Lotus Elan

Installing An Elan Windscreen

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Q: How do you get the windscreen into an older Elan?

A: With a lot of elbow grease.

When I put the windshield into my Elan, I had the advantage of using a new rubber weather seal/strip/whatever you call it. Note, this was for my Elan S4 Sprint. I assume it's the same for all *real* Elans.

Put the rubber seal in the windshield frame. This is not necessarily easy, you may have to tug, stretch, and push it to get it to fit evenly and firmly all the way around. Once that's in, get a bottle of dishwasher soap to use as a lubricant. You may want to water it down, but I don't think I did (it's been a few years. Put plenty of the soap into the grove in the rubber seal that the window goes into.

Next take the nylon rope that I told you to get - I did tell you about the rope, didn't I? The rope should be the woven kind, not the twisted/stranded kind, and I'm not so sure that the diameter matters, but it should be strong. Insert the rope in the groove in the rubber seal that the window will go into. Start at the bottom middle, and work your way all around, until you are back at the bottom. Leave extra rope at each end to use as a handle, you are going to be pulling pretty hard on this rope.

The next step is to place the windshield into the groove in the rubber seal. Put the glass in the grove at the bottom, over the top of the rope. Push down hard on the glass to get it as deep into the seal as possible. Now you start pulling on the rope. Pull the rope away from the seal, along the surface of the glass. The purpose of this it to "lift" the lip of the rubber seal over the edge of the glass. At first, along the bottom, it's easy. But it gets hard. Do a little on each side, around the bottom corners, and up the side. Use plenty of the soap/lubricant. And push the windshield down. The reason it starts out easy, is that it's not "tight" yet. Keep going up the sides, and around the top corners. When you get to the top, you are home free, but the rope is still difficult, because everything is now real tight. Did I say use plenty of soap/lubricant? If I remember, somewhere around here, my rope pulled out, and I had to wing it. I think I used a cotter pin puller - kind of a bent screw driver with a point on the end of it - I used the right angle bend to slip down into the grove, and pulled it along the seal. It lifted the lip and pulled it out from under the edge of the glass - same thing the rope does. If you use screwdrivers, etc., be very careful not to rip the rubber, or even worse, crack the glass. I seemed to remember having a couple of false starts, before I got it to work, but it all does work.

Then there is the problem of putting the retaining strip (the chrome plastic strip that fits into the other groove in the rubber seal. The idea is that the part around the glass gets to move/flex into the space where the retaining strip goes. This lets it flex around the glass. Once the retaining strip is in, everything is secure. The problem is getting the retaining strip into the grove. My manual shows a picture of a tool to use to do this job. It has a "diamond" shaped wire that fits into the grove. The diamond spreads the rubber groove open, retaining strip passes through the middle of the "diamond", and a roller pushes the strip into place as you push down on the tool/pull it along. Well I didn't have such a tool, so I tried other methods - none worked. Finally, I made my own tool. I bent up a piece of stiff coat hanger wire into a diamond shape with the ends both extending as a handle. I then used a pair of vise grips to tightly clamp the ends. My thumb from my other hand acted as a roller, and it worked pretty well. Oh, did I say "use plenty of soap/lubricant"?

ASCII art of tool:

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It's not really that hard, but it is not trivial. It's takes a lot of pushing/pulling, and you have the ever present fear of breaking the glass. But even I managed to do it... Good luck.

Original article published at <a href="http://www.gglotus.org/ggtech/ELANWINDow.htm">Golden Gate Lotus Club</a>