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OOPS, CRASH BANG, REPAIR AND RENEW .. - Page 3 - Esprit 'Project & Restoration' Room - The Lotus Forums - Lotus Community Partner #ForTheOwners Jump to content



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On 03/09/2020 at 17:31, CHANGES said:

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 .. 

I believe there were three VARI moulds for the Esprit, and vari being a good description. I call them short and long wheelbase, so you may have been lucky to have a repair section from the same mould as the original.

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7 hours ago, CHANGES said:

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.. 

Wow even more cracks have come to light from the last time I saw her, great work m8 loving it.

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2 hours ago, CHANGES said:

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..  


Very impressed m8 you made it sound so much easier on the phone 

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28 minutes ago, CHANGES said:

With the previous areas completed , there was just the door handle mod to complete on the drivers door .. 


Starting with a painted original , we remove and fit a template to work from, which outlines the new handle. 


Next we grind down the thickness of the panel so the new handle can fit flush . This recess will also provide the lip for the for the new handle to locate into .. The original square shape is profiled at the same time to mirror the internal section of the new handle .


Once completed the mask can be removed and the new handle fitted.. A small amount of final fettling is needed to insure suitable clearance around the handles edge is available for any polyester a paint build up.


But as with anything Lotus , you change one thing and another jumps out at you ..   As i said previous the later handles have a completely different lock assembly they marry too .  The actuation levers are in opposite and conflicting planes.   So a little poetic licence had to be taken to get the new to work with the old .. DSCN0845.JPG

The above pic shows the original simplistic assembly , with its compact fitting so not to interfere with the window frame and door bar ..  Below is my adaptation to use the new handle with the original catch assembly, which works really well considering ..  The trick was to keep it as simple as possible .. 


Finally all the paint is removed from the door in preparation for next stage .. 


One of the unforeseen problems and a real pain was the new paint that was put on a year before ..  Up until now all the sections worked on had some gel crack or damage so paint removal was a given .. Unfortunately this presents a dilemma on the undamaged panels that were just down for repaint..  Putting new paint over soft paint will  only lead to major long term issues , or more than likely cause a solvent reaction..  Isolating is an option , but this will only mask a problem and still leave a soft substrate .. So the only solution is to carry on removing all the original soft lacquer coat ..  To give you an idea of what i am dealing with , the following pic is of the sand paper used on the DA to remove this layer.  As you can see almost immediately the grit pinned with the soft paint layer .. 


This made a tedious job very frustrating.. using a lot of DA pads .   but Hey Ho its all part of what we love doing ..   The tailgate was the worst , for some reason it was laid on there really thick.. 


It took a whole day to get it down to a satisfactory stable layer with a grit level that was exceptable to work from ..  


Interestingly during this process we did identify a few other points that needed addressing at the same time , so plus points all round ..

next up final prep before polly coat                    

Very impressed with the way you've overcome the  locking mechanism 

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