Well, it's done -- the painting of the clam, anyway. Still have a lot to do, though. I had L&S Restoration in Rochester, MN, handle the painting. The quality of work is excellent. However, I'm really unhappy with the final cost: $1285!! His estimate was 10-15 hours of work (@ $45/hr), but with the understanding that it wasn't guarenteed. The final time supposedly came to 25 hours. How the hell can a so-called professional be so unable to judge the time required to perform his job? It would have cost me the same to have the Lotus dealership paint it. At least the final finish is really nice. He did repair a headlight cover at no charge, which will allow me to return the new one for $600. Yes, that's right, a headlight COVER for $600.00!! Ah, exotic car ownership.
Figure 2: Eric's Contribution
About a month ago, Eric came over and gave me a hand with the oil cooler bypass mod (see figure 2). I had big ideas about cutting and welding, but Eric saw how to just align the lower bolt hole with the upper bolt. This simplified it considerably and we just cut some excess bracket off (less weight!), bolted it up, and......voila! Relocated bypass!
About a month before that, Steve (aka sbranda) came over and helped me repair the cracked fiberglass on the crash structure.
Figure 3: Epoxy'd Fiberglass
Steve has become pretty good at repairing fiberglass (ask him how...). We used a putty-type, 2-part epoxy to fill in the cracks. Figure 3 shows how it looks right now, but I plan on smoothing it out and hitting it with some primer and flat black. Once I get that done and the clam on, no one will ever notice. The red wires are just temporary until I get the black zip ties on.
Figure 4: New Oil Cooler
The actual new oil cooler is now on the right-hand side. It was a bitch to get in as the foam insulation made for a VERY tight squeeze. I made sure to fill the cooler with oil first before sealing it up. Held quite a bit. Something like 1.5 - 2 quarts (1.5- 2L).
The final task (other than actually putting the clam on) is to transfer all the crap from the old clam (figure 5) onto the new one. There's lots: radio antenna, headlight assemblies, turn signal assemblies, side marker lights, vibration insulation, wheel arch liners, cable assemblies, etc, etc. There's also the undertray that was damaged, which I have a new replacement for.
Ok, for all those who have been dying to hear what's been happening with the car (that would be Ken), here's the scoop:
As you can see from my initial blog entry, the damage was totally contained to the left-front corner, with the body and the oil cooler bearing the brunt of it all. Originally, the body shop (Rehms Auto) that tore the car down, wrote an estimate for the insurance company (Allstate) for roughly $12,000.00. When Allstate told them the damage wasn't going to be covered, Rehms "graciously" made me a deal of $10,000.00. Wow! Now how could I pass that up? Instead of charging Allstate Rehms' cost + 20%, they were going to charge me Rehms' cost + 10%. Which is honestly not bad. However, it was still above my budget, and while I wasn't looking forward to it, I knew I could do 90% of the work myself.
First Impressions Can Be Wrong
Initially, I was depressed believing I needed to remove the crash structure, radiator shroud and the AC condensor unit -- not good. It's quite a task disassembling the AC condensor for anyone, let alone a weekend warrior such as myself. (note, for any figure, just click and you can see a bigger version)
It'll help you to understand my initial trepidation if you know how the front end is setup. Basically (looking at figure 1), There's a fiberglass crash structure with a radiator housing on top of it. The radiator housing also has two oil cooler mounts as part of the single mold (figure 2). The AC condenser sits on top of the radiator. Both the AC condenser and the radiator are contained within the radiator housing. At first, I was led to believe I would need to replace the whole crash structure along with the radiator housing. However, after some inspection, it looked liked most of the damage was superficial, the exception being that an oil cooler fitting had completely broken off.
Fig 1: Simplified Diagram Showing Major Assy.
Fig 2: Showing Oil Cooler/Radiator Housing
I should note that while the car is setup for two oil coolers, you only get two if you order the sport or track pack. So I only had one. After I had decided to give it a shot myself, and I got the car home, it didn't take long to realize I could just install the oil cooler on the right side instead of the left, and move the bypass from the right to the left side. This completely eliminated the need to replace the radiator/oil cooler shroud. whoo hoo!
hmmmm. my blog space, eh? never blogged before. I'm a virgin blogger. What the hell is with the word "blog" anyway? Sounds like some coloquialism for the cold or something. "Oh man, I've got the Blog."
Anywhoo, I crashed my car. Yes, me! I can't believe it, either. What with me being a world famous driver and all. Here's the damage:
So, yeah, I'm unhappy. Insurance jerked me around, too. Initially called on a whim thinking it wouldn't hurt to ask but really didn't expect to be covered. Agent said, "Yeah, you're covered." That prompted calling the body shop who took the car to tear down and estimate damage. Then insurance says, "Well, maybe not," for 3 days. Final word came today: Not covered. Ah well. It'll be a hoot repairing it, I'm sure.
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