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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
As a newbie I am learning about my Lotus every time a take it out. This forum is helpful but one problem is that you have to search for things and unless you know what to search for in advance you won't get the benefit of forum wisdom just by reading the most recent 500+ threads. So, in that spirit I am sharing a story and a useful bit of information....

Last weekend I took my Elise on a road trip to visit my elderly father so he could go for a ride in it (it is hard to put an invalid man in a Louts and harder to get one out). On the highway and at various stops I got the full treatment: people taking pictures while driving, people wanting to race, stupid questions like "Is that your Lotus" and answering, "No, I stole it."

Since my trip was 1100 miles of mostly highway driving I was able to determine my gas mileage. I consistently got 250 miles per tank and fill ups were 9 gallons with one bar left on the fuel gauge (about 28mpg) while driving 75-90mph. However, on the return trip the fuel light came on (1 bar) and I was at 240 miles so I pulled off the highway for fuel. I had to stop at a light on a downgrade before turning left into a fairly steep uphill grade to the gas station. When the light turned green I pulled out slowly and as I started the uphill grade the engine cut out. I rolled to the shoulder and put on the flashers and sat for minute to ponder - did the ignition die? WTF? I then decided to restart the car - it ran so I pulled in to the station and filled up. I didn't have any more problems after that but it sure gave me a scare (being in the middle of western Virginia far away from civilization - I consider the presence of a Lotus dealer is a pretty good indicator of a location being civilized).

After searching the forums to try and figure out what happened, this is was I think I learned:

1. The Elise is known to have left turn fuel starvation issues
2. The early Elise tank design (2005) was flawed
3. The tank baffles were sealed with material that fails
4. There are after market tanks for non-Fed cars that solve the problem
5. There is a company that will exchange an old Fed tank for an "rebuilt/improved" tank
6. Fuel starvation could damage the fuel pump
7. Changing the tank is hard or easy
8. One should top off the tank before 1/2 empty
9. You can drive >30 miles after the tell-tale indication comes on but you probably shouldn't unless you are chasing a Lamborghini
10. The tank holds about 10.6 gallons.

This is really something I would lave liked to known about before buying the car. No regrets but I would have, and will now, top of my tank before the idiot light comes on to warn this idiot. Also, I plan to avoid left turns in the future.

I hope this helps out some other newbies like myself.
:thwack:
 

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Vendor
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I would add that all model year cars have the fuel starve issue and I would also add a shameless plug:eek:, a surge tank is another very viable option to completely eliminating fuel starve.... and we make a pretty good one that's lotus specific:D

Best,

Phil
 

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Mulholland>SCC
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Low fuel on a steep grade. Wouldn't most cars have this problem?
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Good thing you are not a NASCAR driver.
I could always rotate the engine and drive train 180 degrees and drive backwards. :p

The fuel starvation issue is mainly when racing, at or beyond 1G cornering, so I kind of doubt that's your problem, but who knows.
I am not 100% positive this was the problem. However, I was pointed down hill at a light and turned 90 degrees left on to a steeper than normal incline. I have no other explanation. It was not particularly hot. The car had been running well. It started up after sitting for a moment. It needed 8.5 gallons to fill it. My best guess is that with the low tank and being stopped on a down incline had the pump on the edge of starving and the sharp low speed turn sloshed what little fuel was left to the passenger side and the pump got a big gulp up air. Then again, maybe it was gremlins.

I'm not sure I want to tackle this problem at the source for a while - I don't want any down time until the fun wears off a bit -- perhaps sometime around 2019... I appreciate the links and pointers; I had read through some of them before posting and left educated enough to know I don't know enough. My next project is the transmission input shaft bearing on my 71 BMW E9 so in the meantime I will keep the Elise fuel tank topped off

Low fuel on a steep grade. Wouldn't most cars have this problem?
Possible. I've never had it happen to me before and I've owned lots of cars. I have had vapor lock problems though but this has been more a function of high temperatures and fuel line routing.

Phil - Love your car, great color choice! :coolnana: The clam hinge looks like a first project before doing any other mod's.
 

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adding to my last reply i would make a one off fuel cell made from CF all i would do is send the the stock unit to AERO TEC LABORATORIES INC. a week later its at my house.

But thats just me.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
easy fix

V2 Fuel Tank from Sector111
Great advice, I actually saw this when searching various threads. It looks reasonable (about $700 with core return). According to the shop manual the driver seat and an interior panels comes out to get at fittings. A rear wheel and liner comes out to get to more fittings. The tank drops out the bottom after removing pan and brackets. Probably a fun full-Saturday venture when taking breaks for a drink or two. Even so, I'll probably just live with it for a bit. I think I would like a clamshell hinge first!
 

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Great advice, I actually saw this when searching various threads. It looks reasonable (about $700 with core return). According to the shop manual the driver seat and an interior panels comes out to get at fittings. A rear wheel and liner comes out to get to more fittings. The tank drops out the bottom after removing pan and brackets. Probably a fun full-Saturday venture when taking breaks for a drink or two. Even so, I'll probably just live with it for a bit. I think I would like a clamshell hinge first!
You wont ever see me knock any shop but what ive done in the past for some friends is i do my own fix vs paying a shop to do it. It cost them $210 in parts took my shop guy 49 mins to do it. But he had a motec ecu so running the extra intank pump was the best choice for his setup. Plus the added benefit of being able to run more power without running out of fuel at top end. But once again thats me it is your car you can go anyway you would like. But there are many cheaper solutions its just finding the right performance shop in your area that has a good racing backround not a weekend racer shop.
 

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1. The Elise is known to have left turn fuel starvation issues
Both Elise and Exige have fuel starvation problems that can lead to catastrophic engine damage due to lean burn condition. The condition can also cause engine shut down a low fuel levels.

2. The early Elise tank design (2005) was flawed
Elise and Exige Fed 2005 and up tank baffle designs offers room for improvement.

3. The tank baffles were sealed with material that fails
Very true. It's very hard to get anything to stick to polished S.S. much less doing it immersed in fuel.

4. There are after market tanks for non-Fed cars that solve the problem
They will fit the Fed cars with some mods but do not include the CARB legal venting system and OE safety valveing.

5. There is a company that will exchange an old Fed tank for an "rebuilt/improved" tank
Yes there is, V2 motorsports via Sector111 (shamless plug:D)

6. Fuel starvation could damage the fuel pump
More importantly, your ENGINE. FI cars are more susceptible than NA cars.

7. Changing the tank is hard or easy
Doable in your garage. Figure ½ day out and ¾ day back in for your first time.

8. One should top off the tank before 1/2 empty
I would recommend 1/4 on the street and full every time the car goes on the track.

9. You can drive >30 miles after the tell-tale indication comes on but you probably shouldn't unless you are chasing a Lamborghini
rotfl

Avoid parking with the LH side of the car higher than the RH side with low fuel level.

If you do have a fuel starve problem when driving flick the wheel to the right to slosh the fuel back over to the LH side of the tank. Note: use common sense when doing this maneuver. -poke-
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Avoid parking with the LH side of the car higher than the RH side with low fuel level.
I am a pretty big guy so when I get in the car it tends to sag a bit on the drivers side. This should help alleviate the low LH parking problem. :shift:

All in all, I don't think this is a big issue for me. However, it came as a shock when I experienced it for the first time in Wytheville, VA. I was quite relieved when the engine started again.... I was having visions of Goober coming with a tow truck and ripping off my front suspension before I could stop him.

This brings me to another point: can the Elise be pulled on to a flatbed tow truck (is there enough ground clearance)? Also, is the dainty tow hook from the tool kit strong enough to pull it up or should I purchase an even flimsier aluminum track tow ring? I do have the can of slime and I purchased a tire plug system and a tiny air pump to carry. It still seems like travelling more than 50 miles from home is taking a serious risk without a spare. I guess that is another reason that driving a Lotus is almost a religious experience.
 
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