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2005 Elise 111R Owner
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75 Posts
Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Looked around all the forums and could find nothing on this.

My 2005 111R failed a warrant of fitness (yearly check in NZ) due to steering play. They claimed that the UJs might be bad. I took the front seat out in preparation to look and make sure everything was tightend down on the column. Read that the pinch bolts on the UJs could be the culprit. When I unlock the steering wheel and I turn it there is about 2mm of 'play'. But when looking underneath as I do this, the UJs are not moving, at all. Once the play is taken up, the steering is fine or so it seems. So the play seems to be between the steering wheel and the upper UJ.

Does anyone have the experience of this 'play' as well?

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2005 Elise 111R Owner
Joined
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75 Posts
Discussion Starter #2
Some additional info. I just went out and lifted the front of the car. There is no play from when I turn the front wheels from left to right. The UJs move as quickly as I turn the them. So no play at all to the UJs.

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Premium Member
2005 Elise LSS Saffron Yellow
Joined
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756 Posts
My favorite diagnostic method for mysterious steering looseness involves two people:

1. arrange the car so that weight is on the wheels and you can get under it to observe the operation of the various bits (ramps in the front, probably, for a Lotus).

2. have somebody wiggle the steering wheel to and fro through the lost motion. On a column lock car this means you have unlocked the column first.

3. crawl under the front of the car, look in through the wheels, etc, examining the front suspension and steering connections until you find the lost motion.

Other possible sources of lost motion: The suspension ball joints, the wheel bearings, the tie rod ends (including the inner ones on the steering rack) and the rack itself - some of them are prone to early failure from what I've read here.

It's a very simple system - not much to examine. There are just four suspension ball joints, two wheel bearings, four tie rod ends, and a steering rack and pinion with two universals between the steering column and the rack. All pretty easy to examine if you can get eyes on the right thing while somebody else is wiggling the steering wheel to and fro.

I would guess the UJs are Vauxhall/Opel parts like so much of the car is.
 

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2005 Elise 111R Owner
Joined
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75 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
Steelypip, thanks for all that info. I had two helpers while doing this in 2 directions. I got the front wheels off the ground and we 1) started by moving the wheels left and right when holding them at 3 and 9 o'clock. The helpers saw everything move as the wheels moved especially when changed directions. 2) Then we did it from the steering wheel and the same thing. Everything moves in unison...except for the first 1 to 2 mm just at the steering wheel. Moving the steering wheel 1 to 2 mm jiggle does not move anything else in the system.

Video attached to show 'jiggle'. Just does not seem to be enough there to be an issue. Anything beyond that little jiggle and all the other parts of the system move fine.

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https://cloud.tapatalk.com/s/5cc500d681507/VID_20190428_132338.mp4
 

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Premium Member
2005 Elise LSS Saffron Yellow
Joined
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756 Posts
At this point you're down to either the shaft bearings or, most likely, the U joints or their connections to the shafts (I've seen the pinch bolts come loose), as you expected.
 

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2005 Elise 111R Owner
Joined
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75 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
And yes. It was the pinch bolt in the upper UJ of the intermediate steering column. Just had to tighten that and the play in the steering wheel disappeared.

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