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SE Glass Tint

1881 Views 10 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  Vulcan Grey
Just trying to collect some opinions on tinting for the rear quarter windows and "glassback" for my '91 SE.

Currently it's very dark, pretty much opaque unless it's REALLY sunny out, I can just barely make out the headlights on a car right behind me in the middle rear-view at night. You can't see into the interior through the glassback or rear quarters at all.

I like the look but it makes for one hell of a blindspot, especially because I need to trim the outside mirrors inward a little so I can see behind me. Apparently, people love to pull up into that spot and match speed to checkout the car. I've developed the habit of dropping a gear and giving a quick acceleration blast before changing lanes to make sure nobody snuck in there while I wasn't watching.

I've looked at a number of pictures and mine seem to be way darker than OEM. Does anyone know the stock tint (%, I guess...don't know much about tinting). Chime in if you've had yours done and let me know what you used and how you like it.
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I re-tinted my 1/4 windows at 37% IIRC and that is probably a little darker than original, but not bad.

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As Vulcan did I too did the side quarter windoes, dont know if he did the rear window (I did not). I did have the windshield tinted in clear though. It is by 3M and blocks something like 65% of UV and IR. Markedly cooler interior with the windshield done opposed to without.
my rear glass is factory tint as far as I know, and it is less than 35% (as in lighter, maybe 50%+).

I think I'll leave my glass back and rear glass as is, but I do plan on tinting my side windows someday... Too hot in there.
The stock tint on the quarter windows is quite minimal. Most have had aftermarket tint applied.
My opinion is go medium to dark on the quarters, don't tint the rear at all and consider a light to medium on the door glass.
The rear has 2 (or 3)pieces of lightly tinted factory glass that ends up looking light to medium due to the multiple pieces.
The quarters just look better darker IMHO.

Thanks all, much appreciated!

I think y'all are basically in agreement. I like the tint level on Vulcan's rear quarter windows and will probably go with something similar.

I'm curious to see how easy it will be to peel off the rear glass film, crossing my fingers that it will stay in one piece.

The paint on my quarter glass is peeling at the bottom. I read there is a guy in the UK that will re-do them but that doesn't seem practical. Anyone tried to do it themselves?
I have resealed my 1/4 windows, which is also when I re-tinted them.
Here are my instructions

Tools and supplies needed
1)windshield removal knife (see picture)
2)guitar strings 039 nickel plated ribbed
3) wooden dowells 2x with hole drilled for guitar string diameter
4)Sika Flex polyurethane adhesive or other profesional polyurethane windshield
adhesive. I got some from a local auto glass place (Elite Auto Glass). Replacement/01a001sa01100/01a001sa01102.html
5)Sika black primer 206 G+P. I got some from a local auto glass place
(Elite Auto
6)single edge razor blades, utility knife blades, and a handle for scraping
7)sharp pointy awl (poker)
8)sand paper
9)small and medium foam paint brishes
10)Drill & drill bits
11) Manual Rivet gun and aluminum rivets
12)heavy duty caulking gun (home Depot, the kind with the long
handles, not the bent
metal ones)
13)masking tape, fine line and normal
14) window tint, not too dark
15) Window tint application tools, squeegee, soapy water

So first of all you need to remove the 1/4 window. I have attached a
picture of a windshield removal tool. This tool is very handy and
makes it easy to control the amount of force that you apply so that
you don't slip and damage the car (which will happen with a normal
knife). I bought this at an industrial tool supply called Harbour

This kind of knife can't reach all of the areas around the Esprit 1/4
window, so you'll also need a bunch of guitar strings (nickel, not
copper, with the ribbed texture) I think I bought 039"s??? You'll
also need a couple of short handle shaped dowells with a hole drilled
through each.

What I do is drill out the rivets of the ABS plastic trim pieces along
the leading edge of the 1/4 window. These ABS pieces break easy and
are around $55 each, so be careful. Try and slide a knife under the
plastic piece to cut the polyurethane glue that holds it in place.
There should be only three dabs, one near each rivet.

Once you get the ABS plastic piece off, I start by poking a hole
through the glue at the leading edge of the 1/4 window. I use a small
awl (poker). Once you break through into the hatch area of the car,
cut one end off of a guitar string and pass it through one of the
dowell handles. Take the free end and pass it through the hole that
you poked into the window glue. On the inside of the car, pass the
guitar string through the other handle, wrap it around the handle a
bunch of times and tape it to the handle. Start sawing up and around,
or down and around the 1/4 window. The window removal knife is
particularly helpful along the straight bottom edge of the window. Be
careful not to pull out with the knife or you'll break the glass.
Also be careful not to pull your inside hand toward the car or you'll
cut into the fiberglass. Keep you hand near the glass (on the
inside). The most difficult part is the rear corner of the glass, due
to the tight space available. Don't pull on the glass, it might
break, though it is pretty strong.

Once you remove the glass, you need to trim down the adhesive around
the window frame of the car. In my case I removed all traces of the
glue. You can leave a thin ribbon of the old adhesive to act as a
base for the new adhesive. I didn't do this, so I'm not sure how good
the bond strength is. I do know that the way that I did it was very
strong, it took me hours to remove the original glass, and 5 days to
remove when I glued it in my way (I wanted to make sure it was bonded

For this next step you must have Sika 206 G+P black primer!!!!
I got mine from a local Elite Auto Glass store, they gave me a used can for free.

On the 1/4 window; using masking tape on the outside of the glass,
make a pattern of the black trim around the inside of the glass.
Since you wouldn't be doing all this if the black trim was still
perfectly intact, scrape off all the black trim with a razor blade.
The wide black ceramic frit along the leading edge of the window does
not come off!!! Though do not gouge it with the corner of the razor
blade!!!!! Also scrape off all of the window tint, and glue. And
orange oil based cleaner degreaser will help remove the adhesive.

Now if the car and the windshield are scraped free of black trim and
glue (you may leave that thin ribbon of polyurethane on the car) you
are ready to prime the 1/4 window. If you removed all the
polyurethane from the car, then you'll need to prime the bond area
with the Sika 206 G+P. Mask off all of the parts of the car that you
don't want to get a permanent black coating on. Using a foam brush,
wipe the primer onto the areas where the window glue will be. It
dries instantly.

Once you scrape off all the black on the glass, copy your tape outline
from the outside to the inside of the glass, so that you have masked
off all but where the black used to be. Pour a small amount of the
Sika primer 206 G+P into a small plastic cup. Stick the foam brush
into the primer and wipe it onto the window in one clean easy stroke.
You may want to practice by wiping it onto a newspaper first. The
primer goes on easy, and dries instantly. When dry it is like a
metallic glass coating. Try to do this in one stroke so that no brush
strokes appear. You can always scrape it off and try again. Try and
do this in a thin coat, because a thick line will cause problems with
the window tint film later.

When the black border is done, peel off the masking tape. You are now
ready to have the window tinted. You can either take it to a shop or
do it yourself. The original Lotus tint film slightly covered part of
the black border. In the meantime, keep dust from getting onto the
primed surfaces!!! If you do it yourself, a little hint is trim the
film on the other side of the glass, so that you don't cut the black

Now the window is ready to bond onto the car. Apply the polyurethane
adhesive with the caulking gun, to the outside edge of the 1/4 window.
One bead width will do, you don't need a double row. Make sure there
are no breaks in the adhesive ring. Pick up the glass and press it
onto the car. Press it all around, and space it evenly from the car
along the bottom edge. You can use a couple 4mm spacers (rubber) to
hold it up off of the car's body, though the viscosity of the adhesive
will usually do this. And you can tape the window to the body to keep
it from sliding down. Use your finger tip or rounded tool to smooth
any adhesive, that squishes out around the window, into a fillet like
you would while caulking a bathtub. You can add a little extra
adhesive around the perimeter, and smooth it to make sure there aren't
any voids.

Let it set, check on it for the first hour to make sure the window
hasn't slipped. I would let it cure over night, especially in a cold
garage. Normal drive away time for the Sika adhesives is around 1
hour, but I would let it cure overnight.

Now you'll need to re-rivet those ABS plastic pieces in place, use a
little of the adhesive to hold them in place and seal around the
Very impressive write up! I was a little apprehensive about removing the glass, it really helps to have a detailed guide from someone that's done it, thanks.

Not sure I would have found the Sika Primer 206 on my own, I knew it had to be some special glazing paint but I wasn't having much luck finding anything suitable, thanks again!

Typical shipwrights disease...I'm thinking that I should refinish the inside of the air ducts and fix a problem I have where the little bonded body panel at the forward edge of the duct doesn't fit properly on one side. Looks like someone tried to "adjust" it and broke a big chip off.

I have Jimmy Buffett tickets this weekend so I'll be too intoxicated or too hungover to get anything done but I'll start assembling the required materials.
Managed to find a little time this weekend to pull off the super-dark tint from the glassback and rear 1/4 windows.

It peeled off easily with no tearing and only a little residue that cleaned up nicely with rubbing alcohol.

It looked weird for about 10 minutes until I got used to it, now I love it. Giant improvement, looks better and is a lot more pleasant to drive in traffic. I, for one, will never complain about rear's really not bad at all, especially compared with being restricted to the little opening under the glass with the stupid opaque tint. I feel better about letting my son borrow it occasionally now as well.

I do think I will eventually re-tint the quarters with something light, but no rush as I really don't mind them au natruel.

Once again undoing a PO mod has improved the car, there seems to be a pattern here.

Thanks Travis for the excellent write-up! I finished re-painting the quarter windows last weekend, it was very helpful and they came out looking really good.

Here are a few notes from my experience....

I didn't' have any guitar strings on hand. I went to HF and looked at the tool you suggested...It looked a little brutal to me, I had visions of 10,000 little glass cubes on the garage floor. They had another kit with wire, handles and a knife. I bought it but when I got home I decided the wire was too thick and I didn't like the metal handles. I wound up using some fishing leaders (plenty of those on hand). I used some solid wire to initially push through the seal, then pull back some light braided (probably 50lb) steel line.
Initially I tried cutting with the solid wire but it has very little effect. The thin braided leader cut very easily with a slight sawing motion.

As you mentioned, the top rear corner was the worst part. I found that if I cut the rest of the seal I could rotate the window up and down a little and the remaining seal broke with very little force.

I got the Sika 206 from ebay...$29 for 2) 100ml bottles. Weird stuff. It's very thin and I didn't get super-sharp tape lines using 3M Green. My first attempt produced significant bleeding and some flaking when I removed the tape (probably didn't wait long enough for it to dry). The 2nd try was better after thoroughly pressing the tape onto the glass, waiting 2 hours for the paint to dry and running a fresh razor blade around the tape line before removing it. If I ever do it again I think I would try pin-stripe tape.

I applied one thin coat of the 206 with a foam brush. When I held the glass up to a light there were several little holes and lines in the paint. I had to wait for it to dry completely and give it a 2nd coat.

The Sika Titan urethane is very viscous. I had a really hard time getting it out even with a heavy-duty caulk gun. I cut two 8" pieces of 3/4" PVC pipe and slid them over the gun handle and trigger, made it a lot easier and more controllable.

Of the 2 "ESPRIT" and 2 "SE" badges, my car only had one SE left. I bought the missing ones...they don't match the original SE that I had, the font is a little thicker on the original, just enough that it looks kinda funny on the side with the new Esprit and old SE. OK for now but eventually I'll replace it.

My plastic trim pieces were cracked, patched and re-cracked. The rivets had already been replaced with screws (seems like a good idea). I found it was pretty easy to sand the texture off to make them smooth (matches the window frames better, I thought the texture looked cheesy anyway). I "Vee-d" out the cracks with a dremel and filled them with JB-Quick. I just need to paint them with flat black and put them back on.

All-in-all not too bad a project. I learned a few things, it didn't cost much and the car looks much better for the effort.
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