Lotus Elise SC: Anyone Changed the Thermostat? - LotusTalk - The Lotus Cars Community
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post #1 of 63 (permalink) Old 11-19-2017, 12:53 PM Thread Starter
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Lotus Elise SC: Anyone Changed the Thermostat?

2008 Lotus Elise SC (factory supercharger). Searched and all I'm finding is N/A Elise info. As other threads suggested: pulled passenger tire, fenderliner, serpentine belt, disconnected the battery, alternator bolts (only 2 though on the SC model).....can't see how I can get to the electrical connector/wiring on the Alternator or if I manage to get it pulled out somehow that I will actually have room to get to the thermostat housing.

I'm wondering if anyone with the factory SC has changed the T-stat and if so, did you have to remove the A/C compressor as well? There's a strut/support brace running from the SC down to the A/C bracket that looks like it's in the way of removing the T-stat housing.

Any advice appreciated.

TIA,
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post #2 of 63 (permalink) Old 11-19-2017, 01:46 PM
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Subscribed. I'm also looking for the same information. Thanks
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post #3 of 63 (permalink) Old 11-19-2017, 03:22 PM Thread Starter
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JFYI....the alternator wiring on the SC is different than the YouTube video I watched for the NA Elise. There are only 2 bolts holding it to the block/SC bracket, not 3. There isn't the traditional lug under the boot near the alternator; instead, it branches into another wiring loom that is near the oil filter location but more towards the center of the car.......then, that wiring loom snakes over by the driver side firewall into a little plastic box afixed to the firewall that is open on the bottom but apparently had two looms in one side of the box and two more in the other. The box is filled with what appears to be dielectric grease. You have to unbolt the lug at this end to disconnect the alternator loom.

I got the alternator loose....it's just floating in the car right now. I can't tell if it's supposed to come out through the engine cover hatch or snake out through the passenger fender well. Neither option is working well. I'm about ready to yank the clam (I have the Radium Engineering Clam Shell kit, but as I recall it's a helluva lot more involved than the "10 minutes" they claim on their website).
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post #4 of 63 (permalink) Old 11-19-2017, 03:48 PM
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Thanks for the comment. I have noticed that almost any repair on this car is heavily involved. Nothing has been easy except changing the spark plugs.
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post #5 of 63 (permalink) Old 11-19-2017, 05:58 PM Thread Starter
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Ya, it's definitely not an easy car to work on just due to accessability issues. I've pretty much decided I'm going to give it one more shot at getting the alternator out. If I can't do that, I'm pulling the clam. Then it should be easy.
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post #6 of 63 (permalink) Old 11-19-2017, 08:11 PM
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Keep us posted and take pictures. Thanks.

Why are you changing the thermostat?
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post #7 of 63 (permalink) Old 11-20-2017, 04:14 AM Thread Starter
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Keep us posted and take pictures. Thanks.

Why are you changing the thermostat?
Appears to be sticking.....running into overheating issues even with the ProRad all-aluminum radiator. Replacing it with the Duralast 4077 (made by Motorad, all metal, 170F) and new gasket 35445. Most people here have the opposite problem.....center plastic piece breaks out and you have no t-stat and the car won't get over 150. I'm in AZ, so that might be fine. Unfortunately, this is my 6th vehicle so I don't drive it as often as I should (I try to run it for 15 minutes at least once a week) so I wonder if that didn't cause the problem.
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post #8 of 63 (permalink) Old 11-20-2017, 11:57 AM
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I'm not having such an issue. I would also like to lower my temperature. The temperature usually fluctuate between 184F to 186F while driving. In bumper to bumper traffic it fluctuates from 196f to 206f. Once in a while it goes up to 210f and then it drops to 206f while stuck in traffic and not moving. Once I get back moving the temperature goes down to 184-186F. I have an aluminum radiator. I live in hot South Florida. Is this normal?
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post #9 of 63 (permalink) Old 11-20-2017, 12:17 PM
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I'm not having such an issue. I would also like to lower my temperature. The temperature usually fluctuate between 184F to 186F while driving. In bumper to bumper traffic it fluctuates from 196f to 206f. Once in a while it goes up to 210f and then it drops to 206f while stuck in traffic and not moving. Once I get back moving the temperature goes down to 184-186F. I have an aluminum radiator. I live in hot South Florida. Is this normal?
Completely normal. The 2nd radiator fan doesn't kick on until 210 I believe

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post #10 of 63 (permalink) Old 11-20-2017, 02:42 PM
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Any advice appreciated.
The opening and closing of the thermostat should be undetectable. When the fan comes on, the temps should go down, but while driving at cruise above 45 mph, you should not see a temperature fluctuation. Are you seeing jumps up or down while at cruise?

Have you already pressure-tested the cooling system to find leaks? Leaks can be above or below the water line. A leak below the water line will drip, but a leak above the water line will cause the system not to pressurize and can cause localized boiling so you won't see the leak. What you'll sometimes see is that the car will stay pretty normal until you go up a hill or get on the SC and then the temp will come up fast. That is likely a case where pressure is being held until a certain point and then lets go. If you can't find a leak using the pressure-tester, you can try draining the system and using an air-lift. The vacuum on the system will often cause a hiss that you can track down.

Finally, if the cooling system heats up really fast (in seconds), then you probably have a blown head gasket.
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post #11 of 63 (permalink) Old 11-20-2017, 05:49 PM
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While driving at steady speed, i.e. 45-50 MPH the temperature remains steady at around 184 F. It only fluctuate while at a bumper to bumper traffic. As a matter of fact, the harder I run the car the cooler it gets as long as I keep moving. I have actually being stuck in traffic and the temperature around 200F, as soon as I take off at high RPMs the temperature drops to 184-186f. Thanks for the responses!
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post #12 of 63 (permalink) Old 11-20-2017, 06:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sean K. View Post
2008 Lotus Elise SC (factory supercharger). Searched and all I'm finding is N/A Elise info. As other threads suggested: pulled passenger tire, fenderliner, serpentine belt, disconnected the battery, alternator bolts (only 2 though on the SC model).....can't see how I can get to the electrical connector/wiring on the Alternator or if I manage to get it pulled out somehow that I will actually have room to get to the thermostat housing.

I'm wondering if anyone with the factory SC has changed the T-stat and if so, did you have to remove the A/C compressor as well? There's a strut/support brace running from the SC down to the A/C bracket that looks like it's in the way of removing the T-stat housing.

Any advice appreciated.

TIA,
Sean
I just did this a month ago on an 06 exige with an OEM super charger.
I understand your pain. I ended up removing the clam because of the same alternator that needs to be removed. Looking back, I think i could have maneuvered the alternator out thru the wheel well with out removing the clam.

As for the thermostat housing, no clam made it easier. Hardware removal will be mostly by feel.

good luck.
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post #13 of 63 (permalink) Old 11-20-2017, 06:32 PM Thread Starter
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The opening and closing of the thermostat should be undetectable. When the fan comes on, the temps should go down, but while driving at cruise above 45 mph, you should not see a temperature fluctuation. Are you seeing jumps up or down while at cruise?

Have you already pressure-tested the cooling system to find leaks? Leaks can be above or below the water line. A leak below the water line will drip, but a leak above the water line will cause the system not to pressurize and can cause localized boiling so you won't see the leak. What you'll sometimes see is that the car will stay pretty normal until you go up a hill or get on the SC and then the temp will come up fast. That is likely a case where pressure is being held until a certain point and then lets go. If you can't find a leak using the pressure-tester, you can try draining the system and using an air-lift. The vacuum on the system will often cause a hiss that you can track down.

Finally, if the cooling system heats up really fast (in seconds), then you probably have a blown head gasket.
Not sure I'm following you....when the temp reaches a certain point, the t-stat opens and temp drops. Not sure why you're saying that's undetectable, but I'm probably just not understanding you.

In this particular case with my car.....it's been sitting in the garage idling or I'm varying the RPMs slightly with throttle modulation.....and the temp slowly climbs....I usually shut it off once it hits 212F, but will occassionally let it get up to 220 or so. For a few weeks recently, it acted normally.....with the t-stat opening and temps dropping to normal here in Phoenix (190-205 is pretty normal).....but it's been getting worse with the sticking and overheating issue.

I have not pressure tested the system. AFAIK, there are no leaks. I'm never low on coolant, nor do I seem to be losing any.

I do have an Airlift for bleeding the system....I'll give your recommendation a shot. Question though....do I drain the system completely and then try to find the hissing noise?

No chocolate milk shake in the oil, so I'm reasonably certain the head gasket is fine.

Thanks for the input.
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post #14 of 63 (permalink) Old 11-20-2017, 06:36 PM Thread Starter
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I just did this a month ago on an 06 exige with an OEM super charger.
I understand your pain. I ended up removing the clam because of the same alternator that needs to be removed. Looking back, I think i could have maneuvered the alternator out thru the wheel well with out removing the clam.

As for the thermostat housing, no clam made it easier. Hardware removal will be mostly by feel.

good luck.
Thanks....I've pretty much decided to pop it off. Unfortunately, we had a water main break yesterday and it'll be a few days at the least before I get back to the Lotus.
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post #15 of 63 (permalink) Old 11-20-2017, 08:17 PM
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While driving at steady speed, i.e. 45-50 MPH the temperature remains steady at around 184 F. It only fluctuate while at a bumper to bumper traffic. As a matter of fact, the harder I run the car the cooler it gets as long as I keep moving. I have actually being stuck in traffic and the temperature around 200F, as soon as I take off at high RPMs the temperature drops to 184-186f. Thanks for the responses!
Once again, completely normal. It jumps around because the Elise shows live coolant data. The temperature fluctuates just as much on normal cars, but most people would be concerned about the needle always moving around. Manufacturers program the gauge to read steady as long as the coolant is within nominal temperature range.

The water pump is belt driven, so it works more efficiently at higher RPMs, hence the temperature drop when you take off.
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post #16 of 63 (permalink) Old 11-20-2017, 08:34 PM
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Not sure I'm following you....when the temp reaches a certain point, the t-stat opens and temp drops. Not sure why you're saying that's undetectable, but I'm probably just not understanding you.
Once you get your old thermostat off, or if you already bought a new one, you can put it in a pot of water on the stove and you'll see how it really works. It is supposed to be *fully* open at the temperature threshold spec. In fact, it slowly opens and closes in response to the coolant temperature.

In a properly sized and funtioning cooling system, the car should come up to the operating temp and stay there at cruise. You won't see the gauge move because the thermostat achieves the ideal opening amount and the system reaches stability. If the thermostat is working properly, you should not be able to detect when the thermostat opens and closes EDIT: I don't mean to say completely opening and closing here as the thermostat probably isn't going to completely close; you shouldn't be detecting the variance of the opening size. That would indicate a problem if you see rapid changes not associated with your fan. While idling with no air flow to cool the system, the temperature will start to rise until the fan comes on and that is normal.

Cooler is not better. When I modify a cooling system, I'm usually looking at the oil temp and targeting a cruising water temp that maintains the oil at the desired temp. Then I just need sufficient capacity for the dynamic heat loads that I put into those systems.

If I had no thermostat at all in the system, the water might not spend enough time in the radiator core to cool sufficiently and could cause the car to get hotter and hotter in thermal runaway. You can accomplish the same thing with a thermostat that is always fully open. I've never had a need to use a thermostat under 180 deg. Thermodynamics dictates that the hotter something is, the faster it cools. So ideally I want the water as hot as possible, but not so hot that my oil temps get too high.

FYI Evans makes a coolant that doesn't need pressure because it won't boil off. That coolant can get as hot as you need it to and will never boil over.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sean K. View Post
In this particular case with my car.....it's been sitting in the garage idling or I'm varying the RPMs slightly with throttle modulation.....and the temp slowly climbs....I usually shut it off once it hits 212F, but will occassionally let it get up to 220 or so. For a few weeks recently, it acted normally.....with the t-stat opening and temps dropping to normal here in Phoenix (190-205 is pretty normal).....but it's been getting worse with the sticking and overheating issue.
The fan should definitely be coming on by 212 deg. Have you checked that? Sitting in the car, I can feel the fans when I put my hand by the driver's side mirror.

If the thermostat is stuck fully closed, then I would expect the temp at the radiator to be cool. If that is the case, then replace the thermostat with a similar spec unit. I wouldn't go cooler unless you have thought it all through.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sean K. View Post
I do have an Airlift for bleeding the system....I'll give your recommendation a shot. Question though....do I drain the system completely and then try to find the hissing noise?
Yes, but it sounds like you are reasonably sure that you don't have leaks, so I wouldn't go there. BTW, to change the Tstat, I usually don't drain the system at all. I just change it quick

If you plan on working on your car a lot, it pays to the nth degree to get a clam hinge. It really does only take me about 7 minutes to flip up the clam and then it's the easiest car I've ever worked on.

Last edited by Roundabout; 11-24-2017 at 08:39 PM. Reason: Trying to clarify the TStat operation...
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post #17 of 63 (permalink) Old 11-21-2017, 06:38 PM
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Once again, completely normal. It jumps around because the Elise shows live coolant data. The temperature fluctuates just as much on normal cars, but most people would be concerned about the needle always moving around. Manufacturers program the gauge to read steady as long as the coolant is within nominal temperature range.

The water pump is belt driven, so it works more efficiently at higher RPMs, hence the temperature drop when you take off.
Thank you for the explanation. I was getting a little nervous because my Carrera's coolant temps remains steady once it reaches the middle. Only the oil temp fluctuates.
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post #18 of 63 (permalink) Old 11-22-2017, 05:53 PM Thread Starter
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Once you get your old thermostat off, or if you already bought a new one, you can put it in a pot of water on the stove and you'll see how it really works. It is supposed to be *fully* open at the temperature threshold spec. In fact, it slowly opens and closes in response to the coolant temperature.

In a properly sized and funtioning cooling system, the car should come up to the operating temp and stay there at cruise. You won't see the gauge move because the thermostat achieves the ideal opening amount and the system reaches stability. If the thermostat is working properly, you should not be able to detect when the thermostat opens and closes. That would indicate a problem if you see rapid changes not associated with your fan. While idleing with no air flow to cool the system, the temperature will start to rise until the fan comes on and that is normal.

Cooler is not better. When I modify a cooling system, I'm usually looking at the oil temp and targeting a cruising water temp that maintains the oil at the desired temp. Then I just need sufficient capacity for the dynamic heat loads that I put into those systems.

If I had no thermostat at all in the system, the water might not spend enough time in the radiator core to cool sufficiently and could cause the car to get hotter and hotter in thermal runaway. You can accomplish the same thing with a thermostat that is always fully open. I've never had a need to use a thermostat under 180 deg. Thermodynamics dictates that the hotter something is, the faster it cools. So ideally I want the water as hot as possible, but not so hot that my oil temps get too high.

FYI Evans makes a coolant that doesn't need pressure because it won't boil off. That coolant can get as hot as you need it to and will never boil over.



The fan should definitely be coming on by 212 deg. Have you checked that? Sitting in the car, I can feel the fans when I put my hand by the driver's side mirror.

If the thermostat is stuck fully closed, then I would expect the temp at the radiator to be cool. If that is the case, then replace the thermostat with a similar spec unit. I wouldn't go cooler unless you have thought it all through.



Yes, but it sounds like you are reasonably sure that you don't have leaks, so I wouldn't go there. BTW, to change the Tstat, I usually don't drain the system at all. I just change it quick

If you plan on working on your car a lot, it pays to the nth degree to get a clam hinge. It really does only take me about 7 minutes to flip up the clam and then it's the easiest car I've ever workd on.
Fan's running.....I think it comes on around 200ish, but it's definitely on and moving air. I haven't checked to see if the rad is cool. Unfortunately, I'm committed at this point to changing it. I'm installing the 170F all metal Motorad....I've run into a similar problem on a Toyota 22RE here in AZ.....put the lower t-stat in....no problems since.
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post #19 of 63 (permalink) Old 11-23-2017, 07:35 AM
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post #20 of 63 (permalink) Old 11-24-2017, 12:46 PM Thread Starter
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Odd development.....

Got the t-stat out.....it was already changed. I'm the 2nd owner, bought with 3470 miles on the car. I just pulled out the 180 Motorad Duralast t-stat. Guess I'm going to need to try the hot water trick to find out if it was stuck or not.


***EDIT****Ya, it's not sticking. Worked fine on the stove. Opened right at 180. Must mean I have a leak somewhere.....but that's odd, as I wasn't low on coolant and I just changed the oil (while I had everything off) and there wasn't any coolant in the oil.

It is possible with an above water line leak that the system simply can't pressurize so it overheats? Any ideas on how to diagnose? I don't have access to tools to pressure test the system. I do have the air lift....but will that tell me anything if it's the reservoir that's the problem (for example).

Last edited by Sean K.; 11-24-2017 at 01:17 PM.
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