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It will probably be inevitable. If there's a chunk of fiber glass that's been ripped away, how would it be repaired?
 

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I guess I am going to have to find out.
 

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I believe you would take a small piece of glass cloth and bond it to the inside of the body panel. Maybe another layer or two if more strength is needed. Then, on the near side where the hole is, fill that in with bondo and refinish that area.
 

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MattG said:
fill that in with bondo and refinish that area.
No bondo.

You grind a beveled edge on the back side of edges of the hole or crack. Apply the fiberglass or epoxy resin (whatever is appropriate and you are using) to fill the "hole" (add fiberglass cloth to fill big holes. Then you grind it down smooth. Then you repeat on the "front" side. Grind down into the hole and feather it out. Then apply the resin.

There's a lot more to it than that.

One of the best books about fiberglass repair has always been How to Restore Fiberglass Bodywork by Miles Wilkins. The book was out of print for a long time, but a new, slightly revised version is supposed to be available. Miles has always been considered an expert on Lotus, and the book illustrates everything with work being done on a Europa.

My original copy disappeared many years ago when loaned to a "friend"...
 

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smura said:
Hey, Tim, I'll be your "friend". Want to loan me your car for the week! :D
Friend or not... Nope...:no: Nobody drives my car...

Rides, maybe, but drive?rotfl
 

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The Elsie is not really fiberglass... its more like plastic, and more difficult to repair than straight up glass fiber mat and epoxy construction.
 

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fitfan said:
The Elsie is not really fiberglass... its more like plastic, and more difficult to repair than straight up glass fiber mat and epoxy construction.
Actually, other Lotuses were not "fiberglass" either. They were "Glass Reinforced Plastic" (GRP). Many of the production methods (that Lotus pioneered) involve injecting the GRP into molds under pressure, vacuum injection, etc. But many of the old repair techniques can still be used - just the actual materials have changed.

Then again, Lotus' official policy about GRP repairs was to replace the panel (or in the case of my Elan, the entire body). But then the manual goes on to describe the approved methods to do the repairs.
 

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TimMullen said:

One of the best books about fiberglass repair has always been How to Restore Fiberglass Bodywork by Miles Wilkins. The book was out of print for a long time, but a new, slightly revised version is supposed to be available. Miles has always been considered an expert on Lotus, and the book illustrates everything with work being done on a Europa.

My original copy disappeared many years ago when loaned to a "friend"...

Muhahaha. Miles does the servicing on my car! (www.fibreglassservices.co.uk)

Craigy
 

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Re: Re: How is fiber glass repaired?

Little Bastard said:
you don't repair it, You replace it... in my book
So that will be $1500 for a new clam and $2000 for the paint versus $800 for the repair.

Come again?

Craigy
 

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I have a couple of comments for this post.

First, there is some confusing disscussion regarding terms "fiberglass" and "grp". Basically, "fiberglass" and "grp" are the same - "fiberglass" is used in general to describe any composite - plastic resin with glass fiber reinforcement. This describes a wide variety of materials and processes - resins from polyester and epoxies, to true thermoplastic matrix materials (which require high temperature and pressure to form). The glass fiber reinforcements range from CSM (chopped strand mat) to rovings (large diameter bundled fibers) to glass cloth type products. Glass fiber is used as the reinforcement because it is much less expensive than other reinforcing materials. I saw a raw clam at a dealer, and while I don't know exactly the type of resin used, I could tell there is a glass fiber type of reinforcement.

As to repair, it is best to know what type resin you are working with - so the repair can be properly performed. In general, depending on the type of damage, epoxy adhesives work well for bonding repairs. I advise caution, as if the broken section is a relatively clean break, just using epoxy at the joint will not be sufficient. Proper repairs require some type of repair splice behind the surface to reinforce the break. If there is some thickness at the break, the surfaces will be scarfed at 15-30 degrees for a repair, then bonded to improve strength. I would consult a good repair reference, as mentioned, to see how it is done.

I am sure that some of the damage I have seen pictures of can be repaired much more economically than replaced. If you live in areas with a significant boating population, you may find local fiberglass shops who can deal with the damage. I would not trust dealers in this repair unless they have been specifically trained for the repair. Look for shops with vacuum equipment and ovens - these are signs of higher quality type repairs.

Steve
 

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I just got my car yesterday and have already scraped the chin while going across what looked like a shallow drainage dip in the road. Darn. :(

On the good side, it didn't crack the clam, but I have a shallow gouge about 2 inches wide and 1/8 to 1/4 inch deep that I would like to repair myself if possible. The discussions in this thread are non-specific about do-it-yourself repairs to the Elise.

I would like some advice on what works best for the DIY repair on the Elise. I looked up the subject on the web, but there are so many different methods and applications that I don't feel I can sort out what would be best for a shallow (less than 1/4 inch deep) gouge on the Elise's body material. Would a standard Fiberglass repair kit that I can pick up from a local auto store be the best approach (such as the fiberglass repair kit from Bondo)?
Bondo Fiberglass Repair Kit
How about one of those small bumper repair kits that are for flexible bumper material (the kit doesn't specify the bumper material).
Bumper repair kit
Or, here is another repair material that is more expensive, but I don't know if it is any better.
Parasol APSI 20

So, any advice out there?
Thanks
 

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Depending on where it is, you might be able to simply leave it and cover it up with a set of the Lotus guards. Look for the thread discussing them, there are some good photos.

--Josh
 

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JWA said:
Depending on where it is, you might be able to simply leave it and cover it up with a set of the Lotus guards. Look for the thread discussing them, there are some good photos.

--Josh
I considered that, but I am getting a clear bra put on next weekend, and would prefer to get the gouge repaired first, the clear bra put on, and then put on the guards. The guards should be put on after the clear bra as they overlap the bra a bit.
 
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