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Ride Height is Not Even - Suspension/Brakes/Wheels/Hubs/Steering/Geo - The Lotus Forums Jump to content
brucet

Ride Height is Not Even

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Hi everyone. Last weeekend I noticed that the ride height in my S4s is suddenly lower on the left front than the right. The difference at the top of the front wheel arches is almost one inch. This morning I took off the wheels and had a look at the suspension, but nothing is obviously wrong--no broken spring, no leaking shock absorber. Is it possible the springs or the shocks (still the originals, but with only 36,000 miles on them) have suddenly "worn out" unevenly? Or should I start looking at other reasons? Is there some adjustment point which could have loosened-up? Looking at the repair manual, I don't see any reference to one. The car does not handle any differently than it did previously, by the way.

Any help or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Bruce T.

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Bruce,

This is not uncommon, it happened on mine and other cars of similar age I know about. The consensus is that the driver's side droops over time because the car is mostly used with just the driver in it. I've heard of people swapping the LH and RH springs. Otherwise just get some new ones, they are getting old.

Cheers,

Trevor

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Check the diaganally oposite shock is not failed/jamed/siezed. But any suspension place with a weight jacker should be able to diagnose it in 10 minutes.

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Thanks for the input from literally all over the world! I'll try swapping the springs from left to right first (as well as checking the right rear shock), then see if I should take the next (replacement) step.

Bruce

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My 1993 Esprit does the same thing. Originally I thought it was worn springs. However I just installed a used final v8 suspension setup(shocks, springs, new adjustable rear upper links) that had only 5k miles on it, and my car still leans to the driver side(left side in my case). This is in both the front and the back...it's probably near 1" like yours. I was careful to tighten all suspension at normal ride height with vehicle weight on the suspension...so that's not the problem.

I wonder if our chassis fatigue over time or possibly mine was tweaked in an accident before I bought it. There are no stress cracks around the shifter opening on my car so it doesn't seem to have been abused...and it has less than 15k miles.

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It's normal. Esprit's were designed to be right hand drive. So there is compensating weight on the left hand side of the car. Lotus didn't remove the compensating weight on left hand driver cars, so most federal Esprit Turbo's, SE's etc tend to slant to one side.

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Yep the lean is normal on LHD cars, especially the S1. I thought on later cars Lotus did put in a spacer plate on the LHS rear spring to try and compensate. I just installed new rear shocks & springs on my S1 and it will be interesting to see how long it stays level.

Edited by GavinS1

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How disappointing, it's pretty obvious that it leans and it makes it look like something's wrong with the car.

I'm not sure if I should dial out the lean in my final edition v8 setup...I think the spring rate will change if I tighten up the left side vs the right side. Anyone know for sure? Perhaps if the car is leaning then the spring rate should be tighter in the left side to compensate for the lean and the driver? I have the spacers left from my old suspension, but at this point I think only the rear spacer would work as I can put it at the top of the spring...in the front the spacer was at the bottom of the spring, if I remember correctly, and the new perches are different.

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Well I've been reading the archives on the turboesprits list and some posts reference certain aftermarket coilovers that don't allow you to adjust ride height independent of preload. This is the case with the final run v8 suspension. I could have some spacers made, but I'm going to set it to proper ride height per specs and see how the handling is affected. Perhaps I can get it corner weighted at that point.

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Thanks for the suggestion, Travis. I'll check it this weekend.

Bruce

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Never seen an older esprit that doesn't lean to the drivers side.. interesting about the weights.. where are they located? I've swapped springs from multiple cars... and never been able to completely eliminate the problem.

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a little late to the party but

the spring top rubber buffer near the CAT gets cooked

all the plasticizer get depleted and the part collapses

losing about 1/2" or more

it has insulator covers to protect it but the best thing (for the health of that part anyway)

is to remove the CAT and install exhaust wrap along the section of exhaust pipe that runs by it

the rubber buffer on the other side does not suffer the same fate

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mine did too - here are some pics of the springs buckling over time - > http://www.thelotusforums.com/forums/index.php/topic/37042-ride-height/page__p__323368__hl__%2Badjustable+%2Bsuspension__fromsearch__1#entry323368

and here is the two springs side by side - one an inch shorter....

post-3844-0-01388000-1289393180.jpg

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the exhaust heat probably affects the temper in the springs as well so the spring constant decreases faster than the spring on the other side

I'm a big fan of CATs but in this case a bypass pipe and exhaust wrap may prevent the sagging

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