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markt

Chassis Crack

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Up on the hoist as part of a thorough check and got a concerned phone call from my mate. Has anyone seen this type of damage to the chassis before?

 

Photo17-01-1335608PM_zps956d523b.jpg

 

Photo17-01-1335558PM_zps3939f801.jpg

 

Photo17-01-1335537PM_zps8a98466f.jpg

 

Looks like over time, flexing of the chassis/drivetrain has caused the crack. Appears it's been repaired in the past but has failed again. Probably would never have noticed if I didn't give it a good degrease. On the up side, everything else looks reasonably tidy (for a 30 year old car) and no corrosion to speak of. Has anyone else had an issue like this?

Quite confident it can be fixed, and how I'm going to fix it, but all ears to suggestions anyone might have.

Worth having a look next time you have your Esprit up in the air, and make sure all's well.

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First up, some of the welding looks a bit dodgy. I'd be grinding back to see the extent of the cracking. Get yourself some of that dye penetrant in spray cans. Once you find the end of the crack, drill a hole that covers the very end of the crack. Then weld repair back from there.

In your middle picture. it looks like there is a piece you could remove (the crack arc to the weld line) and get tested to see if the metal has undergone any sort of crystalline change. May not be necessary, but might point out an issue that you won't know about otherwise.

 

You need to know how far the crack has gone up the sides of the chassis beam as well. Chase the cracks until you get to their ends and then get a reputable shop to weld it back up and I'd be plating over it all as well with holes in the new plates over the crack areas as viewports (for want of a better word)

Are the chassis's on these cars only mild steel? (I admit I don't know) If not, preheating or post weld heat treatment may be required.

 

OR

 

buy a new chassis.

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Id say you're pretty screwed there! Not sure if that's a factory issue, stress failure or result of an impact. You would be able to weld it up but personally because where the crack is I would be looking for a new chassis. :thumbdown:

 

Buddsy

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But why?

 

Could the tabs that bolt onto the bulkhead from the engine bay side be broken or the bolts loose?

 

If these were OK, and the bolts from chassis backbone to the body tunnel tight, where would the stress be coming from?

 

I'd check all those - wont solve the problem but might answer why.

 

Could torsional forces be being applied abnormally?

 

Surely you would have to repair on all 4 sides to get this right, and thats body off, so just as 'easy' to replace the chassis.

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Sadly, I concur with Buddsy. That chassis is a write off, I think. The crack seems to spread right up the sides, and there is an obvious previous attempt at a repair, bodged as badly as any I've ever seen. Whatever you do to that chassis, you'd never be able to trust it. In any event, the whole chassis will have to be removed whatever you do....how you get a new chassis in NZ I can't begin to imagine! You have my commiserations.....I shall be looking at mine at the next opportunity, too.

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A few more nails I'm afraid. Repairing in situ is not an option, have look what's the other side feeding out of the back bone section. So minimum is engine out and that fuel filter can't stay there !

I think it may be repairable but you will have to separate it from the car.

We have some good, no bloody good engineers down here, I had a new front section of an Elan chassis done here.

This end of the world is well known for it's ability to improvise.

Always worth check the cost and freight of a new chassis, but I think you could beat the coast with a local repair.

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FYI, although I was lucky, I bought a new old stock chassis for 500GBP from South west Lotus. Was LHD too. Might be worth contacting them as this would offset all further costs? Other option is Lotusbits. Dont email - call Mike. He WILL have second hand chassis. That would be RHD though.

 

Just checked SWLC - a range of £500 chassis available, according to their online shop. LHD turbo too!

 

http://www.thelotuscentreonline.co.uk/epages/sdctukef2v6v.sf/en_GB/?ObjectPath=/Shops/sdctukef2v6v/Categories/Esprit/Chassis

Edited by slewthy

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Suspect he'll need RHD...

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Very bad news mate, sorry for you.

I had chassis problems with my car, my car had an accident and the chassis was bent, it could be repaired but...

doing a nut & bolts restoration this option for me was not good so I've ended buying a new chassis with the help of my friend Buddsy.

Seeing at your pics  the chassis had a very poor repair job and like the other members said, it could not be repaired properly without a body/chassis separation, now, the cost of a new NOS chassis will be not tremendous but the shipping could be....

Try to contact Mike at Lotusbits and Pete at PNM, also there was a S3 chassis on Ebay, try to look at the expired auction to see if it's still available, if unsold again the price could be dropped down...

Good luck!

Giorgio

 

PS: I'm not a lotus turbo expert but I've never seen the bar in your pics running side to side under the sills, it's that original...?



Here the link mate,

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Lotus-Esprit-Galvanised-Chassis-New-from-Lotus-obsolete-part-/190783085042?pt=UK_CarsParts_Vehicles_CarParts_SM&hash=item2c6b8ed9f2http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Lotus-Esprit-Galvanised-Chassis-New-from-Lotus-obsolete-part-/190783085042?pt=UK_CarsParts_Vehicles_CarParts_SM&hash=item2c6b8ed9f2

don't know if the part number is correct as it's listed for 85on cars but maybe only little differences and can be adapted with no major issue.

The price is too expensive at the moment but is listed from months....so worth a try, I have paid mine 300 GBP, new and galvanised.

Ciao

Giorgio

Edited by ghe67

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Never done any welding myself - always wished I could. You cannot use the car in that condition but before resorting to all the complications of a new chassis why not get a good welding shop to do a diagnosis. Although others have said there is evidence of a bad previous weld I would have thought a good repair perhaps using plates as reinforcement/bridge across the crack might well do the job. Then you monitor the repair regularly to see whether more drastic action is required.

I had a really rusty part of the chassis (torsion bar running next to the exhaust) when I got my car and everything pointed to an engine out repair. But my local garage spent some time coming up with a fix which avoided the engine coming out and did a fabulous job which still holds good. 

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Without the body off it would be impossible to see where the craking goes and any patchwork on the visible side would be unuseful and not safe IMHO

also the chassis is galvanised and Lotus factory does not approve any welding job on an galvanised chassis, so to do a good repairing and strenghting job requires the body off and a carefull check of the damage.

This would be a big and expensive task, a little more job is required at that point to change the chassis for a good one.

Just my two cents.

Giorgio

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why not get a good welding shop to do a diagnosis. Although others have said there is evidence of a bad previous weld I would have thought a good repair perhaps using plates as reinforcement/bridge across the crack might well do the job. 

 

I think a repair could be done fairly easily in situ and strong too. My issue would be the alignment of the front end to rear end. With out being welded on a jig and with the car being used for a while in its present state you wouldn't really know where the front wheels would be in relation to the rear wheels. Could get it to work but what the handling would be like I have no idea? Not trying to be negative but that would be my fear.

 

Buddsy

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PS: I'm not a lotus turbo expert but I've never seen the bar in your pics running side to side under the sills, it's that original...?

It holds  the front edge of the engine under tray.

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Dude, you're lucky the rear end of the car hasn't fallen off   :shock:  :shock:

 

That looks like the result of someone spinning the rear into a curb at some point...

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Before repairing or replacing check where the stress is coming from. If something is amiss you might be doing another repair down the track.

I'd start by jacking under each spring first and checking all body to chassis mounts and the integrity of joins between inner and outer body sections. I've seen a couple of cars with the inner and outer rear guards separating around the fuel cap regions.

With the first I didn't get involved but with the second I found broken rear bobbins which then initiated the glass separation. That was identified by a mate who sat in the boot while the car was driven over a bumpy track. Both were Stephens models.

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Oh,  BTW, I would not be driving the car. :no

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What would worry me is that the original repair hasn't failed, a new crack has propagated.   I have seen that before where resonance is an issue.   Agree that the repair quality doesn't look great, however the original factory welds don't look too clever either! 

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Thanks for the input everyone!

The car will be staying at the workshop for a while, engine's getting pulled to replace the water pump and any other jobs that might as well be done while it's out. Had someone come round yesterday to assess the problem and is very confident it can be sorted out. I'm not sure on the details, but will post up when the job's underway and I know more. He wants the engine out to do the job and assess further, so no problem there. R.E. the quality of the original factory welding, the repair man had a good chuckle at that too.

Thanks for the links for a replacement chassis. If it comes down to it, the cost of a new one is quite reasonable. It's shipping it from the UK to New Zealand that's going to be horrific! Just spent a bloody fortune shipping the car here from South Africa. I've sent off an email to SWLC and will brace myself for the shipping quote.

To try and answer the question how, I'll have a look at the rear bobbins and see if anything is loose. There's no evidence that the car has had an off in the past. I can account from 8 years ago when I owned first owned the car, and has been well looked after by the previous owner, from whom I just bought it back.

Will let you all know how things progress.

Edited by markt

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This is what I did to my chassis...

 

dscf0223km.jpg
 

The tubes and brackets were rotten, so I made a jig and welded it together (badly) with it fitted to the chassis so that I could align things...

 

dscf0224i.jpg

 

I cut new tubes and made a pair of engine mounting brackets.

dscf0230ag.jpg

 

I didn't trust my welding though and paid somebody to have it professionally TIG welded.

 

In your situation I'd be looking to repair it if i could.

 

Paul.

 

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