Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Greenville, SC, USA
This is a long story ... here it goes:
I was sitting at a traffic signal, and car behind me bumped my rear end. There were only two small star-burst cracks in the rear so I thought that they would be easy to repair. Took the car to several repair shops, including the local Lotus dealer and Caliber Collision for estimates. I go legitimate estimates from everyone except the service manager of the local dealer. He send me an eMail with some numbers on it that no insurance company would accept as an estimate. I called several times, but the service manager wouldn't answer the phone or he wasn't available or he failed to return my call.
Thus, I went with Caliber, and they began disassembly. I very glad that they chose to remove the rear clam for the repair as they found a lot more damage than anyone expected: the trunk compartment had delaminated from the clam, clam mounting points had been compromised, etc. Thus, a new clam was was in order. Unfortunately, the Caliber Collision chose to order the new clam through the local dealer. Time passed and about every two weeks, I would make a call to Caliber and be told that the dealer says the clam was on back order. I talked with the parts guy at the dealer (unlike the service manager, he would take my call), and he told me that they had two rear clams on back order. After several months of follow-up with Caliber and the dealer parts guy, I found a telephone number for the Lotus parts operation in the U.S. He checked his computer and told me, "Sir, we don't have any clams on order from that dealer." Caliber confronted the local dealer with this, and the dealer claimed that the parts guys was new and made a mistake in the ordering process. Once the order really got placed, the rear clam really was on back order. Thus, a few more months added to the process. My suspension is that since the local dealer gave me a "quote", they were hoping that I'd get tired of waiting and have them repair the clam.
The saga took over a year to get the repair completed, but fortunately the car was drivable during that time. (I even took a road trip to Southern Illinois in which I ran into snow and ice.) Again, I'm happy with the work that Caliber did. However, I try to avoid any dealing with the local dealer.
I see that some members are pressuring you to have the damage repaired rather than getting a new clam. Recognizing the free advice is worth exactly what you pay for it, I'd advise you to be sure that there is no damage other than what's visible on the surface.
Here's the rear after the repair:
The Old Guy -- 2008 Lotus Elise California / Solar Yellow