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4 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I joined this forum to receive some input on the lotus Elise. I am looking to buy an Elise. Would prefer an sc model. I am a car guy. Up till now we have had 60’s era muscle cars and late model Camaros and such. My question is after what research I have done I have found conflicting information on the good and bad of the Elise. I am not talking about the raw performance of the machine. I am more concerned with mechanical issues that may need addressed. Thanks for any input

2006 Lotus Elise BRG
297 Posts
You've come to the right place. Lots of good information on what could go wrong and how to fix it on this forum. Nothing mechanical is an expensive fix. The expensive fixes are usually accident related.

You don't often see factory supercharged cars for sale. Lucky for you there are few aftermarket superchargers available.

2007 Lotus Exige S
1,463 Posts
If you’re used to working on 60’s era muscle cars you should be able to service an Elise just fine, albeit a smaller working area. These cars take a beating on track and hold up well, depending on your use you might be fine with normal services. Also understand these cars are passing 15 years old here in the states, might be some things to address. There are a few good shops with a ton of knowledge if you do not do the work yourself.

4 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I can do al my own work. Outside of engine machining. But have a couple of great shops I use. I am in Indiana so as of now we don’t have any inspection or emission regulation.

2005 Lotus Elise
463 Posts
Ah another Hoosier. Raised in Central Indiana here. What do you plan on using the Elise for? Track days? Joy rides? Garage queen? Overall the car is built quite well, and as LostPawn said, these things take a beating and keep on chugging. Its a Toyota engine so its higher on the reliability scale then others in the same category.

Premium Member
12,084 Posts
Good luck in your search.

Note to new Elise & Exige Owners:

1. These cars have large (i.e. dangerous) blind spots. Multivex mirrors are NLA, but RLS (Really Light Stuff) offers very good tape-on replacements.

2. The horns are way too weak (quiet). There’s an inverse relationship: smaller the car, louder the horn needs to be.

Get something such as a Stebel Nautilus.

Stebel: “HONK! LOOK OUT!”

Remove the stock horn; replace with louder.

(I drive with my finger on the horn button in any traffic. Iffy situations, my headlights are on.

Stay to the left of traffic, i.e. avoid passing on the right if you can.

Stop way behind trucks, SUVs, etc. Some have blindspots >50’. )

3. The early cars came with misaimed and dim headlights. If you drive at night, convert to HIDs. While better than stock halogen bulbs are available, HIDs throw more light. Stay around 5000k. As of this writing LEDs are not as good.

4. Ensure your car has had the work required by the recall for oil line fittings done. You could lose an engine and/or spin in your own oil.

5. Transmission:

The best transmission lube I’ve found is Redline MT-90 plus a little Power Punch Extreme Gear Oil Additive. (Note that it takes two changes to get rid of the previous lube.)

a) Early cars have wobbly shift towers. Look up Stan’s Mod (bolt and spacer; and

And, use:

Re-Enforcer long thru bolts that terminate under car and tie down the tower:

These (lube, mods) make a huge change in shifting.

6. As per some engine builders on these sites, wait AT LEAST 20 -35 minutes aftercoolant has reached full operating temp before engaging cam switchover.

For street cars, consider removing one or both oil coolers. Some cover them. Oil doesn’t get hot enough on street, leading to cam wiping.

I use Mobil 1 5W-40 Turbo Diesel oil. 85k miles and fine, but one is not a useful example.

7. Rear toe-links can loosen and break with disastrous results. You can check tq periodically, or use Nordlock washers. Best is conversion to better engineered brace, such as BOE’s InoKinetic’s for two examples.

8. While under the car with panel off, look around for hoses and wires chafing their way to failure. That’s how this was found:

9. The stock radiators are prone to leaking where the end caps meet the metal part. Keep an eye on this. Most of us use single-pass all-aluminum radiators.

10. When your wheel well liner comes loose, skip the lame plastic rivet and use Well-Nuts instead.

11. Life will be better if you disable the auto-arming alarm function on the earlier cars. You won’t have to press a button to start the car. Instructions:

Remote Key Fob, Immobilizer & Misc Alarm Programming

12. These cars cannot be left off a Battery Tender for weeks at a time. Unless dead batteries are a particular joy of yours. Buy one right away. There are numerous threads here about which ppl use and like.

You NEED a digital multimeter (voltmeter) to work on modern cars. Handy around house too. Get one this week.

13, Some on this site are a bit obsessed with hockey pucks for lifting the car. Don’t use these. Too hard and slippery, generally, and too small a surface area. Use a piece of wood, as your hero does.

14. If you are fooling with sparkplugs, remember to slather those tubes in dielectric grease (prevents shorts).

15. Visit the Uber Thread

**Elise/Exige Uberpost READ THIS. Everything you need to know is in here**

16. Most parts on the car are made by Toyota and others, so buying things like a/c compressors, engine parts, etc. is wildly expensive when purchased thru Lotus.

Toyota dealers, auto parts stores are way less expensive.

17. The soft high-grip tires on most of our cars lose much of that grip when temperatures drop below 50 F. I know of too many ppl who spun their cars when not remembering this. I use hi-performance all-seasons.

Note that many summer tires cannot even be stored in temps below 20 F.

Plus, “How to bleed brakes”:

How to Bleed Brakes

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