Lotus Elan

Zetec's Where does the money go?

PostPost by: berni29 » Thu Aug 04, 2005 7:54 pm

Hi Guys

I have been reading about the costs of doing a Zetec powered car, and I cannot quite work out where the big money is going. Would it be possible to do one on the cheap?

The chassis would cost £2000 but you could get a secondhand spyder one and have it modified (or so I think), The engine gearbox, diff etc would be no more than £1000 secondhand. You could do carbs rather than injection, keep the suspension standard (apart from using spyder upgraded arms which make sense, and I prefer the look of the standard suspension and wheels).

Assuming that you have a complete plus 2 to start with (and I do) how can the whole thing end up costing more than 5K? I want something that I can turn the key on and hack down the road without a (mechanical) care in the world. At the end of the day, I like pretty much everything about the standard cars. The looks and dynamic qualities are fine. A bit more power and no stress about the drivetrain would suit me even better.

Where am I going wrong?

All the best

Berni
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PostPost by: niallf » Thu Aug 04, 2005 10:32 pm

Hi Berni,

It is in stuff like suspension (mainly wishbones & ball joints), brakes, new engine, reconned gearbox & diff and then the injection system, there's thousands in that little lot.

You could do what you said and bring it in under 8K plus labour at a guess. The costs sort of creep up on you ! Time is the biggest one.

Niall
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PostPost by: berni29 » Thu Aug 04, 2005 11:40 pm

Hi Niall

I know what you mean about costs creeping up. There must be 100's of things that I haven't thought about. As far as taking the cost of time into account I would rather not! The lotus enthusiast up the road from me spent days restoring a pair of sun visors. They were amazing, better than new. Must have cost 500 quid to do if we include time, and worth about 15.
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PostPost by: SADLOTUS » Fri Aug 05, 2005 12:14 am

Yes, and dont forget you've got to be a pretty strong person to resist thinking: 'Well now I've got the chassis off why dont I fix that handbrake tree and the bushes, oh yeah, and there's that annoying oil leak from the diff, how about some suspension to do the new(or otherwise) engine justice. 'Also, it would run so much better and be far more economical if I put the Alpha weber system on it' (with the accompanying swirl tank, petrol pump and breathers). Then of course there's a new manifold, water rail, correct rotating waterpump, prop, clutch etc.
I'd love to do it too, but every time I add it up it goes on and on.
Well done those who do!
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PostPost by: simon.mitchell » Fri Aug 05, 2005 10:17 am

Bernie,

It would be an interesting project to put the Zetec and gearbox in an otherwise standard car - the big ticket items as Niall says are the chassis and suspension parts.

I kept a detailed spreadsheet of costs during my build and the total cost of the conversion (i.e. not including the costs which would be incurred in a restoration to standard, such as carpets, interior and the like) was around 11K, minus around 1k from putting the Lotus bits on eBay (although this doesn't include the twin cam engine). This broke down as follows;

Chassis / running gear - 8K, including diff and recon gearbox but subtract around 1k - 1.6k if you sell the Lotus bits
Engine conversion bits (including second hand engine)- 1.6K
Fuel system (injection) - 1.4k

If you then add in the costs of things you'd want to change anyway while it's in bits then the cost in the David Lillywhite article of around 12.5k minimum look pretty much spot on to me, but 14k is probably more realistic to achieve a reasonably good standard, provided you paint it yourself.

If you want to cut costs then the chassis and running gear are obvious places to do it and I think that the approach you suggest makes a lot of sense - use standard running gear with an MT75 'box and second hand Zetec and you could be on the road for under 5k, then upgrade the chassis drivetrain as required after that if you want to.

Having said that the Spyder chassis / suspension set up really works best as a complete package and does dramatically improve the dynamics of the car. Is it 7k better? - depends what you want and how you're going to use it. In any case I'd definately bite the bullet and go for the fuel injection set up.

If you are (or anyone else is) contemplating a conversion and want to chat through costs and what's involved in more detail, I'm happy to go through it offline.

Simon
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PostPost by: v7slr » Fri Aug 05, 2005 11:17 am

I have got the entire spreadsheet for the complete Spyder +2. It's pretty comprehensive, and I've only got a paper copy but it's not hard to see how you can spend nearly 30K on what is essentially a new modern car, hand built to your specification.

I found the prices quoted in David's article a tad misleading, although having re-read it since finding out the "real" costs I suppose he is right in what he states.

Shame I'm only 15 months too late to buy Steve B's blue Spyder +2. Could have bought that today. :roll:
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PostPost by: simon.mitchell » Fri Aug 05, 2005 1:23 pm

If you assume there's around 11k's worth of new parts, plus say 1k for a new engine, 3k for a professional paint job and 1.5k for a leather re-trim the remainder is going to be labour costs. 200 hours at 50gbp per hour is going to add up to 10k so yes, I can see why the built up cars cost so much. I don't know what the cost of a professional restoration to standard spec would be but overall probably not a dissimilar amount - Not everyone will want to but it can be done for just over half of the Spyder 'turnkey' cost if you do it yourself and less if you're willing to compromise on the chassis.

Anyone know what Steve's plus 2 sold for? I remember seeing it up for sale at a show but can't remember for how much!
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PostPost by: v7slr » Fri Aug 05, 2005 1:44 pm

The ad I saw had is up for 15K. Too cheap in my opinion. It was the particular interior of his car that turned me onto the +2. I hadn't realised it could be so cheerful inside.

My imagination has run riot since I first saw that. The colour options I've been through in my head are staggering. :)
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PostPost by: lotuselanman » Sun Aug 07, 2005 10:10 am

Gidday to you all. Les Mellor here, Queensland Australia.
Cannot keep away from this subject.
# 1 : Where does all the money go ? Into 'Experts' pockets unless you can do the work yourself. Big difference
# 2 : The condition of the car before the project commences, obviously if it a pile of rubbish and you pay top dollar for it then I can guantee it will cost a bom bfor the project.
# 3 : If the chassis and suspension are good then why change it !!
# 4 : Is a five speed box really neccessary ? Fit a 3.5 centre and or larger diameter wheels.
# 5 : How much power do you really want and can you handle it ?
# 6 : You place of abode will also influence the cost of the project.

Need I go any further. I own a +2S which I bought at the right price, now I am a retired 'hands on' Motor Engineer and have always tackled all problems except body work.
when I bought our car it had a massive engine oil leak, that was enough excuse to lift the body off. From the rear seat area of the chassis back was damaged so I cut it off and fabricated a replacement section. I strengthen the chassis and completely rebuild the suspension also fitted CV joints, oh and lowered it another inch and made the suspension adjustable for camber toe in etc.
So it went back together with our 150 HP TC engine fitted, great fun car and I used it in Super sprints etc.
then I decided to fit a Zetec with close to 200HP. This a fun engine that will also see use in our Lotus Cortina and is a throw away item in comparison with a TC.
The purchase price for the Zetec was $700-00, I had a set of 45mm Webers and made all the necessary bits and set it up with a Bosch distributor driven off the nose of the crank by a Gilmer belt. It has ARP ungraded head studs and nuts, bigend bolts and flywheel bolts, new 33.5mm inlet valves as well as new exhausts, I made the inlet manifold and exhaust, turned a steel flywheel from billet, made a water rail as well as engine mounts, the car has a big Aluminium radiator. Now I have not touched the car for over two years but will be back onto it in a few weeks.
The engine will owe me less than $3000-00 Aust in the car.
I do not anticipate any drive line problems, with sensible sprited driving I'm sure it will be fine, however if anyone has had failure of any kind with a standard TC then you will need to uprate.
So how much power do you want, a bog standard 2ltr Zetec is around the 130 HP mark, is that sufficent for your requirements ? No need to change anything on it.
The Z WILL fit into the engine bay without any cutting or chopping, the bolt pattern on the bell houseing is the same and enging mounts are available now I believe. The only thing you have to change is the water outlet to a rail system, move the coil pack and have a custom exhaust made. No need to chage the water pump simpley drive it the correction rotation.
When it comes time to part with your pride and joy you either refit the TC or flog it , bet you get a lot more for the TC than you pay for a Z even if the TC is tired.
Keep the project simple and the cost says down in accordingly.

See ya, Les.
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PostPost by: berni29 » Fri Aug 19, 2005 3:26 am

Hi Les

That is pretty impressive stuff. I would need to get the bits off the shhelf, as I do not have your fabrication skills. I cannot decide what to do on the engine front though. I have a big valve TC and 5 sp g'box sitting in the garage, and I cannot help feeling that for me it will do the job, and with synthetic oil and the mileages I cover should go the distance. (I put some Mobil 1 15/50 in my other plus 2 and it seems fine with it.) Bearing in mind that I will be using standard wheels and tyres I guess that the extra power of the zetec would be a bit wasted, or even dangerous. As I have said before, I can slide the car around on the standard setup and have fun at lower speeds. I do prefer the spyder chassis to the standard lotus ones, so whatever happens I will use one of those.....decent platform adjustable shock absorbers are woth investing in as well. As are the solid driveshafts. I like the idea of a LSD for slippery wet England too.

All the best

Berni
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