That's interesting about the cost of the chassis replacement. We got quoted a substantially higher figure locally ($19K and 5 - 6 months) -- With a chassis, I could do most of the work myself...At $9K, it's something to think about. At $19K, it's out-of-reach.
I want to run down Mr. Clayton's tip about extruded bits from Japan. After searching SELOC, it appears that it's quite common to pull a one-off extrusion that is inserted into the damaged (but now straightened) box section. This adds wall thickness and geometry/hard points are maintained by appropriate use of washers/shims, etc. Sections from 6" to 16" inches were described.
Here's something from an industry clipping on the Sands Museum site (Thanks, Michael):
"One disadvantage of the bonded design of an aluminum chassis still remains, however. Maintenance and repair is not quite as easy as with steel. Should such a chassis be damaged in an accident, it cannot be repaired by any back-street garage. The bonding conditions are too exacting for that. However, the Elise chassis has been so designed that extra bolt holes have been formed in those areas susceptible to damage. These holes are there so that a plate can be bolted on to the existing structure to compensate for the damage, should it occur. In the event of a serious collision, the body and the chassis can be separated and whichever is beyond repair can be replaced."
I don't know if these "extra bolt holes" exist in some of the critical areas susceptible to this kind of damage. If they do, they are not obvious.
Yeah, regarding the flaming for repair comments. Silly. Sure, the factory says
, but why would anyone surrender their faculties in a situation like this? Every circumstance is different, of course. I am sure Lotus has taken the most extreme position for a variety of reasons. In my case, it appears like this is a straightforward, albeit delicate repair that will require that attention is paid as things are trued up. I can't imagine what kind of country we'd live in if we all believed it couldn't be done because we read it somewhere.
RugbyDuck -- Thank you very much for the lead. Really appreciate it.
Hopefully I won't need to suit-up in Nomex, but if we move forward, I'm absolutely going to do what I can to fully document what, how and why. As I said, I was/am very surprised that there is not more on LT on this subject. Clearly, a large number of these rides get wadded -- It would be a shame if there are no resources available to help keep these vehicles safely on the road/track in greater numbers.