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Front clam hex bolt rounded!

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I need Lotus owner's wisdom and experience!

I am trying to remove the front clam from my Elise S2. I have removed all the bolts etc except for the dome headed Allen bolts that are on both sides of the rear of the front clam, accessed by opening the doors. You can't see them as they are facing away and have two struts obscuring them. They are now rounded so an Allen (hex) key won't fit. I have tried rounded head bolt removers but they don't work as I can't apply much pressure due to the position of the bolts! Anyone out there had the same situation? I've been trying for 3 weeks now and I am out of ideas. Will I have to remove the doors?

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Try cutting a slot in it with a dremel. Pretty sure I got a dremel and cut the heads off though, or drilled them out? it’s been a while, then removed the clam which will allow you to remove the remainder of the bolt.

 

Edited by Jonathan E

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Hello Jonathan. I bought a Dremel yesterday funny enough as a cheap imitation died on me! I tried to get at them with a diamond disc on the dremel extension but had difficulty getting to them. Did you do it with the doors on?

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As above its been a long time since I had trouble with mine but I can assure you you don't need to remove the doors to do it. Iirc I managed to grind down a cutting disc so it would fit between the sides of the bracket, cut a slot in the head and managed to get a stubby screwdriver in to get it out, on the other side I used the same procedure but the retainer started spinning so I had to get a hacksaw blade down between the main body and the bracket cutting upwards,(very careful not to remove a chunk of GRP)

 

 

Edited by Jonathan E

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Fab. Thanks for that, I'll give it a go now. Rather be down the pub!

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Ha ha, yeah but think of satisfaction when you get them out 😉

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Hello again Jonathan, sorry to pester you. 'If' lol. I tried thcutting the heads off with a dremel but I can only get to it it an angle and that's not working. So I'm giving in again for the weekend! Did you use any special Dremel attachment?

 

Ta, Mark

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Not that I remember, its easier to cut a slot into them than cut them off. I'm sure someone else will be along shortly with some other suggestions.

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I had the same and was working in a tight garage with the doors still on. 

I managed to cut the washer off rather than the bolt which then meant I could prize the clam off (as it’s a slot, rather than a hole, certainly on the S1 anyway) then remove the bolts with pliers. 

I use the expensive reinforced cutting discs for this  

Hope that helps

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Gazlar53 Thanks, It has a bottom part to mine unfortunately. There is a bolt holding the top part of the clam to the bottom part which is as you described, this one is holding the main clam to the bottom of the windscreen frame. It's technically known as a 'pain in the ass' 😭image%3A247615

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Jonathan.

I do, but it won't fit into the space. It has been suggested to me that I buy a 90degree drill extension (which I never heard of)

https://rover.ebay.com/rover/0/0/0?mpre=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.ebay.co.uk%2Fulk%2Fitm%2F163845402463

and drill the head off with

https://rover.ebay.com/rover/0/0/0?mpre=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.ebay.co.uk%2Fulk%2Fitm%2F133175712100

Apparently it has been done on a few Elises. Will let you know how I get on. Again, thanks for your and everyone's help, it is much appreciated.

 

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I've often used a torx bit to remove damaged/rounded hex sockets, if you have access. These can give enough 'bite' into the metal to get them moving.

If you can't get that to work then drilling is possibly the best option. We do this when necessary on expensive (£10k+) lab equipment and have worked out the following:

Start off with a countersink bit - this will remove any burrs, etc. from around the edges of the damaged hex recess and help to keep a drill bit from running off. Once you've done that, use a stub drill that's just larger than the recess, just to give you a clean, round hole and get an initial centre to work from. That will also help to minimise run-off.

Once you've got it nice and clean you can start drilling into the bolt itself. I usually start this with around 3mm as that's small enough to get in but big enough not to flex. Use stub drills rather than ordinary jobbers as they're much less prone to going off centre.

 

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That’s good advice but the biggest problem with these is the extremely limited access, they’re above the door hinge and sit inside a bracket, sometimes the bracket has a slot so you can just undo the bolt slightly and slide the clam over the bolt but it seems Lotus changed this to non slotted brackets which is a pita when the bolts get rounded/start spinning in the retained thread.

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Thanks Timbo. Like Jonathan said, the space is very limited and the bolt is hidden in a recess and facing away, so access is very difficult. I have ordered a 90-degree drill attachment which I've been told has worked on other Elises with the same problem. As you stated, I am then going to drill into the head and should hopefully be able to remove it or cut the head off, then celebrate! Such a simple job turning out to be a total nightmare 🤬

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