Lotus Elan

Paint stripping &strange repair.

PostPost by: djb222 » Sat Mar 09, 2019 5:01 pm

Progress on the removal of the paint and filler layer on the Elan is progressing well especially with the application of a little help from the wife's spare hair dryer....yes she does know!!!!!!
Some of the filler "putty" is very thick in places especially at the top of the wing adjacent to the rear corner of the bonnet opening. This seems way over the top to me. Has anyone else found this when stripping their car?

The repair of what I assume to be a crack in the GRP was showing through the paint, however on stripping back the paint it is obviously a repair. This will have to be redone.

Have a look.....

https://youtu.be/Y05mVIh0D7o
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PostPost by: bitsobrits » Sat Mar 09, 2019 6:51 pm

Looks more like the car has had a repair section bonded on. The thickness of the filler is very unusual, and the car will undoubtedly be much faster without all that weight! :D
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Elan S1 1963-Bourne bodied
Elan S3 1967 FHC pre airflow

Formerly:
Elan S1 1964
Elan S3 1966 FHC pre airflow
Elan S3 1967 FHC airflow
Elan S4 1969 FHC
Europa S2 1970
Esprit S2 1979
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PostPost by: webbslinger » Sat Mar 09, 2019 11:46 pm

That doesn't look like it was a well executed repair, but it won't take a lot to make it good now that you're down to it. A good glass repair should be almost undetectable, well except for the difference between the old and new glass. Those pieces have basically been just glued together with some fiberfiller with no overlapping layers of glass fiber for strength. That filler is tough stuff for the right job, but that's not one of them. So you are doing a worthy job of getting into it and setting it right.
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PostPost by: djb222 » Sun Mar 10, 2019 12:40 pm

I must say when I first started to uncover the repair I thought that a repair section had been bonded in, however I'm not sure as I haven't yet uncovered a full repair section.....we'll see as I progress.

I can't believe the areas I have uncovered so far need so much filler and 'contouring'.... with the filler removed the shape looks good with only surface imperfections...... I know I can't really tell until I'm down to the GRP all over....

Oh well back to it....... adding lightness!
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PostPost by: nmauduit » Sun Mar 10, 2019 1:55 pm

problem is, why was so much filler added to begin with?
if the panels were not properly aligned when the repair was done, you'll need to recut and realign them, otherwise chances are you'll end up either with a dip or will have to put back a similar amount of material... if repairs are done according to the shop manual, one doesn't end up with deep straight lines in the fiberglass such as the angled one can see at the beginning (would be stress risers).
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PostPost by: StressCraxx » Sun Mar 10, 2019 3:34 pm

The tan colored material appears to be what we call "primer surfacer" here on this side of the pond. I think the gray is as well. It's used to cover over the "multitude of sins" from the past without removing the paint to the gel coat and starting over.
There is no cure for Lotus, only treatment.
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PostPost by: Mick6186 » Sun Mar 10, 2019 5:59 pm

What is the n/s like in the same area. May be a complete front end bonded on after a heavy shunt,
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PostPost by: StressCraxx » Sun Mar 10, 2019 8:55 pm

nmauduit wrote:problem is, why was so much filler added to begin with?
if the panels were not properly aligned when the repair was done, you'll need to recut and realign them, otherwise chances are you'll end up either with a dip or will have to put back a similar amount of material... if repairs are done according to the shop manual, one doesn't end up with deep straight lines in the fiberglass such as the angled one can see at the beginning (would be stress risers).


There are three rules of automotive fiberglass repair, bodywork and paint.

Cheap.
Fast.
Good.

Pick two.

Supplemental rule. Make sure you know and agree to what repair methods are used. You get what you inspect, not what you expect.
There is no cure for Lotus, only treatment.
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PostPost by: RichardHawkins » Sun Mar 10, 2019 9:10 pm

Stress Cracks,

I really like that "you get what you inspect, not what you expect" so succinct.

When I was a young man working in my employers inspection dept I occasionally would carry out inspections at contractors premises. Instructions from the chief inspector were "if it's painted walk away, paint covers many sins"

I prefer your version.

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PostPost by: Slowtus » Sun Mar 10, 2019 10:09 pm

nmauduit wrote:problem is, why was so much filler added to begin with?
if the panels were not properly aligned when the repair was done, you'll need to recut and realign them, otherwise chances are you'll end up either with a dip or will have to put back a similar amount of material... if repairs are done according to the shop manual, one doesn't end up with deep straight lines in the fiberglass such as the angled one can see at the beginning (would be stress risers).


Simple, whoever did the repair wasn't very good.

I know through my own (in)experience - having added about 20lbs to the left hand side of a Fiat 124 wing using the same technique.

I did improve over the years. :D
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PostPost by: djb222 » Mon Mar 11, 2019 5:32 pm

Thanks for the comments.

Although the thought of stripping the paint and rectifying any previous work, if needed, and properly preparing the body for paint has been giving me the heebie jeebies, I decided to give it a go. As I mentioned before Although I've had GRP cars before they've all had a very good colour Gel coat, Ive never worked on grp of this potential magnitude. But.....I want to do it right. So strip it right back, assess what needs to be done, repair and refinish.

I agree with your work ethic, take the time needed to do the job correctly. I know there is a wealth of experience on this forum and I intend tomato use of it. Also, I will be carefully documenting the progress as a help to others, success and failures! as I've struggled to find many 'how to's' in video form.

Anyway back to stripping.......
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