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inexcusable engineering


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Colin Chapman was quoted as saying he didn't want people fiddling with the way the cars were set up.

He thought they would do mostly more harm than good.

He was probably right.

Edited by Vulcan Grey

Travis

Vulcan Grey 89SE

My Lotus Photo and Projects Album

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i didn't make the money engineering that's for sure. concurrently had several of my own busineses on the side. have an applied physics degree, which is entirely useless. don't make my mistakes kids. went to art school too but didn't finish because i was recruited at the first job fair. i keep promising myself i'm not going to work at all, but then i overspend. guess i'll never finish that libretto for the westend musical about ace of base.

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Here is my 2 cents on the issue.

Teigan's complain is wholly valid. I do not mean any disrespect to Lotus, but when I work on my car I see many of the fasteners that the vehicle is held together with are far, far too low quality.

They are :

too soft steel (they might be stamped grade 8.0 or grade 8.8, but I'll guess they are about half that) because they shear with minimal torque. Could the cheaper fastener supplier be fibbing?,

really poorly coated (8 year old protected bolts like a 20 year old chassis bolts from a Fiat. Fiats rust when they look at water,

the bolt or nut hex heads vary . . . they are 12 mm (sometimes) and 13 mm at other times, yet access is NOT an issue in their application (like validly in the exhaust manifold studs),

the washers are 6 mm diameter for a 4 or 5 mm bolt ot nut. Hey, now that makes good sense to me! Weird stuff like the builders used any washer type available in the nearest corner of the shop floor at the time of construction,

the quality of critical part assembly is poor (e.g. lock washers against the fiberglass with the flat washer below this ? ? ? for some reason),

the long-term design of the component appears not to be well considered. For example, when a nut-sert rusts in place how can the part be removed? When the square hole is provided to adjust the round peg (of the headlight pod edges) the manufacturer should realize vibration will settle the pod causing it to, eventually, fowl the body. I think that is just common sense.

Yes, the Lotus is a wonderful driving machine.

Yes, I love it's looks (even today 20 years later).

Yes, I am willing to do small repairs and adjustments.

Yes, I enjoy "reworking" the issue to solve the problem.

But, NO, it is not a quality/durable product that weathers well with use. Get over it folks. This is why everyone shows photos of their own designs and necessary improvements over the factory. The new and improved shift linkage some owner has built out of stainless steel, with adjustable links, that reduces lever slop, etc. etc. etc. At the price Lotus charges for the car (or its replacement parts) we should not have to improve upon their design as frequently as we ALL seem to do. I do it too, but have chosen not to tell you about all the required mods.

Does this make me want to sell my car (ever?). NO.

But next time I spend the sum of money the Esprit cost I "might" look elsewhere. I will not name names so no one can be critical of my possible choices. Lotus must lose business to infrequent repeat buyers for some reason.

My apologies if I have insulted anyone or "ruffled your feathers". I just see it like this from my end of the wrench all too often.

PS: The local nut and bolt supplier (Edmonton Nut and Bolt) LOVES me because I almost never reinstall any factory-supplied fasteners I have removed from the car. I have a corporate account theer for some reason.

AP

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Amen, Marcus...Teigan, I don't think a career at Walmart as a greeter would suit you. You would have to be friendly toward all people, including auto engineers.

"Good morning Colin, welcome to Walmart...you lousy, engineering jerk".

Sorry, Teigan....Your fired!!!!!

Dave

90SE

retired at 34? you're kidding!

what's your degree?

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

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Hummm ,not happy of the quality of 15 yr. old nuts and bolts :):P:(

Funny that, I only had a problem with a couple on my 22 yr. old car :rolleyes:

Get real , these cars are all getting old and have been exposed to humidity, moisture, damp, wet, salt etc. :)

Its so humid by the lake here, the brake rotors on all my cars start rusting if I dont drive them for a couple of days :(

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You know I've heard that said many times before by some Lotus purists...

Fact is: First, the people in charge of the Esprit SE-S4 have admitted that they included much too much understeer in the SE's.

Edited by PVK 596Y
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Wow, what a rant. I certainly touched a nerve there. Sorry to upset you.

Take a few deep breaths and relax. And please don't attempt to lecture me.

Just remember that ACBC was speaking in the sixties, when the cars were very different, as was the typical owner. It's very unlikely the average owner would have been able to improve on the setup of the suspension. Most of them weren't competant enough to do it. There are exceptions, as always, in these matters.

Of course the cars aren't perfect out of the box, no man-made device ever is. It's called development, and you seem to have done your own. That's fine, but it does not mean your version of the car would be better for sale to the public, it's just better for you.

My quoting ACBC was not meant to be a criticism of you or what you have done to the car, but simply to shed some light on why most Lotuses don't have adjustable suspension.

As for Teigan, yes, he has the right to his opinion, but it does get a bit tiresome. I skip most of his posts for that reason.

Paul.

PS Teigan, we have something in common, the Applied Physics degree. Mine's pretty useless too.

Paul thanks for the support on this one. Unofficially and from the Senior Engineer and Technical Director on the project (Hay but what does he know!) the answer was.

"Do you seriously think that we would design and make a car as a compromise? That Colin WOULD ACTUALLY LET US MAKE a car that wasn't all that it could be?

At the time The S1, then the S2 were truely superb cars on the road for handling, performance (within the specified limits and 4 cyl engine) and sheer engineering. When you build a car, ANY car, it has to be set up correctly and this was done by us at the factory. However these were road cars.......Not Track cars or racing cars (I did make a racing version and this you saw racing at the SCCA

events with Doc Bundy and Paul Newman at the wheel). So No there weren't are real improvements to make as to improve one thing you have to compromise on something else....often price which then effects sales and limits your customer base.

My personal (and this doesn't reflect anyones opinion but me....Tony K) opinion is that if you want a Lotus buy a Lotus. If you want to muck around with it please remove the badge as you obviously didn't want a Lotus in the first place.

Possibly save your life. Check out this website.
http://everyman-campaign.org/

 

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one of my badges was already stolen at a classic car meet, and i don't plan on replacing it. branding is not a concern when i buy clothing and equally unimportant when buying a car. i think it's time for this whole line of debate to stop. we've all stated our positions, and some of you still can't separate the message from the messenger. a true statement is still true whether it comes from the mouth of a genius, a nazi, or a robot, or all of the above. attacking the character of the speaker is not a valid argument.

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logo-lotus.gif

Lets see, I have 6 Lotus logos on my car

2 Lotus jackets

2 Lotus hats

3 Lotus golf shirts

2 Lotus tee shirts

1 Lotus mug

2 Lotus key fobs

A 10' x 3' Lotus banner

My tool box has 3 Lotus decals

My Buick has a Lotus decal

Guess I like the logo and all it represents :rolleyes::):)

Edited by WayneB
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logo-lotus.gif

Lets see, I have 6 Lotus logos on my car

2 Lotus jackets

2 Lotus hats

3 Lotus golf shirts

2 Lotus tee shirts

1 Lotus mug

2 Lotus key fobs

A 10' x 3' Lotus banner

My tool box has 3 Lotus decals

My Buick has a Lotus decal

Guess I like the logo and all it represents :rolleyes:  :)  :)

Did I mention I was selling a solid silver lotus badge on e-bay.........

Possibly save your life. Check out this website.
http://everyman-campaign.org/

 

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Guest Troy Halliday
Did I mention I was selling a solid silver lotus badge on e-bay.........

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Funny I have a friend making me a solid silver one for the bonnet and the gearknob. I have changed quite a few things on my car. This does not mean that I do not love Lotuses. After all I have spent a small fortune (to me anyway) and a shed load of time restoring one. The things I have changed are the things that a mojority of people have found to be a problem with a 20 + year old car. There is a lot more traffic now then there was twenty years ago and my fans where all but dead rusted solid and as with the rest of the car in serious neglect. I I installed two pacet fans instead of the old units which have a much better cooling ability and are in general much better units than the stock ones. I have installed uprated breaks because reading through most posts this was another complaint again an age related issue newer cars breaks are far better than they were 20 years ago and the risk of punting some town smoker up the back side is far more likely. As to colour of interior trim and paint I would have chosen a different colour had I bought the car new so I changed it.

Just because some of us change a few things does not make us dislike the car or the make. I have a lot of dealings with Triumphs/TR's and have done some work on a Ferrari Dino, a DB6 and quite a few other cars of the same period or earlier all makes have suffered a bit with age and their modern owners have tweeked things here and there. No car leaves the production line perfect, there is always something that can be done better be it due to cost restraints or design faults. But a mark stays alive by it's inthusiasts. the fact that we dedicate so much time, money and effort on this forum and our cars prety much proves how pasionate about the Esprit and Lotus we are.

Yes teigan you can go on mate and that is your perogative, bitch all you want you know you love it realy :rolleyes:

This is an open forum and if people want to rant let them rant. We all have our own opinion and I feel we all get a bit touchy when someone puts down our babies. The bonus with this forum as oposed to the old google one is that it does not have to fill up our inbox with something we don't want to read we can simply ignore a thread and stop all notifications of it's update beingsent to you.

Now I'm stepping away from my soap box because being a shorty I'm getting vertigoe. :)

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The joys of a truly hand built car.

I just changed the spark plug wires in my V8. One must remove the intake plenum to change the plug wires. Not my idea of great packaging. Gave me an excuse to change the injectors and have the valve covers and intake plenum powder coated. Looks great but never again for the plug wires. I'll pay someone next time.

Feff

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With the exception of maybe a handfull of big money exotic cars, i think pretty much all cars suck from the factory.

This is why I am broke all the time.

"Firearms stand next in importance to the Constitution itself. They are the American people’s liberty teeth and keystone under independence." - George Washington

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Funny I have a friend making me a solid silver one for the bonnet and the gearknob. I have changed quite a few things on my car. This does not mean that I do not love Lotuses. After all I have spent a small fortune (to me anyway) and a shed load of time restoring one. The things I have changed are the things that a mojority of people have found to be a problem with a 20 + year old car. There is a lot more traffic now then there was twenty years ago and my fans where all but dead rusted solid and as with the rest of the car in serious neglect. I I installed two pacet fans instead of the old units which have a much better cooling ability and are in general much better units than the stock ones. I have installed uprated breaks because reading through most posts this was another complaint again an age related issue newer cars breaks are far better than they were 20 years ago and the risk of punting some town smoker up the back side is far more likely. As to colour of interior trim and paint I would have chosen a different colour had I bought the car new so I changed it.

Just because some of us change a few things does not make us dislike the car or the make. I have a lot of dealings with Triumphs/TR's and have done some work on a Ferrari Dino, a DB6 and quite a few other cars of the same period or earlier all makes have suffered a bit with age and their modern owners have tweeked things here and there. No car leaves the production line perfect, there is always something that can be done better be it due to cost restraints or design faults. But a mark stays alive by it's inthusiasts. the fact that we dedicate so much time, money and effort on this forum and our cars prety much proves how pasionate about the Esprit and Lotus we are.

Now I'm stepping away from my soap box because being a shorty I'm getting vertigoe.  :D

Troy,

My beef isn't with peple who need to replace parts due to age, degradation etc and then choose to upgrade it at the same time. After all thats what Engineering is about. WHat I hate to see is a beautiful car like the Esprit changed beyond all comprehension. There is changing and then there is modifying.

How far do you go before you might as well buy a new car? For example: You buy an S1 and then see a Stevens model hmmm....that looks nice I'll improve mine to match or surpass it...... why? why not let a real fanatic have a factory spec S1 like he wants and buy yourself a Stevens model.

Sorry if I sounded like I was on my soapbox Tiegan (Like you never are...) but I like em back to Factory spec (maybe with newer engineered parts). I bought a Mustang about 10 years ago and spent

Possibly save your life. Check out this website.
http://everyman-campaign.org/

 

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I am the one with an x180R and even I am modifying that car, it was great in 1991 but that was a long time ago. Even the race cars then were modified with secret overboost switches. the racers stepping into the x180R race cars this year remember too much body roll, needed to be lighter, needs more power...etc.

Everything can be improved. I am not looking to make major changes to mine but it is not perfect but a long run. Technology has changed as well as the performance levels of all cars and any Espirt needs to be brought up is you do any track time.

Lew

1991 x180R #5 of 20

1991 M100 Elan

:D Paul thanks for the support on this one. Unofficially and from the Senior Engineer and Technical Director on the project (Hay but what does he know!) the answer was.

"Do you seriously think that we would design and make a car as a compromise? That Colin WOULD ACTUALLY LET US MAKE a car that wasn't all that it could be?

At the time The S1, then the S2 were truely superb cars on the road for handling, performance (within the specified limits and 4 cyl engine) and sheer engineering. When you build a car, ANY car, it has to be set up correctly and this was done by us at the factory. However these were road cars.......Not Track cars or racing cars (I did make a racing version and this you saw racing at the SCCA

events with Doc Bundy and Paul Newman at the wheel). So No there weren't are real improvements to make as to improve one thing you have to compromise on something else....often price which then effects sales and limits your customer base.

My personal (and this doesn't reflect anyones opinion but me....Tony K) opinion is that if you want a Lotus buy a Lotus. If you want to muck around with it please remove the badge as you obviously didn't want a Lotus in the first place.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

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Troy,

My beef isn't with peple who need to replace parts due to age, degradation etc and then choose to upgrade it at the same time. After all thats what Engineering is about. WHat I hate to see is a beautiful car like the Esprit changed beyond all comprehension. There is changing and then there is modifying.

How far do you go before you might as well buy a new car? For example: You buy an S1 and then see a Stevens model hmmm....that looks nice I'll improve mine to match or surpass it...... why? why not let a real fanatic have a factory spec S1 like he wants and buy yourself a Stevens model.

Sorry if I sounded like I was on my soapbox Tiegan (Like you never are...) but I like em back to Factory spec (maybe with newer engineered parts). I bought a Mustang about 10 years ago and spent

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Michael, all the trouble seems to start when a car is modified and it ends up looking worse, to downright bizzare compared to the stock vehicle. :D

Because an individual modifies a car to his own tastes it shouldnt really matter, but people tend to get upset when it is a car that is already a stunner in standard form. :D

When are you going to be able to post some pics of your finished car? :D

By the way I like what I have seen of it sofar! :D:D

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Tony,

I

Does safety wiring bolts that have a tendency to come loose, using AN hardware, upgrading to AP Racing brakes, nickel plating or installing a balance bar constitute wanting something else?  Hardly.

Michael

Thanks and your example is exactly what I was saying. Technology has moved on but some people just don't seem to want the car they have bought. The wiring bolts issue is absolutely something that requires modifying.

Possibly save your life. Check out this website.
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Michael

Thanks and your example is exactly what I was saying. Technology has moved on but some people just don't seem to want the car they have bought. The wiring bolts issue is absolutely something that requires modifying.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I think sometimes people are disappointed after they have bought the car to see poor choice of components that could not be expected to last - especially parts that seem to be from a period even before the car was manufactured. for example the door handles.

Usually, only owners previously familiar with the brand would expect that. Most people might assume that when buying Ferrari you would get Rolls-Royce build quality.

But uncovering a prestige brand like a Lotus we find components selected from poor quality brands. This seems at odds with a supercar.

Understanding Lotus history as a kit-car manufacturer sheds a lot of light on why an Esprit is built the way it is.

Lotus has in their own way been fair by providing the experience at far less cost than the brands it competes with, so that is the compromise I suppose. You get a car that looks better than a Ferrari and outperforms it too for significant discount.

Maybe if Lotus could have been sure that buyers would be happy to buy the car even if it would have cost

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If anything with the headlights is buggered it's the fact that the vibrate up and down while going down the road - people are always flashing their brights at me and I think sometimes people ahead of me think I'm the fuzz chasing them... (probably because I come up on them fast :lol: )

Lotus PBC in Cerritos (CA) has a redesigned linear actuator system for the headlights which makes them rock-steady and is perfectly and independently adjustable. I'm going for a set of those when I get around to it.

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