NHTSA Investigates 4400 Lotus Elises for Oil Cooler Leaks - Page 4 - LotusTalk - The Lotus Cars Community
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post #61 of 161 (permalink) Old 07-26-2011, 08:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Abe View Post
Just playing devil's advocate here but what happens if the investigation proves the manufacturer is not at fault here? Seems unlikely but but what if? Just throwing it out there and FWIW, I'm glad if for nothing else that its being investigated..safety first.
Then we all go along our merry way, continue to love our cars for what they are, and perhaps buy the Sector111 or RLS oil line kit?
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post #62 of 161 (permalink) Old 07-26-2011, 09:19 PM
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As an owner who has had 2 dual cooler Elises I have had ZERO problems. I don't mean to rub anyone the wrong way here but I have to ask. For those of you who have had failures, what is you pre-drive routine? I know from the get go that I'm going to drive my Elise very differently than my Sorento. Since I drive my Elise 3 to 4 times a month I go through a pre-drive check list to ensure my car is safe to drive. This not only includes checking belts, fluids and pressures, but getting into the crevices with a flash light and looking for leaks, checking the torque or tightening bolts and keeping a log of what's going on. Hoses like this don't just fail.

Someone wrote earlier that they lost their radiator. I did as well and I had plenty of warning. I had my car in at the dealership at least twice before it actually let go because I could smell the antifreeze and I could see the splatter marks. I had plenty of warning.

I believe it is my responsibility to ensure that the vehicle I'm driving is as safe as it can be. I am the last line of defense to safe driving. And that's not just my behaviour behind the wheel, but under the hood as well.
most of us bought our cause because of the Toyota drive train, precisely to not have to worry about having to inspect our cars before we drive it. There is also no guarantee this issue can be caught by visual inspection. It is very likely that hoses can pop out of the fittings catastrophically without warning.

Its always no big deal until it happens to you. Loss of traction and blown engines are not something you would expect from a $50k-70k car with a mass produced drive train.

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post #63 of 161 (permalink) Old 07-26-2011, 09:25 PM
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I just put out a polar view for discussion. Indeed if a problem, especially one that can have customers complain about being dead, is known and not addressed, we have an issue.
in some boards that is called trolling.

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post #64 of 161 (permalink) Old 07-27-2011, 05:44 AM
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Statements that I've read in this thread that don't compute.

The fact that you have had zero problems is completely irrelevant.

Driving your car less doesn't mitigate this problem and neither will any safety inspection. I was unable to find any way to adequately inspect for this problem and eliminated the failure points myself.

Hoses _like_ this don't fail, but these hoses do; quite often and quite unexpectedly.

Maybe this is just my opinion, but if you are still driving around on the street with these hoses on your car then you are not as safe as you should be. Everyone should realize by now the high probability of failure, the potential loss of vehicle control, and the possibility of harming others. If Lotus doesn't do something we still should.

"It's a Lotus." So, what? No where in the manual does it say that oil is often expelled without warning so don't drive on public roads.

"The recall will kill Lotus." I find that hard to accept, but could hardly care. If anything, the lack of action on the part of Lotus will kill Lotus. In any case, it's their problem. Companies that poorly design or support go out of business all the time. I like it that way.

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post #65 of 161 (permalink) Old 07-27-2011, 06:16 AM
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Then don't buy a Lotus.
Maybe the "new" Lotus will be more like what you want.

Seriously some of these other posts are overly dramatic. Driving is statiscally dangerous and if safety is such a high concern then a Lotus is not for you for many other reasons beyond an oil line failure.
Ummmm... Who are you? I love when some random person try to use the "maybe a lotus isn't for you" technique for any situation. There was probably no one who research Lotus more than me before I bought. That doesn't excuse the fact that this car has problems that no car should have. And.... ummm... yeah I'm done talking.
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post #66 of 161 (permalink) Old 07-27-2011, 06:51 AM
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My son drives my Elise more than I do. I drive the Caterham. I am extremely upset by this and I think Lotus should step up and fix this on all cars.

That simple. If me or my son gets into an accident because of this and gets hurt or worse, I will take every step I know of to hold Lotus accountable.

This should not be an issue on our cars. And for it to be a non-issue Lotus should fix it. That simple.

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post #67 of 161 (permalink) Old 07-27-2011, 07:17 AM
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In comparison: I had an early E36 BMW that had the water pump fail and the engine overheat several months after the warranty expired. With very little effort on my part BMW-NA offered to cover the cost of labor of replacing the water pump and the engine gaskets that had warped.
Yes, it doesn't have to take much to turn an unhappy customer into a proponent instead!

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post #68 of 161 (permalink) Old 07-27-2011, 07:26 AM
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Pretty sure a recall will kill any future Lotus car development in the US and Europe...
Really? I don't think the total cost would be that high. The small sales figures work in their favor of course. With 4400 cars, even if 100% of the owners turn up for a recall, and even if Lotus buys ProRads at $500 and pays a dealer $1000 per install, that ends up being about $7m. That does not sound like much compared to the supposed $1B current investment levels being discussed.

I agree though they could have done a much better job handling this.
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post #69 of 161 (permalink) Old 07-27-2011, 07:32 AM
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Recall

Not trying to be a fanboy but the same announcement mentioned a Ford Ranger recall and I think that thing has been around since I had brown hair.

I have a early '05 and when I got back from the rather wet WCLM in central CA noticed oil streaks on the side. Do not know if any of the recalls were total loss of oil but mine was seepage from the cracked connectors. Repaired including new RF caliper and brake pads for both RF and LF. Warranty.

Also had the tip of the exhaust system drop off in the middle of Pacific Beach. Out of warranty and still replaced by Lotus no charge. I chatted with Lotus Georgia rep at the next LOG and he remembered it. Said they couldn't have Elises running around with things dropping off.

So as far as I am concerned Lotus stood behind their product. Let's see what their response is before chucking them under the bus.
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post #70 of 161 (permalink) Old 07-27-2011, 07:56 AM
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IMHO, the fix should be a MoCal oil/water heat exchanger and remove 30 feet of oil line down to about 2 feet centralized in the engine bay only, then remove those front oil coolers so cool air can actually reach the front brakes.

I look at my Lotus as an ever evolving "Fix" ... don't laugh, I'm serious. Who knows, some day I may reach a point where stuff stops breaking ... probably have about $200,000 invested by then (maybe more).

As for the aftermarket, this IS the perfect car. I mean seriously, what better car could the aftermarket want? A car that has a history of problems and issues for which the aftermarket has solutions. Given the relatively small number of cars produced, the aftermarket for these cars is MUCH larger than I would expect ... a sign perhaps?

But like others here, I too bought my Exige S thinking it was a sorted out and dead nuts reliable $80,000 street car (my out the door price) ... it didn't take long before I realized this is not a good daily driver, nor a good car to rely on, and like others here part of me was sorta pissed off. Then I took it to the track thinking it would kick some ass ... it kicked some ass, it kicked my ass and I walked away about ready to try and sell the thing.

I didn't give up, took it to the track again, blew up engine #1 (fuel starve). Crap, ok that's it, fix it myself and engine #2 lets go on the street!! (7900 rpm valve). By this time one would think it's time to give up and move on. I didn't, I have no idea why, but it sorta became a challenge and I was losing 0 and 2.

So Engine #3, back to the track, radiator hose clamp comes loose - factory tightened - and sends me flying into the wall at Infineon. A few thousand in cosmetic damages later...

The most mod unfriendly car I've ever experienced ... but I kept at it. Lots of electrical issues, so what do I do, pull out EVERY single wire and put in some real MIL spec wire and connectors (Lotus wiring is scary stuff) and replace the sporadic Lotus guages (sometimes they work sometimes they don't).

At this point I finally conceed that this car is never going to be a good street/track car and start my race conversion project -- race only. Did I expect more failures, yes, did I get more failures yes, cam timing gear pins broke (wow, didn't expect that one), lost 3rd gear in the transmission (expected that one) ... and ...

It's been a constant process of fixing failures and I'm not sure there will be an end to it. Now you could argue that it's because I modified it, but I had a lot of issues long before I made any changes to the car (and many of the issues had nothing to do with my modifications). Sure, there are many folks that don't have issues with the car, lucky maybe or they just don't drive it much, never take it to the track, or they are very very gentle with the car ... but it's supposed to be a sports car isn't it?

Other's have suggested that you should expect this from a low production sports car company ... Ferrari, Lambo, others all have the same type of problems. If this is true, which I can't confirm, then I guess I'm glad I only dropped $80,000 on the Lotus and not $300,000 on some other low production sports car. But even if this is the case, it's still not a justified answer to a problem.

Of course 3rd party vendors, BOE, BWR, MWR, Sector, etc. are gonna LOVE this car, it's a virtual black hole of aftermarket solutions.

Should this specific problem been taken seriously, hell yes. But so should have many other problems. Frankly, Lotus response is abismal ... I recall when they (Lotus) called up my body shop repair guy and chewed him a new ******* for "exagerating" the fatory defects in the rear clam. I wasn't even making a claim, just inquiring with Lotus -- this was all out of my pocket (as with everything I've had to repair).

So seeing this NHTSA investigation isn't exactly a big surprise to me, it was just a matter of time that those far less tolerant than I would step in and make Lotus do something more constructive.

If this puts Lotus under or excludes them from the US, then so be it, it's not what I want to see, but this is clearly a case of Lotus making the bed, now you gotta sleep in it. And before you say "well what if the NHTSA decide in favor of Lotus" ... it changes nothing ... being "proactive" rather than "reactive" is a better position for Lotus regardless of this outcome.

Rob.

"For me, it is far better to grasp the Universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring." - Carl Sagan
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post #71 of 161 (permalink) Old 07-27-2011, 10:42 AM
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Ummmm... Who are you? I love when some random person try to use the "maybe a lotus isn't for you" technique for any situation. There was probably no one who research Lotus more than me before I bought. That doesn't excuse the fact that this car has problems that no car should have. And.... ummm... yeah I'm done talking.
I appologize for singling out you post. Nothing personal.

However I still feel that it is unfair to expect Lotus to handle repairs like it was a major manufacturer like Toyota etc.

Lotus owners benefit from having exclusivity, handling, and performance. The price you pay for that goes beyond the sticker price.
That is because Lotus can't sell enough cars to have the resources to conduct major recalls like major car manufacturers.
If you want your car taken care of like a Honda then go buy a Honda and say hello to youself at every street corner.
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post #72 of 161 (permalink) Old 07-27-2011, 11:08 AM
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I appologize for singling out you post. Nothing personal.

However I still feel that it is unfair to expect Lotus to handle repairs like it was a major manufacturer like Toyota etc.

Lotus owners benefit from having exclusivity, handling, and performance. The price you pay for that goes beyond the sticker price.
That is because Lotus can't sell enough cars to have the resources to conduct major recalls like major car manufacturers.
If you want your car taken care of like a Honda then go buy a Honda and say hello to youself at every street corner.
spoken like someone who doesn't own an Elise/Exige. You don't buy any car expecting it to blow oil randomly, especially not a $50-70k car.

A failure like this is inexcusable, small manufacturer or not. We're talking about oil lines here, not high pressure hydraulic lines. This is not rocket science here. Manufacturers have been making lines/fittings that withstand thousands of PSI for decades, to have lines and fittings fail at 10s of PSI is pretty ridiculous.

This should have been high on their failure mode analysis of their design and manufacturing process because the affect of the failure is so catastrophic.

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post #73 of 161 (permalink) Old 07-27-2011, 11:39 AM
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btw, say there is a recall, the financial impact to Lotus is not that different from, say, Ford recalling 500,000 cars. Bigger mfrs might have more money, but they are also have to deal with more vehicles.

This should've been nipped in the bud long time ago, but chose to ignore it.

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post #74 of 161 (permalink) Old 07-27-2011, 11:40 AM
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Just cause I am planning to drive the car (like from Denver to LV in Oct), would a cheap piece of insurance be to simply add some hose clams around the existing crimped ends?

I would love for lotus to pay to fix the problem; but just slightly less than to not have the problem 500 miles from home.

Apexes are a lot like relationships. So tough to get right, so easy to see where they went wrong.

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post #75 of 161 (permalink) Old 07-27-2011, 11:40 AM
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Originally Posted by njboy View Post
However I still feel that it is unfair to expect Lotus to handle repairs like it was a major manufacturer like Toyota etc.

Lotus owners benefit from having exclusivity, handling, and performance. The price you pay for that goes beyond the sticker price.
That is because Lotus can't sell enough cars to have the resources to conduct major recalls like major car manufacturers.
If you want your car taken care of like a Honda then go buy a Honda and say hello to youself at every street corner.
So if a consumer purchases a product and it fails on them, you're basically saying "tough sh1t"? I mean this isn't a microwave we're talking about...

There's a difference between simple repairs, wear and tear, and absolute; without a doubt defects. The problems and complaints with the oem radiators cracking and the oil lines are legitimate concerns and should be addressed. The fact that Lotus stood on the sidelines is a shame imo...

For example, my 2005 Elise is on it's 3rd OEM radiator and I only have 32,000 miles on it!?!?! Does that sound right? I don't even track the car so it not about pushing it to the limits... I mean I'm so fcukin paranoid, I recently purchased a "spare" all aluminum black triple pass rad from Elise Shop UK just in case...

It comes down to Lotus owning their products, standing by it, and fixing what they know is a problem.

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post #76 of 161 (permalink) Old 07-27-2011, 11:49 AM
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I appologize for singling out you post. Nothing personal.

However I still feel that it is unfair to expect Lotus to handle repairs like it was a major manufacturer like Toyota etc.

Lotus owners benefit from having exclusivity, handling, and performance. The price you pay for that goes beyond the sticker price.
That is because Lotus can't sell enough cars to have the resources to conduct major recalls like major car manufacturers.
If you want your car taken care of like a Honda then go buy a Honda and say hello to youself at every street corner.
The things we "chose" to deal with (although are still bad quality things that shouldn't be present) are squeaks, rattles, random stuff falling apart... but none of those are critical to your safety like this one is. But what this one does is make people put everything in perspective. People keep mentioning that this is a 60k car because these shouldn't be present on a car that expensive with these specs. This car has a drivetrain that costs somewhere between 8-10k new. It isn't a big horsepower v8 with a great trans that cost a lot more. That leaves 50k for putting everything else together. And it is just not a good job.

If this car was 30k new then all the random things that fall off would be excusable. But even if the car was 10k new this current problem would still not be acceptable.
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post #77 of 161 (permalink) Old 07-27-2011, 11:56 AM
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IMHO, the fix should be a MoCal oil/water heat exchanger and remove 30 feet of oil line down to about 2 feet centralized in the engine bay only, then remove those front oil coolers so cool air can actually reach the front brakes.
Loved your post Rob - definitely one of your best. The car is pure aftermarket crack.

BTW I tried to find your resultant weight saving post for removing all 27' of oil cooler hose / front coolers (and adding the Mocal). Can you refresh my memory?

Thanks!

.
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post #78 of 161 (permalink) Old 07-27-2011, 12:01 PM
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spoken like someone who doesn't own an Elise/Exige. You don't buy any car expecting it to blow oil randomly, especially not a $50-70k car.

A failure like this is inexcusable, small manufacturer or not. We're talking about oil lines here, not high pressure hydraulic lines. This is not rocket science here. Manufacturers have been making lines/fittings that withstand thousands of PSI for decades, to have lines and fittings fail at 10s of PSI is pretty ridiculous.

This should have been high on their failure mode analysis of their design and manufacturing process because the affect of the failure is so catastrophic.
Spoken like someone who understands what the Elise really is.
The result is catastrophic? How many crashes have occured from this?
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post #79 of 161 (permalink) Old 07-27-2011, 12:08 PM
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blown engine and oil all over tires are not catastrofic? what freakin planet are you on?
my assumtion was right, since you don't even own one, your opinion count for ziltch, why do you care anyways? later.

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post #80 of 161 (permalink) Old 07-27-2011, 12:10 PM
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For those of you who think a recall will kill the company, Lotus have already had recalls on just about every model for everything from seat belts to fuel cells. They ain't dead yet.
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