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I had the exact same thing happened to me at the track, except my wheel folded over mid corner!

The car spun 90 degrees and I let the car roll backwards off of the track to get out of the other drivers way. Fortunately I did not hit anything and there was no body/frame damage. It was towed to the dealership and they replaced everything in the rear suspension under warrenty. I just pray it never happens again! I was actually glad it happened at the track and not on a highway off-ramp in traffic!

Everyone should pull off their wheels and check the torque on the 2 bolts that hold the upper control arm together. I had the mechanic put paint on the new bolts so I can visually confirm they are not moving.

Sorry to hear it happened to you, I don't think it is all that common.
 

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Wow, since I typed my post I see that several others have had the same problem. Maybe it is more common than I thought. :(
 

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Mine was passenger side. I have the whole thing on video both in-car and out, I will try to find the footage and post it for you.
 

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In my case it was the bolts pictured here that broke causing the control arm to seperate. (there are actually 2, only one is pictured) These are the bolts you would remove if you were to pull your shims.

I have always suspected that they were not torqued on properly which should be a part of the PDI ritual then checked again at first service since it is an obvious problem. This ultimately led to them loosening then breaking.
 

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ChrisH said:
Maybe I'll remove the rear ones now and put them back using Loctite, just to be safe.
Probably not a bad idea.

ChrisH said:
Of course, that doesn't matter if the heads pop off. Stronger bolts required?
Maybe the heads pop off from being over tightened? Mine broke further down the bolt, not at the head.
 

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P90Puma said:
Chris when did this happen? :crazyeyes
It was one year ago almost to the day at Dunnville. My car was fully restored and running in around a week thanks to Gentry Lane.

I have posted a video clip this afternoon on Google video but it is taking forever to process. As soon as its done I will link to it from this thread.
 

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carlover said:
So yours were on the front.... :confused:
No, rear Passenger side.
 

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carlover said:
The image you attached diagrammed the steering linkage, was this intentional?
Not intentional, it was the only image I could find, same bolts though I think. Sorry for the confusion. :)
 

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xtn said:
I'm really glad that happened on what appears to be a closed track, but if you don't stop calling them upper control arm bolts I might change my mind....
Lol, not sure what they are actually called, Hub Carrier bolts maybe? Sorry if I mislead anyone with the incorrect description.
 

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goelise said:
I'm watching this thread with a lot of concern. I do not like the idea of the rear end 'letting go' on me all of the sudden. The video posted on google is shocking to watch. Imagine if he's ahead of a train of cars on the track, or lets say public highway and then that happened?!?!?! wth?
:eek: -eek- :mad:
Yes, my main concern as well. I am however confident that with the proper torque/loctite it is reliable and will never "let go" unexpectedly. I still track the car regularly with out fear.

goelise said:
That video and car should be examined by Lotus if they are a responsible company and the exact cause should be determined. I hope the owner/dealer took a lot of pictures to document what went wrong and that this suspension issue is properly addressed. Sorry but that type of breakage should not happen. This type of problem can kill.
Agreed it should not happen and it does have the potential to kill. You would also think that it is in Lotus' best interest to address this issue as each time it happens it costs them big $$$ in warrenty repairs. It happened to me a year ago and at the time my dealership told me Lotus had never seen anything like this happen before. Strange when you think that this suspension has been in use for over a decade in one form or another in the UK. My dealership did have to courier the broken parts to Lotus for examination so they could determine the cause. I would expect that after a few of these occur they would issue a service bulletin, its the responsible thing to do.

Maybe this thread will help as well.
 

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ChrisH said:
Another way that the hub (shim) bolts might be breaking is if they come loose, even a little (a millimeter or two), the hub will shift suddenly as the car shifts side to side in during handling. The bolt will stop the hub when it reaches the head, which will cause sudden hard shocks to the bolt and could eventually snap it. The shock force can be much greater than if the bolt is tight because in the tight case, it picks up the load gradually due to the tire dampening the side to side onset of force a bit. Even if only one bolt is loose, the flange (that bolts to the hub) can shift at that bolt location (it twists around the tight bolt). Hence, I wouldn't be surprised if the slightly loose bolt breaks before the tight one does. If the bolt manages to get very loose without breaking (too far out for the bolt head to be hit with a shock), then I would expect the secure bolt to break first.
I think you got it pegged, completely agree.
 

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cbelon said:
Lotus should address this problem before someone gets killed if they haven't already. My friend had a 2006 Jeep Liberty which had a similar problem, he lost his wheel at 65 MPH on Route I-95 in Delaware with his 5 month old daughter in the truck. He spun around 3 times and crashed into the concrete divider and made about 10 other drivers swerve to miss him. He was lucky not to get killed and when he took his car to the Jeep dealer to get fixed a mechanic told him that this problem wasn't uncommon with the Liberty.I dont' know if Jeep has addressed the problem but it seems like they ignored it for a long time. After he got it fixed he traded it in on a BMW because he didn't feel right about selling it to someone else. There is no reason that a new car should have a problem with critical bolts loosening on the control arms under normal driving conditions, it's poor engineering and there should be a recall. Lotus can't expect everyone to have access to ramps and a torque wrench to adjust critical parts on a regular basis. I don't care about my windows rattling or other detail oriented engineering problems with my car but if I have to worry about my wheel falling off on a 2 year old car because I haven't had time to get ramps, jack and a torque wrench from my local Snap On dealer, that pisses my off! I was going to buy an Exige S but after reading this thread I am going to put more consideration into a Cayman S because my wheel never fell off my 1986 944T and I drove it hard for 15 years and I have not even seen my torque wrench in 20 years. For a company that claims that the Elise was one of the most advanced cars ever made, Lotus should hire some engineers that know how to keep the wheels on or just market the car as a handyman special and throw in a Lotus torque wrench, do it yourself video and some mechanix gloves at the time of sale.

Man, this thread may be getting a bit out of hand. What are we at, a grand total of a few Elises that have had this problem? Of the thousands sold?

If you are not mechanically inclined and have concerns over this I am positive the mechanics at the Lotus dealership will gladly go over the car if you request them to do so at your next service. I wouldn't compare this to something like the firestone tire debacle of a few years ago, the infamous pinto exploding gas tank issue or the FORD cars cathing on fire burning down peoples houses while they sleep dealio. Big car companies (especially in north america) have multi million dollar recalls all the time and for each one there are usually tonnes of deaths involved before they take action.

Like I said before, at the time Lotus claimed they had never encountered anything quite like this before and I believe them. They also completely took care of me and fixed it better than new even replacing parts that were fine just in case. Now a year later a few others have had the problem and maybe it is time to start looking a little more closely into it. Make the checking of these bolts part of the regular service check list. I do have complete faith in the design of the suspension, it just needs to be put together properly.

Don't get me wrong, I completely see your points and Lotus should (and probably will) look into it, but you may be a tad over reacting talking about getting a p-car -poke-
 

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cbelon said:
Thanks Joe,
Hopefully they will have a recall. I don't think a recall to install Loctite or something equivelent is going to bankrupt Lotus.
Exactly and it will ultimately cost way less that having to repair all the future broken cars under warrenty. Makes economic sense to me.
 
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