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Yesterday at Homestead Speedway while running time trials, I was approaching hairpin turn eight at about 100 mph and when I applied my brakes hard, my foot went to the floor and "NO BRAKING !". I drove off into the gravel pit and luckily did not sustain any body damage. What an eye opening experience. It is all on video from the car behind me which will provide me with the video soon and I will post it.

When I drove into the pits smoking out of the driver front side tire, it was obvious the brake line was cracked and spurted brake oil when brakes were applied. I have no choice but to upgrade to stainless steel lines. I have lost some faith in the Lotus since. I know I drive the car to its limits. I achieved a 1:45.208 lap time. I am warning my fellow Lotus racers to upgrade your lines if you are concerned. My situation could've been horrible, but I guess the rosary in my pocket helped me out once again. Comments on brake lines are greatly appreciated.
 

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That's the first brake Line failure I am aware of and please post pics if you can - I am glad you are OK and can only imagine what a wild ride that was! For what it's worth I put a set of Goodrich SS lines on my Elise not long ago!
 

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ditto. I put SS lines on mine right away.
Ya know - I had the SS lines sitting on my shelf for a year before I finally put them on during my last fluid flush in March - I almost sold the lines because I didn't think I needed them and even though this failure might be rare, I am glad I decided to put the SS lines on especially after hearing this story! I really want to know more about this failure!
:(
 

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when I took the old ones off, I couldn't believe how under-engineered they look. they look like those funny latex balloons.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
It was my front driver side line. I haven't taken it off the car yet, but my Lotus is sitting injured in the garage while I order the SS lines. It seems to have a crack on the area just above the brake piston. The area where the rubber line meets the metal. It was my biggest fear come true. If you all track your Lotus you know exactly what I mean. I will post pics soon. I will also post the video of the failure taken from the vehicle behind me. Thank you for all your comments. I guess I should've upgraded before considering how much I track and compete. Lesson learned.

As it was explained to me, it is a high performance car, but it is still a street car. To race it at the intensity you do, you need to upgrade it to race condition.
 

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Don't forget the super blue !
 

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Hmmm
Who sells the SS lines?

Turn 8 at Homestead, your super lucky not to in-cure body damage.
The run off area is nasty.
 

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couple of comments:

one... you're lucky. good for you!
two... what year is your car and are you the original owner and what was the build date?
three... have you done the brake work yourself, specifically when changing the pads, are you careful to not let the caliper assembly dangle by the brake line?
four: what fluid are you using?
four... you're lucky!!!

and five... let this be a warning to everyone who drives these "simple cars with nothing to go wrong with them because they have a toyota lump" ... these cars are not hondas, they are not toyotas. they need good care and maintenance, or bad things WILL happen. and that's not to suggest the OP did anything wrong, but i hear folks posting about daily driving these things and not doing frequent inspections and not getting to know their cars. buy a jack, buy a ramp, buy some jackstands and get under your car. don't trust the last person that went over it. it's your neck on the line.

anyway, change out those brake lines and get back on the horse, so to speak.
 

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Given the separate front/rear brake fluid reservoirs, would the rear brakes still function if the front system lost pressure?
 

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Hmmm
Who sells the SS lines?
In europe/UK Goodridge has them in their normal lineup:

SLS1100-4 LOTUS ELISE / ExIGE 1996 - ON

Anyone driving on track regularly profits by fitting braided hoses. Not so much for pure burst strenght or feedback (debatable), but they withstand abrasion and impacts/cuts from debris on the track (bits of fibreglass and carbon can be VERY sharp!) much better.

Just make sure you fit them properly. If they have exposed stainless braids they should be guided in rubber-lined P-clips or they start 'sawing' at other parts.

Bye, Arno.
 

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Given the separate front/rear brake fluid reservoirs, would the rear brakes still function if the front system lost pressure?
You meant tandem master cylinder (there aren't separate reservoirs).
;)

In a piston actuated tandem master cylinder, the failed side's piston has to bottom out (or be bottomed out against) before the pedal will do anything - meaning that the pedal has to travel roughly 1/2 it's stroke before anything happens.

In theory, it should, but...
- the travel may be suddenly different to activate the functioning circuit
- rear brakes don't stop vehicles very well
- if you lock the rears... whee!
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I don't know much about master brake cylinders but what I do know is that a small crack in my front brake line cause total failure on the first brake pedal application. It seemed to get better after pumping the brakes but the fluid was squirting out like a severed artery. I never want this to ever happen again. Next time I might not be so lucky. SS lines is the only way to go. It is possible track debris cut the line or it just went bad. Who knows.

Racer upgrade asap. Our Lotus are not meant to crash well.
 

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The hand brake should have worked. You have to be really careful using it in a mid-rear car. But if you've got the runoff it's a good way to lose some speed.
 

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Glad you're okay!

...I'm ordering SS lines from Sector111 now-

Now, where's that video?

:popcorn:
 

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The hand brake should have worked. You have to be really careful using it in a mid-rear car. But if you've got the runoff it's a good way to lose some speed.
The rear brakes should have worked just fine too. You may have to press the pedal a bit farther, but that why the car (and all modern cars) have dual circuit brakes. And you shouldn't have to worry about locking them up as the ABS would still be functioning.

Not that I would want to be depending on rear brakes only in any car (let alone a mid engined one) on a track at speed. But the rear brakes should have continued to function as designed - but the fronts probably do 70% of the normal stopping, so it certainly isn't going to seem as effective.
 

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VERY unusual......

Be careful with braided lines, they are very stiff and can bind resulting in BIG problems....
Also watch the SS line union to hose junction, they can split from excessive stiffness.
 

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couple of comments:

one... you're lucky. good for you!
two... what year is your car and are you the original owner and what was the build date?
three... have you done the brake work yourself, specifically when changing the pads, are you careful to not let the caliper assembly dangle by the brake line?
four: what fluid are you using?
four... you're lucky!!!

and five... let this be a warning to everyone who drives these "simple cars with nothing to go wrong with them because they have a toyota lump" ... these cars are not hondas, they are not toyotas. they need good care and maintenance, or bad things WILL happen. and that's not to suggest the OP did anything wrong, but i hear folks posting about daily driving these things and not doing frequent inspections and not getting to know their cars. buy a jack, buy a ramp, buy some jackstands and get under your car. don't trust the last person that went over it. it's your neck on the line.

anyway, change out those brake lines and get back on the horse, so to speak.
If I may add:

This is great advice, but if you're not sure about this stuff, make sure that the car gets in front a competant mechanic every now and again. I change my own oil and do minor maintenance such as checking torque specs/filters/etc., but I still take it to the local exotic/racing guru mechanic and say "make sure that you go over everything you think could need attention."

It may cost me another hour or two of labor, but they have found issues that I knew nothing about on other cars I've owned and they are really thorough - a BIG difference from your average mechanic.

I'm not experienced enough to touch a brake line and say "damn, that thing is about to go." so I make sure that I have someone look at it that is.
 
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