New member - Excel SA

Restoration threads may be posted here. I can move them from any other topic if you wish.

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supraholic
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Re: New member - Excel SA

Post by supraholic »

bash wrote:
Wed Nov 22, 2023 00:32
There may be a market for those !!

Bash
Yes, the rubber mirrors on mine are the only things not cosmetically up to my standard. If anyone ever does come up with a marketable solution, I'll be a customer. I'd seen some NOS Rover mirrors on Ebay that looked like them in the photos, but said they were "manual". I probably should have bought them just to see. I've wondered if the outer rubber part was the same.
Phil - 86 Excel SE

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Re: New member - Excel SA

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After the glum news from a few months ago - some much better news! My daughter just got her final exam results and is now a doctor :D . She has completed 6 years at university - the first two years are all lectures, the middle two mostly lectures but some practical stuff in hospitals, and the last two mostly practical work in hospitals, a small section with GP's and very little university time except for exams etc. She still has to complete 2 years of internship in a hospital, and then a further year of compulsory community service which all med students have to do - but no other professions.....She also gets paid from the 1st of January :lol:

Not much progress on the mirror covers - being rubber, the moulds weren't 100% as they should have been, some curves were not smooth and there were a few dips and bumps on the surface. I have reshaped it all a bit, the next step would be to make a mould of this piece to allow me to make other moulds to either make them in fiberglass or rubbery stuff - nothing I can really finalise until I have door frames and glass in place - and that might still take some time.

Image

Neil.

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Re: New member - Excel SA

Post by Pete Boole »

Congratulations to your daughter Neil! Good news indeed :D

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Re: New member - Excel SA

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Thanks Pete!

Following a bit of a break over Xmas, am back on to fiberglassing. I had previously done the repairs to the passenger side of the engine bay, but the driver's side also needed some work - a fair amount of cracking - which had popped up in a few odd places - as well as some visible damage I assume was from brake fluid. The brake fluid damage didn't seem to go too deeply, not sure it really affected the gel coat much, if at all, but the paint didn't like it.

The picture below of all the areas that needed attention - some holes that are now redundant could be filled in (green circles), cracks that needed work - including on the top edge of the pedal box (red lines), the joint between the two body halves (yellow line) and some cracks that I found on the top of the body (orange).

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The areas were all ground out, sanded and prepared for some filler - the first stage was to fill the deepest parts of cracks/damage with a epoxy adhesive made up of epoxy resin, microfibers and a thickener.

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Once that had cured, I sanded a good deal of it out again to get an even surface, and varying thicknesses of layers of cloth were laid over the areas to rebuild the body back up to where it needed to be:

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This was then sanded back to finish the body back to the right shape:

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I then added another two layers of fiberglass cloth over the repairs, extending a bit further onto the body work - this was done on both sides of the car to add a bit more strength:

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I then added some more filler on to the new sections once it had cured to fill in the weave of the fiberglass cloth that was left - this way when sanding flat I didn't sand half of the fiberglass away again...

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A final sand was done to blend it all in - another repair done - hopefully better and stronger than before.

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I did suffer my first LRI (Lotus Related Injury) doing this section - I ended up with a very long (15mm or so), fine, sharp, needle like shard of cured fiberglass going into the skin of my hand over one of knuckles. It went in painlessly, but caused some discomfort and a fair amount of distress when it caused my skin to change shape, bulge etc when I moved that finger....at this stage I had no idea what had happened, or what was in my hand. After half-heartedly digging and prodding at the entrance wound, I decided that proper medical intervention was a better option! It did require a local anaesthetic jab or two, some light scalpel work, and a surprisingly large amount of pulling and tugging to get it out, and a stitch to patch it all up again. I'm all repaired now, and debating whether the costs for the doc should be allocated to the car rebuild cost!

Neil.

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Re: New member - Excel SA

Post by Pete Boole »

King of fibreglass!! One of the worst cuts I've had was sanding the bottom edge of one of the doors - it was left like a razor from the factory! Nowhere near as bad as yours though!

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Re: New member - Excel SA

Post by Lotus-e-Clan »

Master craftsman.

Half the battle is knowing which and how much repair medium to use for each situation, and having the full range of media to hand when the time is right.

I once had a go at redesigning a fibreglass headlamp pod for the Clan without great success. I couldn't get the shape right and ended up adding more chopped mat, resin and filler to get the shape anything like I'd wanted. The result was a pod about twice the weight of the original (and not entirely achieving the shape I wanted)!

So I'm wondering if you too are adding weight with each repair or have you worked out how to keep the end result close to the original shell weight?
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Re: New member - Excel SA

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I've had a number of cuts, scraps and bashes over the years, and splinters I could easily pull out, but this one was harder to fix than the others!

Hi Peter K, I don't think I've added much weight at all with the repairs I've done, and certainly removed a lot of excess fiberglass and filler from previous repairs. The epoxy system I'm using is stronger than the original stuff, and I'm generally not laying huge amounts of extra material - you need to sand away material to make a strong repair. The extra fiberglass in the engine bay in reality probably just replaced the gelcoat that was originally there - it had been well cooked on the exhaust side and was fairly powdery when I sanded it off. I also wasn't using a particularly heavy cloth - maybe 200g per m², so with resin, maybe added 100g, less the gelcoat I sanded off.

Where necessary I have held the bodywork in place (the driver's side rear quarter section back from the door for example) and then added fiberglass - almost always removing some first. In the rear quarter repair I removed all the old fiberglass put on at the factory to join the halves together on the inside, then added in new fiberglass once the panels were all in position - no extra material at all.

It doesn't require a huge investment to get the right stuff for repairs - fiberglass cloth isn't all the pricey, epoxy resin is a lot more than the standard, but as it is stronger you use less, and unless you're making huge parts, you're not using a lot of it. The additives for making adhesives, fillers etc. (microfibers, glass beads and fumed silica) really do cost very little and go a long way - maybe a couple of pounds for a liter of each???

Having accurate moulds to make parts helps a lot - as does a way to "tighten" up the fiberglass - whether wrapping it with tape, clamping it between boards or vacuum bagging it - the best way, but does take some more resources....I use the input from an old compressor as my vacuum source, and I do handily have a paint pot that can act as a vacuum chamber - your vacuum bags will almost always leak!

The other benefits of the epoxy are that it doesn't smell - no eye-watering fumes - and once it cures it holds its shape. My front bumper was badly distorted because it was attached badly to a skew front end, and it took that new shape over years of being held like that - I had to cut it up a lot to make it flimsy and floppy in order to get it back to the correct shape before fixing it in place with epoxy. I'm also told that the epoxy sticks better to the old fiberglass than the original stuff would....

Neil.

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Re: New member - Excel SA

Post by Lotus-e-Clan »

You've certainly thought it through!
Your expert knowledge and experience in composites, so well demonstrated in this thread, provides me/us all with high level bench marks for repairing our plastic wedges in future. 8)
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Re: New member - Excel SA

Post by Hawaiis0 »

Hi Neil.

Is this google statement correct for epoxy and fibre?

Does epoxy resin work on fiberglass?
Epoxy tends to be used with either Aramid or Carbon, but can be used with fibreglass. It is important to keep in mind that if you are using fibreglass mat with epoxy resin, it has to be a powder bound mat. Emulsion bound mat contains styrene only dissolved by polyester resin, so it shouldn't be used with epoxy.

I had no idea there were 2 types
Nothing is fool proof. Fools are clever!

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Re: New member - Excel SA

Post by Pete Boole »

Yep - that's correct.

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Re: New member - Excel SA

Post by Excel SA »

Thanks Peter K! I've had a lot of practice with the fiberglass by now - I also went through all the threads on TLF by a chap who goes by "Changes" - he has done some major work on Esprits, and he describes all his processes in great detail - including fiberglassing, painting and final sanding and polishing - who knew there was 7000 grit sandpaper...

Hi Stu - Pete warned me about epoxy and standard chopped strand fiberglass matt some time ago - where the epoxy doesn't have the correct chemicals to soften the matt. I haven't used any matt, I have stuck to cloth, which is all woven and needs no binders to keep it together. I would have hoped the place I buy my material from would have warned me as well.... I've done no extra research on this, just gone with what has worked for me so far (and heeded Pete's advice!).

The fresh air intake/plenum chamber that sits on the engine side of the firewall is in the way when I try and squeeze the engine and gearbox into the car - it just won't fit with it in place. It is normal screwed/riveted in place, with globs of sealant around the perimeter to keep air, water, engine bay smells and heat where it should be. I have already made some alterations to make it fit around the engine, as well as to drain better, now I had to find another way to install it - there's no way to reach in to get rivets or screws in place once the engine is in.

I made a couple of "S" shaped brackets to slide the bottom lip into, and then will probably fix it at the top with a stainless steel button head screw into a stainless steel rivnut. One of the brackets is shown here - held in place with clecos.

Image

The problem with this intake is that it does not fit to the bulkhead very closely, it would leak like a sieve, and trying to apply some sort of sealant to the lips before installing would have resulted in a sticky mess all over the place.

The plan then became to apply some masking tape to the bulkhead, followed by a layer of 1mm thick tape (the masking tape is easy to remove from the body, the 1mm not so much) - this should leave me with a 1mm or so gap between the clip/intake and the bulkhead. I then prepared the lip edges and applied a fairly generous amount of epoxy paste to the lips and stuck it on to the bulkhead - the idea being that the intake then takes an accurate shape - matching the bulkhead. This does also need to fit over the plate used to hold the heater valve in place, so that was mounted first. Once in place I could spread the paste out a bit to neaten things up.

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It took more than one attempt to get the profile right though - the area just above the yellow line is impossible to get to, nor even see, once it is mounted - the fit was way out in this area - it is the section just under the water deflector/cover stuck to the bulkhead. The lip in the area circled in red also needed a fair amount of filler - it's now about 5mm thick.

Image

The plan is to stick a closed cell foam gasket to the lip to provide a proper seal once it is ready to be installed - this should take up any variations in the two surfaces.

Neil.

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Re: New member - Excel SA

Post by Pete Boole »

Great job Neil. I've done something similar on my Elite - I bonded some home-made "Big-Heads" inside the car and use stainless M5 cap heads to hold the plenum in place. The Elite plenum is very securely bonded from the factory and took some getting off!! Just like yours it doesn't fit very well and needed building up to seal. I'll use a soft neoprene gasket when it finally gets installed.

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Re: New member - Excel SA

Post by Excel SA »

Thanks Pete - I'll look at your way too - I've borrowed an electric riv-nut setter before, it makes it really easy to fit them, so if I can get hold of it again, I'll probably go that route.

The latest project was the high-level/3rd brake light. Best Tony looks away now - I did have to cut into the one of the few parts of the car that wasn't previously damaged....

The first order of business was to make a housing for the light - I bought the light on Amazon - finding one that was narrow enough to fit. I cut a piece of MDF to the same shape as the light and then formed fiberglass around it - the bit sitting on top of the wing in the pic below. I cut the slot for the light and then moulded a few supports (red arrows) to help line things up and keep the housing for the light level. In my efforts to speed up the curing time for the supports, I heated them up with a heat gun - and overdid it somewhat. The epoxy ended up bubbling and foaming, luckily it didn't really make any difference in this application - it was still fine to support the light fitting.

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The fitting was then bonded into place, cleaned up and the light was fitted - the light is held in place with two self-tapping screws - it works as a tail light and a brake light.

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The light did come in a pack of two - after buying an Amazon special replacement light for my Audi, I have some reserves about the quality of these things - my original Audi light lasted 16 or so years before the elements killed it, the replacement lasted one year.....This one is sealed, so hopefully does last a decent amount of time, and the Lotus doesn't have irritating reminders about light bulb failures like the Audi! The Audi housing has now been retrofitted with an LED strip from a roll in which all the electronics are sealed - let's hope that lasts.

Another issue I need to tackle is the front cross member - to fit the Lexus motor in, it needs to have a section in the middle cut out and lowered, which obviously weakens things. I will add in some more support to replace what was removed - and hopefully get it back to at least as strong as it was, if not more so....The problem now is that the cross member has been used as a jacking point in the past - it looks like jacks have been used across the whole length of it during it's life. This is what it looks like, from underneath, in the center of the car - the steel has been pushed up by 10 -12mm:

Image

I need to flatten that out along the whole of the cross-member so that I can get the additional strengthening steel in place - I will be moving away from fiberglassing to panel-beating for a while!

Neil.

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