2006 Exige S

This is where we proud owners can upload information and pictures of our pride-and-joys (their Exige that is..)
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matt447
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Joined: Mon Apr 13, 2020 7:13 pm

That's looking awesome Kyle! Well done for trying out something different too - the dash looks like it's seriously customisable! :thumbup: I wish I could do something to make my AIM's shift lights a bit more visible - they're too high in the binnacle and you basically can't see them because of the steering wheel, lol! I'm assuming you don't have that issue with your dash?
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Fonzey
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matt447 wrote: Fri Jun 11, 2021 11:08 am That's looking awesome Kyle! Well done for trying out something different too - the dash looks like it's seriously customisable! :thumbup: I wish I could do something to make my AIM's shift lights a bit more visible - they're too high in the binnacle and you basically can't see them because of the steering wheel, lol! I'm assuming you don't have that issue with your dash?
No I'd heard about the AIM visibility issues so it was one of the things I wanted to avoid. The ADU is available in 5" and 7", the 7" will just about fit into the shroud but you'd have similar issues so we went ahead with the 5" - so the downside is that it does have a smaller amount of screen real estate, but everything is a compromise I think.

The AIM is a fantastic bit of kit and I'd have almost certainly gone that route if I was on the stock ECU still, but it just made sense to further my investment into the ECUMaster ecosystem with this dash - it complements the ECU so much and adds so much extra capability, it was a no brainer really. The only delay was lack of plug and play loom and shroud, both of which AIM had available from the get-go.
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Fonzey
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Couple of updates for the car, just recovered from an exhausting day at Croft - so time for an update.

One of the changes I meant to, but neglected to make to my car during the winter rebuild was machining down the steering arms a bit to give me some more negative camber at the front. Not sure why, I've always felt the geometry of the car has been acceptable but when people tell you 'its better', curiosity kicks in I guess. I kept putting it off, but with Croft looming I really wanted to try it to see if a stronger front end at speed would give me more confidence into the Jim Clark Esses to take them closer to the 'flat out' the car is probably capable of. (spoiler alert: it didn't).

In the week before Croft, I made the call to buy some aftermarket steering arms instead. They're nothing fancy, and are known for not offering the -1deg extra camber advertised but still it was better than nothing as I'd run out of time to take my steering arms somewhere.

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By keeping my camber shims as-is (just the ABS bracket on the OS and ABS bracket+1mm NS) I gained approx -0.6. If I remove the ABS shims too, then I get closer to -1.0 (0.9ish) but I need to cable tie the ABS sensor wiring to something. I opted to go with the intermediate setting for now, bringing my negative front camber to 1.3 from the 0.7 it had on the standard arms.

The next challenge was toe, if the arms are kept the same and just the shims are modified you can get away without a tracking tweak because the steering geometry remains the same, but these aftermarket arms had a different relative location for the pivot point so my front track was way out. Once again, with no time left I couldn't go get it properly setup so I got the string out and did by best... thinking it was pretty close (spoiler alert: it wasn't)

The road test of the new camber setup felt a bit odd, assumed it was my dodgy toe angle so took it to a local tyre fitting place who have some laser gear. They don't take bookings and for lunch money they'll at least make sure the car is roughly lined up, they corrected my settings to what I hoped was something like neutral toe at the front (spoiler alert: they didn't).

Got the car home, it still felt a bit wonky... about ready to throw the towel in and just track it as it was - I found this in a rear tyre.
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Bugger...

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Luckily I had a pile of spare ZZRs waiting to go, so back to the tyre shop one more time. Car now felt 'acceptable', but still a bit vague just off-centre if I was being picky. Despite that though I was pretty convinced the car felt good when heavily loaded up, better than before.

Quick pre-trackday wash and it was time for the big day, the LoT Croft day probably the one I look forward to the most.
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I was joined by my neighbour Geoff for the first spectator-legal trackday I'd done since Covid arrived, it was nice to have some of the social aspect back... plus he bought his converted T5 camper which was amazing for pitlane hospitality.

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Car honestly felt 'fine' all day, nothing amazing but it didn't feel dangerous or wayward at all. The confidence I was hoping for in the faster stuff just didn't come, and I was actually a fair bit slower through there than I was last year - so either I'd just not taken enough brave pills that day, or the steering alignment was playing on my mind subconsciously - either way, missed opportunity I think but I didn't end up in the field, so there is that.

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Had a good day despite the lacklustre performance on the quicker stuff, the differential felt great through the complex, fairly confident I'm much quicker through there now. Car tended to understeer through the hairpin rather than spinning up the inside rear as it used to do - but with a bit of practise I could drive around that, turn in on the brakes a bit and get the back rotating - then there was bags of grip to fire me out. Had a few comments from other cars that I was pretty quick out of there in comparison - so seal of approval all round.

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Geoff caught some driveby clips, love the sound of this car from the outside... shame I never get to hear it :lol:



And I got some, but not much footage from the gopro too. I've had issues all year with my gopros, I think it's overheating - so I limited its use this time to try and save it. Got a couple of sessions, but missed my last one which had the typically clear and quick laps - but still down on my previous visits, so nothing amazing was missed.



Really good day despite the niggles, the ECUMaster dash was flawless all day. If you watch the video you may notice a 'gearbox oil warning' come up on the dash towards the end of a session, I arbitrarily set the threshold fairly low (though I've got no idea where it should really be set??) to make sure alarms were working ok. I'll raise it for the next trackday. The logs did show that gearbox oil temp steadily rises through the sessions with no sign of stabilising (in fact, it starts to speed up) so I'm pretty sure a cooler is on the cards if I did want to push for longer sessions. We'll see.

Croft was also the first trackday that I'd datalogged properly with the dash, and that's been a lot of fun playing with. You can select two laps to compare, choosing whatever metrics I want from the dash or ECU and then when I hover the mouse over a particular point on the graphs, it shows on the track map where the two laps are (represented by the blue and red dots).

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In a competitive context the advantage of this sort of stuff is pretty obvious, but for me just geeking around it's a great window into what the car is doing on circuit and how certain safety/reliability features are performing. You can see the dips in oil pressure for example during the >1G turns, dropping as low as 2.6bar in the Hawthorne chicane. Still within spec for the engine, but still shows a slight weakness in the sump/pickup and you can see how bigger problems could emerge from a longer/sweeping application of >1G.

As for traction control, I didn't make use of it all day - car had a couple of slippy moments in the hairpin but really gripped up nicely all day. Probably will be a wet day before I get to play with that properly.

Over the weekend I had a coffee morning arranged with some Lotus friends at a local workshop that happened to have laser alignment gear on hand, so thought it would be rude not to stick it on and see how the car was sat...

Toe NSF: +0'15'
Toe OSF: +0'01'

It was supposed to be just on the negative side of neutral, something like -0'01'

:|

Donington Evening next in a couple of weeks, I'll try not to feck around with the car too much before then. Maybe Craners will be my first proper test of a higher camber setup.
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andybond
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I think I need some sucky noises in my life. Looked like it went well!
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matt447
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Oooh, let me know how you go on Craners with the car properly setup! I’m getting more wary as time goes by - need to get my mojo back… I think that all this time at home, not driving has sapped my confidence a lot… :/
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Fonzey
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matt447 wrote: Tue Jul 06, 2021 6:06 am Oooh, let me know how you go on Craners with the car properly setup! I’m getting more wary as time goes by - need to get my mojo back… I think that all this time at home, not driving has sapped my confidence a lot… :/
Don't get your hopes up! Fast stuff has really been a problem for me this year, must be getting too old/sensible.

I think every couple of years I just hit a plateau with my track driving, it's starting to feel like one of those years. Need to spend some good quality seat time with an instructor I think to 'get my mojo back' as you put it.
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Fonzey
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Mini update, I noticed a bug in the ECUMaster ADU software when doing the data logging analysis. It's partly my own fault for using a test version rather than the latest stable, but that's because the latest stable is now very old and misses out on a lot of the features I want to use.

I raised it with ECUMaster via RRR Engineering, and within a couple of days they released a new test version with my very own patchnote to say the bug had been fixed. :mrgreen: Whilst dialogue was open, we talked about some other features in the pipeline and there's some pretty exciting stuff on the horizon, which I'll of course post once it's available and I can have a play for those interested in the development of the dash. :thumbup:
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Fonzey
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Donington Update

In the days since Croft I was getting an increasingly odd sensation through the car that was starting to make me a bit nervous. After all of the messing around with steering arms, I really could do to get it back to SeriouslyDave (or frankly anywhere that knows what they're doing!) and get the alignment triple checked. Even if the various backstreet/DIY attempts were successful, I was second guessing it big time.

When discussing this with a friend, an option came up to get my car checked on the morning of the trackday. I took the option gladly, as I wouldn't have time to get it looked at on any other day.

It didn't take long to spot the problem, my rear toe link was loose :? Seems one of the backstreet garages I'd used for tracking had been messing around at the rear and didn't nip it up properly. Easy fix, double checked everything was lined up correctly and I was on my way to Donny! :mrgreen:

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It was to be quite a social event, a few of my Lotus comrades would be in attendance too (including our very own Mr Bond), but the nature of a session based evening trackday didn't allow much time for socialising once the clock started!

It was pretty much 20mins on, 20mins off for the duration of the night which resulted in a fair chunk of track time. Far more than I'd get on an open pit lane evening, but it did mean that the cars (and drivers) were struggling to cool down between sessions!

It was my first time driving Donny in the dry, and first time ever on the GP circuit. Track is fantastic, can't believe I've not done it sooner and more often, it really is a gem. I know everybody says it about just about every circuit, but you can't believe the undulations and profile of the track despite seeing it on video a million times!

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First session out was figuring out which way the track went, literally so - the left hand turn to get onto the GP loop came as a bit of a shock! :mrgreen: I do like a good hairpin though, so it was a welcome addition. Second session I had a passenger, started pushing on a little bit but was still over slowing the car far too much for most of the corners. It's a very fast circuit when done right (so I've been told :lol: )

Third session was cut short a bit due to an unfortunate fire in an S1 Elise, luckily nobody hurt and it seems the car is salvageable - but still a pretty harsh reminder of what can go wrong.

Car was handling well to this point, turn in was strong but there was a bit of mid corner push on the slower stuff. I decided to soften the front dampers up slightly for the final session to see if I could measure a benefit there. The additional camber I've added to the front can certainly be felt, there's a slight light sensation just off-centre which weights up almost immediately when putting high speed load into the front. It seems to have made the transition between grip and understeer feel more obvious too because the steering suddenly goes from very heavy to very light, and that information did help raise confidence a bit.

The final session did feel much better, but it was bogged down with traffic unfortunately. The previous red flag had eaten into our time allowance for this last session so it was all just a bit rammed in - though I did get a lap or so of clear track towards the end. Car felt quite a bit better in the hairpins, so much so that I felt I hadn't carried anywhere near enough speed into them. Had I had more time, I'm pretty sure I'd have knocked chunks of time off my laps - so makes me excited for next time.

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As for Craners and the faster stuff, I bottled it big time - no way was I doing that flat, at least not on my first time there :mrgreen: The car did feel very settled through it though, I carried a fair lick of speed through the initial left hander on a few laps but then really struggled to get the car back left again ready for the old hairpin. Felt like my laps were quicker where I compromised the entry a bit and concentrated more on the hairpin.

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Towards the end of each session my dash was warning me about gearbox temp. The Alarm is still set fairly conservatively so I'm not too fussed about it yet, but the logs do show it showing no signs of slowing down and I think some sort of cooler is on the cards if I want to run longer sessions. Interestingly (or maybe obviously?) the laps I did with a passenger generated gearbox temp MUCH quicker.

IATs were really impressive despite the heat, barely got into the 40's for most of my lapping, but then of course rose up a bit in the pits. It was brutal conditions for hammering a car, but everything seemed to keep in check nicely, so that's positive.

Oh, and as a bit of a bonus - we bumped into Julian Thompson who was also in attendance who popped into the garage for a natter. Had me a bit starstruck tbh :lol:

Car has had a quick wash, check over and it's back out tomorrow for Blyton. I've arranged some tuition for most of the day so will be working on technique a bit and hopefully get some help moving my dampers in the right direction. Car feels very good right now, so think I've got a solid base - but I would still like to lean on the car a bit more.
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Fonzey
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Joined: Tue Nov 27, 2018 12:17 am

Video of the only real clear laps in the last session:

I was hoping to follow Jonny (Red Elise Cup) for a few laps afterwards as we had been tit for tat for a while... but this was the session the had to cut short, so misjudged that :(
andyzim
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Joined: Fri May 29, 2020 8:30 am

I can't wait to book a day at Donington in the Exige, it's my favourite UK circuit.
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