Brake Hoses, Bleeding
the System, Noises,
Removal Rear, Brake
2 variants of brake system are fitted. Older cars have Metal Matrix
Compsite (MMC) disks (an Aluminium, Ceramic composite) which require
specialist pads. Newer cars have more normal cast iron disks, there are
many pad options for steel disks.
MMC brake disks look like this,
they are a dull grey colour and do not suffer from the normal red/brown
rust that covers steel disks.
If you have the older MMC disks you have not option but to buy the
special MMC pads from your local dealer. Using pads designed for steel
disks on MMC disks will destroy them in a very few miles, despite this
fact some dealers will, somewhat unbelievably, allow you to spec steel
based pads for MMC disks, make sure YOU know.
If you have the newer iron disks then you have a load of options,
depending on what you want from your brakes and how much you want to
The OEM pads are said, by many, to lack bite. Bite is the amount of
vehicle retardation that a given pressure on the brake pedal will result
in. More bite equals more retardation for an equivalent pedal
Although the 'feel' of brake pads can be effected by many things and
is somewhat subjective the following notes have been observed, comments
are relative to OEM pads.
EBC Greenstuff V3 / V4
More bite, not too heat sensitive, not extremely durable in a track
environment, relatively cheap, can cause terrible brake dust if you
buy the V3 variant. Tend not to squeal. A good road
More bite again, not too heat sensitive, fairly durable in a track
environment, about double the cost of EBC but perhaps double as
durable, brake dust is not a problem. Tend not to squeal once bedded
in. A good road / track compromise.
Pagid RS14(obseleted) or RS15(replacement)
Yet again even more bite, need a little heat for efficiency, very
durable in a track environement, similar cost to the RS4-2. Can
squeal. A good track pad.
to see an article about changing the front and rear brake
Lotus specify Castrol Super DOT 4 brake fluid, this is a fully
synthetic brake fluid that exceeds the boiling point specifications of
most DOT 5.1 fluids. It is no more costly than a DOT 5.1 fluid and has
been used with no problems whatsoever by regular track day addicts. It
is thought that using a more specialised DOT4 compatable brake fluid
serves little purpose apart from costing more and requiring more
frequent fluid changes.
The OEM flexible brake hoses are made from rubber, which is fine up
to a point, however these hoses tend to expand under the hydraulic
pressure from the brake system, this results in the effort from your
foot expanding the hose instead of stopping the car. Primarily this
reduces brake feel.
Fitting steel braided teflon hoses removes this flexibility from the
brake system and gives a much firmer brake pedal and a much better feel
to the pedal.
An excellent guide to replacing the hoses can ve found at http://www.elisenet.plus.com/BrakeHoses.htm
Bleeding the System
Probably the single biggest root cause of braking problems of the
The Elise brake system is not easy to bleed using manual techniques,
even the smallest air bubble trapped in the caliper will cause spongy
brake pedal feel under extreme (track) use.
First point, use a pressure bleeder. Although the manual 2 man
technique or 1 man bleeder kits can be used a pressure bleeder is not
much more expensive and 10x as effective.
The front calipers really need to be removed to be absolutely sure of
getting all the air removed, this is due to the design. Two pistons
linked by a low link pipe causes air to be trapped in the inner piston
unless the caliper is inverted (allowing the air to move through the
link pipe to the outer piston recess), re-inverting the piston back to
normal orientation and finishing the bleed will ensure that all the air
Clunks on application of the brakes can be caused by a number of
things, one thing worth checking is the anti rattle spring on the front
caliper. The anti rattle spring can be fitted incorrectly (backwards)
causing the pads to move in the caliper every time the brake is applied.
here to see a picture of the spring correctly fitted.
Often confused with rattly suspension the pads can rattle in the
front calipers. Later cars have small pad 'buffers' fitted to dampen
this rattling. Look here
to see a picture of the caliper, the red markings show the location of
the anti rattle buffers, these are self adhesive and can be obtained
from the dealer.
Clicking, often caused by grooved or driled disks can be caused by
the pads picking up on the drillings on the disk surface, the anti
rattle buffers described above can be used to solve this
To remove the front disks you must remove the front brake calipers,
to do this you must undo the two caliper retaining bolts, pictured here,
and withdraw the caliper from the upright. Be carefull, the retaining
bols are steel and the front upright is aluminium, you must make sure
not to damage the threads in the upright.
Once the caliper is removed the disks can be removed, some will
simply fall off the hub, some will require some significant effort to
move. For stubborn disks you must use a hammer, knocking the disk then
rotating the hub say 45degrees and repeating, slowly knocking the disk
off the hub. If you intend to re-use the disks you must use a soft faced
hammer (plastic/rubber) otherwise you will damage the disk surface, if
the disks are getting ditched then a metal hammer will be fine but be
careful, the disks can shatter, and yes you may hae to hit them that
Refitting is simple, but make sure the hub face is operating theatre
clean otherwise you can get brake vibrations later on down the line. To
ensure the hub is clean enough use some fine grade emery paper to remove
all corrosion before refitting the disk.
Refit the caliper, making sure you have pushed back the caliper
pistons, and use some Permabond A131 on the steel retaining bolt
threads, this prevents corrosion which can seize the bolts in the
upright (electrolytic corrosion) and ruin it. Bolt torque is 45Nm, use a
torque wrench as this is not as tight as you may think, overtorquing a
steel bolt in an aluminium component is easy and will destroy the
threads in the aluminium component, in this case the
Disk Removal Rear
Brake Lights (coming on by
A relatively common problem leading to a flat battery. For one reason
or another the brake light switch seems to get out of adjustment and can
power the brake lights (which are live even without the ignition on)
when you are not around (overnight for example).
The switch itself is accesssed from the front services compartment,
(picture taken looking toward the rear of the car from just in front of
the brake fluid reservoir), and is adjusted by twisting the switch,
pulling it in or out as required and twisting again to lock in position.
Always test the brake lights still work after any
Disclaimer : All information is supplied as a guide only.
No Guarantee as to its reliability can be issued.
You use this information entirely at your own risk.
No Reproduction or Reuse without prior written consent.
© Elise FAQ Team 2002