Esprit Rear Bonnet Cable Release Replacement

by Ed Young

Recently, I pulled the handle to open my rear ‘bonnet’, whilst pulling, the cable broke…..BEFORE the latches released. Ever give any thought as to how you can gain access to the rear without a cable to release the latches? I posted my question to the Lotus e-mail group and received a couple of replies………

> Just moving the lid around from side to side/back and forth got them to release. Good luck.

>If you have two other people holding the front, the easiest is to work on it from the back end. 1 made the mistake of doing it all on my own. On the SE, it’s easy to hold on to the wing when trying to manipulate it…

This is a terrible job. Run, don’t walk to your phone, or e-mail your favorite Lotus parts supplier and order that cable NOW! Replace the old one as soon as you get it.

Step one was to remove the interior trim around the back window. In order to do this, you also have to pull the weatherstrip from around the door and roof panel openings. The cloth trim is glued to the body, so take care when you pull it away.

Step two was to get two wrenches and loosen the two nuts & bolts on each side that hold the bonnet hinges down to the body of the car. If you don’t have a helper to lean on and hold down the front end of the bonnet, cover the painted surface with a thick towel and weigh it down. When the hinge bolts are removed, the gas struts will force the front of the bonnet up, and this is something you want to be prepared for. High risk of paint chipping danger, so be very careful. Also, I had to bend the hinges slightly towards the center of the car as they would not clear the bodywork without bending. With great difficulty, I unbolted the gas struts. This is difficult when the struts are not fully extended. Be careful.

Two list members who have dealt with similar problems then advised that two people wiggle and shake the bonnet until the latches release. This did not work for me. What did follows next…

Step three was for my helper and Ito raise the front edge of the bonnet just high enough to pull the engine cover out through the opening. Then with my trusted helper still holding the bonnet up in front, I climbed up and slithered into the opening. You have got to be skinny (I weigh around 150lb and am 6 foot tall). A child might be the one to do this, rather than an adult.

Once I got myself in there, I grabbed the cable housing (you could see it in there on the left hand side of the car, going to the latch), and pulled it out of the compartment when I wriggled back out. I brought it around to the side of the car, clamped some ‘mole grips’ (vice grips) on the cable and pulled. The catches released, and we removed the bonnet.

I plan on installing electronic solenoids to perform this function. I don’t intend on a broken cable biting me again.

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