Lotus Elan

Door card & handle installation - MGB bezels

PostPost by: stugilmour » Sat Sep 16, 2023 3:09 pm

I am in the process of installing new door cards from Aldridge trimming. I have had the original cards on and off the car numerous times. I find the most difficult part is wrestling with the interior handle rod attachment behind the hanging door card and then getting three handle mounting screws properly in place with spire nuts.

I understand MGB handles mount a bit different, using plastic bezels to surround the handle. The handle is fully attached, connected, adjusted, and function tested before the door card is offered up. The plastic bezels are then inserted on top of the door card upholstery but behind the door handle lip. I think early Esprits may have used a similar method.

I have bought the bezels from Ray at RD and thinking of giving this a try.

Has anyone else done this? Perhaps later Plus 2 versions used this method? Did it work? Tricks & tips appreciated. I don’t see the bezels referenced in my Plus 2 parts manual.

Here is a link to a video that shows the MGB door card removal. Looks a ton easier than my experience on the Plus 2.

https://youtu.be/g8aaW8W77Oo?si=W1Gz6iOtE2kNKJCu
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79C31C1F-E63A-47EF-9837-8CAC54A85D1E.jpeg and
My interior door handle fully attached and functional. I have the top MGB style bezel in position. For this method to work I will have to enlarge the door handle holes by about 1/8” to 1/4” all around to fit over the lip of the new handles. Wanted to ask before I potentially screw up my beautiful new door cards.
86015B1A-ADDF-4FC6-9308-35923E34EE48.jpeg and
Bezels from RD Enterprises
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PostPost by: elanman999 » Sat Sep 16, 2023 7:11 pm

That's how I remove the door card on my Elan. Don't know if it's standard as it was like it when I got it.
A couple of points are that it's best to remove all the burrs and make sure all the edges of the plastic surround are smooth so that they slide on the door card. You may also have to pack the handle out from the door to make enough space for the surround to fit over the door card.
Have fun
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PostPost by: stugilmour » Sat Sep 16, 2023 8:13 pm

Thanks. That is very encouraging. Yes, I was thinking packing washers might just do the trick.

The back of the new door panel may be reasonably easy to modify by releasing a bit of contact cement and the odd staple.

Everything manual is working correctly, just need a final adjustment to get one of non-stock door lock actuators to reliably lock the passenger door.

Good point on the vinyl and burrs. The Plus 2 door cards have a significant curvature and textured vinyl right where the bezels need to be inserted.

I think this is worth a shot. Will report back on progress, although I may chicken out and try the conventional method first. That said, if I was making new door cards from scratch at home I would give this method a try.

Thanks again.

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PostPost by: Richardsona39 » Mon Sep 18, 2023 1:26 am

I'm planning on doing a door card redo at some point, so look forward to hearing how you get on Stu
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PostPost by: stugilmour » Fri Jan 12, 2024 3:18 am

Wow, didn’t realize I posted this question so long ago.

I managed to get one door panel modified by cutting a larger rectangular hole for the interior door handle. I have offered the panel up over top of the solidly mounted handle. I had to back off the three self tapping screws a bit to be able to insert the bezels, but once everything is lined up they snug everything down.

I am hoping to post a few more pictures of the Aldridge door panels when they are finished. I still need to install all the panel clips; I think a couple of the mounting holes need adjustment.

Anyway, here is a picture showing the bezels so far. I was asked about them off line and figured easier to bring this thread forward.
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09FB5C3A-5FDF-44F6-9B40-36D515FE0DBA.jpeg
This is a picture from a recent Esprit S1 listing on BaT. It shows similar bezels.
09FB5C3A-5FDF-44F6-9B40-36D515FE0DBA.jpeg (57.63 KiB) Viewed 1152 times
14084215-6B62-4AE4-9451-7086A5069B3D.jpeg and
This picture shows the door handle and the MG style bezels in the Plus 2 with the Aldridge panels.
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PostPost by: gus » Fri Jan 12, 2024 1:55 pm

THis might be a good idea, but I never really had a problem with the stock arrangement. You pop the lock actuator rod off after unbolting the door handle, then feed the handle through the hole. It is a little finicky, but not like you do it every day.

All the nylon bits get worn, so they fall off in use, so either getting new pieces or some of them are held on with ty wraps
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PostPost by: stugilmour » Tue Jan 16, 2024 7:26 pm

Got both panels installed today.

Very pleased with the plastic bezel surrounds. Have now seen them on MG, Europa and Esprit. Come to think about it I guess that is why Ray numbers the part with a 54 suffix.

One interesting detail I like. On my car the lines in the textured vinyl don’t line up very well with the door handle chrome surrounds. To my eye the smooth black bezel covers this imperfection nicely. I did get everything better than shown in these two pictures by loosening the three handle mounting screws and aligning the handle, but there seem to be limits even with the extra slack in the door card hole.

Thinking of starting a longer thread on my interior project later, but overall happy with the Aldridge door cards and carpet set. Still have to mount the dash side panels, for which Aldridge has provided smooth vinyl that will match the door cards.

The piece de résistance will be the new headliner and C pillar cover. That’s gonna be epic. Glad I am gaining a bit of confidence on the work so far.

HTH
Attachments
48895F75-E3B0-4A6A-8862-CA1633224B8A.jpeg and
Driver’s side door panel. I think only one sack was out of alignment on this one, and I ended up leaving the pin off.
5AACD085-8422-4B3B-BFDE-BF1E8F7EFB8B.jpeg and
Passenger side door panel from Aldridge Trimming in the UK. Had to enlarge and reglue the vinyl to use the plastic bezels. This side was harder as I had to reposition four pin sacks to align with the door card holes.
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PostPost by: The Veg » Wed Jan 17, 2024 4:53 pm

Those were used at least through the end of the Giugiaro-era of the Esprit, not totally sure about the early Stevens cars but I suspect they used something different. My '70 Plus 2 has them too.
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