As part of the agreement when I purchased my car, Williams Automobiles were to fit a tow hook to the car. I was only expecting the front tow hook to be fitted, however when I got the car they had also fitted the rear tow loop.
For the front tow loop a new front grille was ordered with the hole precut for the front tow loop to fit through. The front tow loop was fitted very well and I was happy with its figment.
There was however a problem with the rear tow loop. Whilst the tow loop structure was fitted correctly the actual tow eye strap was routed between the rear bumper and the diffuser. When pulling at the loop is was quite obvious that the rear of the car would be severely damaged if this loop was ever used to move the car.
To establish how the tow eye strap should be routed I scoured the Internet and found pictures of a number of Lotus Exige Cup cars that had the rear tow loops fitted as standard by Lotus. Also, when I visited the Lotus factory last month I found a couple of cars that were in the various stages of having the rear tow loop fitted. I also saw a rear diffuser so I could see how the grilles in it were attached, which was by a silicone adhesive.
So to route the tow eye strap correctly I needed to cut the rear grille, fit a piece of black rubber edge protection, and reroute the tow loop. The edge trim needed to be 10mm wide and be able to grip 2mm material. This was purchased from eBay for a couple of pounds.
The tools I used were as follows:
- Small hacksaw blade, 32 tpi
- Small metal cutting pliers
- Large flat bladed screwdriver
- Masking tape
The parts required were:
- Touch-up paint pencil
- Protective edge trim 10mm x 6mm able to grip 2mm material
- Black cable tie
I started by taking a picture of my right hand side rear grille and printing off the picture actual size. I also printed off, in actual size, the rear right hand grille from one of the images of the Lotus Exige Cups I found with the tow loop fitted correctly. I was then able to see exactly where I needed to cut my grille. I used the masking tape to mark where I needed to cut. I also used it to protect the areas top and bottom of where I was going to cut to ensure the paintwork was not accidentally damaged. I used the small hacksaw blade to cut the grille on the rear diffuser at the joints in the metal grille. When all of the visible joints were cut, there was a piece still joined to the grille at the top. I was able to pull this down and cut it with the metal cutting pliers leaving about 2cm of extra metal. I then cut the metal to the correct size using the small hacksaw blade.
I then used the touch-up paint on the exposed metal that I had just cut. When this was dry, I used the flat bladed screwdriver to push the top piece of metal back up. I then cut the protective strip to size ensuring it was long enough for the top and bottom of it to be hidden. I test fitted the protective strip a couple of times to ensure a good fit. I then ran superglue along the inside of the protective strip and pushed it into position. Once the superglue had dried, I then managed to route the tow eye strap through the hole I had created. To finish, the tow loop was folded in half and a tie wrap was used to secure it.
It took a few hours to complete the job. The rear tow loop strap is fitted as intended and I'm very happy with the result, which looks better than before and more importantly the rear tow loop can now be used without damaging the car. Hopefully, I will never need it.Read more