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1981 - 1985 S3/Turbo Esprit Suspension Upgrade - Page 2 - Suspension/Brakes/Wheels/Hubs/Steering/Geo - The Lotus Forums Jump to content


1981 - 1985 S3/Turbo Esprit Suspension Upgrade


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Effect to geometry is determined by the plane in which relocation is performed. Outward re-positioning of the lower arm outer pivot will change the camber and its curve, kingpin inclination ( therefor

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So have I!! I've emailed both Canley and Robert....back in June....seems Robert is O-i-C of the modification and he's still doing development work. Robert said:

"Hi, Glad you purchased a kit for your car because it is a sale and that is what business is about. . If your kit looks like the photos posted on this string it will probably say CC SPORT on the bearing carrier just like the pictures on this form show. CC Sport is a Line name used by Canley Classics, UK and they are the manufacturers of the T-Free GT-6 Kit. My company RRF CLASSIC CARS / VERMONT / USA is a dealer in Canley Classics products in the USA and importer of Canley Classics products. I personally am the designer and fabricator of the new Lotus Kit prototype T-Free Kit. Solid Works Engineering was done by the manufacturers engineering department based on RRF CC designs and specifications. I am now testing the first Lotus Lower Carrier that was CNC fabricated in the UK by Canley Classics. I am finishing up the design and testing right now. We hope to have a Lotus T-Free Suspension Kit ready to market this fall.

One of the Lotus issues I have resolved with this next generation prototype is how to set positive or negative camber on the Lotus as Lotus did not make changes possible in the Elites or Eclats. I am currently running .75 Neg on the prototype mounts and it will really make you smile in the tight corners If my current testing continues well we may be offering the new Lotus T-Free kit with a Plus 2.5 to Negative 2.5 camber setting range

As for your comments about installing the dangerous parts. Well I would only suggest that you not do so for a simple economic reason. If you do not damage the parts in the kit you have it will be possible to retrofit the correct Rose Joint Carrier for the Lotus application when available.

Could save yourself some money in replacement parts as well. SJ is currently asking 170 GBP + VAT for a Lower link to replace the one that will crack and twist over time if not correctly supported by the new parts. GT-6 Kits do not work just because they fit in the hole.

Hope all is well, Bob Rickner "

Think I ought to email him again....will advise!

Blimey, he's fast!!!! Just got a reply..

Hi John Douglas,

There is progress and I have the first CNC machined part in the USA from Canley Classics, UK for testing and modifications if necessary. One change in the design has cost more time but will be worth the time spent as it will allow adjustment of the Camber as part of the new part.

I am currently running the test car at .75 NEG for road use with nice results. I have also tried settings as high as 1.5 NEG ! -1.5 is Wicked hold and line in corners but very hard on the tires. Track use only.

In general the overall world financial conditions and wildly fluctuating exchange rates are also screwing up the works as well.

I will keep you posted and will offer you a set of mounting blocks as soon as they are available.

Thanks for asking and I hope all is well, Bob Rickner

RRF CLASSIC CARS / VERMONT / USA / 802.310.2172

quarter

So there we are...progress, but not quite there yet.

Scientists investigate that which already is; Engineers create that which has never been." - Albert Einstein

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thanks for the update. I'm still not sure what to do; If I understand correctly the problem is caused by the lower mount being able to pivot about the securing bolt, a movement that the trunnion design doesn't allow and so the single mounting bolt isn't an issue. I'm guessing the tack welds Hilly's referring to are between the bottom bracket/ball joint carrier and the lower 'a' arm.

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My Canley kit is sitting on the workshop shelf waiting for the new parts to be available. Hopefully before the Grim Reaper takes me..!

Scientists investigate that which already is; Engineers create that which has never been." - Albert Einstein

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  • 1 month later...

Looking at the setup I had a thought about securing the GT6 uprights; the bolt coming from the lower ball joint could be used as the securing point, with a piece of steel bolted to the lower control arm?

This would stop the bottom part of the upright swivelling around the bolt that secures it to the lower control arm... does that make any sense?

What do you (the combined Esprit G car brains trust) think of drilling mounting bolt holes in the lower control arms? It would then be a secondary strip of steel, running along the bottom of the lower control arm and fitting over the ball joint bolt... it wouldn't be hard to strengthen the lower control arm where the mounting bolts went.

cheers,

simon

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On reflection and looking at the GT6 uprights again I think this wouldn't work! the bolt from the lower ball joint must move in and out as the suspension goes up and down... so holding it won't help, I think...

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  • 4 weeks later...

So have I!! I've emailed both Canley and Robert....back in June....seems Robert is O-i-C of the modification and he's still doing development work. Robert said:

"Hi, Glad you purchased a kit for your car because it is a sale and that is what business is about. . If your kit looks like the photos posted on this string it will probably say CC SPORT on the bearing carrier just like the pictures on this form show. CC Sport is a Line name used by Canley Classics, UK and they are the manufacturers of the T-Free GT-6 Kit. My company RRF CLASSIC CARS / VERMONT / USA is a dealer in Canley Classics products in the USA and importer of Canley Classics products. I personally am the designer and fabricator of the new Lotus Kit prototype T-Free Kit. Solid Works Engineering was done by the manufacturers engineering department based on RRF CC designs and specifications. I am now testing the first Lotus Lower Carrier that was CNC fabricated in the UK by Canley Classics. I am finishing up the design and testing right now. We hope to have a Lotus T-Free Suspension Kit ready to market this fall.

One of the Lotus issues I have resolved with this next generation prototype is how to set positive or negative camber on the Lotus as Lotus did not make changes possible in the Elites or Eclats. I am currently running .75 Neg on the prototype mounts and it will really make you smile in the tight corners If my current testing continues well we may be offering the new Lotus T-Free kit with a Plus 2.5 to Negative 2.5 camber setting range

As for your comments about installing the dangerous parts. Well I would only suggest that you not do so for a simple economic reason. If you do not damage the parts in the kit you have it will be possible to retrofit the correct Rose Joint Carrier for the Lotus application when available.

Could save yourself some money in replacement parts as well. SJ is currently asking 170 GBP + VAT for a Lower link to replace the one that will crack and twist over time if not correctly supported by the new parts. GT-6 Kits do not work just because they fit in the hole.

Hope all is well, Bob Rickner "

Think I ought to email him again....will advise!

Blimey, he's fast!!!! Just got a reply..

Hi John Douglas,

There is progress and I have the first CNC machined part in the USA from Canley Classics, UK for testing and modifications if necessary. One change in the design has cost more time but will be worth the time spent as it will allow adjustment of the Camber as part of the new part.

I am currently running the test car at .75 NEG for road use with nice results. I have also tried settings as high as 1.5 NEG ! -1.5 is Wicked hold and line in corners but very hard on the tires. Track use only.

In general the overall world financial conditions and wildly fluctuating exchange rates are also screwing up the works as well.

I will keep you posted and will offer you a set of mounting blocks as soon as they are available.

Thanks for asking and I hope all is well, Bob Rickner

RRF CLASSIC CARS / VERMONT / USA / 802.310.2172

quarter

So there we are...progress, but not quite there yet.

sounds like a fantastic project!

since you are redesigning the a triumph based upright for the esprit, can you correct the address the elevated ride height on the S3? the S1, S2 cars ride much lower as well as the first S3 turbo essex "press car". the S3 eurocars both turbo and the lighter non turbos hubs sit roughly 25 to 30 lower than the earlier opel based cars raising the front end of the car. coupled with a taller rolling diameter of the 15” tires, this raises the car even further leaving a large gap in the wheel house and a noticalbe nose up rake attitude. the USA spec cars front end are even higher than that! it would be fantastic correct this back to the original G body ride height since lowering a S3 conventionally with only springs screws up the rollcenter, camber curve and limits suspension travel.

regards

p

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  • 2 months later...

Hello to All..... This whole post is confusing, I ordered the kit from canley, it arrived 7 days later, although the contact person I emailed said the kit was designed to fit a GT-6 and was not engineered for any Lotus automobile, I assumed this is just a general protection statement, I have found that besides the upright being the same as a GT-6 so is the caliper mount, the upper ball joint, the stub axle shaft, and most of the bolts and nuts, I'm ready to began putting front suspension back together, when I read this post about the parts "WILL FAIL!!!" that’s a bold statement! Without providing, tech data, such as, travel data, spring height etc. - so the big question, will everyone who has used this kit on a 1981-85 lotus esprit turbo post a reply?, and let us all know if the part works or not????? - An what if any modification you thought were necessary and why? - thank you very much, I just want to be safe!!! - Tom

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Hilly is your man...his blog about the fitting of an Audi V8 to an Esprit covers the trunnionless conversion using the Canley parts. You've seen my correspondance with Bob Rickner....I haven't heard anything yet, and I'm hanging fire on the conversion since he has said the the "proper" parrts should be available soon, and he also told me I could exchange my unfitted Canley kit for one specific to the Esprit. Last thing about the subject on Hilly's thread:

"The Canley front uprights seem to be working fine, but it turns out they do need a bit of twaeking for the Esprit application, nothing drastic just a tiny bit of welding and some spacers machined up.

If you decide to go for them then let me know and I'll knock a couple of the spacers up for you."

And this is the last I got from Bob Rickner...

"Hi JD,

What really killed me about loosing the few pages I lost on the site was the fact that I had gotten on a roll and was giving you the story from day one meetings in England with CANLEY CLASSICS / CC SPORT [bRAND NAME USED BY CANLEY CLASSICS ON UP-RIGHT KITS] to the actual UK CNC machined part I have in testing now and other people have been bugging me to do this History for our ongoing business development. Well I will have to wait until the story wants to be told again and use a back-up program smile.gif

To answer your questions in the simplest way I offer the following:

1.0 The parts in the GT-6 and Spitfire T-Free Kits are all mfg. by CC in the UK.

2.0 The current Rose Joint that is in the current CC Kits is sufficient for cars up to the weight range of the Lotus Elite and Eclat series of cars. CC and RRF, CC are considering a larger Joint for heavier cars and the size may change in the T-Free line of Kits but parts will be available for both size joints for a very long time as the GT-6 & Spitfire Kits have been on the market over 5 years now and we will support all of our prior customers as well as new ones.

3.0 RRF CLASSIC CARS is my design and manufacturing business set up to develop a line of conversion parts and designs for the Lotus Elites & Eclats cars. It is a sub-division of my main business.

4.0 The Lotus T-Free Kit that is reaching final development stage and should be available this fall was developed from the basic GT-6 Kit sold by CC. This development was done RRF, CC with CC UK using CC's computer engineering system and expert.

5.0 With out going into tons of detail the final design is the result of almost 2 years of development and testing between my machine shop in the USA and CC's Shop in the UK. We used CC's Computer design system and personal as well as used the manufacturing arm to develop the CNC Machine program and then make the first UK CNC MFG PROTOTYPE PART which I have in testing in the USA right now.

6.0 The only part that will change in the new Lotus T-Free Kit from the GT-6 Kit will be the Lower Bearing Carrier / Rose Joint Mounting Block. The Up-right, Rose Joint and the hardware will all be the same. If you already have a GT-6 Kit you can exchange the GT-6 carrier for a Lotus Carrier through RRF, CC when they are available.

7.0 The changes address two basic problems with the GT-6 parts.. A GT-6 up-right does not mean that you have GT-6 suspension geometry and the GT-6 lower bearing carrier was wrong both mathamaticaly for suspension geometry, tire life and strength overall as well being capable of distroying it's self in use and doing so NOT just because of the interfierence at the Rose Joint Clip.

8.0 RRF, CC in the USA Designed and Machined a set of prototype T-Free carriers for our 1974 Lotus Elite and went on to the drawings and math necessary to do the computer work and then make a real part. This step took a little over a year and every combination of shapes and modifications were considered and tested including the ideas posted on TLF. Custom Nuts and all. WE NEVER EVEN CONSIDERED WELDING OR EVEN TRIED THAT STEP. It did not take a computer to tell RRF cc or CC UK that this was a flat out Bad idea for so many reasons it is not worth listing.

9.0 So the new Lotus Kit will be manufactured by Canley Classics; when testing is done; and will be available for market through RRF, CC and CC, UK.

10.0 With continued good results in testing the CNC machined part we are hoping to reach Market in time for a very large British Car Show in Vermont in September of this year. We had a double wide vendors booth last year to show the Lotus Flite GT [c] conversion of the Lotus Elite we are offering for sale as a complete car and a parts area displaying T-Free Kits and the CC, UK line of HP Products in our specialized range of suspension and HP parts offering and catalog.

Cost should be almost the same as the GT-6 Kit although I do know it will be a bit higher If I decide to offer the new Kit with the ability to set Camber adjustments from + 2/2.5 Max it - 2 2.5 Max. I am currently running -.750 deg. Neg Camber and it is a blast to drive the test car at this setting smile.gif At 2 Neg it was like driving on rails but one hell of a heavy steering wheel at slow speeds and we trashed tires but I would use a high setting for any racing or other high speed track work with turns as the handling is stunning considering the car I started with.

Hope all is well and this information is helpful,

Bob Rickner

RRF CLASSIC CARS / VERMONT / USA / 802-310-2172

Hope this helps clear the air."

Now you know as much as I do (!)...I've been working on the kitcar and haven't touched the Lotus so far this winter.

Scientists investigate that which already is; Engineers create that which has never been." - Albert Einstein

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  • 1 month later...

Well done John keeping on top of this. I assume the Lotus variants that they are planning will deal with the lower carrier rotating on the securing bolt as well as being a bit beefier for the higher kerb weight. I'm keeping the trunnions for a bit longer 'til this is more clear...

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  • 2 years later...

This thread has gone a bit dead with no more info on the mysterious Lotus Balljoint carrier.

 

I have been contacting someone at Canley Classics recently and got this reply:

 

"If your Lotus uses an original Triumph (Herald/Spitfire/GT6, etc) bottom wishbone then I can't see any problems with using it.

If it doesn't then I'm afraid I cannot recommend it.

Regards "

 

They dont seem to know anything about the Lotus bottom balljoint carrier mentioned by the Vermont company.

I will be therefore be buying their GT6 kit and I think I will modify the bottom carrier by packing the gap between the bottom wishbone and flat bottom face of the carrier with a strip of steel held in place with a couple of small bolts drilled up from the bottom of the wishbone - M4 should be OK tapped into the steel - should be thick enough.

 

I think whatever the deficiencies of the Canley kit it is a million times better than a hollow rusty bolt that may or may not snap screwing in and out of bronze trunnion. I dont know about roll or camber or geometry, but the trunnion on the GT6 is in exactly the same position on the upright as the Lotus one so they must have designed the kit to replicate this - the only differences could be the length of the wishbones on the GT6 compared to the Lotus.

 

I do think the lack of a dust seal is a major oversight. There isnt a bearing in the world that likes road grit and salt between the bearing surfaces - if you grease it that will just make the grit stick in there even more! Any one have any ideas on a suitable seal, just one on top would be better than nothing.

 

Joolz

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I'd forgotten about this. Last year I fitted the 4 pot front brakes...I had been waiiting to hear about the Canley conversion and the new Lotus version of it for several years and nothing had happened.  In the end, I fitted the brakes to the old uprights and I've sold the Canley conversion to a GT6 owner on the Freeman Cruiser boat forum....where I also hang out....... My worries were that the Lotus geometry put loads on to the Canley version that it wasn't designed to take, and I couldn't satisfactorally resolve this. I believe that the Canley lower joint doesn't have enough articulation to allow the full movement of the Lotus lower wishbone....it reaches the limit of rotation of the joint before the limit of the suspension movement. Hence the need for a different lower bearing. By packing the gap between the bottom of the joint and the wishbone, thus preventing it from rotating on the mounting bolt, you may be putting excess strain on the joint...as it could be trying to rotate beyond its limits.

Scientists investigate that which already is; Engineers create that which has never been." - Albert Einstein

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i have just picked up this tread i may have missed something is there some kind of dust seal on the top of the ball didn't see one on the pics that is a hostile environment for a ball joint on a road car, rose join for a racing car is ok high maintenance and easy to get at normally and no salt this is a chat group so just chatting not criticising.

andy b

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What you say may be right, I suppose it depends on how much up and down the Lotus has compared to the GT6....I will look at it carefully when I fit them and see what other issues there may be. I am also going to measure the geometry to see if anything has changed from the trunnion setup.

Imagine the extra forces the 4 pot calipers will put on that old trunnion bolt (whilst steering and going over huge potholes)!!

 

Joolz

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 I have brought some for my Esprit as seen in my thread, I tacked them into place on my lower arm. From what I have read on the internet the issue is really bottom mount will pivot if not welded in place. The other issue is the bearing has no rubber gator boot so all the grit and crap can get into it. This all is pretty lame considering how much this kit costs! but if the trunnion does fail? that's gonna be nasty! 
 
 
 
 
 
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Just read your V8 conversion thread and I am impressed. Its the way Lotus did some of their designs, finding a cheap effective solution and going with it. I wonder how many of the keyboard warriors have the gumption to tackle a major engine swap - I certainly couldnt, just keeping the underpowered 4 cylinder running is enough work for me! I like the use of Mondeo discs at the rear - genius! I have spent ages with thin shims trying to make my old rear discs run true.

 

Can I ask you about those canley classic front balljoints - when the bottom balljoint is welded as you have done, is there enough range of movement in the ball for the complete range of movement of the suspension? I know the nut can foul the carrier but that is easily cured.

 

Joolz

 

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And trunnions do fail.....   Cos one of mine snapped at the top of the thread at the 'joint' to the uprighti several years ago.....  I got away with it as I was only travelling at 15mph.    Having said that I still run trunnions.  Bizarre that the Canley ones don't have a dust covers.

Edited by 910Esprit
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Can I ask you about those canley classic front balljoints - when the bottom balljoint is welded as you have done, is there enough range of movement in the ball for the complete range of movement of the suspension? I know the nut can foul the carrier but that is easily cured.

 

Joolz

Thank you, as far as I can tell  the bottom mount was not meant to move, but is does if fitted to the Esprit arm. Hence why we have to weld it. I have not noticed a problem with the upright not having enough articulation with suspension travel? and I am maxing mine out with my car lowered when the air is out.
 
 
 
 
 
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Looking closely at the old trunnion bolt, I just cant understand why whoever designed it would not have made it much stronger considering what a safety critical component it is. It pulls against the coil spring pressure, has to wind in and out of a thread when steering, and also has the levering action of the wheel trying to bend it. Add braking pressures,potholes, rust, poor maintenance to the mix and its pretty obvious why they can break. Oh yes, and drill a big hole up through it for the oil and also another hole in the casting above for the steering arm to further weaken it.

I know the original design was for older, less powerful cars with thinner tyres, but even so..its amazing they dont break all the time. I read somewhere that you can loctite a suitable sized drill bit up the oil passageway to make it a little stronger but I for one wouldnt like to go for a hard drive along bumpy B roads with a setup like that holding the wheels on. The CC trunnionless joint has to be a better bet even with the minor niggles.

 

Joolz

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  • 1 year later...

Does anyone know if it is possible to fit the front suspension from earlier or later Esprits, so getting around the whole trunnion problem? Also the roll bar on the trunnion cars acts also as part of the bottom wishbone which is another good reason for ditching the whole setup!

 

 

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That would involve measuring! I know there are differences with the roll bar and mountings, but I thought someone might have done the swap and knew the pitfalls. I guess if the upper shock mount is similar and the lengths of the wishbones are the same then any other issues could be circumvented with a bit of welding and fabrication. I know the front leg of the lower wishbone on the non trunnion cars has nowhere to pivot so that is the main issue. The trunnion cars use the roll bar as the front leg of the wishbone which puts a lot of strain on the bush that connects it to the wishbone and definitely is not an ideal design. The 87 car feels much more precise with less tramlining and steering kickback at the front end than the trunnion car.

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  • 4 months later...

there a fellow who adapted the lower wide base post 85 lower arm to an early S3.  i recall he added another pickup point further forward on the existing subframe.

im not sure what upright he used, im assuming its was the later S3's.   ive driven and later S3 turbo, compared to my early 83, i would agree the front end is much better.

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