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Good Door fit - how?

PostPosted: Mon Oct 22, 2007 1:33 pm
by Jolly Jumper
What is the accepted way of achieving a decent door fit on the later S4 Bodyshell? :roll: Do you cut and shut the door to fit the car or do you work on the sills and change the shape to suit the doors? Problem is on my car the doors also don't fit around the A-Pillar, they stick out massively :shock:
Any ideas? :?

Re: Good Door fit - how?

PostPosted: Mon Oct 22, 2007 3:03 pm
by GrUmPyBoDgEr
There are some specialists that remove material at the bottom of the doors between the inner & outer skins, this allows the door outer panels to be pulled in to match the body, then they are re-bonded in that position.
To get the window frames to line up with te A- Pillar, it should be possible to pack out the its lower attachment points to the inner door skin with washers. (2 bolts I think)
A job I must get around to doing along with fitting the recently obtained original door sealing rubber which should also help with getting the doors to shut properly.

I've tried to attach a photo of my Elan's sticky out window frames (512KB) but it just doesn't want to know :?
What am I doing wrong :oops:


Re: Good Door fit - how?

PostPosted: Mon Oct 22, 2007 4:15 pm
by bcmc33

Reduce the image size to just below the maximum the rules allow. Try sizing the picture to 900 pixels for the longest side and it should be OK.

Brian Clarke
(1972 Sprint)

Re: Good Door fit - how?

PostPosted: Mon Oct 22, 2007 5:09 pm
by hatman
Can't vouch for it personally but I read an account of a full-on restoration where the owner sorted out the door-fit problem by building up layers of glassfibre on the inside whilst grinding away the outside until he achieved a flush fit. Looked fine in the pictures and he claimed that the end result was a good 'un.

Re: Good Door fit - how?

PostPosted: Mon Oct 22, 2007 5:29 pm
by Elanintheforest
The fault in manufacture is that the doors 'kick out' at the bottom of the rear of the door. If your doors aren't fitting at the A post, this has nothing to do with the original problem...directly.

I recently bought a S4 with the same problem, and asked the owner if he'd fiddled with anything. He said that the doors didn't fit at the rear, so he adjusted the front in an attempt to make the rear fit...of course it just made the whole door not fit. If this is the case with yours, adjust the doors on the hinges to fit flush at the front, and flush at the rear / top. You'll then be back to where most of the rest of us are :D

Re: Good Door fit - how?

PostPosted: Mon Oct 22, 2007 5:57 pm
by nebogipfel
The problem is with the doors, not the shell.

FWIW I think it's a bad idea to modify the shell ....... the rest of the car is the correct shape.

As John says, the accepted method is to split the door and remove enough material to obtain the correct profile and then re 'glass it as needed.

On my S4 I've got one door which fits nicely and one which is a stinker. I have got a nice shape S3 door and am going to mod' it to fit my car.

Re: Good Door fit - how?

PostPosted: Mon Oct 22, 2007 6:54 pm
by patrics
On my S4 the main problem was at the front which when adjusted to get the best fit simply kicked the back edge out. If you look at the door on the front top before the window frame the angle changes which isn?t replicated on the body. If you take the seal off and measure the gap all the way around there is only a couple of mm clearance here when according to the manual it should be 11mm.

I have actually modified this area to give the correct gap but this will also mean modifying the pillar trim which I accept most people wouldn?t want to do ? but they are available new so don?t see this as a problem.
I was lucky enough to buy the original thinner section seal from Sue Miller which helps, but I still had to modify the actual door for a good fit.
This is well documented and is also in Brian Bucklands excellent book, but I still had problems.

I sliced through the door from the hinge to the bottom of the lock area and tried to pull the outer skin in, but doing this also pulled the inner section away from the seal which is obviously no good. The only way I could get around this was to carry the saw cut through the lock area to the very top. I then lightly bolted a piece of plate across the two parallel frame mounting nuts and held the inner section against the seal whilst pushing the outer section down by about 3mm. This brought everything into alignment without having to pull the outer skin in to far.
I am now going to have to slightly elongate the hole in the window frame where it bolts to the door but a least the door fits properly against the seal and body.

Hope this helps

Re: Good Door fit - how?

PostPosted: Tue Oct 23, 2007 9:38 am
by rgh0
The doors came that way from the factory - why fix it. I leave mine original and sticking out !

I think I should start the myth that it was a deliberate Lotus aerodynamic enhancement to reduce drag and lift and to eliminate water leakage as well.


Re: Good Door fit - how?

PostPosted: Tue Oct 23, 2007 10:45 am
by elancoupe
I'm sure that someone on here can give you a calculation to show how the protruding rear edge creates a boundary area which exerts some type of aero advantage. :wink: :shock:

Re: Good Door fit - how?

PostPosted: Tue Oct 23, 2007 1:23 pm
by Jolly Jumper

thanks for the input. I shall talk to the paint guy.
I must say, an Elan with proper door fit looks much better than one with the doors sticking out. 8) I think the concept of the Elan deserves to be clad in the best tailored clothes.

Re: Good Door fit - how?

PostPosted: Tue Oct 23, 2007 1:51 pm
by Rob_LaMoreaux
My early S4 had doors that fit pretty well....until I put the door seals in. The the door seals pushed the door out and now I sometimes get people telling me the doors not shut.

One of these days I need to try to adjust them since the door seals have had 6 years to crush in. Then again this week is resealing the gas tank that I discovered had been repaired with epoxy and fiberglass back in the '70s. I'm surprised it lasted this long (20 years of storage and 6 years of driving).


Re: Good Door fit - how?

PostPosted: Tue Oct 23, 2007 6:52 pm
by trw99
So, would the purists and those favouring originality leave the doors as they left the factory, as Rohan does?

Or does rectifying the fit make a more "perfect" car?

Re: Good Door fit - how?

PostPosted: Tue Oct 23, 2007 10:10 pm
by bill308
My S2 had this problem. Not only were the lower aft corners sticking out from the body by about 1/4-3/8 of a inch, but the bottom of the door was concave with a center of curvature towards the center of the car so that it didn't match the sill.

On an S2, the bottom of the door is fabricated with a fiberglass box section, running front to rear. I made several cuts thru this box section and wedged open the cuts to get a straighter section and bonded them.

At this point, the lower rears were even worse, maybe sticking out 1/2-5/8 inch. I then made additional cuts in the front of the box section and also in the area just below the latch. If a line were drawn between the latch cut and box section cut, near the lower hinge point, this defined an axis over which I would try to fold the lower, rear edge inward. Eventually, this worked and the severed sections were rebonded, but it was not an easy task.

The end result is that the door fits the body very well all along the perimeter without the sealing gasket in place. Some filler will be required to fair in the bottom edge of the skin to make a perfect match with the sill section, but this will be very thin, less than 1/16 inch an the most. Block or board sanding will perfect the fit.

Fitment of the sealing gasket will be performed with an eye to minimize any outward loads and to minimize the the possibility of future warpage.


Re: Good Door fit - how?

PostPosted: Tue Oct 23, 2007 10:15 pm
by bill308

I suspect purists will leave things as they are. Perfectionists will improve the fit. Personally, I like a good fit even though it may be incorrect.



PostPosted: Wed Oct 24, 2007 12:00 am
by denicholls2
As I started reading this thread, I wondered that nobody (on a list that seems to emphasize originality) had jumped on it. But we got there in the end. :lol:

If I were a concours judge, I would definitely deduct for modified door lines. It's an easy check and the car definitely did not come that way.

What does surprise me is the number of people willing to correct this "fault" but who would never consider the much more reversible act of repowering their car with a Zetec.

Personally, I'd go for good door fit and a modern engine. 8)