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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So, as the title mentions, I have a small crack in my rear clam behind the wheel, close to the bottom. I know that the correct fix for this is to take it to the body shop and have the entire clam repainted, yadda, yadda. I hate to do that for a crack of this size though. It's only a couple inches long, tops, and not really visible unless you're looking for it.

Does anyone know if I can just pull the crack open, fill in the void with resin, clamp it together and let it dry? Do I need to drill the end of the crack to keep it from spreading? I'd feel really stupid spending 5 grand on this.

Thanks!
 

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I would drill the end of the crack to terminate it and prevent any further propagation.

Adding filler or adhesive at this point won't really help - may even make a legitimate repair down the road a little harder.

Are those scratches a few inches above and below the obvious crack, or are they surface spidercracks? Guess it could also just be dirt tracks...
 

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I would really clean up the inside and just add some fiberglass there for strength.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
E Swift: By adding resin, I can at least force the crack closed and even as much as possible, making it just about disappear. I have a feeling no legitimate repair will be forthcoming unless something else happens to the clam. You think drilling would be enough to stop the spread? How big a hole would I need to drill?

Chotto: Your advice is the exact opposite :) Hmm...
 

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You could probably go smaller, but I would say about 3/16". The problem is that unless the crack is normal to your panel surface (usually isn't with composites) you don't necessarily see the end of the crack from the front side. It has likely extended further on the back side. So best case, drill from the back with a 1/16 or smaller, and know you're truly nailed the end of the crack. Or go from the front - here, though, the conservative approach would be to drill larger.

The problem with doing a layup on the back side: First, there is a coating on the stock clam that prevents a good bond unless it has been abraded off. Ask me how I know. I guess the worst that could happen is that it just pops off... If you go for it, a wire brush or surfacer pad chucked into your drill will be your best friend.

I would recommend the "pull the joint apart and fill the crack with epoxy" approach before trying to do a layup, unless you can get good access to the back surface. Doubt you will get comfortable access with the clam still on the car.
 

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Drilling alone should stop the spread. I guess using adhesive in the joint couldn't be that bad, especially if the crack is clean and you can still close it fully.

I do think that using just the adhesive in the joint without drilling is a risk for additional cracking...

If I remember the back of the clam correctly, that crack has already extended past the thicker section around the wheel arch lip, and could be fairly vulnerable.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Okay, thanks for your help. I just drilled it using a 5/32" SAE bit. I had to do it from the front, there would be no rear access to the crack even if I take the clam off the car. I overshot the end of the crack by just a bit to compensate.

I'll epoxy it tomorrow when stores are open (it's Canada Day today). I will probably bondo the hole I drilled - I don't see why not at that size - and touch it up with good old DupliColor touch up paint.

There's no way I was going to pay even so much as an insurance deductible for this. You've helped a bunch. Thanks.
 

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touch it up with good old DupliColor touch up paint.
Check with your dealer (or FVMC as they seem to have some of the best prices) about the touch up paint from Lotus. I bought one for ~15 shipped. You can also get some touch up paint from a local body shop. Just give them the paint code from the sill on the driver's side. You'll get a much better color match.
 

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Ah, good ol' Duplicolor.

Let us know how it turns out! Or better yet - show us when you're done.

I find it reassuring to learn that some Elise owners are actually content to go about their lives, with full knowledge that their clams aren't 100% perfect.

Some days I can get quite the opposite impression on this forum!

Cheers-
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I'll order the touch up paint from the local dealer. Thanks. I'll post pictures of the result.

This crack is the result of my own dumbass mistake, and the ease with which it happened proved to me that the only way you can be anal about the condition of the fiberglass is if you keep the car in a showroom. I'm surprised I haven't done more damage to date. The rest of the car is pretty much flawless other than being peppered with stone chips.

Someone should develop a polyurethane clam.
 
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