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Mightymetro

Suspension bush options - old style, damper programme ?

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I’m now very deep in to a near total rebuild of the car and engine and I’m looking for some advice from people with greater knowledge.

on the engine front I’m hoping it will be a belt and braces job with the best components I could buy but still looking at running standard V8 power levels rather than increasing them as I realise that if I wanted 600bhp it would have been wiser to just go and buy a Nissan GTR etc and it’s got me thinking about the suspension on the car.

i purchased the Esprit as I love 90’s cars and I was bored with the Porsche / merc SL that I had previously.  I think this is because it’s not really that ‘good’ compared to the others as a car.  The Porsche was comfier, easier to live with, better on fuel, more reliable and the same could be said for the Mercedes SL but they just didn’t do it for me and I prefer the rawness of the esprit.  This brings me on to my conundrum 

im ‘upgrading’ the things that were a common weakness on the car in regards to the engine, new fuel tanks, 3 row rad etc but no one ever complained that the esprit didn’t handle well.  So now I’m looking at refurbishing the suspension and bushes and I’m thinking why I should go for the LOTAC bushes over say the original bushes?  There’s quite a lot of money in it and they were good enough when the car was built t.  Do I really want to make the car Handle better considering a bought it to enjoy the 90’s car, not a new detached feel,I get from newer cars?  Has anyone had the same thoughts 💭 

same for the shocks and springs.  The Lotac suspension is now more than double the price it was to start with and is also now 13 years old and is it really that much better than other shocks and springs on the market 

 

any thoughts, options appreciated 

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If you are planning on keeping the car long term - go Lotac all round. 

Theres really nothing wrong with the standard rubber bushes - but the polys do have a longer lifespan.

i stuck a set of gaz shocks all round on the S4s - they seem ok - but I need to raise them a bit and fiddle again - bloody adjustable things always make you wonder


Only here once

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The Lotac bushes will bring handling back to factory spec as those bushes are engineered (incl testing and design) to replicate those original characteristics. Well-worn rubber ones will obviously be sloppy and a dramatic improvement achieved by simply putting in new rubber ones, but these don't have the same composition as the originals and the handling will not as it was back when the car was new. So, original handling= Lotac, original look = rubber.

Dampers and springs, given time and expertise you could probably tweak the aftermarket dampers to replicate the lotus ones or at least close enough to not be noticeable in most driving situations, if you want that achieved as soon as bolted on, then you'd really have to go with the (much more) expensive option.

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If and when you fit the Lotac polly bush set up , you will notice a marked improvement to the ride quality as apposed to the original metalastic type.   As @andydclements stated Lotus put a lot of time and money developing these which is why they make a difference. 

As far as dampers and springs are concerned , there are many options out there ..  To be fair a lot are just OK  some are short lived and basic , and lotac Bilstein expensive , but lotus developed..  After trying various, I came up with a very competitive  adjustable  Gaz set up of dampers and springs. This works and handles extremely well at a fraction of lotac price. However with all things adjustable (which the complete Esprit suspension is) it needs setting up.   Also a set of adaption sleeve which i have the drawings for..     Most of the problems with these conversions lies with the owners who fit, but never finish... With respect to @Barrykearley  his comment..  

2 hours ago, Barrykearley said:

i stuck a set of gaz shocks all round on the S4s - they seem ok - but I need to raise them a bit and fiddle again - bloody adjustable things always make you wonder

The '' raise and fiddle ,bloody adjustable things''  sums up ... Never finished.... which is usually followed by never happy.. !!!!    I hear and see this so many times and despair...     Very few spend the last and most important money on having their Esprit properly set up when all fitted.. I don't mean a trip to Halfords or similar tracking shops, but quality motorsport based outlets who can set ride height corner balance and do full GEO to conform with specifications..  (Circa £350--£600.  'not cheap' )

Many excuse themselves from paying the set up fee after new set ups are fitted, by saying it feels much better....  What they mean to say is it feels different... Only and Only when it is all set up correct will you appreciate how an Esprit truly handles.. @Mightymetro  asked  .  

2 hours ago, Mightymetro said:

Do I really want to make the car Handle better considering a bought it to enjoy the 90’s car, not a new detached feel,I get from newer cars?

The answer to that is ......it never handled like a 90's car.....  Maybe the ones you have tried with the worn out metalastic set up, with poor after market dampers etc,  none of which have probably had anual GEO check.. then they may feel like a 90's car.. The truth is when set up correct using tried and tested equipment they handle like a super car, and always did.. 

Hope that helps shed light on things  ..   

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2 hours ago, CHANGES said:

The '' raise and fiddle ,bloody adjustable things''  sums up ... Never finished.... which is usually followed by never happy.. !!!!    I hear and see this so many times and despair...     Very few spend the last and most important money on having their Esprit properly set up when all fitted.. I don't mean a trip to Halfords or similar tracking shops, but quality motorsport based outlets who can set ride height corner balance and do full GEO to conform with specifications..  (Circa £350--£600.  'not cheap' )

Yep you are spot on. I have driveway challenges which ruin front lips with regularity. It’s on the to do list - but that bloody Evora is distracting me 🤪 

I will state that there’s a huge improvement with these dampers - but I’ve literally chucked em on and that’s as far as it’s gone. There’s a small list of other items to attend to before the full set up 👍 and yes there are very few places that offer corner weighting as part of any setup - and that is absolutely critical in getting it right


Only here once

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11 hours ago, CHANGES said:

Also a set of adaption sleeve which i have the drawings for..

@CHANGES, what are those sleeves ?

Just asking because I would also like to change the springs and dampers on my SE. (looking into the GAZ shocks etc)


Esprit Freak

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11 hours ago, fjmuurling said:

@CHANGES, what are those sleeves ?

Just asking because I would also like to change the springs and dampers on my SE. (looking into the GAZ shocks etc)

They are more of a spring seat sleeve that centralises the smaller dia coil over spring to the existing chassis mount. 

I do not have the drawings for the rear of an SE, which has different top chassis mount to the later spec eagle chassis. 

I do believe someone has fitted the conversion to an SE chassis by making their own sleeve seat to suit..  When you get around to it, if you are still stuck let me know . I have as SE chassis in stock , so would be able to do a drawing for suitable spring sleeve/ seat from that for the job if needed.    

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Thanks for the replies, I’m going to go for the Lotac full Bush and damper spring set up.  Although the adjustable suspension is attractive price wise I think the cost to have it all professionally set up starts eating into the savings made.  I’ve used a company in Atherstone called Center gravity who have done amazing jobs on my previous cars so will hopefully have them set it up as previously discussed with them.

 

after dismantaling and seeing the shims / shin washers etc when you have it set up do you take spare shins with you so they can be changed a bit like doing bike engine shims.  Wondering if it’s worth ordering various sizes so it’s not a wasted trip 

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It depends on how much they charge (and how far away they are) as to whether taking spare shims is worth while. You have to factor in how long it takes to swap and move around the shims so it may be cheaper to get the initial alignment done and then make any shim adjustments yourself with a return to tweak the alignment afterwards.

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If the fronts have a full set of shims on, then it's just a matter of moving the positions to adjust, not adding any. I say, if it has a full set as not all do.

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Sometimes it is not possible to just re-arrange the front shims; for example if you have 4 no. 3 mm shims fitted and you only need to adjust by 0.4 degrees you will need a couple of 1.5mm shims.

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I’m looking at buying a press to get the wheel bearings and new Lotac bushes in and out.  Would you say it is worth while or not ?  On other cars I’ve used threaded bar, washers and sockets but with me changing every bush I’m wondering if it’s worth investing in one for the job and then selling it afterwards?  Have been looking at one of these 6 ton.  Is this enough pressure for the wheel bearings 

 

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/KATSU-6-Ton-Industrial-Hydraulic-Shop-Press-Workshop-Garage-Floor-Standing-Tonne/273485152352?epid=27024305489&hash=item3facfc4060:g:PfsAAOSw21RbvwJk

 

 

Thanks for the replies.  I’ll probably buy a few different shims for when I take the car down to alignment.  Can always offer them out to club members afterwards 👍🏻

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1 hour ago, Mightymetro said:

I’m wondering if it’s worth investing in one for the job and then selling it afterwards?  Have been looking at one of these 6 ton.  Is this enough pressure for the wheel bearings 

Or you could take all the parts down to a local, friendly garage & get a quote for them to do it all on their press. ☺


Cheers,

John W

http://jonwatkins.co.uk

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15 minutes ago, jonwat said:

Or you could take all the parts down to a local, friendly garage & get a quote for them to do it all on their press. ☺

I was thinking of doing this but I work 5am till 9pm during the week so it’s really difficult to manage it, plus I’m doing one corner at a time so I don’t forget how things go back together and what goes where etc so didn’t want to bother them every week 

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I got the old metalastic bushes out without a press but it was an awful job, I had to drill the rubber between the steel tubes then use a hacksaw to cut a gap into the outer tube which allowed it to contract and come out. It probably would have pressed out had I had one at the time.

 

If there's one you can borrow, then great, but failing that yes purchase a press as it will be much easier and possibly safer (I went 20T but then I to do over-kill, and 20T wasn't much more than one with a smaller bottle jack).  £70 for the 6T or £110 for 20T equates to very little time if you had to pay somebody to do the job, and you can recoup a fair bit of that price when sold after the job.

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Anyone know if this kit would cover most bush / bearing types in likely to come across?  Have ordered the 20t press to aid removal 👍🏻
 

 

D2255525-192E-4917-9149-331850B1476A.png

Size wise goes from 18mm to 64mm and a one off 74mm 

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It will almost certainly, Lotus bushes will be imperial not metric, but you'll always be within 1mm of the exact size of the hole (as you'll need to go smaller not larger than the hole), so far from a disaster (the steel walls of the metalastic will be c1mm and  if one was 25.x mm (25.4 IIRC = 1 inch) outer diameter you'll be OK with a tool 23.4mm so 25 is near perfect.

Personally, I've normally got away with a big socket set or two (if one manufacturer's socket wasn't quite right, then normally another manufacturer will have made the socket's wall a fraction thinner/thicker.

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2 hours ago, Mightymetro said:

Anyone know if this kit would cover most bush / bearing types in likely to come across?  Have ordered the 20t press to aid removal 👍🏻
 

 

D2255525-192E-4917-9149-331850B1476A.png

Size wise goes from 18mm to 64mm and a one off 74mm 

If you have a decent and wide ranging socket set - then pretty much all you will ever need is contained within that 👍


Only here once

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They are a press-fit, so if you have a press coming then that's the best bet.

Do you really need to remove them though? If it's painting and rust removal on the carrier, then you could just mask off the stub.

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Even I would leave that well alone. 


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I've got a set of press discs very similar to the one in your post. We used to do everything with sockets etc, but the discs are easier to use and you'll lose less time looking for a correct fit. Not an issue if you plan to use it just once, if the press is used almost every week, it does make life easier.

Good call on the 20ton press. You may be unlikely to use it to full capacity, but a bit of margin will make everything more stable. I've had my 20ton press moan and buckle even before the jack reached max load. It's since been strenghtened by welding in bracing, so the larger the better (but a 30ton was significantly more expensive).

Filip


I have made many mistakes in my life. Buying a multiple Lotus is not one of them.

 

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Here is my latest head scratcher.

 

supposedly used as a development / evaluation car it’s a bit of a mix of old and new. 98 model spec but mid 97 build date.   Now, the chassis number is 15385 so should have the older parallel bushes in the wishbones, but the ones that came out are the 2 half ones as in the conical type of the later cars.  Does anyone have pictures showing the difference in bushes?  

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Are you sure that isn’t a mistake on the part of whom put it together? Unless I’m mistaken I’ve seen posts like this before where they have been incorrectly fitted


Only here once

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Could be, the bush that have come out are definable the conical type.  They fell out once I removed the lower wishbone.  Do you know the difference in wishbone design, I’m guessing one is a straight tube and one is tapered ?

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