Lotus Elan

Elan Door Seal - A Potential Option

PostPost by: XKR » Sat May 22, 2021 5:24 pm

Like everyone else I've lived with a very badly fitting, hard to close door on my 1971 Sprint DHC.

It had new Paul Matty seals fitted when I bought her in 1983 and they were never right. I'd binned the original ones when I bought the car - they were falling apart anyway so probably beyond any sensible hope of refurbishment. Fast forward 38 years and the PM seals (are in great nick) but have still not compressed enough. I guess they never will.

Inspired to "try" something out, I bought 7m of "Medium black rubber car edge protective trim 15.5mm x 11mm" from The Metal House Store on Amazon. £24.43 delivered.

Screenshot 2021-05-22 at 18.06.16.png and


It's a remarkably good fit, edges the carpet/bodyshell nicely and, not surprisingly, resolves the door fit problem.

I've not ventured out in the monsoon season yet - but then again I never do. If it rains when I'm out, the hood remains down and I get wet. I really am not worried about having watertight doors so, for me, the edging strip is a suitable workaround.

It also occurs to me that I may well be able to source some thin, high-density black foam "weatherstrip" that I could use to form an effective seal "if I wanted to". This material seems widely available and, with a bit of trial and error, may take me another step forward.

Not a perfect solution but I'm pleased with the improvement until the perfect answer comes along.
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PostPost by: Chrispy » Sat May 22, 2021 10:15 pm

Looks neat and like it's supposed to be there. Good idea.

I used something similar to edge my airbox instead of the silly gasket. Much better.
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PostPost by: gherlt » Sun May 23, 2021 5:20 am

Looks good.
They also sell directly: themetalhouse.co.uk, reference TRIM34
Amazon ASIN is B07ZMFGN3W
1964 S1 (engine ready, awainting body paint)
1967 S3 DHC (trying to recreate Alex Black's window cable clamp bolt)
1969 S4 FHC (engine worn ... )

Brian Bucklands 2nd edition available ! Look here: https://theelanman.com
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PostPost by: XKR » Sun May 23, 2021 6:10 am

I used something similar to edge my airbox instead of the silly gasket. Much better.


I think I may have just decided what to do with the offcut! A fine plan.
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PostPost by: Elanintheforest » Sun May 23, 2021 4:16 pm

I've just fitted a door seal from Woolies which has a near identical profile to the original. The lip covering is an imitation woven plastic rather than the original cotton weave, but the open-seal fit is spot on. Fitting takes a bit of time but pretty straight forward.

https://www.woolies-trim.co.uk/product/1285/door-seal

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PostPost by: XKR » Sun May 23, 2021 4:26 pm

Intriguing - I ordered a sample of the self same Woolies material but decided it probably wouldn't crush down enough. Had you tried the Paul Matty type of seal previously or was this your first trial?
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PostPost by: Elanintheforest » Sun May 23, 2021 4:42 pm

It was the first one I'd done. It has been recommended by a few on here over the years, and the only one I could find that had the 'flap' seal rather than being a fully enclosed tube...they certainly won't allow the door to close!
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PostPost by: Lotusian » Mon May 24, 2021 6:27 am

I got my flap seal from Sue Miller. The painters said it was the best fit they’d seen.
Doors close snugly with little effort.
I don’t intend to go out in the rain, but I will wash the car, so need to stop the water getting in.
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PostPost by: Neal Stoul » Wed May 26, 2021 9:24 am

I re-shaped the doors of my 1967 Elan in 2014 as part of a rebuild/respray and got them fitting perfectly, only to find the heels pushed out again once the seals were fitted. I have experimented with various different products, both the closed bubble type and the flap type, but have yet to find one that is entirely satisfactory. Those that are stiff enough to seal the gap and cushion the door push the heels out, while those that are flexible enough to prevent such distortion do not seal properly. Moreover, the U-channel that grips the seam needs to be sufficiently robust to accommodate the fibreglass seam together with the edge of the carpet, and follow the curves around the aperture without distorting; most of the products I have tried have channels with insufficient width and/or depth, resulting in a less than satisfactory appearance. I am currently running with a type DX73 profile by COH Baines. This is a fairly flexible flap-type seal with a generously sized grip that looks very neat. However, this is a compromise solution as it still pushes out the door heels slightly and lets in the draughts. I think I have proved to myself that there is nothing out there that is just right (unless anyone knows better?) so I might just try the U-channel suggested by XKR and accept that cold, wet legs are the price you and your passenger have to pay for being silly enough to take to the road in cold, wet weather. Happy days!
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PostPost by: XKR » Wed May 26, 2021 9:45 am

accept that cold, wet legs are the price you and your passenger have to pay for being silly enough to take to the road in cold, wet weather.


LOL: At least the Elan has a great heater. Our Elise S1 by comparison has a feeble affair which is compounded by the fact that the "outlet" is directed very significantly towards the driver - passenger-friendly it certainly isn't.

In the 38 years I've had the Elan and the 20 for the Elise I can still probably count on one hand the times I've had either roof on. Being cold and wet goes with the turf - we're (some of us anyway) British after all!

Back to the Elan - I'll be looking to see if I can add some material in discreet areas (maybe underneath the door) to provide some cushioning/sealing and to kill the odd rattle from the striker over poor surfaces that I've now introduced.

The quest continues but I'm very much happier with the visual aspect now.

Onwards and upward.
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PostPost by: Neal Stoul » Wed May 26, 2021 12:13 pm

Here are some photos
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PostPost by: XKR » Wed May 26, 2021 12:31 pm

Very pretty Bill - I note the roll cage. I do feel a little bit vulnerable without one knowing what the A pillar construction is.

Maybe a next upgrade if I'm going to keep using her...
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PostPost by: Neal Stoul » Wed May 26, 2021 1:52 pm

By the way, I also used some leftover door seal for my airbox - very neat too...
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PostPost by: Neal Stoul » Wed May 26, 2021 2:24 pm

The roll cage is by Spyder. I had to modify it slightly as the two bracing struts didn't fit properly but apart from that it's fine and gives you a safe reassuring feel when driving fast. As you can see from the attached rear view, I have found it useful for attaching a dashcam, which now has the advantage of recording driver, passenger and instruments as well as the road ahead. This photo also shows my home-made wind buffer, fashioned from garden seat cushions wedged behind the roll cage and covered with a black cloth; this is very effective at stopping the cold wind in the back of your neck and, along with Spyder's adjustable headrests, makes for a very cosy cockpit, and doesn't impede rearward vision.
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PostPost by: gjz30075 » Wed May 26, 2021 11:12 pm

Neal, I just searched COH Baines website and DX73 is not found. Typo perhaps?
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