New member - Excel SA

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Excel SA
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New member - Excel SA

Post by Excel SA »

Hi all,

I recently bought a 1987 Excel SA. It was bought without the engine, which has vanished, and the idea was to fix all the "minor" niggles and install another engine. Living in South Africa, Lotus parts and spares availability is about zero, so the plan is to use a Lexus V8, along with its automatic transmission as these are readily available, complete with wiring and ecu. Living in Johannesburg we lose 15 to 20% engine power due to the altitude (6000') so it all works out to some extent - in my head at least!

The reality of fixing the "minor" niggles has changed the plans somewhat - a few cracks in the fiberglass, when expanded on, have led to some more than minor body damage - at the front of the car and the driver's side. Further investigation also found some damage to front outrigger section of the chassis on the passenger side. I have started a build thread over on thelotusforums.com and the advice was to remove the body and check the chassis properly. The body was removed on the weekend, and the chassis has measured up all square and straight, but here is some damage to repair. All the previous repairs done were extremely poor - badly welded patch jobs which were left unpainted, and fiberglass repairs that have pretty much peeled off along with a lot of body filler. All old repairs will be removed and redone.

The project has moved swiftly into a rather larger refurbishment - as I've stripped it down this far, I may as well repair, paint, powder coat, de-rust and generally tidy up everything!

Will be asking for advice and ideas for some time to come! Will find somewhere to host pictures to add to my posts.

Neil

Pete Boole
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Re: New member - Excel SA

Post by Pete Boole »

Hi Neil. Welcome to the forum! :D. I've been following your progress so far on TLF - good work (I'm V8 Excel on there). It'll be a great car to drive with the torquey V8 in it. Looking forward to seeing your project progress.

Pete

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Re: New member - Excel SA

Post by Excel SA »

Thanks Pete - am progressing further backwards at this rate!

Below is a picture of the top, rear suspension mount (highlighted by the red circle - it is exactly the same on both sides) on my car which has broken. The black line indicates where the bolt should be, and the green arrow points to the piece that has broken off and been refitted on the bolt 180 degrees out (not by me....).

Image

It obviously needs fixing, and in another post you mentioned:

"The '89 MY cars had slightly revised camber on front wheels (upper arms different), the upper link on the rear suspension got an extra bracket on the chassis so the bolt was in double-shear and an extra bracket was added to the body/chassis at the front of each footwell (on the outside - in the wheel arch)."

Have yo got any pictures or drawings of the additional bracket as I'd like to incorporate it into the repair?

Thanks,

Neil.

Edited to change picture hosting.
Last edited by Excel SA on Fri Jul 31, 2020 06:40, edited 1 time in total.

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Lotus-e-Clan
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Post by Lotus-e-Clan »

Here is a copy of the chassis to body bolting locations.

It shows the additional front wheel arch bracket (labelled 3 in pic).

It doesn't show the other reinforcements you mentioned. But it's a start. :D

Image
Peter K

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Re: New member - Excel SA

Post by Ray-s »

Pete TLF ? :oops: Ray..

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Re: New member - Excel SA

Post by Ray-s »

Welcome Neil :) sounds like you've got some work on.. Ray..

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Re: New member - Excel SA

Post by Pete Boole »

Ray-s wrote:
Tue Jul 28, 2020 09:15
Pete TLF ? :oops: Ray..
I just can't be trusted! :lol:

Pete

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Re: New member - Excel SA

Post by Pete Boole »

The extra bracket at the back is a simple L-shaped bracket welded to the "triangular" part of the chassis above the drive shafts and picks up on the forward end of the bolt. I don't have any pictures of it I'm afraid. Anyone on here with an '89 on MY car could take a photo with the wheel removed.

BTW your photo isn't showing up - you can't post them directly to this site like you can on TLF!

Pete

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Post by Excel SA »

The picture of the chassis is what I used to separate the body from it, but there were some differences for my car - will note the main ones when I get a chance.

Hi Ray - that's an understatement - will post pics of the bodywork....

Thanks Pete - will see what will work to strengthen that area - don't like the original design of that much. The picture is showing up fine for me - I did host it and link it on here, not sure what's not working???

Neil.

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Post by Excel SA »

Now that I've worked out that Google Photos doesn't work so well at hosting pictures and moved on to Onedrive.....

The diagram below has been amended to show what needed to be done to remove the body for the chassis for my car - bolts only, not wiring etc.

Image

Items 1 and 2 are the same.

I do not have the bracket and fixings at 3 - will look at adding them.

4 and 5 are bolts hidden under 3 layers of carpet and a layer of insulation and can't really be felt from inside the car - I'm not sure what the point of 5 is as bolt 6 is only a few centimetres away and more substantial.

The green circle is the seat belt mount for the front seat belts - those bolts needs to be removed as well. Rear seat belt mounts can stay in place.

7 are the bolts under the fuel tank - the passenger side one in my car would not come undone and was persuaded to shear with a long lever - will need to sort that problem out.

I don't have the bolts at position 8, I have a mount that fixes to the spare wheel well instead with 3 bolts (M8 I think) as per the pictures below.

Image

Image

Neil.

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Post by Lotus-e-Clan »

Probably the point of bolt 5 is that it is a standalone ' bolt and nut' ' belt and braces for bolt 6, which is a bolt into a 'body bobbin'?

You fix bolt 6 from below providing chassis location. The bobbins at bolt 6 often fail if the chassis is removed - so thank God (Chapman) there is bolt 5 as a back-up (no need to worry then if bolt 6 fails on chassis replacement).

Just a guess. :)
Peter K

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Re: New member - Excel SA

Post by richardw »

Hi Neil,

I believe the bolts at position 8 are the earlier alternative to those at position 7. The rear mountings were originally semi-inclined from horizontal and bolted through the body either side of the spare wheel well into the rear crossmember. The later cars had the flat section of the floor above the rear crossmember strengthened to take the new vertical mountings shown in position 7.

Cheers, Richard
Image

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Post by Excel SA »

This post started off with the body being removed from the chassis - we need to go back in time a bit to see why we got here.....

Below is a picture I took after connecting up a battery to get an idea of what actually worked on the car....the crack highlighted with the arrow was the start.

Image

Some sanding, peeling, digging, levering and pulling things apart led to the mess below. There was a lot of body filler and badly applied fiberglass that had to come out. (There is also damage around he drivers door that has been repaired in much the same way)

Image

The front of the car now looks like this:

Image

Naturally the bits behind this needed to be checked, and this damage to the front mounting area was found - repaired with the same care and skill as the other repairs....

Image

On the weekend the worst of that damage was cut off so proper repairs can be done and something a whole lot neater and stronger can go back. The chassis has cleaned up nicely so far - the damage from improper jacking has been straightened out, and I have found very little other damage or degradation to the chassis or its coating.

The suspension arms, springs etc. will all need re-coating as they are looking tired, and all bushes will need to be replaced - as well as the shock absorbers/dampers I
suspect.

Neil.

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Post by Excel SA »

The badly repaired front outrigger has been worked on - I cut off the the damaged section and all the scrap metal additions - these are the mangled bits that were left over:

Image

I cut a buck out of some wood, and beat some metal into shape and cleaned up the original front section - which I could re-use - grinding off the zinc for welding:

Image

Cut the new piece to fit and bent the sides after measuring and checking many, many times!

Image

Welded the new to the old, and added an insert to extend the 3/4" square tubing

Image

Added on the square tubing and give it a few coats of zinc rich paint, leaving some bare metal for welding to thechassis

Image

Ready to be attached to the chassis - was windy outside, so welding was postponed - the front suspension was removed entirely instead.

Image

Neil

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Re: New member - Excel SA

Post by Lotus-e-Clan »

Excel -lent work!

FAB skills! 8)
Peter K

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