Lotus Elan

Got Goo?!?

PostPost by: DrEntropy » Sun Jun 27, 2004 10:07 am

I've begun to ~attempt~ removal of all paint on the baby Elan... As I started sanding the rear wings, I've encountered what I can only describe as GOO. The original paint seems to be in a semi-solid state. It loads up the sandpaper and renders it useless as soon as it's encountered. I thought it best to mechanically remove the paint but now it looks near impossible. Is there a "safe" way to chemically strip this mess off the car? As the thickness of our toys' glassfibre bodywork is less than half that of the Corvette I've been reluctant to start experimenting with the "fiberglass" paint strippers for fear of softening the body. Any suggestions??
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PostPost by: bvt » Sun Jun 27, 2004 10:10 am

Just scrape it of with a chisil.

con't..

I have stripped a whole shell in about 2 days.. doors bonnet/boot lid 2 days.

Just keep them sharp.. really sharp!!!!
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PostPost by: nebogipfel » Sun Jun 27, 2004 4:05 pm

Hi Doc

I have just done the same job on my own S4 and you have my sympathy!

The gooey layer is probably an old air dry synthetic enamel that someone has sprayed the car with. One of the problems is that mechanical sanding generates heat which softens the paint even more. Are you using an air sander? If so going down to a 40grit production paper may work but be prepared to use lots of discs. Be careful with 40grit as you reach the gelcoat.

The other ways would be sharp scrapers and lots of time or use a water soluble stripper on small areas just to get through the goo and then continue with mechanical sanding.

Whatever way you choose it is going to be a chore :(

I am now doing the repairs by the Miles Wilkins method and I have to say that is also a nightmare because the Lotus glass is so thin. I am using surfacing tissue to repair my many gel cracks but is is difficult to grind just enough gel off without making the laminate extremely thin. The book makes it look easy ..... it isn't

I try not to think about the number of hours spent so far and worse those that remain :o Anyway take solace from the fact that you are not alone

Good Luck
John

No longer active on here, I value my privacy.
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PostPost by: elancoupe » Sun Jun 27, 2004 7:13 pm

Well good DR, its about time! ;) IMHO, the goo is likely some type of lacquer paint. The heat of the sander makes it gooey. Having worked in the paint field for 30 years, I am oh so familiar with the difficulties in getting it off. If you wash it down with lacquer thinner, and it dissolves, you have made a positive ID.

At one time, the various paint companies made a product which would remove only lacquer paints. With the demise of lacquer in the paint field, these product are probably gone , too. Feather Edger was one of the product names, IIRC.

Outside of using conventional strippers, and their inherent problems, disc sanders with 40 grit are probably the best way to go. Just be careful of the substrate!!!
Mike
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PostPost by: garyeanderson » Sun Jun 27, 2004 9:04 pm

I guess I like to sand a lot, or I don't like to make extra work for Myself. I use 180 grit wet/dry paper with a block and lots of water keeps it cool and the dust down. It takes me around week to 10 days part time (3-5 hours a day or till my finger tips start to bleed).

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PostPost by: elancoupe » Sun Jun 27, 2004 10:02 pm

Gary, in a respect, you are right. If you need to remove only paint from a panel, that method is correct. Unfortunately, the Elans I have dealt with have had mazes of spider webs and/or cracks to go with 3 or more paint jobs. In the case of my own car, just reaching the fiberglass itself was akin to digging a trench. Hand sanding for stripping would have taken eons. Of course, each case is different.

Also, having used power sanders in my line of work for so long has corrupted me as far as the time factor goes. There is no doubt that a reasonable amount of skill is needed with these tools to keep from making things worse than they already are.
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PostPost by: garyeanderson » Sun Jun 27, 2004 10:28 pm

Hi Mike

Power sanders are great tools, duel action sanders with 80 paper are good to remove a lot of paint and stroke sanders with 36 board paper can realy make some dust. If you use these tools a great deal they are marvelous machines but in a first time users hands you can creat a thousand dollars worth of damage before you know it (ask how I know). Spider cracks add character with in reason, doors are usually the worst and a layer of glass on the whole skin makes these a non issue, Bonnets are another bad area for spider cracks and I have molds for both kinds (power bulge and weber) and replace them. I started on the S2 deck lid but it is still unfinished at this point.
Gary

Just got a Lotus Cortina so I can learn some metal repair - still one sick puppy
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PostPost by: DrEntropy » Mon Jun 28, 2004 4:37 pm

Hiya Mike! Yup, it's laquer all right. And I'm the guilty party as far as the outer layer is concerned. That's the paint you've seen... hasn't been redone since then (though I've been thru two Alfa GTV's, a Spider and an MGB in that time). From what I can see it's been done three times. I did replace the boot lid back when, so that's something to lessen the load. I know the refinishing technologies have changed radically since I last cleaned my DeVilbiss Model MGB! I've been yackin' with some of the local P&B guys and am amazed at what I don't know anymore... but I'm catchin' up. She Who Must Be Obeyed wants me to redo the '65 MGB first, and after this encounter with the Elan I may switch the order and do it HER way ;-} Just this Sunday I shot a Fiat 124 hood for a friend. Used up some of the 15 year old (!) PPG acrylic enamel I got for my Alfas. It behaved exactly as I remembered, so I may be a bit rusty, but the old saw about riding a bicycle still holds true. BTW: Air tools, babee... The compressor from "up there" has been installed in my garage here. May be time to refurb it ~before~ I jump into the deep end.

Thanks all for the comments/suggestions. I'll report back with progress.

Gary: How are the front strut towers on that Cortina? The only reason I sold mine was the amount of work it was gonna take to fix them... I regret it (the sale) now. That li'l car was just plain FUN.

Ciao!
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PostPost by: garyeanderson » Wed Jun 30, 2004 2:00 am

The Lotus Cortina is out of Maryland and was hit in the front sometime ago (I don't know how long its been off the road but my guess is around 20 years). It needs the front of the rockers replaced and the front valence and other associated metal replaced. The shock towers look ok but the inner fenders around the strut tops needs work. Some photos at this link, click on the first photo with Rich Louderback

<a href='http://www.lotus-cortina.com/image.htm' target='_blank'>http://www.lotus-cortina.com/image.htm</a>

Gary
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PostPost by: DrEntropy » Sun Jul 04, 2004 11:35 am

Sweet!

The inner fender area at the top where the struts attach is the apparent weak point of the Mk I chassis. That's the reason mine was sold. Too much work (at the time) to bring it back to spec... in hindsight, I made a mistake. Miss that car a lot. Would like to find another in the shape it was in, actually. Interior was perfect, and mechanically sound. Just that darned chassis weakened and so the bonnet/frontend would move as if it was not part of the car at speed. Instead of prudently stowing it until I could do a proper job (and having two Elans and an MGB), I sold it to some Euro fellas who ~swore~ they'd keep me up on what/where it was doing. No joy there.

Live and learn.
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