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Massive front body cracks


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Last weekend I have done several minor jobs for getting Bettie back on the road. Amongst others we have had to change the tires… sadly… cause they were too old but the look of the new ones are not the same as the Goodyear NCTs although they are the same dimension :-(

 

For this we have to jack the car up. The back ones were no problem. The right in front was also ok. Then I changed to the left …. Whilst jacking the car up, one could notice: “…..iiiieeeeeeBANG!!!!!!!!” It seemed, that Bettie was setting herself free from the body. After a short check we recognized some older cracks which now are big as the grand canyon :-(

 

The earlier Excel has had a similar problem in the boot… I can’t remember anything similar in the front.

 

Is this a common problem of the Eclat?

 

In true Lotus style the bolt and nut connection has at least two jobs… but this one, is a really heavy one…

 

We are now thinking about a reinforcement with a 4-5mm thick sheet metal over and under this conjunctions to distribute the forces an close the ends of the outriggers under the engine.

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Ack!

 

As I don't know the way the body on the Eclat mounts, I can't offer any advice. Hopefully some of the other guys will chip in and help.

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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Ouch.... :-(

Where were you jacking the body? The crack is close to the front anti roll bar?

I always try to jack under the metal bits using a bit of wood nowdays after finding a crack appear on one of mine.

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I have jacked it up as in the owners manual suggested directly at the corner from the back of the front wheel arch.

 

Yes it is close the ARB. We have done it also afterwards under the lowerlink, but this will be a hard job only on the garage floor... Sadly I dont have a hydraulic ramp mayself  :(

 

 

So nobody has had an unfortunate happening like me before? No Eclat, No Elite? :huh:

Edited by Don.Hasi
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Just a thought but are all the other body to chassis mounting bolts in place and tight?

The body to chassis mounts should spread the load evenly across the whole car, if some are missing then you will get a point load at the nearest mounting, and bang goes you body mount!! :shock:

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It's too late now damage is done, but I personally never jack directly on the shell, always from a solid part of the chassis no matter how difficult it is to get a jack in place. To repair the cracks you need to stitch it all the way along the crack, with stainless steel wire, then reglass over the stich and crack.

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Thanks for your replies so far :-)

 

To be honest… I have forgotten to do the obvious… but all other boltes and nuts are in place when I look at my pictures… but I have to proof, whether they are all tight, right.

 

It seems to me that the car has hit the ground in former times, so that there was a definite damage since then. Curious…. The cuts doesn’t seem to be greater than before, but the B A N G was very great!

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I had a similar large crack close to the front mounting point. I ground the crack and layered in glass cloth and epoxy resin. I would highly recommend epoxy over polyester resin, because the former bonds with old FRP much better. It is more expensive, but the end result is much better. I've never had a problem since the repair.

 

I'm afraid I disagree with Charlie...SS wire will not add any significant structural integrity.

 

Scott

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I too have a couple of cracks to repair, hope to do it this long weekend actually, but I have a friend who has been using fibreglass for many years. He said it is all about repairing over as large a surface area as possible, and sanding back from the crack area and trying not to make the crack any larger. Then lay on increasingly wider layers of glass fibre over the crack area. The idea being to not increase the thickness of the fibreglass, but give as much adhesive area for the fibreglass/resin to work on. I rang an expert in the UK who works on Lotus cars, and he saw no reason to use epoxy, as the polyester resin will adhere with no problem. I also explained where the crack was ( near the main chassis mounting bolt at the front ) and he said with care it should give no problems. So as usual, preparation is the key. Also, use a cross weave glass, and tear rather than cut when making the pieces to lay on.

 

Good luck with it.

 

Clive

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