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1987 Excel SA restoration


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On Friday my Excel was delivered - on a trailer as there is no engine....The last licence on the car is from 2013, so it has probably been sitting since about then.

Finding a Lotus engine around here would be a very long shot, and with an automatic gearbox and living in Johannesburg where the altitudes saps 15 to 20% of your engine power, a change of engine type will be necessary.  At this stage I'm heading towards a Lexus V8 - they are popular around here, and are available with gearboxes, stock wiring and engine management which will hopefully reduce some of the complication...Quite some years ago I built up a 7 - the engine and a quite a few other bits from a damaged Corolla were used for that build.

I spent the weekend going through the car - it's not all pretty!  The doors wouldn't close properly so I started on the door locks - the drivers side is a mess - bodged mechanical repairs and a nest of dodgy wiring, so that door is now stripped almost entirely, including removing the window frame.  The passenger side is a lot better, so I can get some idea of how things are supposed to look.

I will need to connect up a battery sooner or later to get an idea of what works and what doesn't, hopefully without any major bangs, crackles or releasing of smoke.  I will remember to insulate/isolate the main starter motor feed....

A lot of the interior has been removed and put back without any fixings - any detailed pictures of screws etc as well as of the lever for the bonnet release (which is hanging loosely) would be appreciated.

Neil

Delivered.jpg

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Thanks Mike.  Need to remove the gearbox and check measurements to see if the Lexus gearbox will also fit which will hopefully simplify things.  

It was a public holiday here yesterday, weather was unpleasant so spent a good chunk of the day inside stripping the window frame and panel beating it back into the shape it is supposed to be.  There is some minor rust, so will need some work still.  Will replace the window channel felt and then try and line it all up properly.  There were no spacers between the window frame and door beam, but a 10mm thick strip of foam had been added to the frame to help seal it to the door - apparently after forcible frame bending had been tried....

Also removed the window winder - the motor seems to be dead, am trying to get my head around how it works.  Have stripped and cleaned it out and now there's no continuity between all the contacts and the body, but still not working when power is applied.  Will drop it off at some experts for testing.

Neil

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Thanks Trevor - will go an have a look over here - I have tried to register on the forum a few times, but I think the admin over there are still in lock down.....

Would like to get into the technical section over there with all the work I have to do - finding information on the car can be tricky, and there has been some interesting "repairs" done that needs to be undone and redone.

Neil

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Neil. Stay with it for your access to excel net. It will be worth it in the end. There are a few who use this site as well and may be able to give it a push for you. 

I've found the site invaluable for the knowledge and help of others and there's not much that hasn't been tackled and documented by somebody on there. 

Tony 

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2 hours ago, Excel SA said:

Thanks Tony, if anyone can help push it along I'd be grateful - have tried to register and sent the admin a couple of emails from the registration page but no joy so far.

Neil

Hi Neil,

Can you pm me your email address and requested username and I'll contact the administrator directly.

Thanks, Richard

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Thanks Richard - pm sent.

The weekend wasn't a good one for the car.....removed the drivers door to dig deeper into the issues around it and found them.  The car has obviously been damaged quite badly in this area, and the repair work done was pretty awful as can been seen from the pictures below.  Will need to redo these areas properly, but access from the foot well is tight with not much space and a lot of wiring running through there.  The fiberglass mostly just peeled off - looks like no surface preparation was done, and not enough resin used.  Body putty is also not an effective adhesive....

Door.jpg.f7c53886545a97f649b9380ef4a088b5.jpg

The green filler hadn't really hardened properly, and was pretty thick in places - some paint just peeled off

2029901677_Side1.jpg.ee44de9801122c30f7446859eb64ef3f.jpg

Further attack to the wing resulted in this - there is also a crack at the top of the wheel arch and the body has split apart there as well.  What was left of the insert that supports the body shell came out relatively intact, but will also need some work to get it back to being usable.

795987783_Side2.jpg.534f6d57d6e4af4e8c4b4c7a4ba58bbf.jpg

And that's not all.....more trauma to follow!

Neil.

 

Edited by Excel SA
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Sorry to see your plight. Have you removed paint from the rest of the body yet.? If not, I'd do so before starting much local repair. What's your thoughts on the final respray? DIY? 

You wouldn't be the first to decide a replacement shell is the best (and quickest) way forwards. And if you plan on getting a professional respray, it may well be worth speaking with Lotusbit's sooner rather than later. 

Tony 

 

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Yip - Lotusbits would be a bit of a trek for me!  Will need to get some bits and pieces for the car from one of the suppliers over there in time - am making a list.

I haven't thoroughly checked the rest of the body and there area couple of other areas that need a closer look/attack with a sander.  A full respray will be on the cards , but for now the body repairs will be done, along with all the mechanical work before worrying about the repaint - and then the debate about colour will be argued in the house.....

The drivers seat wouldn't slide very well, and it needed to be removed to allow easier access to the back of the damaged area - the seat frame is broken, so will need a splint and some welding.

395455632_Seat1.jpg.798fc6e7f5ad0c7c686fb2ab46e9fb28.jpg

And oh dear, what about this?  And no, all of that was not an effective fix.  Anyone know what the black seat base that is split is made out of?

1466573620_Seat2.jpg.e5981e81961d6794ab20244f0058ac1b.jpg

Next post will be about some working bits!

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Thanks for the info - interesting option with the springs - is it fine with just the hessian protecting the foam from the springs?  

Am trying to complete some of the fiddly bits I've started with and taken apart - have too many small pieces of car disassembled right now - need to have fewer pieces lying around.

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Some progress - door locks and handles have all been stripped, fixed, cleaned, re-greased and put back together (and cut washers/bits of wire used to hold tings together were replaces with E clips) which helps reduce the number of parts to remember how they all fit together....The fan for the air-con system was also stripped, re-painted and re-lubed and put back together.  It did have some muck in the fan cage itself, and was quite noisy - will need to clean out the intake/unblock drains etc.  All of the grease/lube in the car has dried up and gone hard, so all moving parts will need some work.  

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Some good news - I connected up a battery and nothing went blew up, no smoke, nothing!  Some things actually work - even the headlights....the passenger side one didn't move the first time I switched the lights on, but seemed fine after that, just a touch noisy.  Will clean and grease all moving bits before reinstalling them.  I'm not sure you'd be able to see very far at night with them on so some work still to do, but small victories will be taken!Headlights.jpg.e842b3ed0592aedd539cccfa61cc597a.jpg

The red arrow marks the scene of the next crime against fiberglass....and paint.

 

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Below is how that small visible crack developed into something rather larger....bodywork has now become the main focus of attention.  Am hoping that the drivers side door area and the front are the only repaired areas - there were cracks and bodywork issues in these areas and nothing as noticeable anywhere else  😰1224643695_Frontmontage.jpg.6f26a2d810c67c82332aeb618e763b44.jpg

And the end result:

20200705_091358.jpg.530f0dfd229a28528b783f156397eed6.jpg

The front central panel will need to be replaced - what's left is delaminating in sections and is just a mess.  The car has shed a few kilos, and if patched properly, the front of the car will be the right width and the spoiler may even fit properly.

 

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Messy. And to think I was frustrated in needing to rebuild the bobbin mounts for my front bumper. Nothing by comparison. 

Couldn't agree more that a replacement panel will be best bet. Should also be stronger in the long run and certainly less work. 

One the plus side, a lot of the repair is hidden behind the front bumper. 

Tony

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And there is more to be done hidden away in the murky recesses behind that panel.

Will make a mold (once I can work out the amount of curve needed at the front of the car  - nothing in the front is right) ad make up a panel to fit in place.

Having it hidden does help, and will give me some idea of what I need to do to the areas that will be visible - without requiring tonnes of body filler.

Neil.

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Before you go to all that trouble with the bodywork I'd also get under it and check the chassis.  They crease rather easily at the front.  There is dimensional data in the service notes which will help you decide if it's bent or not.

Pete

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There is some chassis damage, but seems confined to the front outrigger section,  which will need redoing as the repair there is as poor as the fiberglass, but behind that all appears OK.  Need to track down all the various manuals for that year - but if you have those measurements available it would be useful to check.  I don't even have an owners manual for the car, so fuses etc. are also a mystery right now!  I have undone the front bolts connecting the chassis to the body and removed the arb, and nothing sprang out of alignment.  I am not sure how much the car was driven after the accident and before the engine was removed, but the tyres on the car don't show any alarming wear patterns.

I have been reading the various threads on the plywood crash panels for the front as well - they were replaced with ill-fitting fiberglass ones, maybe they did their job!

Neil.

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