Lotus Elan

Sows Ear Chassis

PostPost by: garyeanderson » Mon Jul 16, 2012 1:03 pm

Hi Ray

Thanks for the tips and support. the inspiring bit is to get all of those folks that are reading this out in the garage and doing it. There is not rocket science or brain surgeon stuff here. its the will to get something done every day possible. Thats how things get done in my world. I don't have the financial resources to tell someone to make it pretty and make it right. I like to show folks how I do things, if you want to "learn" or just read along for the laugh thats fine too. I have done a couple and I seem to remember where the stumbling blocks lay. Body work is certainly one of them. Body work is best accomplished a bit at a time but if you do have some it goes by and its done without to much drama. I started out with about 20 ounces of resin, I still have about 5 ounces left. wet layups are fine but on the heavy side. I worked at Boston Whaler when I was 19 and learned a bit, my techniques were poor and my quality sucked. I know some great folks that do it for a living and my hat is off to them for the quality that they do on a daily basis. I get out and do this when I have to or when I want to play Elan builder. I help others that want to know or learn when they ask. Warm weather is great for glass work as its real time, not waiting for things to happen, maybe it will be ready to work with tomorrow type of thing. This morning I went out to spread some bondo in some of the areas that I had ground away, when I am done with this post I will be out sanding it and getting ready to fine tune those areas. There seems to be a lot of talk about dolly's and rotisseries at times and I though I would share my "rotisserie" method. I don't have any but I wanted to get the Elan up on it side to work this morning, I can hang fiberglass upside down but its tough to sand that way so I got a couple of milk crates (4 x 4 cut offs work too) and a couple of hunks of 4 inch foam rubber. I placed them next to the body and withing 5 or 8 minutes I had it ready to use with great access. this is a by yourself thing as at 7:00am I am not going to be calling anyone for help and its already 80 degrees so when I want something it's usually a "right now" decision thing and so was this.

As usual pictures are better than words so here they are!
The set up
poor mans rotisory.JPG and

The bare shell weighs about 185 lbs, I tip the scale at 130 most days. I grab the seat rail mounting recess on the underside and lift to the balance point and hold it there while I get around to the other side
poor mans rotisory up and over.JPG and

Foam is compressed and no damage occurs, if it does, so what - it not a finished and painted shell its a work in progress.
poor mans rotisory - two milk crates and some foam.JPG and

took about 5 minutes to get it vertical and ready to use.
poor mans rotisory leaning and tied off.JPG and

good access to just about the complete underside of the Elan - Sweet! :D
poor mans rotisory - the access.JPG and


Back to sanding the bondo and polyester glazing putty I spread earlier this morning,

Well the milk crates didn't work out, it kept sliding around on them so I lowered it to the ground and tied off the bottom so it was more stable. I keep learning (maybe re-learning) all the time on what you can get away with and what doesn't work... :)
poor mans rotisory on the ground.JPG and


Gary
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PostPost by: elj221c » Tue Jul 17, 2012 9:44 am

Great idea, Gary. Where can I get a convenient rotisserie tree from?

Not sure we have that variety over here........

:lol:
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PostPost by: rodlittle » Tue Jul 17, 2012 9:51 am

Sure works Gary, I did more or less the same with my shell except I built 2 big trestles and sort of rolled the chassis over on them when I needed to get underneath, dont have any pics though should have thought to take some but thats all in the past now
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PostPost by: garyeanderson » Tue Jul 17, 2012 11:27 am

Got the other side up this morning to get some better access and have gravity help with the spreading of bondo.

Cars work too for a good leaning post. :)

don't have a tree - use a car.jpg and


Friday July 20th 11:45am

I'll spare you the photos of the body work, the type 26 body looks about the same until the prime goes on and it may not be that far off but there are a lot of details that needed to be looked at and dealt with. Tingles body was cut up heavily for the cage that was installed at one time and I re-glassed most all of them with a couple of layers of 1 1/2 oz. mat on both sides to give the body back some strength and to possibly keep the water out. When I was doing the glass work, I didn't have much of a plan for the shell but knew that if I put it back to near stock it could be used for just about anything I desired so thats what I tried to do. Now that I am pretty certain it will be a RHD Elan, I needed to get the pedals in now before the body work is finished and the prime and paint go on. The roll cage went through the firewall and most of the master cylinder area was cut to facilitate that modification. I needed to drill the holes and make sure everything fit and tidy up that area, Kind of being fussy but its easier to do it now than later. It took a couple hours to fit and test, it doesn't look like much but then again all of the little steps don't look like much until you turn the key and drop the clutch, thats still a long f-ing way off :)

Right side looked like the left before this morning.

RHD pedals trial fitted.JPG and


masters trial fitted.JPG and

early pictures of the body are at this link
elan-f14/tingles-production-race-elan-body-t16586.html

George mentioned in another topic about how far you need to go with taking off the paint and I have my own ideas of what you should do. I am not in a big hurry to get this or most projects done, There is always another one waiting so whats the hurry. I have been cleaning the engine bay, it takes a bit of time but I seem to have it so I get most of the blue, black and pink off. I guess there was white and some red too but like most cars I have they didn't get well cared for so not a lot of paint jobs over the years.
prime off - pretty clean.JPG and


Thursday July 26th 07:00 am

Body work is just not a lot of fun! thats the reality of it. Lots of sanding and mudding and more sanding. In the end it looks pretty similar to the way you started except that when you run your hand over the surface it feels right. If not than the process is repeated again. I think you can do this process as many time as you want and never be satisfied, there is always some sort of imperfection to find. In the end you need to know what you can leave and what needs to be right so it doesn't stare back at you each time you look at your work after the paint goes on. I think I am getting close to be ready to prime Tingles body shell but the weather seems like it may put that off for a few more days. Tuesday I went to get some supplies, acetone, plastic sheet to divide the garage into an area that I can paint in without emptying out the last three cars stored in it, I pulled out one over the weekend and will roll out the Cortina shell when its time to put color on the shell. I think it will be out for several days when that happens, oh the joys of being my neighbors. Anyhow I was rolling out the plastic sheet to get started and Willy stopped by just in time to help hold an end. I told him I had picked up the paint and he likes the home made Medici blue color that I mixed up and thats what I got for paint. 3 more quarts of "royal blue" and another quart of "hunter green", I have the gloss white so I should have enough to do all the parts and the shell. I haven't decided on the bumper color but will probably be body color, I can repaint them if I don't like the look(unlikely though).

These holes in the boot were still there, I guess I ran out of resin in 2008 when I was fixing all of the other holes cut in the shell, not sure what they were for but the 3 inch diameter were the right size for the large grommet that is the access plug to the backbone, the 2 1/2 inch ones? who knows. anyway Willy gave me another pint of resin so I filled them in.
more glass repairs JPG.jpg and


I think I still have another day before prime, this is the worst angle all of the sins are visible, it was the corner that was replaced and the flair had a shit load of bad layup by me 5 years ago, must have been the last one with the bottom of the barrel resin :oops: Oh yea, I moved it again to get it so I only had to use my one good air hose, the other one leaks too much.
nearly ready for prime.JPG and


Saturday July 28th 03:30pm

Sometimes you just have to go for it and I was sick of sanding and filling, sanding and filling, sanding and filling, sanding and filling, so it was time to prime and see how bad a job I did with all of the sanding and filling, sanding and filling, etc. 38 oz of K38 PPG prime later with 8.5 oz of activator added I was done and I guess I get to do some fill and sand again now. I love this body work. There is only one moment when you feel good about it and that's when it's all painted and then you can get on with the rest of the job. So here are the photos...

ready or not.JPG and


ready or not two hors later.JPG and


ready or not two hors later. profileJPG.jpg and


Monday July 30th 04:15am
Yesterday was one of those days when it was hard to get a lot done. Clouds and mist, some light rain. Trying to get polyester glazing putty spread on a dry surface was a challenge but I managed to get around the body a few times to get it done. My best friend came over and we talked for a while to bring life back into perspective. His bone cancer that had been in remission for the last two years was starting to produce proteans that could be tracked again and he was going to visit the specialist this week to find out what was next. Makes me think that these Elans are fuc-king trivial in the real world but so it goes. Anyway after he left I spread some more and the light light rain and mist moved back in for a couple hours and I took a break. The sun tried to break back though the clouds about 3pm so I went out with the wet sanding bucket and 220 wet/dry paper and started on the back. I didn't do a lot of prep work on it before priming, this is just not one of my favorite spots to get to look right so I let the prime show me the errors of my ways and putty after. When I was done sanding the back I saw I needed another bit of putty on the right side between the tail lamp holes but the drizzle moved back in so I sanded a bit more and called it a day about 5pm. All in all I am pleased with what I am seeing and I think I may get away with some spot priming. I only got the back and one rear fender sanded but it looks ok to me and I am the customer in this case.
missed holes and divots.jpg and
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PostPost by: garyeanderson » Mon Jul 30, 2012 3:43 pm

Looks about the same in the pictures, in reality it's not bad but more putty and primer are certainly needed before the color goes on.

first prime sanded 70.jpg and


Tuesday July 31st 12:30 pm

I got busy this morning, The dew had settled and I needed to dry the shell off, It was still to cold and more dew was forming as I dried it so I had to wait till 8:00 am for it to get warm enough to start. I would have done it yesterday but at 5:00 I was done and just didn't feel like pushing it as I know how things work out when I do.

I went all out this time with a guide coat and all

second prime with guide coat.jpg and


Wednesday August 1st 05:45 am
I got a bit of sanding in yesterday afternoon, I guess I quit about 4pm yesterday to cleanup and got almost halfway around the body shell on the topside. I would like to finish this second sanding to get an idea of where I am with this. From what I am seeing so far it looks pretty good, certainly not perfect as the flair molds are likely 40 years old and have moved around and came complete with with the star crack molded into it from the original Elan.

second prime with guide coat front top half sanded.jpg and


Wednesday August 1st 03:35 pm

A good day to wet sand, warm out with clouds and some sun. I think its pretty close for color but there are a few spots that need some putty still and I think I will spot prime a couple areas. I would probably do another coat of prime, but I don't think I have enough PPG K38 so I'll just have to see how it turns out. beside I am getting tired of sanding gray :) . I know that these photos look pretty much the same but they are just time stamps to give folks an idea of how much time it takes to do this stuff, roughly one long day to sand the whole shell for each coat of prime.

second prime sanded.jpg and

This picture may belong in
elan-flairs-the-good-the-bad-and-some-ugly-ones
elan-photos-f18/elan-flairs-the-good-the-bad-and-some-ugly-ones-t16400-90.html
View from front-above 2.JPG and


Aug 02, 2012 4:49 pm
Moving day again, I needed to clean the garage some more to get ready to paint and there is just too much sh- stuff in the air, not sure what it is but painting outside is out of the question now. I got an early (well not that early) start this morning and cleaned off the top of the Cortina thats just storing parts and I am sure that anything that I moved will be lost for quite some time but thats the way it goes. I think I am pretty damn close to paint the shell and what little that is left can be done on the new mobile painting platform, My saw horse was too high so I measured the height of the Digital Equipment PC and cut the 4 legs of the horse off so that it measured 17 inches like the PCs, It's still a bit high but its easier to stand on a milk crate than to lay on the floor. I'm not sure when I am going to paint it, it is supposed top be in the 90's and humid tomorrow and I would like a better day. So I think I'll wait.

switch-a--roo.JPG and


I got the fan installed too :)
in the paint booth.JPG and


Saturday August 4th 11:40 am

I should probably not be looking for problems at this point but I noticed that when I put the shell back on the cart that my 3 point system to hold the shell up at the height I wanted was good but the shell had about an 1/8 of an inch of twist when I picked up the right front of the foot box. From my experience I seem to remember these early shells as zero twist when you picked up a corner with just the weight of the shell so I started looking around and noticed at the rear of the cockpit that the bond between the top skin and bottom tray near where the alloy combing mounts to hide the the gator hide was flapping a bit when I tapped on it. I didn't want to do anymore glass work at this stage but really wanted to see if I could fix it so I got out some tools and cut some inspection lines in the glass to see how well it was attached and after the first cut I ended up with about 5 pieces that had no physical attachment of the top and bottom skins. I prepped the area with a small diameter grinding wheel and cleaned it with acetone and then laid up 3 layers of 1 1/2 oz mat to rejoin the top and bottom. I inspected the other side but it looked pretty good so I left it as is, I hope that I have helped restore some of the lost stiffness, I guess i'll find out later today after the fiberglass has cured. One thing for sure is that it wont hurt the integrity of the shell.

rear cockpit bulkhead repair.jpg and


Sunday August 5th 12:55 pm

Three days in a row I have looked at the front bumper thinking I need to do something to secure it mechanically to the shell. Each time I didn't like the the way I was thinking about doing it so I did nothing. After a while you need to try something, so this morning before it got to hot I drilled a couple of holes. If you look at the topic I started in 2008 I faired in the front bumper on May 27th and at the time it looked pretty good, fast forward 5 years and sitting in the sun under the black EPDM membrane with temps in the 140's and winter temps down just below zero has had its way and the gaps that formed were something that I wanted to fix. I could pull it back to looking good but I needed to secure it with a couple of fasteners. The problem was where I had good access was not where it would help so I put the two holes where I wanted them and got a couple of threaded bobbins. I was pretty close with where I drilled the holes to the deepest part of the bumper (furthest forward). I put a bolt through the hole and hung the bobbin on the end of it with just a couple of threads engaged and taped the other end of the bobbin closed. with both bobbins hanging on the bolts I spread some polyester glazing putty over the forward most portion of the bobbins and put the bumper in place and held it there with my chest and pushed the bolts forward so the the bobbins with the putty on them would contact the crotch of the bumper and held it in position for a couple of minutes. When the putty had hardened I unscrewed the 2 bolts and pulled off the bumper. The bobbins were now where I wanted them and I glassed them in with 6 layers of mat with a X through each layer so that it would secure the bobbin to the front of the bumper. It's sitting out in the sun now and when it has kicked I'll see how I did (bottom photo), I am still debating whether I need to install bobbins on the body or just locktite the bolts in position. I guess I am running out of excuses for not painting the shell and that will need to happen soon. Tomorrow I plan on getting another spray gun at Harbor Freight, Just another cheap gun but one that is not quite as worn out as the one I have had for the last 15 years.

Photo from more than 5 years ago
Image

photo from 5 years ago after fairing in the bumper
Image

pictures from today the bottom on has the two bolts finger tight and it has pulled it back into position.
more bumper bobbins.jpg and


Tuesday August 7th 2:15pm

Today was one of those days that comes along and you need to take advantage of with temps in the low 60's to start and at the moment high 70's with low humidity. So ready or not today was the day and I wasn't really ready but oh well, I worked through it and the crack in the right rear fender arch that wasn't there yesterday was this morning so I dug it out and re-filled with putty, two applications and it was pretty close but it needed prime so I mixed up a small batch and shot the area and then dusted with a guide coat. Made lunch and ate and went back and sanded the prime ,cleaned up the mess and mixed the special blend of Royal blue, gloss white and hunter green. I made up 2 batches of 300 grams royal blue, 75 grams of gloss white and 45 grams of hunter green with 140 grams of acetone. I gave it a final wipe down and made it turn blue. I guess I still have to fix a few issues but the first coat is on the shell, I need to do all of the other parts but thats another day.

let there be color both ends.JPG and
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PostPost by: memini55 » Mon Jul 30, 2012 6:14 pm

Gary,

It is looking good and about ready for paint. The little stuff takes for ever to do but think of it this way, you are building your arm strength! Did you pick a color yet?

Mark
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PostPost by: ElanSeries2 » Mon Jul 30, 2012 9:18 pm

Reading this is so inspiring - it moves fast when you're doing something every day, I guess. Progress on mine has been glacial since my little ones arrived. And I'm envious of your weather, Gary - I'm thinking I live in the wettest place in the world right now. But this year, I will get my own medici blue car running! Its the best colour, I'm sure! :D

Thanks for keeping us all updated - can't wait to see your's in paint.
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PostPost by: garyeanderson » Tue Aug 07, 2012 11:17 pm

See previous post for details :D

Both of these photos are with the flash
let there be color both ends with flash.JPG and

This picture is with the garage door open behind me at about sundown with the flash. I want to see it outside in the sun, if the weather is good tomorrow I hope to get it out and paint the doors and bumpers, maybe the headlamp buckets but they need some more work.
kind of dry.JPG and


A couple of photos outside at 7:30 am with natural light but in the shadows.

the day after.jpg and


Noon time full sun - yes it brite :D
sunny day.JPG and


August 8th 4:00 pm

While the shell was out in the sun drying I figured it was a good idea to get on with the small parts as they were nearly ready. I did some final prep work and a bit of sanding and then washed them all and had at them with a batch of mix, the same size as one of the 2 I did yesterday for the shell. I hope to keep at it tomorrow but I may get a day off due to rain...

painted body parts.jpg and
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PostPost by: RedS4 » Fri Aug 10, 2012 12:16 pm

I love the colour - very elegant. 8)
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PostPost by: garyeanderson » Fri Aug 10, 2012 12:47 pm

Doesn't look too bad for $30 worth of paint and $10 of acetone does it? It has some issues but for what the Elan is intended for it will be the balls. I really don't know what the money is that I have invested but it more than likely under a grand so far for the sows ear chassis and Tingles C production body. On this forum folks seem to have lost site that you can do things yourself and have fun doing them, there is a huge satisfaction factor that is involved when you combine CHEAP and I did it myself at home. I assembled the parts to get an idea of what the Elan will look like and although I think it's sweet it needs to have the total sky blue broken up a bit and I guess that I am going to break with my tradition of body colored bumpers and give them another color. I am not sure but I think silver may work. maybe some other ultra bright will also work, I need to invest in some more Rustoleum paint and do some more mixing.

front low with body parts 75.JPG and


front above with body parts 90.JPG and
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PostPost by: RotoFlexible » Fri Aug 10, 2012 2:46 pm

My saw horse was too high so I measured the height of the Digital Equipment PC and cut the 4 legs of the horse off so that it measured 17 inches like the PCs

I'm glad those damn things are finally useful for something. They are too light to make good boat anchors, but strong enough to support an Elan shell or chassis.
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PostPost by: gjz30075 » Fri Aug 10, 2012 4:10 pm

I vote for a dark silver on the bumpers. Although mine is a custom mix, a Toyota pickup color is a very close match. Famous Frank has the color code.

Lookin' good!

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PostPost by: rodlittle » Fri Aug 10, 2012 6:09 pm

Looking very good Gary, I wish Id started taking pictures of mine earlier than I did but I guess one bare patchwork bodyshell looks much like another. certainly Im with you on how boring a job rubbing down and patching and filling is, took me months.
keep up the good work
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PostPost by: garyeanderson » Fri Aug 10, 2012 9:26 pm

gjz30075 wrote:I vote for a dark silver on the bumpers. Although mine is a custom mix, a Toyota pickup color is a very close match. Famous Frank has the color code.

Lookin' good!

Greg Z


Hi Greg

I was thinking of something a bit different but also a bit dead common. I don't know much about colors but I have heard that opposites seem to go together. I wasn't planning on the blue but thats how its turning out, to me I have always had a soft spot for the competition back in the 60's and early 70's and I took this picture when the circus came to Lime Rock back in 2001. I think I have some from Monterey but I couldn't locate them, I think that they are just on film. I like this color and I think it would go nicely with the blue.

gulf orange.jpg and


gulf orange2.jpg and


rodlittle wrote:Looking very good Gary, I wish Id started taking pictures of mine earlier than I did but I guess one bare patchwork bodyshell looks much like another. certainly Im with you on how boring a job rubbing down and patching and filling is, took me months.
keep up the good work
rod


Hi Rod

I don't think I could do it for months, but I certainly have enough to keep me busy for that and longer with other body work that needs to get done.

RotoFlexible wrote:
My saw horse was too high so I measured the height of the Digital Equipment PC and cut the 4 legs of the horse off so that it measured 17 inches like the PCs

I'm glad those damn things are finally useful for something. They are too light to make good boat anchors, but strong enough to support an Elan shell or chassis.


Hi Andy

The pc's have been in use since I left Digital Equipment. One was a Pentium Pro 200 and the other was a Alpha 275. The Alpha chipped one sucked from day one but the Pro was ok for a year or so and was retired. I used them to hold up your Elan when I worked on it and since then they hold up the bench out on the back porch so it doesn't collapse when I sit on it. Beau also likes to use the bench on occasion. This picture was taken when the bench still had some strength left in it.

snooze on the bench.JPG and


I did manage to do some wet sanding on the body to get it ready for another coat to hide some of my screw ups and a few other issues. I had planned on several coats but the drying time seem like its going to be a pain in the ass. It seemed to wet sand ok but the residue left behind stuck to the shell wwhen it dried so I needed to wash it off as I went along. I guess thats what you get when you use oil based enamel to do the job. I guess each day I learn something new doing things, Maybe I'll get it right next time :)
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PostPost by: gordont » Fri Aug 10, 2012 9:50 pm

Gary - looks great and an inspiration of what we can all do ourselves cheaply and learn something along the say. Gulf orange bumpers or maybe silver? Great to see Beau looking relaxed on the bench, but with all that snow I thought he would be inside on the sofa!
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