Lotus Elan

Yet another post about leaky doors

PostPost by: benymazz » Wed May 15, 2019 1:11 pm

All,

After taking my Elan for its first post-restoration drive through the rain yesterday, I noticed that the doors are leaking significant amounts of water. It is leaking pretty badly around the top of the door near the front—about where the door meets with the bottom of the windshield. It seems that this problem was solved on S3s and S4s by means of a piece of hardware known as the secondary door seal. My car is an S2, so I was wondering, would it be possible to buy the seals for a S3/S4 and drill the proper holes for them in the body and rivet them in? Or am I going to need to make a trip or two to the hardware store and come up with a more creative solution?

Also, if anyone with an S1 or S2 could take a picture of the front part of their door with the door open, I would appreciate it. I get the feeling I am missing some parts, specifically a part that directs the water from the strip that seals the window rail against the windshield to the drain track in the door so that it doesn't continue to run down the trim into the car and getting the side of my leg wet when it brushes against the door. I know that's not very clear, so I'll take a picture of what I mean when I get home.
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PostPost by: Frogelan » Wed May 15, 2019 1:30 pm

Very good question, and I can only guess for the answer!

It does appear to be a weakness that Brian Buckland identifies as being linked to the tolerances (0.4375 inches (11mm) of the door to the sill and the existence of the scissor mechanism on the inner face of the doors.

For the former, I've also been wondering whether it makes sense to have both the early AND the later seals for my restoration project.

For the latter, my reading of this is that if a sealing strip on the windows is used (perhaps one from a MGB), the second problem may be resolved.

I'm fairly sure I have also read somewhere than rain drops down through the front part of the door (ie in front of the windscreen frame.

Has anyone got the authoritative answer (with photos perhaps) ?
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PostPost by: el-saturn » Wed May 15, 2019 5:12 pm

even though elans come from a pretty rainy place: THEY AREN'T MADE FOR RAIN - my s3 got wet once in her lifetime: coudn't find a shelter in an unexpected thunder storm in italy back in 1983! sandy (italians love noisy brits: the cars! not the pint lovers) keep yr elan dry
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PostPost by: Frogelan » Wed May 15, 2019 5:22 pm

I think Sandy is setting us a challenge. That's fine with me!

There are quite a few posts on "secondary seals" and I think the post by Plus 2 seems to deal with leaks from the front of the door is promising : viewtopic.php?f=36&t=31987&start= and the reference elsewhere to the Woolies 265A seal...
Last edited by Frogelan on Wed May 15, 2019 6:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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PostPost by: baileyman » Wed May 15, 2019 6:04 pm

These aux seals are on an S2, too. This may help:

http://www.type26register.com/door_furniture.html

But apparently they leak anyway!

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PostPost by: Certified Lotus » Thu May 16, 2019 12:25 am

I learned very quickly that an S1 is not worth driving in the rain. Water steams from the door seams. There is no way to prevent it from happening. If you compare the S1 doors to the S2 doors you will note a significant change in the top of the door to channel water out of the interior.
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PostPost by: benymazz » Thu May 16, 2019 1:21 pm

Thanks for the replies. I tend to agree with the view that Elans are not meant for the rain, not sure what other peoples experience has been but aside from the water leaking everywhere the tractability becomes awful. I generally don't go above 50mph in light rain and if its raining hard enough that water is starting to pool on the road I don't go above 40mph. It would be nice to have the peace of mind though that if I get caught in an unexpected rainstorm I won't have to spend my evening pulling the floor mats and vacuuming the water out of the felt so it doesn't mildew. I also want to take the Elan on a ~1,500 mile road trip this summer (New York to Indiana and back) and I would like to not have my schedule affected by inclement weather as much as possible.

The photos from the Type 26 Register are very helpful. I see what you mean that the S1 doors do not shed water well around the top compared to the S2. On the S2 Lotus gave us a nice "drainage ditch" that comes in handy if you need to channel away from the inside of the car :lol: .

After some more examination and experimenting last night (adding adhesive-backed weather stripping and pouring small amounts of water around the offending area to see if the leaks got better, moving the weather stripping around, and literally rinsing and repeating) I made a small discovery. It seems like the worst leak is actually coming from a gap between the aluminum that holds the aux seal and the bottom of the windshield seal. It does not help anything that the original aux seals are totally gone as well with only the riveted aluminum plate and some traces of dried cracked weather stripping remaining. I ordered up a set of replacement aux seals yesterday, they will arrive today, and I will fit them and continue testing.

It's supposed to rain tomorrow here :(
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PostPost by: Frogelan » Thu May 16, 2019 5:37 pm

I'm short of experience (and quite a few cogs ;-) ) but this subject cannot be insurmontable.

I'd like to recommend Paul Haigh's excellent video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=--kkeSlUZt0 at around 3mins45 to compensate for my inexperience.

Hope this helps!
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PostPost by: JJDraper » Sun May 19, 2019 11:39 am

Its the same with +2s, but I have noticed that the door seals bed-in after a few years of leaky misery. After 5 or 6 years, the flow has reduced to a slight trickle, even in heavy rain...

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PostPost by: RichC » Sun May 19, 2019 4:18 pm

after much detective work , I discovered the water ingress route to be UNDERNEATH the doorseals .
Problem solved by putting a little sealant on GRP lip before pushing on new seals 8)
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