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Carbon Fiber Body Panels

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Well Simon, what we the readers would like to do meanwhile (at least I) is taking a peek at your new project after knocking Down the old garage ;)

 

Cheers,

Jacques.


Nobody does it better - than Lotus ;)

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Keep that valuable artwork on the garage wall... 


88 Esprit NA, 89 Esprit Turbo SE, Evora, Evora S, Evora IPS, Evora S IPS, Evora S IPS SR, Evora 400, Elise S1, Elise S1 111s, Evora GT410 Sport

Evora NA

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I'll take a photo incase there isn't one already circulating!

It will indeed be covered up guys sorry :( with insulated plasterboard....

I hadn't even thought about it, I'm a little gutted at the thought of it disappearing forever...


Chunky Lover

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As you may all have seen by now, PNM started fabricating some carbon parts. If there's enough interest, more types will be made; that is at least what I was told.

 

For now, the following parts are being made:

 

- carbon roof. This is a replica of the fiberroof, not the glass model. And can be upholstered if one so wishes.

I was told that it weighs just over 4 Kg. My glass type replica carbon roof weighs 6,3 Kilo. So I wil get this new one for sure. I have bought leather in magnolia to suit and wil post it when completed.

 

- carbon center deco for the GT3. The part that is normally in same colour as car.

 

- carbon mirrors. As per 1989 se onwards (the Citroên model).

 

- the v8 rearlid vents.

 

- carbon B-pillar covers. The originals trend to break sometimes.

 

- Headlight covers. The originals sometimes break.

 

I have spoken to John some times about it, and ordered a set of headlight covers and B-pillar covers, as a testbuy. I will post here what I find, once I get them. Hopefully soon  ;)

 

Furthermore I asked him if they would make some other parts. I mentioned the undertray, the engine cover, the cover for the relays in the front compartment, the other Black cover same place, the rear lid, the front lid.

He answered, that they are thinking about it, and need more interest from us.

He also mentioned, that Whole headgíght housings are under way, as well as front lid (I think), ans the bumpers.

 

Great news to those of us, WHO want to modernise, save weight, change, or otherwise make it a bit different.

Personally, I'll paint mine red, as not to be seen.

 

I can also add, that I have the old producer of the carbon airbox, make me one, and it can still be done. Very well made. See pic. You have to drill the holes ourself, thereby choosing if you wan to retain the ventsystem as per original, or let it out elsewhere. Fits perfect and saves 0,346 Kg.

 

More later.

 

Cheers,

Jacques.

How do I get pricing information on some of the CF parts?  I sent PNM an email over 1 week ago and no response.

 

Regards,

Manny

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Hi Manny,

 

Go to their homepage, and in the left side menu, click on carbon fibre, there are Pictures and prices.

pnmengineering.com

I will mention, since you live far away, that their carbon parts are clearcoated on their webpage, and not when you buy some. I asked theywhy, and they replied, that some customers wants them in raw carbon fibre, so you will have to do this yourself, unless youpoint it our when ordering.

 

Another thing is the b-pillar covers. When I got mine, one is too short to cover the b-pillar. Maybe it's just my Lotus not being straight, ha ha.

I asked them why, and they replied that it do indeed seem to short, but they don't know if the guy who fabricates it, will make another mould.. They also replied, that I am wellcome to have a refund for the parts.

I wrote back that I expect better quality, and I hope to get another pair soon.

Maybe it's just me, but I expect an expensive carbon part to be well made and fit and finish to be usable and nice. I don't know if that is unresonable.

Therefore I am on a bit of hold, before I order some more parts, which I intend to do. More will be on their webpage as they are made, I was told. For example bumper, light pods etc. which sounds promising.

I've dealt with pnm numerous times, and they usually are very friendly to talk to, though emailing can be somewhat slow. I guess they are busy.

 

Just want to mention, before you order, so youknow what to expect. I can pm you a Picture of said parts, if you want, not to put Down pnm, as I like dealing with them.

I will also mention, that the headlamp covers are a bit long on the lower edge, but that can easily be corrected, and then they are nicer made and fits okay.

 

Edit: I looked at their page,as it is indeed stated, that thay are not clearcoated, and can be done upon rewuest. I wish I had seen that before. Anyway, it doesn't change the b-pillar covers to be longer ;)

 

Kind regards,

Jacques.

 

Cheers,

Jacques.


Nobody does it better - than Lotus ;)

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Problem is a lot of the bits on our cars are 'hand fettled' when they were built and it's surprising how some parts can differ quite a lot.

I know when i was fitting replacement light pods to my old car that there was a considerable difference which was frustrating.

I'm a bit gutted I'm not starting on my journey into making carbon components but at least I'm not battling with Lotus inconsistencies.

With regards to clear coat. Using pre-preg ensures the perfect amount of resin for the component made and should almost guarantee a perfect, pinhole free surface finish. This gives you the lightest and strongest component possible. The finish should be a perfect shiny finish, almost wet looking, but this depends on how much time has been spent making the moulds.

Clear coat would do nothing much for the appearance but will add weight. It can also aid in UV stability of the finish as well if the prepreg is not already UV stable.

I'm glad they state it does not come clearcoated, at least they are doing the right thing in that respect.

Have you got any close up pictures of your pars so we can see the finish they are achieving. :)


Chunky Lover

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Man I'd never get that bib in carbon fibre - it's literally IMPOSSIBLE to drive the V8 around Stockholm without having that thing impact no matter how careful I am. In some cases I get out of the car and let the missus drive it into our storage since she's light enough not to compress the suspension enough. 

 

Cracking a CF bib would make me cry blood.. Looks awesome though. 


Vanya Stanisavljevic '91 Esprit SE | '91 Elan SE | '97 XK8

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the finish is a bit raw, I'd say. I can feel the carbon itself a couple of places. There is very Little resin to make a smooth shiny finish, so it isn't.

I have seen enough carbon in a raw finish break, so I prefer a better more protective finish.

But let's hope they will make it better. I will post here, if that happens.

Otherwise I am not very interested in the products, if they are as bad made (fit and finish).

 

The carbon airbox I bought from another Company in the UK is very well made, both in shape and finish. A totally different League !!!  ;) And the carbon roof I recently bought from a private seller, also in the UK, is also very nice made (replaces a glassroof). Since I have a fiberroof, I will hold it on the shelf for the moment., and was thinking of buying the PNM made one, that fits my car, and I have already bought some really expensive magnolia leather to add on the inside of the roof. But seeing the carbon parts mentioned here, I would want a better finish on them first. The carbon fibres should not be felt as small buldges here and there.

Sorry if it sounds a bit negative, but I feel that at that Price, it should be somewhat better. I am still interested though, and hopefully it becomes better over time. I just don't want to spend my money as a guineapig ;)

I have absoloutely nothing against PNM as they are nice people and I have dealt with them many times, since I bought my Esprit exactly one year and one week ago.

I will try and take a few pics this weekend. Just spent 3 hours waxing it with my new Wax. Looks shiny ;) But I do need a full respray because of fade and some Places the red is simply worn Down do something White underneath... ;(

 

Kind regards,

Jacques.


Nobody does it better - than Lotus ;)

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All this carbon replacement stuff is doable but you have to make good moulds first. 

I used Easy Composites mould making stuff and even on my first attempt (I watched the Youtube vids carefully) I managed to knock out some decent ones.

The kits don't include all the stuff you need but are a good start, having a workshop area is another bonus. Using the kitchen table is grounds for divorce, ask me how I know!

I have moulds for the bonnet underside and topside and they are re-usable. I make a bit of a hash of the top skin first time, hey it WAS the first attempt! But I have some carbon fabric and some 105 resin for another go. Just need some time and good weather.

I still have a bonnet that is less than half the weight and would do the job, just looks like Stevie Wonder made it...

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Wet laying with a Heath-Robinson vacuum bag. Not infusing just using a vacuum cleaner and some clothes vacuum bags stuck on with gum sealant tape to suck all the air out. Layer some peel ply and breather layer over the wet carbon fabric and attach a high power Dyson for a couple of hours. Kind-of works too...

The problem I have at the mo is making my mould rigid so I have to find some 4by2 timber and make a frame to affix under it so it doesn't flex (with original bonnet stuck in the mould). Once done I can remove the original bonnet knowing the mould will be arranged without being all bendy and then I will start the wet lay process.

 

Of course being really really busy and not having any spare cash doesn't help. 

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Hi Manny,

 

Go to their homepage, and in the left side menu, click on carbon fibre, there are Pictures and prices.

pnmengineering.com

I will mention, since you live far away, that their carbon parts are clearcoated on their webpage, and not when you buy some. I asked theywhy, and they replied, that some customers wants them in raw carbon fibre, so you will have to do this yourself, unless youpoint it our when ordering.

 

Another thing is the b-pillar covers. When I got mine, one is too short to cover the b-pillar. Maybe it's just my Lotus not being straight, ha ha.

I asked them why, and they replied that it do indeed seem to short, but they don't know if the guy who fabricates it, will make another mould.. They also replied, that I am wellcome to have a refund for the parts.

I wrote back that I expect better quality, and I hope to get another pair soon.

Maybe it's just me, but I expect an expensive carbon part to be well made and fit and finish to be usable and nice. I don't know if that is unresonable.

Therefore I am on a bit of hold, before I order some more parts, which I intend to do. More will be on their webpage as they are made, I was told. For example bumper, light pods etc. which sounds promising.

I've dealt with pnm numerous times, and they usually are very friendly to talk to, though emailing can be somewhat slow. I guess they are busy.

 

Just want to mention, before you order, so youknow what to expect. I can pm you a Picture of said parts, if you want, not to put Down pnm, as I like dealing with them.

I will also mention, that the headlamp covers are a bit long on the lower edge, but that can easily be corrected, and then they are nicer made and fits okay.

 

Edit: I looked at their page,as it is indeed stated, that thay are not clearcoated, and can be done upon rewuest. I wish I had seen that before. Anyway, it doesn't change the b-pillar covers to be longer ;)

 

Kind regards,

Jacques.

 

Cheers,

Jacques.

Thanks Jacques!

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Time to revive this thread Again ;)

Since the guy making carbon for PNM had his autoenclave fail, it took some time for him to recover, but he is now ready Again with all the bits mentioned in 2014, plus possibly some more.

This depends on interest. So if anyone wants carbon parts, let's get this going!

Meanwhile, I bought their carbon roof, based not on the glassroof, but on the original fiber roof, so it fits perfect. Really nice made!

Haven't been able to source blracketry, so still not installed. If any have a set of brackets for the fiberroof, and wants to sell them, please PM me!

Then I'll get it painted red and clad in leather as per my original fiberroof.

Watch this Space.

But, as I said, if someone is looking for carbon parts, then it's available Again. I am certainly going for some more.

Pics of said carbon roof can be seen here in my thread, on page 4:

http://www.thelotusforums.com/forums/topic/67095-the-story-of-little-red-riding-hood/?page=4

Cheers,

Jacques.


Nobody does it better - than Lotus ;)

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How much did it cost? I want a pair for my SE and V8 - the latter has a composite roof that doesnt sit right as the car was specced with a glass roof originally so the glass fibre ridge is top high...


Vanya Stanisavljevic '91 Esprit SE | '91 Elan SE | '97 XK8

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There's a different thickness of sunroof seal for either panel.  They're very easy to change and about a tenner Vanya. 


88 Esprit NA, 89 Esprit Turbo SE, Evora, Evora S, Evora IPS, Evora S IPS, Evora S IPS SR, Evora 400, Elise S1, Elise S1 111s, Evora GT410 Sport

Evora NA

For forum issues, please contact the Moderators. I will aim to respond to emails/PM's Mon-Fri 9-6 GMT. 

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Yeah I ordered the correct seal from Lotus Gothenburg, I believe I paid £70 (last time I order ANYTHING from there) - and it still won't fit. If I were smart, I'd have invested the money in a certificate of provenance and learned that my V8 came with a glass roof from the factory (I presumed all V8s came with composite panels) - the problem is that when specced with composite, the factory filed down the glass fibre ridge a few mm AND fitted a lower profile seal. But they aren't interchangeable - sure the roof FITS but I cant open the tailgate without opening the roof as it fouls the composite. It's only a matter of time until I forget and accidentally ruin the paintwork. 

When I bought my V8 it had the glass roof on and the composite roof was in a cardboard box marked "Glass roof" - I just assumed the PO had shelled out for the glass roof and put the composite in storage. Being the vampire I am, I don't like light in my cabin, so refitted the composite roof for maximum coziness.


Vanya Stanisavljevic '91 Esprit SE | '91 Elan SE | '97 XK8

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I fully agree. Don't like the cabin to be a rockstar stage bathed in full light. Just distracts me from driving. Have you been in Romania, Vanya? I've been there aound 25 times, also on Bran Castle, and I just may have caught something with me home, hence the need for a composite roof.

You Brits are very fortunate and have it all, at a much cheaper price than us Northmen. Even if we buy the parts from the UK, we still have to wait typically 2-3 month or more before something arrives here, and we pay a "fine" to UK royal mail of minimum 50 gbp for just a spacer worth 50 p. ;)

Oh, I didn't know that Lotus filed Down the edge, so it's not interchangable on the rubber part alone.

Anyway, I happen to have another very rare carbon roof, specifically made to interchange with the glass roof. It also have a nice sleeve to sit in, when off the car.

Next time you're in Denmark Vanya, we can try it out on your car, to see how it fits? Do you want me to take a few pics of it?

The carbon roofs are not cheap, I looked at the invoice, and the one from PNM was 599,- gbp plus vat. and postage. In my humble view, it's worth it. And this guy who makes them, spends loads of time doing it, and I am sure, thinking at the start of this thread, that it's not a super business for him. With leather in magnolia as mine were fitted with from factory, it's around 1000 gbp. Anyway, I think it's really really well made.

Jacques.


Nobody does it better - than Lotus ;)

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Hi Jacques,

Yeah it would be really cool to try fitting it. I might just go ahead and order as soon as they are back in stock at PNM. 

The thing is the composite roof CAN be made to fit - but you need an aftermarket VERY VERY low seal (and then you have the risk of the roof cracking the sunroof aperture because of lack of padding over bumps) - or, you drill out a groove/channel around the edges of the composite roof to win a few mm. That oughta do it, but then you've gone and mutilated a very very expensive panel to begin with.


Vanya Stanisavljevic '91 Esprit SE | '91 Elan SE | '97 XK8

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Why don't you remove some material from the lip in the sunroof cavity. Should not be that hard to do and you would be able to keep the dust out of the car with a bit of masking etc.

I would have thought that a viable alternative. The you are back to the two seals and two roof options.

  • Like 1

All we know is that when they stop making this, we will be properly, properly sad.Jeremy Clarkson on the Esprit.

Opinions are like armpits. Everyone has them, some just stink more than others.

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I wouldn't dare remove material from the cavity in the roof, as it's the integrity of the strucutre,, depending on how, where and how much. And you cannot do the same on the carbon roof which is a copy of the fiberpanel, as it's hollow. The other carbon roof I also have is a copy of the glass roof, and should fit straight in to your car, Vanya.

PNM said in stock around early May.

Vanya: what's the exact weight of your glass panel?

Jacques.


Nobody does it better - than Lotus ;)

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Vanya, are you absolutely sure that cars specified with a glass roof is different to those with composite? Seems odd to me, and in any case, my car has both, it's just the seal height that varies, as Bibs has said. Is it possible that Lotus Gothernburg sent you the wrong seal?

It could all be worth measuring the aperture lip height, and post it here for comparisons with other people's cars before you go any further. I reckon the solution could be as simple as removing some of that lip height.


Margate Exotics.

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It is just the height of the lip that the seal slots onto that varies between composite and glass roofs. Nothing more technical than a grinder and a tape measure.

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10 hours ago, ramjet said:

Why don't you remove some material from the lip in the sunroof cavity. Should not be that hard to do and you would be able to keep the dust out of the car with a bit of masking etc.

I would have thought that a viable alternative. The you are back to the two seals and two roof options.

 

6 hours ago, Advantage said:

It is just the height of the lip that the seal slots onto that varies between composite and glass roofs. Nothing more technical than a grinder and a tape measure.

You're both entirely correct. Thus far I've just explored the "grinder-free" alternatives. I'm VERY VERY wary of what I do to my V8. 

7 hours ago, ian29gte said:

Vanya, are you absolutely sure that cars specified with a glass roof is different to those with composite? Seems odd to me, and in any case, my car has both, it's just the seal height that varies, as Bibs has said. Is it possible that Lotus Gothernburg sent you the wrong seal?

It could all be worth measuring the aperture lip height, and post it here for comparisons with other people's cars before you go any further. I reckon the solution could be as simple as removing some of that lip height.

- entirely sure, I've heard the same thing from many sources. I checked the part number sent to me - the number on the bag it came in was correct, although I didn't notice much of a difference in actual height when fitted to the car. I have a friend whose V8 has a composite roof. Will check how high his seal was. It'd be great to have both interchangeable without worrying about fouling.


Vanya Stanisavljevic '91 Esprit SE | '91 Elan SE | '97 XK8

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