Lotus Elan

+2 Zetec

PostPost by: types26/36 » Mon Nov 27, 2006 10:20 pm

Here is part of a discussion on the Seloc forum that may interest some of you guys who are into Zetec's, I am making no comments and are posting
as the Zetec conversion is often mentioned here.
I have included the Seloc link but unless you are registered with Seloc you will not be able to view the whole thread.
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Quote:

My +2 is a Spyder Zetec conversion. So far, it's been on the road 4 or 5 months I'm truthfully pretty disappointed, but mostly it's not anything to do with Spyder and the excellent Andy Widnall. I purchased my car finished from its original builder, & basically it was appallingly built, so my job has been to do it again, which is costly and time consuming. I'm very friendly with the guys at Raceline so I got them to build me a 220. spec Zetec, I'd had a 200 spec. in a Sylva Pheonix ten years ago and it was mega, but the 220 is just too peaky for the quite heavy +2, and it appears you just can't get enough air into the engine within the +2's slender engine bay, so I'm in the process of a cam change back to 200 spec, which should greatly improve the drivability. So don't waste money on all the machining to fit Vauxhall lifters to your Zetec to try and fit the ultimate cams ! My car has a full cage with door bars, which was quite a game to make and install, but when I was renewing the nylon door hinge bushes, I saw just how frail the fibreglass structure really is, any sort of side impact and your dead ! The combination of a floppy old fibreglass body and a new stiff T45 cage makes for a lot of creeks & groans. The MT75 gearbox mated to a lightweight flywheel seems to cause a lot of awful noise problems, ( should have asked Spyder first !), apparently the harmonics are such that the gearbox chatters constantly, a bit like a competion Caterham 7, so don't waste your money on a light flywheel !
The feature which I really hate and is in my view something Spyder sould sort out is the lack of space within their backbone spaceframe for the exhaust system, I think original +2's ran a 1" dia exhaust, a 200 Zetec needs a 2 1/4" dia exhaust, the original chassis was fabricated from steel sheet and the lower part was folded in such a way as to allow the exhaust system to locate up inside the chassis, the Spyder does not, as a consequence, the exhaust system is always hitting the road unless you run the car with a ludicrous ride height, which makes it look more like an off roader, take a close look at the photographs on the web, all the cars are jacked up, this totally spoils the cars appearance in my view.

I'm convinced I'll eventually have quite a nice car, but it'll never be in any way a refined tourer, frankly I doubt it'll ever be as refined as a Mark 1 Elise, more like a Caterham with a roof ! You've got to remember the base car is a forty year old design, and my God have things improved : water ingress, you thought an M100 was bad !!! Headlights boble around like a fiddlers elbow, it smells of engine in the cabin. It's a great little car but hard to imagine as a daily driver.
Took my wife to the local Lotus 7 Club pub meet in the +2 during summer, all of 6 miles, she's never even sat in the thing again, her views on the car are unprintable !!!!

Spyder Engineering and Andy Widnall are very, very helpful, and good to do business with, truthfully my expectations of a re engineered forty year old car were too high. I reckon an Excel would be a much better starting point. Regards Tim

http://forums.seloc.org/viewthread.php?tid=101099
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PostPost by: Dave-M » Mon Nov 27, 2006 11:30 pm

Brian, what a great post.
I must admit to having fleeting fantasies of doing a similar conversion to my bog standard +2s but every time I drive my car the balance between power, roadholding and comfort gives me so much pleasure that i soon return to reality.
It's a 35 year old car and quite a remarkable one at that.
Fitting a 220 BHP engine would require too many changes to keep the overall balance of all it's original features as I think Tim found out.
For the cost of his car he could have bought a Porsche or even a Ferrari.
From memory, back in the early 1980's when Vic Moore started the Spyder operation, Lotus were unable to supply a chassis for the Baby or +2 and he stepped in and filled the gap, subsequent improvements followed and all were in keeping with the original concept. ( I know I spent good money with them). When Vic sold out where did the company see it's future? I think it was to add more and more mods to an old design that was not capable of handling it.
Here in the UK. it's becoming a big thing to modify old cars with modern running gear, to quite stupid levels, but reading between the lines you will find similar problems and shortcomings will come to the surface.
I can understand the satisfaction gained from the technical aspects of doing such a conversion but to finish up with an overpowered, unpleasant to drive car seems totally pointless.
Modify the car by all means but work with period stuff.
What does everyone else think?
Regards
Dave
PS My wife loves our car, Remind me one day to post her Dianne Weber impersonation, complete with gloves.
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PostPost by: tower of strength » Tue Nov 28, 2006 12:01 am

I concur guys,

I was very taken by the Zetec at first and seriously considered it , but in my humble opinion too much "Lotus" would be removed, to me the standard cars ride, poise, balance between grip and handling are sublime. The twinks power delivery is special as is the sound it makes. Rotoflex wind up is part of the cars character and can be minimised by adopting an apropriate driving style. The look of the knock ons and the standard ride height help to make the car. The full Spyder Zetec seems to have neutered the car.
The five speed with a decent shift would be nice though

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PostPost by: wilsongt » Tue Nov 28, 2006 2:38 am

Great, The Zetec argument version 25...

Just to stir it up a little more. And to open myself up for flaming. So a guy buys a car which:

is appallingly built
has a peaky engine with an unmatched flywheel, struggling to pull the heavy car around. [Sounds familiar, sounds like he needs a Graham Arnold "press special" engine]
leaks, and is noisy.
has little or no side impact protection
his wife hates

And he is disappointed? Quelle Suprise! He doesn't sound like he is a natural standard Elan owner, let alone a Spyder Zetec owner. ;-)

In all seriousness, I don't think it would matter brand it was, he's got an unsorted and badly built car. Along with unrealistic expectations. How many people have been put off buying an Elan of any sort because it was worn out, creaky, dampers shot, leaking? This is just the same

What does amuse me though is that this unfortunate purchasing decision and subsequent burning of ?10 notes is treated as justification by list members to slag off Spyder and the conversion itself. (If Spyder are so bad, why have they got the job of restoring the Metier prototype then?) That seems a little unfair to me.

Oh - and, "Rotoflex wind up is part of the cars character and can be minimised by adopting an apropriate driving style". Gotta love that one. I offer in return, given the wish for a 5-speed "A four speed gearbox is part of the car's character, and excessive revving in top can be minimised by not pressing the throttle quite so hard"

On the other hand, Dianne Weber impersonations always appreciated

Regards
Glenn
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PostPost by: cliveyboy » Tue Nov 28, 2006 8:06 am

I agree with Glenn
If the car was badly built by the previous owner then it is difficult to judge the true merit of the car.
Although I disagree that the article slags Spyder off.
I think a constructive comment about ride height and design of exhaust system from an owner and customer of Spyders is perfectly OK.

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PostPost by: wilsongt » Tue Nov 28, 2006 8:24 pm

Hello Clive, just to clarify, I meant the replies to the snip from Seloc, not the original snip itself

I agree with the ride height comment. On the other hand, if you live in an area with speedbumps, no worries...

The rest of the Seloc conversation is more positive about the Spyder conversion, context is all perhaps?

Regards
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PostPost by: zeteclotus » Tue Nov 28, 2006 8:42 pm

220 BHP is way too much for a +2 in my opinion.

I think the spyder conversion is great it just goes too far which is why I built a car using the original suspension and tyres, Which gives better ground clearance, I also retained the FORD managment system which give LOADS of low down torque.

The Zetec is a nice engine if kept with ford injection because ford put hte injectors in the correct place for the head. ok you do have to modify the air chamber but this is not really much of a problem if you can build a car.

I am very pleased with the car. THe MT75 has a nice gear change much like the 4 speed just with 5 gears.
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PostPost by: denicholls2 » Wed Nov 29, 2006 5:39 pm

Apologies to Tim if he reads this for offering up the truth, but the post really does suggest he has more money than either brains or technical understanding. The car he has is pretty clearly a teenager-like attempt to have the "Lotus with the mostest" in terms of raw, impractical power. Twisting the engine by the short hairs to deliver 220 HP and then complaining that it won't pull from 10 MPH in top gear? Please! :roll: Has he never seen a dyno curve on a full-race engine?

What the post does underscore is that you really ought to have in mind some vision of where you're headed before you set off to get there. Yes, a bog-stock +2 might well be worth more than a heavily modded one when complete, so it at least the mods ought to support what the user wants to get out of the car. That's obviously not the case here; what Tim really wanted is a fast Miata.

All of which says nothing about the suitability of the Zetec (in reasonable street tune) as a modern conversion, and little about Spyder as a supplier. If his sole issue with Spyder is that proper exhaust fabrication goes beyond simply running a piece of round pipe under the chassis, I'd say they got it pretty well right. I'm guessing that the average Joe running a 220 HP race engine in his +2 doesn't use it primarily to pick up the kids after school, and the track he runs it on doesn't require 10 inches of ground clearance.

Squeaks, rattles, and smells are things that talented people figure out how to correct in their classic Lotus, which offered them as no cost extras when new, and they usually do it without seriously compromising the original appearance. That these issues leave Tim scratching his head tells us a lot about why he's likely the same level of PO he bought the car from, just with a little more capital to burn.

One person's opinion, of course.
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PostPost by: john.p.clegg » Wed Nov 29, 2006 7:22 pm

Have I missed a post by Tim?

Seems that the gauntlet is well and truely thrown diown.....

John :wink:
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PostPost by: types26/36 » Wed Nov 29, 2006 7:33 pm

john.p.clegg wrote:Have I missed a post by Tim?


No John, you've just lost the plot :lol:
I dont think Tim posts here, I just cross posted from Seloc to see the reaction and did we get it !:lol: :lol: bit of a wind up really :D
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PostPost by: john.p.clegg » Wed Nov 29, 2006 7:36 pm

Brian

You're not the Messiah..You're a very naughty boy.....

John :wink:
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PostPost by: types26/36 » Wed Nov 29, 2006 7:43 pm

telle est vie :lol:
(with apologies to our French cousins if not correct)
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