Sean prepares the Lotus Exige Cup 260 and the Elise for the last few months of ‘thrashable’ weather.
|Date acquired:||May 2012|
|Kilometres this month:||560|
|Costs this month:||$950|
|L/100km this month:||12.0|
While the weather is cool it’s the ideal time to explore the great outdoors, so I’ve done some nice road trips this month, in both the Exige Cup 260 and the Elise. However, just to make sure all goes well, a little maintenance got thrown into the mix. On the Elise, the non-charging battery fault was traced thanks to my mate Robbie. I’d already replaced the battery and alternator, but with no success. Fuses had been checked too – but there aren’t any in the circuit, so that left me scratching my head.
By contrast, a pro like Robbie doesn’t just start replacing parts willy-nilly; his first port of call was data. With a multimeter hooked up, it was clear the alternator was just fine (so didn’t need replacing after all), but the cable carrying its charge to the battery had a problem. Someone had bodged its connection to the starter motor. With the wiring harness repositioned and a new connector attached, the problem was soon solved. At last, I can use the Lotus on long journeys without fear of running out of juice.
No such problems with the Cup, but fresh oil and filters were due and the semi-slick tyres were way past their wear indicators. A combination of a 900kg kerb weight, winter rain showers and a lack of road drainage meant the chances of aquaplaning into the nearest object were getting dangerously close. This is where the advantages of running an ‘exotic’ sports car, powered by a Toyota drivetrain (such as the familiar 86 in the picture above), really pay-off. The filters are cheaply available from the local Toyota dealer, whilst the petrol station near my house is happy to drop down the under tray as long as I buy the fully synthetic oil from them. The only tricky thing to watch is ensuring the subframe shear panel doesn’t trap the gear change cables on reassembly, and making sure the oil level is correct considering the Accusump canister needs recharging too. As I’m an old hand at this game, I know the tricks.
Tyres for the Exige are a little more tricky, due to their unusually size. Lotus fits Toyo R888s from the factory, however these are not available in the UAE, despite the local agent for Toyo and Lotus being the same company. Lucky for me, I keep a spare set of tyres ‘in stock’ – a necessity considering this my third set in just over 20,000km. With the Cup being sensitive to tyre choice, I keep buying softer compound tyres that suit its lightweight. My tyre of choice this time is Yokohama Advan AD08. It’s not as radical compared to the semi-slick R888, meaning turn-in has a touch less bite. However, the upside is the compound is still super sticky, the tread blocks can clear standing water and the wear rates should be better. With the Exige being so light at the front, I wanted the tyres fitted and balanced to perfection, so got Motor Sport Wheels to do their normal top job.
With all that work complete I was all done, so destination Hajar Mountain ranges was set, for some of the best driving roads in the country. Along with a bunch of car junkies, such tours are fantastic fun for both the driving and the craic. Got to go, the mountains are calling.
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