Odds are you are either reading this page because your Lotus parking lights suddenly stopped working and you don’t know why, or you already know you need to replace or repair you Lotus Switch Pack. That is great, because either way I will help you solve your problem.
I normally do not drive the Lotus that often in the Winter, and sometimes it can sit for a month or so with no venture outside. This Winter was no different, and in addition, I had to get it moving at the beginning of March because I needed to get it emission tested. That all went great, however when driving home I went to turn on the parking lights because it was misting slightly. Imagine my surprise when the parking lights refused to turn on. However, everything else worked, headlights, flashers, hazards, etc. After looking at the schematics, it looked like Fuse F6 could be the issue. I checked it, but it was fine.
Ok, this was not going to be a simple fix. Maybe the switch was bad? Remove the panel on the left that holds the switches, two screws on bottom, swap headlight switch connector and parking light connector. As expected, parking light switch would turn on the headlights, so the problem was not the switch. This panel is displayed below, the two green connector at bottom left are the ones you want to swap.
After some more reading, and reviewing the Elise electrical schematic, it became pretty obvious the issue was the infamous Lotus Switch Pack pictured below!
So, where is this Lotus Switch Pack located? It is mounted on the steering column behind the instrument cluster. Some online guides will tell you need to remove the full dash to get to it, however that is not true. You can get to this by removing the cluster cover, unbolting the instrument cluster, and moving it out of the way. Here is how you do it.
First, remove (4 or 6 screws depending on if car was built on a Monday or Wednesday) the bottom cover around steering wheel. One or two screws on each side, and two screws on the bottom. Remove the top and bottom cover. Then, you need to remove the instrument cluster housing. This part sucks. Remove two screws on each side. The back of the cluster is just velcroed in place, yep 50K car uses velcro… That part is easy, just lift up slightly. The next is hard. You need to pull the whole cluster back straight to release clips holding it on. This requires pulling hard, if it does not come out, pull harder. Take your time, and try not to crack anything.
It should look like the below when all is removed.
I did not get a picture of the unit installed, but imagine in the picture below it is connected to those two connectors, and is mounted vertically with a screw on each side. That part is easy, remove two screws, release the connectors. There is a tab in center of connector you need to hold down while pulling carefully on connector. Wiggle as needed.
Success, you now have the Lotus Switch Pack module in your hands. At this point, you have two choices, you can either simply buy a replacement, or you can attempt a repair. If you decide to buy a replacement, you will need to search for the proper unit. My 2005 Lotus was part number C117M0008f. This has actually been superseded by two newer model numbers, D117M0008f was used in some later models, and E117M0008f appears to be the current replacement model. I was able to find new versions online for between $160-$250.
However what if I told you that you could repair the unit for free? Worst case, for less than $25. So, how do you do this? Read on.
Inside the Lotus Switch Pack are two little relays, and one of them is preventing your parking lights from working. The other relay is installed for the factory fog lights, which in many cases will not be installed on your Lotus. You will know because you will have a fog light switch below the headlight switch. If you don’t have fog lights, you can simply swap relays and solve your parking light issue.
If you remove the switch pack module cover, you will see the guts of the unit. On the top are relays, which are soldered below. If you look carefully below (taken after removing the fog light relay), you will see five empty holes. These are the five connections that you need to desolder.
The picture below shows the relays. The one in the center is the fog light relay, the parking light relay is directly below. You will need a desoldering vacuum pump and/or desoldering wick. Carefully remove ALL the solder from the relays and gently rock them loose. There is some sticky substance that causes the relays to adhere to the board, be careful as it is easy to damage the relay when removing. In fact, my guess is there is a 50/50 chance that it WILL be damaged, so be prepared to have to replace the relay. If you email me or leave a comment with your contact info, I can provide replacements that WILL work with your unit for $25. If you purchase on your own, be careful of your source, as it appears there are a lot of used units on eBay that will not work.
How do you know if your relay is good or bad? If you measure the coil with your ohmmeter, it should have a value between 120-140 ohms. The proper pins to test are the outer pins of the three in a row. In picture below, it would be the pins that go into the three holes in the center. Here you can see that I have removed the fog light relay, and replaced the parking light relay with a new unit.
Connect the unit back up, and if you press the button, you should hear the relay click, and you now have parking lights!
Put everything back together in the reverse order, and have a cold one. Think about the $750 you saved by not going to the dealer, and leave a comment with your success story. If you have any questions on the process, connect me and I will see what I can do to help you out. Good Luck!