'06 Lotus Exige headlight attachment point broken - proposed fix - LotusTalk - The Lotus Cars Community
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post #1 of 28 (permalink) Old 06-13-2012, 09:49 AM Thread Starter
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'06 Lotus Exige headlight attachment point broken - proposed fix

While recently removing/replacing the front clam of my 2006 Exige (upgrading the A/C thermostat), I noticed that the driver side headlight housing's top attachment point was damaged; see photo. It is supposed to have a narrow plastic bridge connecting the open ends, to which a speed nut clips to and serves as the fastener for an allen head bolt. The plastic bridge had snapped off from the housing most likely from being over-tightened before.

I have attached a photo of the same attachment point for the passenger side headlight, which has no damage to the attachment point.

I intend to repair the attachment point by using a piece a sheet metal to create a new bridge to which the speed nut will clip to. I'm thinking conceptually something like a crown for a tooth - a piece of sheet metal formed to provide a narrow bridge across the gap and folded down on each side and pop-riveted into place.

Anyone else have this problem and what was your fix?
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2006 Exige - Phantom Black
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post #2 of 28 (permalink) Old 06-13-2012, 10:13 AM
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Head light fix

I had the same issue and fixed them with plumber strap and pop rivits. I wrote it up (with pictures) on this forum somewhere. It works great and seems to hold tighter then OEM.


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post #3 of 28 (permalink) Old 06-13-2012, 11:22 AM
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Gorilla glue and a washer. JB weld or other epoxy. Plastic welder.
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post #4 of 28 (permalink) Old 06-13-2012, 11:39 AM
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I had the same issue with mine. I did what you are suggesting. I used some .030 aluminum I had around and lined the inside of that tab/boss. I epoxied the broken plastic part together then formed the aluminum strap. I rivetted the "legs" of the strap for stregth. Then, I ran a tap through the clip to defeat the constant torque feature and spead it to fit the plastic+aluminum. One drop of blue locktite on the bolt threads at assembly and it's easily seviced in the future. Much cheaper than a headlamp.

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post #5 of 28 (permalink) Old 06-13-2012, 08:24 PM Thread Starter
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Done. There is not a lot of "real estate" on the attachment point. Anything bigger than a 1/8 inch rivet will likely compromise strength. I shaped a crown using 0.03 inch aluminum and attached it using Gorilla Glue and 1/8 inch pop rivets.

Below are photos of the headlight attachment point: prepped and drilled-first picture; the crown installed-third picture; the speed nut in place and headlight ready to be reinstalled-second picture.

Also, I used anti-seize on the allen bolts in order to minimize any binding / torquing of the fasteners in the event I have to remove the headlight covers in the future.
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2006 Exige - Phantom Black

Last edited by Lotusmotion; 06-13-2012 at 08:28 PM. Reason: details, details...
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post #6 of 28 (permalink) Old 04-14-2013, 05:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lotusmotion View Post
Done. There is not a lot of "real estate" on the attachment point. Anything bigger than a 1/8 inch rivet will likely compromise strength. I shaped a crown using 0.03 inch aluminum and attached it using Gorilla Glue and 1/8 inch pop rivets.

Below are photos of the headlight attachment point: prepped and drilled-first picture; the crown installed-third picture; the speed nut in place and headlight ready to be reinstalled-second picture.

Also, I used anti-seize on the allen bolts in order to minimize any binding / torquing of the fasteners in the event I have to remove the headlight covers in the future.
Whoever designed the headlight covers gave securing them to the clam about 15 seconds thought. Those ABS plastic towers are a pathetic weak point. I've had to remove the headlight covers for one reason or another every year for the last 5 and have attempted to repair them with little success (including Gorilla tape to try and stiffen the towers and epoxying the top of the tower where the clip nut thingy attaches). I'm removing the clam to replace the radiator and *surprise* both fasteners broke off again.

I'm going to try the fixes in this post and hope for better results.

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post #7 of 28 (permalink) Old 04-14-2013, 07:01 AM
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I finally just ran a few screws into mine, there's a couple places you can where it won't show.

Just moved to Phoenix, anyone else here?
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post #8 of 28 (permalink) Old 04-14-2013, 09:14 AM
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I did something similar to that. I beveled the edges of the broken pieces and sanded the surfaces. Used no drip crazy glue (gel type) to fill in the beveled edges. Then I cut up a pop can to use its aluminum. I used a piece of paper to make a template first then drew it out on the aluminum. I also sanded down the surface of the can because it has coatings on it that would inhibit a good adhesion. I made 3 legged pieces to go over that area you have. Once the crazy glue was dry, I used an epoxy to glue the aluminum to the plastic and clamped it in place while it dried, then drilled a hole and slid the nut over it
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post #9 of 28 (permalink) Old 05-27-2013, 06:56 AM
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I ended up with a slight variation to fix this ... I bought a 1" strip of 1/8" aluminum from Home Depot for $6, hammered a bend into it and drilled a hole. Then I attached it to the post with JB Weld - there is a large area of contact so the result is very strong. I did need to trim the original plastic to get the aluminum in the right place but it worked well.

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post #10 of 28 (permalink) Old 06-06-2013, 07:07 AM
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I'm using this sort of steps I utilized a bit of paper to make a template first then drew it out on the aluminum. I additionally sanded down the surface of the can on the grounds that it has coatings on it that might restrain an exceptional attachment. I made 5-6 legged pieces to head over that range you have. When the absurd paste was dry and your work finished.
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post #11 of 28 (permalink) Old 08-01-2013, 03:25 PM
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Removed the covers my first time (though the previous two owners of the 33,000-mile car probably had also done so at least once) and one assembly had two damaged tips in need of repair. Thanks to those of you contributing fixes in this thread.

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post #12 of 28 (permalink) Old 08-02-2013, 05:30 AM
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BTW, I concur with Man of Steel in post #6. For a company acknowledged as an engineering powerhouse to slap something like these two-bit tower contraptions in the car...well, maybe it was an intentional homage to Lotus' kit-car origins.

That the light modules were redesigned in later years is welcome confirmation, though cold comfort to one with the original set-up.

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Last edited by Lyn Vogel; 08-02-2013 at 07:56 AM.
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post #13 of 28 (permalink) Old 08-03-2013, 08:24 AM
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This just recently happened to me as well. I was washing the car and noticed the headlight housing was fogging up. So I was checking to see if the seal was leaking, and sure enough it was completely loose. I noticed it snapped where you show in the pics above.

I have not read through this thread yet, but look forward to the suggestions for a fix.

Right now I have packing tape holding it in place as my Ghetto fix, because I did not want to miss my first local mountain group ride. What fun that was!
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post #14 of 28 (permalink) Old 08-04-2013, 07:06 AM
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One small issue I have is that, in addition to the aft mount, I'll need to fix the forward one as well. And that tower is shaped so that I will have to find a way different than the bent-and-glued aluminum stock method.

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post #15 of 28 (permalink) Old 08-14-2013, 10:59 AM
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Well, I completed the repair, including replacement of the brass u-nuts. All six being crimped, either by the factory or a previous owner, contributed to the black plastic pod housing failing in the first place. The reason: I needed to apply a lot of torque to remove (and potentially reinstall) the pod bolts, thereby twisting the material to its breaking point. Now, new u-nuts, together with a drop of Loctite, should make future headlight bulb replacement super-easy.

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post #16 of 28 (permalink) Old 08-14-2013, 11:40 AM
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LYN,

did you shoot photos? I would love to compare your results with mine:

POST 13,

https://www.lotustalk.com/forums/f259...r-help-146257/

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post #17 of 28 (permalink) Old 08-14-2013, 12:30 PM
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I did not shoot pics, but my repair mimics post #9 above.

As to your difficulty lining up all three nuts for the reinstall, I can't guess. I reinstalled both my pods with a minimum of blind fishing-by-feel for their threads.

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post #18 of 28 (permalink) Old 08-14-2013, 05:37 PM
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I repaired both headlight covers with a sheet of aluminum from Home Depot that I cut into strips with tin snips. I then pop riveted and glued the strips to the ABS "towers" and drilled holes for the nut clips.

I was finally able to reinstall the light covers without fear that they would fall off any minute.

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post #19 of 28 (permalink) Old 12-07-2013, 09:30 PM
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just fixed mine after the headlight cover came off in my hand while washing the car. I fixed the forward mount (which has the curved side to it) using the same method shown in post #9: bending 1/4" aluminum strip and riveting to the mount. the aluminum strip bend is only about 45 degrees instead of 90 used on the other mounts. I cut down about 3/8" of the curved side so that the bent part of the strip fits flush with the top of mount. The side is curved so the aluminum doesn't lay completely flat against it, but there is enough of a contact patch with the side to rivet the aluminum solidly to the mount.
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2006 Sport Elise #47
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post #20 of 28 (permalink) Old 12-07-2013, 10:55 PM
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Sounds like we have all suffered from this. I thought I was just torquing it down too tight at first but after replacing headlight and indicator bulbs a few times it became obvious those posts were crap. Forming the sheet metal bridge and glue was my choice too and so far no issues.

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