Remove The Fuel Door on a Lotus Elise & Exige
The Lotus Elise and Exige have a pretty nice aluminum fuel door cover thats honestly pretty simple to remove.
I was removing mine to wrap the center with a 3M satin black finish, but there's a number of reasons you'd want to remove it:
- Cleaning, Polishing or Refurbishing
- Paint or re-finish
- Upgrade to a carbon fiber filler door
- Removing the rear clam
- Installing a rear clam hinge
Keeping The Nuts Under Control
Apply a strip of masking tape to the bottom of the fuel door cup.
If you feel around the bottom, under the gas cap - you'll notice there's a drain hole.
This drain hole is bigger then the nuts on the back of the fuel door, so cover up the hole with a piece of tape so we don't have to go find those nuts. You will drop one.
To gain some more space, you can remove the gas cap too. Just make sure you completely cover the gas cap opening with tape.
Removing the Fuel Door
Place a clean towel below the fuel door to keep tools and parts from scratching the paint.
Using your allen wrench, remove 5 of the 6 screws around the circumference of door.
The nuts on the back side are held in place by an hexagonal hole/recess on the back.
It's best to hold the nut in place by pressing against it with your finger and allow the screw to pop out as you unscrew. This will keep the nut from turning on the back and keep it from falling out as you go.
I found it easier to use a magnetic pick up tool to grab the nut.
Holding the door in place, remove the last screw. Be careful not to let the ring wiggle around too much to keep the paint from getting scratched.
Remove the fuel door.
The ring is completely detached from the car at this point
The top 3 screws will be the most difficult to install, especially if you have bear claw hands.
The top one nearest the door hinge will likely test your patience.
You may be able to use your magnetic pick up tool to position the nuts into the recesses on the back side.
When installing the screws, hold the nut in place with your finger.
I couldn't figure out how to remove the inner door from the outer door. The spring hinge parts are held in place by a pin that appears to be pressed in. It's not particularly easy to remove with the tools I tried.
Below is a finished shot of the black satin vinyl applied to the center of the door. I'm still conflicted about if I like it or not. Some people really do seem to like it, some don't.
I'm not a huge fan of drawing attention to the gas door of all things, but the Lotus's fuel filler door is particularly nice...
I've had some friends mention they never noticed how unique the fuel door is on the lotus till I added the black wrap. Here's a full side shot with the HowTune sticker on on the hip :)
If you're interested in doing something similar, I used 3M's Scotchprint 1080 in satin black for the fuel door. A 1x1' square would be plenty.
Be sure to use the pre-stretching technique to get a good wrap around the back of the door.