Indicator Lens fix

broken retaining tab on Lotus Elise indicator lens

The Problem:

The retaining tab on the front indicator (turn signal) lens may be under stress while mounted in the front clam. If it breaks off, the indicator lens will pop out and hang around bumping on the front calm, retained by the wire to the lamp.

Lotus Elise indicator lens opening in clam

The Cause?

The apparent cause is the short distance between the to points marked by the green arrows, the distance between the top and bottom of the opening. If this distance is too short, it will keep the plastic retaining tab under constant stress and the vibration of driving will cause the tab to eventually fail.

lens with bungee cord

The Fix:

After trying some of the fixes below, I decided to use a bungee cord (elastic).  The revised Federal bumper, to conform to the crash standards, is supposed to do something similar with an O ring.

Drill a hole in the remaining portion of the tab.  Hook a small bungee cord through the hole, loop it around some object inside the clam, and bring it back to the hook.  The indicator lens will now be spring loaded into the clam.  I have not had any problems with the lens lifting or moving, even on track at high speeds.

bungee through tab

A Similar Fix

It appears the opening is trimmed by hand, with a real person grinding down the perch for the lens tab and hook. In the above picture, it appears the left perch is not trimmed sufficiently. Look closely at the bright land, a narrow high-lighted portion just at the tip of the left arrow.

It is possible to slightly enlarge the opening and use a replacement lens with an unbroken tab.

(One service person suggested that I caused the tab to break when I re-aimed my headlights and removed the front grille. It was not obvious to me how this might be so. Note that the owner must be able to release the retaining tab and gain access to the inside of the indicator lens when it is time to replace a burned out indicator lamp.)

An indicator lens costs approximately $90 in February 2005.

Lotus Elise indicator lamp, spring steel fix Lotus Elise indicator lamp, spring steel

The piece of spring steel is bolted to the remaining portion of the tab. A hack saw blade can be used. The angles of the bend approximate the shape of the original tab. In order to demonstrate the shape, the image below show a broken tab and an altered image with the broken portion rotated into place. It appears the front lip of the clam opening fits into the slight V at the tip of the retaining tab.

broken indicator lens retaining tab
altered image, Lotus Elise indicator lamp

I finally fixed mine by drilling a hole in the remaining portion of the tab and connecting a bungee cord (rubber cargo strap) and feeding the cord inside the clam to an available loop. I can just lift on the front edge of the indicator lens and the lens will come up enough to reach inside to release the cord.