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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
searched around in this forum, looking how to remove those side panels above the door sills where the AC vents are and such... would love to be able to get in there with some padding to alleviate this one really bad rattle i have.. :-D

thanx guys.
 

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searched around in this forum, looking how to remove those side panels above the door sills where the AC vents are and such... would love to be able to get in there with some padding to alleviate this one really bad rattle i have..
There are two Posix head screws (look like a Phillips and a Phillips head screw driver will usually work with the smaller ones) that attach the bottom of the panels to the dash. They are located at the front of the "cubby" on each side. The screws point "up" so you need a short driver to get to them.

Once the screws are out, the bottom pulls out and then the top unhooks. Installation is the reverse.

While you are in there on the passenger side, you might want to lengthen (or at least unwrap) the alarm antenna to increase the range of the remote: http://www.lotustalk.com/forums/f320/increase-range-your-remote-17002/
 

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Is this the procedure for both the small access panels, as well as the larger AC vent surround/panel? I've removed the access panels and sills, but the larger end panel removal eluded me. It seemed it might be necessary to remove the airbag panel to remove the right side, due to the overlap, and all the intervening panels before being able to remove the left side. The small panels are sufficient to allow you to get wires from below to above.
 

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Thanks. I had seen this before, and it seems it is necessary to remove the airbag cover to remove the passenger AC surround/panel, and then all other panels to remove the driver side AC surround/end panel. They appear to all overlap with the airbag cover as the outermost piece. Brilliant!
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
There are two Posix head screws (look like a Phillips and a Phillips head screw driver will usually work with the smaller ones) that attach the bottom of the panels to the dash. They are located at the front of the "cubby" on each side. The screws point "up" so you need a short driver to get to them.

Once the screws are out, the bottom pulls out and then the top unhooks. Installation is the reverse.

While you are in there on the passenger side, you might want to lengthen (or at least unwrap) the alarm antenna to increase the range of the remote: http://www.lotustalk.com/forums/f320/increase-range-your-remote-17002/
thanx,

ill look over the alarm range thing tomorrow... could use more than 5ft range.lol.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
spent an hour on the car in 100* temps... had a weird sound, was trying to get rid of it... after hour and like 15 cuts bleeding everywhere... sound still there, LOL.. im just gonna leave it alone, those panels are such a bitch especially the way the screws are setup.. gotta remove those bottom screws (suck) and back screws.. and then the airbag cover is over everything so thats a pain.

i guess i should have expected it, but man that was a bitch.
 

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Did you eventually get all the panels off? Looking at the dash this morning, it seemed like the driver's side might be able to come off independently of the other panels, but the passenger side is definitely behind the airbag cover. The clips to hold the airbag cover on are single use only.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Did you eventually get all the panels off? Looking at the dash this morning, it seemed like the driver's side might be able to come off independently of the other panels, but the passenger side is definitely behind the airbag cover. The clips to hold the airbag cover on are single use only.
i was going to pull airbag cover and then said F it and put it all back together.. i added like 2 ft of felt tape to remove rattles BUT it only helped a little..

ima just live with em, only bad sounds when on rough rough roads.
 

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Ok, I need a little more detail because I'm not so handy. If you want more information, here goes:

What you'll need:
Posix driver (although a Phillips will do in a pinch)
A small standard screwdriver will come in handy to disconnect electrical wires (driver's side only)
Adjustable wrench (driver's side panel only)
1/2" adhesive foam weather seal
Replacement panels (Lotus Garage)

Ordering the parts:
Many thanks to Chris Mackey for the referral to Lotus Garage and the advice to buy replacement parts rather than trying to glue broken clips back in place. Her link to the parts can be found here. In response to the question on which version to get, I avoided the Senosoft for my 2015 Elise and the standard finish was perfect (Part 19 for the driver side and Part 20 for the passenger side):
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About $10 for the passenger panel, $25 for the driver’s side and $15 for shipping from the UK. Took about three weeks to arrive which isn't bad considering it had to pass through US customs. Since it was a cosmetic repair, I wasn't in a hurry. The folks at Lotus Garage were kind enough to put the part labels on top of masking tape so it was easy to peel off without leaving any residue.

Passenger Side:
This side was easy. Two Posix screws up inside the change cubby. It's a little awkward getting to them, but outside with light it wasn't too bad. I found I could use a standard-length Phillips screwdriver and get them out without trouble.
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When I took it off, I noticed there was some foam stripping on the back. I think this both improves the fit and reduces rattling, so I just put in some half inch adhesive weather stripping from the local hardware store. Worked perfect.

Putting the screws back in proved to be more challenging because it was close quarters, and the angle is awkward. It took me a couple of attempts, but make sure the metal clips are aligned with the holes in the dash before attempting to put the panel back in or you'll never get the screws to line up. Put the bottom into the cubby first, then bend the top slightly to get the top plastic tabs in place (careful not to break them!) and then gently push the bottom into the cubby until flush with the dash and you can replace the screws.

Driver's Side Panel:
This side was a bit more challenging because of the electrical components. I ended up disassembling more than was necessary in my ignorance, but here are the important parts. First, if you have a cup holder jammed into the cubby, you’ll have to remove it. I think this may be aftermarket, but it uses a small rubber ball to hold it in place. Just push down gently and pull it straight out… then toss it, because it keeps getting in the way.
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Now you can remove the panel by unscrewing the two Posix screws just like the passenger side. When you remove the panel, be gentle, there are a few wires connecting things.

Good news is the headlamp and side lamp wiring are clearly labeled. You'll want to disconnect these, but the green clips are tricky. I used a small standard screwdriver to gently lift both the thin tab and the small square behind it to slide the male end (attached to the panel) out. Here's a close up:
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Remember to get both the thin plastic strip and the inside square to lift slightly to pull it out. Should look like above when it's out. I pulled too hard on one of them and broke the clip. If you do that, don't panic, you can use a little electrical tape to hold it in place after you plug it back in. There’s also a small black clip with the headlamp plug but that was the easiest to unplug.

You'll want to remove the block on the back of the start button before you start unscrewing it. There are two squares that look like they might be tabs that require pushing down to unclip the block from the start button, but only one is required. If you're not sure you have the right side, flip it over. The correct one is more obvious:
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Finally, you’ll see three small electrical boards that support the side and head lamps. A 1/8 turn with an adjustable wrench will suffice to loosen them so you can unscrew by hand and pull all three panels off:
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Don’t forget to carefully peel the light labels off the old part. An LED on the circuit will light it up to indicate which lights are on so you’ll want to transfer these to the new panel.

I put weather stripping on the back of this panel as well and then reinstalled the electrical components. Make sure your start button is level and don’t mix up the light indicator labels. Those are the small things that will drive you nuts later after everything is installed again.
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Plug in your light switches and your start button. Gently push the wiring back into the dash and reinstall the panel just like you did on the passenger side.
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Last remaining step is to start it up and make sure everything is still working. Total elapsed time for a complete beginner was roughly 90 minutes. Good luck!
 
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