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2005 Lotus Elise; 2007 Lotus Exige S; 2012 Porsche 991S
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Discussion Starter #1
Before everyone starts laughing at me for even bothering to try to fix a squeak, I'll start by saying that I've had my Elise for 10 years so I am pretty used to the "normal" noises that they make. (Although I have finally been reading the threads on sound deadening on here with renewed interest and plan to tackle that project soon.)

But lately, my car has developed a pretty annoying squeak that happens while driving. Here are some observations and will post a video later if I can capture the sound:
  • Seems to be coming from the driver's footwell, or left side of the dashboard
  • Happens while driving, even on relatively smooth roads
  • Most noticeable when immediately taking off from a stop (could be because the car is generally not to noisy then)
  • Not RPM dependent
  • Doesn't seem to be temperature dependent, but does seem worse on warm/hot days (still present on cool days though)
The other day I took off the drivers side sill, starter button panel, and left side vent panel. I added felt to the edges of these pieces and reinstalled, but the sound is still there. So I guess it wasn't those!

Other possible sources that I plan to investigate:
  • Front driver's shock top mount. I noticed my Penske shock is so close to the chassis that the Penske label rubbed off. Fred gave me some tips to adjust the bracket for a little extra clearance.
  • Front clam driver's access panel. I had this off to check the brake fluid the other day. Easy to double check.
  • Front swaybar mounts. I don't know if these typically squeak or not.
  • Front wheel liner?
  • Something under the dash near the pedals? It happens when the car is rolling and doesn't seem to be connected to actually using the pedals.
  • Something with the steering rack?
Other thoughts on what I should check?
 

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2005 Lotus Elise; 2007 Lotus Exige S; 2012 Porsche 991S
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Discussion Starter #2
Here is a pic of the shock label / close tolerance that potentially could be a culprit?! It does move freely without rubbing though when sitting stationary.

 

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Spray some lube on the chafing point and test drive and see if it changed it.
 
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2006 Lotus Elise
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And I am looking at it wrong, or is the shock clearly deformed where it's been in contact with the frame in that last pic? It looks chafed...
 

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The dash slab squeek is for sure worse in the heat. I've never tried to fix mine :)

Sent from my Pixel 4 using Tapatalk
 

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How old are you? If you can get someone in their 20s to drive it around and listen they may be able to pinpoint it when you have no idea.

Getting old sucks.
 

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Vince - sway bar bushing "squeak" is pretty common. I had it for a while and then it went away.

Also, check the tightness of the shock/damper mounts. Sometimes they'll get a hair loose and cause various squeaks, thuds and groans.

Cheers,
Kiyoshi
 

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Premium Member
2005 Lotus Elise; 2007 Lotus Exige S; 2012 Porsche 991S
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Discussion Starter #12
And I am looking at it wrong, or is the shock clearly deformed where it's been in contact with the frame in that last pic? It looks chafed...
That's just the penske sticker which got all chewed up.
 

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2005 Lotus Elise; 2007 Lotus Exige S; 2012 Porsche 991S
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Discussion Starter #13
Vince - sway bar bushing "squeak" is pretty common. I had it for a while and then it went away.

Also, check the tightness of the shock/damper mounts. Sometimes they'll get a hair loose and cause various squeaks, thuds and groans.

Cheers,
Kiyoshi
Thanks Kiyoshi!

Yeah I noticed at least one of the bushings on the swaybar looks like it is developing some tiny cracks. Probably due for replacing those after so many years even if they aren't the source of the creaking sound.

I did check the shock mounts, but I'm going pull the drivers side one back off to adjust the bracket per Fred's instructions. He said to widen the two holes that are perpendicular to the shock (behind the shock body) that hold that mount on, and then shift it slightly forward then torque it back down.
 

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2005 Lotus Elise; 2007 Lotus Exige S; 2012 Porsche 991S
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Discussion Starter #14
Eew, that's not your seat rails is it?
I don't think so, but my seat rails are making a "different" noise. I need to take the seat out for a project this weekend so I will double check them.
 

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2005 Lotus Elise; 2007 Lotus Exige S; 2012 Porsche 991S
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Discussion Starter #15
How old are you? If you can get someone in their 20s to drive it around and listen they may be able to pinpoint it when you have no idea.

Getting old sucks.
Ha! I'm only 41, but many years of riding motorcycles and working on racecars as a mechanic definitely has hurt my hearing. But you know how these things go, you hear the noise but it's just very hard to pinpoint where it's coming from and there are a lot of things that make noises in a Lotus!
 

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2005 Lotus Elise; 2007 Lotus Exige S; 2012 Porsche 991S
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Discussion Starter #16
OK so things I have ruled out, testing one item at a time:
  • Plastic dash, side sill, starter button panel, or left vent
  • Swaybar bushings (although mine are showing some cracks and do need to be replaced, lubricating them made no difference in the sound)
  • Pedal bushings and springs (lubricated both, no change but I may still disconnect the return springs to further test)
Tonight I took the front shock off, the one that is super close to the chassis in the photo. I inspected it closely and after removing the chewed up Penske sticker, it does appear to be OK. However, I am still going to modify the brass colored mounting bracket slightly per Fred's instructions to give a little more clearance there.

If that's still not it, ugh I'm not sure what else to check so keep the ideas coming.

Was thinking maybe it could be something in the door hinge mechanism? I'll check that tomorrow.

Oh, with the shock off, I was able to move the front suspension through it's full range of motion very easily and no noises. Granted, this isn't the same as driving conditions but was reassuring not to hear other weird noises.
 

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2005 Lotus Elise; 2007 Lotus Exige S; 2012 Porsche 991S
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Discussion Starter #17 (Edited)
Alright, I think I solved it finally!!! I'm so excited right now, seriously one of the best feelings in the world is getting rid of an annoying car noise.

It was the shock clearance to the chassis. I guess even though it moved freely, in driving conditions it was occasionally touching.

Solution was to file out the holes for the mounting bracket a tiny bit (they are the two 13mm bolts behind the shock body), shift the bracket toward the front of the car, bolt it down while using a wedge to hold it as far forward as the holes allows...and bam 1-2mm clearance as shown in the picture here.

Quick test drive around the block and THE NOISE IS GONE! Fingers crossed that it doesn't return.

EDIT: It did return, see next post.

 

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2005 Lotus Elise; 2007 Lotus Exige S; 2012 Porsche 991S
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Discussion Starter #19
UPDATE: Spoke to soon, the sound is back. It's definitely better and has been reduced, but there is still a similar sound.

I can occasionally replicate it pushing down on the front clam in my garage and compressing the suspension. I noticed the steering rack rod end rubber boot is very compressed and leaking grease. Could be it?!
 

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2005 Lotus Elise; 2007 Lotus Exige S; 2012 Porsche 991S
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Discussion Starter #20
Another video here if anyone can help diagnose. So the first 16 seconds of the video is me pushing down on the front fender/clam to compress the suspension. Fairly "normal" suspension / clam noises.

Then at the 17 second mark, I lift up on the clam and you hear the "creak" which is a more like the annoying noise I am hearing in the car.

Note: leaking steering rack rod end.

 
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