Lotus Elan

S4 Sill damage.

PostPost by: djb222 » Mon May 06, 2019 4:19 pm

I?ve now stripped the paint from both sills and a copious amount of filler from the off side sill on my Elan S4. Revealing damage and bad repair. Looks like I have a lot of work ahead!!

Any advice on the best way forward appreciated.

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PostPost by: Frogelan » Tue May 07, 2019 5:02 am

David, I have no advice, but perhaps talking to the folks at Paul Matty might bring some bright ideas.

Not so long ago, I met the originality guru, Paul Robinshaw who lives in your part of the world. Perhaps Paul can suggest a solution ? (I can give you his number).

I appreciate your videos along with those undertaken by Paul Haigh. Each one has a little nugget of information which is very useful for my project.
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PostPost by: Old English White » Tue May 07, 2019 9:29 am

Hi david,
Just had a quick look at your video.
Seems to me that you stripped your car quite roughly.
But anyway, it's done. You now have two possibilitises :
If you still wants to do the job (save money or spend time) , you'll have to learn about glass fiber work.
If you are tired enough, it will be worth ask Option1, for a quote.
They are well knone arround and I have seen many of their cars (Donington & Stoneleigh)... they are always keen to give a quote whatever the asked job... Their advices will help too, sure about that.
Christian. :mrgreen:
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PostPost by: rgh0 » Tue May 07, 2019 10:53 am

Its all repairable. The structural repairs are the easy part the surface repairs to get the profile right the hard part. Unfortunately many body shops due the structural work quick and cheap and then hide it under the surface work. I would do the structural fibreglass work myself and then get the surface work done by an expert unless you want to learn and develop those surface finishing skills which take some time

My Elan has had similar lower right sill and floor damage as a result of a heavy front right impact early in its life and your car appears to have had the same front right impact. The sill repairs were not great but better than yours and I left them in there when i rebuilt the car rather than cut them all out and start again and they have held up OK for the last 40 years so you dont need to to be perfect in the structural repairs just adequate

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PostPost by: djb222 » Tue May 07, 2019 3:53 pm

Thanks for the comments.

Frogelan, glad you find the videos interesting. I've struggled to find any similar strip and rebuild of an Elan anywhere, so this is my journey, warts and all. It would be useful to PM me the phone number....thanks.

Christian, I've seen the quality of the work from Option 1 and as you say top class. I did contemplate handing the job over, however when I started stripping the paint I made the decision to do as much myself as I can even if it means learning new skills, which it will.
I decided to scrape the paint and filler of the grp, and yes, it is a slow process but fairly mess free. It appears that there is very little gell coat left on the body and that the previous "body shop" just applied the filler/ prime filler over rough grp after they had sanded/ground the paint off, so the finish you see is not because of my heavy handedness.

Rohan, I will do as much of the work as I can, I also want to finish the body as well, however I'm not shy to admit defeat if it comes to it. the paint job will be farmed out....I think!
I must say when I uncovered the work needed to the N/S wing and the O/S sill I briefly wish I'd never started but I must say I am relishing the challenge..... ask me again in a few months..

Regards David
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PostPost by: Donels » Tue May 07, 2019 7:25 pm

Don't despair. My +2 had had an accident and been repaired, badly. I suspect the drivers side chassis leg collapsed and that corner hit the floor, and probably something else.

When taken off its recent chassis I found I could waggle the front up and down and it pivoted approx at the top of the wheel arches. The outer body had been repaired but the inner wings were cracked and GRP frayed into strands. The inside of the nose had a repair over road dirt which separated from the body at the first poke with a scraper, allowing the underside of the nose to flop down. The floor was split by the drivers feet and had never been repaired, allowing water to rot the carpet. How it held together I do not know.

I taught myself GRP repair and all is now solid. It's taken some time but I'm happy that it's safe. So just take you time and practice on small bits until your your skills increase. Incidentally when I removed all the paint, approx 10 layers, I found the rear passenger corner had also been damaged and this repair was excellent. Undetectable until all the paint was removed.

I completely agree with Rohan here. Do all the GRP work yourself and farm out the painting to a good paintshop who know how to paint GRP.
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PostPost by: PaulH » Thu May 09, 2019 6:25 pm

Hi David, Sorry to see that you're finding that more repair work is required. As others have said it can be done. I was faced with a big repair on the rear of a +2 which was bad enough for me to buy a 2nd hand rear section to enable me to cut out the bad repair and bond in a replacement section. I'm still wondering if your car might have had a replacement front end. The two straight line repairs circled in the image below look just like saw cuts where a new section has been bonded on, and the holes either side of the top line look like holes where a plate has been fixed to hold the section in place while it was bonded on the inside. It's of no particular consequence because they will get dealt with as part of the repairs you're going to make, but just interesting to try to see what happened in the past. Hope you can keep motivated to carry on.

elan-cut-lines.jpg and
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PostPost by: djb222 » Mon May 27, 2019 7:30 pm

I must admit I thought some new sections had been bonded in, however the more paint I strip the less I think they have, I need to uncover more to be conclusive. If new sections have been used then the prep and finish is not very good.

Once all the paint is stripped I'll do a full evaluation of what needs to be done.
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