Kiss of the K-wall at Laguna 'no es' Seca: Need non-authorized chassis repair ideas - Page 4 - LotusTalk - The Lotus Cars Community
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post #61 of 116 (permalink) Old 03-06-2009, 02:32 AM
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The west systems chemical sounds fine. As long as the surface is completely clean before application. Also consider prepping the surfaces with 60 grit paper before chemical application.

I use a hydrofluoric acid mix which should not be used in the garage (extremely damagerous and can easily kill).
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post #62 of 116 (permalink) Old 03-06-2009, 08:51 AM
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I'm not suggesting that the conventional wisdom is hooie, but it sure feels like even problem cases which involve a *straight* (NOT racked...) frame can be conscientiously serviced to a degree where subsequently pushing the vehicle hard should not be an exercise in callous disregard for one's well-being!
The conventional wisdom does not suggest otherwise.

The conventional wisdom is merely: 1. Lotus does not authorize any such repair. (They shouldn't. This is understandable.) 2. It's a bad idea to try it unless you really really really do your homework properly, have proper skills, etc. because there are a whole lot of ways to go wrong. And even then anybody with any sense shouldn't trust your work without doing their own homework properly and personally verifying your work. 3. You shouldn't hide the repair from any potential future buyers of the vehicle. Full disclosure should rule the day. (That's a moral one but a lot of us around here agree with it.)

So you can see that nowhere within the context of the conventional wisdom is there any suggestion that such a repair is impossible to perform adequately.

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post #63 of 116 (permalink) Old 03-06-2009, 09:01 AM
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So you can see that nowhere within the context of the conventional wisdom is there any suggestion that such a repair is impossible to perform adequately.

xtn
The problem is that one mans adequate is another mans unacceptable.

That coupled with the fact that it is unlikely that the repair would be disclosed at the time of sale makes this a problem.

I think we are all familiar with the Darwin Awards...

If Burt Rutan is doing the repair I might feel ok about it but if it is someone that "thinks" they know what they are doing...

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post #64 of 116 (permalink) Old 03-06-2009, 10:32 AM
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Patricko I agree completely with what you said. But none of it means that it is impossible to repair the chassis to a very high standard.

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2006 McLareghini Bugatterrari, Storm Titanium... installed: air horn, Scroth 4-point ASM harnesses, Sector111 halon extinguisher and mounting bracket, Von Hep exhaust and rear panel delete, Pagid brake pads, red Volks CE28n wheels, Toyo RA-1 tires, Nitron SA coilovers, Sector111 (WorksBell) quick-disconnect steering wheel kit. awaiting installation: Scroth "pull-up" lap belts, Sector111 RTD Brace, Tony's heater bypass mod, and dropped steering rack mounting plates.

Last edited by xtn; 03-06-2009 at 01:04 PM.
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post #65 of 116 (permalink) Old 03-06-2009, 12:46 PM
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While I'm sure you are referring to technical expertise when you cite him, I feel Burt Rutan is a poor example of "sticking to the company line", or "playing it safe".

Look up "outside the box thinking" in the dictionary, there's his picture.
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post #66 of 116 (permalink) Old 03-07-2009, 07:11 AM
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While I'm sure you are referring to technical expertise when you cite him, I feel Burt Rutan is a poor example of "sticking to the company line", or "playing it safe".

Look up "outside the box thinking" in the dictionary, there's his picture.
If we were going to stick to the company line Burt Rutan would not be involved.

I am saying I would need to have someone of his talents to engineer a solution for the repair. And since each repair would be different you would need him to work on each one. Obviously it is much cheaper to buy a new chassis.

I think once Lotus has stopped making the chassis and there is no other option then we will need Burt.

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post #67 of 116 (permalink) Old 03-07-2009, 09:26 AM
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We are in complete agreement about having a knowledgeable structures professional involved in this project. Obviously, a bag of pop rivets from Fastenal, and 25 tubes of JB Weld will not cut it. And I also agree, that the project cannot be justified on economics. If you cost out your "free time" at some reasonable figure, the learning curve alone will run into thousands. Hire a PE, even one that's stoked about the project, another couple large, at a minimum.

But this is no different then restoring an old car, or building a 'homebuilt' aircraft or sailboat. My ragged-out S2 Europa project is a perfect example. I could have bought the best twincam Special in the country for what I am going to have in this thing before it's drivable. Maybe sell it for $4000.00, tricked out ricer-boy 20V 4AGE not withstanding. ( but look at all the FUN I've had!! ) There is no earthly way you can justify it looking at the bottom line. It's a journey.

Let me paraphrase Oscar Wilde, " There are those who know the cost of everything, and the value of nothing"

Two more observations, if I may.
1) How can anyone "Justify" an Elise? Same reasons some folks justify an expedition to climb K2, I suppose. I read "big smile on my face" often.
Being in the General Aviation business, I have made a very good living, made possible by folks who have managed to 'justify' the 'un-justifiable'; ie operating small aircraft. I thank them all for their delusions.

2) How can anyone seriously consider "safety" as a deal breaker for a well done repair, when these things, from new, are swapping ends & tearing themselves to bits with very little provocation? And that seemingly minor rear-enders & parking lot shunts render the cars "un repairable" ? Maybe they're a little less then 'robust' from the git-go?

I do aspire to own one, however.

Having said that, I also agree that any repairs, approved or bodged, should be disclosed at sale. I would think that the original poster would have done that by starting this thread.
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post #68 of 116 (permalink) Old 03-07-2009, 10:50 AM
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2) How can anyone seriously consider "safety" as a deal breaker for a well done repair, when these things, from new, are swapping ends & tearing themselves to bits with very little provocation? And that seemingly minor rear-enders & parking lot shunts render the cars "un repairable" ? Maybe they're a little less then 'robust' from the git-go?
Interesting line of thought.

Whether or not the cars are cheap or easy to repair has little to do with safety. We're talking about the safety of the driver or passenger aren't we?

And I don't think they swap ends and tear themselves to bits without quite a bit of provocation. It's just that your sense of standard for those things is unnaturally elevated by all the bloated tanks you're used to driving.

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post #69 of 116 (permalink) Old 03-07-2009, 11:42 AM
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Your point is well taken, concerning the "provocation". I once 'provoked' a 911 by some overconfident, uneducated maneuvers. And you are correct of course, regarding passenger & driver safety. As previously stated, I am an aircraft mechanic; all my work has to be signed for, and my work inspected before release of the aircraft for flight. No pulling over to the side of the road in an airplane. As far as 'bloated', unfortunately these days, it's me, not the vehicle. I drive an '92 E30 BMW, and of course the mandatory pick-up for the job. While it cannot be considered 'sporting', it is at least an entry level Nissan Frontier.
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post #70 of 116 (permalink) Old 03-07-2009, 06:18 PM
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If something is robust enough to handle a hard hit to a big pot hole, it's probably too heavy to be the best on better pavement.

Know any airplanes with gear strong enough to withstand a hit to that same pothole at anything above stall speed? Of course not. Runways are expected to be maintained, and the extra weight would reduce performance in the air.

As an A&P you're familiar with proper design and implementation of repair methods. Things like rivet spacing, knowing exactly the right type of rivet necessary as opposed to just filling the hole with a pop rivet, using exactly the right size drill and ream for the rivet hole, countersinking to exactly the right depth, deburring properly, driving the rivet to achieve the right shop head, etc.

You know that a test sample of two sheets of metal put together by picking a drill bit that looks close enough and popping a rivet through the hole will fail at a much lower load than a similar test sample prepared the right way.

My stand in this thread is that somebody who understands that sort of thing, takes the time to educate himself in the required areas and then painstakingly applies the knowledge to the repair of his car can quite possibly turn out a repair that would exhibit all the properties (excepting a small weight increase) of the original undamaged car. Could any Joe Blow with a cutting torch and a drill press do it right? No. But there are people that could, and the person who started this thread might just be one of them.

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2006 McLareghini Bugatterrari, Storm Titanium... installed: air horn, Scroth 4-point ASM harnesses, Sector111 halon extinguisher and mounting bracket, Von Hep exhaust and rear panel delete, Pagid brake pads, red Volks CE28n wheels, Toyo RA-1 tires, Nitron SA coilovers, Sector111 (WorksBell) quick-disconnect steering wheel kit. awaiting installation: Scroth "pull-up" lap belts, Sector111 RTD Brace, Tony's heater bypass mod, and dropped steering rack mounting plates.
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post #71 of 116 (permalink) Old 03-07-2009, 08:01 PM
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Whoa, you're preaching to the choir here; every comment I made regarding any potential repair included references to PROFESSIONAL engineering consultation. Maybe I misread the poster's intentions, but it seemed he was asking for technical advice, as to the possibility of repairing his car. His postings seemed thoughtful, and not conjectural in tone. More of a 'what if....'. Of course this is not a task to be undertaken by an inexperienced, or ham-fisted "technician". The expertise of the repair person was assumed on my part, but remember people build high performance aircraft in their garages everyday, complete & fly them successfully. Indeed, the entire 'Amateur built' program is designed to be 'educational'. And like an aircraft, ( tho far removed from the Elise, wasn't ACBC an Aeronautical Engineer? ) a high performance automobile, particularly one having undergone invasive repairs must be inspected periodically, and with a critical eye, for any damage or distortion at the point of repair. Video 'borescopes are so cheap now days everyone should have one:
http://cgi.ebay.com/36-Video-Bore-Inspection-Scope-Visual-Optics-Borescope_W0QQitemZ360121820357QQcmdZViewItemQQptZ LH_DefaultDomain_0?hash=item360121820357&_trksid=p 3286.c0.m14&_trkparms=72%3A1546|66%3A2|65%3A12|39% 3A1|240%3A1318|301%3A1|293%3A1|294%3A50
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post #72 of 116 (permalink) Old 03-07-2009, 09:42 PM
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The expertise of the repair person was assumed on my part, but remember people build high performance aircraft in their garages everyday, complete & fly them successfully.
Absolutely. Anybody who's built any of Vans RV aircraft would look at this thread an call us all wussies!

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2006 McLareghini Bugatterrari, Storm Titanium... installed: air horn, Scroth 4-point ASM harnesses, Sector111 halon extinguisher and mounting bracket, Von Hep exhaust and rear panel delete, Pagid brake pads, red Volks CE28n wheels, Toyo RA-1 tires, Nitron SA coilovers, Sector111 (WorksBell) quick-disconnect steering wheel kit. awaiting installation: Scroth "pull-up" lap belts, Sector111 RTD Brace, Tony's heater bypass mod, and dropped steering rack mounting plates.
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post #73 of 116 (permalink) Old 03-09-2009, 01:50 PM
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The problem is that one mans adequate is another mans unacceptable.

That coupled with the fact that it is unlikely that the repair would be disclosed at the time of sale makes this a problem.

I think we are all familiar with the Darwin Awards...

If Burt Rutan is doing the repair I might feel ok about it but if it is someone that "thinks" they know what they are doing...

A little knowledge is a dangerous thing

I dont think that is a fair assesment.. This is similar (not the same) to the replacing the clam vs. fiberglass repair debate. Many people insist on replacing a damaged clam when in fact the fiberglass repair process is well understood and produces a stronger part than the original...

Granted the frame is a structural issue but it is no different if the procedure is performed properly. For instance regular old frame repair/straightening works just fine if it is done properly but could be dangerous if done improperly by someone inexperienced. The process of aluminum repair is well understood and has been practiced for the past 70 years.. There are plenty of light aircraft owners that repair their own craft with a hand rivet gun and sheet aluminum and a pair of tin snips.... and their planes have to actually fly through the air.

This is an elise we are talking about... not the space shuttle... the repair process will work just fine... In a couple of years after the first few elise chassis have been repaired this way are demonstrated to be safe this is going to be no big deal...
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post #74 of 116 (permalink) Old 03-09-2009, 02:00 PM
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post #75 of 116 (permalink) Old 03-09-2009, 02:03 PM
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I dont think that is a fair assesment.. This is similar (not the same) to the replacing the clam vs. fiberglass repair debate. Many people insist on replacing a damaged clam when in fact the fiberglass repair process is well understood and produces a stronger part than the original...

Granted the frame is a structural issue but it is no different if the procedure is performed properly. For instance regular old frame repair/straightening works just fine if it is done properly but could be dangerous if done improperly by someone inexperienced. The process of aluminum repair is well understood and has been practiced for the past 70 years.. There are plenty of light aircraft owners that repair their own craft with a hand rivet gun and sheet aluminum and a pair of tin snips.... and their planes have to actually fly through the air.

This is an elise we are talking about... not the space shuttle... the repair process will work just fine... In a couple of years after the first few elise chassis have been repaired this way are demonstrated to be safe this is going to be no big deal...
I'm not sure I agree with the comparison of clam vs. chassis repair. The clam is primarily cosmetic, whereas the chassis is structural as you say.

As I'm looking into race cars (SRF's), I'm not too concerned about minor damage on the shell. The most important thing for me IS the chassis. I won't buy an SRF with a history of a damaged chassis.

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post #76 of 116 (permalink) Old 03-09-2009, 05:52 PM
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I'm not sure I agree with the comparison of clam vs. chassis repair. The clam is primarily cosmetic, whereas the chassis is structural as you say.

As I'm looking into race cars (SRF's), I'm not too concerned about minor damage on the shell. The most important thing for me IS the chassis. I won't buy an SRF with a history of a damaged chassis.
I agree with you; i was looking for a way to make a better comparison thant between the clam and the structure for that reason.. I absolutely agree that it is important that any repair to the structure needs to be done in such a way that the structure will have the same or *better* strength as before the damage.

The point of the clam comparison was to show how something that is universally accepted as an acceptable repair (fiberglass clam repair) is shunned in the lotus community as somehow being not good enough and that a new clam is the only way to go...

Similarly we can make the same case with the chassis: is a brand new stock chassis better than a repaired? of course it is... but replacing with a new chassis is not practical, certainly expensive and definately wasteful from a recycling standpoint (e.g. you recycle the aluminum but you lose all the energy put into the manufacture). There really is no good reason *not* to repair small damage like a mount as long as it can be done properly and produce a safe chassis.

Now a good counterpoint is the fact that a repaired chassis is likely to be not only stronger at the repaired section but also heavier... There is the old saying in F1 that the car should be good enough to cross the finish line and then immediately fall apart afterward.. A stock chassis affords you the best tradeoff between the proper amount of material strength and the lightest amount of material used.
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post #77 of 116 (permalink) Old 03-09-2009, 07:15 PM
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Funny thing about aircraft repair; your goal in a "repair" is to restore the structure to the certification standards of the original type certificate. Your goal is not to make it "better" or "stronger" then the original......to do so, is to do an "alteration". An "alteration" gets you into a Byzantine mess of regulations that can literally go on for years.

Your "repair" may indeed strengthen the structure significantly, just don't mention "better" or "stronger" when doing the paperwork.
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post #78 of 116 (permalink) Old 03-09-2009, 07:42 PM
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... There is the old saying in F1 that the car should be good enough to cross the finish line and then immediately fall apart afterward..
A Colin Chapman theory
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post #79 of 116 (permalink) Old 03-10-2009, 04:44 AM
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Can someone recommend a good Chapman Biography? I know there are several out there.
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post #80 of 116 (permalink) Old 03-10-2009, 05:21 AM
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I agree with you; i was looking for a way to make a better comparison thant between the clam and the structure for that reason.. I absolutely agree that it is important that any repair to the structure needs to be done in such a way that the structure will have the same or *better* strength as before the damage.

The point of the clam comparison was to show how something that is universally accepted as an acceptable repair (fiberglass clam repair) is shunned in the lotus community as somehow being not good enough and that a new clam is the only way to go...

Similarly we can make the same case with the chassis: is a brand new stock chassis better than a repaired? of course it is... but replacing with a new chassis is not practical, certainly expensive and definately wasteful from a recycling standpoint (e.g. you recycle the aluminum but you lose all the energy put into the manufacture). There really is no good reason *not* to repair small damage like a mount as long as it can be done properly and produce a safe chassis.

Now a good counterpoint is the fact that a repaired chassis is likely to be not only stronger at the repaired section but also heavier... There is the old saying in F1 that the car should be good enough to cross the finish line and then immediately fall apart afterward.. A stock chassis affords you the best tradeoff between the proper amount of material strength and the lightest amount of material used.
Completely agree. I understand Lotus's position of frame replacement - it's the safest route for them. I'd like to see a thread documenting a correctly repaired frame, no doubt it can be done.

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