Lotus Elan

Good Door fit - how?

PostPost by: mac5777 » Wed Oct 24, 2007 3:45 am

Hi guys,
i have posted a picture of my door just after the new paint job and without the rubber weather seals in, it looked great. And to keep it looking good, I had gone through three different weather stripping products to get it to stay a good fit. My S3 coupe came off the line in July of 1966. i have been told that the molds had not yet warped out of shape and that I was one of the lucky ones. So not all of elans came with the door problem. I have seen several other elans with original doors that appeared to fit pretty good. Again depending on the weather stripping's thickness a how soft it was.
Bob Grout, the body and paint man, has fixed elan doors and he will be at Mike Ostrov tech session Oct.27th for those here on the west coast. Check GGLC site (Golden Gate Lotus Club) for directions. Sorry Jolly Jumper you can not be there. They go through fiberglass and painting preps.
Sarto
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PostPost by: Jolly Jumper » Wed Oct 24, 2007 9:35 am

denicholls2 wrote:(...)
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.


No, I don't agree. The ill-fitting doors were not a design feature, but a manufacturing fault which got worse in the later years when the moulding were worn out. They are not part of the concept of the car.

The fault can be corrected and as a result the car will look better. It will look as the designer wanted it to look. Also, as Mac5777 has pointed out above, there were cars with a good fit ex factory.

All the top restorations I saw had very good door fit. Leaving a bad door fit in a restoration is either down to lack of funds (it costs money to achieve a proper fit) or lack of talent of the restorer. Both reasons are perfectly valid and okay, but it's not a question of originality.
:)
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PostPost by: rgh0 » Wed Oct 24, 2007 10:08 am

Hey guys you dont want to take my comments on door fit to seriously :lol:

Lotus clearly screwed up with the doors somewhere around the late S3 early S4 run and they started to stick out consistently and badly. I did not change mine when I rebuilt the car in 1980 because I did not have the money then and the problem was relatively small compared to some I had seen.

If I rebuilt the car now I would certainly cut and shut the doors to improve the fit.

But it does make a good discussion point :wink:

cheers
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PostPost by: Elanintheforest » Wed Oct 24, 2007 10:25 am

I?m surprised, Bill, that you had problems with an S2?are you sure the poor fit wasn?t down to some previous repair? I always thought that the S2 door fit was pretty good, and didn?t suffer from the kick-out problem of the later cars.

My (late) S3 has a small kick-out, but a recent acquisition ?70 S4 is quite pronounced?and I?ve seen Sprints that are worse. I?ve also noticed that the panels seem to be a little more flimsy on the S4 compared to the S3?was a little lightness added for the S4 as a cost saving?sorry, performance enhancing measure?
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PostPost by: GrUmPyBoDgEr » Wed Oct 24, 2007 10:26 am

Hi,
I do agree with "Jolly Jumper's" sentiments, the cars will always look far better with doors that fit properly.
But who am I, with my Zetec Elan, to start discussions on originality :oops:
I've now managed to attach a picture to show the sticky out window frame syndrome.

I believe it's called the "Prince Charles Edition" :lol:

The turbulence caused by this feature upsets the laminar flow behind it & in turn reduces the amount of buffeting during high speed driving with open windows.
It also gets your fag ash clear of the car :lol: :lol: :lol:

John
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PostPost by: garyeanderson » Wed Oct 24, 2007 10:47 am

This is starting to sound like the frount bumper trim strip debate.
Most of the S3 and S4 Elan's with the door issues can be mitigated to an excepable degree without the now available door seals. Its not until the seals are installed that the problem really shows it ugly head. Sarto, who sold you the door seals with the best fit?

Gary
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PostPost by: GrUmPyBoDgEr » Wed Oct 24, 2007 12:38 pm

Gary please note the :lol: :lol: :lol: ref. turbulence

I agree with you my S4 doors seemed to be not too bad until I restored it.
Rehanging the doors alone provided a fairly good result & when all the hardware went back in a lot of readjustment was needed to compensate for the additional weight.
However when the aftermarket door sealing strip went in it threw everything way out. A bit more adjusting got the doors to close & not looking as though they were about to fly open.
I'm hoping that some original sealing strip that I've purchased will make the fit a lot better but not perfect.
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PostPost by: garyeanderson » Wed Oct 24, 2007 2:32 pm

D.J.Pelly wrote:Gary please note the :lol: :lol: :lol: ref. turbulence

I agree with you my S4 doors seemed to be not too bad until I restored it.
Rehanging the doors alone provided a fairly good result & when all the hardware went back in a lot of readjustment was needed to compensate for the additional weight.
However when the aftermarket door sealing strip went in it threw everything way out. A bit more adjusting got the doors to close & not looking as though they were about to fly open.
I'm hoping that some original sealing strip that I've purchased will make the fit a lot better but not perfect.


I guess this is where most of the problems start. The Fit was pretty good before restoration and when the doors are removed, they are often taken off with a 1/2 inch spanner because its easier than backing off the the bottom nylon adjusting ball. If the factory settings arn't disturbed you have a good chance of keeping it fairly good. Here are some photos of my 70 Coupe with out the door seals. When I installed one of the earlier replacement door seals, I could hardly get it to latch. I left it like that for a couple of years and it never did colapse the rubber. I have taken them off as these were not of any use. The last two set I used on other Elan's were from Ray at RD enterprises and they seemed better (not perfect, but a lot better). I guess I would sum it up as why cut the door to make the bad gaskets work?

Gary
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Left front..JPG and
Left Top front..JPG and
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this door show some belly from the bottom, life goes on...
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PostPost by: mac5777 » Wed Oct 24, 2007 3:20 pm

Gary, I found an old post that had the name of the supplier. Google it for the contact info. Gary, your doors appear to have only minor kick outs.
Also Rich Kamp from Sonoma CA. 707-933-8039 Also has the thinner seals that look like the original stuff. Give him a call as I think he only had a limited amount left.
Sarto


Posted: Wed Mar 16, 2005 6:39 am Post subject:
My 67 elan coupe is almost restored and ready to drive. With the old door seals off my car, the doors fit flush ( not warped !!!) lucky me.
After two attemps with seals that were not soft enough or to large, I called MacGregor's. (an elan owner) With his knowledge of the seal problems, his company carries soft seals that work, along with a close cell add on strip for wider openings to keep the water and wind noise out, if needed. It sounds like he has solved the seal problem. So I ordered the seals for the doors and boot lid.
It is worth a call to him. When they arrive I'll post the results

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PostPost by: mac5777 » Wed Oct 24, 2007 3:39 pm

Gary, I found the Macgregor web site, finally.
http://www.macgregorukcarparts.com/

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PostPost by: GrUmPyBoDgEr » Wed Oct 24, 2007 4:45 pm

I guess this is where most of the problems start. The Fit was pretty good before restoration and when the doors are removed, they are often taken off with a 1/2 inch spanner because its easier than backing off the the bottom nylon adjusting ball. Gary[/quote]

Sir,
you do me a disservice assuming that I attacked my car with a 1/2" spanner& bodged up all of the settings :x
I bid you good night.
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PostPost by: Frank Howard » Wed Oct 24, 2007 5:30 pm

D.J.Pelly wrote:I've now managed to attach a picture to show the sticky out window frame syndrome.

John,

Your "Prince Charles Edition" is repairable. First, remove the door panel. You will see that there are two bolts at the bottom holding the widow frame. Between the door and the widow frame, the factory installed spacers. These spacers are nothing but thick washers that the bolts go through. The more washers, the more the bottom of the frame is pushed toward the outside of the car resulting in the top of the frame leaning toward the center of the car.

I suspect a DPO left these washers out when he/she repaired the car. It is possible that when he/she took the door apart, the washers dropped to the bottom of the door shell and are still there. Have a look with a flashlight and a magnet. If you can't find them, you can always purchase replacement washers at any hardware store. Let us know if you are able to cure Prince Charles.
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PostPost by: types26/36 » Thu Oct 25, 2007 2:26 pm

The door fit has topic has been around a long time, its one of those topics that will never die as there is no "right answer"
Here is part of a posting on the Elan.net list of a few years ago.
========================================================================================
========================================================================================


From: Randall Fehr <[email protected]
Date: Thu Jun 24, 1999 7:03 pm
Subject: Re: Door Gaps and new material on LotusElan.net

My information about the door molding problem came from Ron Hickman (Lotus
chief designer at the time). He and Hickman were discussing body
differences through the series and one of his anecdotes was that
several sets of door molds had been made for S3-S4 production but
somehow most of them were lost or mistakenly destroyed. Those that
remained produced imperfectly-fitting doors.

However, this does not explain how the doors came out ill-fitting. It
seemed to me that the problem could arise through inaccurate jigging for
the wet bond of the door shell halves. Several years ago I had restored my
Elan S3 without addressing this problem because I could only see
approaching it much as Brian Walton describes, and decided it was too
complicated and risky for me to attempt at that time.

My new theory resulted in a technique for improving the door fit without
touching the outer shell at all - no repainting is required.


The procedure:

1. Remove latch components, window motor and frame.
2. Separate the door shell halves by cutting the bonding flange where they
were mated originally. Use a coping saw, hacksaw blade, and/or very thin
power cutting wheel. Cut carefully through the center of the flange in an
attempt to leave half the thickness on each shell. Start at the top rear
and cut around to approximately the front bottom corner. Patience required...
3. The door will be floppy at this point. Twist it and clamp the flanges
together in a new position that gives good panel fit all around. Some
readjustment of the hinges may also be required. Use pop rivets or sheet
metal screws through the flange - just one or two will do for trials. When
final position is determined, drill for a few more rivets or screws but
don't install yet.
4. Temporarily refit window frame. Some re-shimming of the frame to the
inside of the door shell may be required for proper fit to the top and
windscreen pillar. Some trimming of the top of the door may also be
required. Or readjustment of flange position.
5. Mix up resin and prepare strips of glass strand mat (or alternatively a
good fiberglass adhesive) for re-bonding the flange. Spread it apart, apply
the resin and mat on the flange mating surfaces and clamp together with
rivets or screws, supplemented if necessary by spring clamps or even
clothespins.
6. When cured, remove or grind off rivets or screws, trim excess bonding
agent, clean, and reassemble. Some paint touch-up may be called for on the
flange edge and where holes were drilled.


Randall
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PostPost by: bill308 » Thu Oct 25, 2007 11:14 pm

I seriously considered Randall's method on my S2 doors. I wish I'd seen his writeup at the time but I didn't. If one were to cut off the side of a 6-sided box, it could easilly be bent or contorted in a variety of ways and when refixed should hold it's new shape well. Only as a closed assembly is it stiff.

I had two issues that convinced me to elect a different method.

The first is that the curvature of the lower box section was more concave than that of the sill. The sill curvature appeared to be the better shape for the body and was also much stiffer. The only way to match the curvature of the sill was to change the curvature of the lower portion of the door. This required multiple cuts through the inner walls of the door box section and wedging them either open or holding them closed, depending on which way the bend needed to go, before reglassing them. This could be done incrementally so the results of one cut could be taken into account by follow up cuts. The down side is that the final result left a hint of scalloping. This procedure was carried out with the doors in place so that when a bond cured the door could be closed and the results evaluated. By necessity, some of the bonding was on the bottom of the door, very messy indeed. It may have been possible to achieve similar results by separating the panels, holding them at the desired contour, then rebonding, but I judged this to be a high risk endevor as the odds of getting it all right at one time, and a good, full length bond, seemed slim. There just isn't very much material at the seam, once split, and to do it again or in stages was tempting fate IMO.

The second issue was how to separate the panels without destroying the flange. One could use a hacksaw, either manually or better yet an air powered recipricating saw, using a hack saw like blade. This could work but the saw would remove somewhere on the order of a 1/16 of an inch of material where the flange, made up of a inner and outer skin is somwhere on the order of 3/16 of an inch thick. This would not have left much meat to play with and the depth or thickness of the cut would be somewhere on the order of 1/2 inch. In other word, lots of sawing and one would have to really pay attention throughout the cut to keep it right in the middle of the joint.

I think to make the panel separation/rebond work well, one might construct a jig so that when the bond was made, everything could be held in place for the bond cure.

I guess there are various ways to do this repair but I don't know of any that are particularly easy or fool proof.

Bill
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PostPost by: Mikey » Sat Sep 21, 2019 2:03 pm

I've owned my Sprint DHC for over 30 years and read this forum for ages, benefiting hugely from the wealth of knowledge and views, but have never posted a comment, so here is the first. Can anyone recommend a specialist bodyshop that can correct my stcking out doors? After 30 years of trying to get them to fit better without success the time to get them fixed is now. I live on the Berkshire/Surrey border so a bodyshop that somone has used to correct this problem within striking distance would be handy.
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