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Discussion Starter #1
OK Lotus guys, need your help once again! I have a stock '05 Elise, driving back last night in COLD temps, noticed some small drizzling on driver's side winshield. Got home to find it's coolant, which sprayed from the driver's side grill (attached pictures), and yes, that is a small puddle of coolant reflected underneath the grill. Have had my Elise for 2 previous winters, this is the first time it happened, what should I check? I hope it's something that is minor and easily fixable, but don't know how to get inside there, or what to look for. Does anyone have pictures or illustrations from the maintenance manual? One more thing, my coolant level dropped by about 1cm from the fill line. Also, where can I buy this special 'red' coolant, which brands are compatible? Thanks much!
 

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Likely a cracked radiator. Sorry. The plastic end tanks are notorious for failing. It's a clam off job. If you haven't had the oil line recall done, try and get them both at the same time to save on labor.

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I agree with the above - it's most likely a leaking radiator.

You could get lucky and find that there is a leak where the hose attaches to the radiator on that side. If you pull the front turn signal on that side you'll be able to look in and see the hose and the clamp. There is an access hole that should allow you to get a tool in and check the tightness of the clamp.

I'll bet you will also notice that there is a good sized puddle of coolant in the channel of the front crash structure that will indicate that it has been weeping for some time.

I hope that it's just the clamp but I would be prepared for the worst - that the radiator is toast. Mine was and I needed to replace it. The plastic end caps come loose and give the windshield a nice coating of coolant.

Wish I had better news for you.


Dave
 

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+1 Dave... I just did mine this summer. Exactly as described. It would spit coolant onto the windshield periodically and I would have to add every so often. I ran the beans out of it still, thinking just a loose clamp. But during the oil cooler recall they showed me the leak, peeing right out of the end tank clamp. They were concerned when I told them not to fix and that I would drive it back home (3+ hours). I figured it had been leaking for a year, it wasn't going to blow right there and then.

So I did the radiator myself, replaced the soft brake lines with braided lines while I was in there.

There are good walk through guides available on here and I have a few detailed pictures if you want to give it a shot yourself, but don't get halfway and bail out because your car wont have a front end :) The job is very easy, just time consuming and a bit scary because it's the entire front of your car you are picking up!
 

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I'd suggest doing the blower motor resistor pack while you're in there as well.
 

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You're lucky it wasn't a large leak. At 11K miles, my 2008 S240 blew its radiator massively on the freeway in SoCal on a hot summer afternoon and Lotus had to replaced the engine.
 

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Are these ends replaceable for preventative maintenance? I currently have my front clam off and would like to fix as much as I can while its off.
 

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Gamera The Atomic Turtle
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i don't believe so. My guess is that you will be buying a radiator to fix this - new - all aluminum?
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks much, guys! I will have a look tonight if it's not too chilly in my garage. Crossing my fingers that it's an easy fix...
 

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i have an 09 exige that is doing something similar. very sporadic as to when it will spray, but i may as well do the job now. thinking of getting a prorad from S111 or single pass on suggestion by phil

never had the oil line recall done either, but it doesn't look like it applies to cars 08+?
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Findings, you're all correct!

Thanks all! I got home, popped off the front turn signal, saw that there was coolant in the front channel (see pics). Looked at the radiator hose clamp through the small hole and it's tight, stuck my finger inside to feel around the clamp for leaks but it's dry, thus the leaking is from somewhere else, the splash patterns I see inside there indicate this. You guys are right, it looks like the radiator needs replacing. As suggested, I haven't done the oil line recall, so I should take it to the Lotus dealership in Bethesda, MD. New resistor pack also, see how much that would be. My AC works great, but no heat, I think something is stuck, would be great if they can fix that so I have heat in the winter. I'm wondering how much this is all going to cost me....Anybody have experience with these repairs at the dealership? Thanks again!
 

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Get the Pro Rad.
 

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The repairs will be expensive, in my experience. All good advice! You might also wish to check the abs unit while the clam is off.
 

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Prorad from sector 111 is about $515 incl shipping. Got mine a week ago and am slowly pulling the Elise apart and cleaning the garage at the same time. No leaking from mine, just preventative because I have visions of it blowing a mile from Lime Rock to see some race or another.
 

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Gamera The Atomic Turtle
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the single pass BOE sells is supposed to be epic. It's on my list. I understand and accept that many of the parts on our cars are merely placeholders, denoting the locations to install the real parts later...part of the ownership experience.
 

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I recommend the single pass from BOE or the same unit from ProAlloy available from EliseParts in England.

Congratulations! You get to pull your front clam! :clap:

There's a long list of upgrades / maintenance you should attend to while the clam is off. Clam on / off is 75% of the labor, so take advantage while it's off.
 

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Out of 30 cars I know here in korea, 20 of them had their radiators replaced.
The way we repair is to take off the plastic and weld back with aluminum or buy the aftermarket ones.
Radiator + oil line, I believe is a must whenever there is a chance to take the front clam off.
Radiators - I have seen cars of all years fail
Oil lines - Just a month a go I saw a 08 elise SC leak oil between the crimp and hose on the front cooler wheel arch side connection.
 

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Are these ends replaceable for preventative maintenance? ...
No - they are crimped on. What you can do is as marsboy does and that is fabricate alloy tanks and weld them on in place of the plastic ones (SSC do this in Australia too). Whichever way you do it an all alloy radiator is worth installing while you have the clam off.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Thanks all...anything else should check?

Thanks much for the suggestions! I will bring my car into Lotus of Bethesda, MD later this week. During my 3 yrs of owning this Elise, my ABS light went on a couple times, but then went off. I will have them take a look at it while the clam is off. This is the first big repair, I've owned it since 39,000mi and it's currently over 51,000mi, everything on it is stock, only the steering rack has been replaced early by the original owner. Anything else I should get them to check?
 
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