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S1 ChassisThe Elise chassis is a remarkable piece of engineering. Made from extruded aluminium glued and riveted together to form an immensly stiff and light weight platform on which to built an open top car. The bare chassis weighs about 70kg and the rivets are only there to prevent peeling in the event of a crash. The chassis is suplied to Lotus complete by Hydro Aluminium.
The chassis is not designed to absorb impact during a crash and repair is a complex and expensive process, often resulting in a write-off if damage is sustained. On newer cars the chassis is sometime replaced but this is a time consuming process. The carbon fibre 'crash box' at the front of the car is designed to protect the chassis and driver in the event of a frontal crash. Trust me, it works very well! Within the various Elise Internet forums you may come across the term, 'chassis job'. This is a humourous (by British standards) reference to the relative ease with which expensive damage can be inflicted on the Elise.
The chassis side rails can get quite warm in the summer, especially on the right hand side. This is due to the pipes that run from the radiator to the engine, along the inside of the side rails.
ProblemsSome people have experienced water leaks through the joints in the chassis. These are easily fixed with silcone sealant.
On some very early cars there were problems with internal rivets rubbing on the collant pipes that run internally through the length of the chassis side rails. These would cause the pipe to fail resulting in loss of coolant.
It is a well known fact that aluminium will burn once a certain ignition temperature is reached. This means that a burnt out Elise leaves littel to reapir as the following sites show:carry a fire extinguisher in your car!
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Copyright © Rob Collingridge 2009 - Last updated 13 Mar 2002