on Monday to be sure. I have checked the AA T&Cs and the coolant system is covered so I don't expect any problems.

Not yet had an official quote off Horizon but one of the other MLOC members had his replaced recently with an uprated aluminium radiator for just shy of £500. If this is accurate then that's pretty good, all it should cost me is the £25 excess. It's a pretty big job as the front clam has to be removed so I might get a few other niggles sorted at the same time...

- New nose badge (current one has a stone chip)
- New door pins (drivers door wont stay open on its own)

Should know what's happening Monday when I can speak to the AA and Horizon. Hopefully I can get it done before Christmas.

Saturday, 9 December 2006

Winter Jobs

Its fair to say that winter has arrived, its barely stopped raining all week and my arse gets wet every time I drive the Elise. Its better than it was last year but there's still a few things that I could do to make the Elise a bit more winter-friendly.

There's a good few ideas here that I'm gonna try.

My biggest problems are the condensation on the windscreen and the leaky A-pillars.

Stuff to do:

-Treat the soft top with some hood waterproofer
-Adjust windows
-Do some DIY repairs to the corner of the soft top - its fraying a little.
-Clean inside of windscreen and treat with fog-x or rain-x
-Get some "moisture mates" (little box of crystals that absorb moisture)

The hand-held heater thing has helped a little but the install is a bit messy - might see if i can tidy it up a bit. Another fluke upgrade though - the new seats have removable pads (the cusiony bits) that can easily be brought into the house and allowed to dry on a radiator ":-)"

Oh yeah - I've now had the Elise for just over a year!


Monday, 4 December 2006

Tyres Replaced

Finally managed to get some new rubber for the rears, the advans were a little slick to say the least! Got some Toyo Proxies (T1R) fitted at Westec Performance for £144.06 - a very good price!

I have noticed a massive increase in grip already - those advans were in an awful state.

Saturday, 25 November 2006


The wet weather has highlighted the problem with the seal at the top of the A-piller on the drivers door. Its leaking quite a bit of water so the shower cap has come in handy. To fix the seal it should just be a simple case of adjusting the window, or at least it would be if the screw on the window winder wasnt rounded off and stuck. The only way its coming off is if i drill it out. With this in mind I've bought some replacement alloy window winders and a alloy tax disc holder that finally arrived today. Depending on the weather i might try to fit them (and adjust the window) some time next week.

Monday, 13 November 2006

Waterpump wonders

After what seemed like forever in Birmingham yesterday, the Elise is fixed. Horizon have kindly replaced the faulty water pump free of charge. They also fitted a new cam belt and fixed some of the rattles - there were a few loose bolts and fittings.

The car is quieter than ever ":-D"

Still need to sort some rear tyres though...

Friday, 10 November 2006

Waterpump woes

I should have learnt by now that things are never simple with the Elise. I repaired the split pipe and theres still steam coming from somewhere. My local mechanic has ruled out HGF with a sniff test and seems to think the problem is with the water pump. A quick check through my receipts and the water pump was replaced by Horizon earlier this year so is still under warranty. Already spoken to Horizon and they have agreed to fix it free of charge if its the water pump thats gone.

Making the trek to Birmingham Monday.

Thursday, 9 November 2006


Looks like its just a split pipe! Had a quick look with a torch in the carpark and theres a 2mm or 3mm split in this pipe...


It doesnt even need a new pipe, theres enough slack to just chop the end off the damaged one. I'll get my craft knife on it tomorrow.

Just when things were looking up

Looks like I may have a problem with the Elise. The temperature over the last few days has averages a few degrees higher than normal despite the cold weather. The car normally sits at 87/88 petty much constantly, it got to 92 yesterday. Checked the coolant and it was down a bit so topped it up. Car is driving fine, no loss of power, not stuttering etc.

Noticed today a little bit of steam coming out from the engine bay. Initially thought it was just the header tank blowing off the excess from yesterdays topup but it appears the steam is coming from the right hand side of the engine bay. There is a patch of moisture on the undertray and and smell off coolant.

Trying not to think about head gasket failure at this point (a common problem with the K-series engine) so took a look at the Lotus service notes...


Could just be a leak where I have highlighted. Anyway, I'll take a look a little later this evening, once its had a chance to cool down.

Fingers crossed.

Wednesday, 8 November 2006

Bits and noise...again

Seems the rattle thats been noticeable since getting the exhaust fixed is getting worse. Sounds like its the bloody heatshield on the downpipe...again! Its been looked at by various garages about 3 times and it keeps coming back! Argh! Think I'll do it myself this time, if the weathers half decent this weekend then I'm gonna get her up on ramps and have a look at it. Im also planning to drill the window winder screw off to adjust the window angle. Ive bought some second hand alloy winders and an alloy tax disc holder off one off one of the chaps on SELOC since drilling will undoubtedly cause some damage.

I still need to route the cable for my iPod tidily, thinking about running it down the centre console...not sure yet. No doubt that this will be a royal pain in the ass but I'm sure it will be worth it. It should also give me a chance to fiddle with the driver's seat - its still not right.

Oh yeah, a big thumbs up for RainX, it works a treat!

Thursday, 2 November 2006

K&N Cleaning

Forgot to add that I bought a K&N air filter cleaning kit a few months back from Halfords and finally got around to using it today. Easy job and should help the engine breathe better.


iPod and winter essentials.

iPodding the Elise
Decided to hook my iPod up to the Elise recently and have been doing some research on how to get it all working with my JVC headunit. A quick flick through the manual and it seems I haven't got any AUX in points. The only input is via the CD-changer port, there is a converter cable to change this to to RCA (phono) sockets but it was £30 which is expensive for what it is. A bit more digging and I find the CD changer uses a J-link protocol and found a partial pinout...


That'll do nicely! My CD changer cable was already sliced and diced from the install so hacking it up a bit more was no great shame. A few minutes with a multimeter and I found the left and right audio channels (red and white) and their associated grounds. Plugged it all in but couldn't get any sound. A few minutes googling and I found that I needed to change a setting on the headunit. It works! I now need to tidy it up a bit and route the cable out of sight.

There are a few downsides, the headunit doesn't control the iPod and my CD changer cant be connected at the same time. No major problems, the iPod is the same size as my PDA so I can use the same holder on the dash and I wont be missing my CD changer with 30GBs worth of MP3 goodness.

Winter blues
It's now pretty obvious that winter has arrived, the worst time of year to own an Elise. I've decided getting hypothermia on the way to work is not the way forward so I'm selling the car....only joking. Nope, it's time to get something to warm things up a bit quicker....

12V Portable Ceramic Heater
þ Instant Auxiliary Heat
þ Foldable Handle Design for Window Defroster
þ 2m Power Cord with 15A Inline Fuse
þ Brushless Motor for Silent Operation
þ Detachable 360° Swivel Base
þ Fan and Heat Dual Control Switch
þ 12v Operation

Fingers crossed it will help with de-misting the screen and stop me having a cold, shivering death. An eBay special this one £9.48 delivered so it could be a bit of a bargain if it works.

Another little winter comfort to help the Elise's shitty wipers...


A few people on the Lotus forums have recommended it and it's only a fiver so its worth a go.

Friday, 27 October 2006

Exhaust Sorted

A few hours spent at my local garage yesterday and the downpipe on the exhaust has been replaced. Luckily I had an old one laying around from the MG F which fitted the Elise with minor adjustments (the mounting bracket was in the wrong place). The old one was completely knackered, it fell apart whilst being removed - the flexi section had completely seperated from the one end!

I cannot believe the difference it makes, the car is much more quiet and it seems to have more high end torque than previously.

The big rattling noise has also gone but there's a small vibration on the heat shield at certain rpms, I might just find something to pad it out a bit as theres very little movement.

I also attended MPH06 yesterday in Birmingham, it wasn't as good as last year and I had a massive migraine coming home. Apart from than it was pretty good, worth the entry fee at least. Theres a handful of pictures in the pics section.

Just thought this was worth posting...

Wednesday, 18 October 2006

Squeek Sorted

The squeeky alternator belt has been replaced by my local garage and they have also said they can sort the downpipe out so i have cancelled my appointment with Horizon. It works out cheaper and I dont have to drive all the way to Birmingham either ":-)"

Gonna order some BFG tyres and get them fitted locally - the advans are barely legal.

Monday, 16 October 2006


Over the last 2 days the Elise has developed an un-healthy squealing sound when starting. Pretty sure its a belt of some sort slipping, probably the alternator belt. I'm sure I woke most of my street at 6 this morning.

I'm gonna call Horizon later today to book her in for...

2 X Rear tyres (thinking Toyo Proxies or BFG G-force Profilers)
Fit replacement exhaust manifold - luckily I have an old one off my MGF that will fit with minor fettling
Investigate and fix dodgy rattle - could be related to the exhaust problem though.
Geo check (maybe - haven't decided yet)

Another expensive month along with the insurance ":-("

Tuesday, 3 October 2006

Insurance Sorted

A-plan insurance have done it for £739 so thats the insurance sorted for another year. I managed to beat my renewal price with by as massive £519.95 - needless to say they wouldnt price match. The new policy also has a lower excess than last year with all the same cover. Sweet

Wednesday, 20 September 2006

Insurance Time...

The search for car insurance has begun ":-("

Not yet had my renewal price of elephant yet but thought it would be a good idea to start shopping around for a good price.

Luckily the policy runs out after my birthday so I'll be 24 at the time of renewal which should make it a bit cheaper. My NCD is now up to a whopping 2 years and all my points have expired (I had an SP30 and an SP50 a few years ago).

Heres a list of the companies I've tried and their prices, I've set an additional voluntary excess of around £250 where possible...

The AA £1325
Admiral £1062.6
Budget £1422.71 £1554.67
Hastings Direct £1484.95
eCarinsurance £841.05

The following have decided that I'm too much of a risk and wont quote me...bastards.

Norwich Union
Direct Line

Im really impressed with eCarinsurance, I havent really heard about them before but their price is good.

I will also contact some of the more specialist insurers later this week to see if they're any good.

The search continues...

Thursday, 14 September 2006

Shower Cap

Just bagged myself a second hand offical Lotus shower cap...£35. Bargain! Should be in the post to me tomorrow.

That should save farting around with the roof so much!


Monday, 11 September 2006

Lotus Of the Month!

I only just noticed...


I am Lotus of the month! Thanks to Beefy and the chaps at MLOC ":-D"

Tuesday, 5 September 2006

Site update

As you will have probably noticed, I have tidied up the site a bit in the last few days. The blogging software used for the 'Lotus' section has been updated, if anyone's interested I'm using Serendipity to run this section of the site - top software ":-)"

Anyway, car news...

Rolling Road
Didn't make it but I'm looking at doing one in the not too distant future just to see how much power the dodgy old K-series is chugging out.

Still going back and for between various departments and have now been told that their final decision is 'no - sod off' basically. They have sent me information on the financial ombudsman so I'm just gathering all the bits to make a complaint to them. Fingers crossed they will make the AA see sense!

New seats are pretty good but the drivers seat seems a bit 'wobbly' at times. I think a screw or something has come loose. I'll have a look when I get chance, its nothing major. The old ones are now near-enough sold pending payment so that's good news.

Still blowing and I'm still trying to source a second-hand replacement.

Bit of bad is due before long (end of October) so it's time to start looking around for a good deal. I'm edging towards more specialist insurers this year, some include trackday cover for free - all depends on how much they quote me. More news on that a bit closer to the date - most companies wont quote more than 30 days before taking out the policy.

Tuesday, 29 August 2006

Interior done!

Finally cleaned the car today and put the new mats in. Looking much better. I have spoke to my local upholsterer and he wants the same as Lotus to re-trm the sill pads - £70. Will have a think about that, here's a quick pic of my new interior...


Click on image for more

Thursday, 24 August 2006

Seats done

Picked the seats up last night and fitted them today. Took this opportunity to clean under the seats, I found...

£1.45 in change
1 fathers day card
1 Sunglasses case
about half a pound of muck


A bit of elbow grease and its much better. Replacing the seats was pretty straightforward once the old ones had been taken out.

No pics for now, the interior is filthy! New carpets are on the way (red) and Im gonna wash the seat covers since they're removable. Lotus have replied to my email about the sill protectors, its either £70 to get them re-trimmed or £110 for new ones. Seems a bit expensive for what they are so I might give my local upholsterer a ring and see how much he would charge.

New seats are waaaay more comfy!

Sunday, 20 August 2006

New seats!

Yay, found some second-hand Corbeau seats for the Elise! Should be picking them up later this week. Should also be able to re-coup some of the cost by selling the originals! Here's a quick pic...


Hopefully, if the weather improves, I'll fit them sometime this week. If anyone is in need of some original S1 leather seats please email me. They ideally require a re-furb, the leather is marked and ripped on the drivers shoulder area. Looking for £200 (excluding the mounts).

The new seats have also inspired a new interior, I've enquired about a new set of red sill protectors from Lotus and have found some red mats for sale.

The poor weather this week has also highlighted the dodgy roof, it has leaked quite badly on the drivers side. I'm gonna adjust the side window so it sits a bit more snugly against the rubber seal. The only problem is one of the bolts holding the window winder on is a bit 'iffy' and Ive got a feeling its gonna cause problems. It needs doing before the new seats are fitted, they're cloth so it will get a bit smelly if it gets wet.

It's gonna be another expensive month soon, my insurance is up in October (£1k+) and the rear tyres are also in need of replacing (£200) so I have decided to sell my boat since I haven't used it in the 12 months I've had it. Never mind, it's for a good cause!

I'm still sorting out a new downpipe and have sent yet another letter to the AA asking for half the cash for the new starter motor - hopefully I'll get some cash out of them. I'll be bloody annoyed if I don't, it seems the only reason they're not paying up is because I didn't call the claims people before getting the work done. Since this is in their T&Cs I'm pretty much over a barrel - hence the 50% request.

Almost forgot to mention that the Elise will hopefully be attending a rolling road session with the Saab Owners Club, a friend invited me along and it should be an interesting day. The car started off with 118bhp 10 years and 83k miles ago in its standard from, I'll be interesting to see what she's got now. The age will have dropped the number but the few mods done should have increased it. I think I'll be happy if its over 125bhp since its running without a CAT (not on public roads, Mr Officer, sir ";-)"), the Exige Janspeed Supersports exhaust and a chavvy K&N air filter. Anyways, the results will be posted online if I make it to the day (supposed to be on a stag do so might not be able to make it).

Phew, that's about it for now. I'll post some pics when I fit the new seats!

Tuesday, 8 August 2006

Blowing exhaust.

Well, the jubilee clip 'bodge' on my exhaust seems to have stopped working. The exhaust is blowing a little bit from the flexi section. Not a major problem but ideally requires a new downpipe fitted. Luckily enough one of the nice chaps on MLOC has one spare and has offered it for £25. I have already emailed Horizon to see how much they would charge but am a little bit tempted in doing it DIY stylee.

The rattle is also still present but Im not sure its the same heatshield as last time, it seems pretty secure to me. Again, no major problem, the noise only occurs when pulling off occasionally. Im sure the source of the noise will be found before something falls off ":-D"

Still enjoying the sunny weather, seriously in need of a shower cape. Damn fiddly roof!

Another todo is a new set of rear tyres, didnt realise how bad they are until getting her up on ramps to check the exhaust. Theyre still legal but not by much. That'll be another £200 but on the other hand I'm sure they could survive a driver training day. Hmmmm..

Tuesday, 1 August 2006

Nice and Shiney

Just my luck, no rain for about a month so I finally get around to cleaning the car...and it rains the day after! Havent bothered with any pics, after the big clean I took her out for a spin and got the front covered in dead things again.

The AA story continues, they have sent me a letter still saying theyre not paying. Gonna send them another reply....they may aswell get it into their heads that I wont stop hassling them until I get some cashola.

Bit of bad news - i think the rattling heatshield has made a return. I can hear a dodgy grating/rattly noise at certain rpm...pretty sure the heatshield has come loose again. Bugger.

Friday, 21 July 2006

AA Again

Still arguing with the AA over the starter motor, received a letter this morning off the Clams & Risk Management department who are now investigating. Fingers crossed they'll sort something out.

Apart from that im enjoying the weather and the roof's been off all week. Thinking about buying a shower cap now so I don't have to put the fiddly roof back on when it 'might' rain. Also doing some more digging into sorting the interior, looks like it might be cheaper to get a second hand pair of seats in good condition than getting mine re-trimmed.

Saturday, 8 July 2006

Goodwood FoS 2006

Managed to get some free tickets to Goodwood again this year so decided to go camping with a few mates on the thursday night and get an early start for the show on the friday. Wasn't as good as last year but loads better than Brands Hatch. Plenty of dream cars there but the one that stole the show for me was the Bugatti Veyron...


Very nice. Also spotted Jodie Kidd when down there, I had to turn her down ";-)"

Anyway, click here to see the pics from the day.

Friday, 23 June 2006

An AA update

Good news and bad news - the AA have agreed to pay for the coolant hose/bleed but are still arguing about the starter motor. It looks like I'm gonna have to send the insurance dept a letter, so far I have only dealt with the underwriters.

Car desperately in need of a washing at the moment.

Friday, 9 June 2006


After a very long day waiting around Horizon the car has been sorted. The new hose has been fitted and the coolant changed. The surprise of the day was the heatshield bracket, it took ages to fit so cost be about £70 in labour ":-("

Just doing all the bits to get the AA to cough up for the hose/coolant costs.

Also enquired about a front end respray, mines covered in stone chips and a few little spider cracks. Will be about £450 so might wait a while before I do that, new interior is a higher priority at the moment.

Tuesday, 6 June 2006

Another breakdown :(

Had another breakdown yesterday, this car is the most unreliable thing I have ever owned! Driving home from Cardiff and the temperature shot up to about 108 degress accompanied by a strong smell of coolant. I immediately pulled into the services and took a peak in the engine bay to be greeted by a steady hissing noise and steam pouring out of one of the coolant hoses. Bugger. Called the AA and luckily the head gasket (the achilles heel of the K series engine) was OK, I had pulled over in time. He bandaged a 2mm split in the hose and everything's OK again. She's still leaking coolant but its usable until it goes into the garage, I just have to keep topping it up.

Its booked into Horizon on Thursday and should cost around £100 which the AA have already agreed to pay under the parts and labour cover. I'm still arguing with them about the last claim - they're still being arsy about it. Lotus have missed more business from me - I called them since its a lot closer and the AA will be paying but they couldn't fit me in until the end of June!

I must be stupid, I still don't want to get rid of the car. A few other bits are being done when its up Horizon, the heatshield has decided to rattle again so thats being done. The AA guy also noticed theres a cam cover missing off the side of the engine. This isn't a major problem but I'm getting it done at the same time.

Thursday, 1 June 2006

7 months!

Just realised that I've had the Elise just over 7 months now and thought its about time to have a summary of ownership.

Its cost me £2365.51 in repairs/upgrades (excluding insurance, sat nav, etc). Thats about £340 per month, not including petrol! Didnt think it would be this expensive, it really is a bit of a money pit...but I don't care. It's the best car I've ever driven and really can be used as an everyday car as long as you've got access to something a bit bigger to move anything massive. I've got access to a Fiat Multipla so that's occasionally used when I'm hauling really big stuff ":-)"

I've decided to remove the fuel bill from the cost counter, I'm pretty sure I've missed a few fill ups so the figures arent 100% accurate. If anyone's interested it costs about £28 to fill the tank (I normally fill up when I'm down to about 16ltrs.) and I get anywhere between 200 and and 250 miles between fill ups. Normally around town driving with a few motorway miles. This goes up signifigantly when doing a steady speed on the motorway though. At a rough guess I get between 30 and 35 miles to the gallon which is pretty good considering the way I drive and the roads I use.

On to more serious business - the AA. They are still arguing about the bill for the starter motor. They are saying they wont cover the work because they were called out for a flat battery, not a dodgy starter motor. Anyway, i think this is an absolute cop out, especially considering that the patrolman said that the starter motor needed replacing and it would be covered. Anyway the war wages on, I'm in the middle of sending another letter to them.

So what's next? Well the car is in need of a retrim to be honest, the car has covered over 80,000 miles and its starting to show on the inside. There's a tear on the right shoulder of the drivers seat from getting in and out of the car. There's a few scuffs and scratches in a few other places. Another Elise owner in the area had a complete interior retrim including seats, sil cards and wheel at a local upholsterer for about £400 which seems a bit of a bargain. I think I'll stick with the black leather but I might decide to jazz it up a bit with a touch of red here and there. I'm sure I'll be able to get a bit more padding on the seats stuffed in at the same time.

One of the guys on MLOC has kindly sent me a template for the rear arch protectors so I've chopped up some Fablon and managed to get a pretty good fit. It's all done and been stuck on the car - looks pretty good, much better than the yellowy originals on there. I'll post some pics once it's had a good clean, it's filthy at the moment.

Anyway thats it, 7 months of motoring in a nutshell. I don't have any plans to get rid of the car yet, despite the amount of cash it's costing me. I just hope the bills are a bit lower from now on, all the major bits have been done (especially that expensive C service) and I hope the AA warranty cover will pick up some of the bills - if they ever pull their finger out of there arses.


Wednesday, 17 May 2006

AA - Absolute Arseholes

I knew my luck wasn't that good. Called the AA and they're saying they wont cover the cost of the new starter motor because that wasn't the reason they were called out - they were called for a flat battery. Not happy at all, there's no way they can cop out of this. I have sent them a letter of complaint.

Not impressed.

Sunday, 7 May 2006

Brands Hatch - a proper 'bloggers' entry

Well, thats the trip to Brands Hatch done. Didnt really stay as long as I thought I would, was still reeling from the disappointment of the night before, read on...

We set off around 1:30pm Saturday in OK-ish weather with the roof off ":-D" By the time we got accross the Severn Bridge (which was down to one lane!) it started spotting with rain, no problems we weren't getting wet - the cabin remains dry when you're doing motorway speeds. By the time we hit the M25 it was absolutely pissing it down. The looks off other cars were hilarious! We finally gave in and put the roof back on about 15 miles before we arrived at our 'cheap-n-cheerful' hotel. It was cheap(ish) but in no way cheerful. It was shit. At the risk of sounding like the AA guide to Britain I'll have to say that it was the worst hotel I have ever stayed in. The bedroom wasn't too bad - very basic. Two single beds, a little sink, a tv and a wardrobe that wobbled dangerously like jelly as soon as the doors were opened. I wish I had taken pictures now, you'll just have to use your imagination. Can you picture it? Good, now see whats missing. toilet or bath/shower. There was a slightly dingy room with white painted floorboards that served as the communial room for the entire hotel. Not that it really mattered, I didn't see any other guests the whole time I was there, it was just a pain to have to walk the length of the building to have a piss. Anyway, we soldiered on and were determind not to let this spoil the weekend. A quick shower and change of clothes and were set out for some food and a few beers. We found a decent looking pub and had some food. The pub was full of old people. I have nothing against old people, I just don't like drinking with them - I get depressed. We moved to another pub. More old people. The entire villiage must have had an average age of 60. I don't think old people die, they must move to this little villiage and stay old.

Sod it, early night then...until we realised that our room was directly above the bar. Despite the OAP retreat that this village was they insisted on playing chart music. All the really bad entries, rappers and RnB. Bump, bump, bump, bump, down wiv me bitches, bump, bump, bump, bump. Until 1:30am. Fecking marvellous. We managed to escape after a few hours sleep.

Wishful thinking....


We arrived a bit too early at Brands i think, we were there by 9am. The place was almost empty. We killed a few hours wandering around until the racing started. The event was an historic superprix, there was a mixture of old classics there racing, from Lotus 7s to E-Type Jags, Ferrari Dinos with quite a few American muscle cars thrown in - Dodge Chargers, Mustangs and the like. I was quite impressed with how close you could get to the cars. There a little tunnel under the start/finish straight that you can use to get into the pits. There a little cafe and a few stands behind the pit garages. Plenty of opportunity for pictures but the batteries in my phone died after the 3 hour drive powering Tomtom ":'(" I did manage a few pics and a short video, pictures are in the 'Pics' section and the video will be available soon.

Had a very brief meeting with the MLOC guys but decided to go for a wander around, the short stroll soon turned into a full-on hike around the entire length of the circuit. Bit knackering but a good opportunity to see (and hear) the cars in their full glory. The event didn't quite live up to expectations, it wasn't as good as Goodwood last year but was a proper race more than a car show. Not bad if you've got a weekend to kill.

Friday, 5 May 2006

All done

A long afternoon spent at Horizon and the start motor and 2 new tyres have been fitted. Fortunately the AA picked up the bill for the starter ":-D"

Not sure whats wrong now - i need to give it a bit of gas when starting the car. This could just be the new starter motor bedding in. Certainly nothing serious. New tyres have made a surprising difference, Ive had Yoko Advans fitted to the front so they're the same all round. Feels a lot more 'solid' than the P Zeros I had before. Feels much better at high speeds.

The bad news is that they ordered the wrong bracket for the heatshield, the good new is that the rattle has gone anyway! Yay! Perhaps it was just caught on something, anyways sorted now. A new bracket is on order so I'll have one ready if the rattle ever comes back - cant see the weld holding forever.

Met a fellow MLOC'er up Horizon and had a good chat about Lotus and cars in general, looking forward to meeting some more Sunday. Yep - my tickets to Brands Hatch arrived yesterday so I'm setting off around lunch time tomorrow and will come back late Sunday night.

One of the downsides of the long drive to Horizon is the mess on the car. I had about a billion flys splattered all over the front. Spent a few hours today cleaning her up, inside and out. Looking much better now. Finally took some half decent pictures so check the 'Pics' section above.

Bugger - just realised the pics are a bit small - forgot to change the resolution on my phone. Anyway, tiny pics are now online.


Tuesday, 2 May 2006

Quiet Week!

Yay, no major dramas this week. Car is booked into Horizon Thursday to get the starter motor done. Getting the front tyres changed and fitting the new bracket for the heatshield while its up there. Can't wait to get rid of the sqeuaking!!

Brands Hatch is also looming, I'm preying for decent weather. Two 3 hour drives in an Elise in the rain doesnt really appeal to be honest. Still waiting for my tickets but I'm sure they'll turn up!

Friday, 21 April 2006

Stratstone - you robbing bastards!

Called stratstone today to get it booked in for the starter motor. The AA are paying as long as its under £ problems you might think. Well, I did until...

Dear Sir,

The fitted price would be £605.84 inc VAT.

Is the starter motor definitely faulty? We would have to order this part in specially, if you would like to go ahead with this our order deadline would be the 26th.

Simon Poynter

Parts Advisor
Stratstone Aston Martin Cardiff

Jesus Christ...its a starter motor not a new fecking kidney!!

Decided against that, might be another trip to Horizon. Either that or a guy called Andy Stanford, he's been recommended by a few people on PistonHeads and is quite local. Im awaiting his details and might give him a call for a quote.

Good news is that the bracket for the heatshield arrived today, its provisionally booked into my friendly local garage although it might well get done wherever I get the start motor replaced.

Thursday, 20 April 2006

Flat battery...and beyond!

How glad am I that I got AA cover? Being the tool that I am, I left the lights on after popping out for lunch at work. My battery was flatter than a flat thing.

A quick call and the AA and they were at my office within 20 minutes! They charged and tested the battery - all ok.

One of the tests he done was to trip the fuel cutoff switch and crank the engine to test the load on the battery. When he did this it occasionally died - this has happened to me before and I assumed it was the battery on the way out. The AA guy says the starter motor is on its way out and said I should get it replaced..under their parts and labour cover.

Fecking sweet! It's paid for itself already! Gonna call Lotus Cardiff tomorrow and get her booked in.

Thank you Mr AA Man! ":-D"


Yay, just received an email off Wendy @ Horizon - the bracket for my heatshield is on the way. Hopefully its the right one...the noise is slowly driving me mad. £4.32 + VAT plus whatever it costs me to get it fitted, a job for George I think ":-)"

Will get it booked in early next week.

Tuesday, 18 April 2006


Well, it looks like I'll be paying Stratstone Lotus Cardiff a visit in the coming months. Horizon have emailed me and they charge £75.50 + £11 (fitting) + VAT per front tyre (total of £203.275) while Lotus Cardiff are charging £99 fitted (inc VAT), so £198 for 2. Although its only a fiver cheaper its a lot closer so would probably save me £20 in petrol.

Friday, 14 April 2006

Site news

As you may have noticed, now has a few Ads here and there. They're all related to the content of the page so you shouldn't see any porn ;P

I get a few pennies when these are clicked so if you're interested then please click away! There's also a new banner at the top promoting Firefox. If you're not using it then you should be, its faster, safer and my site looks loads better in it. Probably my dodgy html skillz ":-)"

Download it and give it a go.

Creaky Clutch Pedal - sorted

Had an email back off Wendy at Horizon and to fix my creaky clutch pedel it would cost £10 for parts but £80+VAT to fit it - pig of a job apparently. Decided against this and just gave it a liberal squirt of WD40, job done. If the pedal falls off at least the AA will pay for it ":-D"

Heatshield bracket due be arriving early next week, pretty sure my local garage will be able to fit that so I dont have to drive to Birmingham. Horizon also said that they get their tyres off a Lotus Dealer because they're made especially for the Elise. Might be easier for me to get mine done at Lotus Cardiff - will drop them an email to get some prices.

Tuesday, 11 April 2006

Half happy motoring

No major problems this week, I'm still waiting for the new bracket for the heatshield and my clutch has developed an annoying squeak (a common problem apparently). Its probably about time to change the front tyres aswell so I might pop up Horizon again to get everything done at once.

Finally had the weather to have a bit of open-top motoring, a bit chilly but pretty good nonetheless. I've also noticed the Elise is a bit more 'tail happy' since the new spring was installed - this could be me being a more too enthuiastic with the loud pedal though ":-D"

Fingers crossed it will be dry for the Brands Hatch weekend, hotel is now booked and I can't wait!

Tuesday, 4 April 2006

Brands Hatch!

My first chance to meet some of the guys on MLOC has arrived, I have been given a few tickets to the historic 'superprix' at Brands Hatch on 7th May. Tickets are for the Lotus-on-Track box so thats pretty good!

70s Road Sports
Historic Road Sports
Classic Sports Cars
Historic Racing Saloon Championship
Historic Formula Ford Championship
Classic Racing Car Championship
Classic Formula 3
Historic Formula Junior
Derek Bell Trophey - pre 1966 Grands Prix cars
Pre-1961 Grand Prix cars
Grand Pre-Masters - pre 1978
World Sports Cars Masters(pre 1974)

Expect to see some old Lotus F1 cars and sportscars racing.
The meeting will take place on the full GP circuit. The box overlooks the start finish straight and has a great view of Paddock Hill bend.

Planning to drive up the Saturday afternoon, go out for a few beers, stay overnight at a local B&B and go to the event on the Sunday.


Can't wait!

A stich in time...

With the car back on the road and running again I've decided to fork out for AA breakdown cover with parts and labour included. £103 gone but it should save me a few quid when the Lotus next breaks down. I wish i did this when I bought the would have paid for itself by now.

Monday, 3 April 2006

Suspension Sorted

After what seems like ages, the Elise is back on the road. Wasn't too expensive, £64.51 for the spring off Christopher Neil and £30 to get it fitted by a local mobile mechanic.

The heatshield bracket is still making a noise but a new one is on its way from Horizon.


Wednesday, 29 March 2006

NOT the koni!

After a bit of confusion and a further chat with my mechanic it turns out that its the spring thats broke, not the Koni damper.

Trying to find out how much they are now...

Tuesday, 28 March 2006

New Koni time

A local mobile mechanic took a look at the Elise today, the rear pax damper is knackered. I'm looking for a replacement, I'm either gonna get a full set second hand (cheapish but limited lifespan) or buy a new one which would be slightly more expensive, more reliable but could cause the car to be unbalanced due to uneven wear. Then there's the issue of 'how much longer will the other rear one last?'. Not sure what I'm gonna do yet, will see how cheaply I can get things and weigh the pro's/con's.

I've contacted Lotus Cardiff and they want £94.52+VAT for a rear Koni.

Any comments/suggestion please do so with the 'comment' button ":-)"

Saturday, 25 March 2006

One step forward, 100 steps back.

Good news - the noise is just the backet on the heatshield. New one on order so should be a cheap fix. Horizon also couldn't find any problems with the clutch, it must just be me being paranoid or the new slave cylinder bedding in.

REALLY bad news - my suspension is fucked. Pulled off from the house this afternoon and noticed a loud banging while driving down the road. Pulled over and noticed that the pax rear tyre is almost touching the arch. There's also VERY little body movement over this wheel. Somethings REALLY wrong. Will see if I can arrange a garage to pick it up Monday.


Wednesday, 22 March 2006

Booked in

Just received a call of Mike @ Horizon, he can take a look at it tomorrow. Im on nights tonight so no sleep for me ":-("

Be glad just to get it sorted.

Garage time AGAIN!!!

This weeks noise seems to be getting louder and, more worryingly, there's something wrong with the clutch. Its difficult to explain, the pedal doesn't feel right, it seems less stiff than normal. Getting fucked off with this car now, I love it to bits but its costing a fortune in repairs. Will see if Horizon can fit me in this week. They put a new clutch master cylinder on last month so if thats playing up it sould be covered by them.


I can beleive that now

Monday, 20 March 2006

This weeks noise...

This weeks new noise...

Quite a high pitched whine that disappears when the clutch is dipped. Doesnt seem to change pitch with speed/revs and is coming from the rear of the car. Also isnt present at all speeds but about 85% of the time.

Think it might have started when I got the exhaust manifold heatshield welded back on but I cant think what it could be. Ive posted on MLOC so should have an idea what it is soon.

Damn thing!!!

Sunday, 19 March 2006


Well, the PDA holder bought from halfrauds was no good, the PDA wasnt quite big enough and the holder wouldn't go where i wanted it. Took it back for a refund but found an old mobile phone holder in the house that will do the job. Will fit it later today.

Also bought a second-hand dash insert to put over the top of the radio from a guy on SELOC for £10. Could be a handy anti-theft device should the Elise be parked in a dodgy area. Will have a go at fitting this today aswell, along with the phone holder and fablon.

Sunday, 12 March 2006

Winter Wonderland

Massive amounts of snow last night so I nearly soiled myself on the 7am drive home from work, none of the roads had been gritted so plenty of sideways action. A before and after pic of the car...



New windscreen wipers are a godsend.

Friday, 10 March 2006

Wipers and Fablon

Just fitted my JML wiper, loads better. It actually wipes water off the screen! Also decided to invest in some Fablon to re-do the rear wheel arch protectors, not sure if someone on MLOC has a template or if I'm gonna have to copy the old ones. Either way that should be sorted in the next few days.

Another purchase...a shiney new PDA holder from Halfrauds, not sure whether its gonna work yet because of the angle of the dash on the Elise.

Wednesday, 8 March 2006

Rattle gone and GPS sorted

Finally got rid of the rattle on the exhaust heat shield today. Took the car to GL Autos in Cwmbran (owned by my mate's Dad) and got it welded back in place. He showed me and the bracket that holds it on has broken and seems very corroded. Here's a nice little pic of her on the ramps...


I'm gonna drop Horizon an email to see how much a new bracket is...we're not sure if the weld will hold it forever. Another bargain fix, it only cost me a tenner! Thanks George!

More good news...I got a new mobile that runs Windows mobile 2003 and have aquired a copy of Tomtom. I bought a bluetooth GPS receiver so now the Elise has SATNAV ":-)"

Will post some pics soon, I'm figuring out a decent way to fit it all in tidy.

Monday, 6 March 2006

Wipers, GPS and rattle

Got fed up of the shitty wipers on the Elise. Ordered a set of JML Wonder Wipes since everyone raves about them on the Lotus forums. Cheap and cheerful.

Also ordered a GPS thing today. I'm due a new phone (PDA) that can do route mapping/speed cam detection. Should arrive tomorrow ":-)"

Final bit...gonna get the Liz booked into the garage this week. The rattle on the heatshield is still there. Might even give it a wash this week if shes lucky.