Vapour Charcoal Trap Purge Valve, Brakes,
Noise On Startup, Door
Rattles over bumps S2, Rear
Suspension Clunks when Hot, General
Suspension Clunks, Whines
or Rumbles, Drivers
Side Sill Rattle S1
The Elise is a car with little soundproofing, this means that many
normal noises can be heard where is a more soundproofed car the would
not be, this can be a cause of concern to new owners.
Of course, like all cars, the Elise may make noises when all is not
The following list is a non exhaustive list collated from owners
comments on the BBS.
Note : If you are genuinely concerned about a noise your car is
making, STOP. If you are not familiar with car noises
it's better to be safe than sorry, and to get someone to check the car
Charcoal Trap Purge Valve
A soft ticking noise during warm up coming from over the drivers left
shoulder, this is almost always the charcoal trap purge solenoid
operating. This solenoud operates under part throttle during warm up to
remove trapped fuel vapour from the vapour trap so that next time the
car is parked up the trap can stop fuel vapour escaping the fuel
It's normal. Some cars purge solenouds are louder than
General Brake Noise in the brake section here.
Squealing brakes can often be cause by new pads, especially if you
are using more 'race' orientated pads sich as Pagid RS4-2's or RS14/15s,
ultimately for these pads the only solution is some hard use, as this
seems to stop the squaling noise better than any solution . . . take it
to a track day :-).
All gearboxes make some noise, the PG1 gearbox in the elise being no
exception, however the lack of soundproofing makes the noise very
prominent, and this is a very common query.
Gearbox whine in higher gears under power and gearbox 'gating' on
overrun in higher gears, is generally perfectly normal.
Tappet Noise On
A tappet noise on starting the engine, perhaps for the first time in
a while can, not surprisingly, be cause by the tappets in the engine, or
rather the hydralic cam followers, these can drain of oil when the
engine is stopped for long periods of time and cause the cam to followe
clearance to be excessive. The followers will fill with oil in time and
the noise should disappear.
Door Rattles over bumps
The S2 was initially released with door striker pins that were of too
small a diameter, this caused the door and door locks to rattle when the
car was going over bumpy roads. This is a recall issue so you should
seek a cost free repair (!!!) from your local Lotus dealer. Immediate
releif can be had by wrapping some insulating tape round the striker
pin, how much is a matter of trial and error, however be carefull, too
much and the door may not shut correctly.
Clunks when Hot
If you get a clunk from the rear suspension when the car is very hot
(eg. a track day) then this may well be the inner balljoints on the rear
toe control links.
These balljoints sit close to the exhaust system. On later cars small
metal heat shields are fitted to try to keep these balljoints cool, they
are not 100% effective.
If the noise disappears when the car is cooler then it is likely that
there is nothing wrong with the balljoints.
Many people comment on the clunking noises that the suspension makes.
There are a number of sources, some more likely than others.
S1 - Original Koni dampers, these dampers seem to have a relatively
short life if used hard, and in time they all seem to make terrible
'billiard ball' type clunking noises when going over small/intermediate
bumbs at low speed. The only solution is to replace the dampers.
S2 - the Billstein dampers on the S2 seem (at the moment) to be much
S1 - Anti Roll Bushes, the earlier type of anti roll bar (large
aluminium retaining bracket) can make a terrible squealing noise in even
very small bumps, this is cause by the ARB bush (a thin nylon like strip
inside the ARB mount) wearing, it can be adjusted, but it requires
disassembly of the ARB mounts.
Balljoints. There are many balljoints in the Elise suspension system,
if any of these are worn then the resulting noise will be
Whines or Rumbles
Whines that relate to road speed alone are either wheel bearing or
gearbox final drive (diff/mainshaft) problems. Wheel bearings can make a
large amount of noise for quite a while before the bearing shows any
signs of play. Determine whether the bearing is at fault by jacking the
car and spinning the wheel - listen for a roughness.
Whines that relate to engine speed are either the engine or gearbox
input side. Occasionally people report cam covers fouling the cam belt,
this may cause a cam belt failure, and the resulting destruction of the
engine, check it out. Alternaor bearing/water pump bearing failures can
also cause engine whines, but are not very common.
Drivers Side Sill
Rattle - S1
Bruce - Scandal S160
There is a 'design issue' with one of the coolant pipes that runs
through the sill fouling a rivet in the sill, this can cause rattles
from inside the sill . . .
right...rivet in sill scenario a few quotes:-
"knocking noise turns out to be a design fault in the chassis coolant
pipe that results in it chaffing away on a chassis rivet, eventually
holing. Lotus do not regard this as a manufacturing fault"
"If it's a pre 1999 model then it could be the coolant pipe rubbing
on a rivet on the chassis (the coolant pipe runs along the chassis on
the driver's side)."
"I had this problem with mine, after the pipe has warmed (15 mins or
so) it made a terrible squeaking noise on any uneven road surface
(sounded like it coming from behind your right ear)."
"If this is the problem, then you should get it sorted ASAP as if it
continues it may rub a hole in the pipe! In any case, i'd get someone to
look at it just in case."
On later models this doesn't happen as the pipe has a kink in
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