Lotus Elan Central
Top/Hood Seal Fixes

I had mentioned my solution previously over the years but I have yet to hear anyone trying it. I have stopped all leaks from the 'A' pillar by making one modification. Here it is: the idea of using the drain holes at the 'A' pillar is ridiculous. The 'A' pillar holes assume that they should/could/would drain the water when the water collects there. I attacked the problem by deciding that instead of trying to drain the water, I would PREVENT the water from ever collecting. I determined the reason water collects is the seal on the hood does not press against the windscreen rail effectively. This is probably due to shrinkage over the years. Instead of modifying the hood seal, I decided to ADD a seal to the windscreen edge. Using a standard D profile seal (found anywhere on the internet, catalogs or scrap yards) I attached the seal strip the whole length of the windscreen edge. I used 3M automotive seal adhesive. The first time I tried to close the hood, I thought I made a mistake. It was really hard to close...but really really tight. Over the course of 3 months, it became easier. 2 years later and I still do not get any leaks or otherwise known as the "Wet Knee Syndrome." See the pictures below to better explain the process.

Here are the other pictures for the A pillar mod:

top seal mod image 1  top seal mod image 2

top seal mod image 3

The instructions to the mod are quite simple:
  • Locate a strip of D-profile seal/gasket equal to the width across the top of the windscreen (approximately 1 inch wide).
  • Use 3M (or like) glue and attach strip to vertical edge of the windscreen lip.
  • Trim ends and glue them closed.
  • Let dry per glue instructions. Use as normal but realize that the added bulk of the seal will make closing top (hood) more difficult (and hence watertight).
  • Over time, it will be come easier to close the top (hood).

- write up by Scott

The standard solution to water leaks at the top of the A pillars is to apply a suitable amount of Sikaflex 221 onto the seal above the drain holes in the windscreen header bar and as far along as you want. Apply cling film over all of the Sikaflex and close the hood. Leave for a few hours for the Sikaflex to dry then open the hood and remove the cling film and you should in theory have a seal that is contoured to the shape of the hood seal. I also found that water could also seep through the stitching holes at the very corner of the hood where the side windows meet the windscreen header rail and the side gutter is formed. I applied Sikaflex to the outside of the hood material at this point and managed to make a neat job of it and have had no leaks for 8-9 years. Oh, and I forgot to add the use of copious amount of silicone grease Dow Corning MS4 wiped onto all of the seals really helps keep the water out. - Richard Steele

I agree with Scott & to an extent the solution offered by Richard on the hood leaks. Rather than trying to figure out a way to aid the water to drain itself out thru the drain holes, I have also opted to nip it in the bud by preventing the water from getting past the seal between the header rail & the windscreen in the first place. I noticed that due to the age it has lost its ability to provide a good seal. What I've opted to do was to stick on a length of adhesive-backed sponge tape (about 1/8 inch thick) throughout the entire length of the windscreen where it meets the header rail. The sponge tape was about 1 inch wide & continuous for the entire length of the windscreen top. It has prevented water from seeping in between the gap that would otherwise be there. This has worked for me for the entire wet season here where it absolutely pours almost daily for about 3 months or so. Since the sponge tape was so cheap ($2), I opt to renew it yearly when it has lost its sponginess. It has kept me dry 9 out of 10 times when I would have otherwise gotten the "Wet Knee Syndrome"! Hope that helps someone. - Rudz

See here too about re-dyeing your top easily

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