Lotus Elan

Doors seized, Elan S3 DHC

PostPost by: Cahill4586 » Sun Jul 05, 2020 6:27 pm

Hello

I’m beginning the restoration of my Dad’s Elan S3 DHC. It’s been off the road since the early 90’s and has unfortunately spent a good few years exposed to the elements. The doors are seized shut and we just can’t figure out how to release them! The key doesn’t seem to do anything, the interior door release handles work and we can see the mechanism moving on the passenger door but it’s not releasing. I’ve dismantled the lock on the drivers door from the inside and have tried to free it with a screwdriver but no joy.

Has anyone experienced this and found a way around it? I’m reluctant to drill the lock from the outside and also not even sure if that will help.

Any advise would be much appreciated!
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PostPost by: nmauduit » Sun Jul 05, 2020 7:15 pm

Since it's a DHC you should be able to work this out, I would first try to look at the locks from the inside of the door (removing the upholstery), spraying generously some WD40 or the like on the lock mechanism and let penetrate before wiggling, possibly with the help of a bend screwdriver if it does not work (make sure the safety lock is off before too strong of a wiggle). If after a couple days and applications of WD40 etc it still resists, undoing the hinges may allow you to wiggle some more... but I think it won't be necessary (plus the hinges securing nuts will need some WD40, too)
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PostPost by: Bombay Racing Green » Mon Jul 06, 2020 7:05 am

Morning Cahill,

Whereabouts are you? I’m in Wicklow and could pop over if you’re not too far away.

All the best.
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PostPost by: Cahill4586 » Mon Jul 06, 2020 10:40 am

Thanks for the offer Bombay Racing Green, have PM'd you

And thanks for the info nmauduit have tried most of the above. Will have a look at the hinges, wasn't aware you could access them from the inside
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PostPost by: denicholls2 » Mon Jul 06, 2020 4:25 pm

WD-40 is not a penetrating oil, it's a water displacer. As in "WD". It will not dissolve rust, only displace water from it. (It is also not a lubricant once it dries.) The only good automotive uses for it are displacing water from locks and "drying" damp ignition wires.

You really need Kroil from Kano Labs. Best stuff ever if you're going to work on anything old with iron or aluminum in it. Liquid Wrench and PB Blaster are way behind the power of this stuff if you can't get Kroil on your side of the pond, but at least they are penetrating oils.

No personal interest, I've just never found anything Kroil can't free. Just laid in a new stock which should be arriving soon.
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PostPost by: Cahill4586 » Tue Jul 07, 2020 1:14 pm

denicholls2 wrote:WD-40 is not a penetrating oil, it's a water displacer. As in "WD". It will not dissolve rust, only displace water from it. (It is also not a lubricant once it dries.) The only good automotive uses for it are displacing water from locks and "drying" damp ignition wires.

You really need Kroil from Kano Labs. Best stuff ever if you're going to work on anything old with iron or aluminum in it. Liquid Wrench and PB Blaster are way behind the power of this stuff if you can't get Kroil on your side of the pond, but at least they are penetrating oils.

No personal interest, I've just never found anything Kroil can't free. Just laid in a new stock which should be arriving soon.


Interesting, thanks I'll have a look for Kroil. I was going to get some PlusGas, which is also a penetrating fluid.
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PostPost by: sveris » Tue Jul 07, 2020 4:42 pm

Kroil. Nothing else compares.

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PostPost by: billwill » Tue Jul 07, 2020 5:35 pm

Image

If you decide to remove the hinges, it can be done fairly easily with the right tools after removing the door card.

Be aware that the actual hinge pin is cut & threaded from nylon rod about 1 inch diameter (item 3 in the diagram) It is secured with a lock plug (item 4) which you must remove first. For this you will need an appropriate sized socket wrench and probably an extension rod. Use the Plus-Gas first to loosen the threads.

The nylon hinges have domed ends which locate in cup shaped supports in the fibreglass body of the car. The rear end of the nylon hinge has a square hole in it for a square rod (about 1/4 inch across flats; you need ensure that your tool is a good fit. I found that the interior rod of a typical in-house door handle is the correct fit. You will need an appropriate socket adaptor and preferably a ratchet socket-set bar to unscrew it. Tap the square rod all the way into the nylon (about 1/2 inch (?) else you may damage the square hole in the nylon when you try to twist it, (which will create a REAL problem).

You may need to only undo either the top nylon hinge or the bottom one before the door becomes loose enough to remove. Avoid loosening the bolts that hold the hinge holder to the door, because these determine the fit of the door into the body and are a real pain to get right again.
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PostPost by: denicholls2 » Tue Jul 07, 2020 6:48 pm

sveris wrote:Kroil. Nothing else compares.

Steve in Ohio


Hi Steve,

Is there any truth to the rumor that Kroil is a corn whiskey derivative? I note that it comes from Tennessee. :lol:
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PostPost by: Dale Harvey » Tue Jul 07, 2020 11:03 pm

Try a 50/50 mix of auto transmission fluid and acetone.
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PostPost by: StressCraxx » Wed Jul 08, 2020 1:09 am

Dale Harvey wrote:Try a 50/50 mix of auto transmission fluid and acetone.


Suggest you be careful with the acetone mix on fiberglass, it will eat the at the resin.

Regards,
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PostPost by: 661 » Wed Jul 08, 2020 9:56 am

billwill wrote:Image

If you decide to remove the hinges, it can be done fairly easily with the right tools after removing the door card.

Be aware that the actual hinge pin is cut & threaded from nylon rod about 1 inch diameter (item 3 in the diagram) It is secured with a lock plug (item 4) which you must remove first. For this you will need an appropriate sized socket wrench and probably an extension rod. Use the Plus-Gas first to loosen the threads.

The nylon hinges have domed ends which locate in cup shaped supports in the fibreglass body of the car. The rear end of the nylon hinge has a square hole in it for a square rod (about 1/4 inch across flats; you need ensure that your tool is a good fit. I found that the interior rod of a typical in-house door handle is the correct fit. You will need an appropriate socket adaptor and preferably a ratchet socket-set bar to unscrew it. Tap the square rod all the way into the nylon (about 1/2 inch (?) else you may damage the square hole in the nylon when you try to twist it, (which will create a REAL problem).


You may need to only undo either the top nylon hinge or the bottom one before the door becomes loose enough to remove. Avoid loosening the bolts that hold the hinge holder to the door, because these determine the fit of the door into the body and are a real pain to get right again.



The dome on the hinges can seize and be a pain to remove. If you are considering doing quite a bit of renovation then the hinges may well be coming off anyway. I agree that they are a time consuming item to fit back in the right spot but it's not rocket science, merely time consuming. In your situation for ease and speed I would remove the 2 bolts holding the hinge bracket (2) and ease the door outwards at the front then pull forward away from the lock at the rear which only has lateral constraints, not forward and back.
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PostPost by: billwill » Thu Jul 09, 2020 2:34 pm

I doubt that he can access the bolts holding the hinge bracket if the door is jammed fast in the body work.
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PostPost by: Cahill4586 » Thu Jul 09, 2020 2:54 pm

Thanks for all the input

So I’ve got the bottom hinge off, I just undid the 2 bolts holding the bracket. Everything needs to be stripped and cleaned up/replaced anyway.

The door comes away from the body at the bottom but obviously can’t access the upper hinge until the door opens.

This has given a bit more wiggle and play but still can’t release the door. I’ve just started to work around it for now, and continue stripping the rest of the car.

Is there anywhere I can get a detailed diagram of how the S3 door lock works? I have the parts catalogue, and the workshop manual but neither give a detailed description. Just wondering if there is a way I can release it with a slim poker through the gap between the body and the door. I can see the striker but not sure how to release it
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PostPost by: gjz30075 » Thu Jul 09, 2020 6:34 pm

Does the other door work? I find the S3 latching/lock mechanism the easiest to understand. If the
other side opens, you should be able to get an idea on what is not working on your non-op side. The
key will be needed to move a lever to allow the latch mechanism to come away from its mounting on
the window frame. A bit fiddly.
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