Click here for the Engine Oil Bible - all you could ever
wish to know about engine oil!
It's generally accepted that a decent semi synthetic oil is fine for
normal day to day road driving, and that perhaps a fully synthstic oil
would be of benefit on track
The elise suffers from ventilation problems in the engine bay which
tends to result in higher than ideal oil temperatures, especially on
track. A synthrtic oil may resist breakdown for longer but ultimately
the only real solution is an oil cooler.
Two prinipal types exist, an oil to air cooler and an oil to water
The oil to air cooler is basically identical to a small radiator,
problem with this kind on the elise is that in order to get sufficient
air flow over the cooler you must locate the cooler at the front of the
car, and this reaults in a lot of difficult to install pipework, siting
the oil cooler in the engine bay air inlets simply heats the engine bay
further and it's debatable whether sufficient airflow flows through the
side vents in any case. An air to oil cooler should always be used with
an oil thermostat to prevent overcooling and to minimise oil warm up
The oil to water cooler is perhaps better suited to the elise, as it
requires only a supply of coolant and oil to operate and can thus be
fitted in almost any place that a coolant pipe runs. Further benefits
are that the oil to water cooler will actually warm cold engine oil
during warm up, which gets the oil to operating temperature faster and
results in less wear and better fuel consumption (like people care
Some pics of an oil/water cooler installation here.
Customised oil/air and oil/water cooler kits are available from EliseParts.
This link provides some information about examining spark plugs to
give an indication of the running state of your engine: http://www.ngksparkplugs.com/techinfo/spark_plugs/faq/faqread2.asp
The K series engine that powers the Elise is somewhat marked by it's
passion for blowing head gaskets (HGF).
Many believe that there is a thermal cycling problem with the rear
engine, front radiator configuration of the Elise (and MGF), this
configuration means that the engine coolant quantity is very small
compared to the cold water circuit in the front of the car, and that
this can cause repeated thermal cycling, hot, cold, hot, cold, etc at
higher powers and speeds.
To avoid HGF, avoid using full throttle or revs over around 4500
until the temperature is registering about 80° on the gauge.
The following is not of my (Dot) invention, but I forgot to note the
source, if you recognise it, please let us know:
Checking for a Blown Head Gasket
If your head gasket has gone there would be loss of coolant, true -
it is unlikey however that it would be dripping under the car.
However to check for a blown head gasket...
- Check your coolant levels, has the level dropped - it is very
likely that you will get steam out of your exhaust if this is the case
and the gasket has blown.
- Is there oil floating (significant)on top of the coolant? - this
again could point at the head gasket.
- When you check the oil level is there any mayonaise like stuff on
the inside if the filler cap. This is caused by oil from the engine
mixing with the coolant which has got into where it shouldn't via a
blown head gasket and then emulsifying. If you only use the car a
little this effect can somtimes occur however.
- Check over all the hoses with the engine running (the cooling
system is then hot and under pressure) this will show up any leaks. A
leaking pipe isn't a blown head gasket and should be easy to fix
(cheap). Unless of course there is steam coming out from between the
head and the block!
- Engine overheating - extreme situation caused by any of the above
when the cooling system really dries out.
Changing the K-Engine Head Gasket at an MGF is shown here: http://www.mgfcar.de/hgf/change.htm
diagnosis and prevention of HGF is covered in detail here: http://www.mgf.ultimatemg.com/hgf_diagnosis.htm
Posted 23 June 2002 at 16:20:02 UK time
The Eliseparts, Mike Satur and Motobuild gaskets are improved
versions of the standard gasket, better material, better forming of
fire rings, thru-pinning of the waterway rubber seals (rather than
just surface bonding) snd steel dowels instead of plastic more or less
cover the improvements. The Raceline gasket is a multi layer steel
gasket which uses a formed upper and lower thin steel layer to seal
the water / oilways and a central steel sandwich to seal the bores,
with these gaskets liner height has to be just right. The improved
standard pattern gaskets all represent a better quality standard
pattern item which proves itself more reliable in service. The Multi
Layer Steel gasket should be absolutely bullet proof provided liner
heights are carefully measured/set.
The Raceline gasket is considerably more expensive than the
alternatives and is targeted at high output (race tuned) engines, it's
also only really useful if you get the liner heights set very
The standard part is 48mm and has a plastic valve that can be prone
to sticking. For a straight replacement throttle body see http://www.mgfcar.de/throttle/index.htm Note that
there have been problems trying to fit the Opel part - I don't know of
anyone with an Elise that has managed that.
Nick Adams has confirmed on the Lotus board that the standard TB is
the most restrictive part of the induction system (although he will not
(of course) recommend any replacement TBs).
The Trophy 160 Metal (Rover Part MHB000261) is 52mm and has been
fitted by a number of people with very nice results. RNLI did a
before and after rolling road test and noted a 4 BHP and 4lbs of torque
increase on average across the whole rev range. There have been reports
of the engine running lean on some S2s and some 111Ss (not seen that on
my 111S though). My car does seem brisker and although the throttle
response is sharper, it is still nice and smooth.
Posted 30 March 2002 at 11:03:22 UK
It's very easy to fit.
* Remove cable
* Remove the 2 small pipes
* Remove the huge
pipe to the air filter
* Remove the four screws - hex type screws -
the ones underneath are quite fiddly - watch you don't drop them
Remove throttle cable* Chuck old TB away! ...after compairing the two
* Do the same as you did to remove the old TB, but in the reverse
order to fit the new one.
* Make sure the throttle cable is adjusted correctly. So there's no
(or little) play in the cable when the TB is closed, and make sure
that it is closed. Mine wasn't at first.
* Also ensure that the TB opens all the way when the peddle is
pressed to the floor.
* Once everything is back in place your best off reseting the ECU.
ie. ignition on (but don't start the engine) and do 5 full pumps of
the accelerator peddle. (this lets the ECU know the new settings for
open/closed on the TB)
* Test drive
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