Lotus Elan

Help and Tips on Fibreglass body resto - Lotus Elan S3 1967

PostPost by: nico506 » Sun Nov 29, 2020 11:41 am

Hi All,

Due to the pandemic lockdown - have been making good use of time in doing as much of the fibreglass body restoration my self to the point where the prepared surfaces are primed with body to be shipped to a reputable paint expert . I had may last elan done by Options 1 and it was amazing the work and results that went into it and can't fault their work as it was at the time (2000) when their prices were low .

At the moment I don't have the budget for their prices and doing as much prep as I can including applying a layer of tissue to all surfaces, then flattening , priming and then applying black etch paint to do final sanding .

I would welcome any tips from any one who has tackled this complex and time consuming project and currently at the stage where 80% of paint on the body has been removed back to gel coat exposing all cracks repairs etc and removing all signs of filler and past repairs.

I have miles wilkins book and would like to hear and learn from others who have done this .

Thanks in advance - Nick
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PostPost by: steve lyle » Sun Nov 29, 2020 2:24 pm

I plan on fixing the body issues on my Spring in the near future. A couple of questions:

1) What is "black etch paint"? Etch primer? If so, why would you use etch primer on fiberglass? If not, then what?

2) Why would you remove "all signs of filler and past repairs". Presumably you will then have to put your own filler and repairs in place. If the past repairs are holding up, why remove them?

Thanks,
Steve
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PostPost by: nico506 » Sun Nov 29, 2020 2:38 pm

First of all my aim is to bring the fibreglass body back to a state where no filler is present as have found past filler repairs the cause of the osmosis with the layers of filler being very porous in places

In doing this I will end up with some areas being uneven and requiring making up in level surface with glass fibre paste

Once the car has been flatted sanded down after adding the glass fibre Matt to all surfaces, I’m thinking of adding grey primer then a coat of black paint to resend all surfaces and remove high and low spots using progressively finer wet and dry

This was my thinking but open to feedback and looking to end up with a car body that is free from filler and with a solid surface to build final coats on
Cheers
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PostPost by: TBG » Sun Nov 29, 2020 3:04 pm

Quote "I had may last elan done by Options 1 and it was amazing the work and results that went into it and can't fault their work as it was at the time (2000) when their prices were low ."

Beware Option 1. They repaired my Elan last year and some of the work is very shoddy indeed. Insurance paid but..............I can show you photographs of their poor workmanship if you like.
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PostPost by: h20hamelan » Sun Nov 29, 2020 3:18 pm

The main/only thing to remember is a dry area, prior to your first layer. I would keep it in a dehumidified booth/environment for at lest 2 weeks prior to first coating. Moisture rises from ground, as well as simply in the air.
Make an environment.
Filler has little effect from atmospheric moisture intake, or osmosis. Once paint is in place

viewtopic.php?f=19&t=42449&start=

viewtopic.php?f=36&t=47079&p=339849#p339849

You will do fine adding paint after prep. Just watch some videos, and save some money for fuel.
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PostPost by: nico506 » Sun Nov 29, 2020 3:56 pm

Thanks for the info/advice
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PostPost by: RichardHawkins » Sun Nov 29, 2020 7:05 pm

TBG,

When I finally get my car in one piece, my intention was to use Option 1 for trim. Do your comments apply to trim?

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PostPost by: elansprint71 » Sun Nov 29, 2020 9:58 pm

Are any of the preceding posts on this thread connected to each other?
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PostPost by: TBG » Sun Nov 29, 2020 10:42 pm

Richard - the only trim they had to do was around the windscreen top right inside and they cocked it up. Also the windscreen surround was and is very ill fitting and not sealed - I had to do that.

option 1.jpg
option 1.jpg (65.15 KiB) Viewed 826 times
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PostPost by: Andy8421 » Mon Nov 30, 2020 9:22 am

nico506 wrote:First of all my aim is to bring the fibreglass body back to a state where no filler is present as have found past filler repairs the cause of the osmosis with the layers of filler being very porous in places

In doing this I will end up with some areas being uneven and requiring making up in level surface with glass fibre paste

Once the car has been flatted sanded down after adding the glass fibre Matt to all surfaces, I’m thinking of adding grey primer then a coat of black paint to resend all surfaces and remove high and low spots using progressively finer wet and dry

This was my thinking but open to feedback and looking to end up with a car body that is free from filler and with a solid surface to build final coats on
Cheers

I believe the car had polyester based filler applied at the factory to cover moulding joins and other imperfections. It would be wrong to assume the body popped out of the moulds in a ready to spray condition. You may find you are removing original 'Lotus' filler.

There is a thread on here about someone who used tissue mat and epoxy resin to sheath his car to good effect. Lots of work though to bring the tissue mat finish to the point it is ready to spray.
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PostPost by: Elanintheforest » Mon Nov 30, 2020 9:39 am

Nick, I would suggest that you get a copy of Miles Wilkins book on Fibreglass repair as a great primer for doing this work.

Doing the fibreglass at home is fine so long as you do it in a dry and warm environment...not in a cold damp garage in the middle of winter! You could spend your time now stripping the parts off the body and the paint off the body, and once it warms up outside, get on with the fibreglass repairs. It would be worth investing in a couple of heat lamps as well to keep an area warm and dry when you're working on it.

I doubt that doing any primer work will save you money unless you have a warm, dry and dust-free environment in which to work. I don't know of any painter who will guarantee their work if they have to paint over a home done priming and shaping exercise. The main reason is that they just don't know how well the surface was prepared, how well any fibreglass areas were repaired, and how dry it was when the primer layer was applied. If they can see that the cracks have been repaired properly, then most will guarantee if they do the priming stage as well.

The current way of preparation in most classic shops is a three stage priming and shaping process.

When all the fibreglass work has been completed, a 2 pack epoxy primer is applied, normally in a dark grey colour. This is then shaped with filler to get any 'ripply' bodywork sorted out, and when that is completed, a Polyester primer is applied. This is normally a 'high-build' primer layer, when the smaller defects are taken out with use of guide coats. When this work is done, a final layer of polyester is applied to seal it all up, and the colour layer applied, usually followed by the clear layer.

It is the shaping and flatting between the epoxy stage and the final polyester stage that can take a huge amount of time, depending on the state of the shell when you start and the finish you want. The final colour coat and clear coat would only take a day each on an Elan bare shell if just the outside is being done. So it does make sense to do this yourself if you can, and if you can control the temperature and humidity reasonably well.

But you will have to accept that the painter won't guarantee his work, and if you get microblisters in a year or two, it's down to the preparation!

Mark
Last edited by Elanintheforest on Mon Nov 30, 2020 9:55 am, edited 1 time in total.
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PostPost by: nico506 » Mon Nov 30, 2020 9:54 am

Thanks Mark - the car is stored in an integral garage and have IR lamps handy to keep area dry etc and been stripped already and dry stored since acquired the car.
The tips and advise has really been helpful as to planning the way forward
Thanks
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PostPost by: RichardHawkins » Mon Nov 30, 2020 7:21 pm

TBG,

Thanks for the warning.

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PostPost by: elansprint71 » Tue Dec 01, 2020 12:34 am

Elanintheforest wrote:Nick, I would suggest that you get a copy of Miles Wilkins book on Fibreglass repair ........

But you will have to accept that the painter won't guarantee his work, and if you get microblisters in a year or two, it's down to the preparation!

Mark


Sage words from Mark (rather than SAGE words). It is really important to keep any glass-fibre "structure" warm and dry when the outer protective cost has been removed.
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PostPost by: h20hamelan » Tue Dec 01, 2020 1:40 am

nico506 wrote:Thanks Mark - the car is stored in an integral garage and have IR lamps handy to keep area dry etc and been stripped already and dry stored since acquired the car.
The tips and advise has really been helpful as to planning the way forward
Thanks


glue or paint is brittle, the less over reface/polyester surface the stronger.
of course you will find imperfections, and if you paint yourself. you will be able to touch up whatever whenever. don't be shy, its all in the prep. not touching without gloves on, as that allows skins oil. body wash before sanding, & use tack cloths after. HVLP guns are good quality these days, and cheap. a minimum 2.5 cfm compressor. you will be fine.
and whatever you do, do it in the cool. NOT warm. warm is what happens in the summer, evaporation. note, all body shops prefer to paint at night for a reason. after paint has kicked (10 min) you add heat to cure.
I have used many times-
https://www.duplicolor.com/product/pain ... sh-system/
because it is cheap, like $20/qt not $800. and its available here, doesn't seem like there. surely there is some, pre-mixed locally. And even if you need to mix it, just make sure it dribbles of stir stick. not a constant stream, as that is too thick.
I go to the trouble to mix colours myself, yes I know. I drive my cars, and enjoy paintwork.

heat lamps are not dehumidifiers, nor are heaters. a dehumidifier should only be $75. and, as I think you live in the UK, it tends to be damp there anyway?
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