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Everything posted by CHANGES

  1. 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 ..
  2. 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 ..
  3. 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
  4. 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.
  5. 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
  6. 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 ..
  7. Moving on . We now have the damaged section removed at the rear and the rest of the structure solid.. I have shimmed some wooden blocks into place where the new section will sit . This is so it will be in the same plane as the one removed.. Before we can proceed with the body work there is a small section on the chassis that came to light needing addressing.. This is very common and a real pain to do neatly when not fully re - working the whole chassis .. However i do have a very effective and strong way of dealing with it .. The cause is the turbo outlet pipe burning away the zinc coat in this area.. Its not unusual to see this all the way down the tube if the manifold had been a regular ''Glower'' In this case it was only where you can see in pic. After grinding out all the thin rusted section I also put a few plug weld holes either side .. After using an extension on my porting tool , I was able to clean out the inside as well. I then machine a section a 3mm walled Dom Mechanical tubing of same o/d to fit the I/D of the chassis tube nice and snug. Then drifted it into place .. After this it was just a case of welding the holes up and linishing . To finish off it is given 3 coats of Zinga paint spray, inside and out .. It will finally get painted black to match the rest of the previously painted chassis. Now back to the bodywork ..First the new rough cut repair section will need to be marked out and cut to match the section removed .. I can not stress enough measure 'twice' cut 'once' with this .. When done we can offer it up to see how close we have it .. I use Cleco and bridge plates to hold joints in place while i measure and check as assembled unit. Then re fit the tailgate to make sure everything is square and in correct position .. I love it when a plan comes together . As it turns out this repair section was quite a good match . They can be a bit hit and miss at times . When a poor match occurs the repairer may have to use a bit of poetic licence .. Next up take it all apart again and dress areas ready for permanent joining.. TBC
  8. I heard it said years ago , along with the gaps on a Land Rover and the great wall of china they were one of the few things you can see from space..
  9. Part 8 Matching front wings to bonnet and front panel and head lamp pods . As you can see from the sub title this is a big section . As all these areas blend into one plane , we need to do all in one process .. So where to start. ? First impression can be deceptive, This first pic. is how it looked after stripping of paint and shimming to best basic fit.. But when we get down at a different angle with straight edge ,we start to unravel the nightmare fit. This is so common of the ‘G’ esprit bonnets . When they fit nice in the corners they stay proud in the middle. Most end up somewhere in the middle , but that is not an option here.. This is where I would prefer if it was steel or alloy panel that I could flex. But hey hoe, just means more flatting rubbing building etc etc .. The position in the above pic will not present a reasonable platform to work from. It would involve to much material being put into the bonnet to level out.. It would be more practical to do the main build re-sculpturing on the wings and front panel .. This also makes sense when you consider the head lamps will need to be shaped to fit at the same time .. So first job is to fit new thicker seal to compensate for changed height then pull down into best fit option for projected shape. With the front corners now just slightly tall , instead of sunken , we can establish a full side to side plane for the bonnet front edge to match , but we must first address the head lamp pods After doing a primary fill we can start using the straight edge to focus where the builds are needed . We use the straight edge in its flexible plane, as we did with the roof section.. This will give us a guide to create a smooth curved transition from one panel to the next .. As you can see from this pic above the lamp pods still need building toward the back to bring in line with the bonnet. The same will be needed with the center of the front panel.. It is worth noting here that in the standard form , even when new, there was not a perfect transition between these two panels . This is even more pronounced on the later Stevens models. With the back edges of the bonnet in line with the top of the wings as in above pic, along with the front corners being set in position , what we are left with in the middle has to be dealt with. Next up how we correct this . Then how we smooth out any and all undulations across the whole bonnet and front panel area blending into the wing tops . TBC
  10. I use polyester resins but other people use Epoxy, especially when doing a butt joint.. They polly GRP the unseen side to hold in place then rout out the butt joint and fill using epoxy.. Much quicker .. Because of the extra strength that the Epoxy has it is ideal for some quick repairs .. However you do need to consider other factors.. Relying purely on a products strength as apposed to a construction format could flounder in some stressed areas .. By laying up over a larger area the repair strength is greatly increased so the need for Epoxy diminished.. Using Epoxy in an application as we are doing would be overkill .. Another factor is cost , Epoxy being quite a bit more expensive .. Also need to consider when using an Amine cured Epoxy , you can get a blush in the finish .. Because this is a repair you are going to fill and paint over you may dismiss it .. Unfortunately this can cause serious adhesion problems that can lead to de-lamination or blisters in that area. But a fully cleaned and prepped surface before next application should eliminate that occurring.. As with all repairs, technician use various methods . With new products and procedures becoming available all the time this scope will only get wider . I tend to be a bit old school , my methods take longer , but have been very effective and served me well, whilst also standing the test of time .
  11. Sometimes from donor cars, You can still get Lotus old stock new sections if you know where to look .. And there are some after market parts and repair sections still available. The only way to make a matching piece is to take a mold off the original . To do this the original has to be perfect .. You also need to consider the cost of making a mold is 3 times the cost of the final part produced .
  12. Part 7 Matching doors and front wings . This was an interesting match up . The contours drifted off and panel alignment was challenging.. The swage height had already been established as the default position so the rest would be where it landed .. From the next pic you can see the top of the wing will need extra building if we were going to get any flow across the gap. This was not where the sculpting would end . As we progressed down the face, the top section of the wing was well out of alignment. For those thinking why not move the top of the door in. This was the best mean position for the door as a whole. The bottom of the door and the swage point were actually quite close .(see pic's below) . The only action would be to re-form the surface of the wing to match the door Before building with fillers we needed to re-enforce the mirror mounts.. There was some gel crack caused by the mirror flexing.. This was ground out and GRP applied . The customer has also been advised to fit a load displacement plate on the inside when he eventually fits the mirror , just for that extra bit of strength. We also have the situation where the aerial mounting hole surface will get raised quite a bit .. This needs consideration as the aerial location shaft will end up to short .. As a result we had to use GRP to build that point, then we could grind away the inside to give the correct panel thickness without compromising any panel surface strength. Finally we can fill and blend across the two panels as we did at the rear . At the same time a bit of extra care is taken to minimise the gap under the capping rail trim plate . The Capping rail also needs fitting to conform where it sits into the top of the wing, only then can this section can be considered complete. Next up wings bonnet, headlamps and front panel . TBC.
  13. I concur, I think you were flogging a dead horse with that .. I am sure it will all turn out for the better when completed ..
  14. We can now start the repair procedure. The first job is to address the rear body to chassis mount on the O/S . This has had an attempt to repair previous, unfortunately it was a bit DIY and had failed again .. Having an M10 bolt instead of M12 fitted did not help it much.. Once I remove the crumpled steel patch we exposed the problem . There is not a lot I can do with that , the bobbin has gone and very little structural strength left in the immediate area. To correct this we need to strip back the whole area, cut out, then fit a proper repair section . By cutting back several inches and up the wheel well , we can be sure we have removed all the week fractured GRP .. The next job is to cut a matching repair section to fit . This is secured into position by the the M12 bolt and Cleco's through bridging plates .. Its not clear in the photo but the joint edges are tapered to a blade edge where they join. This is done to remove the butt joint effect . this will allow the GRP and resin to create a complete butt joint free surface when completed. Much stronger .. First stage is to fix in place with 4'' woven fibre tape , pushing into joint area eliminating any air pockets . ( above pic) .. Then we remove the Cleco's bridge plates and bolt. Apply another layer of woven fibre tape then 3 layers of matt . A quick trim, drill out and face bolt hole , finishes the basic repair on the top .. The underside is prepped in much the same way with two layers of fiber tape applied to full encase this repair section . The inside area will eventually get dressed producing a flat finish, with the boot floor rivet nut fixings put in place . Now we have the O/S secured in its correct position ,we can move onto the main rear quarter repair .. After careful consideration and marking out the damaged section is removed ... ( the following picture may be unsettling to some , so viewers discretion advised ). TBC
  15. If the split spacer collar can not slide , but close fit ,then when torqued up the chances are the alloy hub will still be put under slight but constant stress.. It is not designed to function that way and over time can crack from the extra shock loads uncured during use.. Then you will have broke a almost replaceable hub , purely for the lack of fitting a penny part and not doing what is required to do the job correctly.. Sorry to be a killjoy but one of the biggest pains i experience when working on customers Esprit, is short cut maintenance or repair, 'Better known as the Bodge' , These are always a pain to fix and in most cases could have been avoided with just a bit of extra time and care. If it is beyond the DIY scope then contract out to someone conversant in what is needed , It could work out cheaper in the long run ... I have two of these hubs to do on 88 Esprit . Not sure they have ever been done before .. I have no illusions of what is involved and how long it will take .. It is always advisable to replace any part that is worn or seized, if the split spacer collar wont release easy , then follow procedures , using one of a few extraction methods and replace. Its far more satisfying knowing it is all done correct.. Just leaving a seized penny part in place because its hard to do , is a very poor way to maintain a super car .. Rant over.... There was nothing personal meant to anyone in this post , just trying to get a point over ..
  16. A lot depends on application .. There are many types which all serve the same purpose but with small differences .. Some are more aerated and easier to flat , others that are more dense are harder to rub down. The lighter easy flat fillers are very common and useful for areas needing higher build .. They also have better elasticity , so less likely to crack if flexed . You are better leaving longer cure time on these to avoid shrink back . You do need to be aware that if you Wet Flat these fillers , you really need to dry them out with heat source before next application, be it filler of paint. Failure to do this can lead to minute droplet of water getting trapped which can lead to micro blister appearing later . All fillers should be sealed as before paint . This is where stopper etc, or glaze coats come in .. However if you are doing significant repairs it is not always practical to completely cover with glaze as i have , due to cost. What we tend to do is use a polly coat , such as UPOL Re- Face.. You are correct on the Dolphin glaze, i find this a great product .. I don't use it as a sealer on these type of jobs , more as a fine finish filler .. It has great ability of getting into tiny little voids and scratches and also has self leveling properties. Different restorers will use different applications and methods .. Like most things new product are always coming out, so staying on top of it all can be difficult .. in tend to stick to products I know ..
  17. You do the impossible every day, its just the little miracles that take a bit longer..
  18. Whilst removing the various panels and parts I was extremely disappointed by some of the assembly work done by the company that previously painted and converted the Esprit to later spec.. I won't dwell on this to much , but the amount of loose and incorrectly fitted nuts and bolts was shameful .. The rear bumper only had partial stud plates on top with rubber rivet nuts on bottom , most were finger tight .. The front bumper spoiler was in place but again no lower stud plate, also no belly trays or rad ducts were fitted ..This means, No air control on radiator and under body at all .. very poor. The doors were put together much the same with loose nuts & wires and incorrect assembly .. Don't get me wrong most of it worked in a fashion , but would not last long . Very worrying .. Looking on the bright side , we can correct all theses faults whilst doing our bit.. So onto exploring the damage further, This will give me a full understanding of what , why, and how to best fix. Although the quarter panel only showed small distortion, in real terms its full deflection was enough to completely split the plywood board on top of the petrol tank . When you consider there is a couple of inches gap between the inner 1/4 panel and the tank board , you can start to appreciate the forces involved .. On removal of the tank we discover the structure has split right though the inner sill section up to just short of the floor . There was also de-lamination on sections all up the fire wall joint with distortion to the steel strengthening sections which had done their job perfectly as designed .. I can now see exactly how much will need to be replaced with new section to ensure full structural stability when repaired . Moving forward to the 'A' post. We can now see exactly how and why load transfer damaged this area.. It appears that the tie plate that connects the steel 'A' post frame to the sill had dissolved in rust . in the next pic you can see the stain where it should have been. The red arrows show the shift direction the 'A'post took, and the blue line is the outer fracture . On the next pic you can see the area marked with the red is where the cracks extend to on the inside .. you can also make out the top of the plate and where is has rusted away to .. This plate is part of the safety cell structure and is design to prevent movement of the bottom of the 'A' post in an accident .. The only thing holding the whole of the bottom of this 'A' post was two small self tappers . As you can clearly see , although there are cracks in this area showing movement has occurred, it is not bad enough to threaten the overall integrity , as such can be repaired .. When the new style sills were fitted during recent repaint, it would have been apparent this plate was missing. In real terms it would have taken less than an hour to make and replace the plate .. unfortunately we will have to assume the company doing the work was not aware of the of this part, or its significance , so did nothing about it. Now we have established the full extent of the main damaged area's , we can really get started, so next we will proceed with prep , replace , and repair. TBC..
  19. Part 6 Matching quarters and doors Once we have flatted an filled out the ‘B’ post area , we can start to build out for the gapping. First we need to re- fit the door and find the best position to minimise the amount of filling needed. So as we progress along the rear quarters, we can start to level match into the doors. After establishing the best position for the door, we need to find the discrepancies. This is back to the old faithful straight edge.. On the above pic you will note we have a close match on the top face, which unfortunately didn't correspond with the seam swage area .( pic below) . The swage line is where the body mold goes and this has to line up perfect with the door mold swage line. So as a result we need to use the swage line as the default height setting . As a result the door had to be reset and we then needed to fill out the top edge . When we move down the outer face of the panels , we start to see them drift away from each other … Not by much significant enough to look off with flat panel and gapped finish. In the next 2 pic’s you can just make out the misalignment . The door drifts away on the upper section and the rear quarter on the lower area . On the above pic’s you can also see how the door gap has little consistency and is quite wide. We do suffer with wind noise when we drive these Esprit. A lot of this comes from panel fit and gapping.. I have noticed a massive improvement when this has been addressed .. To complete this task we must first fill the door gap. This is done by applying a roll of GRP to the gap then filling straight across the two panels with quality filler. Then using long flatbed sander by hand we can start to form a consistent level across the two panels . At the same time you have to match this into what we have previously done along the rear half of quarter panel. Done correct this should providing a smooth flow along the whole panel and into the door. You may notice a wooden block between the top of the door and ‘B’ post. This is used to jam the door in the required position prior to fill over . Without this the door can move in and out slightly on the door seal . So this give us a more stable platform to work from Next up is door to front wing. TBC
  20. Moving on .............. To address the accident repair in the proper way we have to establish the extent of the damage ... Unlike steel constructed car the GRP composite bodied car absorb impact better , but disguise the extent of damage by flexing back toward the original shape after impact.. When really bad, sections will detach or disintegrate but not in this case . However the knock on effect of the body flexing is the dreaded gel crack.. We know the point of impact , so the body flex will radiate from that point . Initial focus is on the seams, corners and arches. These give the biggest clues. Failure to search out all the gel crack will be a major short fall as it will appear through any new paint weeks ,months or years later, depending on flex points. Having done several over the years ,I find they follow a pattern. The gel crack appear in the same areas in most cases.. because of this even if there is no initial sign of gel crack where i would expect it , i will treat that area as if it has , just in case... WHY ? Simple really , it only take a few hours when doing as part of the initial job but can take a lot longer and cost a considerable amount to correct later. It also gives the customer the confidence that you have put in the effort and professionalism to give the best possible results.. Where i differ from most restorers / repairers is i photo all stages as a record of what is done . I then provide the customer with a memory stick with all the data on as confirmation the work was completed to agreed spec. It would be so easy just to fill or paint over gel crack areas and say nothing , shortening the time needed . What is it they say?, what the customer don't see they don't know about. I have also found in later years the insurance companies like to see or are asking for some photographic record of the hidden work that is carried out , especially on Esprit type work.. Maybe they are getting concerned with individuals abilities on particular models, as we have previously mentioned .. So looking at main impact point, we can see the 'B' post has not fully flexed back, and the crack goes all the way though to the rear fire wall .. Along with the extensive damage to the rest of that panel , it is safe to say this section needs replacing. To do this properly we will need to remove the engine and gearbox , petrol tank and all ancillaries etc from that 1/4. This will also better expose the hidden damage .. This info will dictate how much of the section will be grafted in.. Following the initial line of damage brings us to the 'A' post . We noted earlier that it appears to have shifted . To fully examine we needed to remove the door.. While doing this the 'A' flexed back to its position when the stress of the door holding it was released .. This is a good sign as it shows although there may be damage and cracks in that area its positional structure unlike the 'B' post has not been compromised . What we do need to establish is the full extent and best way forward .. To do this we need to fully strip out the dash and interior and remove the sill cover section.. Because this is going to be a complete paint , I decide that this would be a good time to remove the rest of the panels in preparation.. Up next.. what we found in removing panels and parts .. TBC
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