Lotus Elan

Proper fitting of dashboard rocker switches

PostPost by: NedK » Wed Nov 16, 2016 1:21 pm

Hello all

Now the nights are drawing in, I'm back onto my project 1969 +2S. My dashboard was completely delaminated due to water penetration (barn find car), so I'm making a new one, using the old one as a template.

The question is, what is the 'proper' fitting of the dashboard rocker switches. When in the up/off position, should the switch face be flush with the dash?

My original dash had thin strips of wood behind the switch holes, with the effect recessing the switch back into the dash. Looking back at my many photos (stupidly didn't think at the time to check this properly), it all looks a bit higgledy piggledy.
img_20151016_145610.jpg and
Original +2S dash


It makes sense for them to be flush in the 'off' position. Does everyone agree?

Here's the new dash cut out of marine ply and ready for veneer...
20161106_133150.jpg and
New dash


And here's the raw veneer...
20161106_120843.jpg and
Veneer


Many thanks
Ned
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PostPost by: Orsom Weels » Wed Nov 16, 2016 2:44 pm

The thin wood glued to the back of the dash for the switches to mount on is correct & original. I've just fitted a new dash to my +2 & on both the old & replacement dash (from sue Miller), in the off/up position, the top of the switch face is just slightly lower than the dash, not flush, with the lower half of the switch protruding. The window switches, which 'park' in the middle position, protrude just a little top & bottom, if that makes sense, much as they look in your photo

This isn't the best picture, but it just about shows how the switches sit.

wp_20161114_14_13_37_pro.jpg and


Regards, Tim
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PostPost by: elanfan1 » Wed Nov 16, 2016 9:24 pm

I think Tim is spot on the only thing I think I'd do in addition is stain the edges of the holes to help the switches blend in better (sorry Tim)
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PostPost by: mikealdren » Thu Nov 17, 2016 9:42 am

If you haven't already gone too far, I suspect the dash may be recoverable!

My dash had damp behind the varnish and everything looked very dull and mouldy. I removed the varnish with a scraper then Nitromors - wish I'd just used Nitromors. I then glued back loose veneer - PVA glue and clamped in place. Light sanding and it looked like new, I then varnished with the 2 pack recommended here, can't remember off hand what it was but I can probably look it up.

Very good results and very rewarding to do if you have time.

Mike
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PostPost by: Orsom Weels » Thu Nov 17, 2016 10:17 am

elanfan1 wrote:I think Tim is spot on the only thing I think I'd do in addition is stain the edges of the holes to help the switches blend in better (sorry Tim)


That's quit alright Steve : :D , actually the switch hole edges are painted/stained brown under the lacquer, as are all the gauge holes, heater control slots etc. I think it must just be a bit of camera flash reflection in the photo :oops: .
I am actually very pleased with the dash, I had thought about either making my own or restoring my original, but in the end decided to go with a replacement from Sue as it would be quicker. It then only took me about 3 years to get round to changing it :oops: :lol: . It's not an exact copy in every way, for instance the lettering is very slightly smaller & the glove box aperture is slightly larger than my original, but we are talking very subtle differences which can only be noticed when both were side by side.
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PostPost by: The Veg » Fri Nov 18, 2016 6:28 pm

Orsom Weels wrote:...the lettering is very slightly smaller & the glove box aperture is slightly larger than my original, but we are talking very subtle differences which can only be noticed when both were side by side.


Interesting; I'll bet the lettering was made straight from the size it came out on a computer printer! I'm just finishing-up with refurbing my dashboard, and I downloaded the Micrograms Bold Extended font then made up a template, then found that the letters were .3mm too small. The company I sent the template to for turning into dry-transfers was able to scale the letters up to the correct size.
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PostPost by: NedK » Mon Nov 21, 2016 2:20 pm

Thanks to all for your very helpful suggestions.

I agree that a just-recessed look in the off position will be best. I shall shim them to achieve this. The marine ply I'm using is a little bit thinner than the original - though the delamination (definitely terminal, Mike!) could account for a bit of the thickness. I will build up with plenty of coats of Rustins.

Also, I've used matt black paint in all holes except for the glove box lid and surround. They will be a brown to match whatever colour I end up with through the varnishing process.

A couple of further questions:
1. the back of the glove box lid looks on my original to be just varnished onto the ply, rather than veneered. Could others confirm this? (Hard to tell on mine as the whole top sheet of the ply has come away, as if it actually was veneer!)
2. decals... I have a new set from Paul Matty. On top of the last coat of varnish, or one more coat over the whole lot?

Thanks again to you all. This forum is really helpful.

Pic of veneer in place (using Titebond veneer glue and a lot of pressure) attached... The little tear falls over a switch hole, so won't matter.
20161120_145545.jpg and
Veneer glued in place


Ned
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PostPost by: Orsom Weels » Mon Nov 21, 2016 7:12 pm

Hi Ned

1: Yes, the original glove box lid is just lacquered over the ply, however, my replacement has been veneered on the inside also, looks nice, but obviously only visible when you have the glove box open. I can take some photo's of both if you'd like, to show what the two different effects look like, but both the car & the old dash are in my workshop at the moment, not at home. I will next be with them on Wednesday :)

2: My original dash had the lettering on top of the last coat of lacquer, which had lead to some being worn/scratched off. The replacement has a coat or two of lacquer over the lettering to protect it. In my opinion, a good idea, but it does mean it would be difficult to rectify the small size difference in the old & new lettering if I were able to get the correct size made up as The Veg has done. Not an issue if you make sure all is correct before you lacquer over it.

Regards, Tim
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PostPost by: elanfan1 » Mon Nov 21, 2016 7:32 pm

I believe the original letters were screen printed on. The problem you might get if lacquering over a decal is yellowing of the letters over time. I'd be tempted to just put them on top as any damage or wearing is easily and cheaply rectified by applying new decals.
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PostPost by: jono » Tue Nov 22, 2016 4:28 pm

When I did my dash I found that the Rustins melted the letters (did a test first) so I had vinyl letters made up which I stuck onto the finished dash - these have held up well. I have a sign maker pal set them up on a computer and lazer cut them.

I painted the rocker switch and glove box edges from behind using a chocolate brown Plasticote spray paint then lacquered them with the Rustins.
Attachments
before.jpg and
flatted.jpg and
after.jpg and
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PostPost by: john.p.clegg » Tue Nov 22, 2016 7:23 pm

I'll second Rustins,after 15 years still looks like new,and no reaction to "lettraset ".

John :wink:
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PostPost by: NedK » Fri Nov 25, 2016 3:04 pm

Thanks again to all.

Jono, your dashboard looks identical to mine (4 lights, ash tray etc). But your original glovebox lid seems to have a lock visible on the outside. Mine is just a push-lock mechanism and the lid is flush.

Is your a 1969 +2S too?

All the best
Ned
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PostPost by: vxah » Fri Nov 25, 2016 5:00 pm

Looks like some very good work there! but I notice some of the gauges are looking a bit "Grey"?
If you take them apart and rub the painted faces with a cloth and WD40 they go Black again!..
I seem to recall you can get the flat chrome rings too..In case you chew them up?
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PostPost by: elanfan1 » Wed Jan 04, 2017 1:28 am

There's a terrible echo in here! :D

Welcome though.
Steve

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PostPost by: wobblyweb » Sat Jan 07, 2017 10:30 pm

Has anyone used water slide decals for the letters. They are for sale on Ebay
http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/LOTUS-ELAN-2S ... Sw44BYSFL7

I have spoken to the seller who has offered to have some Elan ones made up.
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