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Thursday, February 17, 2011

Keeping it tight

The joy of owning a sports car can be decreased with little problems inherent to high performance machines.
One of those little issues with the Lotus Elise (and Exige) is that the stock motor mounts are just too soft, thus there can be a lot of movement while driving. For street driving it's not much of a concern although it can cause some parts to break but when driving on the track, the engine movement increase the risk for problems to arise.

Having those soft mounts will cause the car to have not so crisp shifting and the driver might end up missing some shifts. Also, it may cause the exhaust pipe to break in some place because there's just too much movement and not enough flex from the pipe or the headers.

A solution to those problems is to install  stiffer engine mounts.

I opted for the Innovative mounts from Sector111 because I've got a bunch of stuff from them and it's always been of good quality.

Here's a short description of the product from S111:

Less motor rotation = Improved Shifting & Throttle Response
  • Less opportunity for miss shifts
  • Great throttle response
        -mid corner control is significantly better
  • Less exhaust system stress
        -less exhaust system breakage leading to replacement

All in all, this is a pretty good investment and is something that people serious about driving their Lotus on the race track should consider.

Those things should get installed sometimes next week during some other work I need to get done on the car (Suspensions bushings replacement, air conditioning delete, belt change, mounts).

I'll update this blog once I've been able to test the car with the mounts installed.


I just got the car back tonight at 6PM from Suspension Performance (in Mountain View). Eric, the owner told me that initially, the car would vibrate a little more but after some 300-400 miles, I would have forgotten about it altogether so, we'll see.

'Vibrate a little more', eh... Well, that's an understatement. I got in the car, snapped the harness on and fired up the engine. The first thing that came to my mind what that there must have been some sort of earthquake at the exact same moment! what a coincidence!

I drove away from the shop and got onto 101 South to end up on 85 South. The vibrations are actually not as bad while driving above 20MPH and it got really noisy but the exhaust gets extra noisy some times, usually at night time for some odd reason. Seems like when the temperature is colder, the thing just drones a lot more. No biggie.

Anyway, as I got close to home and into the streets, the vibrations where in fact not as noticeable as an hour before. I suppose that, like pretty much everything, there is a 'break-in' period and it should be a little smoother with time.

The shaking aside, I did notice a definite improvement in the shifting. It is crispier, just like they say on the S111 web site so it's not just commercial fluff. It seems to help keeping the car a little more stable as well because the motor doesn't move around as much and I can't wait to try it out on the track, hopefully on the 19th or the 20th at Thunderhill.

In addition to the engine mounts, Eric replaced some of the suspension bushings as they were a little tired (the motor mounts, by the way, were shot for the most part). The stock bushing tend to get a beating on the race track and while they were not is a horrible shape, changing them now was definitely a good thing.

The last part, which he could not do was to remove the whole air conditioning bits. I don't use the A/C (the car is a convertible...) and that stuff weights a lot. The problem was that the belt that he received from Lotus was too long and thus, he could not remove the A/C compressor. He should be able to do it next week though. The car will be happy and feel like it's been on a diet.

All in all the motor mounts are a good investment.

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