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We finally had some decent weather here in WI Sunday and my back is finally healed enough that I can crawl into my Elise again so it was time to take it out of winter storage. I checked over everything and it looked good so with a press of the start button my car was back to life, idling smoothly, and everything working properly. Throughout the initial part of my drive everything was normal and the car was running great. After getting the engine fully warmed up, I ran it up onto the 2nd cam and everything was fine. About five minutes later, I stepped hard on the throttle again and it ran up into the 2nd cam and the engine started misfiring so I immediately let off the gas and the engine returned to running smoothly again. I turned around to go home and now the engine wouldn't even take half throttle inputs at any rpm before severely misfiring. As I limped into my driveway, the engine was idling on maybe 3 cylinders and refusing to take any throttle at all. I managed to get the car back in the garage before it was running so poorly it would no longer move. After shutting it off and leaving it for an hour, I was able to restart the car and it idled and took throttle inputs normally, but I did not take it for a drive again. Throughout all of this there was no CEL and there are no stored codes.

Here are my thoughts on the cause: Bad fuel from the winter storage or a strange fault with the engine management computer that fixed itself with the reboot. The car was stored with Stabil in the tank but not a full tank of fuel and it appears that the tank can't be drained for lack of a drain plug so I will add fresh fuel before driving the car again. My first thought was the now infamous worn cam/broken lifter, but the symptoms are different. It could be shorting coil packs so I will pull them and check for ignition arching before another drive as well.

If any of you have had this happen or if you have any other ideas, please post your thoughts. TIA
 

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This sounds almost exactly what happened to me. There were two fouled plugs and two corroded coils. It ran poorly in particular when it got warm. When it was cool it ran smoothly. I also thought it was bad gas, but no dice. Check out the coils and see if they look like they took on water and corroded.

http://www.lotustalk.com/forums/showthread.php?t=51889
 

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I stepped hard on the throttle again and it ran up into the 2nd cam and the engine started misfiring so I immediately let off the gas and the engine returned to running smoothly again. I turned around to go home and now the engine wouldn't even take half throttle inputs at any rpm before severely misfiring.
<...>
After shutting it off and leaving it for an hour, I was able to restart the car and it idled and took throttle inputs normally, but I did not take it for a drive again. Throughout all of this there was no CEL and there are no stored codes.
There have been several people (including me) that have had a problem where the car suddenly decides that it won't go on the second cam (red line changes to the "cold" limit of 6,000 or so). The car runs normally, but won't rev. No MIL either. Shutting the car down and restarting clears the condition and everything is back to normal. In my case, it happened once and never again. :shrug:

There have also been similar problems with the Throttle By Wire cars (mine is a cable throttle).

But your problem sounds different in that it's mis-firing. That sounds more like the corroded coils problem a few people have had. The cure seems to be to clean the coils/plug connector and plugs and apply lots of di-electric grease to the plug connectors.

Unfortunately, intermittent problems can be a real pain to diagnose...
 

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I would bet it's the fuel... syphon out that stuff and put some new stuff in.

Before you start it up, disconnect the battery for 30 seconds.. then reconnect. That will reset the ECU and clear any faults it has logged.

Now try the car again. It might take a while to flush out the old fuel in the pipes still but eventually the new stuff will come through.


PS: What is "Stabil"? Is this some sort of special fuel for storage? If so that would explain why your car worked fine to start off with then died... as soon as it flushed out the "real fuel" in the pipes and started sucking on this "Stabil" stuff it messed everything up.
 

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I would bet it's the fuel... syphon out that stuff and put some new stuff in.

Before you start it up, disconnect the battery for 30 seconds.. then reconnect. That will reset the ECU and clear any faults it has logged.

Now try the car again. It might take a while to flush out the old fuel in the pipes still but eventually the new stuff will come through.


PS: What is "Stabil"? Is this some sort of special fuel for storage? If so that would explain why your car worked fine to start off with then died... as soon as it flushed out the "real fuel" in the pipes and started sucking on this "Stabil" stuff it messed everything up.
Thanks for the input. Stabil is a product you add to the gasoline in your tank before storage to slow the degredation of the fuel. I would try to siphon out the old gas, but there appears to be (according to the shop manual) a ball valve at the bottom of the filler tube for vapor control that could get messed up with a siphon hose. It sure would be nice if Lotus had fitted a gas tank drain, but they didn't. I will try topping up the tank with fresh fuel and go from there.
 

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Do you store the car where there are temperature fluctuations? Was the fuel topped off when you stored the car? Sure sounds like condensation mucking things up...

It could explain why the car ran fine initially... while it was emptying the fuel lines... and got to the gastank with condensation sinking to the fuel pickup. :shrug:
 

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Thanks for the input on the coils guys. It is already on my list of things to check. I probably should have posted that my Elise is a 2005 so no TBW, the battery is fully charged, and it has never had this problem before. I will do the complete reboot on the computer by disconnecting a battary cable too.
 

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Do you store the car where there are temperature fluctuations? Was the fuel topped off when you stored the car? Sure sounds like condensation mucking things up...

It could explain why the car ran fine initially... while it was emptying the fuel lines... and got to the gastank with condensation sinking to the fuel pickup. :shrug:
Yes, the car is in cold storage in my detached garage so it does see temperature fluctuations. Water condensation sure could have happened....perhaps adding a bottle of Heat to disperse any water would be good too? The odd thing is the car did start and run fine after sitting. I just didn't have the energy (my broken back was getting sore by then) to get in and drive it again so I don't know what will happen once the car gets fully warmed up again.
 

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I'm pretty sure that "Heat" is ethanol, and if your gas is like ours, it is already pretty high in ethanol. Can you disconnect a gas line near the engine and run your fuel pump enough to pump a quart or two into a container to clear whatever is at the bottom of your tank? (The usual warnings: high pressure fuel lines, fire hazard, don't dump it into the environment, etc.)
 

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I'm pretty sure that "Heat" is ethanol, and if your gas is like ours, it is already pretty high in ethanol. Can you disconnect a gas line near the engine and run your fuel pump enough to pump a quart or two into a container to clear whatever is at the bottom of your tank? (The usual warnings: high pressure fuel lines, fire hazard, don't dump it into the environment, etc.)
Yes, I was thinking of trying that using a clear hanging gas bottle I use for tuning my motorcycles when the gas tank is off. It is clear so it would show the water. I just have to figure out how to get the fuel pump to keep running.....
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Doesn't just turning the ignition on start the fuel pump?
You would think so, but it appears it only runs while the starter is running and if the engine fails to start it stops running. Can anyone verify if this is true?
 

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Just tried it. Fuel pump runs for 4 seconds then stops. Turning the ignition off then back starts the cycle again. I don't know if it will run a different length of time with a fuel hose disconnected.on
 

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Oh yeah...

some cars hate gasoline fixed with Stabil.

If you can't drain it, fill it to the top with the good stuff.
 

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How long has it been since you put in gas? I've stored a lot of cars over the winter.....have never used a product like Stabil.....and never had a problem with gas come spring.
 

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How long has it been since you put in gas? I've stored a lot of cars over the winter.....have never used a product like Stabil.....and never had a problem with gas come spring.
It has been since last November when it had new gas and I haven't used Stabil before, but I know the reformulated gas we have around here goes bad fast so I tried it. I never had a problem before either with this car or any other that I have owned, so this is all new to me too.
 

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Thanks for the input. Stabil is a product you add to the gasoline in your tank before storage to slow the degredation of the fuel. I would try to siphon out the old gas, but there appears to be (according to the shop manual) a ball valve at the bottom of the filler tube for vapor control that could get messed up with a siphon hose. It sure would be nice if Lotus had fitted a gas tank drain, but they didn't. I will try topping up the tank with fresh fuel and go from there.
I'll swear by Stabil.... I use it in everything I store in Michigan winters...and everything starts right up in the spring with no problems.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
I didn't know our cars were made by Microsoft.
And worse yet (if you take a good look at the label on the engine management computer) it is Italian Microsoft.......:eek:

BTW: I haven't had a chance to do anything with my car yet, but I will let everyone know what happens when I do.
 
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