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gregoryk
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20 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Just picked up a beautiful 05 AR Elise (my first) in Michigan and drove it home to Pgh. Pa. The car is great but the Steering wheel airbag cover is sticky. I've seen others with the same affliction. Does anyone have a real method of getting the sticky stuff off and restoring the original finish?
 

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Premium Member
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11,891 Posts
Multicovered. See way below.


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.

Stock: “Excuse me”


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.


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. 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; http://www.billswebspace.com/ShifterReinforcement.pdf) and

Re-Enforcer long thru bolts that terminate under car and tie down the tower:
https://www.inokinetic.com/lotus/re-enforcer?category=Transmission

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


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

For street cars, consider removing one or both oil coolers. Some cover them.


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:
http://www.lotustalk.com/forums/f311/cooling-ticking-timebomb-how-your-cooling-u-tube-47232/

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:

http://www.lotustalk.com/forums/f320/remote-key-fob-immobilizer-misc-alarm-programming-70940/


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.


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. Visit the Uber Thread

http://www.lotustalk.com/forums/f3/elise-exige-uberpost-read-everything-you-need-know-here-25131/

15. 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.

16. 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”:

http://www.lotustalk.com/forums/f101/how-bleed-brakes-241138/


How to Search:

For future reference: Don't use the search on this site. Simply use Google and end the search text with "site:lotustalk.com". E.g.
Transmission Fluid change what bolt site:lotustalk.com no space betw site:lotustalk.com
 

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Acme Super Moderator ** The Enforcer **
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7,600 Posts
Just clean it with alcohol or alcohol pads.

San
 

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Registered
Joined
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1,060 Posts
Yes, just get some Denatured Alcohol at Home Depot and pour some on a clean rag. Wipe the goo right off. I have done this on 3 Elise so far. So many people paint them but that is WAY too much effort and probably won't last unless you get the goo off first. My stickiness has not come back in a year now and if it ever does I will spend the 5 minutes to clean it again. Good luck!
 

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gregoryk
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20 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for the tip. Denatured alcohol made short work of the sticky mess and left the original finish intact. It took all of five minutes. Thanks again, great call!
 

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Registered
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Multicovered. See way below.


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.

Stock: “Excuse me”


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.


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. 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; http://www.billswebspace.com/ShifterReinforcement.pdf) and

Re-Enforcer long thru bolts that terminate under car and tie down the tower:
https://www.inokinetic.com/lotus/re-enforcer?category=Transmission

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


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

For street cars, consider removing one or both oil coolers. Some cover them.


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:
https://www.lotustalk.com/forums/f311/cooling-ticking-timebomb-how-your-cooling-u-tube-47232/

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:

https://www.lotustalk.com/forums/f320/remote-key-fob-immobilizer-misc-alarm-programming-70940/


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.


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. Visit the Uber Thread

https://www.lotustalk.com/forums/f3/elise-exige-uberpost-read-everything-you-need-know-here-25131/

15. 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.

16. 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”:

https://www.lotustalk.com/forums/f101/how-bleed-brakes-241138/


How to Search:

For future reference: Don't use the search on this site. Simply use Google and end the search text with "site:lotustalk.com". E.g.
Transmission Fluid change what bolt site:lotustalk.com no space betw site:lotustalk.com
Can we get the Denatured Alcohol fix for sticky steering wheels added to this list. It comes up enough that it would be great to have the info for all new members!
 

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Registered
'07 Exige S
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353 Posts
I removed the airbag (disconnect battery for 45 minutes) (two allen screws at 9and 3 oclock)
Once out of the car I cleaned the entire rubber pad with alcohols using qtips and other tools to get down into the creases.
I then taped off the Lotus emblem and trimmed the excess tape, spray painted the entire assemble (top side only) in a nice mat black.
Removed the emblem tape and used qtip and alcohol again to carefully remove and overspray on the enblem. Reinstalled.

I personally like the mat black finish on the entire airbag assembly. I never cared for the cilver trim ring and every one I have seen have chips/scratches.
I did mine almost three years ago on the elise and just did it again on the Exige and it looks perfect.

Good luck.

Henry
'07 Exige S
'05 Elise
 

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Registered
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1,060 Posts
Another nice look to get rid of the chipped/scratched silver ring is to use some carbon fiber auto wrap. Very durable and goes well with the wheel!
 

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Saffron Yellow is Lighter
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1,275 Posts
Note to new Elise & Exige Owners:
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:
I have to disagree with #11, I have never had an issue, and prefer not to have car that can be stolen with a screwdriver. Pressing a button is a simple compromise.
 

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I don't have a Lotus. I have a Ford Conversion Van we just purchased. The steering wheel air bag cover was sticky. This seems to be a problem in a lot of makes, models, of vehicles. I read through a lot of forums on all the vehicles. It appears this problem also includes dashboards, airbag covers in dashes, along with airbag covers in the steering wheels that become sticky. I don't know what could have been applied to my steering wheel before we bought the van. A lot of forums blame armor all, they say it has a petroleum base that softens the paint and makes it sticky. We have used armor all on a lot of our vehicles with no problem, but I think in the future we will avoid it. I think after this we will be more careful on the products we use. Something softened the paint on my steering wheel airbag cover and I don't think it was heat. It was some kind of chemical. I saw many suggestions to clean this, denatured alcohol, heavy duty goof off, sanding & repainting, meguiars plastx. The tip I liked the best was one I found on this lotustalk.com. I looked at all these chemicals, thought they were to harsh, and might damage plastic. The tip I liked to clean it, was one person on lotustalk used 3M adhesive remover part number# 03618. This adhesive remover can be used on vinyl, paint, and some plastics. I got it from Advance Auto Parts, $12.99 for a 12 ounce can. I sprayed it on a white cotton T Shirt rag and wiped it on to the cover. Keep spraying, wiping, and using clean spots on the rag. After you get most of it off, change to a clean rag to get the rest off till no more comes off. My paint was black, with black under it. If you have a different color interior paint, you may find the base material under it is not the same color. You may have to live with it or you could paint it with an automotive vinyl paint. I didn't even use the whole 12 ounce can to get the job done. It worked excellent.
 

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Less is Better
Joined
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2,677 Posts
Yes, just get some Denatured Alcohol at Home Depot and pour some on a clean rag. Wipe the goo right off. I have done this on 3 Elise so far. So many people paint them but that is WAY too much effort and probably won't last unless you get the goo off first. My stickiness has not come back in a year now and if it ever does I will spend the 5 minutes to clean it again. Good luck!
It won't come back. They have a rubberized spray on the airbag cover that absorbs oils and becomes sticky. The alcohol is removing the rubberized coating permanently.

This is the same junk that they later used on all the plastic panels in the interior as well as the late 2000s Infinitis, 986/996 Porsche interior plastics and all the Ferraris with sticky buttons. I just removed it from the palm rest on a Microsoft keyboard that had also become sticky. This stuff is ridiculously popular and always turns bad. I don't understand how it got so popular.
 

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Less is Better
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I have to disagree with #11, I have never had an issue, and prefer not to have car that can be stolen with a screwdriver. Pressing a button is a simple compromise.
You can still arm the alarm/immobilizer with the button when you walk away from the car. The suggestion is to disable the auto alarm function so you don't have to sit there and press buttons on the fob to get it started.

I can handle locking my car when I leave it and hate the process of pressing the fob before starting it, it feels very aftermarket.
 

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Registered
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It won't come back. They have a rubberized spray on the airbag cover that absorbs oils and becomes sticky. The alcohol is removing the rubberized coating permanently.

This is the same junk that they later used on all the plastic panels in the interior as well as the late 2000s Infinitis, 986/996 Porsche interior plastics and all the Ferraris with sticky buttons. I just removed it from the palm rest on a Microsoft keyboard that had also become sticky. This stuff is ridiculously popular and always turns bad. I don't understand how it got so popular.
I don't understand your post :scratchhead:. Are you stating that using the alcohol is good or bad? I have 2 Elise, both were sticky, and the stickiness never came back after I rubbed them down with alcohol. IMHO, removing the stickiness with alcohol is a 5 minute job and it looks great and can be done in place :smile2: vs. disassembly and painting :facepalm.
 

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Less is Better
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I don't understand your post :scratchhead:. Are you stating that using the alcohol is good or bad? I have 2 Elise, both were sticky, and the stickiness never came back after I rubbed them down with alcohol. IMHO, removing the stickiness with alcohol is a 5 minute job and it looks great and can be done in place :smile2: vs. disassembly and painting :facepalm.
The stickiness is a rubbery coating that they apply to plastic. The alcohol takes the coating off so it isn't going to get sticky again.
 

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Agree!
 

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A friend of mine has a 2008 Lambo Gallardo, the buttons get sticky, he said that if the car is in a cool environment, the stickiness doesn't happen. So he put in an AC unit for his garage. I'll tell him about the denatured alcohol wipe solution. Thanks,
 

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Yes, just get some Denatured Alcohol at Home Depot and pour some on a clean rag. Wipe the goo right off. I have done this on 3 Elise so far. So many people paint them but that is WAY too much effort and probably won't last unless you get the goo off first. My stickiness has not come back in a year now and if it ever does I will spend the 5 minutes to clean it again. Good luck!
Thank you so much for this info. Purchased the same product. Tested it first on my Simoniz pressure washer wand that had the same sticky issue and it worked. Then used it to clean the air bag cover and it worked. Wonderful tip! 🙏
 
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