Crash Structure Replacement - LotusTalk - The Lotus Cars Community
 
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post #1 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-28-2010, 12:23 PM Thread Starter
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Crash Structure Replacement

Has anyone replaced the front crash structure? I had an incident over the weekend and it will have to be replaced along the clam and grills. I am curious about how much work and if it is doable by me? I have the clam, radiator and condenser off.


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Last edited by hroundy; 10-10-2010 at 03:36 PM.
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post #2 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-28-2010, 07:53 PM
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Sorry about your accident. Glass work isn't very difficult and you don't have to get it right the first time. There are lots of books on it.

Briefly what I do is cut out the crack with a jig saw or similar, line up the pieces and pop-rivet screw small strips of aluminum to hold everything in place (probably put the aluminum strips on the outside). Then glass the inside with mat. When that is cured, drill out the aluminum strips and sand down the area of the crack to accept a layer or two of mat and glass that. When that's cured, sand and fill (it may be blasphemy but you can use Bondo here but it's better if you use fiberglass filler) to get the correct contour. Then paint. You want to try to have as few bubbles as possible (use the end of a brush).

You want to have a lot of acetone handy. Pretty much any tool you use you should expect to throw away so get cheap brushes.

I think everybody has their own technique, and mine may not be the best but it has worked well for me. I'd be glad to give you more detail if you're interested.

Good luck,

Jim
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post #3 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-30-2010, 06:38 PM
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Hardest part is removing the damaged crash structure. Second hardest is shelling out $$ for replacement. They do exist as used items, however...not that you would believe it possible after removing a damaged one! Betaseal and primer available from your local Lotus dealer or search web. It's very do-able.
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post #4 of 20 (permalink) Old 10-01-2010, 04:09 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the encouragement. I didn't know what the name of the glue was thanks for that as well.

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post #5 of 20 (permalink) Old 10-01-2010, 04:41 PM
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we have a thread here from our rebuild which documents the process..
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post #6 of 20 (permalink) Old 10-05-2010, 08:44 AM
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Just for the record, the crash-structure is - according to Lotus - not repairable. I wouldn't consider installing a cracked and repaired crash structure. I don't know how someone could remove one from a car without causing damage to the crash-structure that would need repairing.




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post #7 of 20 (permalink) Old 10-05-2010, 05:07 PM Thread Starter
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we have a thread here from our rebuild which documents the process..
Here, where is here?

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post #8 of 20 (permalink) Old 10-05-2010, 05:29 PM
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Here, where is here?
https://www.lotustalk.com/forums/f101...edition-67486/
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post #9 of 20 (permalink) Old 10-05-2010, 06:50 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks. I have read through the thread. Interesting and fun reading. Good job on the reconstruct.

I will be removing my crash structure this weekend. Guess I will skip the windshield removal kit.

When you put the new structure on, is there a positive positioning (mechanical) method? My biggest worry is gluing it on a little bit off and not being able to get the clam back in proper position.

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post #10 of 20 (permalink) Old 10-06-2010, 03:32 AM
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Remember, heat is your friend. Be sure to have a Milwaukee or similar heat gun handy. Long, stiff putty knives also.
Install- center it and you're good. There are a couple of rivet holes on the bottom that will want to be lined up. Betaseal gives you a few minutes to adjust before setting. I used a bunch of those Irwin quik-clamp wood working clamps to hold everything in place while the glue sets. For the center, a vise-grip welders clamp was able to bridge the aluminum spar and provide pressure.

And to TimMullin's point- absolutely, a damaged and repaired crash structure is a no-go. But they can be removed w/o destroying!
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post #11 of 20 (permalink) Old 10-07-2010, 05:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hroundy View Post
Thanks. I have read through the thread. Interesting and fun reading. Good job on the reconstruct.

I will be removing my crash structure this weekend. Guess I will skip the windshield removal kit.

When you put the new structure on, is there a positive positioning (mechanical) method? My biggest worry is gluing it on a little bit off and not being able to get the clam back in proper position.
To answer your question directly, there is no positive centering, but the whole structure is located vertically on a "rail" which also serves to make removal very difficult. You can center it by sight, feel, or caliper measurement. I did it by feel and it turned out perfectly.
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post #12 of 20 (permalink) Old 10-08-2010, 05:58 PM Thread Starter
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When I removed the tow hook post there was a lot of rust in inside. I cleaned it up and gave it a good dose of Rustolium.

I got the structure off today, not as bad as I thought. I first cut the box off just beforfe the bulkhead with a sawzall. I then cut off the upper lip which gave me access to the back of the glued area on the top. I was able to use Dremel's Multi-Max, an oscillating tool, to get under the fiberglass and cut a lot of the glue. This was not perfect but weakened things significantly and allow me to use a flat pry bar (and 3 pound hammer) to rip the fiberglass off. I put the Multi-Max back to work to clean up the glue.

All removed

Howard
2005 Elise AP LSS hardtop

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post #13 of 20 (permalink) Old 10-08-2010, 06:28 PM
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Glad to see its working well for you. Do you want to get rid of the clam remains? I'm looking for a reason to visit a friend in Nh.
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post #14 of 20 (permalink) Old 10-21-2010, 04:17 PM Thread Starter
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I have got the new crash structure on. It was easier than I expected. Getting the bolts into the back of the radiator housing were quite difficult. Too many things in the way (pipes, tubes and wires). Should be able to have it rolling tomorrow.

Looking for a front clam.

Howard
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post #15 of 20 (permalink) Old 10-21-2010, 04:46 PM
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Good job, doesn't seem like a hard job if u have automotive knowledge and patience. BTW, were did u pick up a crash structure if u don't mind me asking. Thanks
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post #16 of 20 (permalink) Old 10-21-2010, 04:51 PM Thread Starter
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It came via Lotus Motorsports, Waltham MA

Howard
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post #17 of 20 (permalink) Old 11-15-2011, 04:29 PM Thread Starter
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I did finish the front clam this past August. I had patched the broken clam and ran it until the new one was ready. Here's the new one.

Howard
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post #18 of 20 (permalink) Old 11-15-2011, 06:09 PM
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Congrats - looks great and glad the crash structure repair was easier than expected.
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post #19 of 20 (permalink) Old 11-16-2011, 03:58 AM
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post #20 of 20 (permalink) Old 07-09-2017, 09:48 PM
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What version of betaseal did you use for this? When searching the web, there appear to be a few different ones -- including betamate which sounds like the right thing for aluminum to fiberglass? (Dow Betamate 2810)

See page 4 here?
http://www.global-automotive-lightwe...rieg-lotus.pdf

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