Excel 1989 roof rail, capping rail removal

Body parts, seats, dash, headlining, windows and stuff!

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Posts: 11
Joined: Sun Jan 27, 2019 20:31
Model: Excel SE
Colour: Calypso Red
Year: 1989
Location: York

Excel 1989 roof rail, capping rail removal

Post by KAB »

With a pending respray on the table I was faced with trying to remove the capping rail. (Roof rail to C post) Why the hell Lotus fixed it with self tapping screws behind the rear quarter light we will never know. Anyway, after searching many posts it seemed like the only way to gain access to those horrible self tapping screws was to remove the rear quarter light glass. I really didn’t want to do this, it was madness in my book. So I set about trying to remove the capping rail.

I thought I could put some pressure and break the fibreglass where the screws were but I just didn’t feel comfortable. I looked at access from the boot to turn the lower screw with a pair of pliers but that just wasn’t feasible.

So I devised a plan :D Knowing that any slight pressure from a hard object might shatter the glass I packed out the rail from the glass with plastic spacers. I just happened to have something of the correct width, but as long as it’s not going to give a pressure point to the glass and gives enough space it’s fine.

This then allowed me to just get to the two buried self tapping screws. I could just get a thin screwdriver on them but they were very tight and would not budge.

Next I carefully tried a 3mm HSS drill. The self tapping screws being hard soon knocked off the drills cutting edge.

I didn’t have any carbide or stellite drills long enough so I ground a “metal cutting angle” on a masonry bit. Just to add, an ordinary grindstone wheel won’t touch the carbide tipped drill so I used a diamond wheel to make the cutting edge on the masonry bit.

After some very careful drilling as so not to nick the glass I managed to drill the heads off to remove all the screws and liberate the rails.

The amount of silicon sealer behind the rails was almost criminal, if not embarrassing. I won’t be using the same method to reattach the rails. That refit story is for a later date, but I have a plan….

I never thought this task could be done without removing the glass,

So the moral of the story is you don’t need to remove the rear quarter light glass to get the rails off, unless I was just lucky.

I have pondered it for months. If anyone wants any help or guidance to do the same job just let me know.


Pete Boole
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Joined: Tue Apr 04, 2006 21:28
Model: Elite
Colour: Monaco White
Year: 1974
Location: Nottingham

Re: Excel 1989 roof rail, capping rail removal

Post by Pete Boole »

Well done! Post up a few photos - might help someone in the future! Looking forward to seeing the results of the respray :D


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