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Hello guys,

I am writing to the Lotus Community in hopes of getting some feedback on maintenance.

Currently, the car has 40k miles and I am planning on taking a road trip from Miami --> Philly

In order to have a stress free trip, I'd like some advice and guidance as to how to keep my car running well.

1) At low speeds, I experience a sort of clanking sound from the imperfections on the road. To me, it seems like new either bushings or ball joints would be needed, is this a fair evaluation?

2) Toe links- How can I check on these, and is this something that should be replaced assuming the car was never tracked ?

Also, if anyone would like to recommend some cool places to visit along the way to PA, possibly some notable roads a car enthusiast would love, please feel free to comment!

Feel free to post links to parts that you feel would improve ride quality too!!

Thanks in advance to anyone who leaves their feedback!

Regards,
 

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On my 2009 Elise I have about 168,000 miles in 11 years.

After about 100,000 miles I had the OEM shocks replaced

At about 120,000 I had some tie rods and some ball joints replaced.

If you have 40,000 miles I think you are probably OK for some time.
 

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Literally no OEM bushings make it to 120000 miles. They are all walking before then cmon dave...

Ride quality is 300% improved with stiffer shocks. Penske SA or DA if the budget allows, but anything is better then stock.

Check things like the shock mounts being loose, the control arms walking out of the bushings and hitting the frame, and jack up the car and see if you have any play anywhere when you move the tires by hand.
 

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My personal theory on the toe link issue is that the primary cause of failure is that the bolt walks out first, then this leads to failure. Simply keeping an eye on these bolts (and all suspension bolts, for that matter) is sufficient for a street car.

To check them, a simple visual followed by a torque wrench is all you need. For mine, I could visually see that the nut had fallen clean off, and the bolt was holding on purely by a couple new threads it had cut itself into the subframe. This was with an aftermarket brace, too. I'd have to google the torque spec, but I'll leave that to your capable google skills ;)
 

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Yeah the stock bolts get loose, and once they are loose they break right away because they cant hold loads in shear. To fix you can tighten them regularly. Run a larger bolt and tighten it more (what I did) Or run them in double shear, so that when they get loose they might not break right away (they will still break quick though). The actual arms don't fail.
 

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I use Nord-Lock washers for toe links, marked with felt tip pen.

That way i can tell if anything moved.



Note to new Elise & Exige Owners:



1. These cars have large (i.e. dangerous) blind spots. Multivex mirrors are NLA, but RLS (Really Light Stuff) offers very good tape-on replacements.

2. The horns are way too weak (quiet). There’s an inverse relationship: smaller the car, louder the horn needs to be.

Get something such as a Stebel Nautilus.

Stebel: “HONK! LOOK OUT!”


Remove the stock horn; replace with louder.



(I drive with my finger on the horn button in any traffic. Iffy situations, my headlights are on.



Stay to the left of traffic, i.e. avoid passing on the right if you can.



Stop way behind trucks, SUVs, etc. Some have blindspots >50’. )



3. The early cars came with misaimed and dim headlights. If you drive at night, convert to HIDs. While better than stock halogen bulbs are available, HIDs throw more light. Stay around 5000k. As of this writing LEDs are not as good.



4. Ensure your car has had the work required by the recall for oil line fittings done. You could lose an engine and/or spin in your own oil.



5. Transmission:



The best transmission lube I’ve found is Redline MT-90 plus a little Power Punch Extreme Gear Oil Additive. (Note that it takes two changes to get rid of the previous lube.)



a) Early cars have wobbly shift towers. Look up Stan’s Mod (bolt and spacer; http://www.billswebspace.com/ShifterReinforcement.pdf) and



And, use:

Re-Enforcer long thru bolts that terminate under car and tie down the tower:

https://www.inokinetic.com/lotus/re-enforcer?category=Transmission



These (lube, mods) make a huge change in shifting. I also reoriented one swivel joint.



6. As per some engine builders on these sites, wait AT LEAST 20 -35 minutes aftercoolant has reached full operating temp before engaging cam switchover.



For street cars, consider removing one or both oil coolers. Some cover them. Oil doesn’t get hot enough on street, leading to cam wiping.



I use Mobil 1 5W-40 Turbo Diesel oil. 85k miles and fine, but one is not a useful example.



7. Rear toe-links can loosen and break with disastrous results. You can check tq periodically, or use Nordlock washers. Best is conversion to better engineered brace, such as BOE’s InoKinetic’s for two examples.



8. While under the car with panel off, look around for hoses and wires chafing their way to failure. That’s how this was found:




9. The stock radiators are prone to leaking where the end caps meet the metal part. Keep an eye on this. Most of us use single-pass all-aluminum radiators.



10. When your wheel well liner comes loose, skip the lame plastic rivet and use Well-Nuts instead.



11. Life will be better if you disable the auto-arming alarm function on the earlier cars. You won’t have to press a button to start the car. Instructions:



Remote Key Fob, Immobilizer & Misc Alarm Programming



12. These cars cannot be left off a Battery Tender for weeks at a time. Unless dead batteries are a particular joy of yours. Buy one right away. There are numerous threads here about which ppl use and like.



You NEED a digital multimeter (voltmeter) to work on modern cars. Handy around house too. Get one this week.



13, Some on this site are a bit obsessed with hockey pucks for lifting the car. Don’t use these. Too hard and slippery, generally, and too small a surface area. Use a piece of wood, as your hero does.



14. If you are fooling with sparkplugs, remember to slather those tubes in dielectric grease (prevents shorts).



15. Visit the Uber Thread



**Elise/Exige Uberpost READ THIS. Everything you need...



16. Most parts on the car are made by Toyota and others, so buying things like a/c compressors, engine parts, etc. is wildly expensive when purchased thru Lotus.

Toyota dealers, auto parts stores are way less expensive.



17. The soft high-grip tires on most of our cars lose much of that grip when temperatures drop below 50 F. I know of too many ppl who spun their cars when not remembering this. I use hi-performance all-seasons.



Note that many summer tires cannot even be stored in temps below 20 F.



-----



Plus, “How to bleed brakes”:



How to Bleed Brakes





How to Search:



For future reference: Don't use the search on this site. Simply use Google and end the search text with "site:lotustalk.com". E.g.
Transmission Fluid change what bolt site:lotustalk.com

no space betweensite:lotustalk.com
 

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As per your question:
"1) At low speeds, I experience a sort of clanking sound from the imperfections on the road. To me, it seems like new either bushings or ball joints would be needed, is this a fair evaluation?"

-The clanking or maybe more aptly described as 'clunking' could be a bad steering rack OR worm or loose anti-roll bar bushings. You can remove the plastic cover inside the wheel well to inspect the anti-roll bar bushings. It's riveted I believe. It is not the wheel well splash shield, rather a small rectangluar-ish piece of ABS.

-Check your front signals too. They may pop out.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Excellent! I really appreciate your guys' feedback on these details.

Thanks GLB for the extensive list of tips as well.

Feeling confident now about what needs to be bought

Regards
 
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