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Good evening! I just purchased my first lotus today, a 2005 saffron yellow elise with the touring package, and I am 1/3 the way back to maryland driving it from Albuquerque. The car is a hard 8, touching 9 on the exterior, and a solid 8 on the interior. I bought it for $24500 with 99k miles and a freshly rebuilt engine, but with anything that's gone close to a hundred thousand miles it's going to show some wear.

I've been lurking here for a while, and now that I finally have the car and have driven it for some time, I had a few questions. Normally I would use the search functionality, but because I'm currently in BFE driving it cross country, I am limited to using my cell phone on edge network which is painful. So I'll ask.

So, the shift lever feels like all of the bushing are shot. It feels like a 20 year old manual civic. What's involved with replacing the shift lever bushings? I haven't had a chance to peel back the (loose) center bezel to investigate.

The passenger's door only opens from the inside, and the outside button won't open it. What's involved with fixing this?

The accelerator pedal sometimes feels sticky when coming from zero throttle. Any suggestions? I know this was the one year of the manual throttle body, and my old 1st gen MR2 did the same thing.

Finally, the previous previous owner of the car was in Phoenix and had rebuilt the motor. I think they may have installed a low temp thermostat when they did this since as I was cruising across the Texas panhandle tonight and the temp was dipping into the 50s, when I was above 70 mph for more than a minute, the temp read out would drop to the 150s then disappear. And if I remember correctly, the low coolant temp would prevent the motor from going to the second cam and set the redline at 6200 if the coolant wasn't up to temp. Is this a likely scenario, or is there something else besides the thermostat I should look at.

Thank you for bearing with me and my easily answered with a search questions were I not on dial up speeds typing into a cell phone. And hello again!

Rich
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Also, I forgot this, the battery is not tied down in any fashion and I know that these cars have problems with the stock mounting system and batteries smashing the rear clam. I'm not going to be pulling g's on my voyage home so I'm not too worried about the battery coming out of the voyage home, but I'm having trouble finding aftermarket mounts for a stock sized battery. I don't want to spend a ton of money on a lithium ion battery, and I don't want a snowmobile battery either so that rules out most of the mounts I found. Any suggestions?
 

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Congratulations on the car.

As to the passenger door lock try inserting the key in the lock and turn it. That should take care of the lock issue...
 

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Congratulations on the car.

As to the passenger door lock try inserting the key in the lock and turn it. That should take care of the lock issue...
That may be the issue. If the door was locked with a key, it will not unlock with the remote. That said, if locked with a key I don't know if you can manually open from the inside, never had a reason to try.

As for shifting, have you driven other Elise's? Their shifters when new are less than smooth. Between the shifter itself, the cables, then the mechanism on the trans there is a lot of play, plenty of places to wear, and a number of fixes. The shifting will never be great no matter what refurbishment you do.

You live just down the street from me, I'm in Gambrills. Although I now have an Europa, I've owned 5 Eliges, so I am familiar with how the shifting should feel. I'd be glad to look it over and give you an idea of how far off norm yours is or is not.

Why not route your trip through a town with a Lotus dealership and have them look at that thermostat? Also, when your temp drops, when you floor it does the second cam kick in? If so your problem may have to do with your gauge or sensor.

Congrats and good luck with the car! Have a safe trip and drop me a line when you get back in town.
 

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Your thermostat is stuck wide open, most likely. I had the exact thing happen to mine. Even the lo temp thermostat would eventually let the engine come to 162 degrees (I think that's when the ECU lets the engine rev into the second cam).
 

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I had the door issue, and it will work from the inside only, and opening with the key was the fix. I also had the temp issue on another car--thermostat stuck open most likely. My Elise has only 15K miles and shifter seems sloppy--apparently typical. Hope your drive goes well.
 

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With that many miles there is no possible way that its the stock radiator. I have the wizard cooling 2.25 inch core and it is not uncommon for my temps to drop below 150 while on the freeway if its cooler.

As far as the shifter look into the letsla upgrade. Easy to install and makes all the difference in the world. Also jim claytons heavier shift knobs help a little as well

Unrelated to anything you said. But it seems like you're like me and the shifter really bugs you, then its likely the clutch bothers you too? You can look up the "stan's mod" for the clutch. Easy to do, costs just a few cents, and changes everything
 

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The locks on the Lotus is kind of retarded. I bet the previous owner locked the lock from the outside manually. That will prevent the door from opening even if you disarm it. The shifter are very sloppy on these cars. Apparently new cables, LETSLA, and a shifter reinforcement mod will tighten it up a bit. Also it sounds like you have a stuck thermostat.
 

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ssc shift cable? I hear they rock, change things quite a bit.
 

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With that many miles there is no possible way that its the stock radiator.
Huh? I have well over 100,000 miles and never a problem. Original oil coolers and lines too. The only stock thing that has been necessary to change on my car because of any engineering type issue would be the shift lever. The car is a semi-daily driver since November 2004 in the central valley of California. Now, once said the whole damn thing will probably fall to pieces!
 

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Shifting:

Change trans lube to Redline MT-90*

Buy Sector 111 stiffening kit (for shift "tower")

Look up Stan's mod on adding a bolt and shims to further stiffen tower

Lube moving parts on tower.

Bleed clutch.


* I like to add Power Punch Extreme Pressure Gear Oil additive EP-1.


If these simple steps don't improve shifting, then you can go onto more elaborate, expensive steps.

My car shifts so nicely, I don't need more than the above. YMMV.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Congratulations on the car.

As to the passenger door lock try inserting the key in the lock and turn it. That should take care of the lock issue...
I took the previous owner's word for it that there was something wrong with the door. Sure enough, unlocking it with the key fixed it.

That may be the issue. If the door was locked with a key, it will not unlock with the remote. That said, if locked with a key I don't know if you can manually open from the inside, never had a reason to try.

As for shifting, have you driven other Elise's? Their shifters when new are less than smooth. Between the shifter itself, the cables, then the mechanism on the trans there is a lot of play, plenty of places to wear, and a number of fixes. The shifting will never be great no matter what refurbishment you do.

You live just down the street from me, I'm in Gambrills. Although I now have an Europa, I've owned 5 Eliges, so I am familiar with how the shifting should feel. I'd be glad to look it over and give you an idea of how far off norm yours is or is not.

Why not route your trip through a town with a Lotus dealership and have them look at that thermostat? Also, when your temp drops, when you floor it does the second cam kick in? If so your problem may have to do with your gauge or sensor.

Congrats and good luck with the car! Have a safe trip and drop me a line when you get back in town.
The remote apparently needs to be reprogrammed after a battery replacement (?) according to the previous owner, and I'm not sure if the car came stock with a Cobra security system, but that's the keyfob I have.

I haven't driven any other Elises before, so I am unfamiliar with how the shifter should feel; I've rowed gears in 3 generations of MR2s, and especially with the last gen being a close analog for this car, I'm surprised the shifter in this car is so much worse as none of the MR2s seemed worse than any other cable-shifted front drive car.

Oh, hello neighbor! What part of Gambrills? Yes, before I go and spend money on something like the LETSLA kit, I'd like to know if what I have is normal or needs work. So yeah, if you can take a look at it sometime, I'd appreciate it.

It's definitely the coolant system itself, not a sensor, since the air coming out of the vents when the motor cools off is not warm. I'm probably just going to go to Toyota of Bowie and pick up a replacement t-stat and gasket since either a missing or stuck thermostat would be the only sensible thing I could think of to cause the low temp.

And no, when I floor it after its been cruising a while and the temp drops below 158 or whatever the lowest read out on the dash is, it cuts revs at the point where the second cam profile should switch over.

Your thermostat is stuck wide open, most likely. I had the exact thing happen to mine. Even the lo temp thermostat would eventually let the engine come to 162 degrees (I think that's when the ECU lets the engine rev into the second cam).
That's what I'm thinking. It doesn't look like too bad of a job to replace it. I'll take a crack at it after I get the engine back in my Subaru and have the garage space.


I had the door issue, and it will work from the inside only, and opening with the key was the fix. I also had the temp issue on another car--thermostat stuck open most likely. My Elise has only 15K miles and shifter seems sloppy--apparently typical. Hope your drive goes well.
Thanks!

With that many miles there is no possible way that its the stock radiator. I have the wizard cooling 2.25 inch core and it is not uncommon for my temps to drop below 150 while on the freeway if its cooler.

As far as the shifter look into the letsla upgrade. Easy to install and makes all the difference in the world. Also jim claytons heavier shift knobs help a little as well

Unrelated to anything you said. But it seems like you're like me and the shifter really bugs you, then its likely the clutch bothers you too? You can look up the "stan's mod" for the clutch. Easy to do, costs just a few cents, and changes everything
I know that mid-engine cars with front-mounted radiators tend to have some oddities with their cooling systems, but the thermostat should regulate your temp so that it would cycle down the temp when you're cruising in the cold, but still hold enough heat in the coolant to keep your engine temp up. I'm guessing that the extra cooling may cause surges in lower temperature.

Yes, I looked over the letsla upgrade, thanks! I need to make sure anything I do at this point won't put me out of super stock class in autocross as I'm not quite financially ready for street mod class. I'll need to review the SCCA regs. But that sure looks tempting.

The only thing about the clutch that annoys me so far is it seems that it has excessive pedal effort for a motor with such low torque. It is easily twice as stiff as the clutch in my Subaru STi, which has close to twice the horse power, three times the torque, and a (streetable) racing clutch.

The locks on the Lotus is kind of retarded. I bet the previous owner locked the lock from the outside manually. That will prevent the door from opening even if you disarm it. The shifter are very sloppy on these cars. Apparently new cables, LETSLA, and a shifter reinforcement mod will tighten it up a bit. Also it sounds like you have a stuck thermostat.
Thanks!


There are a couple shifter mods to help shifting.

Thanks!

Shifting:

Change trans lube to Redline MT-90*

Buy Sector 111 stiffening kit (for shift "tower")

Look up Stan's mod on adding a bolt and shims to further stiffen tower

Lube moving parts on tower.

Bleed clutch.


* I like to add Power Punch Extreme Pressure Gear Oil additive EP-1.


If these simple steps don't improve shifting, then you can go onto more elaborate, expensive steps.

My car shifts so nicely, I don't need more than the above. YMMV.
How does Motul gear 300 do in these gear boxes? My Subaru loves the stuff, it completely fixed a syncro grind in second and third (the lotus has a bit of grind in first and second), and I have an extra gallon of it in my garage.

I'll look at Stan's mod for tower stiffening, thanks. The main issue is with the gear lever or actuator on the transmission, but from what I've heard, this is what I should expect and it seems that there are some effective fixes.

Thanks everybody!
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Oh, I'm definitely doing Stan's mod. That will fix one of my major annoyances with the car thus far.
 
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