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1987 Excel SA restoration


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Thanks Chris - with shipping to South Africa, that becomes a bit of an investment! 

I have managed to find some chassis dimensions whilst sifting through all the info I have already downloaded and stashed - Pete has got my head churning, so will have a really good look at the chassis over the weekend with straight edge in hand, and then decide whether I think I need to lift off the body and measure properly.  Even without an engine in the car, things are still quite cluttered and awkward to get to.

Anyone have any idea of how heavy the body is?  Can it be lifted off by 3 or 4 people?  Seats will be out, but dashboard in.

Neil.

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Crikey, that's an impressive way to lift up a body shell!  I have a few challenges first, like clearing out the space in the garage, but I think if I need to lift the body off it will be with a bit more of a rudimentary structure that would then need to become an engine hoist.  

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8 hours ago, EXCEL V8 said:

just happened to have a handy RSJ holding the bedroom up

Good forward planning :thumbsup:

I think that is going to look fantastic in white. Can't wait to see the finished article.

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Thanks guys.  The hoist also disappears by just removing the Acrow prop.  A two post lift would be fairly permanent, and get in the way for the rest of the time.  The hoist only cost the price of the steel, a 750kg ratchet hoist and a custom-length cable and pulleys - I made it all from scratch.

It's Monaco White and will have a black vinyl roof.  I'm building a 2.5 engine for it (with a supercharger sat on a shelf tempting me!!).  Bolted the first bit back today - the wiper motor!

Pete

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It will be a lot of trouble fitting it, but I think they look really good on Elites/Eclats. 😎.  Do you still have the steel fixing "plates" for your roof Mike?  Sorry for thread hijack Neil!

Pete

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No worries!

Have pretty much decided to lift off the body - there will be work to do on the chassis and body that will be a lot easier to get to without the other part in the way.  My garage doors and opening mechanism will be in the way and won't allow me to lift the body too high, so will rig up a structure outside to lift it off and then go from there.  It's winter here so although fairly cold it's dry. will need to have garage space by summer to keep out the rain though.

I really do need a workshop with a house attached rather than a house with a garage attached!

Neil

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12 hours ago, EXCEL V8 said:

It will be a lot of trouble fitting it, but I think they look really good on Elites/Eclats. 😎.  Do you still have the steel fixing "plates" for your roof Mike?  Sorry for thread hijack Neil!

Pete

Steel fixing plates? The roof was stuck on with contact adhesive which made a mess of the fibreglass and so I would be a little reticent to fix a vinyl roof to the shell again but they are very 70's😎

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The original roofs were retained at the front and rear with steel strips - several small, slim ones at the front, under the aluminium trim, and one continuous one across the back.  There was a thin layer of foam between the roof and the vinyl.

Pete

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And getting somewhat back on track....the whole front flipping forward is very neat, but I'm hoping once the car is running I'm not having to spend too much time in there!

No plans for a vinyl roof either....

Had a better look at the chassis - the passenger front outrigger section has been damaged and very badly repaired, the main chassis behind that doesn't  have any obvious bends or creases in it, but it's hard to get a good look with the body still on.  The bottom of the chassis has been used to lift the car so a number of spots have the edge flattened out, and the chassis section running across the front of the car has been a popular jacking point judging by the concave shape of the plate.

So if you weld in a plate on the side of the chassis (and don't bother to paint it) like this:

1806619654_Chassisfront1.jpg.f8e26dcfd4cb6117fa7562fcdc33d36c.jpg

Then you can hide the abortion of a job you did on the inside....

771781703_Chassisfront2.jpg.30510f014ffdcd1cb6b4d9486d35e0d0.jpg

Redoing that will be a lot easier with the body out of the way.

Neil.

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It's also smashed the front lower body fixing bobbin as well - what does the one on the right look like?  You are definitely doing the right thing by removing the body.  Some of the creases you describe from jacking along the sides of the chassis may also represent accident damage - check that area for straightness as well.  Don't forget that the chassis is galvanised as well - very difficult to get a good weld without getting ALL the zinc off it before it's re-welded.

Keep up the good work - it seems a bit daunting but you'll have an intimate knowledge of you car when it's finished.

Pete

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10 hours ago, Excel SA said:

And getting somewhat back on track....the whole front flipping forward is very neat, but I'm hoping once the car is running I'm not having to spend too much time in there!

No plans for a vinyl roof either....

Opps. Sorry for the thread hijack!😚

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20 hours ago, EXCEL V8 said:

It's also smashed the front lower body fixing bobbin as well - what does the one on the right look like?  You are definitely doing the right thing by removing the body.  Some of the creases you describe from jacking along the sides of the chassis may also represent accident damage - check that area for straightness as well.  Don't forget that the chassis is galvanised as well - very difficult to get a good weld without getting ALL the zinc off it before it's re-welded.

Keep up the good work - it seems a bit daunting but you'll have an intimate knowledge of you car when it's finished.

Pete

The bobbin on the right looks fine - if by bobbin you just mean the fiberglass body work?  Damage to the chassis definitely looks like something has been used to lift it up from the bottom - but will be checking it all when the body is off.  Will need to grind and clean off all the repairs so will get the zinc off - will also check the condition of the zinc over the chassis - rust and corrosion is not something we normally worry about here in Jhb, but the car has lived at the coast.

Am doing a lot of other small bits that I can do inside, was quite surprised that the powder coating on the window frames was hiding some areas that had started to deteriorate - nothing serious, but it all looked good until the powder coat was removed.

Staggering on anyway, a lot further backwards than I was hoping to go, but this is a project!

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4 hours ago, EXCEL V8 said:

The bobbin is the aluminium insert bonded into the fibreglass at the body mounting point.

Pete

Thanks Pete, it's certainly not there on the passenger side along with the fiberglass that was around it.....will need to get a much closer look on the drivers side to see if it's there, but the fiberglass seems ok.

Neil.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I haven't been idle these last few weeks!  Body and chassis have been separated - no major issues removing the body - finding some of the bolts underneath layers of carpet was interesting, and one of the bolts under the fuel tank wouldn't  unscrew and I needed up shearing it off.  There is no access to the captive nut for that bolt, will need to make a plan to remove the rest of the bolt - a bit easier now. I made a trolley for the body, but it needs a few modifications to make sure it's up to the task of supporting the weight of the body and being moved around.  

I have checked the measurements that I can check, as well as checking diagonal measurements and am happy that the main part of the chassis is OK - not bent, nor twisted.

110280984_SAchassis.jpg.a71fa74f4d916310ad54e0228cca1b0f.jpg

The chassis has some damage from being jacked incorrectly in the past - some panel beating will be required to straighten out the flanges that were damaged.

223413726_SAchassisdamage.jpg.16bf41bfc9c553ea3fb2955decd5d943.jpg

With the body off, the camber on the rear wheels looked pretty extreme, a bit of looking and the answer became clear - the top suspension mount on the front side of the chassis has been broken on both sides (the rear mount is still OK) and the bolts both point towards the center line of the chassis, pulling the top of the wheel inwards.  The bolts don't look original as they are quite rusty, and someone has taken the damaged bits apart and refitted them incorrectly.

913770487_SAchassisrearsuspensiondamaged.jpg.c110b8970f1f85ea45264f1113da4183.jpg

The broken piece is there, it has been put on the wrong way around and is hidden by the bush.  More welding, panel beating and some reinforcement will be needed.

Looks like a complete suspension refurbishment is going to happen now, as well as some cleaning and painting of the rusty and corroded bits.  The pile for powder coating is also getting bigger...

Neil.

 

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

I am planning to put in a bracket on the rear suspension for extra support - I believe it was a change made by the factory to later cars.  If anyone has a picture or drawings of the bracket I'd appreciate seeing it so I can replicate the factory option rather than making up my own design - which would look something like this:

437433740_RearSuspensionsupportbracket.jpg.1a6563df3d56eae325879bbbaa653bfe.jpg

Thoughts and criticisms welcome!

Otherwise the chassis is cleaning up really nicely, all the damage to the chassis where it was used as a jacking point has been straightened out, and I am working on the repair to the damage to the front of the chassis.

Neil

 

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Your design is better than the factory one.  The factory one has no strengthening fold along the top like yours does - it's just flat - but it is welded to the same area of the chassis.

Pete

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