Elise rear end damage. Advice needed. - LotusTalk - The Lotus Cars Community
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post #1 of 21 (permalink) Old 08-13-2017, 03:06 PM Thread Starter
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Elise rear end damage. Advice needed.

Putting my Elise together after a rear-end collision, and need help understanding what work needs to be done. My mechanics are not being straightforward with me.
Please see the attached photos, plus more here.

Took the car to the dealer to check for frame damage.
The verdict (the way I understood it) was: "Cannot see any frame damage with visual inspection but the alignment is within adjustement spec. For a more thorough inspection the diffuser needs to be cut, which will make the rear clip fall off.
But whatever we may find under the diffuser doesn't really matter because the alignment is within the adjustment spec. With proper alignment the car will handle same as before".
Does this make sense to you?

I have an independent Lotus mechanic that I have been using for a while, and I am having hard time making sense of his quotes, which seem to be changing every time I talk to him.
Please help me understand the labor that may be involved.

Besides replacing the clam, plus diffuser, plus plate eliminator - what other work do you see here? How many professional labor hours would be reasonable?
The bent piece at the end of the subframe railing - is it available separately? Does it need to be fixed? What does it do?

Thanks.
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post #2 of 21 (permalink) Old 08-13-2017, 03:16 PM
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I know everyone likes to ask this based on pictures, but this question can't be answered by pictures. It can't be answered even physically present until you start taking the broken pieces apart.

If you don't trust the person working on it, you need to take it to someone you do. Gonna have to start taking all that broken material off to see what is necessary beyond the superficial though.
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post #3 of 21 (permalink) Old 08-13-2017, 03:44 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks esseye. Do you happen to know the purpose of the exposed bent piece at the end of the railing?

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post #4 of 21 (permalink) Old 08-13-2017, 03:55 PM
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Small world, I'm based in the Boston area as well and I just got my front clam back from a body shop that did a good job. Stan, the owner says to me, you'll never guess.. I've been in business 25 years and I've never had a call for one of these cars before. I do your front clam, and then a few days later I get a call from a guy needing help with their rear clam.

Any chance you're the guy?
If so, here's the finished product with regards to my front clam. It'll look like new when I get it painted. I think they did a really good job
For reference the shop is a local corvette shop in Walpole. The owner Stan is a real car guy and seems like a good dude. 2nd gen Automotive restorations: 2nd Generation Automotive Restorations




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post #5 of 21 (permalink) Old 08-13-2017, 04:00 PM
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Do you happen to know the purpose of the exposed bent piece at the end of the railing?
That piece is welded to the rear sub-frame and holds the muffler support rod. I agree with esseye. No way to estimate damage with the rear clam still on. It's all speculative.
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post #6 of 21 (permalink) Old 08-13-2017, 04:04 PM Thread Starter
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Any chance you're the guy?
I am the guy. Saw your clam at Stan's shop on Friday.
I am sure he does great work but at his rate it will cost me the same to get a new CF clam. I will either do that, or have Maurizzio at MC Racing piece mine back together.

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post #7 of 21 (permalink) Old 08-13-2017, 04:25 PM
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I am the guy. Saw your clam at Stan's shop on Friday.
I am sure he does great work but at his rate it will cost me the same to get a new CF clam. I will either do that, or have Maurizzio at MC Racing piece mine back together.
I was thinking about doing the same thing, with regards to the CF clam, but every shop I talked to said to steer clear that they never fit right, and body shops won't touch them. So unless you want to deal with the fit or tackle making it fit yourself, just be aware.

That clam is very smashed up though, so it would probably cost a ton to put it back together, no matter who does it. That's why I didn't try to put my front clam back together. I bought one cracked in several places but not smashed and had that one fixed.
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post #8 of 21 (permalink) Old 08-13-2017, 04:35 PM Thread Starter
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That piece is welded to the rear sub-frame and holds the muffler support rod.
Thanks. Yours seems to be attached differently than mine. Am I correct to assume that as long as the muffler is properly aligned, it does not matter whether this piece is bent?
Quote:
I agree with esseye. No way to estimate damage with the rear clam still on. It's all speculative.
Speculation and elaboration is all I am expecting.
In my field that is what competent engineers do all day long - assessing possibilities with limited information. I am surprised to learn that auto experts are entirely helpless without complete information, to the point where reasonable speculative opinions cannot be offered.

I was hoping for something like:
"Based on the pictures, it is likely/unlikely/possible that part X is damaged. If it is, then ..."
Is that an unreasonable expectation?

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Last edited by artmt; 08-13-2017 at 07:17 PM.
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post #9 of 21 (permalink) Old 08-13-2017, 04:54 PM Thread Starter
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If you don't trust the person working on it, you need to take it to someone you do.
I do have someone I generally trust. But I made the mistake of telling him that I am getting insurance settlement. Now he thinks he is spending not my money but insurance company's.

I still want him to do the work and I want to be fair to him. But under the circumstances I cannot fully trust him.

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post #10 of 21 (permalink) Old 08-13-2017, 05:54 PM
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That piece is welded to the rear sub-frame and holds the muffler support rod. I agree with esseye. No way to estimate damage with the rear clam still on. It's all speculative.
Yeah, you gotta pull it to see whats going on.
I'm in Weymouth if you want a hand, and another opinion.

I'm going to be pulling both clams this winter, replacing the front crash box, and doing suspension this winter so I'll be elbows deep anyway in lotus parts.
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post #11 of 21 (permalink) Old 08-13-2017, 07:14 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Ls1Rx7 View Post
Yeah, you gotta pull it to see whats going on.
I'm in Weymouth if you want a hand, and another opinion.

I'm going to be pulling both clams this winter, replacing the front crash box, and doing suspension this winter so I'll be elbows deep anyway in lotus parts.
Thanks.
Be warned that I may take you up on this offer.

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post #12 of 21 (permalink) Old 08-14-2017, 04:45 PM
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Obvious Replacement:
Rear Clam, Lotus Emblems, Heat Protection on Clam underside
Tail Light(s)
Rear Passenger Side Marker Lamp
Rear Diffuser
Half Moon Grill
Rear Panel - or go clam hinge

Obvious Repair:
Heat Shield - or go clam hinge and remove it
Rear subframe - hopefully just the exhaust hangers
Lighting Wiring
Rear Undertray Bent

Probable Damage:
O2 Sensor Wiring or Sensors
Bent Exhaust - unbend the exhaust support rods, but it could be dented as well
Bent Catalyst U Pipe can be unbent since it's a stout piece
Broken catalyst - must replace if that's the case

Possible Damage:
Rear Suspension Pickup Points at Rear Subframe
May be missing a NACA duct on the undertray - hard to tell
Inspect exhaust header, check for damage
Inspect exhaust gasket for leaks/cracks

It should be safe to remove the rear diffuser, undertray, and rear panel to inspect for damage. Those parts aren't supposed to be holding anything on the car. Don't let the exhaust fall on you since the rear subframe hanger(s) are damaged.

If you didn't save all of the pieces from that rear clam, it would be very expensive to repair.

As far as the alignment goes, you may have followed behind car/truck where the rear wheels don't track with the front wheels; it's called dog tracking. The front alignment specs may be good and the rear alignment specs may be good, but rear to front tracking is off. The tires will wear fine, but the typical passenger car/truck is not used like a sports car. Whether you care or not is up to you.

Having said that, the Lotus AL tub is very strong and I have never seen one bend from such a collision as yours. Did the air bags deploy? I suspect your tub is OK, but the rear subframe is clearly damaged. Whether it is repairable or not depends on the details. The rear subframe is steel. I have seen a rear subframe in the for sale forum for $1,000. I would probably just replace it and be sure that the car is repaired correctly. Ls1Rx7 is replacing the front crash box, which is a pretty involved repair. I'd take him up on the offer to take a look at the car or your estimate.

I don't think that there exists an insurance company that wouldn't total your car for the visible damage alone.

It looks like $16k+ worth of insurance damage there.

The math works out like this:
REPAIR:
Payout from insurance company for repair: $16k (probably minimum here)
Hassle with uncovered additional damage, work with shops, liability, etc: $1,000?
Total out of insurance companies pocket: $17k (assuming the best case scenario)

vs.

Total the car:
Payout to owner for totaling the car: $28k
Reimbursement to insurance company from salvage auction sale: $12k
Total out of insurance companies pocket: $16k

The repair cost of the car could be $21k, which is why it normally would be totaled.
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post #13 of 21 (permalink) Old 08-15-2017, 12:58 AM
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Assuming this is not an Insurance job.

Looks straight forward repair as long as r/h wheel was not impacted (what I can see of rear toe link arm, looks as though suspension may not have been damaged).

Bent section on rear of sub frame is mainly to support muffler hanger, is not a structural element and should be able to be straightened on the car. However the area immediately in front of this protruding section is one of the clam mounts and should be level.

If inspection has observed that alignment seems ok then sounds as though is mostly superficial damage.

Seems most of the work you could do yourself - except maybe clam prep / painting.

The rest could be just replacing parts. These are likely to include exhaust system to the manifold.

To validate this opinion the diffuser would need to be removed to check -

R/H suspension pick up points, wishbones and toe link.

Sub-frame

Rear engine mount

Exhaust system, right up to the engine.


If repairable -

You will need a replacement rear clam - I would put a want ad on this site. Also for exhaust system (including downpipe with cat), tail lamps, rear panel, diffuser, under-tray?.

For heatshields, fixings, badges, etc., I would order new Lotus parts.

Hope that this has been helpful.

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post #14 of 21 (permalink) Old 08-17-2017, 09:39 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you raoundabound and iana. This is very helpful.
Tried to take off the diffuser, and of course the last bolt is stuck. Happens every time I try to do something with my hands.
Peeking through the holes, it all looks good. The visible parts of the exhaust looks undamaged too. The diffuse stopped crumpling just an inch shot of the suspension.

The impact was relatively low speed. Spun out and hit the plastic padding around the guard rail.
Airbags did not deploy. And no, this was not insurance job.
Will try to piece the clam back together.

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post #15 of 21 (permalink) Old 08-19-2017, 07:15 AM
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Man, I hope you are careful lifting the car with a scissor type jack. Those things can be dangerous!
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post #16 of 21 (permalink) Old 08-19-2017, 04:27 PM
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I would advise against trying to repair the clam. Keeping the body shape in alignment, obtaining a smooth finish, dealing with multiple small fractures to the gelcoat over a broad area, repair time, make this a major undertaking.

But main problem with such extensive clam repairs is that it is hard to avoid later cracking in new paintwork, as clams flex in use.

Rest of work could be done by yourself, but I would source a replacement clam.

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post #17 of 21 (permalink) Old 08-21-2017, 03:18 PM
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I would advise against trying to repair the clam. Keeping the body shape in alignment, obtaining a smooth finish, dealing with multiple small fractures to the gelcoat over a broad area, repair time, make this a major undertaking.

But main problem with such extensive clam repairs is that it is hard to avoid later cracking in new paintwork, as clams flex in use.

Rest of work could be done by yourself, but I would source a replacement clam.
I agree with this. Look for a rear clam with minor damage or buy a fixed one. I have seen clams for $500-$750 with minor damage. The for-sale section and craigslist are your friends.
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post #18 of 21 (permalink) Old 07-27-2019, 03:00 PM
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I had a similar situation with my car. Here is the solution I can up with, stainless steel 'box' folded up and I will use structural rivets to install it. Threaded locations will be yellow zinc plated Rivnuts that will be collapsed in place and hold the 2 sections of the 'box' together. I will admit, it took me a year to design the solution and about 2 hours to make it. Makes me wonder if this is a product I should make for sale???
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2006 Elise with BOE 400 supercharger and some aero mods, CRF floating oversized rotors, MCS single adjust coil overs, CRF exhaust, CRF sway bar w/adjustable link, mono-ball pivots, machined steer arms, baffled oil pan, CRF titanium toe link brace, hardened motor mounts, Ethos wheels w/Yoko slicks
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post #19 of 21 (permalink) Old 07-27-2019, 03:02 PM
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Here are the parts of the box...and the corner of the sub frame, part cut off.
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2006 Elise with BOE 400 supercharger and some aero mods, CRF floating oversized rotors, MCS single adjust coil overs, CRF exhaust, CRF sway bar w/adjustable link, mono-ball pivots, machined steer arms, baffled oil pan, CRF titanium toe link brace, hardened motor mounts, Ethos wheels w/Yoko slicks
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post #20 of 21 (permalink) Old 07-28-2019, 03:30 PM
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Here are the parts going together:
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2006 Elise with BOE 400 supercharger and some aero mods, CRF floating oversized rotors, MCS single adjust coil overs, CRF exhaust, CRF sway bar w/adjustable link, mono-ball pivots, machined steer arms, baffled oil pan, CRF titanium toe link brace, hardened motor mounts, Ethos wheels w/Yoko slicks
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