Leaky roof.

Well, it’s winter again, and the torrential rain this weekend has prompted me to start thinking about my next ‘project’. I want to stop my poxy roof from leaking. Apparently it’s a pretty common problem. Water gets inside the roof between the two skins. I think most of it runs out of drainage holes at the rear, but some of remains. Waiting for me to drive the car. As soon as I brake or turn a corner it starts to pour out from the front corners at the top of the A pillar (mostly into my wife’s lap )
The official Lotus ‘fix’ it to stick some sealant in the corners to stop it coming out there.
My question is: How and where does it get in? It’s obviously inside the air scoop, but where precisely?

My guesses are:

  1. Small cracks along the edges/corners of the scoop.
  2. The bolt holes where the engine cover hinge is mounted.
  3. The mesh grille on the front of the scoop is screwed onto two vertical metal strips. Maybe these are riveted in place, and maybe water gets in through the rivet holes?
  4. Maybe the inner surface of the scoop is slightly porous. I think this is unlikely.

Can anybody help me? Or do I just stick loads of sealant everywhere?

Well I got the dealer to do ‘the fix’ but it was still leaking, doing as you say, giving me wet drips in the face when cornering. What it turned out to be wasn’t the roof at all, it was a very small gap at the top/front corner of the side windows. The water came round the edge of the front screen and into the channels at the front of the side window. With speed the water worked its way up and through the little gap. Probably worth a look and get the side window(s) adjusted if you can see a little gap.


My old Elise (with hardtop) and my Exige both let in water. The Elise was worse but the exige still lets in a bit and when you brake or go around a corner it all pours out onto the driver or passenger.
One way it could be getting in is at the front where it sits on the windsreen. The reason I say this is that both of my cars have had the same sypmtoms but of course the Elise doesnt have the air intake.

I found the water used to get in and sit in the panel at the front where the 3 caps are and then pour out of the sides.

There are 3 bolts you could tighten or try and seal the front.


Mine doesn’t leak.
At one stage it did, and the water was coming from the separation between the glass frame and the roof.
Undid the bolts that fasten the front, lifted it up a bit, cleaned the dust and debris there, put it back tight and problem solved.

I have also seen that there was a small leak through the top of the right window. This, complicated by the fact that (since new) when closing the door it made a clonking noise (and the left one didn’t) prompted me to open the door and investigate.
It turns out that the window is secured by three bolts (and nuts), well, in my car one nut was missing .
Fitted a new one and presto! No more clonking noise and no leak.

Shows you the Lotus craftsmanship…

PS - I still love the car to bits

Cheers for the replies chaps.
Sounds like I should check the seal along the front edge of the roof first. It’s definately not just coming in from the side windows because it’s just too much water. It really does pour in.
I’ve got to sort this out because last winter I used to find the entire inner surface of the roof literally soaking. When it was freezing, I would get icicles half an inch long hanging from the ceiling!

Like Uldis though, I still love it. Somehow I can forgive it pretty much any faults.

Brendan - I’ll watch this post carefully as I have exactly the same problem - although it only ever pours out of the passenger side. I only notice it occasionally as the car is normally garaged overnight and I’m not that sure it builds up when running at usual road speeds. I know it does not come off the outside of the roof and in through the window gap, as although I have a small gap on the passenger side, it has happened after the car was left overnight in heavy rain and wiped dry in the morning…nothing happened for about 1 hour of normal driving, then heavy braking off the M way left a mini Niagra drenching the passenger. Its quite funny - at least as long as it stays on the passenger side.

Are there any drainage holes that maybe need rodding with some thin wire/coathanger?

This is not connected with the roof, but there is a drainage hole that needs rodding from time to time at the rear of the tailgate…

You will know if you need to do this because when you wash the car, the drainage channel does not empty…

It is by the catch that holds it closed, and tends to fill up with tree muck etc etc…

It exhausts through a black rubber tube that drains into the right rear wheelarch…

TIP - you can get the bottom of the pipe and blow the crap out the other way, but if you do, you are likely to get covered in the crap I did !!!

Better to attend to it once in a while to avoid a lot of hassle…

Need more practice with your blowjobs, eh?!

Are there any drainage holes that maybe need rodding with some thin wire/coathanger?

It certainly sounds like you’ve got the same problem, Steve. I don’t know where the drainage hole are, but I was told by a mechanic from Nick Whale’s that there are some holes. This obviously suggests they expect the roof to let some water in.

I’m hoping for a few dry days so I can get rid of all the water. Then I’ll experiment with a hose pipe. I’m sure I can figure out roughly where the water’s coming from.

Uldis, are you offering Mike some assistance

Need more practice with your blowjobs, eh?!

I think I might need help from an ex-spurt !!

I think this is the right pictue

Not sure if I still want to meet you all at the Oop north Xmas Curry anymore…

Only kidding

Come on guys, you’re scaring people here!

And no Mike, go and practice with a banana.
Then you show us your progress at the curry

Not sure if I still want to meet you all at the Oop north Xmas Curry anymore…

If you’re buyin… I’m still meetin…

BTW - this is the right picture


Back on topic, I experimented with a hose pipe last night, i spent a few minutes trying to spray water directly into all suspect orifices and… nothing. The water obviously seeps in very slowly somewhere over a period of a few hours.
I’m going to have to just try sealing things and see how I get on.

I bunged a load of sealant around the inside edges and especially the front corners of the air scoop yesterday. We’ve had a reasonable amount of rain since (and during the work ) no sign of any leak this morning, and the windscreen wasn’t even misted up. I’m can’t be sure until we get a really good stormy night, but I’m keeping my fingers crossed.