the front clam, Stuck
the cable, Front
Fasteners, Duralac, Arch Protectors (S2)
The Lotus Elise exteral bodywork comprises of a set of glassfibre
mouldings, front clam, rear clam, doors, sills, engine cover and front
services cover. None of these parts are structural.
The Front Clam comes in several different formats. The original
(earlier) clam, the later 111s clam (which has deeper headlamp bezels in
order to fit the headlamp covers more flushly), and an Exige/Motorsport
front clam which is interchangeable with the Elise item.
Earlier cars had a pressed aluminium engine cover, later cars (and
all VVC engined cars) had this replaced with a higher moulded item.
Both the front and rear covers are released by cable operated
latches, both of these cables, especially the engine cover cable can
corrode inside their liners, resulting in 'problems' opening the
for more info
Removing the front clam
See Yvos website (here) for instructions.
This is a common problem, due to it's design which means that water
runs down the door surround and into the mechanism, and rusts the boot
release cable to it's sheath (on earlier cars).
In circa 1999 Lotus "fixed" this by supplying parts that didn't rust,
and my current boot release cable has survived 3 years as opposed to
between -1 week (broke on the PDI!) and 6 months for the earlier
If the boot cable snaps, the easiest way of opening the boot is to
stick your hand inside the drivers side rear wheel arch liner and pull
the cable sheath from there.
Bofore trying the wheel arch method of opening the lid (as described
above), try getting someone to pull the lever as you gently push down
and massage the lid from side to side. There is a knack to this and it
will often work.
When your patience runs out, try a glancing blow - sometimes you'll
frighten it into popping open!
As a last resort, remove the numberplate and make a small access hole
into the boot so that you can reach the cable.
Once the boot is open remove the boot lining, on mine there are 5-6
clips on the back to turn and some velcro over the latch. Then just pull
the boot liner off the lip and lift out.
A 7mm spanner can them be used to remove the stopper on the end of
the cable under the latch.
If you can get all the old inner cable out then just feed the inner
from the new cable into the old outer with it still in place in the car
and refit the stopper unter the latch, this makes the job a lot easier
!!! If not then you'll need to remove the top seat-belt bolt from the
roll-bar (17mm spanner/socket) and remove the speaker. On my S1 this
meant pulling off the grill of the spears and removing 3 phillips head
Get some string and securley tape it to the end of the outer cable,
that way when you pull the old cable outer out it'll be easier to pull
the new one back through.
Now reach in through the speaker hole down into the sill and you
should find a 14mm nut holding the cable into the door-frame. Undo this
nut AND KEEP HOLD OF IT whilst pulling out the old cable outer through
the door sill. An assistant helps here to ensure that the string does
not get caught on its way through.
Reassemble by pulling the new cable through with the string (not
forgetting to thread the nut and washer back on inside the door-frame)
and resecure everything.
I took the inner of the new cable out and greased it up thoroughly
top stop the rust returning.
Theres a lot here and I hope it make sense :-) It shouldn't take you
any more than 2 hours.
The front grille is a wire mesh on the early S1, and a cheese-grater
plastic version on the 111s variant. This note deals with the early S1
It is held in place by plastic screws and grommets into the top of
the clam, and has a couple of designed-in legs at the bottom which stick
into small holes in the floor of the clam. This makes it very easy to
The grille has a tendency to rust, but a coating of Black Hammerite
(or even whatever colour you like) will bring it back to it's prime.
This coating would be well advised on the towing eye as well (but this
latter piece of DIY is probably only advisable when the clam is off to
There are 2 variants to the grille - ones with designed in driving
light holes, and ones without.
Please be aware that this part is relatively expensive from
The rear grilles are mounted to the bodywork in a similar manner to
the front grille, however the uppermost fixings are by steel screw and
rawlnut. This means that they corrode tightly together when not removed
regularly. This can be remedied by exchanging the screw for a stainless
To remove a corroded screw/rawlnut, get some needle-nose pliars and
grip the rubber lip of the rawlnut, whilst unscrewing the screw with a
good screwdriver. Alternatively, use a Dremel and cut off the heads.
(don't bother trying to look for the rawlnut if it goes into the
clamshell - they are 99p each and the old one will probably find it's
way out somewhere!).
The only item of note for the FAQ about the hardtop is to try not to
undo the leading edge bolts all the way when fitting / removing the
hardtop as they have been reported to break off the captive
Stainless Fasteners - Good or
Should I use stainless steel bolts, etc on the aluminium chassis
Well, there's been a lot written about this topic and these notes
aren't going to tell what to do, but they will explain the pros and cons
of stainless fittings in contact with aluminium, so you will be in a
better position to make a judgment.
The Elise originally came with plated carbon steel screws and bolts
for the undertray, etc, and as many folks found out, these rust and
often become difficult to remove. So the obvious answer is to move to
replace them with something more corrosion resistant - stainless steel
is the common engineering alternative.
Which then started the question of possible corrosion between the
aluminium and stainless steel, which is a valid concern. Mostly this
stems from the relationship between stainless steel and aluminium in the
galvanic series. Look at this
page for a brief summary if you haven't seen one before. The basic
message is that if you connect two materials from opposite ends together
in an electrolyte then a corrosion current will form, the magnitude
proportional to the surface areas and spacing between the materials in
Ok ? So it seems obvious, doesn't it ? The most likely grade of
stainless steel you'll use is 304 or possibly 316. It will be in it's
passive state (active state means the protective oxide is removed and
it's corroding, which isn't normal) and hence quite a way from aluminium
in the series. Carbon steel on the other hand is reassuringly close to
aluminium, so there shouldn't be any real corrosion potentials.
Indisputable facts. Case proven, so don't use stainless coupled to
But how come it's used in marine applications, and many others ? Ahh
well, that's magic. The trick is to either electrically insulate the
components, which is quite difficult really when you think of a screw
thread with mechanical loading, or alternatively to remove the
electrolyte which allows the corrosion cell to form.
Keeping out the electrolyte - (salty) water in this case - is a
difficult but more practical solution and what I've personally attempted
on my car. The first time I removed the undertray after about 12 months,
there were signs of corrosion underneath the washers on most of the
bolts. To be honest, it doesn't matter if you've got stainless washers
there or not, if you have a crevice (the washer to undertray joint)
which gets salty water inside, then you'll get an effect called crevice
corrosion. How fast this develops will to some extent depend on the
metals in the joint, but it's a fairly common occurrence. You'd still
have it to some extent with plain carbon steel washers.
And don't say "oh, I'll just tighten it up a bit more" because it's
going to take more force than you'll generate with those small bolts to
completely seal the washers against water ingress.
Personally I replaced as many of these things as I could with
stainless but assembled everything with heavy coatings of grease - even
down the threads and both sides of the trays where possible. After
tightening everything up and re-coating, you couldn't see the bolt
heads. The idea is to keep out the electrolyte, and 3 annual services on
it still seems to be working - the original corrosion hasn't gotten any
Works for me - will it work for you ? Just attention to detail, not
Lotus specify the use of an isolating compound called Duralac when
interfacing dissimilar metals, stainless undertray fastener's are one
example, the wishbone balljoint plinth/front upright is another. Duralac
appears to set like a jointing compound so perhaps best kept off threads
but is probably ideal for preventing corrosion between the undertray
washers and the undertray itself. One benefit of the setting beaviour I
have found is the undertray washers get bonded to the undertray and make
it easier to refit ;-)
You can online order Duralac from http://www.seamark-nunn.co.uk/catalog/items/item1435.htm.
You can also order Duralac from http://www.lightaero.co.uk/las/1/9/105/55?id=11
Arch Protectors (S2)
Templates for S2 Arch protectors can be found here - left, right
Carbon Fibre Vinyl is available here or here, & is hardwearing and effective.
Disclaimer : All information is supplied as a guide only.
No Guarantee as to its reliability can be issued.
You use this information entirely at your own risk.
No Reproduction or Reuse without prior written consent.
© Elise FAQ Team 2002