Lotus Elan

Tricky fibreglass repair

PostPost by: jono » Wed Jan 12, 2022 12:01 pm

The joint between the two body moulding on my Plus 2 nose is badly damaged and I'm scratching my head on how to restore it.

The easy fix would be to grind it off completely then glass it flush but I would really like to retain it for sake of being faithful in my restoration as it provides a clear cut off between the two distinct body mouldings and the main body colour

Any bright ideas?

One thought I had was to fix a strip of hardwood or similar and then glass over it?
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PostPost by: dougal9887 » Wed Jan 12, 2022 2:04 pm

I rarely attempt to repair damaged glass fibre and prefer to cut out the damaged area and replace that with a freshly moulded part.
For that repair, I would make good by whatever method to exactly replicate the original. Bring this to a perfect painted finish. Take a mould off each side of the 'panel joint'. Create new pieces from the moulds, starting with gel coat then lay-up. Cut away the temporary repair back to sound material. Grind the lay-up side to give a 2 to 3" feather edge. Cut the newly moulded piece to shape and similarly feather out. Fix the new piece in position and lay up in the valley created by the feathered edges. Grind a shallow feather edge depression along the join on the face side. Use tissue across the joint and finish with body filler.
Odviously you would be doing this for each side of the panel join. Bonding paste, per original join would be used when placing the second repair piece.
This sounds involved, but the lengthiest part is recreating the original and finishing that for taking a good gel coat moulding. The rest is pretty quick.
A repair done like this is barely discernable from original and remains the original integrity of the panels.
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PostPost by: nmauduit » Wed Jan 12, 2022 2:15 pm

to recreate an approximate curved rib profile (non seen during normal driving conditions) I sometimes use some foam backed with wood for fastening and rigidity, then protected with film (then usually I put some peel ply on top of the glassed material to help smoothing the actual profile) - likewise for recreating trunk rain gutters for instance. This may be difficult to do in a single pass, but you could do sections, then use the sections to fasten with glassing the missing sections...
I'm not sure I see clearly where this is, if it is structural to some extent, I would first make sure to taper out sufficiently the repair so as to anchor it on solid material.
Use of an electric file would probably be of great help for that type of repair.

good luck !

ps: nice collection of shop tool cabinets by the way.. ;)
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PostPost by: dougal9887 » Wed Jan 12, 2022 2:18 pm

You could, for the first repair side, attach the mould to the cut back and feathered panel and create the new part on situ. The second side would still need a separate new part in order to faithfully recreate the join.
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PostPost by: dougal9887 » Wed Jan 12, 2022 2:54 pm

Same process for a gutter repair. Here are pics of a recent one.
IMG_20200908_164947.jpg and
The damage.

IMG_20200908_164958.jpg and
Make good.

IMG_20200909_190708.jpg and
Take a mould.

IMG_20200909_230349.jpg and
The mould.

IMG_20200911_081824.jpg and
Moulded in situ.

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PostPost by: jono » Thu Jan 13, 2022 12:43 pm

Many thanks for all the tips and suggestions - it sounds involved!

I've located a source of fibreglass profiles, including angle trims, and am considering whether it might be possible to modify and glass them in to replicate the damaged flanges.

Will let you know how I get on.

Cheers

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PostPost by: pharriso » Thu Jan 13, 2022 1:17 pm

Chris Fincham at Boss Motors has the original molds & can make whatever repair sections people would like. You could then graft the repair section into the floor panel & Sill.

He recently made me a footwell section to repair a bodge done on my car

BOSS_Motors_PassFootwell_FibreGlass_as delivered.JPG and


I would not grind flush, it would look strange & you might end up with a Q Plate :twisted:
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PostPost by: Lotusian » Sat Jan 15, 2022 12:10 pm

Even better, Boss Motors will do the job for you if you take your car to them.
For me, they replaced the panel behind that seam (the one that the vacuum units bolt to) using a section from their original moulds.
They also repaired a smashed area about 8” diameter in the section below the bumper.
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