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Elise S1 Windows, Wipers and Mirrors
WindscreenThe Elise windscreen is about as thin as Lotus could get away with to save weight. This means that leaning on the screen to climb into the car can crack or break the screen over time. Being so low the screen is prone to stone chips. Not all windscreen suppliers have the knowledge and technology to replace a broken screen so check that the company has experience of replacing the Elise screen before you allow them to start work. Replacement screens can often be in short supply with fairly long lead times. The windscreen frame is a single VARI moulding incorporating hollow foam filled sections. It does not offer much protection in the event of the car rolling over.
The laminated windscreen is bonded to the composite frame using betaseal flexible polyurethane adhesive and uses a rubber finisher strip around its top and side edges. Removal of the screen requires that the adhesive is cut using a suitable specialist tool, with access to the screen lower edge available only after the rear end of the front clamshell has been released. All the old adhesive needs to be removed to leave a consistent and flat surface for the new bond. It will take at least 4 hour to fully cure the new bond. When the new screen is being fitted the cant rails should be in place to support the screen header rail. If you don't do this the header rail can flex whilst the screen is fitted, making it very hard to fit the cant rails at a later date or even cracking the new screen whilst trying to fit them. When the rear view mirror is refixed, make sure it is not stuck to the middle of the screen. It should be off-centre about 4-5 inches further away from the driver.
Keeping it clean is difficult and it is also very prone to stome chips. RainEx is an excellent for improved visibility and a regulary application (every 1-2 months) will make a huge difference to the visibility.
Windscreen WiperThe Elise wiper has to cover cover a large area and a highly curved screen. It doesn't do it particularly well but the single blade does meet current legislation on screen coverage. The motor and arm mechanism is from a Citroen AX. The arm is mounted such that lifting the blade more than an inch or so from the screen is not possible.
Most owners recommend a wiper blade replacement and the most popular blade is the Bosch 24" T601 twin blade design. It needs the raised lugs on the blade assembly to be filed down to fit the car. It can be bought from places like Halfords for about £12. The half inch self tapping screw that holds the wiper blade on is prone to rusting. Replace it as soon as possible with a stainless steel equivalent.
The T601 is getting harder to find and may have been replaced by the Bosch 24T which is the standard Bosch 24" blade. To get it to fit, you have to either file off the lip around the hole on the connecting flange or squeeze the two flanges together slightly with some pliers so that it slides up into the attachment on the wiper arm.
As of September 2000 a new wiper blade holder and blade assembly was fitted to the Elise S1 and this is standard fitment on the Elise S2. This new assembly is made by Valeo and is more flexible than those fitted previously.
If you leave the car outside water can collect on the bodywork above the radiator. If the car is warm and you then perform a rapid change in direction the water can drop onto the hot radiator, causing the windscreen to steam up on the outside. This can go on for quite a while as water collected in the radiator air duct is blown up onto the radiator. At speed this water can also be blown up onto the windscreen.
The standard intermittent wipe is about a 5 second delay. This delay is a little too regular for light drizzel or misty days. EliseNet have a solution that adds an adjustable delay from 2 to 20 seconds.
Side WindowsSome owners have had problems with stiff window winders and this is to do with the alignment of the winder mechanism. If left unresolved the winder mechanism may fail and it is best to get it sorted out by the dealer, since cars leaving the factory are not always correctly adjusted. In some cases this may simply be the runners surrounding the window are rubbing and a touch of silicon lubricant can be used to alleviate the problem.
The Elise side windows need careful adjustment to avoid leaks with both the hard top and soft top. The mechanism is not very robust and the rubber guides frequently become out of place resulting in very stiff windows. If this happens do not try to force the winder. Another common failure is the glass becoming detached from the lifting mechanism. The glass is fairly loosely mounted and expect a degree of rattle on closing the door and whilst the door is in place. The lack of window surround on the door is tha main contributing factor here but this feature adds to the general air of openess, especially with the windows down.
The best way to get the adjustments right is to put the hood up, so you can align the window with the side roof bars. To adjust the height of the Elise window when closed you need to perform the following steps:
Rear WindowThe rear winow is not fixed in the mk I Elise and is held in place by simple brackets on the lower edge and brackets on the roll bar cover on the upper edge. A rubber seal around the glass provides the force to hold it in place. Over time this rubber seal can become compressed and result in rattling. It is also essential to place the window centrally when fitting to ensure no rattling occurs. The rear window is glass but replacement 'Sports' polycarbonate windows can be obtained from Lotus and other suppliers.
The rear window is near vertical and very prone to reflections from other vehicles. This can make cars behind you appear in front. Later cars had a rubber seal that angled the glass further away from vertical but this has not really solved the problem. It is possible to apply tints or non-reflective coating to this glass and the process is quite simple, since it has a small surface area, is flat and is easily removed. This will also avoid the problem described below. Companies like MSC Speciality Films produce this stuff in the UK.
Another problem is the rear window breaking in spectacular fashion, showering the driver and car in small pieces of glass. This can not always be explained away by flying stones and movement of the rubber surround seal may cause the screen to contact with fixings and thus place the glass under too much stress. Check the rubber seal carefully. Lots of owners replace the rear window with a Lexan (polycarbonate) equivalent and various companies sell them. Using the original one as template you can get one made up for about £25. Lotus sell a motorsport rear screen but it is expensive and has a cut-out for the roll cage.
Rear-view MirrorThis can sometimes work loose causing it to 'go limp'. This is easily fixed by tightening the allen key. don't do it too hard or you will pull the mirror off. The rear view mirror is not stuck in the centre of the screen. It should be off-centre about 4-5 inches further away from the driver.
Side MirrorsThe are off of the old Rover Metro/100. These can also work loose or droop over time due to the ball joint becoming smooth. Many owners have simply roughened it up again with coarse grain sand paper to improve grip. The mirror glass can be replaced seperately and is Rover part number CRD10012 and costs about £14.
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Copyright © Rob Collingridge 2009 - Last updated 07 Feb 2002