The carpets in LEW's 92 SE are now nearly 12 years old (amazing a car this good can be that old!) and aren't looking too good. Not the best colour choice in the first place, a sand colour. 12 years of use have turned them into a very nasty shade of vomit (as you'll see from the pictures below)! After a LEW regular fitted new interior carpets, it was time for LEW's Esprit to get a makeover.
The kit was purchased from Mel Broome at Lotus Cars Ltd (Hethel). The order was placed on one of LEW's visits to the factory and Mel was able to go through what was available and how long it would take. Lotus make the kits to order, which can take from 2-4 weeks depending on how busy they are. LEW chose black carpets to match the exterior (and to hide dirt!) and magnolia leather trim to match the rest of the leather in the interior.
The kit costs around £220 (call for more exact price) and comes in 15 pieces cut from the original patterns. This includes the leather handbrake gaiter, map pocket, protection pads for the footwells and new mats. In fact it's almost exactly the same as the original 12 year old carpet. The leather trim is very good quality and the carpet is nice and thick and much better than the original stuff.
The glue used by Lotus during early production was a little too strong (to say the least) and was latter changed. Unfortunately, LEW's Esprit came with the strong glue, so the removal was going to be challenging. Some thinners were bought to help remove the carpet. Remember to be careful with these as the fumes are dangerous. As for the new glue, Mel at Lotus suggested Dunlop, but after a search, LEW decided to go with some spray glue found in a local hardware store for £4 a can. This glue is easy to use and the carpets be pulled up again and relayed without damage. So good for beginners!
This jobs isn't difficult to do but does take a long time, I'd give it 2 full days depending on who's doing it.
You will need the following parts:
You will need the following tools:
Knife, Scissors or scalpel
Removing the Old Carpet
LEW knew this wasn't going to be easy, but it wasn't that bad, just hard work! First thing is to remove the seats, a guide for this can be found here. Then remove the rear speakers and mats. Start with the easiest piece of carpet, the square below the seat. This will give you the chance to practice removing the carpet before you start the rest of the job. Because it's flat and square it's the easiest bit to get and and remove (well sort of).
Pulling the carpet up just pulled the backing, leaving the actually carpet still glued to the fibreglass. This is where you need to use a metal wallpaper scraper, this will remove most of the carpet with plenty of hard work. Really stubborn bits will need some thinners to help soften the hard glue. Once you've practiced your removal technique on the floor plan it's time to move on!
Now some of the carpet pulls up pretty well, this includes the sills. Some patches where left and it was decided to remove the sills to clean them up properly and to re-thread the boost hose underneath the sill for neatness and to make sticking the new carpet down easier. This was quite a job, as the screws that held the sill in place where rusted in places. On the handbrake side you'll need to remove the cover, see here for a rough guide, although cutting it off isn't really an option. LEW's old one slid off.
You can see the pocket being removed above, two screws on either side. You can also see the two screws on the window trim that will need removing to remove and refit the carpet.
The main pieces that need removing to get at the carpet are the centre pocket and the sides of the tunnel. After the tunnel trim is removed, you'll be able to get at the four screws (two either side) that secure the pocket. To remove the side trim, there's a bolt either side towards the back of the tunnel. Then there are two screws inside the end of the trim (see pic above right). These screws are difficult to get to and require the trim to be pulled out. Be careful not to damage the trim at this point.
You'll also find two screws holding the trim around the rear glass, which will need to be removed (see previous pics). There is also one behind the lever that releases the boot. Pull the lever up and hold, you can then unscrew the screw, which will loosen the trim so you can remove the carpet. The seat belt buckle will need removing also. This is a 16mm bolt holding it in. You'll also find a screw holding the 'go' pedal stop. This was really rusty and needed replacing. There is also two nuts holding the foot rest on that will need removing.
The rest is just a lot of scraping and ripping and plenty of thinners. As you can see the carpet comes off in little bits and leaves a lot of mess behind that needs cleaning up. I also removed the sound proofing material underneath some areas of the carpet. This was mainly due to coming off with the carpet. This won't be replaced in LEW's Esprit, but you may wish to. The blue pipe is from the turbo timer installation, just in case you're wondering.
This is the interior once it's been stripped out. Most of the wiring you can see is from the amp install. You can also see where the sill trim has been removed on the passenger side below. This was done on both sides, the passenger side enable LEW to feed speaker wire and other cables for the stereo system under the sill. As it was tucked under the carpet wish stops it from lying flat.
Removing the interior carpets will take 4-6 hours depending on your Esprit and how much effort you put in. LEW spread this over a few days to make it easier to do. The fitting guide has been give a page on it's own, as there are around 100 pictures in total.