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Hi. I have a 2008 Lotus Exige S. It has done 10000km thus far and has been rather trouble free. The problem started the other day when I was driving in traffic. My engine temperature usually ranges between 186-192 degrees fahrenheit and when I am in really bad traffic goes up to a maximum of about 210. However the other day it climbed very quickly and was suddenly at 230!! The light started flashing. When I reached home I opened the engine bay and this is what I saw.

One the coolant level is very low.




The other problem is that I see what looks like a large oil stain on the right had side of the engine block








This is what the undercarriage looks like and there is some liquid on the floor











I don't know what the problem is. I can't really see any leaks. :shrug: Please assist. Thank you in advance.
 

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I see lots of coolant but Dont really see any oil in the picture...

Looks like a bursted/leaking coolant pipe... if its the right side of the engine... check the thermostat housing and the heater return pipe...


Sent from my GT-I9000M using AutoGuide.Com Free App
 

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I have the same findings as your self on my 2011 Elise sc. Right side of engine has what looks like an oil stain and I see water/?something else drip always from the front bottom of the car and just yesterday saw it drip from the rear bottom also next to the driver side wheel.
I am based in the middle east and temps are 50 degrees C here nowadays. Car temps I have seen before were up to 107 degrees C in traffic.
Dealer is looking into it but they say it is the engine header gasket Not coolant that is leaking on the engine top right. The dripping at the bottom they say is just water from the humidity forming
 

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If your head gasket is blown and leaking coolant you should be able to see it in your engine oil
 

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I truly do not know if it is blown. I only use the car for street driving. The dealer said the valve header gasket was loose and was tightened twice but oil keeps leaking.
When I saw the pic above it looks identical and the leak seems to originate from the black pipe on the top right of engine so if that is coolant then it seems the dealer is way off with what they think is the problem
 

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I had something similar happen to me, while I had no oil (and don't see much on yours) there was coolant everywhere and no obvious source for it. I had coolant on the floor similar to you, and what I thought was a mass of oil on the undertray when I took it off, but wound up being coolant everywhere and dirt sucked in from the naca ducts getting trapped in the coolant. It was muddy mess.
The coolant tank had a crack on the body of one of the male hose connection points, right at the edge of where the hose connected to it and annoyingly on the bottom side. From the top looking down everything looked perfect, from underneath everything looked like a mess with no visible or obvious source until I started taking everything apart and examing it. The coolant tanks have been known to fail and it should be the first thing to check before ripping apart the engine to check seals. A coolant tank is very easy to replace, although not anywhere near as cheap as one would expect. I should be able to send a picture later today when I get home of the offending crack which led to identical symptoms to yours.
 

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... The coolant tanks have been known to fail and it should be the first thing to check before ripping apart the engine to check seals.
...
The next things to check before ripping it all apart is:
1) A pressure test of the radiator/cooling-system.
2) Hydrocarbons in the radiator (sniffer test).
3) And a leak-down test.
 

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I have a 2007 Exige S & your issue sounds very similar to mine which started maybe 2K miles ago. I too was under the same traffic circumstances as you when I noticed the temps climb up to 220F.

One time, I saw the same stain as you on my valve cover! I wiped it clean & havent seen it come back however upon inspecting today, I see that black tube from the upper right of valve cover is covered in some kind of oil.

Since then, Ive flushed the coolant & the temps look to be stable but I still seem to be loosing coolant & I cant find the leak anywhere! There are no fluids on the floor when parked. I do notice while driving, I can sometimes smell the scent of coolant - still dont know where its coming from.

What is that tube for on the upper right hand corner of the valve cover & why is it leaking? I checked the intercooler couplings that sit directly above it & do not see any residue; so I dont think its dripping from above but more so from the gasket between the VC & that tube. Is this for coolant - maybe this is where all my coolant is leaking from?

I have these same issues:





OP, thank you for bringing this up. Hope we get to the bottom of this! Im trying to find a repair manual or a blow up of the engine/head to determine what the function of this pipe/tube is.
 

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Alright, been doing some research - need to spend more time but I did find out that this is called the Ventilation Pipe. Not sure what its exact function/purpose is for yet...but Im hoping a simple gasket replacement might be the fix.

Probably will do a valve adjustment all together & replace all valve cover seals/gaskets.

 

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The dealer is replacing the valve header gasket for me in two weeks as a solution to this. Will report back if it solves the problem. If it does I need to have the silver on the engine cover redone as it is stained now :(

P.s. I also get the smell of coolant through the a/c from time to time as well.
 

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The dealer is replacing the valve header gasket for me in two weeks as a solution to this. Will report back if it solves the problem. If it does I need to have the silver on the engine cover redone as it is stained now :(

P.s. I also get the smell of coolant through the a/c from time to time as well.
A blown head gasket is what I am hoping this is NOT! I only reached at the most at one point 220F, hoping this isnt enough to blow the head gasket.

What diagnostics & results did the dealer do to warrant this issue as a potential head gasket issue?

I rarely use the A/C, so im getting this scent while the unit is off.

I'll probably start with just the valve cover gasket & ventilation pipe gasket. In the image below, im thinking of going with 2,4,5,22 & 10. Since I have plans of upgrading the injectors, might as well throw in 20-21 in the order:


If I end up needing to change the Head Gasket, I'd like to try out the Cosworth .38mm HG
https://radiumauto.com/index.php?p=product&id=58&parent=2
 

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Will know more hopefully once they do the job. They came to the conclusion that the valve head gasket needs replacing from inspection only.
Btw where are you getting all these parts diagrams from if I may ask?
 

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Will know more hopefully once they do the job. They came to the conclusion that the valve head gasket needs replacing from inspection only.
Btw where are you getting all these parts diagrams from if I may ask?
In the diagram, are they replacing #2 or #3? The first diagram I got from a search on Google whilst the 2nd diagram is from LotusGarage.com

Does anyone know the TQ Specs for the 2 bolts on the ventilation pipe? Gonna do a compression test & if that turns out good, replace #10, TQ down the 2 nuts, clean up the whole area & go for a spirited drive on a hot day to see if that remedies the issue.
 

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Now you are speaking my language telling me which number to ask they are changing :) I truly do not know much about engines but trying to learn as I go along and this forum is helping that a lot. Will check when submitting the car in two weeks hopefully. one thing is for sure, they are quit adamant that the leak on the engine is oil not coolant.
Thanks for the link to lotus garage.
 

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That ventilation tube is a drain back tube for engine oil/vapor from head back down to the block. Its complete overkill and is not needed. I had a leak on mine on the bottom part and it completely covered the passanger side of my engine bay in nasty grime.

To get to the bottom one you will probably need to remove the supercharger. Easy for some one like me thats done several times now, but its pretty daunting task the first time out.

If you decide to go that route, get the block off plates from [email protected] and cap those suckers off.
BOE Fabrication - Lotus Elise, Exige, and Evora Performance ECM Tuning Products
 

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That ventilation tube is a drain back tube for engine oil/vapor from head back down to the block. Its complete overkill and is not needed. I had a leak on mine on the bottom part and it completely covered the passanger side of my engine bay in nasty grime.

To get to the bottom one you will probably need to remove the supercharger. Easy for some one like me thats done several times now, but its pretty daunting task the first time out.

If you decide to go that route, get the block off plates from [email protected] and cap those suckers off.
BOE Fabrication - Lotus Elise, Exige, and Evora Performance ECM Tuning Products
EXCELLENT! I remember seeing this mod before but it didnt spark my memory while checking the engine bay. Thanks for chiming in!

Do these plates still need to be tapped/threaded or do they come ready to install?

Quote from BOE:

"There are two block-off plates for the crankcase breather line and one for the heater hose hard line in this kit. While, the breather hose has been proven to not be needed even in the most extreme racing applications, additional coolant hose routing will be required if removing the heater hose hardline. Actual hose routing will vary based on your individual car setup."

In reference to the quote, for our particular situation here; we wouldnt need to tamper with the heater hose hardline - correct?

Basically, remove the ventilation pipe & cap off the top & middle holes in the picture? Then retain the lower most hole in place with the heater hose hardline attached?


Thanks again, really stoked about this!
 
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