Lotus Elan

My Personal Disaster

PostPost by: elanfan1 » Sat May 06, 2017 10:29 pm

Galwaylotus wrote:I'll find out when the insurance company gets salvage bids. Unfortunately I have no place to store the car or to work on it and this soon after the loss I must admit I don't have the heart to start a restoration. Considering the history represented by the Elan I really want to find someone who will restore it as I'd hate to see it scrapped. I'm certainly on the lookout for any expressions of interest.


Sounds like the insurers are planning on writing it off (salvage bids), are you able somehow to get a quote to repair it? As was mentioned earlier it's your car, don't let them have it and insist on being paid a reduced repair cost so you can retain it (don't know the system in Ireland but don't allow them to put a marker on it that identifies it as a write off category that doesn't allow it to be rebuilt. Wish I'd argued at the time with my burnout as the car could definitely have been rebuilt albeit at some cost but being. Cat A/B here means that isn't possible). Then it needs a detailed eBay advert to maximise your money - you might be surprised.
Steve

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PostPost by: Galwaylotus » Mon May 08, 2017 8:12 am

I've just sent the insurer an e-mail saying that I don't want the car written off as irreparable. I've asked him what happens next in the process.

If any of you knows someone who would like to resurrect this "phoenix" please have him contact me urgently or P.M. me with contact details.

For those who asked that I post details of what happened, please bear with me. I cannot face it just now but rest assured that when I have recovered and can analyse my memories I will give as much information as I can for the benefit of other Elan owners.
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PostPost by: Orsom Weels » Mon May 08, 2017 9:10 am

A pal of mine had this issue, he had a mint RS2000 Escort which had a very minor under bonnet fire. His insurance insisted it was written off & gave it a category B marker. The problem, & their explanation, is a lot of insurance companies will not allow burnt out vehicles to be repaired due to the fears over Hydrofluoric acid which can be produced from fluorelastomers which have been subject to temperatures above 400 degrees C. Fluorelastomers are found in various rubbers & plastics used in vehicle manufacture. Admittedly, if Hydrofluoric acid comes into contact with your skin, it can be very nasty, it can burn the skin and bones & the only way to stop it spreading is to amputate affected areas of the body, as once it gets into you skin it just eats away at it and then destroys bones.
I believe the initial concerns were raised by the fire service, who claimed that burning or burnt out vehicles should only be handled by qualified people using/wearing suitable protective gear, & perhaps somewhat exaggerating the risks, made a big fuss about what should happen to burnt out vehicles.
However, as is often the case, it's not as big a problem as some would have you believe. As with many myths, there may be a small element of truth that makes the story more believable, & in this case it goes back to 1981 at the National Nuclear Corporation in Risley (UK). An experiment was being carried out to see what happens when a Viton O ring was heated to about 400 C in a sealed test rig. When the worker dismantled the apparatus a clear liquid was ejected under pressure very close to his fingers. This led to discomfort and an untreated deep-seated burn developed over a period of days ? eventually leading to amputation of part of his finger. The incident was investigated by Health & Safety executive, & on repeating the experiment it was shown that hydrofluoric acid was produced (from hydrogen fluoride gas in presence of water), & that it?can cause corrosive burns due to free hydrogen ions, and chemical burns from tissue penetration by fluoride ions.?However, it is readily treated by the use of calcium gluoconate gel.
The truth is there is no verifiable incident related to Hydrofluoric acid from a burnt out vehicle anywhere in the world, and for fairly good scientific reasons. Hydrogen fluoride is a gas and, in the event of it being produced from a fluoroelastomer in a fire, it would disperse very quickly with the flames. It has to have water to be added to produce hydrofluoric acid, but if you use water to put out the fire, you also dilute and wash away any acid.
Even the Health & Safety executive, who are often in the habit of over-reacting & failing to credit us lesser mortals with any common sense, accept that the risks are almost non existent, but this hasn't stopped some insurance companies insisting that fire damaged vehicles must be crushed or at best, go to a registered salvage yard such that the unaffected areas of the vehicle can be removed to be sold as spares & the remainder crushed, hence the category A or B marker.
As others have already said, you have my sympathy & I hope you get a fair resolution & settlement.

Regards, Tim
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PostPost by: rgh0 » Mon May 08, 2017 9:50 am

Hi Tim

Good to see a clear analysis of this issue that actually addresses the correct technical details.

One more thing to add is that fluroelastomer ( e.g. Viton) was not used on Elans originally and it is hard to get usable Viton seals for an elan today as most do not have the needed run out capability and most fires in an Elan would not heat it to the required temperatures even if you had it.

the over reaction of HSE authorities and then the further over reaction of insurance companies is unfortunately an outcome of the first world "someone must be liable" culture and the sue first ask questions later approach of share the benefits of a pay to go away lawyers.

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PostPost by: KevJ+2 » Mon May 08, 2017 10:28 am

I wonder how insurance companies measure the extent of the damage when they write a car off? An engine bay fire, to my mind would be localised damage, but I suppose as in this case the smoke damage has gone further and the engine bay damage seems quite severe.
I'm surprised so many on here have experienced car fires...a bit worrying :?
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PostPost by: elj221c » Mon May 08, 2017 2:33 pm

KevJ+2 wrote:I'm surprised so many on here have experienced car fires...a bit worrying :?


I'm not. The first car fire I ever saw was an Elan in the Edgware road in London. I saw it from my college window and it was literally burnt to the ground. No body left at all.

I subsequently helped rebuild a 26R which had caught fire on the road. It was an ex IWR rally car. It had similar damage to this car. Admittedly it was converted to a track car so trim wasn't important but the body damage was easily repaired by the owner and myself.

Who actually declares the car's write off category? If one buys the car back before a declaration why would there be an issue with the DVLA?

Is agreed value with salvage insurance any use if you can't legally put the car back on the road?

Perhaps this should be in the category of the replacement chassis/sub-frame sagas. Get a burnt car sent home by the recovery people if you have a fire and... 'Don't tell 'em, Pike!'
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PostPost by: prezoom » Mon May 08, 2017 3:57 pm

I spent the better part of ten years investigating vehicles fire for insurance companies. Still have all my fingers and have not had any residual complications. Common sense in using proper protective cover and breathing filters prevent most incidental contact with the burned components. The only vehicles I would draw a line at were motor homes. There was just too much to wade through to identify the source of the fire.

As far as new versus old, I looked at everything from vintage cars to new off the showroom cars with less than 100 miles on the clock. Most fires were pretty easy to figure out. Some makes became so repetitious, you could almost write the report before you looked at the vehicle.

After doing that kind of work, I was very concerned with the wiring and fuel delivery when I purchased my Elan. In the process of bringing it back to life, I made significant wiring changes by fusing every circuit in the car individually. The Webers were treated to a complete sealing to prevent fuel leakage. Fuel siphoning was another concern should a fire occur. The Elan is not such a problem, if the car is on level ground and not nose down. The Plus2 is another story. With the fuel being taken from the bottom of the tank, I have given some thought to the installation of a solenoid operated valve near the fuel outlet. With the electrical power off, the only fuel that could drain out would be in the fuel line. Even that amount of fuel is enough to cause a great deal of damage.

If you think about it, every liquid present in an engine compartment is flammable, including coolant.
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PostPost by: Davidb » Mon May 08, 2017 6:41 pm

Very sorry to hear this.

I realise this is the north american response but you need a lawyer!
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PostPost by: elanfan1 » Mon May 08, 2017 7:36 pm

Note the DVLA and the U.K. system or writing off wont apply as the car is in Eire. No idea how their system works but it could be based on the UK system. Perhaps when the OP is up to it he'll enlighten us?
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PostPost by: Wattie » Tue May 09, 2017 11:53 pm

I'm so sorry to be reading this, there are few enough Elans on our Irish roads.
Do try to keep it, maybe even turn it into an inspirational series for others like me who have Old Loti awaiting restoration and who need a good prod to move on with the job.

Take inspiration from this Irish Classic Restoration series featuring a Lotus made by a pal of mine who has now given me the inspiration to get a move on with my plus 2 . Hope it ends well got you.


https://youtu.be/U3WL2n6B7Lg
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PostPost by: Galwaylotus » Wed May 10, 2017 10:10 am

I had someone in Ireland express an interest in buying and restoring the car but he's decided he won't so I may have to scrap it. Insurance has put a scrap value of ?4.5k on it. Even at that I'd be losing money as I hadn't increased the car's value year-on-year on my policy. I have to let my insurer know tomorrow so I guess it may not be resurrected.
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PostPost by: elanfan1 » Wed May 10, 2017 10:43 am

Tell your insurers to shove it! Get the car back and advertise it as a project - you'll get far more than that for it. In fact they'll get more than that from someone bidding from a salvage company, so would actually profit from the claim!.!

I think you need some professional advice on how to proceed with this. Hopefully you have the equivalent in Ireland but here you could complain to the financial ombudsman - they have a duty enshrined in law that they have to treat customers fairly. It goes on the insurers record and they pay the costs of the complaint too. They've been taking your money for years - have they ever suggested that you increase the value, how much more would it have been to have the correct agreed value cover not much I'll bet!

In a past life I worked for a major insurer and when minimum premiums used to go up I would increase the sums insured on policies so they'd get full/better value for the premium they were paying. They could have been left as they were for years but we saw that as unfair.

You need to get claims company on your side to handle this matter. I don't know whether this chap can help you but if he can't he will know someone who can - he's a very nice and extremely helpful and does this sort of thing for a living. I'll see if I can get hold of proper contact details for you and comeback and edit this post. He's a member on Pistonheads called Annie's Dad. GL maybe you could PM me your email and phone number.

In the meantime do not let the insurers physically take the car.
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PostPost by: Chancer » Wed May 10, 2017 11:05 am

Perhaps he means that they want ?4.5K less than the pay-out for the OP to retain the salvage, they have a fixed percentage with the salvage companies that they will (haveto/agree to) pay according to the category of the wreck.

?4.5K was what I paid to buy a wrecked Caterham 7 from a salvage dealer I knew really well, it represented 30% of the settlement figure that the owner got from the insurers plus ?500 profit.

In a situation like this as weird as it seems you could be better off paying more for the salvage if they reduce the category of the wreck (higher percentage).

I may have misconstrued the OP but I bet ?4.5K represents a round percentage of their payout.

As has been stressed many times DO NOT LET THEM TAKE THE VEHICLE, they will do their utmost including lies and intimidation but it remains your vehicle until you agree a settlement, I have had standoffs with tow truck drivers they have sent and had to forcibly remove them from my property, the more they try to push you the stronger is your negotiating position, they want to settle it as speedily and easily as possible preferably leaving you as poor as they can.

Editted, you do not have to let the insurers know tomorrow, put the ball in their court, you hold all the cards although they want you to believe otherwise.
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PostPost by: elanfan1 » Wed May 10, 2017 11:25 am

Simon you are right about the offer Bill PMd me. The car is in a salvage yard where bits will go missing.

Please get the car back and get a claim management company involved. Even threatening the insurers with this might make them change their tune, who are they btw?
Steve

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PostPost by: rgh0 » Wed May 10, 2017 11:44 am

When my Plus 2 had its engine fire I took the car home on my trailer and then worked with my very good specialist classic car insurance company ( Shannons here in Australia) to develop a rebuild plan and cost that suited me in terms of what I want to do to ensure it was rebuilt right and also met their insurance needs under the agreed value policy amount.

Having the car at home so I could manage the process without pressure and also having a body shop / painter who have an extremely good working relationship with the insurers assessors really helped with getting a good outcome.

I split the process into 3 parts

1. My Labor cost to strip the car for painting and rebuild and source replacement for damaged parts
2. Supply of replacement parts ( based on quotes from suppliers)
3. Repair and repainting costs of the stripped body shell.

I just now have to finish the rebuild as I have the car repainted and all the parts in boxes ready to bolt on. But my other Lotus keep getting in the way ... engine out of the Elan currently for a rear main seal seal replacement this weekend to get ready for a race in a couple of weeks

cheers
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