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Discussion Starter #1
I have been getting a burning oil smell while driving my car. Not engine burning oil, but the smell if oil was dripping onto something hot.

I can't see any oil leaks (engine is clean), no drips on the ground and in 3500 miles the oil level hasn't dropped.

What am I missing? I can deal with the smell, but it has be wondering WHAT is making the smell? Usually it's not a good thing!
 

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Scott Graham
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have you checked the front oil coolers and oil lines?

(also, are you sure its oil? I had a nasty burning smell coming from the front of my car for about two weeks until my radiator actually cracked. I guess the smell was coolant boiling off from a slow leak.)
 

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If you recently added oil, some may have dripped on the exhaust manifold.
 

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Just happened to me. Smelled it a little with the windows open only. I took off the drivers front wheel and the front wheelwell panel and the top oil cooler line had a very, very small look of having been wet with oil. I took the opportunity to remove the pancake, install the stock 2ZZ block insert and put the filter on without the cooler. Blew out the oil line to capture maybe a quart or so, then used one of the pancake connectors to tie the 2 oil lines together and tie wrapped them securely out of the way. Just drove the Elise to lunch and all is well and there's no oil smell anymore.

I'm not saying you have the same thing for sure, but I'd say there's a very good chance that you do.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I'll have to check, I haven't looked up front yet. I know my car is supposed to have the recall done for the lines, but Lotus doesn't want to let an independent do that work (closest Lotus dealer is 3000 miles away)
 

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Tire abuser
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It looks like I may have this same issue. I have detected a slight smell of hot oil a couple of times with engine clean and nothing on the garage floor (I would notice). So I removed the left front wheel and fender liner to inspect the hose crimps. The crimps looked good...but the bottom of the oil cooler heat exchanger was "moist" with oil. Not really enough to make a drip, just a slight film. Now I am wondering, should I immediately replace the oil cooler and all lines? If so, do I have to remove the front clam to get that oil cooler out? If that is the case, I may consider a new radiator at the same time. I am auto-xing the car and it will see a little track time too. From what I have seen, that little oil cooler is about $350 and One Cooler Lines are $450. I would rather spend the $800 on stuff to go faster, but I guess you have to just keep going too.
 

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I just had recall work done on 05 elise, have put 600 mi on,oil line & cooler & new engine & noticed a slight oil smell yesterday-- had over 500mi when started yesterday & after driving about 50mi during the day on highway at about 75mph I smelled something very similar to oil burn for a short distance then it was gone thought maybe a vehicle in front of me but pulled over and visually checked and no signs of oil leaking but did make me very very nervous--hot yesterday and water temps ran about 192 to 197 while driving but when in city traffic, at red lights ,etc., temp would climb fairly quickly over 200, when it would reach 205,206 and still at red light , etc., turned fan on and turned heater dial all the way to hot & temp would level & start to go down a degree at a time untill I was moving & fresh air was coming in --reached 207,208 once before turning on heater
 

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I just had recall work done on 05 elise, have put 600 mi on,oil line & cooler & new engine & noticed a slight oil smell yesterday-- had over 500mi when started yesterday & after driving about 50mi during the day on highway at about 75mph I smelled something very similar to oil burn for a short distance then it was gone thought maybe a vehicle in front of me but pulled over and visually checked and no signs of oil leaking but did make me very very nervous--hot yesterday and water temps ran about 192 to 197 while driving but when in city traffic, at red lights ,etc., temp would climb fairly quickly over 200, when it would reach 205,206 and still at red light , etc., turned fan on and turned heater dial all the way to hot & temp would level & start to go down a degree at a time untill I was moving & fresh air was coming in --reached 207,208 once before turning on heater
How hot is "hot" it where you live? Here in Houston 200 at a traffic light is common for me going highway to street. Coming off the beltway and an immediate light might toss me at 205. I've never been higher than that... so TL;DNR It might not be as bad as you think?
 

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Live in south jersey [new jersey] near the shore - about 15min from atlantic city- that day it was bout mid 90's and humid and whenever would stop, it would climb up over 200 rather quickly--hav always been very alert of water temps in my life--hav a 79 mgb that I will usually only take out, if very hot out after 4pm, & that car has twin temp fans in front of radiator & a larger continuous fan installed on front of engine when built for an air-conditioner option on car from factory [air never installed by the way]--but car will heat up in city driving if really hot out-- I am nearing 1000 miles with new engine,oil cooler and new factory super-charger installed, so will be making an appointment for engine oil first service [oil change ] shortly, so I will be asking them to look into oil [smell]--engine oil level is perfect, so it might be a slight ooze
 

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Gamera The Atomic Turtle
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I just had recall work done on 05 elise, have put 600 mi on,oil line & cooler & new engine & noticed a slight oil smell yesterday-- had over 500mi when started yesterday & after driving about 50mi during the day on highway at about 75mph I smelled something very similar to oil burn for a short distance then it was gone thought maybe a vehicle in front of me but pulled over and visually checked and no signs of oil leaking but did make me very very nervous--hot yesterday and water temps ran about 192 to 197 while driving but when in city traffic, at red lights ,etc., temp would climb fairly quickly over 200, when it would reach 205,206 and still at red light , etc., turned fan on and turned heater dial all the way to hot & temp would level & start to go down a degree at a time untill I was moving & fresh air was coming in --reached 207,208 once before turning on heater
i know i sound like a jerk, (so please don't call me one, i've made enough enemies for a few days here) but if i read your post correctly, you had Lotus repair your car with Lotus lines and fittings - you do know they are failing after repair right? You do know they are the same lines & fittings & coolers right? I'm not saying yours will fail, but i know mine won't. And you know if you have the skills, there is a $20 fix? (atleast for the lines)
 

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u dont sound like a jerk at all, ur info seems only to help for a future problem--at this point I feel leary of removing front clam to inspect and possibly putting simple hose clamps over fittings at the least which I could do myself at least to give me a little more peace of mind - I just dont want to get over my head in taking off clam - i've read what u did with relocating oil cooler & it seemed like a great idea for all of the reasons u said
 

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What is the latest on the recall ? I have recieved nothing

I feel like I am driving a time bomb.

I have seen enough to know it can go anytime with no warning. I could be at full tilt boogie smacking the rev limiter or in neutral at idle parking. I just hope I am lucky enough to catch in time if/ when it goes...

Just the same my build date is within the recall parameters and I have heard absolutly nothing from Lotus.

I would be more than willing to take it down to Atlanta for a long weekend to get it sorted.

What do I do to have Lotus add me to the list and then get it fixed ? Hope someone has my answer. peacb
 

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Gamera The Atomic Turtle
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You're better off getting it fixed yourself, Motard. Lotus will just reinstall another time bomb. Deal with it, and sleep better at night. I reccomend the BOE solution, you could have a local shop install it. They could even leave the stock coolers/lines in place if you didn't trust them pulling the clam. Or you could bribe a nearby member to come put it in for you. You have options, but Lotus should not be one of them. I would not let Lotus anywhere near your oil cooling loop. You would have to be out of your mind imo.
 

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Sounds crazy, but are you SURE it's oil? Have you been driving manual a while? Could it be clutch?

I ask because I guy I work with bought a old Triumph and his 'burning smell' was clutch all day long.
 
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