Lotus Elan

replacing dashboard

PostPost by: richgilb » Thu Nov 26, 2009 2:59 pm

I have just had a quote from Spyder to put a new dashboard into my car, which means they will be taking the old one out, moving the clocks over to the new one and then refitting it. They have quoted 12 hours labour at 45 per hour plus VAT. I cannot help but think that this is not necessarily a job for experts, and I could save myself 600 quid by doing it myself. Or am I deluding myself here? I did once take a Spitfire dash out and it seemed ok. And isn't 12 hours a long time for a professional to do something so basic?
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PostPost by: rocket » Thu Nov 26, 2009 3:27 pm

12 hours seems a very long time for doing a dash changeover.

Regards

Ian.
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PostPost by: GrUmPyBoDgEr » Thu Nov 26, 2009 3:29 pm

It's not a job for the faint hearted but if you go about it methodically by marking everything as it comes into view, make sure you re-fit the Switches the right way up etc. you should be able to DIY in a Weekend.
600 GBP is a lot of money to save.
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PostPost by: richgilb » Thu Nov 26, 2009 3:57 pm

yes, thank you. I thought that it should not be too difficult....and there are one or two posts that give guidance here....now how difficult is sorting the heater unit later on? It makes a lot of noise but not much comes out. Does the dash need dismantling all over again?
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PostPost by: GrUmPyBoDgEr » Thu Nov 26, 2009 5:01 pm

richgilb wrote:yes, thank you. I thought that it should not be too difficult....and there are one or two posts that give guidance here....now how difficult is sorting the heater unit later on? It makes a lot of noise but not much comes out. Does the dash need dismantling all over again?


Yes, bight the Bullet & good luck!
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PostPost by: david.g.chapman » Thu Nov 26, 2009 7:30 pm

I had my +2 dash out last winter. The dash may be stuck to the crash pad as you try to pull it away. Don't force it or the vinyl on the crash pad may tear. I had to run a knife along the top of the dash to release a section. Try a hot air gun (not too close!) if you don't like the idea of the knife.

Check the condition of the wiring while the dash is out. I had to replace a melted wire from an old "incident" - before my time!

Looking at the heater is a must with the dash out, if you have the time.

Good Luck!

Dave Chapman.
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PostPost by: richgilb » Thu Nov 26, 2009 10:32 pm

Thanks for this, really useful. Work commences on Saturday.
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PostPost by: rdssdi » Thu Nov 26, 2009 11:07 pm

If you decide to replace the dash wiring loom or retain it label all terminals as removed. The wiring diagrams are not always accurate.

If you decide to replace the loom label all terminals and connectors and sent this to the loom maker as "standard" ordered looms will most likely not be a perfect match. I did this with my entire wiring. I sent a list of modifications and the old harnesses to autosparks in the UK. The looms fit and functioned without problem.

Bob
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PostPost by: 1964 S1 » Fri Nov 27, 2009 1:39 am

Hi Rich, I believe after you get going on your project you'll find 12 hours was a very reasonable charge. Label EVERY wire, I'd draw a diagram and note every gauge wire tab so that your tape labels on the end of the wires leaves no mysteries. Good Luck, let us know how it goes. The Plus Two has a gazillion more wires than my S1, it won't be easy but a great challenge.
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PostPost by: stugilmour » Fri Nov 27, 2009 4:40 am

rdssdi wrote:
If you decide to replace the loom label all terminals and connectors and sent this to the loom maker as "standard" ordered looms will most likely not be a perfect match. I did this with my entire wiring. I sent a list of modifications and the old harnesses to autosparks in the UK. The looms fit and functioned without problem.

Bob


Bob, that is a terrific suggestion. Biggest problem with a new loom seems to be that there are so many variants for the Plus 2. I think there are 8 or 10 diagrams in by manual, let alone LHD & RHD. Add in a few mods made over the years by a PO and mods you want yourself. Little wonder it is so difficult to get a matching one! Didn't know the supplier would look over one's original.

I think 12 hours is a reasonable estimate for an experienced pro working in a methodical manner. Allow yourself a bit more! Very doable though, and worth it in the long run, not just for the $ savings.. You will be able to judge the loom condition yourself and repair as required.

If heater is questionable/noisy, absolutely remove and check over while you are in there. Not a big deal once you are in there with the dash completely removed. Mine had no sealing foam left on the flaps, it had dissolved. Sounds like your fan motor might be going or is rubbing on the housing; it is very tight clearance. Might be an easy fix. Think it would be a pretty big job to go in there again for just the heater as some of the wires are not easy to disconnect to get the dash completely removed and out of the way. Not a big deal if you are removing all the switches and gauges, but a lot of work if required to just get at the heater box.

Personally I would not change the dash without replacing the loom completely, certainly after looking at the state mine was in. But this makes it a much bigger job. Maybe take a very close look under there to assess wire condition overall before starting?

Let us know how you make out and best of luck; its a big job but well worth it!
Stu
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PostPost by: richgilb » Fri Nov 27, 2009 7:59 am

Actually it has a new loom in already. The previous owner commissioned Spyder to do it...ouch! sounds expensive.

So, my main concern is the heater. If it needs replacing, am I looking second hand only?
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PostPost by: JJDraper » Fri Nov 27, 2009 8:12 am

I had to take out the dash to get at my heater a few years ago - lots of time, and this was only removing the dash not replace and rewire.. Lots and lots of labels and digi photographs. Regarding the heater, it is possible that it is the heater motor which is noisy and will need to be replaced - expensive unless you can find a second hand spare. Putting the heater back with engine and G/Box in place is tricky as the hose clips are difficult to get at and fully tighten. I fitted new hoses with excess length so that I could put them on the heater and fully tighten the clamps before putting the unit back. I then threaded the hoses through the bulkhead and refitted the heater. The hole in the bulkhead was made a little bigger to accommodate the hoses and clamps, but it is possible. Use RTV sealant on the foam gasket to prevent rainwater leaks. With all in place, I cut the hoses to the correct length then fitted them to the engine.

Another thing about the heater is that the air hose connections must be as air tight as possible..

Took a few weeks to sort out a few niggles after the dash was re-fitted, but got there in the end.

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PostPost by: richgilb » Fri Nov 27, 2009 8:18 am

Hmm, it is beginning to sound difficult again, depending on who you read....so I have found a mechanic who reckons he can do it for ?150 - ?200....how about that? We didn't discuss the heater though.....
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PostPost by: dusty » Fri Nov 27, 2009 11:34 am

richgilb wrote:Hmm, it is beginning to sound difficult again, depending on who you read....so I have found a mechanic who reckons he can do it for ?150 - ?200....how about that? We didn't discuss the heater though.....


Just remember, you get what you pay for.... Has he done one before? I work on Classic Cars for a living and I would also be quoting 12+ hours to change out the dash. If you take it to someone who under quotes because he doesn't realise what's involved, one of two things are going to happen either he'll come back looking for more money when he realises he's under quoted, or (and worse) he'll rush the job and cut corners.

Its a time consuming job and needs to be done methodically, as mentioned above any bad wiring needs to be repaired, everything needs to be properly secured to avoid chaffing, squeeks, rattles etc down the line.

Just my thoughts

Jon
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PostPost by: Roy Gillett » Fri Nov 27, 2009 12:16 pm

This is a job that's on my winter 'to do' list. Thinking of the wiring renewal which I am sure will be necessary once one starts moving things under there, does anyone know where you can buy the authentic coloured wires to patch into the loom with? The solid colours are not too difficult but where can you buy the ones with coloured tracers as well as a solid colour?

I am certainly allowing a week-end to do the job and am waiting until warmer weather means fingers will not go numb and wires are more pliable. I don't have heat in the garage!

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