Kiss of the K-wall at Laguna 'no es' Seca: Need non-authorized chassis repair ideas - Page 2 - LotusTalk - The Lotus Cars Community
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post #21 of 116 (permalink) Old 02-23-2009, 11:09 AM Thread Starter
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Hello Robb-

Here's the parent company link (RLI):

http://www.rlicorp.com/

Here's the Best's Rating Report for July 1, 2008:

http://my.rlicorp.com/AMBest/02591_Rating_Report.pdf

These are the guys that post online for MotorsportReg. I have attached the policy to this post. There is an explicit endorsement page with my particulars that I have not posted -- BTW, on that page, they describe $500 for Towing coverage and $10,000 for pollutant cleanup and removal -- I didn't need to avail myself of either, but it's nice to know that it was available should I have gotten dinged for same. The cool thing about this event-specific insurance was that it was done all on line in minutes. I believe that I had read about them on Lotus Car Club or some such (actually, take that back...) it was one of the LCC guys posting here and talking about RLI's excellent service, etc.

Assuming I am not blacklisted with them, I'd pay the $215 in a heartbeat (for $36,000 coverage over two-days on track with a 2% deductible, e.g. $1,800 before they start paying....not to mention my $215 upfront.) They have been extremely service-minded and so far, decent to work with. If that changes, I will let folks know. Granted, I've received no payout yet, but I am reasonably confident that it's going to happen within terms.

Best,

John
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File Type: pdf HPDE-Insurance-Policy.pdf (162.5 KB, 547 views)

2005 Lotus Elise - Artic Silver/Black/LSS/LSD/TC/HT/TOUR/SS

Last edited by johnmsykes; 02-23-2009 at 11:10 AM. Reason: Corrected typos
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post #22 of 116 (permalink) Old 02-23-2009, 12:48 PM
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Thanks for the information. Our lcs series is a competitive event and would not fall under these guidelines. I will contact them anyway and see if they offer a racing policy.
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post #23 of 116 (permalink) Old 02-23-2009, 01:09 PM Thread Starter
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While searching for the insurance coverage for myself, I ran across WSIB Insurance Agency, LLC which has a Motorsports division -- They look as if they provide insurance for race series, race teams, etc.:

WSIB Insurance Agency, LLC

Bob Mott, Director, Facilities and Events Division
866-904-9742, ext 2503

Good luck!

John

2005 Lotus Elise - Artic Silver/Black/LSS/LSD/TC/HT/TOUR/SS
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post #24 of 116 (permalink) Old 02-23-2009, 04:30 PM
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Originally Posted by johnmsykes View Post
Aedo/Akandok-

Thank you both for your replies/guidance. So, Lotus Garage is quoting an AC/LHD Front Chassis WITH sills/rockers and all hoses pre-mounted for $7,600 USD. That's nearly too good to be true. Not sure I want to personally sign-up for the 12 - 18 month "weekend" project, but it's nice to know that (at that price...) it's certainly within reach.
That's a great price!! It should also include the front crash structure and windscreen surround bonded in place as I understand it.

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Unfortunately, I don't believe I can rename the thread, but today my head's at "Need non-authorized chassis repair ideas", or to throw some marketing spin in to it: "Kiss of the K-wall at Laguna 'no es' Seca: Need non-authorized chassis repair ideas"
I can change the thread title - let me know what your preference is

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I was pleasantly surprised at the healthy aftermarket they have in Japan. Some very, very nice bits if the pictures are faithful.
They have some great stuff!! Unfortunately their prices are also impressive
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post #25 of 116 (permalink) Old 02-23-2009, 04:44 PM Thread Starter
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Cool

Aedo-

Let's have some fun with this -- Please, go ahead and change the thread title to: "Kiss of the K-wall at Laguna 'no es' Seca: Need non-authorized chassis repair ideas" <-- First you have to grab the reader's attention....

Yes, I almost don't want to call to verify the price of the chassis -- It DOES include the windshield surround AND the crash structure....I suspect the price must be off (but they have the non-AC and RHD items at similar prices....) As said, I will likely not go that route, but it's darn tempting (and the Nomex suit could stay in the closet!)

Am waiting on some prices for some of the Japanese trick bits...I did some rough calcs based on the figures I could see in numerals -- Roll Cage about $3,000, etc. which seemed to be about $1,000 more than the going rate in the States, etc.

Thanks again for the encouragement and support.

Best,

John

2005 Lotus Elise - Artic Silver/Black/LSS/LSD/TC/HT/TOUR/SS
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post #26 of 116 (permalink) Old 02-24-2009, 10:34 AM Thread Starter
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Unhappy

Replacement Chassis Cost Update: Spoke with the folks at LotusGarage aka Newport Beach Lotus. The "new tape" from Lotus USA was received last week and has not been applied to the LotusGarage website. Over the phone, the "updated" Chassis assembly, w/ sills, hoses, crash structure and windshield surround, was quoted at $12,638.98 (warranty price.) This compares to the $7,570.69 shown on the website (also "warranty" price.) Obviously, a price bump of nearly 65% makes the acquisition of the chassis unlikely, even if you include (my) free labor to move the bits from the damaged chassis to the new chassis.

Some other "facts" about purchasing the chassis (as communicated by the parts rep....): You must cut-out and send the etched VIN on the existing chassis to Lotus before they will produce the new chassis. Supposedly, too, upon completion of the restoration, you're to cut-out a massive section of the donor chassis and return to Lotus as proof of destruction. I suspect they would take an affidavit, too, vs. a literal section of the chassis!

Lots of chatter about "BMW has approved IRRAN procedures for their bonded aluminum structures, what's up with Lotus?" -- I expect the answer is along the lines of "extremely tight tolerances" ("We produce them in near clean-room like conditions in the Netherlands!")

Next step is to reach out to those of you that have performed similar repairs and get some ideas about what you did and why and what you would do to improve your correction if you had an opportunity for a "do over." The other lead is to get the mechanical drawings produced for custom extrusions by some of the Brits on SELOC.

Wasn't it Sam Kinison who would flop down on the stage and pound his palms on the floor yelling "It never eff-ing ends!"

This is as much a tale of bemusement for me -- Yeah, PITA, but we all do it to ourselves.

John

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post #27 of 116 (permalink) Old 02-24-2009, 03:02 PM
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That chassis price jump sucks

Quote:
Originally Posted by johnmsykes View Post
Lots of chatter about "BMW has approved IRRAN procedures for their bonded aluminum structures, what's up with Lotus?" -- I expect the answer is along the lines of "extremely tight tolerances" ("We produce them in near clean-room like conditions in the Netherlands!")
I suspect this is more to do economics. Developing and testing a repair that could be approved would be expensive - and that development cost would then need to be passed on as part of an "approved repair kit" - the number of kits projected to be sold would then set the price charged. The high volume of BMWs means they can afford to develop a cost effective approved repair vs the low volumes of Elises/Exiges.
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post #28 of 116 (permalink) Old 02-24-2009, 03:11 PM
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things bonded to the tub can be re-bonded (like the composite crash structure) but the "bonded tub" cannot be un / and or re / bonded. its a thermally bonded monocoque - so it can't be dissasembled and repaired like the way it was made. even if you could do that it would be easier to just buy a new tub.

Its toast! theoretically you could cut out the mounting point, fabricate a new one with extension and bolt it onto the tub... kinda like a roll bar mounting plate onto the tub... but....

cash out and get a spec/formula race (something life SRF) car. would be my best advice, safer too!

"I really started paying attention to cars was when they came out with the Nissan Z, the first body. Then I seen the Cherokees, the old square ones, and I was like, “Wow, that’s cool.” Then I seen the Isuzu jeeps and I seen the Wranglers."
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post #29 of 116 (permalink) Old 02-24-2009, 03:27 PM Thread Starter
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Unhappy

Yup, it is an interesting point about the approval process. More than ever, the need to have the Company imprimatur on a procedure for liability purposes probably is at the heart of it (i.e. if I am an independent shop, even if I "know" the fix is mechanically acceptable, without the cover of the manufacturer, it's my bacon on the line if the fix doesn't work out quite as I had planned....)

I am a private pilot and was an aircraft owner -- There is certainly an appreciation on my part for "acceptable repair"/"approved overhaul methods." My primary concern is that the lack of an acceptable means of repair will create an underwriting risk over time. Given the relative fragility of these vehicles for relatively common types of mishaps, the loss experience seems like it could create an "uninsurable" situation down the road. In particular, I recall seeing on LT an Elise that was declared a total for a quarter-sized hole in the middle of the front frame member (due to running over a detached bumper.) That seemed a little nutty to me and common engineering sense would have suggested that a field repair would not have introduced an unreasonable safety or performance liability.

At first, this seemed like a slam-dunk "Bloody Hell - Let's fix 'er!" -- Am concerned that it may be increasingly difficult to get an independent shop to sign up for assisting due to potential liability concerns, etc. I can do most of the stuff myself, but am out of my element when it comes to custom fabrication of the necessary reinforcement bits, etc.

Best,

John

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post #30 of 116 (permalink) Old 02-24-2009, 03:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnmsykes View Post
... In particular, I recall seeing on LT an Elise that was declared a total for a quarter-sized hole in the middle of the front frame member (due to running over a detached bumper.) That seemed a little nutty to me and common engineering sense would have suggested that a field repair would not have introduced an unreasonable safety or performance liability.
That one still bugs me too

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...Am concerned that it may be increasingly difficult to get an independent shop to sign up for assisting due to potential liability concerns, etc. I can do most of the stuff myself, but am out of my element when it comes to custom fabrication of the necessary reinforcement bits, etc.
If you could find an independant automotive engineer who would certify the repair this would solve the problem - however I suspect that such certification would not be inexpensive (as you would know from your aero experience)
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post #31 of 116 (permalink) Old 02-24-2009, 03:39 PM
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John,

I came across and article a few years ago about an Elise owner from "across the pond" who repaired chassis damage that was more major than yours. He stripped everything from the chassis and disassembled and inserted new components using adhesive. I can't find it right now, but I'll keep looking. Oh yeah, he did all of that in his garage.

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post #32 of 116 (permalink) Old 02-24-2009, 03:44 PM Thread Starter
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cash out and get a spec/formula race (something life SRF) car. would be my best advice, safer too!
Fitfan-

It's funny you should mention that -- I got the current issue of Race Tech in the mail on Saturday. They had a brief on the Reynard Inverter, so called because at about 100mph, the downforce it produces would allow it drive upside down! (At 150mph top speed, supposedly produces downforce equal to four times its weight -- hence the name!)

Holy cow was it neat! See for yourself:



Inverter Specifications

"Uh, honey, I know I totaled the Elise...but guess what?! It's OK because now I've got a REAL race car!"



Shine -- I have a pretty well-equipped shop/garage with a lift and all that. I don't have any milling/fabrication equipment (let alone experience!) so I would depend on the skills of others and don't have enough direct experience to guide them. I am sure I could provide all sorts of ideas, though!

Best,

John

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post #33 of 116 (permalink) Old 02-24-2009, 04:47 PM
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Originally Posted by johnmsykes View Post
Hello Robb-

Here's the parent company link (RLI):

http://www.rlicorp.com/

Here's the Best's Rating Report for July 1, 2008:

http://my.rlicorp.com/AMBest/02591_Rating_Report.pdf

These are the guys that post online for MotorsportReg. I have attached the policy to this post. There is an explicit endorsement page with my particulars that I have not posted -- BTW, on that page, they describe $500 for Towing coverage and $10,000 for pollutant cleanup and removal -- I didn't need to avail myself of either, but it's nice to know that it was available should I have gotten dinged for same. The cool thing about this event-specific insurance was that it was done all on line in minutes. I believe that I had read about them on Lotus Car Club or some such (actually, take that back...) it was one of the LCC guys posting here and talking about RLI's excellent service, etc.

Assuming I am not blacklisted with them, I'd pay the $215 in a heartbeat (for $36,000 coverage over two-days on track with a 2% deductible, e.g. $1,800 before they start paying....not to mention my $215 upfront.) They have been extremely service-minded and so far, decent to work with. If that changes, I will let folks know. Granted, I've received no payout yet, but I am reasonably confident that it's going to happen within terms.

Best,

John
RLI is a great company. I write a lot of Personal Umbrella through them. I wasn't aware that they offered such a product. I'll have to look into it when I get in the office tomorrow.
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post #34 of 116 (permalink) Old 02-24-2009, 05:48 PM
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if you're a pilot, why not chat with some of the IAs and A&P guys.
aircraft commonly are messed up and repaired when they look like that.
for instance the landing gear box on an early cessna....etc.
people commonly wad up that stuff.
good luck, sam

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post #35 of 116 (permalink) Old 02-24-2009, 05:57 PM Thread Starter
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Sam-

A bit of a "D'oh" moment now that you mention it. I sold my 206 in June (talk about good timing...) I am very friendly with my A & P and this might be a nice break for him/them. After the airplane, I don't know why I'm whining about the cost of Lotus parts, eh?!

Thanks for helping me connect the dots!

Best,

John

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post #36 of 116 (permalink) Old 02-25-2009, 04:12 AM
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things bonded to the tub can be re-bonded (like the composite crash structure) but the "bonded tub" cannot be un / and or re / bonded. its a thermally bonded monocoque - so it can't be dissasembled and repaired like the way it was made. even if you could do that it would be easier to just buy a new tub.

Its toast! theoretically you could cut out the mounting point, fabricate a new one with extension and bolt it onto the tub... kinda like a roll bar mounting plate onto the tub... but....

cash out and get a spec/formula race (something life SRF) car. would be my best advice, safer too!

I respectfully disagree with that... Yes the tub is bonded using a thermal process but that has more to do with economic reasons; it allows them to bond the chassis faster and using less expensive adhesive which suits the production process. There are slow cure adhesives that will work just fine at room temperature.

Secondly, there are *lots* of aluminum extrusions available for general purchase... A simple approach would be to source an extrusion of similar size that is made from an alloy that is the same or preferable greater strength than what is currently being used in the vehicle. Straighten the old section up as much as possible and slide the new extrusion inside the existing one and then use adhesive and bolts. This approach is used in aviation on spar sections that encounter far greater stresses than what the elise does on a regular basis and furthermore this approach has been used since the 40's so it is well established and understood.

I understand that the whole concept of using aluminum and glue is a very new concept for auto's but in aviation its been used for decades... Its really not a big deal as long as it is done correctly...
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post #37 of 116 (permalink) Old 02-25-2009, 04:44 AM
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so essentially do this (see pic).... you have to find an extrusion that fits just inside the existing one; you may have to source two existing pieces of right angle extrusion, cut them to size and then have them welded into a box.
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post #38 of 116 (permalink) Old 02-25-2009, 05:21 AM
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so essentially do this (see pic).... you have to find an extrusion that fits just inside the existing one; you may have to source two existing pieces of right angle extrusion, cut them to size and then have them welded into a box.
That would most definitely fix the problem and be safe. You could even weld the new extrusion to the cut off section to make it even stronger.
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post #39 of 116 (permalink) Old 02-25-2009, 06:57 AM Thread Starter
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Thumbs up

rob13572468-

Rock and Roll! -- Thank you very much for your thoughtful suggestion (let alone the work you put into the visualization aid!) That absolutely makes sense to me and is what I had contemplated as an approach. I think the missing link (again, another "D'oh!" moment...) was to CUTAWAY the damaged section (vs. straightening and wrapping or doing something tricky with inserted sections, etc.)

Regarding the adhesives, I've got part numbers and such from the Brits on SELOC. Per above, ambient temperature cure in about 26 hours. They all commiserate on the expense -- something like 130 GBP per kilo for the adhesive (again, sounds damn cheap to me given the alternatives!)

A couple of folks on LT that have successfully repaired such items have offered up some pics and such of their repairs (I recognize that one man's success may be another man's failure....) With their permission, it'd be nice to get their images posted to share the data for those that are comfortable exploring non-standard/sanctioned (for/by Lotus) chassis repair options.

Dragon -- Thanks, too, for the encouragement and suggestion regarding appropriate application of welds to further strengthen the repair. I believe I read that Neckstrap, of this community, was able to weld aluminum soda can stock (i.e. casting doubt on the "too thin to weld" conventional wisdom.) I recognize that it is VERY, VERY important to contain the heat as to protect the adhered structures and that excessive heat WOULD destroy the integrity of bonded elements.

Best,

John

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post #40 of 116 (permalink) Old 02-25-2009, 07:09 AM
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I'm with Rob and Jim on this one... If/when my car finds the wall and looks as minor as your car does, I'm breaking out the TIG, some huge pop rivits (Like Lotus used), and some aluminum extrusion stock and just fix the silly thing... I wouldn't call this a super simple thing to fix, but it's not real difficult either...

Best of luck and post some pics of your work...

Phil


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