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Discussion Starter #1
After I picked up my Elise last fall, I noticed some wood shavings, perhaps a little bit of sawdust, coming from under the dash, collecting in the little cubby hole under the light switches and on the aluminum tray underneath. More came out in an autocross last year.

Today was nice enough to take the top off, so I'm driving down the highway, get to a nice area free of cars and open it up... Only to get blasted in the face by a bunch of sawdust! WTF?! I just put in new contacts this morning and they're probably all scratched up by the wood spewing out of my dash! After I realized what was going on it was kind of funny to try to get hit in the face with sawdust, but not really. Probably a little bit dangerous if I need to close one eye to maintain speed.

In any case, I'll be removing my front access panels tonight to get a look to see if anything seems out of place there or if it's overly dusty (perhaps the car was stored in a woodworking garage?). Is the next step removing the dash? What do you think the most common culprits would be? The previous owner had a shop put in an aftermarket stereo system with speakers - could they have put in wooden spacers? It seems like it is coming out both the driver and passenger sides, but moreso on the drivers side. Lotus driving lights were also installed aftermarket, and they put in the factory switch in the light switch panel, could they have put in a wood spacer or something there?

Everything about this car is so quirky, it's hilarious. Not only do I have to perform acrobatics to get in and follow a launch code sequence to get it to start, now when I give it a little gas I get hit in the face with sawdust.
 

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You're not alone. This is what I pulled out of my dash the other day doing the green wire mod, the Lotus badge beside it is from a centercap.



Honestly, I don't even want to know.
 

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^ LOL

i love these cars :D
 

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This is also what my air filter looked like at 12,000 miles. What the puffy stuff is I have no idea, but it's not as soft as it looks...

 

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After I picked up my Elise last fall, I noticed some wood shavings, perhaps a little bit of sawdust, coming from under the dash, collecting in the little cubby hole under the light switches and on the aluminum tray underneath. More came out in an autocross last year.

Everything about this car is so quirky, it's hilarious. Not only do I have to perform acrobatics to get in and follow a launch code sequence to get it to start, now when I give it a little gas I get hit in the face with sawdust.
You sure you got a Lotus and not a Morgan? :p
 

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The only thing I'd be afraid of is whether some rodent was "nesting" in my dash. You may want to set a sticky trap on the floor.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
You sure you got a Lotus and not a Morgan? :p
hehe, yeah, I was going to reference how I thought most cars stopped using wood for structural support, except for morgan.
 

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Wow looks like your cars became homes for mice. Ive had mice do this a few times in my snowmobiles airboxes and even in my motorcycvle tail pipe. Nothn like startn up a vtx 1800 and shootn out a wad of debris along with a couple mice. Id check your wiring and ducts for the heater and a/c units. IVe learned to plug off any openings when storing a vehicle even if for a couple months.
 

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Could it be somebody was using a power saw of some kind near your car without your knowledge and sawdust went into your intake vents ?
 

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lol... I also vote for an animal making a home in your car. Kinda gross if that's true... that "sawdust" that blasted you in the face was probably covered in rat piss and "other" rodent bodily fluids :D
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Seeing as I picked up the car in October and it had some shavings coming out the week after I bought it during an auto-x, it could have been near woodworking with the previous owner. But it's not like the wood is coming from the vents, it's more falling down from behind the dash. I guess I'll be pulling the dash in a couple weeks. The wood all seems to be the same type of wood, light in color, and is pretty fine. So if it is a rodent then he tended to like lighter color wood. The wood also seems to be very clean - I don't see any non-wood particles or discoloration. It almost seems like the rubbing off of MDF or something. If the stereo people made some custom mounts out of MDF for the speakers, I could see this being the result.
 

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mice!

That definitely looks like some sort of rodent built a next in there over the winter. I would check things carefully. They love to chew through wiring and air ducts while they are in there. They also smell really bad if they die in there.
 

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I think somebody's been hauling horses in your car. I have wood shavings all over my horse trailer.rotflrotflrotflrotflrotfl
 

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These cars are made from Balsa wood...that's what makes them so light....
 

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I'm certain mine was a rodent of some kind, the previous owner had a feild for a back yard. I'm also certain it's long gone, and there are no ill smells from the car. I'd like to take the dash out to check things out proper, but it'd be my luck that I'd jack something up doing it, then I'd really be upset. As long as the car smells fine, and runs fine, I'm good...lol.

Not sure what the stuff was on the air filter, looks like the same stuff the hitchiker used as a base for his grass, but there's no way for him to get into the airbox. Weird.
 

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Leave it there, that's extra insulation!
 

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I read once that some unscrupulous car salesman would put sawdust into a failing transmission to keep it from making noise! LOL!
 

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Discussion Starter #19
well, I took off the little panel where the start button is and peeked around in there, nothing shocking, sawdust clinging to some wires and circuit boards. Blew it out pretty well.

Then I removed my front access panels, couldn't find anything suspicious there, so I installed my mesh from kiowapilot, looks good.

I think my car was just near a wood shop at some point. I know the previous owner had a place in upstate New York, where he probably chopped a bunch of wood. I had some wood shavings when I drove it hard in an auto-x last year and then more today when I was on a closed road at 100+ mph with the top down. I haven't seen anything dirty come out... I may remove the dash at some point and investigate further. I didn't get nearly as much wood out on the drive home tonight. It seems to come out of the starter panel and the top vents by the windshield more than anywhere else. The wood that's coming out is just like the wood that came out of my other car when someone used the garage for woodworking, so I really doubt it is a rodent.
 

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Yep mice! the best solution I found....

was good old fashioned moth balls.I live in the country and drive my car maybe 2-3 times a week and keep it under a cover. Irish spring soap worked for a while but they returned to chew the cover around the mirror areas and chewed the GGLC club sticker from my back window. I went nuclear--keep an open box of moth balls in the cockpit and engine bay as well as a small plastic pan of them under the car--slight inconvenience to remove when I drive the car but well worth it .
 
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