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Thread: 2003 Elise to honda conversion

  1. #1
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    Lotus Elise to honda conversion

    Well i think its about time i finally got this thing up on the forum. Been working on it for a while now and had a bunch of set backs but slowly getting there. Not sure if it really belongs on this site, but I need motivation to keep things rolling.

    Wanted a car which was pretty direct to its purpose, I came from an evo 8 because i just always enjoyed the RWD and mid engine style of driving (previous to the evo I had an SW20 turbo mr2). Basic purpose of the car is weekend drives and track days, or so i plan.

    As is, it came with 14k kms and a fairly worked engine (for 1.8l rover lol). To my knowledge and experience so far;
    -Rover 1.8 rebuilt
    -Ported head
    -Forged pistons
    -piper cams (285 i think)
    -ITG carbon fibre intake which is loud
    -Janspeed exhaust
    -Motec M800
    -MOCAL laminova oil/water cooler
    Has a lot more punch than the few other rover elises ive driven. Engine is almost as all out as a rover can go.

    Going to forge the engine with moderate comp so its good NA for a bit until i get good enough and driving and go to a rotrex.
    -Weisco pistons and Manley rods
    -Upgrade the valvetrain (springs/keepers/guides etc) and it will be pretty solid
    -Wavetrac LSD but leave the rest of the box stock
    -TTS engine mounts and shifter setup using the later model TOYOTA shifter system which is apparently heaps better than the junk rover gear.









    Got the K20a2 head off and ready to disassemble for the new valvetrain parts.



    K24 block ready to strip and get some machine work done.
    Last edited by nuk1ear; 28-12-14 at 07:10 AM.

  2. #2
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    RBC inlet manifold and ARP head studs:

    IMG_1483

    RDX injectors:

    IMG_1487

    K-Tuned fuel rail and a few fittings

    IMG_1485

    New carbon fibre gloss finish air ducts

    IMG_1479

  3. #3
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    More bits and pieces, ready to bore the block now and fit the new guides:

    IMG_1530


    IMG_1531


    IMG_1536


    IMG_1537

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    Progress is basically just parts atm:

    IMG_5291

    IMG_5296

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    Removed the subframe for best access


    Engine out, pretty straight forward. Not much in the way really.

    Last edited by nuk1ear; 27-12-14 at 07:58 AM.

  7. #7
    Registered User Justengt4's Avatar
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    Subscribed. Will do something similar myself one day to tick this off the bucket list
    GT8
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  8. #8
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    Stock bilsteins are pretty clean and can stay for now, but i hear theyre very sub-par



    Im using an arduino to convert the water temperature signal to a signal the stock dash can accept (it displays temp in a digital readout which is cool), and also to convert the speed signal for the dash. Figured when I was bored one night id write up some code to display some oil temp/pressure and fuel pressure signals too which would be neat. Need somewhere to mount the LCD tho (its backlit the same colour as the dash orange).

    Last edited by nuk1ear; 26-12-14 at 09:18 PM.

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    This is the stock shifter base, ill get a pic of the toyota one sometime soon, key difference actually is the actuation design but i dont have the shifter in this picture. This one uses below pivot point mountings, the toyota one is made by teleflex-morse and uses a completely different setup:

    Rover:



    Toyota (not mine, but the design is the same):

  10. #10
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    Then the problems started....

    Basically if you can see in this picture (pretty easy to see) the block surfacing was horrible. The idiot that did the deck job either ran the feed speed too high or had a fuckin shit bit on his machine. I super pissed when this happened, and couldnt get my money back or anything for it either. Lucky I found a pretty decent guy who fixed it up for $50, just took on another thou to make it true.



    Ill leave things here for now, I have a lot more work completed so far but ill put it up slowly cause im a lazy dickhead and looking at this picture of the block pisses me off.
    Last edited by nuk1ear; 26-12-14 at 09:20 PM.

  11. #11
    Registered User 50RTD's Avatar
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    Un fucking real.

    What a machine this will be!

  12. #12
    Registered User Banzai's Avatar
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    Did a Honda conversion on my Elise exactly 5 years ago and haven't regretted a minute of it. I used a brand new K20A from a late JDM Civic Type-R. Good factory LSD but the 5.1:1 gearing can be a bit much on the freeway. First gear is a bit useless but it gets off the line like a scalded cat though.

    The factory Bilsteins are shit and Lotus seems to expect everyone to change them sooner or later. In the first 5 years of ownership (100,000km) I had 2 of them leak. Go for Nitrons or Quantums. I went with the latter.

    Can't the Motec do the temp and speed conversions for the stock dash?

    BTW, that isn't a 2003 model. More like a 2001 model with that long tail soft top.
    Last edited by Banzai; 26-12-14 at 10:13 PM.
    If you dig a hole and it is in the wrong place, digging it deeper isn't going to help.

    Police warn that blow-up dolls are not recognised floatation devices.

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    Its first registered 2003. The last rover was 2004 i think which they went to short roofs but still the rover engine. 2001-2002/3 still had long tails. I sold the motec (which of course can do said conversions) and went with the hondata for now because I got a good deal, but also because the M1 series was coming out soon. M1 series seems much better value than the M800 and I would have had to spend a few hundred just so I could get the M800 running the k series engine (cam phasing, logging, add traction control for kicks?).

    Anyway, hondata is a piece of crap but with such a simple engine for now its a good option i think.

    Going to get some quantums possible, guy from the lotus community has a set of them available with very low kms. But focus currently is the get the damn thing running.

    This box as the 4.7 final drive, still too high i think. Would prefer the 4.3 honestly, but I cant exactly speak from experience

  14. #14
    Registered User Banzai's Avatar
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    With the 2.4 block you will have plenty of torque for an 800 kg Elise. You could get away with a 4.1 diff from an Accord.

    Last Rover cars were 2005. Mine is a mid-2004 build but co-incided with the first of the Toyota-powered cars.

    For ECU I run the DC5-specific version of the Haltech Platinum Pro. Haltech also makes an engine loom to suit. Ran the standard dash just fine without having to keep the factory ECU. I now have a Haltech Data-Logging Dash so no need for OBD anymore. Only complaint with the dash is the ODO only has 5 figures.


    Trust me, the MY2003 cars had short tails softtops. Pretty sure the MY2002 cars did too. The cars came in as low volume imports and it wasn't unusual for some of them to sit in the showroom for a couple of years. You should have a compliance plate riveted under the front passenger side inspection cover near the fusebox.

    Make sure those Quantums are for a Rover car. Toyota cars have longer rear shocks. Spring rates should be up around 450 to 500lb front and 550lb rear. The track only cars use more like 650f/700r.

    Also a heavier front sway bar and better/stronger rear toe-links. The originals have a well deserved reputation for breaking when you start using R-comp tyres.
    If you dig a hole and it is in the wrong place, digging it deeper isn't going to help.

    Police warn that blow-up dolls are not recognised floatation devices.

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    yeh the quantums are from a rover. Im not really fussed what year mine is i guess lol, if you have a spare parts for a short tail conversion let me know, wouldnt mind a hardtop and the long tail hard tops are hard to find.

    I have an SSC rear toe link brace which i picked up for the reasons you just mentioned.

    Ill definitely look into the haltech later on, did you end up having your car engineered? I think i can get away with the hondata for engineering, already been discussing it with sanjay (VACC engineer) and just kept a bit of it hush hush about the engine insides. As long as the charcoal canister is hooked up and everything is externally stock on the engine etc. Cat is similar distance from the exhaust ports as well in my exhaust.

  16. #16
    Registered User Banzai's Avatar
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    Got mine fully engineered including emissions certified. The tuner (Hitman) had to lock the ECU for that but it has since been unlocked. It runs great so I have no desire to screw with the tune.
    If you dig a hole and it is in the wrong place, digging it deeper isn't going to help.

    Police warn that blow-up dolls are not recognised floatation devices.

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    ill do my best to convince the engineer that it doesnt need an emissions certification because of the "stock engine setup etc" but see what happens. He already agreed to the rest of the car. What did you engineer say about the mounts you used? Most mounts you have to drill a few holes in the rear and subframe and the ally crossmember on the other side of the engine (for each of the torque mounts). I actually reinforced mine with some chromoly plates on the rear subframe because i dont like it much but I guess TTS are running 600hp with no issues at all with that.

    Are you using the link up style mounts?

  18. #18
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    Always loved the little Elise and exige. Will watch with interest as I always wrote off the rover engined cars as not worth looking at. With an engine conversion that could make a cheap good package.
    Last edited by garvice; 27-12-14 at 08:50 AM.

  19. #19
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    thanks mate,
    i got the car for low 30s with shipping from perth. rover engine is guttless but they are light and make the car pretty fun still. Ive been in a honda car and its a different world, the engine suits the car so well.

  20. #20
    Registered User spiller's Avatar
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    Subscribed and good luck with it, will be an animal when it's done and obviously saving a mint in doing it yourself (not to mention the added personal reward).

  21. #21
    Registered User Gats's Avatar
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    One of these will be my next car.

    Did you drive it much with the modified river motor? Or rip it out straight away?

  22. #22
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    drove it for a year with the rover engine. Good fun still but really lacks punch. Engine started to eat coolant too which is pretty common. Basically i couldnt wait to get the rover out still haha.

    These are the mounts im using:





  23. #23
    Registered User fantapants's Avatar
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    Holy shit I love this.....
    RIP Carly - a smile to light the world.
    06/07/2011

    http://www.performanceforums.com/for...#post842594902 - making little toys for the big boys

  24. #24
    Registered User Banzai's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nuk1ear View Post
    Are you using the link up style mounts?
    Mine is a link-up conversion. Straight forward, I don't remember any drilling and the extractors are a work of art.

    The extra height of the K24 block might give you grief if you are using off-the-shelf extractors.

    Get the best quality grease you can for the tripods. A few have overheated, spat out grease and failed.

    I liked the basic performance of the original Rover with minor mods, it suited the car well and sounded pretty good. The K20 is the Rover on steroids and sounds fantastic when VTEC kicks in.
    If you dig a hole and it is in the wrong place, digging it deeper isn't going to help.

    Police warn that blow-up dolls are not recognised floatation devices.

  25. #25
    Married but celibate toddy's Avatar
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    This car makes me turgid.

    Love the simplicity of the cabin and the driveway workshop.
    Mook

  26. #26
    Registered User lonewolf's Avatar
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    sweet, k20's are good for easy reliable n/a power.
    Should be able to offload the old rover to another elise owner if not too badly flogged?

  27. #27
    SKYHI Motorsport TCR's Avatar
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    Great project, definitely keep us posted.

    I'll be putting the Cossie up for sale in the new year with the proceeds going towards an S2 Elise.
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  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by toddy View Post
    This car makes me turgid.

    Love the simplicity of the cabin and the driveway workshop.
    yup, offloaded to a mechanic friend for a MGF customer of his.

  29. #29
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    Rebuilt the laminova cooler. Decided to keep it since theyre pretty decent and have been proven to be fairly good on the k20 engines in lotus/mid engine setups. It had -8 oil lines but i wanted to use -10 so got a rebuild kit and -10 ports:







    Some debris remaining in the core on the oil parthway



    After a good clean up with solvent



    New seals/orings/gaskets/bolts and -10 oil lines isntead of the -8 the rover had with it.

    Last edited by nuk1ear; 27-12-14 at 09:25 PM.

  30. #30
    TJzone TJ's Avatar
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    Should make for a good fun toy
    #teamtremolo
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    TJ is 99% African American.
    Quote Originally Posted by Fatboy View Post
    And i'd still fuck Betty....

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