Bleeding Brakes on a Lotus Elise
The brakes on your lotus are critical to it's performance. This guide will show you how to quickly bleed the brake fluid before a race or just for regular maintenance.
Although you'd typically remove the wheels to bleed the brakes, you can actually do this job through the spokes of the wheels. If you choose to leave them on, make sure you are super cautious not to spill brake fluid on the wheels as it's not very nice to paint.
You can do this job w/o a Motive Pressure Bleeder, but it's MUCH easier with it. I highly recommend getting one.
Remove the Wheels
Depending on the wheels you have, you may be able to bleed the brakes without lifting it or taking a wheel of at all. Base and Sport LSS wheels should allow you enough access.
Remove Existing Fluid from the Resevoir
Remove the driver's side access panel. On the Elise, there's a small hex screw near the corner. Remove it, and slide the panel back and away from the center.
Unscrew the resevoir cap and remove the plastic filer cup
The resevior is full of old fluid. To save some time use a pump, syringe, or baster to pull the fluid out.
Pressurize the Motive Powerbleeder
Attach the power bleeder to the reservoir to pressure test. Pump the system up to a about 10 psi to make sure that it's not going to shoot fluid everywhere when you fill it up.
Fill the car's reservoir and the power bleeder with new brake fluid.
Pump up the reservoir to 10-15psi
Bleed the Fluid from Each Corner
Lightly tap the caliper with a hammer or metal tool to dislodge any air bubbles clinging onto the inside of the caliper.
Starting at the caliper furthest from the master cylinder, bleed the fluid until you see fresh fluid coming out to of the tube. The pressure bleeder will keep pushing fluid out of the reservoir, making this a super easy job to do alone.
Use a 11mm closed-end 6 point wrench if possible, it will help prevent rounding out the bleed screws.
The rear caliper's bleed screws are on the back side of the caliper, but they are still reachable with the wheels on.
On the front calipers it's suggested that you remove the caliper and rotate it upside down remove all air bubbles out of the caliper.
If you don't take the wheels off, obviously you can't do this...
Close up the bleeder screw and move on to the next wheel.
Optionally Bleed the Clutch System
While you're here, you should think about bleeding the clutch system since they share the same reservoir. If you choose to do that, you'll need to remove the belly pan and perform the same procedure on the slave cylinder.
The slave cylinder bleed nipple uses an 8mm closed end wrench (6 point preferred).
Remove the Pressure Bleeder
Release the pressure in the Motive Bleeder and remove it from the reservoir. Make sure you capture any fluid that spills.
Top off the Reservoir and Replace the Access Panel
Finish by filling up the reservoir if it needs any more fluid.
Slide the access panel back in place and tighten the screw down.