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rust on A-post


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  • Gold FFM

I was doing some interior work on my Esprit today and got a very nasty surprise. When I peeled back the carpet from the bottom of the A-post, I found a lot of rust. The bottom part with the bolts just above the sill has all but disintegrated. Like many cars it seems it is made of layers of folded metal, so if moisture gets in there it starts to corrode inside out. Glass debris suggests my Esprit has had a broken windshield at some point, I never found signs of leakage but it is certainly possible. The car is used a lot and she spends most of her time with me outside, so she's no stranger to rain.

Regardless of the cause, this needs to be fixed. The bottom door hinge also attached there, so there is quite some stress. I can't find a replacement part (like I would for a Range Rover) and I'm not even sure if the A-post can be removed or is bonded into the GRP. Anyone had a similar problem and if so, how did you solve it? All tips much appreciated! I have many plans for my Esprit, both to upgrade her and to take her on long roadtrips, so she needs to be in the best shape possible, for many years of driving pleasure.

Filip

I have made many mistakes in my life. Buying a multiple Lotus is not one of them.

 

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  • Gold FFM

Thanks for that Tim! My Esprit is a '89, so a Stevens. I looked in the parts list but couldn't find anything, I'll have another look with the part numbers you've provided.

I do hope they're only bonded and not glassed in!

Filip

Edited to add: just did a cross check and those part numbers fit a Stevens body as well. And they're in the parts lists, I just didn't think to look at the door section...
Once again, thank you very much, this will help me sleep at night knowing there is a fix. 🙂

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I have made many mistakes in my life. Buying a multiple Lotus is not one of them.

 

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I can vouch that the door posts on S2 were bonded in, not glassed. One of the numerous fixes I have done was to knock free the posts after landmarking for replacement, clean them thoroughly, paint over and re-attach with abundant epoxy adhesive. No way I consider glassing them in, that's not sufficiently protected from future corrosion. It is clear that Esprit owners should be ever curious about how and where water intrudes into cabin spaces.

Cheers

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  • Gold FFM
On 09/02/2022 at 01:20, drdoom said:

I can vouch that the door posts on S2 were bonded in, not glassed. One of the numerous fixes I have done was to knock free the posts after landmarking for replacement, clean them thoroughly, paint over and re-attach with abundant epoxy adhesive. No way I consider glassing them in, that's not sufficiently protected from future corrosion. It is clear that Esprit owners should be ever curious about how and where water intrudes into cabin spaces.

Cheers

Any pointers on how to get the old A-posts out? Without doing too much collateral damage...

I have made many mistakes in my life. Buying a multiple Lotus is not one of them.

 

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I found that knocking at them smartly from the side with a block of wood and heavy hammer would eventually overcome the original bond. One wants to deliver the impact force as shear to the assembly joint. This did not tear out any GRP of consequence in my case. After this, clean the posts of all corrosion thoroughly and paint with underside to be bonded masked ( raw steel for the bond ). Final stages of prep are to strip clean and coarse sand to key both surfaces thoroughly. Seek out the best structural epoxy adhesive to reattach and take great care in seeing that the posts are well located as the adhesive sets. Excess epoxy extruding out the fore and aft post edges will confirm the joint is well covered and improve certainty in terms of collision safety, as I see it. 

Cheers  

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 10/02/2022 at 17:04, drdoom said:

I found that knocking at them smartly from the side with a block of wood and heavy hammer would eventually overcome the original bond. One wants to deliver the impact force as shear to the assembly joint. This did not tear out any GRP of consequence in my case. After this, clean the posts of all corrosion thoroughly and paint with underside to be bonded masked ( raw steel for the bond ). Final stages of prep are to strip clean and coarse sand to key both surfaces thoroughly. Seek out the best structural epoxy adhesive to reattach and take great care in seeing that the posts are well located as the adhesive sets. Excess epoxy extruding out the fore and aft post edges will confirm the joint is well covered and improve certainty in terms of collision safety, as I see it. 

Cheers  

@Escape Don't forget there is two small screws holding it in place through the 'A' post GRP ..    i also covered this and how to do in the Oops crash bang repair thread .. on page 3.

hope that is of help 

 

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Interesting point, DL. I did not find screws when tearing down my posts but it's perfectly sensible that this would be highly advisable for the sake of assured location. Perhaps I've forgotten, perhaps Lotus did use these and I missed spotting them. Will take a look at the shell later today.

Cheers  

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16 hours ago, drdoom said:

Interesting point, DL. I did not find screws when tearing down my posts but it's perfectly sensible that this would be highly advisable for the sake of assured location. Perhaps I've forgotten, perhaps Lotus did use these and I missed spotting them. Will take a look at the shell later today.

Cheers  

You can see the two countersunk screw holes either side of the earth strap lug in the photo ..  When Esprit have been repainted these can get disguised by paint and need cleaning out before removal .   There is very little bonding to the GRP body and releases quite easy ..  As part of the crash structure its strength come from the cross beam and sill anchor plate, along with the alloy door bar when closed..  In the case of this Esprit in pic, the sill anchor plate had rotted out . A rear quarter impact pushed on the door bar and the 'A' post bottom was not secure. As a result the whole structure moved forward damaging all the front arch and floor section along with the front wing ..  I doubt if any of that damage will have happened if the sill anchor point was as per design spec.   See Pic's

DSCN0728.JPG

 

DSCN0349.JPG

 

DSCN0630_LI.jpg

DSCN0698.JPG

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  • Gold FFM

It took me a while to figure out what exactly I was looking at, then it struck me the door is removed in those pictures! Located the screws on my car, heads seem OK so fingers crossed they'll come out without too much of a fight.

Thanks again for the good advice!

Filip

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I have made many mistakes in my life. Buying a multiple Lotus is not one of them.

 

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