This procedure runs through changing the engine oil on your Elan.
The original oil weight for the Elan is S.A.E. 10W30, but the engine
compartment sticker states you may use 5W30 as well. A check of
the owner's manual states you may also use 15W-40 or 5W-50. I will
leave the discussion of oil weights to another book! The Engine
Oil refill (with filter) capacity is 3.7 US quarts (= 3.5 litres).
For a list of oil filters see the common replacement parts page.
Lotus recommends changing the engine oil AND filter every 6,000
miles (10,000Km) or 6 months, whichever comes sooner!
The oil should be changed after driving, while it is still warm.
This assures the impurities are held in suspension.
4 quarts of engine oil
Crush washer (hint: tape crush washer to filter when you buy them
so you don't lose it!)
Auto lift --or-- Jack and jack stands --or-- High-lift auto wheel
Lug wrench (depends on above choice)
Oil catch pan
Oil filter wrench
Rubber gloves (if you're a sissy about hot oil)
A few shop rags to wipe the oil off the suspension arms
Newspaper to catch stray drips
The hard part of this procedure is figuring out a way to get the
oil filter off!
The oil filter was located on the car for ease of access--NOT--actually
I would like to ask the engine designers what they were thinking
(or smoking perhaps) when they designed the oil filter at the rear
of the engine?! Sure the drivetrain is from Isuzu and not specifically
designed for the M100, but still this design is idiotic regardless
of the car it goes into!
By far the easiest way to access the oil filter is to use an auto
lift. But it is likely you do not have access to one. If you have
a lift it is easier to reach the filter if you are able to let the
right front suspension drop, but you can do it with it supported.
Another way to get at the filter is to jack up the front of the
car and remove the right front wheel--you can then shimmy yourself
in from the side to reach up to the filter. The most claustrophobic
way is to raise the front of the car either with auto ramps or with
jacks and jackstands on both sides!
Also worth the investment is purchasing an oil filter wrench. Not
the old strap-type, but the new socket-type which slip over the
top end of the filter like a cap and will hook to your socket wrench
for ease of reaching and turning the filter. Different filters use
different size wrench caps so be sure you have the right one. You
will be glad you have this item!
I recommend removing the oil filter first during the procedure.
This way if you find you cannot get the filter off you can abort
the procedure without a half-done job!
- Warm up the engine. For best results, warm it up at high RPM
on a fun backroad! Actually you want the engine warm but NOT hot
as you will be reaching around a lot of metal parts to get to
- Get yourself under the oil filter by any of the above discussed
- Position the oil catch pan where you think the oil will go when
you remove the filter.
- Stretch your arm up and around the right front lower suspension
and put the filter wrench over the filter--this is where all the
swearing and yelling happens!!
- Slowly unscrew the filter with the ratchet until the oil starts
to drip out all over the suspension and down to the ground. If
you are quick enough you will keep it from getting all over your
arm, but novices beware!!
Frantically reposition the catch pan to where the oil actually
- Wait until all the draining and dripping has ended--then fully
remove the old filter and set it aside. You may have to solve
"the puzzle" of how to get the filter out from within
the suspension, but I assure you it can be done.
- Put a dab of oil on your finger and spread it around the rubber
seal of the new filter. Or, as I do, you can just put the new
filter onto the old one, so the gaskets meet up and touch all
around, so the oil transfers to the new seal!!
- Install the new filter as per tightening instructions on the
box. I like to put a small piece of tape on the end of the new
filter--this way I can see where it is when the new gasket makes
contact with the car so I can tighten it just the right amount
by watching the tape turn--then just pull off the tape!
- Now is a good time to clean the fresh oil off the suspension
parts and everywhere else it dripped!
- Next move the catch pan where you think the oil will go when
you remove the drain bolt.
- Using a 22mm socket, remove the oil pan drain bolt (be careful
not to burn yourself with hot oil). I like to put upward pressure
on the bolt as I turn it so it doesn't leak oil; and then when
I feel the threads disengage from the pan I quickly remove the
bolt. If you drop the bolt into the catch pan you will find the
real reason for the rubber gloves as you go blindly "bobbing
for the bolt" in the hot oil!
- Frantically reposition the catch pan to where the oil actually
- Discard the old crush washer that came off with the drain bolt--make
sure it is the same size as the new one you have!
- Reinstall the drain bolt into the oil pan using the NEW crush
washer--torque the bolt so you "feel" the washer crush
down. Do not over-tighten though or you can ruin the threads!!
- Pour 3.5 quarts of new oil into the engine filler atop the cam
- Start the engine and let it run a bit to completely fill the
new filter with oil. Be sure the oil pressure gauge rises up as
expected just after starting!
- Check for any leaks around the drain bolt or new filter. Wipe
up the mess on the suspension around the filter and the drain
- Reinstall the wheel, if needed, and Torque the lug nuts to 59-65
- Lower the car back onto the ground.
- Check the oil level at the dipstick and fill it to the full
mark as needed. DO NOT OVERFILL the oil!
- Clean up! Pour the old oil into the just used oil containers
or another container of your choice.
- Please dispose of the oil properly!