The Lotus Cars Community banner
1 - 20 of 27 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
174 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Updated pics of undercarriage damage!

I'm looking at this pre-owned Elise from a used car dealership and everything seemed okay at first until I took a peek at the undercarriage. There are 3 dents ranging from 3-5" in diameter and 1-1.5" deep right in the middle of the undercarriage directly under the shifter area.

I asked the dealership and they do not know how the previous owner managed to put those dents there. I was wondering what are the probable causes of how those dents were made and how concerned I should be if I were to pick it up. Any info or advice would be awesome! Thanks!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,875 Posts
Sounds like its to the tub/chassis, which is unrepairable. Probably hit something on the road. The previous owner should have reported this to insurance as soon as he noticed it and the car would have most likely been totalled...

Sucks - but thats how these cars are made. Avoid it, never look back, and move on to other cars...
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
5,461 Posts
The dents would most likely have been made by running over something hard like a rock or block of wood. If they have damaged structural components of the chassis - not good :( - If they have only dented the floor panels that can be repaired (but make for a good negotiating position on the car :))

Sounds like its to the tub/chassis, which is unrepairable. Probably hit something on the road. The previous owner should have reported this to insurance as soon as he noticed it and the car would have most likely been totalled...

Sucks - but thats how these cars are made. Avoid it, never look back, and move on to other cars...
If the damage is confined to the non-structural floor panels they can be repaired without issue - but since you can see them it is not possible to conceal the repair and therefore it is not "like new" (which can only be done with a new chassis) but is as good as new. Writing off a car for minor and repairable cosmetic damage is foolish (and drive up insurance premiums).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
937 Posts
The dents would most likely have been made by running over something hard like a rock or block of wood. If they have damaged structural components of the chassis - not good :( - If they have only dented the floor panels that can be repaired (but make for a good negotiating position on the car :))


If the damage is confined to the non-structural floor panels they can be repaired without issue - but since you can see them it is not possible to conceal the repair and therefore it is not "like new" (which can only be done with a new chassis) but is as good as new. Writing off a car for minor and repairable cosmetic damage is foolish (and drive up insurance premiums).
Totally agree but I would check everything else more and treat as suspect as it could be related to the car going off track/road and something else being damaged/repaired.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
174 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I forgot to add that I also noticed no scrape marks or scratches around the dents. So it doesn't look like it the dents were made while the car was in motion. Is it possible that they dropped the car onto some objects after lowering it for maintenance?

Also, is that a removal panel or is that part of the tube/chasis? From the pics of the bare chassis that I've seen, it looks like it's part of the chassis and not a removal panel :S

For reference, the dents are the RED CIRCULAR objects in the pics

 

·
www.theapexinn.com
Joined
·
11,689 Posts
Stay Away !.....There are plenty of perfect ones out there.
 

·
www.theapexinn.com
Joined
·
11,689 Posts
Oh, and if you get a chance, post the VIN number !
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
174 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks for the heads up guys, I was so tempted because of the price and was curious as to why it was so low.

The VIN #SCCPC11146HM32828
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
135 Posts
WTF!? Why in the world would you lift a car like that in the above pic? Thats probably how the dents got there. Bowed the car in half. Ive seen people in jeeps show off there new winch by lifting it in a tree. They end up bending the frame from its own weight. Yeah the elise is light but thats a huge no no. Thats what car lifts are for. If I saw a garage do that Id never go there.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
7,540 Posts
The odds of it being structual are pretty slim. Easy enough to check. No one will ever see them. If price is sweet and they aren't near seams, your pics look like they're under the seat region. , I wouldn't sweat it. Hopefully price is 2000-4000 below going rate and you got yourself a deal.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,828 Posts
WTF!? Why in the world would you lift a car like that in the above pic? Thats probably how the dents got there. Bowed the car in half. Ive seen people in jeeps show off there new winch by lifting it in a tree. They end up bending the frame from its own weight. Yeah the elise is light but thats a huge no no. Thats what car lifts are for. If I saw a garage do that Id never go there.
I see you are new here. Just so you know, that was Q-Balls former Elise. There is an infamous story behind that - but to sum it up, the car fell off the lift and what you see above is how the shop subsequently tried to lower the car once the back end came off.

Search and I am sure you will find the thread that goes into more detail if interested.

Most places have no idea of the special circumstances these cars require to be lifted - and hence you get what you see in the picture above.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
174 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 · (Edited)
Here are a few shots of the damage after having it on the lift. Upon closer inspection, it looks like the pan has been punctured. I called the local lotus dealership and described the damages to them and will go there to assess the extent of the damages on Friday. From the sounds of it, they don't think it will affect the structural integrity of the chassis but are not 100% certain until they see it in person. They said it is repairable though and it will consist of them flattening it out and welding a small seam. From my observation, the floor pan itself is very thin, maybe 3-4mm thick and can easily be dented so I'm hoping that this puncture did not weaken the chassis tub.





It looks like it punctured because it hit the beam running down the middle of the car from front to back


and here it is from the passenger footwell


They said they will give me a really good deal, but this is worth the trouble and more importantly is it safe to drive after the repairs? Will there be any detrimental affects that this will have on the handling? I test drove the car as is, and it drives pretty straight. Opinions and your thoughts please!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,828 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
180 Posts
I don't think you would want to reair this by welding--if the panels are heat treated aluminum like 2024-T3 or T6, you would soften the panel in this area. I would think you would repair this the way you would repair an aircraft's skin, with a riveted on doubler (patch).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
580 Posts
Certainly a result of running over something, be it a large rock or something else. I'd give the front clam a good look and see if there's any damage, or obvious repair work. Something that big probably took a chunk out of the nose.

With that said, if the deal is right, it looks fixable.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
174 Posts
Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Any structural engineers out there that can chime in? My biggest concern is if this has weaken the structural integrity of the car, personally, it does not look like it does. The "L" shaped puncture is about 2" x 1.5"
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
725 Posts
I will not comment on whether you should actually buy the car or not.

But, I will chime in on the shear panel damage. What you have shown is unfortunate, but really not anything to be too worried about once it has been repaired properly.

You will obviously never have a factory fresh car... but you already knew that. If you were the sort of person to get your knickers all in a knot over a hairline crack in your paint or <gasp> buying a car that actually has signs of a previous owner, you probably wouldn't have created this thread.

That said, this isn't all that serious. There are only a few functions for that panel that I can think of:

1) Primarily, I would guess is serves as a close-out: to protect you from road debris.

2) Structurally, the panel serves potentially purposes. The first is as a shear panel. Think of your precious chassis as the two rigid side rails joined at the front and rear by lateral spars. Imagine these four links are attached by pins that allow rotation. The addition of a shear panel would then prevent your rectangular chassis front turning into a distorted parallelogram. Both in and out of plane. Thus, the panel serves some use in shear much as a diagonal bar or X-brace would on the bottom of a chassis. Does a hole in the middle of it matter at all? Yeah.. a bit... but not as much as you might expect. Also keep in mind that your chassis isn't a bunch of bars joined by pins, so the contribution as a shear panel and out of plane flex probably isn't all too significant.

3) Sure, the panel can and will accept some intermediate loads if the panel is stepped on, but most of this is taken care of by the corrugated beam just fore of the seats.

4) Now, what most people here appear to be most concerned about is... you guessed it: Appearance. The repair may not look pretty, but I guarantee it can be made to be stronger than the original! Think of it as a battle scar, perhaps?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
725 Posts
Honestly, if it were just dents and no puncture, you would likely never know the difference. The impact of a minor dent on a shear panel is hardly worth mentioning.

Similarly, a through-hole isn't all that big of a deal if its edges are treated properly (i.e. not torn, but smooth, deburred, and ideally formed-over)

Thus, I would suggest then that the REAL reason to repair the puncture is to prevent additional damage rather than to correct an actual, functional problem. Whenever the chassis is performing its function as a shear panel (in motion), cracks WILL propagate over time - there is no question.

Now, how to do the repair?

Whoever mentioned not to weld..plus one. Not the process of choice here. It would also not be a weld that most repair shops could perform adequately.

Riveting? One could do this, but to do it properly is quite another thing. A structural rivet is what you're after - likely not to be found among the Cherry Pop rivets at your local lowes...So again, not something that most repair shops could handle - unless you have some aero buddies.

So, what to do, then? Look to what the factory does. Use the same structural adhesive (or something similar) to bond a like-thickness panel (on both sides, if possible) after the damage has carefully been cut out and deburred. I don't have the specs in front of me, but I seem to remember it can even cure at room temperature (might take a few weeks, though). Best bet is to whip on the infrared thermometer and grab a friend and a heat gun. Great weekend fun. You should be able to find T6 sheet from OnlineMetals, MetalsExpress, or worst-case - McMaster.

Of course, cleanliness is godliness - your results will be directly proportional to how you follow the adhesive's guidelines and prepare the bonding surfaces.
 
1 - 20 of 27 Posts
Top