free hit
davidw - The Lotus Forums Jump to content


Basic Account
  • Content Count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

  • Days Won


davidw last won the day on May 4

davidw had the most liked content!

Community Reputation

35 Excellent

About davidw

  • Rank
  • Birthday 06/03/1959

Contact Methods

  • Website URL

More Info

  • Name
    David Williamson
  • Car
    Lotus Esprit V8 1996
  • Location
    Reading, UK

Recent Profile Visitors

759 profile views
  1. Update: 18 months on, and I still have not finished dealing with all the various functions. The idea of the small aperture in the cubbyhole box was to sit the 3G dongle for Sat Nav comms, but it does not have enough signal strength in this position, so it now lies outside next to the gear lever. Not very neat! The rear view camera is working fine, and the ODBII picks up data, but needs more work to make it visible whilst I am driving. The DAB reception is terrible, but then, has anyone come across DAB reception that works? It doesn't in my house. I fitted the antenna to the top left of the windscreen, so I suspect the antenna is not up to the job. Apart from these issues, its a good unit. Hi Steve, Yes, I agree. We probably need someone with a little time to trial a few different types of glue and let them rest for 2 or 3 years before testing the adhesive qualities of them.
  2. And here starting the refit of the components with the frame back in the car and all the cables routed for 4 speakers, DAB radio, GPS antenna, Aerial, USB to 3G modem, Wi-Fi antenna, rear view camera, power and phone charging power. It is frustrating how impossible it is to make all these cables tidy. There are so many different types, sizes and lengths….
  3. Having gutted the cabin, for the soundproofing and carpet, it was time to pay attention to the Sat Nav update. There are many units to choose from, but being a bit of an optimist, I picked a cheap Android unit from Pumpkin noticing the long list of functions they were offering. Essentially anything you can install in an Android machine:- - Google Maps with Sat Nav or Waze - ODB connection via Bluetooth of Wi-Fi to display ODB engine data - Audio playback from large micro SD card - DAB radio, FM radio - Bluetooth hands free phone - Reversing Camera I say I am an optimist, because I expected it to be a disappointment, and to be fair, the unit itself is fine and does what it says it does. But the reality is that it takes time and effort to achieve all the functions. Starting with the metal frame of the central instrument column, I could see that the heater control panel is fixed in place with spot welds, so a little work would see those removed, and allow me to shift the panel down to create the 2 DIN space needed. But I would then have a small space at the bottom to fill. So I decided to make up a cubbyhole box that would carry the 3G modem and a charging lead for my phone. Here is the frame before starting:- To make sure that the dimensions were correct for the cubbyhole, I drew up the metal frame and put everything in it…. Here are the components; the metal frame, the heater control panel and the Sat Nav mounting frame after painting:- Here is the Sat Nav mounting retaining clip, and the cubbyhole box:-
  4. Sat Nav For anyone who hasn’t done it, stripping the cabin to get at the heater matrix is one of the most time consuming and awkward jobs. I would say around a week to strip down and rebuild, and you get to see the poor build quality of the car at its worst. The way the vacuum system controls the heater and airflow vents, it’s no wonder it doesn’t work well. There are many faults in this system. Mine didn’t work, and at this point I discovered the main reason was that the vacuum pipe was broken in the engine bay by the vacuum reservoir. But perhaps I see the big problem with this system is that the rigid plastic pipes that plug into the soft rubber corners do not remain in place. They come apart easily and leave you with a lack of confidence they will stay in place.... Does anyone have a recommendation of a suitable glue from experience, please?
  5. So here are the finished panels ready to go into the car.... and in place....
  6. I was not happy with the original Lotus metal brackets that held the cant rail cappings in place, so I decided to have some uphill fun replacing them. I tried a plastic shape first directly taken from the original L shaped metal brackets, but these did not fit, so I made things complicated by making a 3 part bracket. This was a clunky solution, but it gave me 3 degrees of movement for positioning the cappings, are a little fiddly to set up and really require their position to be firmly fixed and set before the headlining material is applied to the part… Here is the initial design... and the more flexible revised design....
  7. Thanks very much Dave. It was great fun... Here is some checking of the fit of the new parts There are many things to learn about 3D printing. One of there is that in building solid parts, the manufacturer will reduce the amount of material laid down inside the part and only keep the surface layer completely solid. This saves cost, time and weight. However it also reduces structural rigidity, and in this case I decided to play safe and layer the back face of the parts with Kevlar to improve their strength. This had the disadvantage of increasing the thickness, although I found this not to be a problem. In the end I found the issue with thickness came in the joints on the headliner. I had some work to do to finish this part in order for it to fit correctly.
  8. The autotrimmer was thus very useful for making the sill pieces, the floor pieces and sewing the black foot mats into the wheel arches and floor pieces. He also came in handy for the instrument binnacle covering in Alcantara. That was a difficult piece to get the material to stretch over the awkward shape correctly and experience is definitely recommended! Headlining With the original ABS parts become brittle and broken into pieces, and no new parts available, I found a friend with a 3D scanner very useful! So I carefully glued the parts back together again, and took them over to him to capture these so that I could get them 3D printed:- With the parts scanned, I manipulated them so that they were small enough to be printed. This meant splitting the cant rail cappings into 2 and the headliner piece into 3. Here are the parts when received compared to the originals:-
  9. The auto trimmer told me that the plastic foot panels would be difficult to find, so I got him to take them off the old carpet, and that allowed me to retain the floor and wheel arch panels on both sides and have him sew them into the new carpet. Having picked the new colour, it is surprising just how much material is need for the complete car, and how many pieces needed to be sewn to include the beading, the seat belt apertures, the map pocket and the handbrake cover. Most of the carpet is glued into place just like the soundproofing. This takes some practise because you apply the glue on both faces to be joined, and then let the glue dry for quite some time – as much as a day, or overnight. This allows the carpet to stick immediately, but very light pressure means that its position is adjustable, and then when you are happy with its position, you press it firmly. However, I didn’t find it quite so straightforward, and pieces like the sill cover were quite challenging to get right.
  10. Carpet Here’s what the interior looked like after stripping out the carpet and soundproofing. Around the foot well there was a layer of aluminium foil that came off with the soundproofing. I can’t determine its function, so does anyone know what that did? And then here is the sound deadening being glued into place. I chose the thicker Dodo Sound Stopper material for the rear bulkhead, wheel arches, and floor, and I used thinner Dodo Pro Barrier material for the side of the chassis tunnel and foot wells.
  11. So on with the Interior.... With the car at home on the drive, I stripped out any remaining parts of the headlining pieces still in place. With the leather pieces out of the car, the old beige carpet looked dreadful, and with the headlining collapsed, it was clear everything needed doing. However, during the removal process, the plastic panels that held the headlining in place broke into many pieces – the old ABS was brittle and no longer functional. So an idea came to mind – use 3D printing to replace the headlining panels and find an auto trimmer to sew new material for both the headlining and the carpets. I had recently started learning how to run Solidworks, the 3D modelling software, so I started to have other ideas. · The rear view mirror was always useless, vibrating heavily and making rear visibility impossible. This is because it fastens to the ABS plastic sheet used to carry the headlining material and the sun visors. I should create a small plate that screws onto the bodywork and fix the mirror directly, instead of to the plastic panel. · The small metal brackets that hold the 2 cant rail cappings are very basic. I decided to replace these to try and improve the fixings. I also needed to do something about the leather. I looked around at people who could replace the leather with new and found that a very expensive route, but then heard about a refresh process. Apparently, when leather is made, the colour is a special paint but simply applied by spraying. So I tried Mark at Benchmark and he took all the pieces, returning them a week later looking pretty much as new. The colour was restored and even the scratches were barely visible… I found a local auto trimmer to do the headlining, carpet and instrument binnacle. Since I was refreshing the leather, replacing the carpets, and replacing the headlining, I may as well replace the soundproofing as well. Then I had the “great” idea of putting in a modern Sat Nav unit – hum…. but they are 2 DIN boxes, whereas the Esprit has just a 1 DIN space. Ok, so now I want to change the central instrument column as well, and while I am at it, replace the 4 speakers – an ever expanding list of jobs, naturally. I have separated the remaining work into different sections to focus individual tasks. Rear View Mirror Without the headlining, this is what the body work looks like:- Taking all the measurements and looking at the space available, I drew up this bracket in Solidworks:- And this is the completed bracket:- This part is the result of a two stage process. The part is 3D printed, and then a silicon mould is made from which the final part is made with a resin material. This then makes the part look manufactured rather than printed, and improves its strength. I made 4 holes and inserted Jack Nuts into them, although behind the fibreglass there is both air and wood, so the jack nuts were not stable until I had filled behind the jack nuts with an anchoring cement:- The bracket in its final position. Next stage – make an opening in the headlining for the Rear view mirror to fit.
  12. Hi Neil, Yes I can recommend them, they were very supportive with anything I needed such as using the hydraulic lift for working on the engine, getting metal parts shot blasted and painted, and generally getting in the way for 5 months, although, of course, I was paying them quite a lot of dosh. The owner Karl is very knowledgeable on glassfibre, his father Alan still works with him and he used to work at Lotus on prep and paint. I would say do your due diligence on the guy who is actually doing the work, and make sure he is knowledgeable. My guy, Tony, was very good, but I do not believe he is there anymore. I learned something useful, apart from the obvious that I will never be capable of doing the painting itself, and that was through preparation. By that I mean that even areas of body that may look OK probably are not, and for a good result, every area of the body must be cut back to original primer without exception. In my case an area on the rear boot lip was surface sanded and painted, but not cutback almost to the glassfibre, and a few months after the work was finished, that panel needed to be re-done. I should quickly add that it was done immediately, and now is as good as the rest of the car, but the main point is that the entire body must be thoroughly cutback with no shortcuts.
  13. Hi Tom, I found 3 sites for what looked like suitable alternatives. Something on Amazon called GlassMAT High Temperature Reflective Engine Bay Thermal Acoustic Insulation Sound Proofing Foam, there were also several options at, and also there was this at CBS, I used the CBS product.
  14. The aircon hadn’t worked since I bought the car in 2007, so it was great to get the system up and running. Definitely a good idea when the car is still stripped. The aircon filling engineer found a leak in the aluminium pipe running along inside the passenger sill. So here are some piccies of the finished bodywork… So I must say a big thank you to Specialised Paintwork for allowing me a space in their workshop for 5 months and supporting me all the way through with whatever I needed at the time. Great support from them. Now it was time to take the car home and start on the interior. Of course, I could have guessed how much time this was going to take…. (another year...!!)
  • Create New...