Lotus Excel (Elite and Eclat) Replacing your window frames - a short guide.
Update - 25/Aug/2022 - having inspected the first set of frames ever fitted (in mid-2016) off the car recently, we now recommend adding a few extra coats of paint to all mounting brackets and the trailing edge captive nut. This may help to prevent the powder coat being breached by washers and setscrews during fitting, with resultant water ingress and corrosion. Alternatively, grease or other water-repellent should probably be applied to these areas immediately after fitting and at regular intervals as part of a major service.
We also recommend that you inspect frame mounting points every few years (max. 5) whether you've fitted replacements or not.
(Please see the Shop page for information about pricing, stock levels and ordering.)
Removal of old frame
WE ACCEPT NO RESPONSIBILITY FOR ANY UNPLEASANT DISCOVERIES ABOUT THE STATE OF YOUR DOOR BEAMS.
Disconnect the battery. You're going to be working with the doors open, so the interior and door lights will be on and draining power if you don't.
Remove the outer weatherseal strip which runs along the top of the door skin, and put it to one side.
You should be able to see the two self-tapping screws which hold the door skin to the frame at the A and B pillars. Remove these.
Now you can remove your door card. On Excels there is a single screw through the "cup" for the interior door release handle and 3 screws around the edge (two underneath and one above the door latch). Once these are released the card can be tilted and lifted up off the door skin. At this stage, the wiring for switches and speakers should be visible and will need to be disconnected.
Now you should be able to see the access holes (some with grommets/bungs) for the window frame mounting screws. Don't do anything with these yet!
Remove the large access panel near the centre of the door to reveal the electric window motor and regulator (1). Once this is visible, reconnect the window switches (if necessary) & battery and position the regulator so that all 4 of the mounting bolts are accessible. Disconnect the battery and switches again.
Unplug the motor from the wiring loom, remove the 4 mounting setscrews (1) which hold the mounting plate to the door beam and carefully slide the regulator out of the door skin (2). Have your extra pair of hands hold the glass in place as you do this. Once the regulator is out, slide the glass to the top of the frame and tape it in place with 3 or 4 strips of tape over the top of the frame onto both sides of the glass (3).
[Optional] If your lift channel (attached to the drop glass) or regulator show signs of excessive corrosion or wear, now is the time to find replacements.
[Optional] If your window motor and regulator haven't been serviced/overhauled recently, now is also a good time to strip them, remove any signs of rust and replace the old sticky grease with something a bit slipperier. Carefully note the orientation of the spiral spring before removing it to clean it.
If your door mirror is the "through the glass" type, you will need to remove this too. Both types are held with a single bolt which can be found inside the interior mirror trim.
Now you can release the setscrews which hold the frame in place. There are 5 which go through the frame into the door beam (2 on the front leg, 2 on the middle and 1 at the base on the rear leg) + 1 which goes through the door skin at the top, above the door latch, into the frame (4,5). BE CAREFUL as you release these - there may be a number of washers used as shims/spacers at various points. you should replace these, exactly as they were, to ensure smooth running of the glass after installation of the new frames. Also, note which of the two mounting lugs at the base of the front leg was used - your new frame should use the same position when fitted.
Finally, to get enough clearance inside the door to get the frame out, release the door latch from the end of the beam, unhook the rod from the central door locking actuator, and undo the three screws which hold the interior door handle to the door.
Once all that is done, it should be possible to wiggle the frame out of the top of the door skin. You may also find that a large piece of foam wants to come with it. This is a factory-fitted rust enhancement device, and we recommend that you get rid of it (it actually seems to be sound deadening and its function can be replicated/improved by lining the door card instead of putting a moisture trap into the door itself).
Lay the frame on a large flat surface and remove the drop glass by sliding it out of the channel.
You may be lucky and find that the old Solbit that is supposed to hold the quarterlight in place is so far gone that the glass just pulls out. However, it's more likely that you'll need to carefully hack away the Solbit to release the glass. It may take some time. If you want to get the new frames in quickly - get some replacement glass from the usual suppliers, but be aware that the printing on any replacement glass may not match the rest of the glass on your car.
Even if you have new run channel (the felt bit - you need 2 metres per door, mitred to fit into the corners (6) + about 8 extra 1-2cm pieces in total), remove the old channel from the frame to assist later and to act as a template for any new channel you intend to fit.
Now, clean everything thoroughly to remove traces of old adhesive, algae etc.
DO NOT BOND THE QUARTERLIGHT GLASS INTO THE FRAME YET. The frame needs to be fitted to the door beam before any bonding is done.
Carefully insert the drop glass run channel into the frame, ensuring that the corners are properly formed and that there are no bulges or distortions which will cause the glass to stick or run slowly. The felt channel should "pop" into place and be held in by the shaped metal section without any need for adhesives.
For the quarterlight, take a few of the extra pieces of run channel and insert them into the front and upper channels (we suggest 2 in each). These will help to centralise the quarterlight in the frame when the bonding agent is applied.
Insert the two pieces of glass into the run channels that you have installed. Check that the drop glass can move freely and, ideally, will drop under its own weight. If it won't - you may have a problem with an overly large or incorrectly installed felt run channel. N.B. a new channel may feel quite tight, but should ease as the glass is moved and up down in it a few times. A spray of silicone furniture polish or similar may help.
Once you are happy that both pieces of glass fit correctly, use tape to hold them in place for the next operation (7).
Now, with the help of an assistant, lower the frame into the door skin. You will need to pull, push and ease it around various obstructions, but it will fit. Line up the captive nut on the trailing edge (door latch end) and insert the appropriate setscrew to hold the frame in place as you work on the others. This sets the initial position correctly and can be adjusted easily later.
Working carefully so as not to scratch the powder coat, manipulate the frame so that the mounting lugs line up with the bolt holes and reinstall the shims between the frame and door beam before inserting and tightening the setscrews. We recommend that you use new setscrews if possible.
Once the setscrews are tight, check the drop glass movement again. If it is tight, you may need to change the shims to alter the relative angles of the frame "legs" to free it up.
Re-install the window motor and regulator to hold the drop glass in place and connect the motor and switches so you can check that the glass runs smoothly as your perform the final adjustments. Don't forget the battery! (Tip: If the glass appears to tilt and stalls the motor part-way down, release the rear lower screw by a couple of turns and let the glass drop fully down before tightening the screw again.)
Re-attach the door latch to the door beam and check that the frame looks correctly aligned when the door is shut, including checking the fit against the door seal. Again, changing shims, or adjusting the exact position of the mounting lugs may be required to get the fit you want. After any adjustment, check that the drop glass still runs smoothly.
Once you are satisfied that the frame is correctly aligned, inject some Tiger Seal, Sikaflex or similar window adhesive around the quarterlight glass, on both sides and leave to cure overnight. It doesn't need to be completely surrounded, but a few good "blobs" on all 3 edges, on both sides of the frame will do the job. Remove any excess as quickly as possible.
Use two blobs of the adhesive to attach the outer door skin to the frame where the self-tapping screws were used. (This should avoid corrosion being introduced at these points in future). Use clamps packed with card or towels to hold the skin in place against the frame until the adhesive has cured.
Once the adhesive has cured, use a good quality black silicone sealant to fill the remaining gaps around the quarterlight glass and give a good weather tight seal. Allow this to cure for a few hours, ideally overnight again.
Finally, re-attach the interior door handle, re-install the door mirror (if necessary), reconnect the central lock actuator rod and replace the inspection covers in the door skin. Then reconnect the wires to the door card components and re-install it.
Lastly, clean up the exterior weather strip and re-attach it to the outer skin using a silicone sealant to stick it in place if yours is not the clip-on variety.
Applies to part numbers:
A001 G075U0701F - Door window frame, LH
G075U0700F - Door window frame, RH
This guide is based on an Excel. Elite & Eclat are similar, but please refer to your service notes and parts manual to check detail before commencing.
Some operations require an extra pair of hands. Read the guide completely, first, to be sure where they will help.
Frames supplied are made to the last (1983) G075 specification on the original jigs so should fit all cars. They will not be an exact match for the frames used on cars prior to 1983.
Handling note: Although the powder coat on your new frames is quite tough and durable, it can be scratched by metal tools. If this happens, we recommend that you paint the affected area immediately and allow it to dry before continuing. Please take your time, try not to force things and use soft faced tools (rubber, plastic) if the new frame needs to be "persuaded" into place at any point.
For new frames, please check the ebay store: https://www.ebay.co.uk/sch/lotuseliteeclatexcel/m.html?_nkw=&_armrs=1&_ipg=&_from= or use our contact form to enquire about availability.
If you need new felt window channel, try Woolies 317 : https://www.woolies-trim.co.uk/product/1485/universal-window-channel
Thanks to Brian Swankie for his invaluable contributions to this guide.