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Bonded aluminium chassis & daily driver


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The Emira is supposed to be a "daily driver", meaning you can use it for your everyday commute. I'm currently driving a BMW E89 Z4 as a daily for more than 7 years now, and it does the job for me: Sunny days, rain, winter... No problemo. I only need two seats and no need for any luggage. So far, so good.

Now, I've been reading a lot about the Lotus chassis and how it's different from more mainstream cars. But my concern is this: If the Emira is usable as a daily, is it wise to drive it on snowy days, when salt is on the roads? The rational explanation will probably be: "No, because salt and aluminium don't match". Other posts claim that some people drive their cars all year long (Evora drivers for example) and don't seem to mind about the effect the salt can have on the chassis.

What do you guys think? Is the chassis protected in some way better than they used to be in early years? Or is it just a plain bad idea?

Another question: The Goodyears F1 SuperSports under the Emira are especially made for the car, according to what I have read. Does this mean that you can't change it with another tire you like? I always thought that if you respect the size and other numbers on the tires, you can pick the brand you like. What are the thoughts about this subject?

Many thanks for all your thoughts and input! 🙂 

 

 

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I have been using my Evoras as daily drivers in Scotland since 2009 Launch.  I do have a second set of winter wheels and tyres to Lotus Spec (but haven't needed them last couple of winters as so mild) Absolutely no problem with salt and such like and underside is still fine.  Drives well in the snow until the front splitter I fitted acts as a snow plow. (Having said that although it looks lower than my previous Boxster S with factory body kit, it isn't, as doesn't hit the same kerbs nose in parking.  I do see the underside of my car as have a 4 post ramp for storage although I do have one of those Karcher underbody cleaning attachments I use in the springtime after salt season finished. (About March up my way)

The tyres may be the same size and name but will be different compounds.  Having said that I religiously stayed with Evora spec Pirelli P Zeros to Lotus Spec or whatever for years but then changed when the 400's came out and I saw they were on Michelins and for me a) I couldn't tell the difference in fast road driving and b) my wallet didn't feel nearly as light as I managed to get past 5K miles for a set of rears for the first time.🤣

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A LEGS man and proud to declare it! Lotus Enthusiasts Group Scotland

Autocar's Best UK Drivers Car 2009. Car's Performance Car of the Year 2009; Evo's Car of the Year 2009. Top Gear Sports Car of the Year 2009

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Thanks for your reply, @Al! Now the winters are also pretty mild the last few years here in Belgium, but there are still some days with icy (and salty) roads. My every day trip to work is only 10 miles (20 in total), so for those 20 days a year, I can think of an alternative, but it would be great not have to worry when I have no other option.

I'm also pretty happy with the P Zeros on my Merc. The Continentals on the Z4 are also great, but they tend to wear pretty fast. Looking forward to get some more news from Lotus regarding all the specs, prices and tire info. 🙂 

Exciting times! 

 

 

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Aluminum still oxidizes and rusts, just at much slower rates than steel so it should be fine with regular washes. Further, I believe all body panels are fiberglass reinforced plastic which won't rust and will shield the aluminum. I would focus more concern on thoroughly washing the suspension components (and any exposed aluminum where moisture might kick up through the underbody panels) regularly.

Edited by switchlanez
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The difference is aluminium oxidises on the surface and then doesn't continue unlike steel that rusts away completely.

The technology has been in use since 1996 at Lotus and then on to Aston Martin for the VH chassis (which Lotus helped them with). Corrosion is not an issue. Accident damage is more likely a problem on a daily than corrosion long term.

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Posted (edited)

Allright, sounds good. 👍

Talking about accidents: (you guys probably going to roll your eyes, but hey... a forum is meant to ask questions, right?)

Now how dangerous are speed bumps or potholes for this alu chassis? I'm a careful driver, but mistakes do happen. I presume as long as you don't pass them around 45 miles/hour, this shouldn't be much of a problem? Not healthy for your rims to crack, but what about the chassis? (it sounds like a make it look like it's made out of butter, but you probably understand what I mean).

 

**sidenote: English is not my native language, so chances are that grammar or spelling aren't top notch** 😇

Edited by Snorkel
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Don't even think about it or worry about it.  Treat it like steel and forget about non existent issues.  The bonding technique is probably stronger than the alloy in places so will not come apart like a hot knife through butter.

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A LEGS man and proud to declare it! Lotus Enthusiasts Group Scotland

Autocar's Best UK Drivers Car 2009. Car's Performance Car of the Year 2009; Evo's Car of the Year 2009. Top Gear Sports Car of the Year 2009

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  • Gold FFM

It's not the chassis in a modern Lotus that you need to worry about. It's the cheap mild steel they use for the various brackets (mudguards, lights etc) that just rots away from the inside where you cannot see it. Ask @Alfa2Evora about it :)

 

Alcohol. Sex. Tobacco. Drugs. Chocolate.  Meh! NOTHING in this world is as addictive as an Evora +0. It's not for babies!    

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21 hours ago, gregs24 said:

The difference is aluminium oxidises on the surface and then doesn't continue unlike steel that rusts away completely.

I guess the technical term is "corrodes" since rust happens to iron ore. Essentially (regardless of terminology), aluminum can still deteriorate (corrode) completely with moisture but generally at a much slower rate than steel (depends on how they're treated/coated).Aluminium Corrosion | 13 Types Explained | Fractory

Edited by switchlanez
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Don't worry, that was the bits left over after his last Ikea flatpack build and strip down of his washing machine.😊

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A LEGS man and proud to declare it! Lotus Enthusiasts Group Scotland

Autocar's Best UK Drivers Car 2009. Car's Performance Car of the Year 2009; Evo's Car of the Year 2009. Top Gear Sports Car of the Year 2009

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  • 3 weeks later...
On 25/07/2021 at 19:07, switchlanez said:

Aluminum still oxidizes and rusts, just at much slower rates than steel so it should be fine with regular washes. Further, I believe all body panels are fiberglass reinforced plastic which won't rust and will shield the aluminum. I would focus more concern on thoroughly washing the suspension components (and any exposed aluminum where moisture might kick up through the underbody panels) regularly.

Welcome to TLF. :welcome:

I lived in the NT in Australia for a long time. Toyota 4WDs used to disappear in front of your eyes from rust. Landrovers hung around a lot longer, thought their chassis could give you trouble.

You should duck over to the Introductions area and say hi in there as well. :) 

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