Lotus Elan

Refurbishing rocker switches

PostPost by: mikealdren » Sun Sep 26, 2010 4:12 pm

I've looked back and the Sue Miller tip seems to be polish them up with Silicon brake fluid. Has anyone done this and got experience of how long it lasts?

Are there any other patent methods for freshening up the old plastic and getting them black again? I've just tried Duraglit metal polish and it does a reasonable job but I've got the switched out of the dash and I'm looking for a reasonably long term solution.

I'm also hoping the topic title will make it easier to find in future.

thanks
Mike
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PostPost by: martinbrowning » Sun Sep 26, 2010 5:48 pm

Mike,

I had the same situation myself. I wasn't convinced that any of the polish/silicon fluid solutions would last so I bought rocker switches from Pat Thomas at Kelvedon Motors and had a local electronics shop put the new rockers from the switches onto my existing ones.
Pat has/had a box full of Lotus rockers but as I only wanted them for the plastic bit it didn't matter which ones he sent me.
Of course,this only provides the answer if you have the dash out of the car.

Might help,

Martin B
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PostPost by: DUKE » Mon Sep 27, 2010 9:34 am

Mike,
I have been using Autoglym vinyl and rubber care to maintain the black look and I have got to say that I am very pleased with the result, a quick spray each time the interior gets cleaned and it lasts between cleans, dash last cleaned before summer this year and they still look fine!
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PostPost by: graham » Mon Sep 27, 2010 9:40 am

I had a ford Prefect many years ago with a bakelite dash and I found that shoe polish kept that looking great. Have tried black polish on my rockers and after many coats to allow the oil to soak in I am very pleased with the results.
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PostPost by: bcmc33 » Mon Sep 27, 2010 12:07 pm

I bought a bottle of Plastic Trim Wax from a local parts shop to make a good job of tarting-up the external plastic bits on my wife's old Fiesta. I tried it on the rocker switches and they looked like new.
I guess they stayed that way for about a year before I did them again. Simply apply it, leave it to dry, and polish it off. You don't need to be that careful with it as it does not stick to the facia.
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PostPost by: mikealdren » Mon Sep 27, 2010 12:12 pm

I've got the switches off the dash in full (well autumn) sun in the conservatory so I'll try an experiment.

I've got shoe polish, silicone vinyl polish and Duraglit as we ll as chrome cleaner and other abrasive cleaners and polishes.

Keep the ideas coming and I'll photograph and post the results.

Mike
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PostPost by: reb53 » Wed Sep 29, 2010 7:48 am

I masked mine off and sprayed them with a clear lacquer.
Lasted a while, but to be honest I can't remember how long as I did it 20 years ago !

Ralph.
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PostPost by: gerrym » Thu Sep 30, 2010 3:10 pm

Mike, I have good shiny rockers on my switches, all except two off. I suspect that the switches were replaced last time the dashboard was also replaced (prior to my ownership).

The two off dull oxidised switches also appear to be of a slightly smaller rounder shape but I think these are original. I'll post a photo later showing the difference. Anyway, because if the difference, the old switches clash with the new so I spoke to the storeman at Paul Maty. Outcome is that that they stock many of the later Plus 2 and Sprint rocker switches (in the slightly larger replacement form)

Regards

Gerry
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PostPost by: mikealdren » Thu Sep 30, 2010 3:56 pm

Hi Gerry,
Unfortunately the replacement switches are expensive if you need to replace them all and replacing the odd one ill only show up the others - even if they are all the same profile.

I think there's a market here for someone to manufacture the plastic rockers. The switches are easy to disassemble and it's the plastic that fades over time.

I'm fairly confident that I can resuscitate the plastic by the various methods I'm trying, the real question is how long the solution will last. Hence my experiment which I'll start this weekend.

If the Rustins plastic finish arrives, I'll start refinishing the dash too.

Mike
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PostPost by: JJDraper » Thu Sep 30, 2010 8:57 pm

During the rebuild of my +2, the switches were spray painted. Look good so far, but time will tell.

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PostPost by: kenny » Fri Oct 01, 2010 6:53 am

Seriously guys, I get this happening on the rockers on the 7. As they are open to the elements and the sun in particular they do go a lovely shade of grey rapidly.

Cheap and cheerful "Back to black" found in any accessory shop does the job. Just as previous poster said, apply it, leave to dry and buff up..............seriously works better than all the more exotic compounds I've experimented with I promise you.

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PostPost by: paul_adamson » Sat Oct 02, 2010 6:04 pm

I have tried cleaning the rocker switches with silicone brake fluid and- much to my delight, i have to say that it works better than you could ever imagine.

I met Mick Miller once and spent a couple of hours chatting with him about Lotus cars.
Mr Miller is a man I hold in high regard and it no real surprise that his silicone brake fluid tip works like a charm.

Sadly Mick is no longer with us, but he really did know his stuff.
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