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Door Handle Replacement
(On Pre 1993 Esprits)

Damage had occurred to my passenger door handle (see below) in which the plastic coating had peeled off. I decided to replace the handles for this reason (cosmetic) and the fact that the drivers lever didn't lay flush with the surround. These handles are the same as on the original Esprit S1 and were used up until the Vauxhall handled S4. They can also be found on Range Rovers, Land Rovers and Austin Allegro's among others.


You will need the following parts:

Door Handle set

You will need the following tools:

Philips Screwdriver
Small Screwdriver
8 mm Spanner & Socket
Grease Spray

I purchase the door handle set from SJ Sportscars. These sets cost around £40 ($60) for the set, which is pretty good. The set includes two new door handles, a new glovebox lock and two new keys. This means if you've lost any keys, or can't lock your glovebox then this is sorted with this replacement.

Glovebox Lock Replacement


You need to unscrew the chrome surround on top of the lock to remove the lock. This was too stiff, so I use a pair of pliers. Best to use some cloth to clover the surround, as the picture above is just to view. I needed to use the old surround as the new one was too thick for the Glovebox.


Once lose, unscrew and remove the surround. You can now pull the lock out.


Replace with the new lock, removing the surround first. You may need to trim the leather that's folded over, if the locks a tight fit. Push the lock up so the plastic washer is flush with the inside of the glovebox.


You can now replace the surround. You'll have to check the alignment, mine was slightly different to the original, but still locked and released ok. Once this is done you can tighten up the surround. You now have a new lock and key for your glovebox.

Door Handle Replacement


You can see from above how bad my door handle looked. To start you'll need to remove the inner door panel (see guide here). Once this is done you can get at the rear of the door handle. The handle is held in place by a metal support, secured by two 8mm bolts.


Remove the two bolts, easiest with a socket and extension. When this is out of the way you'll be able to see the workings of the handle. The Handle will now be loose and only held in place by the connections to the locks. There are two metal bars going into the workings of the handle. Remove their holding clips (small screwdrivers best) and pull them out of the plastic grommet.


You will now be able to remove the old door handle. Make sure you've got the right one before refitting.


Make sure the plastic surrounds on the new handle as you put it back into the door. Now you need to replace the two metal rods. Space is tight, and the rods can be difficult to reattach. You may need to move the workings of the handle to make it easier to fit. Remember to refit the support clips.


Once the rods are back in place, I used a grease spray to protect the workings. This can be brought cheaply at any auto parts store. The original handle workings you'll see are covered in grease. You can now put the metal support back in. This lines up with the holes in the new handle. Replace the bolts and make sure it's secure. You must now check the rods and clips are still fix. Now you can test the handle works. Check the central locking, the key lock and the alarm lock. Also remember to check the windows aren't being fouled.


Above it a picture of the finished handle. Also I've included a diagram of how to remove the lock. You may wish to change just the lock or some people like to paint the handles body colour, which requires the locks to be removed.

LEW's Verdict

No a finer point of the older Esprits looks, but makes a big difference visually to my damaged handles. I had a few problems with the central locking rod (an extra rod on the drivers side). This was fouling on the support plate and knocking the rods out of their grommet's. I had to shorten the rod before everything worked. The whole removal and refitting does take a bit of time (allow 2-3 hours minimum) and you'll need an extra pair of hands to make it easier. But all in all, it's a good cheap fix, that you'll notice everytime you get in the car.

If you try this, feel free to e-mail us with your Verdict at admin@lotusespritworld.com

From L.E.W. users

Got a new handle from SJ. Great. Removed the old one. Checked fittings and could not use the control rod clips. The front one was missing. The rear one was too long. Not a problem. Used both old clips from old handle. One thing worth mentioning to other users might be why I think my handle was broke when I bought the car.

Looking at the locking mechanism it was catching on the opening mechanism. The previous owner must have tried to force it when it jammed, thus cracking the handle. Both locking control rods are adjustable. As my car is 19yrs old realised it needed slight adjusting (shortening of both) and now it works like new. I did need to remove the catch to do this though and being a Lotus the nuts are not self-retaining like on more modern mass-produced cars. This added an extra 2hrs to the repair but well worth it.

Hope this helps.

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