The nearly an Elise Project

Started by Danny Scarbro, February 22, 2022, 14:47

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Danny Scarbro

So I thought it was time to start putting a build thread/journey together for my current MR2 project, so what the idea then?

Well I've owned a couple of K20/24 S1 Elise's for the last 4 years, and whilst building them up into capable fast road/track toys I've also seen the price of them continue to rise and rise along with the amount they have cost to build!

And whilst I love them cant help but think £20-30k is an awful lot of money for a track toy that's only used once a month or so, especially when I have quite a few bits on my house Id like to do.

I then came across a sensibly priced and spec'd K20 converted MR2 Roadster, which made me think, could I make it 80% as good as the Elise for 50% of the money?

Needless to say I went to look at it and bought it, The chap had done a great job of the conversion making it a nice quick car but maintaining the interior and comfort of a more normal car.

So initial thoughts of the car?

-Its fun, great fun infact! Has the same lovely balancing act or understeer to oversteer mid corner that the Elise's have which you can play with.

-It doesn't look like an Elise

-Its such a nicer place to be inside, seats are fairly comfy, has carpets in the front, power steering electric Mirrors and the engine mounts arent too harsh.

-Its still fast, yes not as fast but still capable.

So overall I was really happy, for the difference in money it really offers a great overall and more usable package.

I'll get some photo's uploaded of when I purchased it and then start going through some of the things I have done so far and the future plans as I'm pleased to say its going to be staying for a while!

Many thanks




Danny Scarbro

#1
Pictures when I purchased the car.







And spec when I purchased it;

Stock K20 engine
RBC inlet manifold
Innovative engine mounts
Custom exhaust manifold into 3" system
234bhp mapped by EFI
Stock gearbox with M Factory LSD
Clockwise baffled sump
Hondata k100 ecu
Modal oil cooler

Meister R coilovers
Yellow stuff EBC pads
White line f&r anti roll bars
McGillian under body brace
Fully pollybushed


Corbeau club sport seats
3" TRS harness'

Dan


J88TEO

Nice...wish I have the time and the ££££!

Danny Scarbro

#3
There was a few visual changes I wanted to make with the car straight away and in a funny turn of events I already had a few parts lined up!

I had purchased a Silver Mk3 MR2 shell that was ready to drop a 2ZZ engine in which had some nice parts on it, I literally sold it weeks before getting this car so spoke to the guy who purchased it and got some of the parts back!

On the list was a matching Silver Hardtop and Black side air intakes. So I removed the Soft top and got these fitted along with removing the rear spoiler. (The style wasn't to my taste and my understanding for a decent aero benefit the wing has to fairly large and mounted quite high up so wouldn't be doing a lot anyway).

I then wanted to change the number plate, again not really to my taste I found a still K20 orientated plate for it and got some Japanese sized rectangle plates made up and fitted.

Naturally with a new car I was looking on Ebay/FB Marketplace for things to buy and came across some Traklite Gear wheels in bronze, a deal was done and I got them wrapped in some Zestino Gredge 195/205 tyres which I thought would be a good all round starting tyre to learn the car with.

The final first phase of improvements was to cut the bottom section of the rear bumper, remove some of the plastics and add a aftermarket crash bar. Again this was all mostly for visual benefit but I'm sure will allow heat to escape more easily too.

I was pleased with these small updates how different the car looked and it already felt like 'my car' instead of one I had just bought. Sounds silly I know but I think its important to put your own touch onto your car.

Thanks







Danny Scarbro

#4
Next on the list before booking a trackday was to sort the seating position and roll cage, the previous owner had made his own brackets which although were very good was far too high for me and my bro who also uses the car.

So we cut them out and got some of the Rogue Motorsport mounts and readjusted the seats to a position we were happy with.

Then it was onto sorting the roll cage, the cage currently in the car was made for use with a softop and didn't give enough head room for me lot alone Matt. So this was removed and I took the car to JP Cages who made me a custom rear cage to order.

Was really pleased with the quality and fit of the cage, gives lots of head room and have no doubt will be nice and strong if the worst happens, I will probably go back there to convert to a full cage later down the line.

With this sorted it was time to book its first outing at Cadwell.


Pic of the original cage and how low it sat;



And the new cage now;









Danny Scarbro

So the first outing at Cadwell was a success, car performed brilliant abd the only casualty was the battery jumped out of its holder on one lap so need to have a look at relocating that.

Car felt really good, had great traction out of the corners and felt nice and playful, quite oftens here people saying they are quite snappy but it feels comfortable around the limits*

*Hope I don't regret saying this later in the build 😂

Few pictures albeit with the silly img things!

Dan







ste

Nice Danny, glad you started a thread.

Danny Scarbro

Next on the agenda was to neaten up the dashboard a little bit, the dash had 3 additional gauges along with a Rev limit light in pods stuck on. All useful info but again not to my taste, so I purchased a triple gauge pod to go in where the CD player was to simplify the dash then moved the Rev limit light for now.

Before;



After;



I also changed the 280mm Wheel for a Sparco suede 330mm as I don't like the wheel too small. I fitted a removable steering wheel boss at the same time too.

Dan

Danny Scarbro

Next few visual enhancements for the exterior was something I don't think I've ever fitted on a car but I can't help but like them on the MR2...side skirts!

Along with a front lip I think it drastically changes the look of the car and am super happy with it.

Only temp painted them in wheel silver but to be honest can't believe how good the colour match is!

All set for another Cadwell now 😬

Dan









Danny Scarbro

Another great day at Cadwell was had, however we found that on left hands bends especially on the way up coppice and the slight kink before the mountain it was loose at the back.

It got progressively worse so we jacked it up and found the issue was the adj camber bolts we fitted were moving and we had active camber on the rear...not ideal 😂 tightened them up for one last session and then called it a day.

Looking back at some of the footage we were getting some half decent laps in too considering it was only the second time out and with the active camber clocked a few 1;42/43 laps.

So was pleased with the pace, with some more seat time and some wider more focused rubber should see a 1;39 which would be really happy with!

Dan











Danny Scarbro

Next outing was booked to Oulton Park, this one didn't go so well.

Naively didn't take the car out for a test since Cadwell as it all seemed ok. Set off the night before for Oulton and ten mins into the journey the driveshaft was knocking quite badly.

I limped it to Matts and we had a couple of hours on it but we were fighting a loosing battle, after having for it removed it was clear it was 'shafted' 🙄

So we had to jump in the mx5 for the day at Oulton so all was not lost.

Had a cracking day as always and I got some uprated shafts ordered ready for fitting over the next few weeks.

Strangely we did the trackday on the exact same day with the same people exactly 6 years apart so replicated the old picture for abit of fun!




Little video Matt put together appreciate it's not the MR2 but still good fun!

https://m.youtube.com/watch?fbclid=IwAR1sPPOvwzCnas24OTS4GV27D9gzYpJwoygg6UQNnZ_356_TYDWbTgkXTW0&v=8a-PfbC_FTE&feature=youtu.be

Dan

Danny Scarbro

#11
Over the next few weeks we got the driveshafts swapped over and I also received a new gear shifter set up I had ordered.

It's a work of art and feels really nice albeit I do need to spend some time fiddling with the set up to get it right.









We were then booked onto Blyton for a trackday between Christmas and new year, we always book on these as it's pretty much guaranteed to be cold wet slippy and lots of fun with Blyton been perfect to get some car control practice in!

Needless to say the weather didn't disappoint and neither did the car, was great fun all day and the Marshall's were really good and allowed for some sideways action.









And a good mid corner moment captured from behind;



And of course the obligatory moment when ambition out weighed capabilities....



What did I say earlier about them not been too bad on the limit 😂

Dan

Danny Scarbro

So after having some fun in the car over winter I wanted to get a few bits done ready for the better weather when it arrives.

There is plenty of contrasting views about whether to run with staggered wheels/tyres on the MR2 so I thought there's no harm in trying it.

The car always felt pretty good with 15"s all round so it may be I go back to that we shall see.

I picked up a couple of sets of Rota GT3's one set in 15 and one 16. Got them all powder coated and sold one set leaving myself a pair of each.

I had some 225/45/16 AO48 tyres already in the garage and managed to find a matching pair of 205/50/15 so got them bought and all on the car.

Will be interesting to see how the car feels a) with abit more serious tyre and b) with a staggered set up.

I prefer the look of the bronze wheels so when I work out what sizes I want long term will be going back down that route.   

Whilst I was getting the tyres fitted Adam kindly put the car on the corner weights for me so we can have a base of where the car is currently.

I would like to try and lose abit more weight here and there which shouldn't be too difficult.









Weight is without the hardtop and with just over half a tank of fuel. 975kg is the initial aim with the hardtop on. Any hints and tips of some weight loss without ruining the car would be appreciated!

Dan

Danny Scarbro

That's the thread upto speed now, having owned the car for 6 months now I've really grown fond of it.

It's been brilliant fun on track, feels like it could be really capable. And is generally a really nice place to be and to drive to and from the track.

So far it's definitely achieving the goal and giving as much fun/enjoyment as the Elise for a fraction of the price.

So what's next?

I already have the next batch of modifications lined up which Id like to get sorted before the summer. But it will just depend on getting the Elise finished and sold to release some funds/parts!

I have a set of Titan 48mm ITBs I've secured and need to collect for the engine, I'm going to fit these along with either some Skunk2 Drop in Cams or go a little further and do a slightly more aggressive cam and springs/retainers to unlock a few more Revs.

This should see the power at circa 250-270hp depending on the dyno!

I also have a box I made for the Elise that I'll be fitting a long with a lightened flywheel. It's a DC5 box with a shorter 4/5/6 gears and with a M Factory 5.417 final drive (current stock one is 4.764) so that will really wake the engine up and utilise the high revving power band.

Both these bits should really add to the theatre and make for a really impressive sound/engine character along with abit more pace too!

After that I'd like to get a rear wing made up to see if can make the rear feel abit more planted on the faster sections.

Apart from that I really want to just get lots is seat time and enjoy the car!

Hopefully won't be too long before the next batch of updates.

Thanks Dan

Ardent

Cracking read.

Well played.

shnazzle

Took me a while to get through but well worth the read. Thanks for sharing. Fantastic car
...neutiquam erro.

105e

Remember watching the build thread for this, pre your purchase on another forum, 

Topdownman

Great stuff!

You can find some component weights here;

https://www.mr2roc.org/forum/index.php?topic=12479.0

I am interested in how you found the zestinas as a street tyre as they seem like they would be similar to the old yoko AD08r (albeit in limited sizes)?

I hope you will be bringing the car to the National event, I want to see that shifter!

PS Are you considering some rear spats to finish off the bodykit?
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Danny Scarbro

Quote from: Topdownman on February 23, 2022, 08:11Great stuff!

You can find some component weights here;

https://www.mr2roc.org/forum/index.php?topic=12479.0

I am interested in how you found the zestinas as a street tyre as they seem like they would be similar to the old yoko AD08r (albeit in limited sizes)?

I hope you will be bringing the car to the National event, I want to see that shifter!

PS Are you considering some rear spats to finish off the bodykit?

Thanks! I will try and make the national as would be good to meet a few enthusiast and learn abit more about the cars.

At the rear Im toying with putting a small diffuser on along with a flat floor so I may just wait to get that sorted to be honest.

Thanks for sending the link to the weight components, will have a read through.

We found the Zestino tyres good overall tbh, Grip levels in the dry were good considering the relatively small size, Its a shame they dont do a 225 width 15/16" as I think that would be a nice easy turn up and drive track tyre.

I will mention though they are ok on a drying track but on a wet/damp track they are terrible! Next to no grip even with the soft compound.

Dan

Topdownman

Hope you can make it.

Good feedback on the tyres. The wet grip sounds like AD08r were so does sound like they are an option. As you say, the size choice is very limited though.

Did you find a supplier in the UK or did you have to buy from them direct?
"Racing" tax disc holder (binned), Poundland air freshener, (ran out), Annoying cylinder deficiency,  (sorted),
Winner of the Numb bum award 2017
Readers Ride

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thetyrant

Good work im sure you and Matt will get plenty of enjoyment out of this :)
Ex-2005 roadster  owner, i will be back :D

JB21

Hi Danny, good read and I was wondering where this car ended up. I sort of knew Dan who you bought this from and it was a hell of a build (apart from the roll cage). Looks even better now. Your Will has recently been asking me questions about my 2ZZ build, re weight and corner weighting, now I know why, lol.

Mine is a similar spec, just with a 2zz. Will defo look at the K20 route one day though. Also just fitted A048's and they are mega on track.

Hope to see at a trackday sometime, I always see your Will and Matt so more than likely. We can do a proper 2zz v k20 head to head for the ZZW30 fan boys.

Danny Scarbro

Quote from: Topdownman on February 24, 2022, 11:37Hope you can make it.

Good feedback on the tyres. The wet grip sounds like AD08r were so does sound like they are an option. As you say, the size choice is very limited though.

Did you find a supplier in the UK or did you have to buy from them direct?

I just got mine from Demon Tweeks mate, On memory were in stock when I ordered them so pretty much next day.

Danny Scarbro

Quote from: JB21 on February 24, 2022, 13:19Hi Danny, good read and I was wondering where this car ended up. I sort of knew Dan who you bought this from and it was a hell of a build (apart from the roll cage). Looks even better now. Your Will has recently been asking me questions about my 2ZZ build, re weight and corner weighting, now I know why, lol.

Mine is a similar spec, just with a 2zz. Will defo look at the K20 route one day though. Also just fitted A048's and they are mega on track.

Hope to see at a trackday sometime, I always see your Will and Matt so more than likely. We can do a proper 2zz v k20 head to head for the ZZW30 fan boys.

Yeah He was saying you have got yours down to an impressive weight and time at Oulton! Let me know if your thinking of coming over to Cadwell/Blyton and Ill try and book on the same and vice versa with Oulton.

I best get some seat time in so I'm not letting the comparison down  :))

Any hints/tips of things you have found are worth doing for track? Do you run with ABS on track? And what pad do you use if you dont mind me asking? What size AO48 are you on, staggered?

Thanks




JB21

#24
Quote from: Danny Scarbro on February 26, 2022, 11:23Yeah He was saying you have got yours down to an impressive weight and time at Oulton! Let me know if your thinking of coming over to Cadwell/Blyton and Ill try and book on the same and vice versa with Oulton.

I best get some seat time in so I'm not letting the comparison down  :))

Any hints/tips of things you have found are worth doing for track? Do you run with ABS on track? And what pad do you use if you dont mind me asking? What size AO48 are you on, staggered?

Thanks





Yeah I'll give you a shout if doing these tracks. Got all 3 on my list this year so we can catch up.

Current spec of mine below. Very well balanced, and puts out a decent lap on any track.

MR2 2ZZ Spec:
200hp p/ton
938kg without driver
189hp & 132 ft/lbs (standard spec)

Engine, ECU & exhaust:
Standard 2006 Celica 2zz-ge engine 89k miles
Corolla 2zz-ge JDM ECU (6000 lift - 8200 limit)
BMC CDA intake, with cold air feed to NS scoop
Elise Parts baffled sump
Custom header, 200 cel sports cat & custom silencer

Suspension & chassis:
MeisterR ZetaCRD coilovers - 5kg front/7kg rear
Front and rear whiteline ARB's - front full stiff, rear middle setting
Fully braced front, mid and rear
Custom 6 point T45 roll cage
Fully poly bushed
Hardrace spherical rear arms

Wheels & tyres:
OZ Ultraleggera 15x7 wheels (4.9kg each)
Yokohama A048 tyres front 190/580/15 soft - rear 220/610/15 medium

Brakes:
OE ABS in place
OE calipers
OE spec MTEC J-Hook discs
Carbotech RP2 front pads
Stoptech Sport rear pads
Motul RBF 600 fluid

Geo:
Fully corner weighted, cross weights 49% front - 51% rear
front (each side) camber -3.00/toe out -1mm
rear (each side) camber -3.00/toe in +2mm