Lotus Elan

Leaky screen

PostPost by: JonB » Mon Mar 12, 2018 9:07 am

Well what do you know? My Plus 2's screen leaks and (as I commented on a while ago) I have considerable wind noise at motorway speeds. The leak showed up when I last washed the car. I tend to chuck a bucket of water over it to rinse, and I'm guessing this has forced water in because I haven't noticed any leakage in the rain.

The screen is the bonded-in variety and it's been done with black screen bonding stuff, relatively recently. Looks like a cross between tar and silicone and there is lots of it. The screen itself has black paint round its edge, so I cannot see all of the seal, and the fat outer trim (modern plastic / chrome type) covers the rest. This means that I can't be sure where the leak is, or easily inspect the seal.

I have water dripping into the passenger footwell from underneath the dashboard. Now, the first thing to do is to pour water about until I locate the external opening that is letting the water into the car. Once that is located it is a matter of applying something to close the gaps. I'm thinking of the Creeping Crack Cure stuff, but will this close a big gap? It is pretty thin isn't it?

The other thing I wondered about was the plastic trim. It's hooked over the edge of the glass (apparently). What if it is not properly bonded to the glass?

All this has been discussed before and I've been through some threads already. Other things to check include the wiper stalks as they exit the body, the scuttle holes (where wires and other things pass through) and the pedal box seal.

I also noted a boot leak. This had me scratching my head a bit as there is a lip around the boot that should prevent any sort of leakage. Then I realised it probably comes in through the aerial's hole, which opens straight into the boot (subject to testing, of course). It's got a hard plastic plinth which definitely will not be waterproof and the aeriel itself probably leaks...
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PostPost by: oldelanman » Mon Mar 12, 2018 9:57 am

JonB wrote:I also noted a boot leak. This had me scratching my head a bit as there is a lip around the boot that should prevent any sort of leakage.


If the Plus 2 is the same as the 2 seater you may find that the boot lid stay bracket is secured with two small bolts in the bottom of the "gutter" round the boot aperture .. they are partially hidden by the seal lip. That might be the source of a leak too.
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PostPost by: LaikaTheDog » Mon Mar 12, 2018 9:14 pm

Wet boot floor... the rear bumper is held on with two bolts either side of the number plate lights. Water pools behind the chrome bumper and dribbles in to your boot around the bolts...
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PostPost by: Bud English » Mon Mar 12, 2018 10:22 pm

...while it rots the bumper from the underside.
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PostPost by: Robbie693 » Tue Mar 13, 2018 12:37 am

Mine leaks from the passenger side pf the windscreen too, but only at high speed in the rain. I hadn't thought about the wiper wheel boxes - need to check that.

Another source of boot leaks can be from where the release cable passes through from the wheel arch...

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PostPost by: JonB » Tue Mar 13, 2018 7:44 am

LaikaTheDog wrote:Wet boot floor... the rear bumper is held on with two bolts either side of the number plate lights. Water pools behind the chrome bumper and dribbles in to your boot around the bolts...


Blimey. Thought those bolts (screws really) were secured to bonded in bobbins. Are they open at the bottom? (Must check!)

Robbie wrote:Another source of boot leaks can be from where the release cable passes through from the wheel arch...


Another good point! What a poor design..
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PostPost by: Orsom Weels » Tue Mar 13, 2018 8:36 am

JonB wrote:Well what do you know? My Plus 2's screen leaks....................
The other thing I wondered about was the plastic trim. It's hooked over the edge of the glass (apparently). What if it is not properly bonded to the glass?
...


I had exactly this problem, the plastic trim was not bonded to the glass, & the windscreen adhesive had only caught the trim, not the glass. It was OK while the trim was new & reasonably soft & flexible, but as it aged & became harder, I suspect it became less tight on the glass & as water ran down the screen, it crept behind the trim & collected in the channel which hooks over the glass, then found it's way into the car. I was able to remove the dash crash pad, clean things up, run a bead of screen adhesive along & smooth it in with a wet finger so it caught the glass, the screen trim, & the original adhesive bead. No more leak :D

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PostPost by: JonB » Tue Mar 13, 2018 9:08 am

Thanks Tim, this is exactly what I suspect. It's another stupid design choice. I do wonder, though - how are these plastic trims supposed to be fitted? Do you attach them to the windscreen first, than attach the lot to the car?

Did you encounter increased wind noise at speed prior to the repair? I ask because I think a larger hole is needed to generate the racket I am hearing.
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PostPost by: wotsisname » Tue Mar 13, 2018 9:25 am

Boot leaks.
This is based on the early +2, I'm unsure how different it is for the "S" and I hope I put it together the correct way...
Bumper is secured by several bolts that pass into the boot. There are a couple at the "sharp end" of the bumper , these are mounted from underneath and not obvious. Also, the obvious & previously mentioned ones that are visible along the top of the bumper. The no. Plate lamp wiring has a large plastic/rubber sleeve that I think is supposed to seal against/through a grommet in the bodywork.... this relies on the bumper sitting correctly on the rear bodywork. These are all hidden under the carpet /underlay... I used rubber or fibre washers and sealant on all these.
The rear number plate (on my car) is secured with long set screws with nuts, etc inside the boot... another potential leak point.
The boot floor brackets are screwed / bolted through into the wheelarch..another source of water ingress ?
petrol filler cap - pretty thick grommet, so assuming it is well fitted, I'd think it Ok.
Boot hinges have gaskets under them.
the seal itself of course
If the boot floor were strong enough I'd suggest getting in the boot while the car is hosed down...

My car is not yet back on the road, so can't be sure if my attempts to seal the boot are successful

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PostPost by: Orsom Weels » Tue Mar 13, 2018 9:31 am

Hi Jon,
Yes, trim onto glass, then whole lot into the car as an 'assembly'. When new, the trim grips the glass tight & holds it's self in place, so windscreen fitters seldom bond the trim to the glass, which is fine if they make sure the adhesive catches the glass rather than just the trim.

Wind noise is a difficult one. Yes, I get increased noise at higher speeds, but it wasn't any worse before I re-sealed the screen, so not sure the two are connected. I think most comes from the top corners where the trim has to be forced to follow round the corners of the glass, this has a tendency to make it lift away from the glass a little so the wind gets under it. I minimised the noise by using a hot air gun on the trim to soften it, then taped it down to the glass until it was cold, so it now sits tight on the screen.

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PostPost by: JonB » Tue Mar 13, 2018 12:35 pm

I wonder if a bead of sealer can be run along the trim edge where it touches the glass. Might look a bit crappy?
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PostPost by: Orsom Weels » Wed Mar 14, 2018 8:50 am

JonB wrote:I wonder if a bead of sealer can be run along the trim edge where it touches the glass. Might look a bit crappy?


It would depend on the type of sealer & how steady a hand you have I guess.
I certainly think it's not a bad idea to bond the trim to the glass before installation.

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PostPost by: denicholls2 » Wed Mar 14, 2018 2:36 pm

Orsom Weels wrote:JonB wrote:
I wonder if a bead of sealer can be run along the trim edge where it touches the glass. Might look a bit crappy?


While the original glop is either silicone RTV or hot-melt butyl rubber and nasty to get near, your quick fix homeowner-style will likely work fine and costs next-to-nothing to try. In the U.S., we'd go to the local hardware store or big-box competitor and buy a tube of Phenoseal latex caulk (guaranteed 30 years), make sure to get the Clear color. Around 3 U.S. dollars for a tube.

Rub it over everything that might leak with a thin coat using your finger to remove excess, do two coats to be British about it, clean it off where you don't want it with a damp paper towel, and it will shrink down to pretty much nothing if you haven't glopped it when it's dry.

This stuff works and won't get you or the car all messy. It also makes a removable (though it does stick well) adhesive for the trim-to-glass if you're worried about that.
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PostPost by: JonB » Sat Mar 17, 2018 1:06 pm

Well, I ended up with a product called "flowable silicone". Basically, clear silicone fluid that is runny. I ran a bead of it along the bottom of the windscreen where it meets the chrome trim, and it sort of settled into the seam. If I am very lucky, that will be the end of it, but I won't know until the car is back on the road (as I am looking to fix the wind noise as well as the leak).

Since I had the stuff out, I went into the engine bay and sealed round all the grommets and the pedal box. It is very easy to apply.

Testing the boot with soapy water and an air blower, I found the boot hinge gasket was leaky. Not surprising as it seems to have gone hard. Will order new ones, as I do not want to risk messing the paint up with the silicone. I do have some Creeping Leak Fix stuff on order - I may try that (very carefully) first.

The aerial base isn't leaking, but the aerial itself does, through the joints where it telescopes. However, I think this is not the main cause - it's the boot seal. I didn't get to the boot release cable, but I'll apply some flowable silicone next time I am under the wheel arch.
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PostPost by: AussieJohn » Sun Mar 18, 2018 3:07 am

I cut the plastic trim so that it only had the vertical bit behind the trim then used more of the sealant/adhesive to hold it; no problems.
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