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Surviving winter with your Lotus

Summer is becoming a distant memory, but fear not, you can still drive your Lotus in the winter.
Here are our top tips to take care of you and your car when doing so…

The main enemy to your car is salt.  While helpful for our safety, grit salt on the road can be devastating to the condition of your suspension and chassis.  However there are a few things you can do to reduce the impact:

Spray water at it! Pressure wash after each trip out to rinse the salt off, giving the car a little time to cool off first – keep the lance a short distance from the car, no need to be too aggressive. Clean around the wishbones, brakes, dampers, exposed chassis areas and underbody.  It should be possible to access most areas through the wheels, arches, and under the car. Don’t forget the wheels and radiator. After this, try to clean the water from the brakes with a very short drive before storing the car, to prevent the brakes sticking on when parked.

If you have a fuel station with a jet wash near to home, the hot foam soft brush is a good way of removing the salt film from the car. It is important to always make sure you rinse any grit and dirt from the brush with the spray lance before using it, to prevent scratching bodywork.

Clean the inside of the alloy wheels – this is often the first place the paint will lift. Get a soft wheel brush that accesses the inner rim through the spokes, and all of the tight areas around the brakes etc.  Always take care not to knock off the wheel weights!

After washing, wax the car, and spray the wheels with a suitable alloy wheel sealant. This will reduce the effects of salt and brake dust which can be a damaging combination to the paint. It also makes it alot easier to clean in future, and the wheels look smarter for longer.

Cold tyres, cold brakes and cold feet?  Attention to your tyres and braking technique may be useful this winter season…

Many people use softer compound “summer” tyres which are not recommend for use below 8 degrees Celsius.  This is because the compound of the rubber is designed to be soft at higher temperatures, but it much harder when it is cold.  It is therefore essential to keep an eye on the pressures and condition of the tyres during the winter months.  If the sidewalls of the tyres are showing any signs of cracking, they should be replaced.

In the cold weather you may find that your braking efficiency is slightly reduced. This is most noticeable on cars without servo assistance (Elise S1, S2, Exige S1, 340R), and is again temperature related.  Initial brake bite may be reduced after travelling on the motorway at speed for a while so take care when approaching those inevitable winter traffic hold-ups.

With the roads being generally dirty, it is often surprising the difference keeping your headlights clean will make to their effectiveness when driving in the dark.  If you drive alot at night, then it is well worth considering some upgraded bulbs, which can give you up to 50% more, whiter, light than the standard items.

The efficiency of the heater in the Elise S1 can be improved by insulating the ducting that passes from the heater box to the inlet above the footwell.  The original silver “extractor ducting” can be wrapped in a suitable non-conductive insulation like open-cell foam.

Keeping the inside of the windscreen and side windows clean, will help them to demist much quicker, as well as aid visibility in the dark.  Use a simple glass cleaning product with a clean microfibre cloth for best results.  Footwell mats get damp in winter, so remove them from the car to dry them out, which will help prevent misting and condensation in the car when you are driving.

A good quality car cover will help keep your pride and joy looking its best.  An indoor cover will ensure that all your polishing efforts won’t be contaminated by dust, an outdoor cover will protect the car from the weather should you need to leave it outside.  We have a range of indoor dust covers, as well as the excellent Stormforce outdoor covers (which can also be used indoors!), tailored to suit all Lotus models.  Also our Elemental shower covers are great for sealing up the gaps around the soft top roof, helping to keep moisture from accumulating inside the cockpit – which in turn helps keep the windows demisted.

Finally, if you are using the car occasionally, consider a battery conditioner such as the Optimate, which will ensure that your battery is kept in good condition, and the car will start on the button when you see that crisp sunny morning!

 

There are still some beautiful driving days in winter, so don’t be scared to take your car out, just be sure to follow these tips to keep everything in top working condition!

 

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2016 Racing Season Finale

The climax of the 2016 Lotus Cup racing season takes place this weekend on the Snetterton 300 circuit.

With five sessions of Lotus car on the track, supported by Mini and Formula 3 series too, it promises to be a full day of Lotus racing action as the Lotus Cup and Elise Trophy championships reach their climax.

Hangar 111 Racing will again be in paddock, supporting our drivers Mark Richardson (Car 26) in Elise Trophy, and James Little (Car 34) in both Lotus Cup and Elise Trophy.

As the sun sets on another great year of racing, why not come along for a final autumn blast.  We’re based in the pit garages all day on Saturday, so come and find us and say hello!

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Hygroscopic

It is recommended that your brake fluid is renewed every 2 years.  This is because brake fluid is hygroscopic, which means it is able to absorb water molecules from its surrounding atmosphere.  Failure to refresh the fluid will result in a loss of effectiveness of the braking system, as the properties of the fluid are changed by the water content, particularly the boiling point.

Taken to an extreme, not flushing the system with some regularity, can result in a mayonnaise-like accumulation, like that seen here.

Needless to say, the brakes on this car were hugely improved by cleaning the reservoir and thoroughly flushing the system with new fluid.

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EALC Workshop Visit

At the weekend, we were visited by members of the local East Anglian Lotus Club. Twelve Lotus, and a couple of interesting other cars, made their way in convoy in less than ideal conditions, but a warm welcome awaited at Hangar 111.

A range of vehicles were on display at the workshop, ranging from a very tidy early S1 Elise, to the latest Evora 400, via S2 Exige and Elise, and an LF1.  The championship-winning Hangar 111 Racing Elise Cup R was also present, demonstrating our state-of-the-art alignment rig in action.

Some of our current parts catalogue were available for hands-on perusal, which showed some of our developed upgrade parts, such as the Signature exhaust range, JRZ suspension, and others.  Also a number of factory and everyday parts, including the ever popular Elemental shower caps and Stormforce car covers.

A steady supply of tea and coffee, and a buffet lunch kept attendees topped up, whilst there was plenty of time to meet and chat with the H111 team about all things Lotus.

Our guests were also given an introduction to our new rolling road dyno booth, with a show-and-tell from Greg giving the low down on how the dyno works, and how it enhances our diagnostics and tuning services.

 

 

 

It was great to welcome club members to the workshop, we hope they enjoyed their visit, and our thanks to EALC for a good turnout of cars, and their enthusiastic drivers and passengers.

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Performance Driver Training at Millbrook

The first of our performance driver training days took place last week at Millbrook. Despite the weather taking a turn from the recent sunshine, a warm welcome was assured by Colin, Jo, and Paul at CAT Driver Training.

The Millbrook experience is unique, and starts as you pass through security and are escorted via part of the Alpine test track to CATs base hidden away in the middle of one of the test loops. CATs range of test and race cars welcome you and your Lotus, as well as Jo’s seemingly never-ending supply of tea and coffee!

The day starts with a short interactive briefing from Colin, to learn a little about everyone in the group, their experiences and ambitions for the day.  Colin then introduces the schedule for the day before getting straight down to business with learning about braking. Out onto the mile straight, which is what it says, and allows you to ensure your braking techniques are tuned, before moving onto to the going faster lessons.

The activities continue with a visit to the high-speed bowl, the opportunity to learn more about steering, and the handling circuit, to further add understand of weight transfer and grip.  A short respite for lunch, is followed with some theory on cornering and trail braking from Colin. Then it is out onto the alpine loop circuits, to put it all into practice with the added challenge of sharp gradients and heavily cambered, changing road surfaces.  After some grip limit tests, it is time to put it all together and have a little fun with the gymkhana, a short course against the clock, and your fellow attendees.

The day is finished off with a prize for the best performance in the gymkhana, and Colin and Pauls driver of the day accolade.

A safe, fun, and educational day was had by all, even the Hangar 111 support team.  But don’t just take our word for it, here’s some comments from the attendees…

“What a fantastic day, in superb facilities, with instructors who provided a structured and personalised approach.”

“I didn’t imagine it was possible for me to learn so much in one day, with the added bonus of Hangar 111 Lotus advice on tap all day.”

“Driving the Alpine Loop was one of the best experiences of my life!  I could happily drive round that circuit all day long…”

We hope to be able to run some more dates next year, starting in the spring – keep your eyes on our newsletters for dates and availability.

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Gearbox Rebuilds

Here at Hangar 111 we are fully-equipped to rebuild all of the gearboxes found in the modern Lotus cars.

From the PG1 in the Rover K-series powered cars, through the C64 in Toyota 2ZZ, to the EA60 and EC60 in the current production models.  We have the specialist tools and experience of rebuilding many gearboxes both as standard, as well with uprated components such as stronger bearings, final drives, limited slip diffs, etc (all available in our online store!).

So if your ‘box is sounding tired, or you are looking to upgrade, why not give us a call – you may be surprised the improvement it will make to your driving experience!

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