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S3 suspension shock/spring replacement time.. Whats the best?


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Hi, I have an S3 which I want to fit better shock/springs/bushes on to.

I've confused myself researching... but it seems the choice is pretty much Nitron!

My question is - which ones?

 

I drive road 90% track10%  

Fast street or Fast street NTR?  Which one? Will the NTR be too stiff on-road?

Hoffmans apparently do a specially valved Nitron set up, which is great, from what I have read.

The problems is, most of what I read about any of it, is a few years old.

 

So I'd appreciate your experience on suspension renewal...

What should I buy?

 

thanks

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  • 5 months later...

Hi @milesofsmiles. Your post was some time ago, so this may not be relevant any more. However, three years ago I upgraded my 220 Elise Cup to Nitron 46's with their "Track" spring rates of 450 fronts and 600 rears. I did not upgrade the bushing however. In a good year (ie not 2020!) I will do about a dozen track days and some sprints, with trips to Spa, Nurburgring etc. I very much prefer the handling on track and I run the car very low. They are fine for road use as I take the car out at least once a week, summer or winter as its very mild where I live in the Southampton area. I think the Lotus specific sets are now 40mm, but I believe they offer a quality upgrade on stock shocks.

What did you end up selecting?

Is the 300hp courtesy of the RRR upgrade?   

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  • 3 weeks later...
On 07/02/2021 at 20:04, Colin67 said:

Hi @milesofsmiles. Your post was some time ago, so this may not be relevant any more. However, three years ago I upgraded my 220 Elise Cup to Nitron 46's with their "Track" spring rates of 450 fronts and 600 rears. I did not upgrade the bushing however. In a good year (ie not 2020!) I will do about a dozen track days and some sprints, with trips to Spa, Nurburgring etc. I very much prefer the handling on track and I run the car very low. They are fine for road use as I take the car out at least once a week, summer or winter as its very mild where I live in the Southampton area. I think the Lotus specific sets are now 40mm, but I believe they offer a quality upgrade on stock shocks.

What did you end up selecting?

Is the 300hp courtesy of the RRR upgrade?   

Hi Colin... Thanks for the feedback.  I'm in West London, so we play on some of the same roads...   Suspension wise, I benefited from another Elise owners loss.  Right time... right place, as is said.

I bought a 'nearly new' set of Nitron 46's (NTR body, but with the front units lengthened a little so that the car can be set up nearer road height with out issue. (It can be done without the extra length of the standard lower than road spec height units, but the helper springs are compressed to get there.  So the height prevents this) They have the stiffer 450/600 springs.  So I'm looking forward to getting them on the car in a couple of weeks. I'm after a fast road toy and dropping it to a lowered track height is not an option for me... I'd be stuck on the first speed bumps two road from my house! lol. 

The info I was given by the lad who bought them and has had others on Lotus in the past, was that with the dampers clicked towards the softer end, the heavier springs should be firm but not harsh... so I'll see what they're like and if too harsh, I'll put on a softer set.

I'm going to have the bushes renewed, but not made harder.  As I'm sure mine are showing signs of age and use. So new, will be an improvement, but keeping some road civility.

The tune is RRR its brilliant. Totally transforms the car. I know some owners want to tinker with the ECU settings, but I was after a set up that was easy to use as if it was standard. Which it is- 265bhp standard with 300bhp on sport button.  With reduced traction control and the ability to have it properly off.  

When I was buying my car, I could either buy a cup or buy a 220 and give it a better tune, suspension, etc... and still have money spare from the Cup price.. so that what I've done.  And on the back roads of Surrey, Sussex, Hampshire, of a Sunday morning drive... I doubt I'm missing any aero advantage the Cup would have given.  

There will be some Hampshire roads win here I'm sure... https://www.instagram.com/escape_space/

Now its tyres - V105, A08, N-2r, etc...  It's a mine field!

 

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Hi @milesofsmiles.

Sounds like a really good outcome and I think thats a good way to spend your money. The aero on a Cup is a bit of a mixed blessing. It looks sexy, but It adds a lot of weight and drag (+7% I'm told) and is effectively decoration unless you are on track above 100mph. However, It did make a big impression on me on the back straight at Bedford in February a couple of years ago when the car felt absolutely planted at 125mph in the rain. However, it's also not very robust, as I can testify. 

As it turns out I've just had my Nitrons serviced,  primarily because on track I was compressing the suspension to where the offside front tyre was rubbing on the underside of the clam wheel arch, so I had the extra lengthening on the fronts as well. It's always possible to subsequently reduce ride height from this new position, so overall I think I will gain about 10mm.

Tinkering with the stock ECU is effectively impossible unless you have the kit to hack it. 300hp is pretty potent, my only reservation is it's getting pretty close to the gearbox limit and the prospect of another external cooler didn't thrill me as I've had a few track days interrupted by such things on other cars leaking all over the track. However, given that the set up can easily accommodate the additional power I think you will surprised how well you could perform on track. The key thing however is the torque profile, providing an increase but more importantly bringing it all lower down the rev range to help overcome the overly long gearing on the car from 3rd upwards.  What does the curve look like? 

BTW I very nearly bought the RRR revised final drive. Does the car have this fitted?

Tyres are a challenge, especially if you want a decent wet weather/winter tyre. I used to use Toyo R1R's but they are no longer made. I almost bought some Yoko AO52's, but gagged at the cost. I've used Toyo R888R's on wet track days and managed to stay on the black stuff and they are fine on the road. I've just bought a set of Yoko AO48's and i have a spare set of Avon ZZR's which I have yet to use...if I get caught out on the roads and it looks like standing water then slow and steady is the only option. 

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Posted (edited)

Good info Colin67... Reassuring to hear that you have the extended tops too... I makes sense to me, and I was taking the advice of the lengthened tops benefits at face value, which I was sure was good advice. But its always nice to have something confirmed.

Speaking to the guys at RRR, they saw about 300-320 to be the tops for the current set up and had the data of the modified (effectively the 300bbhp tune test mule) Fatjoe cars season of racing to use as well.  Also, on the road, the %age of the time its being abused is negligible.  

I have additional cooling in the front valance which piggy backs onto the cooler unit in front of the front wheel.  Its an RRR kit, you can see on their website.

I don't have the final drive reduction set up, but Im sure it makes a nice difference.  And with the torque of the tune, the pull the car has across the rev range is wholly better than stock, making it nice on the road... a polar opposite to the pre-2zr high revving Elise defining engines before the 2zr. Actually hiding the tall gearing issue somewhat, unless track seconds are being chased.

I've wondered if the LSD option would be a nice addition to a 300bhp Elise on uk damp roads, as I spin an inside wheel often.  I know the uprated suspension and tyres will help this, but the LSD for its small weight penalty on changing grip levels UK back roads, I would have thought to only be a benefit. Maybe others will say otherwise.

My car was always going to be a road car, that might make it to a track once or twice.  So the the more road friendly 2zr engine suited, even it it doesn't rev as high, blah, blah, blah... and the tune takes the torque and makes the car a very ready anywhere toy.  The supercharger and tune give it a very linear tune, benefiting it across the rev range.

Tyres choice has me scratching my head.  Reviews conflict, sizes don't fit an Elise, I want a 200 wear rate tyre (AO52), but probably actually need a 300 UHP tyre (V105).  The AD08RS would probably be the choice balance between cost and design, but other than a couple of people saying they like theirs, it's had very poor reviews in comparisons to the fantastic AD08R it replaces. So I soldier on until I decide or become exhausted! 

 

 

Edited by milesofsmiles
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Did you buy the set from Jimmy? (James White?)

He had them lengthened as per the set I had on my car.

I've just removed my 46s from my Sport220, not sure if I will keep them or sell them. Depends if I can be bothered to fit them to my Cup250FE when it arrives :D
Can't fault the 46s though, superb set up, both for road and track. Very comfy, not crashy, very compliant.

On Order: 2021 Lotus Elise Cup 250 FE in Isotope Green, Red Alcantara Interior, Carbon Aero Kit, AirCon, Carpets & Mats, NVH pack, Cruise Control, Stereo, Red Calipers.
Now Gone2018 Lotus Elise Sport 220 in Metallic Blue, Alcantara Pack, Forged Wheels, 2piece brakes, AirCon, Hard/Soft Tops, Red Calipers, Stereo, Interior Colour Pack, NVH Pack, Carpets, Mats.
Previously Owned: 2016 Lotus Evora 400, 2010 Lotus Evora NA, 2003 VX220 Supercharged, 2001 VX220 Lightning Yellow
Follow my Lotus journey here: http://www.FaceBook.com/HandmadeInHethel

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Hi @milesofsmiles. Unfortunately I cannot give an unconditional commendation on lengthening the top of the shock, as the car is still at H111. Still, I'm going to have to get used to it quickly because my first outing is the Spring Sprint at Goodwood on 4th April, (not the best circuit to get familiar with new kit on cold tyres on a likely cold day lol). Friday of that same week I'm off for a track day to Castle Combe, then 25th its off to Hethel for the first round of the Lotus UK Speed Champs. 

Joe's data was really useful...a proper test over a seasons hard racing. Joe is fast but also respectful of his car and doesn't bang through the gears. 

My interest in the revised final drive has waned a bit, since I missed my opportunity during last years rebuild. I tried to get some performance data, but none was forthcoming. Someone then suggested it would be a mixed blessing, better on some tracks and worse on others. Initially I tried to source replacement gears that would provide better ratio's for 3rd, 4th and 5th, but I drew a blank.  I also sought advice on the LSD and one ex racer suggested if it was £500 it was worth it, if £2000, not worth it. If I had gone for the revised final drive I would have added the LSD as the labour costs would have been effectively zero as a full strip is required for the final drive replacement.

On the tyres, I'm now thinking of transferring my order for the AO48's and going to the AO52's and holding my nose re the cost, purely on the wet weather performance. I have the ZZR's, which are approved for the Lotus Speed champs, for dry weather but nothing if its raining heavily and for general road miles.

 

Hi @CocoPops. Are you going to track the Cup 250FE? I suspect many will become garage queens.  

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Yep, will be used as intended ;)

Euro trips, Spa, Zandvoort etc travel rules permitting.

  • Like 1

On Order: 2021 Lotus Elise Cup 250 FE in Isotope Green, Red Alcantara Interior, Carbon Aero Kit, AirCon, Carpets & Mats, NVH pack, Cruise Control, Stereo, Red Calipers.
Now Gone2018 Lotus Elise Sport 220 in Metallic Blue, Alcantara Pack, Forged Wheels, 2piece brakes, AirCon, Hard/Soft Tops, Red Calipers, Stereo, Interior Colour Pack, NVH Pack, Carpets, Mats.
Previously Owned: 2016 Lotus Evora 400, 2010 Lotus Evora NA, 2003 VX220 Supercharged, 2001 VX220 Lightning Yellow
Follow my Lotus journey here: http://www.FaceBook.com/HandmadeInHethel

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On 03/03/2021 at 15:46, CocoPops said:

Did you buy the set from Jimmy? (James White?)

He had them lengthened as per the set I had on my car.

I've just removed my 46s from my Sport220, not sure if I will keep them or sell them. Depends if I can be bothered to fit them to my Cup250FE when it arrives :D
Can't fault the 46s though, superb set up, both for road and track. Very comfy, not crashy, very compliant.

Aye, bought from Jimmy...  Its a small world! lol

I was going to buy a set anyway.. so it was good timing.  

I'm just going into my 2nd Lotus year... I had the RRR tune last year and meant to get the suspension sorted too... but just kept going out in it! lol. So, I'm sure it'd feel good with anything new on... But I'm looking forward to seeing the 46's on and how the car changes... for the better I hope! 😁

I'm onto tyre buying now... and its a dark hole I've jumped into.  I thought it was going be simple.

Very few options for the 16" front, and then each with a compromise.  Ao52's  - standard on a Cup, but not for -10'c or a wet motorway.  V105's - apparently the best Yoko road tyre, but one that's old and wont play as hard on the few summer blasts when conditions are 'just right'!  Will 52's last a couple of months playing and a Europe trip?  Other options seem to be even more polar - either a comfortable saloon car tyre that will last years and dull the beauty which is Lotus, or a track tyre, which is simply just not suitable if I'm caught out in the rain.  AD48r's was going to be my choice - soft but not 52 price... however the new 'rs' version seems to be crap. 

Hmmm! 😆

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Yup, I ran 52s on my Sport220.

A set of rears should last a euro trip. For example, I put a new set on, did 2,000 miles inc 3 trackdays in south of france in 2019 and then got home with 4mm left. I then put a new set on for 2020 roadtrip (didn't want to chance return home on 1-2mm on french wet motorways) and never went... Covid.

On Order: 2021 Lotus Elise Cup 250 FE in Isotope Green, Red Alcantara Interior, Carbon Aero Kit, AirCon, Carpets & Mats, NVH pack, Cruise Control, Stereo, Red Calipers.
Now Gone2018 Lotus Elise Sport 220 in Metallic Blue, Alcantara Pack, Forged Wheels, 2piece brakes, AirCon, Hard/Soft Tops, Red Calipers, Stereo, Interior Colour Pack, NVH Pack, Carpets, Mats.
Previously Owned: 2016 Lotus Evora 400, 2010 Lotus Evora NA, 2003 VX220 Supercharged, 2001 VX220 Lightning Yellow
Follow my Lotus journey here: http://www.FaceBook.com/HandmadeInHethel

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Hi @CocoPops @milesofsmiles. I'm interested in the experience with the AO 52's in wet weather. I did swap out my order for the AO48's for the AO52's to give a little better wet weather performance on track, partly because of Yokohama's ad' which reads: 

"Maximum Grip

New motorsports-inspired compound for maximum wet and dry grip on and off the track."

What is the experience of their wet weather performance?

Thanks

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