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Help, Please! Leak in Esprit S3 - Interior/Exterior/Lights/Glass/Alarms/ICE/HVAC - The Lotus Forums Jump to content
Benni

Help, Please! Leak in Esprit S3

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Hi all,

I'm new to the forum and I currently own an S3 which I have had for just over a year. I am loving the car however have had a recent issue with water ingress into the vehicle. I am hoping that someone on the forum has had a similar issue and can guide me in the right direction to get this fixed. Any help or advice would be greatly appreciated, below I have tried to outline the issue(s) and I have also attached some pictures for reference.

I think I have two sealing issues which are causing water to get 1: into the cabin 2: into the engine compartment. The water in the cabin is the biggest issue and I believe the water in the engine compartment is a potential adjustment to the hinges. I will start with the water in the cabin issue first.

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Water in Cabin

1. I believe the passenger door has a water leak between the seal that runs around the door itself and the seal that’s secured to the body.

I assume what should happen is, when closing the door both seals would press together giving a water tight seal but this is doesn't appear to be the case.

I have poured water over the car to find out where the water is coming in and strangely it is filling the ashtray, however the carpet is completely dry around this area?! (Please see IMG_1644.jpg attached)

If I pour water on the bend I can see the seal initially doing its work by diverting the water down and onto the floor. But then I see some of the water is getting past the seal and into the car.

The point at which water gets into the car is I believe halfway down the A Pillar. So I poured water at the top and it goes through half way down the A Pillar.

The seals appear in good condition and they look to be fitted correctly on the door and on the body. This leads me to believe that while the seal on the passenger side is offering “some” protection, when the water amount gets too much it gets passed. So the pressure when the passengers door is closed against the seal, I am assuming is not tight enough? I've tried moving the latch in and up to get a better seal and I've looked at the shims on the door hinge to see if I can take one out.  Would this then allow the door to be closer to the body thus making a tighter seal, would this work?

I ended up pressing on the window frame, pushing it against the A pillar area and the leak stopped. So the only way I can think of, is to somehow move the window frame towards the body of the car. If I did this, the sealing edge of the window frame should be tighter against the seal along the A Pillar?

I have added an image I found of a lotus door breakdown and wondered if it was of mine (2.jpg image attached)

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Water in the engine compartment

2. When standing at the back of the car, I can see that the lid is ever so slightly up on the left side whereas it's flush on the right side.

I have a small water leak getting to the left side and think the lid needs to be adjusted down to form a tighter seal.

With the lid is up I can see a couple of bolts with black plastic caps which secure the lid to the hinge. Would these be the bolts I undo to adjust the lid so it sits lower?

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Thanks in anticipation, sorry for the essay.

Regards,

Benni

2.jpg

3.jpg

4.jpg

IMG_1644.JPG

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Welcome to the forums, 

Possible leaks could be as you said door seal,   but other causes can be if the aerial is fitted to the front wing, the rubber seal can leak,   also i am sure of memory a pipe from the air inlet for the heater runs down inside and can split/come loose ?  

Also worse case senario would be the heater matrix leaking !

Door seals tend to shrink with age and a gap can form in the join over time  ? 

Also the cant rails, ie the trim that runs along the roof line is pop riveted on, and silicone sealed on the plasti chrome trim, they can leak here also. 

Also, the door has a plastic membrane fitted under the door panel,  remove the door panel and use decent masking/gaffer tape to seal any splits that are normally left after previous work on the doors.

 What you said about the rear hatch sounds about right,  make sure you support the tailgate in an open low postion and support it well, remove the gas struts or it will flex when you undo the brackets on the one side, be careful with the bolts 13mm of memory as they tend to snap or rust in that much that the nut that is glassed in the tailgate will turn under the pressure and fbar it.   Use plenty of penetracting oil.  

Good luck and keep us posted :)

 

 

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The rubber seal that you have on the door is not standard and didn't come on the S3. It is however fairly common to add retrospectively.

Sorry I can't help re the leaks. 

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Have you got aluminium or steel window frames? If steel, the frames may be rotten and need replacing.

However, looks like a pre-85 car (black A-pillar bottoms), so maybe aluminium.

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The seal that runs within the window frame channel is not required for a good water seal.

The frames may not be butting up against the door seal (on the body). How do your windows run? Easy, ie 4 secs or less top to drop or super slow? 

In other words, the frame may have become distorted. It is possible to "adjust" the frame by pushing on it!!! Inside the door are loads of points for frame and window adjustment but I would leave alone if your window runs smoothly. Perhaps try running the window whilsts applying a little lean? Be careful though. My frame fails to make a good seal near the top but I get no water leak, just wind noise so I havnt pushed mine much!

Another easy but non standard fix would be to apply some additional foam to the frame where you think the seal is lacking. You can get 1mm thick which might be enough and with a black frame could be nearly invisible. Too much though and the problem will be transferred elsewhere.

 

Regarding the boot hatch - its horrifically heavy and will break something or you if not properly supported. Have a good look around the inside edge - this is where the 2 halves of the construction were sealed at the factory. If there is a crack in this area, the inner hatch hinge points will be badly rusted for sure. Unless there was a change here from pre-85 to post (mines an 86), the captive bolts on the inside fit on angle iron along with the gas strut support bolt. DO NOT undo all 3 or you will lose the iron inside and have to split the hatch (I know, this happened to me!) Again, if its the same, all you have to do is open the hatch, keep the struts on, Support the weight at the rear, say with rope or a post. Loosen the 2 bolts holding the hinge on the side that is high. This will allow the hinge to be approximated with the front of the hatch, then retighten the bolts. The hinge holes are a little larger than the bolts to allow this, so a washer should be already there. If the bolts are free running, consider exchanging to StSt but only one at a time, see above.

FYI, I also had a leak at the rear hatch, despite a good fit. I fixed it by feeding the seal with plenty of seal conditioner - something like Gummi Pflege Stift. Yes, its a real thing and its spelled correctly!

 

Good luck and welcome to the Forum, get posting!!

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Leaks, all of the above plus:

What can happen is water from the roof can run over the cant rail above the doors, and go into the inside of the door seal U shape where its pushed onto the body. Then runs invisibly down inside the U shape until it exits at the front lower corner and it runs onto the inner sill. 

This can be prevented by pulling off the seal and running some silicone into the U channel then pushing it back on again.

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Hi Everyone

Wow, thanks so much for all your posts and helpful tips .Very grateful for your time.  I'll definitely let you all know if I get the leaks fixed. 

Cheers  Benni 

 

 

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Most Welcome.I'm just happy to see the odd post that I can contribute to in some way!! Quite rare unfortunately.

Best advice though - make yourself a full forum member to access all the forum and benefits. Best few quid you could spend. After a year of ownership, I'm guessing you already have workshop manual , diagrams etc etc?

Then introduce yourself properly, I mean with some photos of your car, where you are, history etc etc. People are genuinely interested.

Si

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Hi Slewthy

ive just paid to become a member of the Midlands Lotus group and will certainly join this one. Someone had said the lotus drivers club is good too, but do you think that would be an overkill? 

And yes, I'll get proper details up soon. 

Thanks

Benni

 

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Dont know, but I did a full resto of my car a few years ago and I would neither have started it nor completed it without the technical support and encouragement of this forum. Priceless.

I have not been in those other clubs. What do they offer?

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Hi All

 

I wonder if any of you great people can help out some more......? On investigating the leak more I have found that there has been some bodge jobs done on packing out the window. I now need to get the window frame out. Has anyone done this and if so how did you get it out?

many thnaks

 

Benni 

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Reove the door trim and plastic membrane if fitted,   Looking at the window mechanism, drop the windon down so you can access the back of the runners, remove the clips and pull the glass plus bottom frame of the runners,  you will have to drop the glass down more for this part.  tilt and lift the glass out. 

The frame is held in by 2 bolts per side that are bolted into captive style nuts in the alloy door beam  :)

.  

 

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While speaking about window frames and removal. Does anyone have a photograph of the inner door handle assembly showing all the rods and bits in place. I have the wonderful task of rebuilding both left and right hand doors which is great as I never dismantled them.

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