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Riding High ! - Suspension/Brakes/Wheels/Hubs/Steering/Geo - The Lotus Forums Jump to content
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Cos

Riding High !

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Hi Guys

I have just finished a major overhaul of the whole suspension and brakes of my GT3. Took the whole load off, powedercoated all the wishbones and links, changed all the bushes to poly, and new balljoints. New discs and pads, and new Bilstein and eibach setup. I put the suspension in with the big circlips as the came out of the box, ie the higher grooves. I torqued up the new bush bolts with the car sitting on all fours.

The car now sits about 2.5cm high atthe front, and about the same at the back from what the service manual says for the GT3. I jave looked up nearly every thread, and cant find a definitive answer.

Question is, Does the suspension actually settle down to the correct ride height? Or do most people get fed up waiting, and start taking things apart again, and go for the lover setting. I would dread having to do the front again :)

I think that it will be a good idea if anyone who has does this conversion puts his experience on a thread so that in the future, people will know exactly what to expect from the hieght, and have the option to go for the lower grooves on the shocks.

Cos

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Upgrade today to remove Google ads and support TLF.

They will ride high initially, but you need to tighten the bushes with the car laden, not empty. Equivalent to 2 medium size adults, along with fuel tanks half full.

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I have been watching and looking for posts that would tell me that Lotus got this sorted but it does not seem to be the case. I would like to get the set up that you have but it seems through reading the old posts there are still issues with the ride height.

Jason

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I have been measuring the front and rear hieght, and it actually is very slowly going down.

Both the front and rear were 25mm too high, and after 2 weeks, it has gone down 8mm to 17mm high for both. I wonder if it will go down any further :D

Cos

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Glad to hear.

I've talked to Lotus at length about this issue.

Not wishing to speak for them the consensus is that we have got used to slack springs making the car look lower than it should be. The new springs return it to the correct levels.

It is critical that the ride height be taken mid laden with fuel and 2 people inside.

The suspension bolts need re-setting to allow the bushes to settle in the normal ride height level.

Finally - esp with GT3's I found that adding a balast to the car enabled it to settle quicker.

Mine has takes AGES, nearly 2 years and is within tollerance but only becuase I have the fronts on a lower setting.

In Lotus' defence I have NOT reset the suspension yet and I hope that will have some impact on the ride height.

I also have probably the lightest post 1987 Esprit and that has to have an effect on settling the springs.

If in doubt put 20-30kg in the front back and passenger seat and get the miles in, the car should settle - it might take some time but it does go down.

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Thanks Jonathan

I Have my front springs on the higher setting. The back looks ok, 18cm from floor to the chassis hoop with it correcly laden 75x2+1/2. The front however is at 20cm.

Its true that the old springs were FUBAR. They looked awful so rusty that I am sure that I'm pretty sure that they must have been softer due to sheding weight in flakes.

I will try putting in some extra ballast in the front and hope that it will help. The roads here are pretty bad, so the springs should get loads of exercise.

I dont fancy taking the front springs out again just yet to put them to the lower setting. Its a time consuming job and I'm not sure if its the right thing to do yet.

Has anybody else had simular experiences?

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Drop the fronts you will notice a lot of difference.

It's not a mjor job infact, the whole damper unit comes out in 1 piece so it's not too bad.

If you have balast then dont drive too fast just let it exercise the springs, it seemed to do the job really well for my car.

Mine is currently 180mm front and 187mm back.

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That sounds really fishy to me. Eibach told me that give or take 10 days and the springs are settled, depending on usage. I know I am being picky but logic is telling me something is just not right...

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I think I will give it a total of 2 weeks. If the front doesnt go down, then I ill have to bite the bullet, and take them apart and go for the lower setting.

I wont get the geo done until i get the ride height as close as possible to where it should be.

Even though the ride feels amazing now, I have started to wonder if I should have gone for the shocks with the adjustable spring height seat.

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That sounds really fishy to me.

Shouldn't do really - when you factor in my Esprit is already 100kg lighter than the S4, which shares the same part number and additionally it is lighter by the air con and other options.

I reakon mine weighs in at about 160kg lighter than a standard SE/S4 - divide that by 2 (front / back) and it's the weight of an average person.

I've been keeping a log of the ride heights over the past few months (need to do another one really)

With passengers in the car the ride height was 12mm front and 4mm rear lower than the empty ride height.

Spring compression is not linear either - 1 person in the car drops it by about 4mm, the second makes up the rest.

It was just odd that the 3000 miles and a year and a bit never made the car drop much until I put the ballast in.

That could be of course that the bushes are restricting movement becuase I still haven't reset the suspension yet.

Tollerance is also +/- 5mm so there is quite a band there for error.

Mine are on the lower front setting and the normal rear setting.

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Finally had enough of waiting for the front suspension to go lower on its own.

I took Jonathans advise, and moved the circlip to the lower setting. Then loaded up the front of the car with 2 20kg bags of sand and did a 100 mile round trip to Nicosia and back.

When I got back, took out the sand, asked 2 people to sit in the car, and low and behold, the car now sits at 18.5 cm. Perfect B)

My advise to anyone changing to the Bilstein/eibach set up for a GT3, is to lower the circlip before fitting the shocks, and putting the ballast in for a good 100 miles.

The back suspension is fine.

The ride feels very very good, and I am finally pleased with this setup.

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Good stuff, your ride height is now the same as mine. Technically it should be 170mm +/- 5mm at that platform setting but I'll wait and see if a suspension reset helps before I judge it too much, I, like you are quite happy as it is.

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Thanks Jonathan

My owners manual says that the front ride height for the GT3 should be "180mm" compared to "170mm" for the S4S.

Strange that the front setup is exactly the same as the S4S. All that I can imagine is that it is because the GT3 doesnt have a spare wheel, so Lotus decided to make the diffence in height look deliberate :cheers:

I bought a spare wheel and jack at the lotus parts sale. I imagine, that when I finally get round to fitting it, the front might go down a little bit more.

I will have to wait and see :animier:

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The GT3 was made 10mm higher to make the lower and more expensive S4s and V8's look more attractive to customers :animier:

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After only 2 weeks on this forum, I have already learned something very interesting ! I am glad I subscribed then.

That's shocking.. I thought basics dictated that riding lower was better for handling, and that the GT3 was the best handling Esprit... how come marketing artificially diminished the major selling point of the GT3... how suicidal ? Well okay, maybe the real selling point back then was just the price, the handling repuation only came later, from word to mouth..

Anyway, they did it apparently.

So that's good news then.. the best handling Esprit can be made even better just by lowering it to where it should always have been... makes it more and more attractive to me. Not that I intend to cheat on BRG SE Baby of course, it would take more than that to wipe a 20 year old love story ! :animier:

--

Vince

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Hey Constantine,

Could you post a side picture of your car? I would really like to see what it looks like with the new set up. Much appreciated!

Jason

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I was always under the impression the GT3 was higher due to it's lightness - the fact is it shares the exact same components that determine ride height as the S4.

I also know the expensive cars were purposly made lower.

Riding lower generally brings the centre of gravity down and initially improves handling but in order to drop a car low you have to stiffen the springs to stop it bottoming out.

That stops body roll which in turn stops weight transfer which is an important part of grip - springs too stiff and the car will slide around all over the place.

You also get a horribly stiff ride like in a go cart.

Lowering also prevents things like camber taking effect and so on, it's amazing how much issues it can throw up which is why I'm happy to stick to the ones Lotus provide.

The best way to alter the centre of gravity is adding light weight.....now I wonder who had that concept ?? :animier:

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Vince, don't forget the GT3 was simply a clever way to use up the 2.0ltr Italian spec engines.

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You mean they had SO MANY Italian engines left that did not sell, that they created the GT3 just to shift them ?

Wow that's extreme ! :/

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At the time the fashion was for "club sport" editions, remember the Porsche 968 club sport?

What else could they do with the 2.0 ltr engines? These were required for the Italian market only, as Italy had a tax system heavily biased against engines over 2.0ltr. In a similiar fashion Ferrari marketed an Italy only 208 GTB (308 with a 2.0ltr engine, I think it was turboed?). As an example Italian market S4S cars had the 2.0 ltr engine. Once Italian sales dried up, they were left with a number of these 2.0ltr engines.

They had to find of way of putting them in a car and being able to sell without unfavourable comparisons to the other bigger engined Esprits.

As far as I'm concerned inspired marketing. Strip everything out (aircon, stereo etc) for "lightness" (and also increase profit margins), market as a lighter weight more focussed car.

Of course most buyers simply specced up the aircon, stereo etc, which generated even more revenue from the options list.

And also of course, once they realised they were onto a winner they just built more of them, even after the original stockpile of engines was used up.

Sorry for the thread diversion!

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Thanks for enlightening me, as I never really gave much thinking to this particular GT3 matter so far...

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In fairness there were only 196 GT3's ever made!

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Right - you'll definatly wanna try re-setting the suspension as well.

I just undone the 3 main front suspension bolts at the front on each side (2 bolts on the lower wishbones - 1 stud covering the two halves of the upper wishbone)

The car bounces like a pogo stick now - my mere 75kg made it drop 15mm from a 197mm standing ride height which is significantly more than when the bolts were tight.

Brain did stress this point onto me/us about the suspension a while ago, when I re-fitted the bolts I torqued it up on the car's weight and that's incorrect - it has to be on the mid-laden weight (2 passengers + fuel). The ballast trick worked in getting the suspension down to a good level with mine but having a go at this tonight yeilded an immediate and greater response from the suspension.

If you undo just one side and look at the wishbone joints moving you can see a clear difference.

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Hi [acronym=jfitz981 (jason)

I will try and get a side pic of the car today when I take it out of the garage to go out. Obviously, the car will be empty, cos I dont have any bodies to load it up right now. It does look ok though.

Jonathan, I will reset my suspension when my back gets better. All the crouching and weird positions I had to get into to do all this work, has really taken its toll on my back problems. I will let you know what happens.

Looks like this thread has turned into a mock the GT3 page by some people. Left over Italian market engines, higher suspension so that it dont look cool. What next, people will tell me that the GT3 smells funny too.

I know that the GT3 might not be as quick as a S4S or the V8, but It has more than enough speed to scare me. 5.1 seconds is plenty quick for me, and I havent even dared myself to take it to its top speed yet.

If the GT3 did have the 2.2 engine, I would still like it just as much as I do now.

One of main the reasons I decided to get the GT3, was for the Kelsey Haynes ABS. Its come in very useful on quite a few occasions. Prehaps, I i will thee lottery this weekend, I might get myself that lovely looking gold V8 for sale on pistonheads!

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Now, strange smell from a GT3..... I suppose when they were brand new the smell of a GT3 was distinctly different to a V8 or S4S as it had vinyl instead of leather to reduce the weight. Seriously, the Gt3 is a different car to the S4S and to the V8 etc, so different doesn't mean not as good, it means different.

Suspension, I've noticed mine (although G body it has an SE underneath) is now starting to soften slightly, that can only be because the springs (which were at maximum extension of the dampers when laden to the prescribed amount) are now starting to settle a bit and so it takes less force from the bump to move the wheel a given distance, and the dampers themselves may have started to bed in. At this rate it may take a year or so to settle to the normal ride height, but looking a bit like a 4x4 is still preferable to the old suspension.

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