Elise Window Guide Rail Bracket Repair
Problem: The bracket supporting the rear guide rail to the door has broken off the door.
Solution: Epoxy it back to the door.
In the Lotus Elise & Exige, the side windows (#3 in the figure 11.01 below) have two Nylon guide blocks bonded to the lower part of the front and rear edges. You can also see them in the photo of my car's LH window assembly.
These guide blocks have an íSí cross-section (seen in the drawing from the Service Notes below), one cavity of which is bonded to the glass
while the other slides vertically along the edges of guide rails (#18 and #25 in diagram 11.02 below, of the LH door as seen from the outside). The rear guide rail (#25) is secured by an M5 screw (#19) that is fastened through a washer into a bracket bonded to the door.
Unfortunately, neither the washer nor the bracket (pictured below) are documented in either the Lotus Elise and Exige Service Parts List or Service Notes.
I believe the bracket is considered part of the door shell (#1 in the drawing 10.15 below), even though it is not shown. The washer remains a mystery -I think it is acting simply as a spacer to move the guide rail a couple of millimeters closer to the window and further from the trailing face of the door shell.
Welded to the bracket is the nut that receives the M5 screw that secures the rear guide rail. The bracket is angled in such a way that it can be bonded to two of the outboard-facing surfaces of the door shell. Unfortunately, the bonding can separate from the door shell, causing a nasty rattle and a loose window. The door space is so cramped that the rail will have a hard time completely separating from the guide block. If it does, the window glass will probably cant rearward as well.
Here is a picture of the inside of my door where the epoxy delaminated from the door:
My solution to the problem was to re-epoxy the bracket to the door shell. Here is how I did it:
- Remove door card (documented in more detail elsewhere on LotusTalk). On my 2008 Elise SC:
- remove four stainless steel hex screws along the top edge of the door card
- remove one plastic rivet from lower front edge of the door card
- carefully break the velcro along the lower edge of the door card without pulling the door card so far as to break the positioning pin.
- slide the door card rearward off the positioning pin.
- Remove electric window switch from door card and re-install it on the connector, thus retaining the ability to raise and lower the window while still allowing easy access to the door internals. On my 2008 Elise SC:
- From the rear of the door card, press the retaining clips (seen in the picture below) into the body of the switch while simultaneously working the switch through the card towards the front.
- Remove door waist window seal (#6 in drawing 11.01) without bending the internal metal spine. On my 2008 Elise SC, this was a pain in the ass.
- Lower window
- Remove the plastic push-fixing fastener securing the seal to the doors trailing edge. I tried my best to pull the center pin out, but eventually gave up and pried the fastener up with a very small screwdriver. It was substantially damaged.
- Using an interior trim tool, pull the seal off the inboard and outboard edges of the waist opening about a third of the way towards the mirror housing.
- Pull the seal rearwards in a straight line and it should come off.
- Remove plastic vapor barrier. You can just cut it out and replace it (or not), or try to carefully peel it away from the glue.
- Remove window. On my 2008 Elise SC, this was difficult and required a helper.
- Loosen three M6 Nyloc nuts (#12 in drawing 11.01) attaching the window glass assemblyís lift channel (#5 in drawing 11.02) to the power window stud plate adaptor (#27 in drawing 11.02).
- (optional) Loosen the two nuts (#32 in drawing 11.02) attaching the stud plate adaptor to the power window lift mechanism (#26 in drawing 11.02). I had to use a lot of force to loosen them -I suspect Loctite.
- Using the power switch to carefully lower/raise the window to an optimal position while simultaneously jiggling the window and prying with interior trim tools, separate the lift channel from the stud plate adapter OR the stud plate adapter from the window lift mechanism. Good luck.
- Lift window out of door frame.
- Remove guide rail (not strictly required, but useful for maximum access to door shell cavity)
- Remove M5 screw securing rear guide rail to bracket. Your bracket may fall to the bottom of the door shell. The mystery washer may fall into a dark corner of the door shell.
- Remove two block fixing screws from the inboard panel of the door shell (#20 in drawing 11.02) that secure the bottom of the rear rail to the door shell. The two screws are black and are located just above and below the large window rail adjuster stud (#23 in drawing 11.02) visible from the cabin of the car. Note the drawing 11.02 above shows one screw on the inboard panel -there were two on my 2008 Elise SC.
- Extract guide rail, screw, adjuster block, mystery washer, bracket and other miscellaneous **** from the cavity of the door shell.
- Remove the blanking grommet (#30 in drawing 10.15 of the door shell above).
- Remove all the old epoxy from the bracket and rough it up (I used a Dremel tool with a grinder attachment). Note thickness of epoxy.
- Epoxy the mystery washer to the bracket (I used a tiny bit of JB Weld). This will greatly simplify the reinstallation process where the washer would otherwise fall to the bottom of the door shell cavity every time you try to secure the guide rail.
- After the epoxy has set, screw the guide rail to the bracket -this will help position the bracket while itís covered in epoxy in a later step. Experiment with getting the rail+bracket into position.
- Prepare two door shell surfaces (use the hole revealed by the blanking grommet to access the most outboard surface)
- Depending on the state of your door shell surfaces, rough them up a bit (mine was already pretty rough where the factory epoxy delaminated). If any epoxy remains bonded to the door shell, note its approximate thickness before removing it.
- Clean & wipe with acetone, being very careful to not drip any on the paintwork.
- Epoxy bracket to the door
- Prepare the epoxy (JB Weld)
- Apply a small amount of epoxy to the door shell two outboard surfaces where the bracket will make contact and work it into the surfaces to the extent possible.
- Wait to within about three minutes of epoxy's setting time (otherwise it may not be viscous enough for the next step)
- Apply a generous amount of epoxy to the bracketís two inboard-facing surfaces such that the total thickness is about equal to the total thickness of the factory epoxy. My epoxy was not quite viscous enough to get the thickness right, but it was close enough.
- Carefully maneuver the bracket into position through the door cavity and secure it until the epoxy sets.
- Let epoxy set until completely cured -you will stress the bond while reinstalling the window
- Replace window glass assembly
- Attach bottom of guide rail to door shell via the adjuster block and two screws (#20 on drawing 11.02)
- Remove screw (#19 on drawing 11.02) securing the top of the guide rail to bracket to allow maximum play
- Carefully slide window through waist opening of door shell.
- Using the power switch to carefully lower/raise the window lift mechanism to an optimal position while simultaneously jiggling the window and prying with interior trim tools, seat the window assembly lift channel to the stud plate adapter to the lift mechanism and ensure that the Nylon S guides bonded to the window are properly seated around the front and rear guide rails. Good luck.
- Securely tighten the three nuts attaching the lift channel to stud plate adapter.
- Lower the window and screw the guide rail to the newly attached bracket.
- Adjust the rearward cant of the window by pivoting at the forward-most stud of the stud plate adapter -and then tighten both nuts securely.
- Adjust inboard-outboard cant with rail adjuster stud.
- Verify fit by raising the window against top.
- Replace waist seal -carefully.
- Apply some soapy liquid to the painted surface of the door to help the seal slide forward along the waist opening.
- Work the inboard and outboard seals over the door starting about one third of the way towards the front.
- Slide the waist seal all the way forward until it butts up against the door cheater seal (#10 in drawing 11.01) of the mirror assembly.
- Replace vapor barrier
- Replace door card
- Remove power window switch from connector
- Reinstall switch in door card
- Slide rear of card onto positioning pin and reconnect power window switch to connector
- Resecure four stainless steel screws along top edge of card
- Resecure plastic rivet at lower front edge of door card.
F116B0185F Door Glass Assembly, LH (11.01-03)
D116U0005F Guide Rail, door glass, rear, LH (11.02-25)
E117B0061K Door Shell, LH (drawing 10.15-01)
B117U0009F Seal Assembly, door waist, LH Includes plastic fastener (11.01-06)
A100W5196F Screw, M5 x 12, csk. pozi.., rail to door rear (11.02-19)
A907E6285F Nyloc Nut, M6, thin, studplate to mechanism (11.02-32)
A075W5074Z Screw, No,8 x 0.75", flg. pozi, hd., block fixing (11.02-20)
B117U0389F Window Lift Mechanism, electric, LH (11.02-26)
- The Parts List shows two part number for the rear Guide Rails (D116U0005F and C116U0005F R/B). What is the difference?
- Where are all the interior parts (door card, power window switch, etc) documented? Canít find them in the service notes or parts list.
- What purpose does the mystery washer perform?
- Whatís the best adhesive to glue the metal bracket to the door shell?