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Discussion Starter #1
A month or two ago, I came down to my car in the garage, and the clutch pedal had fallen to the floor, but I managed to pump it a few times to get it working well enough to drive it to the dealer, which (I believe) did the repair described here:

http://www.lotustalk.com/forums/f170/service-bulletins-106705/#post1700241

A couple of days ago, the same thing happened, and I put it in for service again. This time they came back and said:
  • We need to replace the clutch and the flywheel
  • We don't know whether it'll be covered under warranty until you commit to a $12K repair cost
  • It's a 50/50 chance that it'll be covered under warranty

This seems completely absurd to me. This is a 19K miles car (does any clutch ever last for less than 20K miles in a modern car?), they can't tell me whether it'll be covered or not until I agree to the expensive repair cost, and the car is still under warranty — and has exhibited clutch issues in the past.

I have never done any track duty with this car, I put 40K miles on my previous Lotus Elise (as well as track days) without issues, so I feel pretty confident that I'm not "using the car wrong".

What are my options here? Is there any way to contact Lotus directly? I'm very frustrated that a car that has known clutch issues only has a "50/50 chance" of being covered, and the repair is over $10K.

I'm a long-time Lotus owner, but this doesn't make me feel very happy about the company or my decision to get an Evora anymore.

(Oh, and I'm not interested in discussing which dealer this is, since I'm sure they're just passing along what Lotus tells them — my goal is not to make a dealer look bad.)
 

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Sounds like the issue is that the clutch hydraulic fluid gets too hot, boils, creates bubbles in the fluid, which makes it so the hydraulic system can't exert enough pressure on the fork/throw-out bearing/pressure plate to disengage the clutch.

Normally this would just require replacing the clutch fluid, and apparently add a heat shield.

But if you drove enough with a badly working hydraulic clutch system, then I suppose there is a possibility that the throw-out bearing, pressure plate, flywheel, and or clutch could have been damaged... Though super unlikely, and it would be the fault of the design, and should be covered by warranty.

However I suppose they could try to inspect the clutch for signs of other abuse and then claim that you damaged the clutch. And use that to deny the warranty.

They should be able to dump the ECU to see if you were abusing the car. Rather than do the exploratory and possibly expensive procedure.

If the clutch has been fine otherwise, and you weren't slipping the clutch a lot...

I would stick to my guns and remind them that this is a known warranty/design issue. To fix it the way the TSB states, and since that didn't work, they either did it incorrectly, or the design is at fault and it should be covered under warranty. And I would have them use a really good quality DOT4 fluid Like the MOTUL RBF 650. Actually I think I would have them replace the master and slave cylinders, since the rubber seals can go bad quickly after the fluid in the system overheats!

The clutch pedal falling to the floor is NOT a symptom of a bad clutch plate. Unless you were slipping the clutch a LOT and that is what created the extra heat that boiled the fluid and caused the pedal to fall to the floor, which is super unlikely, since the Evora has an external slave cylinder (outside the bell housing), and not a concentric hydraulic throw-out bearing/slave like on a Corvette.
 

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So having had a similar issue...

There is no way it should cost 12k to fix. Find another dealer if they won't tell you why--Lotus pays 30.5 hours of labor plus parts at cost for a clutch job under warranty...parts (frction plate, flywheel, hardware) aren't cheap but aren't expensive. I think the S parts were 1800? NA is much cheaper though.

Lotus Orlando does them in about 29-30 hours. So you can calculate the cost from there--there is no reason for it to take that much longer, or for your cost to be that high.

Lotus NA will require a full ECU dump before they are willing to even crack open the car. It is not too unheard of for the dealer to tell you that you need to be willing to pay before even trying-a majority of the labor is the clam and engine removal...so if they have to do that to diagnose, and you aren't willing to pay, then they are out most of the labor charge (figure 25 hours). It sucks but sort of comes with the territory as there is no other way to check the clutch (this isn't uncommon for some midengined cars)

Some cars have had manufacturing defects--that is what they guess my failure was as when they pulled the clutch the friction plate had loads of life left and the throwout bearing didn't seem to be the problem. Can't help that unfortunately.


It does sound like to me you are having clutch fluid problems. It seems in these cars if your pedal goes to the floor once, your master cylinder is damaged (does the boiling fluid allow it to seep past seals? dunno there is speculation in the other threads.)

I would see if they can't pull your master cylinder (and slave while they're at it) first and do a high performance fluid swap as stated above. Will your car go into gear without the clutch depressed while the car is off? If so, I would start looking at other things before jumping to the clutch. When my plate was stuck to the flywheel, I couldn't get it into gear period. If yours still goes, it may not be binding. If the material were going you would've smelt it or felt lots of slipping.
 

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Excellent advise given above.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I don't think there's been any clutch slippage (is that the “burnt clutch” smell?).

The dropped pedal definitely happens when I've been driving the car for a while — just a couple of hours of driving on the highway though, no track use or anything.

I guess I'm just frustrated that they won't come out and recognize that this is a common issue with our cars.

I'll keep you updated when I hear back.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
The other thing I was wondering — would replacing those parts make it equivalent to the 2012+ models? Or is there anything I should get done if they're going to do major surgery on the car? The later models definitely feel a lot better in use than the 2011.
 

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S clutch and flywheel parts have remained the same. It is the cables that have been updated, a separate issue. These do improve the feel mightily but aren't cheap.


It sounds more and more to me like this is a cylinder and fluid issue. The pedal to the floor/clutch failure aren't interrelated unless by wild speculation. The symptoms you describe don't address a failure at the plate or flywheel. Is there any mechanical noise? Does it sound like a tractor (not the usual clutch noise, like NOISE NOISE clattery diesel levels) at low speed or in neutral?


I would ask them to check your cylinders, check the line is properly insulated, and swap fluids to a much higher spec. Ask if they can tell you exctly why/why not...this is one of those tough situations where you don't want to make things with your dealer acrimonious but you need to take a stand.
 

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Yep, start with fluids and new cylinders. All should be under warranty. Same issue on my '11. Wasn't right until cylinders were replaced, new hi-temp fluid (boiled it 3 times), and heat shielding.
After that, if it still has issues, then dig into the big stuff.
 

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All above advice is good. Fluid, slave, cylinder issue. You know when a clutch is toast because it Wreaks!

Shocked because my 2010 clutch was a bit sketchy but the 2011S clutch has been absolutely smooth as glass. Probably best I've ever had to be honest.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Much appreciated, guys — passed on the advice. It definitely didn't sound abnormal at any point, and there were no smells or anything else that seemed off.

Will keep you updated, hopefully this will fix it!
 

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One more thing that may help: Google "evora tsb pdf". That gets you to this:

2013/2 Clutch service bulletin

It talks about similar symptoms due to fluid contamination and the use of a plastic-bodied clutch master cylinder used many years/variants, including in S models up to 2013. You can check to see if this issue applies to you by inspecting the master cylinder and yoke attached to the clutch pedal. If it's plastic, you're due a replacement with an upgraded metal unit.
 

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Hi Pengineer91, thank you for posting that service bulletin. Looks like my car is in the affected range. From the inspection notes below, I'm still not sure what to look for.

Method of Inspection:
From within the drivers footwell view the rear of the clutch master cylinder.
A. An affected cylinder (within the VIN range) has a plastic body and the yoke joining the push rod to the clutch pedal is also non-metallic.
B. If the cylinder body is metal (it may be necessary to pull the dust cover back to confirm) and the cylinder has a single piece push rod/yoke assembly, then no further action is necessary.

Can some one take a picture and point out what piece that we need to examine?
 

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... Can some one take a picture and point out what piece that we need to examine?
Just tried, I need to do the head stand in the day out of suit clothes, prior to eating and with better lighting.
 

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I can't see anything related to the clutch itself based on your description. In fact, if you can pump it back up then I would rule the clutch out definitively. Sounds a little to me like your dealer learnt about cars on youtube.:facepalm

However, I can confirm that the clutch pedal falling down can be a repeat issue and am still not convinced they have found the true root cause at Lotus. I had the heat shield installed, then on the second occurrence my master cylinder replaced (I started that SB-thread), but only had the master cylinder replaced a second time two months ago. Squid also reported the same issue a while back.

A "second" test is actually if they try to bleed the clutch pedal, need a pressure bleeder AND have to pump the pedal manually to get anything going.

Tell the dealer to change the master cylinder.TADTS
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Yeah, they already replaced the master cylinder a few months ago, but it happened again. They sat on the car for over a week while they didn't offer much else advice than "we need to replace the clutch and the flywheel" for the aforementioned $10K+ without the assurance that it could be covered under warranty.

I then asked whether they could switch the fluid and let me have the car back until we know whether Lotus is going to address this, and they told me that I'd have to pay for that since the car was operational. So they've been sitting on my car for a week and neglected to tell me that my clutch is actually working again. :facepalm

Pretty sure I won't ever use this dealer again. Worried that the clutch will fail, but not sure where to go from here.
 

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Dirac, I've had my MC replaced more than once. It turns out some of the replacements parts were bad as well. What you describe is almost certainly not clutch related, but hydraulic fluid related. A new MC (and/or slave possibly), should fix this. If it's under warranty, I would take it to another dealer (you actually have three in the bay area).
 

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Dirac, I've had my MC replaced more than once. It turns out some of the replacements parts were bad as well. What you describe is almost certainly not clutch related, but hydraulic fluid related. A new MC (and/or slave possibly), should fix this. If it's under warranty, I would take it to another dealer (you actually have three in the bay area).
WHAT HE SAID!
 

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Yeah!
 
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