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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Does anyone have experience with the chrome trim that runs from the bottom of the windshield, over the side edge of the roof and ends at the top of the truck? It looks like a L shape with a channel to attach to the fiberglass edge.

Mine is heavily pitted, loose in places and rusted through in others. Obviously I'd like to replace it but it looks like it might be embedded under the windshield and roof. So I'd like to know what I'm getting myself into before pulling a tiny thread and having the car falling apart on me :)

thanks

--Kim
 

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This is available from JAE but be warned its not just a 'clip on' replacement. To do it right you have to drill and remove all of the pop rivets that hold it on and to do that you need to remove the 'A' pillar and 'B' pillar trim pieces as the chrome trim has a larger 'L' shaped profile that tucks under the trim and is both riveted and glued to the body. There is an easier alternative however. You can buy a roll of door edge trim from your local parts supplier in either black or chrome or clear. I went with black, removed the old trim carefully cutting around the areas that were riveted, the installed the 'U' shaped trim in place of the old 'L'. Its not OEM but looks like it is


Does anyone have experience with the chrome trim that runs from the bottom of the windshield, over the side edge of the roof and ends at the top of the truck? It looks like a L shape with a channel to attach to the fiberglass edge.

Mine is heavily pitted, loose in places and rusted through in others. Obviously I'd like to replace it but it looks like it might be embedded under the windshield and roof. So I'd like to know what I'm getting myself into before pulling a tiny thread and having the car falling apart on me :)

thanks

--Kim
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
This is available from JAE but be warned its not just a 'clip on' replacement....
Thanks for the info, I think I'll take your suggestion as it only seems to be decorative.


thanks again

--Kim

Two things I've learnt since owning a Lotus (a) nothing is as simple on a Lotus as you would like it to be and (b) Lotus owners know their stuff.
 

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That chrome trim is shaped like a "J" and holds that entire edge of the capping rail in place. Without it, the inside edge has nothing to keep it from wanting to peel away at high speed. If you just replace it with a piece of door edge molding, you may find the capping rails making funny noises when driving at speed with the headlamps up. The solution then is to try to slip a piece of double-sided tape under the capping rail at the base of the windshield. . . . or you can just do it right and buy the genuine part and spend a day on it.

The chrome trim also fills a vertical gap on the A-pillar between the capping rail and the windshield. The trim is actually shaped like a combination J and sideways T; you cut the T part off of it along the roof, leaving it just a J along the roof, and leave the majority of the T intact where it runs down the A-pillar.

Replacing the capping rail chrome trim:

REMOVAL:
1) Disconnect battery, open door, cover interior.
2) Remove triangular black plastic trim at corner of door/A-pillar.
3) Remove plastic pillar/trim between door and quarter window. Be careful with all of this old plastic trim as it is brittle -- especially when drilling or popping rivets.
4) Remove quarter window. Cover rear compartment interior. Leave hatch open.
5) Gently pull rubber door seal away from capping rail.
6) Gently remove interior trim pieces along the sides of the roof. Pull them away horizontally. Put them where they won't get dirty and full of rivet shavings. Note where the wires are for the heated rear window and interior lamp so you don't hit them with the drill.
6) Drill out rivets holding capping rail in place (on the black underside of the capping rail).
7) The capping rail is almost free. Now, all that's left is to cut the silicone seal that is still holding it to the car body. Use a blade or a wire and take your time.
8) Once the capping rail is free, the remnants of the chrome trim are exposed. Mark or somehow make note of the trim's position on the car body -- especially where it exactly starts at the base of the windshield, and how far inward to the roof it is located. Be as precise as possible for good fit and finish when the job is done.
9) Drill out the rivets holding the trim in place. Try to not enlarge the holes when you do.
10) Remove all debris and remnants of glue and silicone.

REPLACEMENT:
11) Position the new trim piece along the A-pillar/roof, referencing the mark you made at the base of the windshield. Just a sort of rough "test fit", as you won't be able to position it along the roof until the T is trimmed. Compare to the original piece as to where (how far up the windshield) it previously had the T portion trimmed off. If the original is in such bad shape that you can't tell, estimate how much of it will need to be left on to fill the visual gap as you go up between the capping rail and windscreen trim.

12) Use scissors to carefully and smoothly cut the T portion off STARTING AT THE BACK of the car and working forward toward the top of the windshield. It needs to be trimmed especially closely, carefully and neatly at the curve going from roof to windshield. The trick when trimming this piece is to cut it close and even without cutting it so close that you expose the foil encased within the plastic. Your cut should taper off, leaving the T to remain, somewhere near the top of the windshield (varies by fit and finish of each car individually).

13) With the chrome strip now trimmed, you should be able to position it correctly along the car. Hold it in place with pieces of tape and get a good fit. Sometimes it can be a little awkward at the bend from roof to windshield. Try to place it exactly where the original was. Again, hold it in place with strips of adhesive tape.

14) Test fit the capping rail. Slip it into the trim and hold it against the same spots where it was riveted before. Make sure it looks and fits good (i.e. same as before). If the chrome trim is too far in, the capping rail won't stay in the J; if it is too far out, the capping rail will be stressed and look awkward.

15) Place the capping rail aside, and, confident that the trim is in the right place, mark on the trim where the holes in the body are located. This is so you can reuse the original holes rather than drill new ones and introduce potential roof leaks.

16) Drill holes in the trim.
17) Before you reinstall, dab some silicone in and around each hole in the roof where a rivet will go. This is VERY IMPORTANT, as otherwise your roof will leak. Use another drop of silicone RTV on the hole around the trim when you put the rivet in. Once the rivet is fastened, dab some silicone on/around it on the underside (inside the car).
18) When reinstalling the capping rail itself, USE LOTS OF SILICONE RTV. Black is the ideal color. Again, THIS IS ESSENTIAL to prevent massive roof leaks. Note that the most critical part is the vertical mating surface. Also note that that's where the rivets go through.
19) When reinstalling the quarter window, use fresh sealant as necessary. If your quarter windows are held in by screws in the rain gutter above, those will need silicone to seal them. The correct silicone there is clear.
20) When reinstalling the black pillar trim between the door and quarter window, fill it for the most part with black open cell foam air filter element (google --> images if you don't know what I'm talking about). The one perfect, low mile, undisturbed S1 that I briefly owned had this still inside those pillars; I presume that it long ago disintegrated in all the other cars. It's presence reduces (slightly) cabin noise while still allowing air flow.
21) When reinstalling the plastic pillar trim, take care not to crack or split it when putting the new rivets in.
22) Dab a little bit of black paint on all of the rivets.
23) For reinstalling the triangle black trim at the front corner, 3M makes a black molding tape that is almost a dead ringer for the original.
24) Reinstalling the door rubber seal: pull out as much of the old silicone from inside of the channel as possible, put a new bead of clear silicone inside the channel (of the rubber trim), and press it in place on the car.

A lot of details, but attention to detail is the difference between a crappy, noisy, leaky Esprit with ill-fitting parts and one that looks and behaves at least as good as it did from the factory.

Cheers,

Tony K.
 
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Some pics of replacement

Hi All,
Just want to add some pics of the actual replacement to supplement Tony's excellent description.
It's not difficult, just very fussy, take your time, walk away, have a beer, etc.
Regards
Jeff
 

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I was checking into replacing the missing ones on my S car, until I found out the cost and labor involved per side. While I'm sure there are better options available, I ended up using screen spline (would prefer smooth rather than ribbed but can't find it). IMO it looks good and was very cost effective.
 

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