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CHANGES

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  1. To get this thread moving again after a break we will look at the poor fit on the transom . As we can see from previous pic's the after market part was wider, this may be due to a later part going onto an earlier body mold . The solution was to just machine the two ends down and GRP the areas to the correct length , finishing with glaze fillers.. Whist doing the driver side I noticed some sinkage in the rear quarter where a rear wing had been previously fitted. These had been filled before repaint but in a short time could be seen.. (not so obvious in this pic but more so in reality) As there seems to be some issues with the lacquer coat not going fully hard after nearly a year , I need to remove it all so going down to the repair should identify why it has sunk .. From the above pic we can see the holes were just filled and not bridged with GRP .. This is the reason it sunk , Its quite common to see this which is why you need to spend the extra time to fully machine back to base layer , then create a new solid substrate by completely bridge the area. This whole area will get GRP bridged to give the best chance of successful reification . Another area that had small issue was the front bumper fit .. once again an after market part from a later model was fitted , as with the transom things did not quite line up correct and had not been addressed when first fitted.. I realise there are those that say this sort of slight miss alignment is nit picking, but I just say would you be happy with it on your Esprit .. All these little points can add up and pull down a quality job.. The only other point that niggled me was the original aerial hole which was no longer used... I think that bung will need to vanish , I don't think it will be in keeping with the rest of what is being done to leave it .. The next stage is finishing these points off , then getting the rest of the shell ready for the full polly coat..
  2. Never had a problem with any , plating is pretty but don't last, Powder coat is far more durable .. i will go powder coat on mine next time round , plating looked great when done , but 18 months later on our roads started to age quick.. It now looks like i had not done it .. i have recently seen a powder coated one i did 6 years ago , still looks good , that is the data , make your own choices they both do a job ..
  3. I concur . When doing any body off restoration, I take great care as to label and bag each body mounting shim . But what must be said and may be relevant in @Vanya's case is , always make sure it sits square and can be set up correct before stripping , if possible .... If not and it is out of level as Vanya's is then a simple level assessment between the chassis and the body can be done . This is done on flat level surface or frame , with level gauges and measures.. This will establish if any body chassis alignment is out , before setting up the suspension.. it is doubtful a body will be far out even when fitted to another chassis , but simple procedures can adjust and make allowances for any discrepancies... The more accurate you build and maintain your Esprit the better it will perform.. In the pic below you can see between the red dots , the sort of level gauge I use when setting up chassis etc. A spirit level is just not accurate enough for initial measurements , but can be used once level is established as a guide.
  4. Hi @Vanya, In a nut shell they should not lean and did not lean when they left the factory ,... The statement they all do that or a lot do that, is just an excuse made by those who have one that leans because it is not set up correct.. Your Geo check can be fine but your ride height and spring pre-load will influence how the Esprit sits.. A mismatched damper or worn or degraded bush , maybe even a soft spring , all will have an effect.. A lot of this will depend on what you have fitted . As there is so many odds and sods available that fit with original springs and mounts etc , you can very quickly end up with a mishmash.. end result it leans ... However if you have adjustable set up you can usually correct the uneven stance with corner weighing and setting up correctly .. This will not address any mismatching of parts but will stop people making comments . Because of all the options now out there , I spent a lot of time looking into the best set up for the Esprit with what was available .. They all do a job , some very firm none adjustable ride , others inconsistent and not correct for the Esprit at all , and not forgetting the very expensive options .. All of these will need setting with a comparable spring and valving to suit .. This is something very few look at ... What i came up with was a fully adjustable alloy damper with a custom valve settings to suit a linear matched set of 2 1/4'' springs . These have a custom alloy top spring mount to adapt to the original chassis mount points .. They are all supplied with high density rubber shims to cushion road vibrations without compromising ride quality . the bottom mounts all have bearings instead of rubber bushing , with mounting flanges and dirt seals to prevent premature wear factor .. There is much more that can be said but what it comes down to is knowing what can be done and how , rather than just bolting on bits that are available .. All the kits i sell come 'complete' ( not just some parts ) all matched up, with instructions on how to set up with pre load for the specific model of Esprit from 88-04 along with other recommendations on bushing requirements.. But irrespective of all this you still need to have corner balancing and Geo done by a specialist ,if you want to get the best from your Esprit.. I have undertaken to supply these kits to Esprit owners, after extensive testing and proven reliability . Attention was given to ride quality, dynamic weigh transfer and high speed stability.. These attributes can only be achieved when all components match and perform as one .. This is the set up i run on my own Esprit with confidence .. So in short, You need to look at what you have and how to best fix it. PM me if you want more info .. Dave ( changes)
  5. Continued..... So More flatting and shaping. The initial work was to skim off the new GRP resin'd finish to as close to original shape before applying the glaze coat.. Because i did not put any pigment in the resin , you can see through to the lower layers .. But it still has a substantial bridging layer. Once the glaze is applied and flatted to the required finish , a final test fit of the door is done .. This was previously done to check gaping etc ,this time is just to ensure the levels have not changed. As it turns out all was fine , but always worth a check before the next process is undertaken . While the door was hanging with all the latch mechanism fitted, it was an ideal time to insert the later handle design, requested by customer @faye2000.. The handles supplied are not the original GM Carlton die cast 3 piece units , but the Astra / Cavalier two piece plastic type . These fit quite well but need a little finessing to get perfect .. They are the same as the ones I fitted and painted 10 years ago on mine. so i know they will stand the test of time .. However unlike mine , we are to retain the original latching mechanism , this has created a few issues to overcome . For eg the ups need to go down and the slotted locks are not slotted so don't match at all .. This is not a problem , its a challenge. The whole assemble has to fit in the same tight space behind the glass support frame , work freely and last decades... I will post more detailed account on how it was achieved if anyone is interested .. The next area to be addressed is the transom . This unfortunately was an aftermarket part previously fitted without addressing the fit issues.. As you can see it fits high and wide. But considering it was new and had recently been fitted painted, it still had a few other issues in the finish not related to the accident damage. These are typical previous preparation shortfalls ; not visible immediately after painting but appear later like sinkage and undetected gel crack.. something that will require attention along with the fit issues.. Next up transom fit and repair, also retro fitted front bumper fit issue.. TBC
  6. Very carefully .. . Early on in the process , I took measurements, made templates, and created datum points to work from... It was all carefully marked out checked twice and cut once.. It all comes back to the old statement , fail to plan or plan to fail .
  7. One of the body shops I've talked with won't do it as they say it sinks over time and will become visible ... What they mean to say is ... 'We are not capable of doing it well enough ' ... so we will save face by telling you it is not a plausible solution.. Fact is , It is practical and has been done many times without issue . You just need to find the right people .... Maybe worth giving that body shop a wide birth ....
  8. @Barrykearley Wow was that 5 years ago.. That was when I got a bollocking from the track womble for lighting up the rear tyres on parade laps... Oh happy days ... Didn't you do a video with commentary in the old David Coleman style.. Well someone had to show the new GTE's how it was done ..
  9. Contrary to a lot of thought 'gas out' does not mean i have run out of things to talk about !! Its a term used for drying time .. Originally referring to the solvent venting out of the product (paint) . In later years it also included to reaction time for full cure of the chemical reaction on the 2k products .. People think they are dry next day .. Not so , just in a transition stage.. This is why they low bake to speed up the gas out time to hours instead of weeks .. Because classic painters like to work the finish and colour flat , having it in a green state for a while can make it easier to colour flat and polish .. Plus low bake is not recommended on GRP Bodies This does not mean the car can not be used, just that the paint will be a bit flexible for a while and may scratch easier .. The best polish finish is always achieved when fully hard several weeks or months later depending on products / Processes used... Most people don't know or care about this, just getting it back on the road is enough .. That me all gassed out on that subject ..
  10. That's because it is a lot easier to say it than actually do it .!!!! This is why i take so many photo's , Its very easy to say you have done something , its another to show you have actually done it.. especially when it all gets covered up with paint ,or closed inside and engine ...
  11. So onto the next... Sand , Grind , GRP stage .. the first job on the front wing is to get the paint off . There were a couple of strange anomalies in the paint on the N/S corner , more like sinkage , but with the odd crack so will explore reason while dealing with Cracks.. When the paint was removed it exposed a previous repair that has not been fully bridged , so that can be address as part of re-lamination process. The main wheel arch section has received major flex causing gel and structure crack ..with a lot of the gel coat removed , the stain coats started to expose the deep cracks that could otherwise get unseen . After sanding back further we can see how deep some of these are ... The only solution was a full grind out and apply bridging GRP compound .. AT the same time we have to route out the main joint around the underside of the arch which has completely separated .. This will get spread and filled with joint compound before doing the outer skin. The reason being ,the flex needed to open the joint may extend the existing cracks . The next pic shows how deep these cracks are , already ground deep the stain still showing we have not reached the root .. Once fully ground out and GRP compound filled , we apply a full coat of resin and two layers of GRP tissue . 'see next two pic's ' The laminating coat extended over the repaired areas on N/S front corner .. This exact same process is carried out on the capping rail , which ended up with gel cracks down most of its length with a few structural , so full re-lamination done on that complete area .. Next job is to trim flat and fill where needed.. TBC
  12. To Continue .... First of all apologies to @drdoom for not replying to your post .... The answer being yes grind back and re- glass... but i expect you have moved well on with your project since then.. Part 12 Base and clear coat ,building depth. Moving on .. Once we have the first layers of colour and clear coat, we allow it to gas out for several days then fully wet flat with 1500 . this will remove any of the orange peel effect you tend to get with the initial build of base then clear … After a re-masking and full spirit wipe its time to apply a fine drop coat of colour .. This is done in a way that provides a sort of mist coat that allows light to pass through. After a flash off , then 1 mist then 3 full coats of clear are applied . This provides a deep gloss finish but still with a small amount of broad orange peel or wobble effect After a couple of days gas out we again start to wet flat, this time starting with 2000 to block out the wobble / orange peel .. followed by 3000 paper to remove any flat lines from previous flatting… This will start to generate a finish ready for polishing process.. A quick wiz over with mop and G3 starts to give the initial shine .. After inspection with lights. small areas can be re-flatted with 5000 to just refine any little points , before mop polishing with G10.. You can possible make out the 3 stages in the next 3 pics on tailgate.. ( not always easy to see in Pics) Next stage is assembly and check while allowing a full 60 day gas out before final polish.. TBC
  13. Basically messing around trying to guesstimate your GEO with calculations of 1mm here to 1 mm there will just put you in a world of hurt.. you can end up with your rear end sort of tracked but on the wrong thrust angle .. I have always said you should get these Esprit set up professionally . They will be able to set up the ride heights with corner balancing then track the Esprit to the desired GEO . There is an art to doing this on an Esprit and an order , otherwise you end up chasing yourself . They will do this by setting the cambers, then shifting the washers or inserting the shim plates as used on the later models ... The split shim plates are so much easier to use and i always convert any early models i do to that spec.. I will be covering that topic in the OOPS, Crash Bang thread, when the new suspension goes into that Esprit.. As it happens Its very close to the same spec as @hspeck's Esprit .. The suspension kit is the same i have supplied for both. I think the only difference between the two is tyre size and wheel type etc. What owners do not seem to fully grasp is how good these Esprit are when they are set up correct. very few have their Geo regularly checked and adjusted with wear .. As a result they never perform or feel as they should.. They should be all set up on a Hunter or equivalent laser alignment equipment by qualified technician ... This will cost money but well worth it when done correct ... Any alternative will be a compromise ... I specify with all the kits i sell that the GEO and balancing should be professionally addressed once fitted. Doing it right first time , works out cheaper in the long run ...
  14. Yes , As i said they will start to appear over time , which is why we have to spend time hunting for them. Sometimes this means resurfacing areas that show no sign of crack but I know are subject to it , especially after a shunt .. Gel crack always delays showing its full extent till some time later, usually after a basic repair is done and the body starts to flex when being used again ... All good fun ..
  15. Time to update this thread ..... So where was I ? 'A' post and front sill repair .. So to recap , the front sill and 'A' post was damaged because the tie plate from the steel 'A' post door mount was corroded away which allowed the main post to flex , cracking the N/S sill to wheel well area.. At the same time this flexed the whole of the front wing causing server gel and some stricture cracks .. The following 3 pics are of the lower 'A' post / sill after most of the loose damaged area has been ground away in prep for GRP lay up. All of these area's are prepped and repaired as per previous sections , allowing them to return to original position with the same or greater strength integrity. Once all ground back and second lay up applied the slot for the Tie plate slot can be re-cut and and the plate and 'A' post steel pillar refitted and sealed.. We will now move on to the next area which is the front wing. You should be able to make out some of the gel crack in indicated area , although as you will see later the paint masks the real cracks .. The same crack situation is on the cap rail , This should be expected when you consider the flex that the 'A' post went through , anything attached will have similar flex so cracks should be investigated even if not obvious .. Next will be grind back and find all the crack in these area..
  16. Part 11 Prepping and primer coat.. Back to it, With the second coat of polly we are starting to build up a workable thickness in the material .. With this flatting process, I take extra care with the edges and tall spots ; these are areas that are so easy to rub though . You can see in next pic ,on the rear quarter these high spots were over flatted .. This only becomes a problem in the second polly coat . To avoided this , I use the guide coat as a gauge .. By leaving the black on all these protruding areas until everything else is flatted we can prevent over flatting .. When everything else is flatted just a light local sand to knock of the guide coat is all that is needed . So on to primer . But what primer colour to use .. Monaco white does not have a designated undercoat colour . This means the primer colour can affect the shading .. I could mix a white undercoat , but this would add another process and will still need investigating for shading first .. To get around this we do test spray and compare to what customer is expecting. These are just three of the grey primer shades we tried .. From very light to mid grey .. I also tried 3 shades of white .. .. These were all then sprayed with the Monaco white base coat .. The results were compared to each other under different lights . This is done to look at the metamerism . The most promising were then lacquer coated and viewed again.. With most full paints this is not needed as slight miss match to original shade is very difficult to identify .. However what we were looking for here was a reflective depth in a white .. So we need to asses the metameric make up of each layer in different lights As it turned out the grey made the Monaco very flat , straight white primer became a bit washed out and all the grey shades in-between were just grades of the same .. To get around this and give us the vibrancy needed we added just a touch of yellow pigment to a white primer.. Not much but just enough to give the Monaco colour a foundation .. In test spray it brought the Monaco white out with an improved depth .. This was applied to all the panels and rolling shell . followed by shadow coat and flat. “Again”.. Re-application to some areas was needed .. Once completed . Re-mask and prep for Monaco Base coat followed by clear coat .. Because white is the lightest colour and is achromatic ,it will fully reflect and scatter the wavelengths of light . So to give it depth is why we need to add pigments of red blue and green . The trick is not to loose the chosen white, " Monoaco" ... So by adding a touch of yellow pigment, made up from red and green to the primer or undercoat , we provide a reflective foundation .. The base colour is fairly translucent so the pigments in the foundation colour will provide a reflective depth while the base coat provide the tint ," Monaco White" After several light building coats of base, 3 coats of clear coat is applied .. It is also important to check your clear coat is pure .. Some can have a tinge to them, this will effect your final tint .. if you use a non-pure lacquer, always make a note of it .. This is because if you need to repair at a later date you will need to use same type otherwise the metamerism phenomenon can appear .. TBC
  17. Moving forward, the next stage was to lay up the GRP on the inner faces . This will secure the section solid in place and enable the Cleco and bridge plates to be removed . Where the bridge plates were in the way we needed to work around them first and then do a second stage of lay up .. This second pic shows how neatly the rear panel lined up and with one layer of woven with two layer of mat, fixed very firm .. The outside need addressing now .. First the big grind .. This is tough because this panel being part of the crash structure is thicker than other sections. So from this pic above you can see we have ground a taper down to the base of the joint , up to the internal layup previously done . Then we lay over the area building up and tapering out to fill amalgamating the two section . This will get ground back with a second layer to establish a level finish before Filler to finish off .. I do realise that 98% of all this will not be visible when finished.. But that is not the point .. Just because it can not be seen does not mean you short cut the job ... Is that not what we have been witnessing on disassembly. The same process goes on all the joints , grind back lay up, grind and finish lay up .. next pick is of sill section before and after process completed.. In the last pic you can also see the GRP lay up over the internal sections the bulk head has a bridge lay up over the bonded joint as per original spec . Next two pics show how the 'B' post joint was made solid . It will still need final shaping to conform with the curve of the quarter glass . Next section is the 'A'post and sill repair .., TBC
  18. Part 10 Prepping and polly coat.. First job is a major clean up. This included all aspects of the Esprit /panels.. I cannot stress how important this bit it .. When fully blown off , wipe down with spirit wipe. Then tack rag. Your substrate condition will determine your next step .. If you have some areas of old paint that are stable enough but still visible, you may wish to apply a Bar Coat / etching isolator.. However if you are happy with what you have you can go straight to polly coat But only if your polly coat does not include an added solvent .. If it does use Isolator first.. If using two component Polyester coat as I do , you will need an extra-large gun set up .. This is because it sprays so thick.. I use a specific type of spray gun just for the polly coat.. Apply two heavy crossing coats to all the panels and shell .. You will be surprised how much of this product you will use , as it is not thinned .. On this project by the time the polly stage was finished we use 10 ltrs .. It is also important to mask out all the areas you don’t need or want to paint with polly coat .. This stuff goes on very orange peel, you don’t need to be rubbing down any more than you really want.. The polly coat also acts as an isolator. So as long as you don’t break though during the next stage you will guard against solvent soak down. But to be honest I always go through in spots on the first coats.. This is only because I am searching for extra flatness using a guide coat .. On the above pic you can see the bonnet going through primary flat with guide coat .. In the front O/S corner you can clearly see a low spot . Even after every bit of care taken to this point we still find faults .. This was addressed and bonnet re-coated . When the polly coat is first applied, due to its thickness , it searches small vent holes in all the filling we did .. Only a few but they pop as pin pricks .. These can be filled with Glaze before shadow coat and flat .. Next pic shows the shell under primary flatting. This is all done dry, by hand with various specialist blocks and grades of paper .. Don’t be under any illusion , done properly this stage takes days to do all the sections .. Once primary sanding is done , I re-coat all areas that are thin or flatted through. Then repeat until every section is as required .. TBC
  19. This pic here may give you a better perspective on getting all the corners in the correct plane .. Although its only when you do an eye level view that you appreciate the full accuracy .. A good indication here is the strip light reflection as it goes from the h/lamp pod to the bonnet .. This shows they are in the same plane ..
  20. Yes some are quite bad.. The problem as I see it is, restorers forget the reason for bad fit when they strip .. They misguidedly assume when its all painted and fitted up it will be better aligned .. As we know this is not always the case .. When so much trouble has been taken to get a nice paint finish , the last thing you need to be doing is constantly fiddling around trying to make things fit better.. With the GRP cars , flexing a panel is a drastic action , not easy and can leave the panel under stress . With vibration this could create issues .. However over time the GRP will capitulate, relaxing into that form , especially in warm climates .. You can see evidence of this when GRP panels are not stored correctly and end up warping .. So in conclusion what we are showing in this thread in not just generating flat gaped fitting panels . But a process of strip, refit , re-align, asses, rectify . 'Then strip, re-fit and confirm '.. This last stage is done a couple of time during the next processes of polly , prime and paint. In main to make sure the panels don't grow to far .. With the gaps getting tighter, the clearances when panels open gets bloody tight.. We don't want them touching and chipping an edge off.. It will also give you the confidence on final assembly that things will just fit as they should ..
  21. It was close but no cigar.. Even though the way I cut out the section , means all the cut joints are covered or out of sight when joined up ; The one 20mm small area that is not, did not match that well . It is really just sod'd law that it was just that one spot . Typical .. You can just make it out , the lower lip is much deeper on the original panel and the angle is slightly off.. But hell its all going to be ground out and GRP'd so not problem .. however it will need building up all the way round to be consistent.. If you are aware of the underside shape you will realise this is a fiddly job to glass up .. Anyway back to the job .. Now we have the test fit done , we take it all apart to prep for final assembly.. This involves grinding back all the inner and awkward areas to provide a good key for GRP adhesion when laying up . The next stage was to insure all the joints are at least as strong as original . On the foam filled box sections this can be awkward .. having no access to the inner face would mean no bridge is formed .. This would then totally rely on one side lay up .. To overcome this i use a sleeve technique .. This involves first chasing out a thin clearance around the foam inset and keying the inner faces .. Then using corresponding sections from the scrap parts trimmed and prepped to fit ; We secure in position using resin compound adhesive filler as joint agent . The next section is a little tricky.. We have to apply the same GRP joint compound to the areas just mentioned , along with the 'B' post pillar butt joint and the floor butt joints .. . Once mixed i have only a few minutes to slot it all into place and secure before it cures .. If i get this wrong and it goes off before its all in correct position, it will need cutting off to re-do over.. The above pic shows how this acts as a sleeve , helping with positional location whilst providing an inner bonded bridging joint .. The next picture shows how the surplus compound squeeze's out of the joints as it pulls together.. By using this method we have maintained the structural integrity in these areas.. Once the compound has fully cured, we can proceed to the next stage of grinding back , prepping and laying GRP on all the joints , including these outside of these sleeve joints .. TBC
  22. Part 9 Matching front wings to bonnet and front panel and head lamp pods , continued. After establishing where the shape form needing building it was just a case of process. Because of the amount needed in some areas , we used GRP for the primary stage , then used a quality filler to level out detail . From the above pic you can see how much work we saved by concentrating on reshaping the wing tops instead of the bonnet .. I do realise it was the bonnet curvature that was distorted , but fortunately it was in a consistent. This did not mean the bonnet did not need attention.. In fact quite the opposite .. By using the straight edge I was able to find lots of hollows and dips that needed rectifying . The whole area, bonnet ,wing tops, head lamps and front panel , all had to be plane sanded as one . After localised leveling , the whole front area was coated with glaze . A finer flatting process is then used to generate the uniform even finish ready for the next stage.. In the next pic you can see this has been achieved with only a thin skin of fillers , This will have kept the weight of the bonnet panel down , also allowing it to have its natural flex without risk of the repairs cracking . Although this was a short post, the hours involved in getting just this area correct were massive. Because the bonnet and front panel are not naturally in the same plane , poetic licence had to be implemented . The reason for this was purely aesthetics, With the tighter gaps and more uniform shape , having them in a different plane would become more pronounced and not how the customers expected. So probably difficult to appreciate just how much work was involved for such a minor, but very important feature. The only job left on the main shell now was cutting the panel gaps, then sanding them to the specified 7mm ready for next stage of seal and polyester coating. TBC.
  23. When I get to that section in this thread i will go into a bit of extra detail with pic's etc to try and make things clearer. This is where it all get interesting. Having a hard suspension where you have little travel in the spring can make little bumps feel big , with poor contact / traction at same time .. On the smooth roads great , but not all roads are smooth .. Finding the balance with spring rate damping and ride quality is the trick .. Tyre's are and always will be an integral part. Profile, width, pressure and compound will all have an effect.. again its about the best balance with what you use.. The adjust ability is more a facility to accommodate a requirement , rather than something to play with .. Once set you leave alone till next GEO check , Then if needs a small tweak to allow for settlement is all that should be needed .. When doing a production car , once you have all the settings then its cheaper to get manufacturer to just repeat the settings in a fixed unit.. Most manufacturers geometry will be the best for any car.. However when original equipment is not available , along with some who like to go off spec , the adjustable format fills the requirement. This will allow you to get as close to the original design feel with parts that are available .. or personalize to your needs .. TBC
  24. Well said I can not agree more . I have fitted new suspension and GEO set up to many . The before and after improvements are massive .. It was only when i finalized my version of the damper spring alternative did i feel the Esprit was once again Epic.. .. It is very difficult to explain to the lay man, the full interaction between components , that produces the final result .. If just one of these is out, weak or inconstant, then it all goes to pot .. Because a lot of the original components are obsolete , owners are mixing and matching after market products with very little understandings of the logistics involved . I am amazed how many fit adjustable dampers, wind them till ride height looks about right and think that's set .. This is so remiss and will not perform anything like it should .. They then generally twiddle with the adjustable rate setting with little understanding on what they are actually achieving.. When fitting any adjustable suspension , it will require setting up by a professional with the relative equipment .. (as photo's at top of this page) . It is important to get the spring pre load and balance correct so the Esprit can perform as it should .. This can only be done by corner weight balancing .. When this repair thread reaches the end, i will be fitting one of my complete damper / spring / bush , set ups before it returns to the road .. I will try to explain the intricacies so owners can get a better understanding and appreciation of why and how ..
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