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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Background

I purchased my 2005 Lotus Elise about two months ago from another forum member. The car has a little over 28,000 miles on the odometer.

I've noticed recently that it would occassionally idle rough, particularly if I had just done some highway driving and came to a complete stop. However, it would correct itself shortly and would not really effect driving much. After seeing/reading many threads on LotusTalk about about rough idle and how its a common issue for these engines, I wasn't overly concerned.

I had the throttle body and MAF sensor cleaned and the air filter changed (it does have a Fujita cold air intake) about three weeks ago when it was in the shop having a few other things done. The shop owner - who has considerable experience working on Lotus cars - told me that all those items/areas appeared to be clean.

Problem

This morning, after a long, thorough car wash in the driveway, I tried to start the Elise. It started right up, however, immediately began idling incredibly rough (far worse than I had experienced in the past). I gave it about 10 seconds to calm down, and although it was improving slightly, I turned the car off and waited about 5 minutes. Then I started the car up again, and experienced a similar issue. I moved the car a short distance (out from under the tree, where the hose is located), and let it rest.

About two hours later, I started it up again. It didn't idle quite as rough, however, it still was not smooth. It calmed down to a reasonable level after about 20 seconds or so, but continued to go into short ~5 second periods of "roughness" while idling in the driveway for about 5 minutes.

I decided to take it for a drive to see how it would run. The temperatue read 170+ degrees, so I opened it up, and in both first and second gear, it would not climb much above ~6,000 RPMs (and the cams certainly didn't switch over).

There is no check engine light (CEL) on.

Questions

Has anyone experienced this before issue before, particularly after washing their car?
Could water have gotten somewhere in an area that it shouldn't have and caused some sort of a problem?
Is it safe to drive the car about 60 miles home tonight (I'm at my parent's house celebrating Fathers day)?

Unfortunetly, I'm not very mechanical (and that might be an understatement), but would greatly appreciate any advice, input or thoughts.

Evening Update

I started my car up about 7 hours later and seemed to idle fine. I was able to drive it about 65 miles home and it seemed to run well. I encountered some stop and go traffic a few times, and only once did it really idle poorly. My understanding is that's some-what normal for these cars, so perhaps the water "burned" off. I appreciate the advice given below and I will consult my mechanic when I see him next. Thanks again!
 

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I had a similar problem when I let my car sit out in the rain:

http://www.lotustalk.com/forums/f3/help-car-sat-rain-now-has-idling-speedo-issues-81683/

The problem seemed to be moisture in the Vacuum Switch Valve between the airbox and intake manifold. When I applied pressure to the VSV in this video, the idle calmed down.


My solution was simply to clean the contacts and let it dry out. I wrapped the VSV area in tight saran wrap so it would be somewhat protected from the moisture buildup when I washed the car or it rained. It seems to have helped. Good luck
 

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I also had a similar symptoms after a hand car wash!

Have you pulled the spark plug coil pack off each spark plug?

Check inside the spark plug well to see if there is any water accumulation inside, if so, blow/vacuum out most of it out or use thin lengths of paper towel to absorb any liquid.

Look at the exterior shaft of the spark plug coil pack for discoloration (arching), may be a sign of deterioration and/or short circuiting of the coil pack.

Check the coil pack seal to the valve cover for gaps that would lead to leakage of water.

Coat the shaft of the coil pack and spark plug boot with dielectric grease to ease the removal of the coil pack next time and prevent arching.

It worked for me!

PS: Point the front of the car up an inclined driveway and try not to spray too much water into the engine compartment louvers. You can also cover the engine before washing or go for a looooong drive to dry off the car.....:nanner2:
 

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shay2nak
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I had a similar problem when I let my car sit out in the rain:

http://www.lotustalk.com/forums/f3/help-car-sat-rain-now-has-idling-speedo-issues-81683/

The problem seemed to be moisture in the Vacuum Switch Valve between the airbox and intake manifold. When I applied pressure to the VSV in this video, the idle calmed down.

Lotus idle issue - YouTube

My solution was simply to clean the contacts and let it dry out. I wrapped the VSV area in tight saran wrap so it would be somewhat protected from the moisture buildup when I washed the car or it rained. It seems to have helped. Good luck
that's amazing. I'm missing one of the screws that holds that plug in place. Looks like there's a good reason there are 2 screws. Ordering tomorrow.

thanks for the vid!
 
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