Lotus Elan

Plus 2 Bumpers

PostPost by: Carlos A » Wed Feb 11, 2009 3:59 pm

Mike:

I am afraid the pattern they have for the front bumper comes from one of those aftermarket poorly done chrome bumpers that we have been in the market for some time. They are famous for the poor fitment . . . Why do I think that? The lip on the middle section (front air intake) in the front bumper is just exactly the same as the chrome reproductions (different from the original lip).

Stu:

Ask the guy to compare the two bumpers one against the other before trying. In any case, I would not worry a lot. The good news is that Harrington is a respectable company and they have the deserved reputation to stand behind their products. I still hope and believe they will be able to come up with an exact reproduction.

Best regards,

Carlos
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PostPost by: tdafforn » Wed Feb 11, 2009 5:26 pm

I'd happily let them have my unmolested bumpers (complete with flaking chrome) to use as a template in return for a new set of stainless copies!
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PostPost by: Carlos A » Wed Feb 11, 2009 6:30 pm

I will try the rear bumper and report tonight.

Best

Carlos
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PostPost by: Carlos A » Thu Feb 12, 2009 1:42 am

REAR BUMPER DOES NOT FIT EITHER.

I am afraid I have bad news. After two hours of work I have concluded that the Harrington?s rear bumper is not correct either.

It is not as bad as the front bumper but still visibly wrong and the fitting is odd. The bumper's lip does not follow the contour of the car?s body. The bumper can not be installed without drilling four new holes in the fiberglass; but even in that case, one would end up with big gaps in the corners and between the top lip and the body.

Again, the curvature is wrong and the angles of the corners incorrect. Here there are some pictures

Unfortunately somebody at a crucial point in the process made the big mistake of dealing with this task without an original model and without trying the product in an actual car.

Best regards,

Carlos
Attachments
Original2.jpg and
ORIGINAL BUMPER compare with next picture
10.jpg and
NEW bumper. Notice corner gap
2.jpg and
Compare (new bumper with black back)
4.jpg and
New bumper on the right (new shine, wrong shape)
6.jpg and
Dramatic difference (New bumper with black back)
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PostPost by: stugilmour » Thu Feb 12, 2009 4:23 am

This is very bad news Carlos. :cry: Not to 'steal and opportunity' for free bumpers, but I would be perfectly prepared to ship them my originals (along with the one's that appartently don't fit) so they have a pattern that is correct. My originals are in dreadful enough shape that this would not be a big deal, even if they went missing.

There was correspondence with Harrington earlier indicating they would be prepared to put together a mounting bolt kit, and delete some of the holes of they are just blinded off. Maybe I will see if they can add this stuff in to the deal with the right info.

Carlos, let me know if you need anything from me by PM. Assuming you will be contacting them shortly.

Thinking I will trial fit to see if I am in the same boat. Take my original bumpers, stock bolts, and eBay bolts up to the body shop for comparo as well. Body shop is about 1 1/2 hours away, so this will take me a while to get done, maybe a week or two.

Would be great if with two unfortunate fits we could get it resolved so others can get good ones. They really are well made; unfortunate they did not use the right template I guess.
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PostPost by: mikealdren » Thu Feb 12, 2009 1:04 pm

Well we've still got lots of interest and several of us have offered to supply standard bumpers as templates.

Carlos, you seem to be doing a good job of guiding them in the right dirction.

Let's hope they realise that they are on the right track and are prepared to go that little bit further to produce the product we all need.

Mike
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PostPost by: andyelan » Thu Feb 12, 2009 1:49 pm

Hi Everyone

All this would be really funny if I wasn't p***ing me off so much

How long will it be, do we think, before someone will actually sell a reproduction part that is actually just that, a exact reproduction, indistinguishable from the original, that fits and that does the job it's supposed to.

So far we've had rubber donuts and engine mounts that fall apart, rotor arms with conductive insulation and windscreen surround that are too narrow. Now we've got a new set of bumpers, in stainless steel, which don't fit (these after the previous chrome ones which didn't fit either). Where will it all end. I wonder if anyone buying a set of Harrington bumpers for their ?100k Aston Martin DB or their Ferrari Dino has similar issues. Come to think of it, maybe we could try an Aston Martin bumper on the Plus 2, it probably wouldn't fit any worse.

Sorry to rant on so, but this problem of poor quality really does get me down. Maybe its time we started a survey where all reproduction parts which are any good, could be listed. Hopefully one day, Harrington may yet earn a place on such a list .

Regards to everyone
Andy
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PostPost by: Elanintheforest » Thu Feb 12, 2009 2:29 pm

I totally agree with you, Andy...a justifyable rant. I've restored Healeys, E Types and Elans, and without exception, the repro stuff on all models has been very poor. It either doesn't look right or doesn't fit or doesn't last very long...sometimes all three.

I've just had a windscreen fitted to my E type....it didn't fit of course. The car is at an E Type specialist, who know their stuff, and they tried 5 different screens. The strange thing is, none of them fitted but in slightly different ways! Eventually they got a new batch made by Pilkingtons, and got one to fit. This is on a car that has never been welded or had an accident, where the repro part is made from original specs...not copied from another part.

I do have some faith that Harringtons will work to get it right though. I know they've spent some time working with Type 14 Components to get the Elite bumpers right, and these haven't been good since about 1965! If they do succeed with the Plus 2 bumpers, they will be the first.

Mark
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PostPost by: Carlos A » Thu Feb 12, 2009 4:26 pm

Dear Andy and Mark :

We have here a company (Harrington) that is truly interested in coming up with the right product. I think that they will succeed. I am telling you this after dealing with them and observing a bulletproof professionalism that impressed me and a true enthusiasm for the task that deserves some credit. Let me put it this way: I am glad I bought these bumpers although I am sad they did not fit correctly. I had fun trying to install them. I will try again as soon as they have the product.

In my opinion we need to support this company as they are in the business to provide us with quality parts. Remember that they manufacture top notch bumpers for classic Ferraris, Mercedes and other classic cars.

Carlos
Last edited by Carlos A on Thu Feb 12, 2009 5:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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PostPost by: gerrym » Thu Feb 12, 2009 4:44 pm

Carlos, I'm glad you have the right attitude. Ie equal measures of doggedness, faith in human nature, and cynicism (in terms of fit, quality, price)

However, from the other side of the fence, we are all expecting 21st century product for a design that is more than 40 years old. Lotus always had fit and finish issues and who knows what the car (for the bumper that Harringtons worked from) was actually like. In terms of tooling and market size, then most manufacturer's would throw their hand up in horror and say it's not possible to make an economic product. The fact that Harringtons are prepared to give it a try, and Carlos to work with them to iterate towards an acceptable solution, is admirable

For arguably a simpler problem and a simpler product, look at all the work that went into development of the knock-off spinner tool by Sartos.

My hat off to you.
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PostPost by: Carlos A » Thu Feb 12, 2009 11:11 pm

Thanks Gerry.

I think Stu is going to send his original bumpers. Right, Stu? So they can have a pattern for the new product.

Stu:

1. Be sure your front bumper is without distortions. If it is installed in the car there is no problem. But if it has been around for a while it is important to inspect it. The front bumper flexes easily.

2. I think the idea of deleting some of the holes is not that good. First, they are there originally. Second, there are two bolts with rubber pieces to give the bumper some firmness and avoid vibration.



Best

Carlos
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PostPost by: stugilmour » Fri Feb 13, 2009 1:21 am

Excellent thoughts Carlos. I had PM'd you back with contact info, etc. before I saw your last post.

I agree with Carlos that this supplier is worth trying to work with. After all, at this point I don't really see a better choice in front of me.

Note my post earlier on this thread from Sept 2008 where I directly asked if there were fitment issues with the product. I am mildly upset to be confronted with them now. However, to be fair, there are no posts from listers indicating problems until Carlos posted; perhaps the other UK clients referred to by Harrington are not on list and/or did not try fitting them when Michael responded.

Also feel a bit silly for not trying the things as soon as they were received, but the car body is presently in another town, so this will have to wait a week or so to do this.

I think I have a good template for fitment as my car is currently back to gel coat, so we can see very clearly if anything has been changed or repaired in the bumper area.

My stock bumpers were only removed this fall, very carefully, as I intended to re-use them. I don't think they have any bends, but I will check VERY carefully and trial fit them back on the car prior to shipping. They are really in OK shape, just that re-chroming and rust removal was going to run the cost of the SS replacements.

Note my car is the non-S body style variant, without the integral fog/driving lights. Can we please confirm this makes no difference to the bumper sizing; pretty sure this is the case, but thought I should ask?

Agree with Carlos removal of the "extra" holes would not be advisable.

Will also carefully measure the mounting bolt hole size & location and trial fit the bolt kits I got from eBay. Will dig out the stock bolts to compare.

Can anyone post photos of exactly how the cable type boot lid bracket is supposed to fit relative to the rear bumper mounting bolts? Carlos mentioned a misalignment of some bolt holes, and I think we should nail this down. My glass under the rear bumper proximal to the license plate lamps and bolt holes is severely cracked and damaged, so would be great if I can confirm mounting hole locations and make sure I have it correct. I understand two of the bumper mounting bolts hold the bracket in place, and assume the cracking is a result of insufficient bracing of the bracket to the boot floor, but want to make sure I am not mistaken.

Cheers!
Stu
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PostPost by: bengalcharlie » Fri Feb 13, 2009 5:22 am

Jsu reading this post from Carlos. His experiences with the bumpers makes me realise that at the end of the day it is better and more satisfying to make it yourself rather than have to put up with the crap people sell. Just get a a couple of rear bumpers of a riley elf, cut these up and fit it to your car and have it chromed. you can fill all holes not required and at least you know that the final result will be to your satisfaction.
More work, more effort, but it pays off rather than pay a lot of money for crappy stuff. I have had some bad experiences with exhaust systems, crash pads not fitting properlyn or not fitting at all over the years.
In my opinion there is no excuse for selling stuff that does not remotely fit. Bunch of cowboys in my opinion.
There is no excuse for it. Test it first, do your research and than put it on the market.
No sympathy from me I am afraid.
Hope for you Carlos you get it sorted. I am just appalled by the idiots still out there trying to sell stuff that does not fit.
cheers]
Robin
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PostPost by: andyelan » Fri Feb 13, 2009 2:17 pm

Hi again everyone

Speaking as an engineer here are a few comments on this bumper problem.

When pressing somthing like a bumper, you can't just make the dies the same shape as the required finished product. All the bends and corners need to be made tighter to allow for "springback" of the metal. How much this allowance is will depend on, type of material, material thickness etc. and although there are tables and calculations which can be used, much depends on the skill and experience of the die maker and alot of the black art.

The problem for Harrington is that they are trying to match an existing component, not making an item in isolation, therefore, unless they get all these springback allowances absolutly spot on, the finished item is never going to be the same shape as the original (and by going to stainless steel of a light guage, this would be the case even if they used the original dies). I suspect getting things right is going to be very difficult for them without alot of trial and error.

Maybe Carlos, you could have another look at your Harrington bumpers with all this in mind, because it looks to me like they might have got all the springback allowance wrong.

Another problem I think they'll have (and this I'll bet will raise a few comments) I believe they are going to have a real problem trying to replicate the original bumper, which was a 3 piece fabrication, if they're now trying to press it out in one piece. We'll see

On a final note however, the bottom line is this, no matter how helpful or profesional Harringtons are, at the moment these bumpers arn't usable and thats really disapointing. Only time will tell if faith in Harrington is justified or not, but as thing stand, I dont see myself back on the road this spring with a shiny new stainless bumper on the back of my Plus 2

Regards
Andy
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PostPost by: dusty » Fri Feb 13, 2009 3:37 pm

Presumably this is why Lotus chose to use existing bumpers from another volume manufacturer (albeit modified in the case of the back bumper). We must assume it was less hassle and less cost to modify than to tool up for their own bumpers.

It is also worth noting that the vast majority of bumpers from that era comprised of more than one piece bolted together with a joining strip, especially in the case of wrap around rear bumpers.

TR6, Stag, BMW 2002, BMW CSi, Rolls Royce, are some that spring to mind.

I can't imagine it was cheaper to make them in multiple parts so it must have been due to the manufacturing process
Last edited by dusty on Fri Feb 13, 2009 4:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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