The Lotus Cars Community banner

21 - 38 of 38 Posts

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
3,040 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
46 Posts
LARRY said:
Newbies. Take the car in to the Lotus mechanic if you suspect something. Let THEM fix it for free correctly. :D

Yeah that is why I said bring it to the dealerhip, this way it is covered under warranty and you won't have to worry about it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,771 Posts
I have looked for my slow leak, but can't find it. I looked carefully all under the car when doing my last maintenance, looked at the water pump, radiator connections, all hose connections on the engine, and even in the turn signals and the front air scoop (took the front grill off).

Getting the car to the dealer is a bit of a pain for me. Any suggestions on how I might find this leak? I could buy a pressure tester, but would that help me find the leak any better than letting the engine get hot to pressurize the system?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
822 Posts
ChrisH said:
I have looked for my slow leak, but can't find it. I looked carefully all under the car when doing my last maintenance, looked at the water pump, radiator connections, all hose connections on the engine, and even in the turn signals and the front air scoop (took the front grill off).

Getting the car to the dealer is a bit of a pain for me. Any suggestions on how I might find this leak? I could buy a pressure tester, but would that help me find the leak any better than letting the engine get hot to pressurize the system?
Pressure testers are great for finding coolant leaks. They can usually get you much better volume through a small leak, plus not having the engine noise can help as well.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12,374 Posts
LARRY said:
Newbies. Take the car in to the Lotus mechanic if you suspect something. Let THEM fix it for free correctly. :D
In a perfect world, that is a good plan - the way it should work. But...

Sometimes the dealer is far away. Sometimes they don't find the leak.

As an example, my son had work done on his car (a new engine), and it kept loosing coolant. He took it back at least 3 times, and they "couldn't find anything wrong". When he was home on break (from college - which is why I couldn't repair the car in the first place), I hooked up the coolant system tester and found the loose hose clamps in about 3 minutes. Easier and less hassle than taking it back to the shop (hundreds of miles away) again. Besides, I find that it works better at most dealers when you take you car in and say: "I tested the system, and there's a leak at the left front hose" instead of "I think my system is loosing coolant somewhere".

Yes, it should work so that you take you car in to the dealer and say "It's broke, fix it" and they do, but there's a reason that we have the TADTS and :tadts: smilies on this forum.


ChrisH said:
Getting the car to the dealer is a bit of a pain for me. Any suggestions on how I might find this leak? I could buy a pressure tester, but would that help me find the leak any better than letting the engine get hot to pressurize the system?
No guarantee, but often the cooling system pressure tester will find things. Often there can be a leak when things are cold, and it stops leaking when things expand as it warms up. And it often works the other way around.

Besides buying a cooling system tester, many discount auto parts stores will loan them (you buy it, and get the refund when you return it - that way if you don't bring it back, they get to keep the money). That's actually where I got mine - they loaned them out, so I knew they had access, and asked them to order me a new one.

In any case, pressurizing the cooling system will often allow your to find where the coolant is oozing out of someplace where it shouldn't. The hard part in the Elise is find a way to look at all those places where it could be oozing...
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
26,313 Posts
You can try to test it youself, but the best part part of owning a Lotus is a great Lotus mechanic.

With that in mind...take the car to the shop. It's a Lotus, not a '64 Volkswagen Beetle.

If you think you have a coolant leak, get it looked at! :D
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12,374 Posts
kortik said:
Hmmm.... I don't know. I'll try to dig out my adapter for my Honda and see if that fits. I suspect that it will be the right size. I'll let you know...

There's also other brands of cooling system testers out there. I did a quick google search to find the approximate price for the Stant, and one brand turned up that included around 8 adapters for the similar price. The adapters aren't that fancy, just a tube that has the "flanges" for the "standard" cap on one end (that attaches to the tester) and the proper flanges (and gasket) on the other end to screw on where the radiator cap goes. My Honda adapter is made of some kind of plastic...
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
26,313 Posts
In the meantime your Lotus is going to blow up if the hose is leaking. Take it in if you suspect a leak. :drool:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,269 Posts
Elise1204 said:
Thanks all for the info. I will have my car checked by dealer.
A couple of quick 'checks' would be to
make sure both the large cap on your
see thru cannister, and the small 'twist'
screw to the left, are both air-tight-closed.
Also, are you sure the mix of your coolant
is 50/50 (coolant/water)? Maybe you've
got the wrong level of water in there.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
71 Posts
Discussion Starter · #32 ·
Called dealer and they asked me if I can just take a look at the front portion, near the radiator by taking off two turn signals. I followed the instruction in the manual and did it yesterday.

Did see some moisture on both sides, at the connection point between hose and radiator, although no signs of coolant accumulation in the rails below the radiator. I’ve tightened up the clamps (which is not the strong ones IMO. It should be wire clamp which is much strong and tight) with almost two turns easily on each.

I had to use my Dremel sanding tool to enlarge the hole in the plastic structure in order to insert the socket extension with 6mm socket through the opening of the turn signal on the driver side. On the passenger side just took of a panel and a grille.

Will see if any further coolant drop. As said before, it was slow drop (~two years from MAX to MIN) in the tank. Hope that’s it. Dealer said if still drop I need to take the car to them.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
886 Posts
stays at min

ritcci said:
:tadts: No leaks. It likes to stay at Min. I just top it off occasionally but it works its way down to Min and stays there. Ive seen this on at least 2 other Elise.
+1

I've also topped mine off. It soon returns to the min level and stays there.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
952 Posts
Agreed. Resurrecting an old post, but it's important not to panic and tear the car apart.

If it stays at MIN, then there's no leak.
Mine likes doing that too. Once it hits Min it just stays there.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
601 Posts
Put the front turn signals out and look in with a flashlight and see if there are puddles of coolant or not. If they are wet then there is work to do...........if they are dry you are golden.

I've got a buck that says they are wet I'm sorry to say.

dave
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
309 Posts
This is sort of connected to this older thread.

The first couple of years of ownership, my '05 Elise's expansion tank behaved as advertised. Was at MIN when cold and MAX when hot. Then the cold level sort of reset itself to a new lower baseline. I added distilled water a few times but it always reverted to the new low baseline. So I forgot about it. It stayed at that new low baseline fine (for like two years) and didn't seem to be getting any worse. So I assumed no actual leak.

I note that if I let the car sit for a good amount of time, say two weeks, the level would go even lower but it would then restore itself to the prior baseline after a drive.

Then one day recently I opened the bleed screw on the tank (the plastic wingnut) and the level in the tank dropped almost to the bottom. So I think I must have had a very, very slow leak in my coolant system. Perhaps air leaked its way into the system to replace the lost coolant and somehow managed to prop up the coolant level in the tank? I poked around and tightened the clamps on the radiator hoses where there seemed to be some evidence of slight weeping. I have never seen a puddle, but over the course of years it could I suppose have added up. And I have had a subtle, off and on but persistent coolant smell in the cabin for years, mostly only after the car has sat for a while. I added more distilled water and it was seeming to hold that, although I haven't been driving the car.

Today, I topped off the expansion tank and put a $50 Mityvac pressure tester on it. Held 18 PSI for 16 minutes (until I got bored!). Maybe it moved 1/2 lb, but as the tool is mostly plastic I am as inclined to blame that as much on the tool as on the coolant system.

Now my question: When I pumped up the pressure tester, it took a few minutes and in the process the coolant level in the expansion tank went from MIN to almost empty. Is this confirmation that I have some air in there? If I could figure out Boyle's law, maybe I could calculate how much. If I had a slow leak for years I suppose air could have been replacing that for years too.

Never had any overheating issues.

I will try to bleed a bit. Think I'll raise the rear and idle it with the expansion tank cap off.

Does anyone think there is anything else I should be looking for or some other test I should do? The car runs fine, I don't see billows of white smoke in the exhaust, the oil looks fine and there was not a spike in pressure when I started the car with the pressure tester installed, so I am thinking (hoping) it is not the head gasket. There was some white stuff for the first few minutes of running today and maybe an ounce of water dripped out from the exhaust before stopping, but it was definitely water and this was the first time in two weeks I have started the car.

Once I feel I have this settled, I plan to install a Radium expansion tank. Does the swirl pot feature on that expel any new air bubbles from the system entirely?
 
21 - 38 of 38 Posts
Top