Remove The Front Clam on a Lotus Exige
Learn how to remove the front clam on an Lotus Exige.
These instructions are optimized in order to minimize the time required for clam removal on an Exige. There are optional steps included which are highly recommended as it eases removal. Removal can be accomplished without those steps; however, you risk breaking the wheel well liners and your sanity :)
Budget three (or more) hours to complete this your first time.
- Hex bits: 4mm, 5mm (allen wrench will work, but a ratcheting screwdriver and hex bits are optimal)
- Combination wrench ( a.k.a spanner): 8mm, 10mm, 11mm
- (optional) 1/4 Ratchet, 1/4" socket
- (optional) Plano storage box or similar
- Phillips screw driver
Break lug nuts lose on the front wheels. Do not remove, just loosen.
This is needed to allow for removal of the wheels after lifting the car. This makes removal of the wheel well liners much easier.
Lift your Exige on jack stands or with a hydraulic lift. Follow the instructions here to learn how to safely lift your Lotus Exige / Elise.
You can remove the clam without lifting, however, it's much easier raised. Especially your first time.
Remove the 6 x 4mm hex screws securing the accessory panels.
Remove and place the panels somewhere safe.
This is a good time to think about how you'll manage all the bolts, screws, and nuts removed during the process to ensure they are not lost.
A Plano storage box or similar is a great way to organize everything.
Remove the hex screws exposed after removal of the accessory panels.
1) Remove the 2 x 4mm hex screws (A & B) closest to the window. These have nuts on the bottom side, take care not to drop them as they will disappear quickly.
2) Remove the 4 x 4mm hex screws (C,D,E,F) furthest from the window. These are threaded into extruded U-nuts so there are no nuts to worry about dropping.
Remove the 2 Phillips screws and the fasteners they are screwed into securing the rear of the wheel arch liners to the clam on each side of the car. The screws only need backed out until the black plastic fastener can be pulled out by hand.
These are the plastic liners above the wheels under the clam. It is highly recommended to remove the wheels as it will eliminate the possibility of cracking the liners during removal.
The photo is taken on the passenger side.
Remove the 2 Phillips screw securing the front of the wheel arch liner to the clam on both sides of the car.
This photo was taken on the passenger side.
Remove both wheel arch liners from the wheel wells on both sides of the car.
1) Remove the front small liner covering the oil coolers
2) Remove the much larger liner covering the back to mid of the wheel well. This may take a little effort as it doesn't just fall out. Go slow to ensure you don't crack or break it.
Remove the 2 x 5mm hex bolts securing the clam to the lower body work between the door and wheel well.
For reference these bolts are directly above the turn signal lights on the side of the car. They secure the two panels together with a visible seam from the outside.
This photo is on the passenger side.
Open the passenger side door and focus on the hinge.
1) Remove the completely hidden 5mm bolt (A) securing the clam to the frame. The best way is to use a 1/4 rachet with a 1/4" socket holding a 5mm hex bit (see picture).
2) Use a 10mm wrench to loosen the M6 bolt (B) securing the exterior of the clam to the door hinge. The metal bracket is slotted allowing the clam to slide up when removing.
3) Ensure the clam is loose by gently pulling up on the clam above the hinge, it should move freely up. If it doesn't you have something else securing / restricting it.
4) Repeat all steps on the drivers side.
Remove the headlight covers.
1) Remove 2 x 10mm bolts securing the headlight lens on both sides of the car.
2) Remove the headlight covers. Note if you have 2008+ this will not work as the cover is bonded to the housing. Consult your manual for instructions.
Remove 5mm hex screw inside both light figures at the base
Remove the 3 x 8mm (C,D,E) and 2 x 10mm hex bolts (A & B) securing the bottom of the clam to the crash structure underneath the car.
Remove the front turn signals
1) Gently insert a flat head screw driver under the rubber seal surrounding the turn signal and pry up. This will not damage your finish, if you're careful.
2) Grip the turn signal with your hand and pull up exposing the spring.
3) use a tool, such as a Craftsman hook tool, to unhook the spring. Needle-nose pliers also work, just not as well.
1) All headlight wiring connectors (A) need unplugged. The front turn signals may need removed to gain access to the wiring harnesses.
2) Disconnect the Radio antenna (B) connector hidden under the clam next to the fuse box. It's a standard barrel connector, just pull it to disconnect.
Disconnect the hose clamps (A & B) securing the oil cooler lines to the clam on both sides.
This photo is above the passenger side wheel.
Disconnect the wiring harness for the alarm triggers underneath the accessory panels. These can be pulled up and nearly out of the clam allowing easy disconnect.
Remove front tow hook and / or license plate mounts if you have them
Remove the Clam!!
Plan out where you're going to put the clam before pulling it off.
1) Pull up on both sides of the clam above the door hinges to ensure the 10mm bolt you loosened is not in the slot and can freely move.
2) Slide the clam straight forward. I recommend using the turn signal holes to pull the clam forward. Gently pull the clam towards you stopping after a few inches to double check you didn't forget any wires or clamps in the wheel wells.
3) Proceed to move the clam forward a few inches at a time to verify wires are not going to get damaged (do not skip this step your first time!)
4) If doing this by yourself you'll need to slide the clam far enough forward to allow pivoting the clam up so it's vertical. Slide the clam forward until the portion that wraps underneath the front crash structure is free. Hold the clam, right hand on the nose above the grill and your left on the bridge. Be VERY CAREFUL to not stress the fiberglass. Rotate the clam up toward you, your left hand should be above your head holding the clam and your right down low carrying all the weight of the clam. Carry it to your storage location.