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1,744 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Got this from Seloc. It seems the footwell corrosion problems are now sorted out for early S2 owners.

Elise Footwell Floor Corrosion - February 2004

Lotus is aware that a small number of Elise models factory fitted with
synthetic mats in the footwells, have experienced some cosmetic corrosion of
the top surface of the aluminium footwell floor panels.

Lotus has concluded its investigations and would like to thank its customers
for their patience over the last few months, which has enabled us to fully
research the issue and validate the solution. These extensive
investigations involved both Lotus and independent testing laboratories
undertaking tests in an attempt to replicate the corrosion under laboratory
controlled conditions. Given the extremely unusual and unpredicted nature
of the problem it took several months to recreate the corrosion in the
laboratory using both automotive and aerospace accelerated testing methods.
Only when Lotus was satisfied that it had scientific and proven evidence as
to the cause was it able to proceed to develop and test an effective remedy.
The cause of the corrosion was established as being a complex chemical
reaction within the moisture and salts which tend to become trapped between
the floor surface and PVC matting.

Lotus fully understands that this cosmetic corrosion has caused concern to
some of the affected customers. It would like to reassure all of its
customers that the footwell floors are not part of the primary load bearing
structure of the car and that this corrosion does not compromise the
integrity of the chassis.

All PVC based matting was deleted from production specifications of the
Elise several months ago. Owners of Elise models factory fitted with
either the black synthetic (rubber like) or grey synthetic chequer plate
patterned footwell mats, are offered the opportunity to upgrade from these
mats to new breathable black carpets. These breathable carpets will provide
suitable ventilation of the footwell floor surfaces.

Lotus authorised dealers will be pleased to assess the footwell floor
condition of your vehicle and then arrange a convenient time to carry out
the appropriate improvements. Where little or no corrosion is evident to
the footwell floors, a colourless anti-corrosion fluid will be applied to
the footwell surface. In other cases, where more corrosion is evident, the
original floor will be treated and a secondary floor panel will be bonded
and sealed on top of each of the existing footwell floors. In all cases new
breathable black footwell carpets will be fitted

Whilst the footwell condition of the majority of vehicles will not amount to
a failure under the terms of the 8 year chassis anti-corrosion warranty
provided with the vehicle, in order to maintain customers confidence, Lotus
will, as a goodwill gesture, undertake the above treatment and improvements
free of charge to any Elise within its 8 year chassis anti-corrosion
warranty which was factory fitted with the PVC based floor mats (standard
warranty terms and conditions will apply).


Lotus has released this statement at this time to reassure any concerned
customer, and is in the process of obtaining stocks of materials and
arranging appropriate dealer training. Any concerned customer should
contact their authorised Lotus dealer from the end of March onwards to
discuss appropriate arrangements. Customers may prefer to have this work
carried out in conjunction with a maintenance service or other repair work
and should therefore discuss this with their authorised dealer.

The U.K. Vehicle Inspectorate has confirmed to Lotus that as the footwell
floors are not part of the primary load bearing structure and any corrosion
of these panels does not compromise the integrity of the chassis, a corroded
or perforated floor panel is not in itself grounds for a U.K. MOT failure.
Any queries related to MOTs should be directed to the Vehicle Inspectorate
Enquiry Unit on telephone number 0845 6005977, quoting vehicle test station
number and the date of test.

Lotus recommends that routine car cleaning and maintenance by Elise owners
should include lifting the footwell carpets and cleaning and, if necessary,
drying the floors.

If customers have any queries in connection with this issue they should
contact their authorised Lotus dealer who will be happy to assist. Once
again thank you for your patience.

55 Posts
Hm, while I can understand the legalistic interpretation of their liability in this case, if my car had the footwell corrosion I would want more than a consolation floormat for my trouble. I understand that chassis repair for that many vehicles would cripple Lotus financially, but they are really lucky this didn't happen in the US. Really, really, lucky.

648 Posts
Guys, all I say cay is Lotus are full of sh1te! I have a 2003 Lotus Elise with the "breathable" mats. Fact is, if you get some water under that mat and you are in a humid climate, IT WILL CORRODE. I have the proof.

6,802 Posts
I'm not sure it's all the same. Alum, subjected to damp conditions can form that white staining appearance. Does this also constitute corrosion. Some of the pics of cars with the earlier mats did look quite severe.

But I think common sense says, since the floor pan is bare alum. it's not a bad idea to pull the mats to air them out to prevent this staining/corrosion. The other option would be to put waterproofing coating on the ally. Don't think most people want that.

As I recall the LA show cars, the mats in place now are very easy to remove as opposed to the taped down pads of earlier cars.


1,063 Posts
Yes. The white stains are the first sign of trouble.

It's aluminium-hydroxide, which (when dissolved in water) forms a base and eats away at the aluminium in it's metal form, creating more of the stuff.

It ends up with dissolved pits/holes in the metal and mounds of white powder (or sludge if it's wet) around them.

I suspect that for the current cars they may include 'cleaning under the floor mats and drying out' as 'owner maintenance' in the owners manual.

So if you do get floor corrosion they can say it's your fault.

Bye, Arno.

2,344 Posts
Wouldn't a light coat of a clear matte finish paint keep the corrosion out? I may go buy myself a 4 dollar can of it, lift the carpets, hit it with a coat or two, let it dry, and put my carpets back in place. Anyone know any reason not to?

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