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Caterham maintenance recommendations


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Hey there guys,

 

It looks like I've finally gotten my hands on a Caterham!! It's a 485 S and I'm super excited to have it delivered and finally experience one of these little cars that are supposed to be so magical (and impractical/useless haha)

 

That being said these cars are pretty rare in the US so I'm a bit nervous about parts sourcing and getting the right fluids. Any words of wisdom here? It's got the 2 liter Duratec Ford pushing 240hp. The car is also a 2014 with just about 50 miles on it so it needs to be run-in as well; and I really want to make sure that's done properly!

 

Thanks for any help, I can't wait to get this little thing!

 

- Tim

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Congrats Tim. Your face will hurt from smiling so much after each drive. First thing I would do if you don't know what oil is in it is drain it and put in some regular non synthetic of the correct grade. 5W50 is probably the right one for the Duratec. Then there are two schools of thought on break in. one drive 500 miles varying the revs but not revving over 5000rpm. and then change the oil after 500 miles. The other is to rev the nuts off it and don't worry about it.

 

The caveat that I would put on both is to let the oil temp come up before putting any load/ high revs into it. Oil temp takes longer than water temp unless you have a heat exchanger, so be sure to watch the oil temp not the water temp Other than that, enjoy it. Tom

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I would suggest looking over the car very closely to understand its' original condition. Signs of leakage and dirt built up. Since the car is basically new, you shouldn't see much. The more you get to know the car, the better you will know what it needs.

Also, get ready for 20 questions every time you stop for fuel.

Enjoy!!!

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Go over all the suspension, brake and drive train mounting bolts and check to see they are torqued to spec. I do this every 4k miles or so and often find bolts that have loosened a bit.

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Thank you for the replies gentlemen! Z06 went on the truck this morning and I was sad to see it go - but I'm super excited to be adopting a Cat :)

 

I'm basically religious about warm oil before high revs.

 

Breezy I'll dig into that owner's manual now, thank you!

 

- Tim

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Well, I'm not an expert on this, but I was running 100 octane in my yellow car which is 12.4:1 and my Orange car was running 100 octane with it at 13:1 but had evidence of detonation and I had it retuned using VP race fuel at 105 octane. Don't know where it was tuned, altitude wise and the effect of the altitude on the tune. Definitely a little less oxygen at that altitude. I assume that would make it run rich?

 

I'm sure one the tech savvy guys will chime in shortly.

 

Tom

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I hadn't heard of the 485S until now (Caterham seems to change model nomenclature on a monthly basis). I just Googled it, wow, it is a beast. Redline is 8500 rpm, 0-60 is 3.0 secs, top speed 140 mph. It even has a button to push that extracts a bit more performance. If it doesn't come with the FIA roll-over bar, I'd consider adding that. The stock bar may not be equal to the performance this machine offers. I will be interested in how it compares to your departed ZO6. Totally different approaches yes, but in terms of ooomph, this Cat may be similar (at least up to 110 mph or so). Since it is brand new, I cant imagine it needs that much maintenance. I'd take a bunch of little trips out and about, never too far from home and always in cell phone coverage. All of the little things that can and do go wrong with hand built cars will pop up and you can get them fixed before doing anything too adventurous.

Parts, it depends. It is typically a scavanger hunt. Stateside, Bruce Beachman at Beachman Racing, has parts as does Caterham USA in Colorado. They are occasionally available from Caterham UK, but more often from Redline in the UK. Also since so many parts are from other cars, you can sometimes get what you need at Auto Zone, etc. (where I just picked up some exotic, high capacity oil filters for my Zetec SVT).

Edited by Kitcat
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Thanks Kitcat! I'm anxious for the truck to arrive with the new toy, hoping I made the right choice!

 

The Z06 was a C6, 7.0 liter with uprated cam and heads - making over 520hp at the wheels. 3000 lbs though and long gearing. So we'll see how the power of the Cat holds up. Being so high above sea level is a big motivator for always getting the more powerful model ;)

 

Good call on short trips! I'm going to get in some fluids from Amsoil and I'll do an oil change right off the bat since the oil is a couple years old - then I'll just run it in and take it as it comes. I have so many questions, and I'm sure only more to come. Getting the car in my possession will hopefully answer a number of them.

 

I haven't told any of my friends here at home, or the local car club, this should be fun!

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Edit: double post.

 

Does everyone source parts from Caterham or is there a place stateside?

 

Suggested fuel is 95 RON, will our 91 octane suffice?

 

We stock parts, and bring in orders from Caterham UK on a regular basis.

 

-Bruce

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hi! you are in for such a treat! there is nothing like a well set up Seven for putting a stupid grin on your face (and keeping it there! haha). if the comp ratio really is 13:1, then you will def need minimum 100 octane (or higher maybe esp if you are pushing it hard). I run 100 LL always in my Super Seven (xflow motor with 11.5:1 comp). its a race car so it only gets run hard; if I was street driving it I think I could get away with 93 octane (but i wouldn't run it hard; I think it would ping a little bit on that when under high load, and I would never hear it over the straight pipe).

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Some of us mix a gallon or 2 of 100 octane unleaded gas in with our otherwise premium (91-93 octane) gas. I have two 5 gallon jugs of 100 octane in the garage. At $12.00 a gallon, its not cheap, but it gives me a sense of protection.

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API SN and any motor oil displaying a starburst should be avoided. Car manufacturers limited the amount of phosphorus to 800 ppm to protect the catalytic converter. Although phosphorus is limited, the marketplace recognizes zinc or ZDDP as the deficient additive. Google zinc and cam failure, and see how many hits you get.

 

I prefer mineral oils, but regardless, look for extra zinc. A typical Diesel engine oil will have around 1200 ppm zinc, and a typical racing oil should have 1500 ppm or more.

 

I like to cut the can off the filter and look at the pleats after draining oil. Some metal particles are normal in the first drain, but I have never seen any in a healthy engine after that.

 

Blaine

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