the doors of a Lotus Europa; the realities.
The hinge arrangements of the Europa are famously naff or brilliant value
engineering depending on who you ask. Two square bobbins are bonded
(inadequately) into the doors top & bottom and a Ĺ inch pivot pin passes up
through a bobbin in the top of the sill into a hollow bolt (hinge bush), whose
movement within the square bobbin allows adjustment of the doorís ďhangĒ.
Then up to a similar arrangement going into the wing. The hinge rod is held in
place by a split pin & on the Twin Cam/Special is supposed to come out
through a hole in the sill usually covered by the trim piece. (fig1) Fig1
In reality adjustment is a nightmare, durability poor & the hinge rod
rusts solid into the hollow bolts & wears away at the bobbins until the time
comes for action.
Classic method (revised)
Remove the trim from the door & the wires from the window motor
(especially the bolted earth). Liberally coat the hinge rod & the nuts with
penetrating oil within & without the door. Repeat several times over several
days. Pray for the gods to smile upon you
Get hold of a 5/16 UNF
bolt at least 4 & ideally 6 inches long & a slide hammer with some way
of attaching it to the bolt head. You also require a very high lift jack &
tall axle stands or a two post lift as you need to get the hole in the of the
sills at least 18inches/50cm in the air. Remove the sill covers, drilling out
the pop-rivets in the arches, pulling off the clips attaching the bottom edge to
the sillís flange & pulling the covers carefully off where they have been
glued along under the chrome trim. Screw
the bolt into the bottom of the hinge pin & hammer it out. Donít forget
the door is heavy & up in the air; you will need help to bring it down
safely. Donít use mole grips or pipe wrenches in the door as the burrs you
raise on the hinge pin will ensure you canít pull it out.
the Door the Neo Classical Method
If you canít get the pin out you have to cut it in situ. I used a
padsaw with replaceable hacksaw blades. Open the door and tape a piece of sheet
metal on the sill between the door and sill at the hinge pin to protect the sill
from the saw your going to cut the pin with. Place a hydraulic jack under the
door a raise slightly for clearance. Using a fine metal blade cut the lower pin
first then the upper. Donít forget that the cutting stroke needs to be towards
you & lubrication with a light oil spray helps a lot. This is a laborious
task so take breaks. An alligator saw would do, but positioning it will be
tricky. Remember you have to go through a washer before you get to the hinge
pin. Try & cut close to the sill/ wing as preserving the head of the hollow
bolt may help later. Get help to catch the door so you donít drop it.
Assuming you now have a door with a seized hinge pin on your bench and
you are doing more than sorting out the hinge you should next;
the door down
the windows isnít too difficult as long as you know the following; The quarter
light is held in by two screws through brackets at the base of the window and a
third rivet on the front edge. The main window is held on by a single bracket on
the front channel and four rivets hidden beneath the glass channel on the rear
& top sections. There also a lot of black gunky stuff you may need to cut
with a sharp knife (being careful not to scratch the frame). The quarter light
comes out first, you have to press on the front end to clear it from the door
surround & then pull it away from the main frame. The window motor &
lever comes out through the ďloudspeaker holeĒ at the front of the door, but
you have to flip it over so the body of the motor comes out first. Be very
careful not to drop the window. To get the door handles off & the door lock
(1Ē/26mm nut) you can look through the tiny hole where the screw that holds
the door trim on & see the nuts illuminated by a ďstick lightĒ in the
bottom of the door. This also makes the door lighter.
you decide to strip the door whilst itís on the car once you take off the
outside handle make sure you flip the door lock pawl closed so you donít lock
the Frozen Hinge Pin
Theoretically you could drill it out with a Ĺ inch drill, but you will
almost certainly damage the hollow bolt & have to remove that too. It is
21mm 9/16 inch diameter which is too big a bit for a domestic drill. There is
also the problem that household drills run too fast & chatter about so it
would be very difficult to do & damaging the bobbin is likely. Grinding off
the head of the hollow bolt is feasible, but you would need to be skilled so as
not to over heat the glass fibre or even set it alight!
You will need a 1 1/8 inch or 29mm spanner. The problem is there isnít
enough room inside the door to get half a flat of movement with the usual length
of spanner of this jaw size. You will have the same problem
with adjustables; short enough to move a flat means not enough leverage
to get any movement. You need both and ideally 2 combination spanners and an
adjustable with jaws at right-angles to itís handle. I also used a Dremel with
a fibre cutting disc & a big nut splitter.
Fig2 Custom Door Adjustment Spanner
Alternatively buy a spare 1-1/8Ē box/open end (combination) wrench.
Cut the end off at a desired length say 5-1/2 inches / 14cm(fig2). Grind the
working ends to the thickness of the jamb nuts and cut the box end open as
shown. These custom spanners are then very helpful for reattaching the door.
Fig3 Access Hole
Cut an access hole for the upper set of nuts by extending the existing
one in the front edge of the door (fig 3); this needs to be big enough to allow
at least half a flat of spanner movement (22
Ĺ degrees). First see if youíre lucky & the nuts come loose following
penetrating oil (on one side of mine they did) you should be able to get them
off with a combination of spanners. Then cut the hinge rod, either using the
Dremel or a hacksaw with the blade inverted going from the hole in the front
edge of the door to the ďloudspeaker holeĒ. Donít cut the hinge pin before
this because the alternative & more violent method goes like this;
Look at the head of the hollow bolt, can you get the bolt & pin to
revolve in the bobbin ? You may wish to use mole grips on the hinge pin to help,
but if you donít need to do this then you can cut a section out to make a gap
to slip the nut splitter through. Then use the Dremel to cut the deepest slit
you can manage into both nuts on the hollow bolt without damaging the bobbin.
You could do a line of drill holes as an alternative, but I believe this would
require a second access hole in the front of the door to get to the lower nuts.
Otherwise you then twist the hollow bolts round so that you can line up the nut
splitter & use it to spread the nuts before using the spanner again.
Stabilise the nut splitter with an adjustable to avoid pressure on the bobbins.
Be very careful that you are always able to hold the hollow bolt somehow to
allow the nuts to move either using a mole grip on the frozen hinge pin or a
spanner on the head. If you end up with a rotating hollow bolt & nothing to
grip I would suggest carefully drilling around whatever remains of the bolt head
to destroy the head & washer so it falls into the door.
that donít work
Impetuosity. Nut splitters alone arenít strong enough & youíll
tear the bobbins out. Heat will set the door on fire. There isnít enough room
for a standard angle grinder & the large diameter of the cutting disc makes
it impossible not to damage the bobbin & potentially a lot of other things
This task will take a couple of hours if it all goes well, a couple of
months on & off if it doesnít. But love of old sports cars is like an
affair with an older women. When theyíre young all you need to do is throw
money at them, as they mature they require more thought effort & attention.